San Francisco Giants: Top 5 Trade Assets
5 San Francisco Giants Who Command Trade Value
As we sit here on July 7, it is largely a mystery how the San Francisco Giants plan to approach the trade deadline. As of Sunday afternoon, they are in fourth place, but only 5.5 games out of first place. While the team definitely has struggled since the beginning of June, it is still not out of the realm of possibilities that the Giants could recover and make a playoff run.
What happens in the week before the All-Star break should highly influence how general manager Brian Sabean develops his approach. If the team can handle seven games with the struggling New York Mets and San Diego Padres, he could try to boost the club. Conversely, if they struggle over the next week, he could decide to try to get something out of his upcoming free agents and sell them off as rental players.
It is not reasonable to say that the Giants are struggling financially, but they need to watch how they spend if they decide to bring in a big-money player. With long-term contracts due to franchise players such as Buster Posey, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner, the team needs to be conservative enough in order to field competitive players around the keystones. With as much as the Giants have struggled recently, it seems near impossible that they would want to bring in someone who makes as much money as potential targets like Cliff Lee and Josh Johnson.
It will be interesting to see how Sabean decides to approach the deadline. Unless the Giants turn it around really quickly, it would certainly seem more likely that he will play it safe this year. No matter his strategy, here are his five most likely trade chips come the last week of July.
5. Francisco Peguero, OF
Peguero has put up good numbers throughout his minor league career. He has only hit .188 in each of his two major league seasons thus far but hasn't really gotten much of an opportunity and is just 25 years old. He is currently ranked the Giants' number six prospect by MLB.com, and some scouts think he has what it takes to be an everyday major league outfielder. He's likely to be blocked in San Francisco by players such as Angel Pagan, Gary Brown, Gregor Blanco, and Hunter Pence if he is re-signed. With the all-around skill that Peguero possesses, it's possible that he could bring in a complementary big-league piece, such as a bench player or middle reliever.
4. Martin Agosta, RHP
The 22-year-old Agosta is ranked as the Giants' number seven prospect by MLB.com and has had arguably the best year of any starter in the Giants' system this year. Agosta, who is in his first professional season after being drafted in the second round a year ago, has a 2.18 ERA and 1.08 WHIP this year with the Low-A Augusta GreenJackets. Most impressive, however, is his 92 strikeouts in 74.1 innings pitched. Some teams will be concerned about his size (just 6'1” and 180) and ability to stay a starter long-term, but he is still intriguing enough to be part of a package or bring in a mid-level major leaguer. That being said, the Giants will likely hold onto him unless they receive a great offer, as there is a large lack of pitching depth in the organization and Agosta is a player who could move quickly though the system.
3. Javier Lopez, LHP
Lopez is perhaps the Giants' most realistic trade piece. The soon-to-be 36-year-old is one of the best left-handed specialists in the major leagues, but the Giants can afford to let him go if they don't see the 2013 playoffs as a realistic possibility. Lopez could probably bring in a decent prospect in return, and many contenders will be looking to boost their bullpen for the stretch run. He certainly has the numbers to back up his track record as well, putting up a 1.88 ERA and .180 BAA versus lefties this year. Lopez is unlikely to be retained by the Giants beyond this season anyway, as the Giants already have lefties Jeremy Affeldt and Jose Mijares at the major-league level, and prospects Josh Osich and Bryce Bandilla look to be on track to break into the majors sooner rather than later.
2. Kyle Crick, RHP
Crick would be an “emergency-only” trade piece, as he is the closest to a sure thing the Giants have in their system. The 20-year-old righty, who was the team's sandwich pick in 2011, has put up a 1.46 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 24.2 innings this year with the High-A San Jose Giants. Scouting reviews of Crick are unanimously positive, and despite his young age, he may be the closest of any Giants pitching prospect to being a contributor at the big-league level. The Giants learned their lesson after giving up top prospect Zack Wheeler for a few months of Carlos Beltran in 2011, so the package will have to be impossible to resist in order for them to let go of Crick this year. Unless the Giants climb all the way up to striking distance of first place by July 31, there is virtually no chance that Crick will be moved.
1. Hunter Pence, RF
It doesn't seem very reasonable for the Giants to move Pence, but if Sabean determines that the prospects he could get in return are good enough, it is a possibility. The 30-year-old Pence is a free agent after this season and has been involved in mid-season deals twice before. Though it is likely that the Giants could re-sign Pence, they may prefer to get something for him if they believe there is a chance he could leave. That being said, Pence is the heart and soul of this Giants team, and he is the best power hitter they have had since Barry Bonds left. Giving up the right fielder would basically be conceding their season, so it is unlikely that the Giants will move Pence.