The MLB trade deadline came and went and the San Francisco Giants stood still. The three names that were discussed in the trade talks were Javier Lopez, Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum. The Giants fielded offers from teams, but decided that they were not going to get what they thought was fair market value for the players. The ramifications of not dealing away any of these players will have three possible outcomes.
The Good: The Giants were able to keep three key players that helped them win two World Series in the last three years. Last year, it was Pence who fired up the team and gave them that “let’s play one more day” attitude. Lincecum was a huge piece in last year’s run to the title out of the bullpen, a move that made him a weapon for the Giants last year. Lincecum also pitched a no-hitter this year versus the Padres, as well as having won two Cy Young awards. And Lopez was instrumental in both 2010 and 2012’s postseasons. He faced some of the toughest left-handed hitters in the game and dispatched them with ease. All three of these players will be free agents at the end of this season. By not trading them, the Giants can work on re-signing all three right away, and keeping the core of their championship runs.
The Bad: The Giants kept these three players, but there is no guarantee that any of them will re-sign with the team. Pence has made it known he loves playing in San Francisco and wants to re-sign, and the Giants definitely want to bring back Lopez and Lincecum.
The issue is cost. Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young award winner. There will be teams out there that will be willing to pay over and beyond what the Giants might think is the correct value for Lincecum. Lopez is a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. Again, there is the possibility that a team other than the Giants goes out and makes Lopez an offer he cannot turn down. The Giants may have kept all three players for the rest of this season, but it is possible one or two of them could sign with another team for the 2014 season.
The Ugly: Worst case scenario for the Giants? All three players leave the Giants in the offseason and sign with new teams. This would be a crushing blow to the franchise in many ways. First, you lose a strong right fielder in Pence on a team that will have their center fielder coming back from a season-ending injury, and a huge question mark as to who will play left field. The outfield is a weak spot for the Giants, and losing Pence to free agency would make it even weaker.
If the Giants lose both Lopez and Lincecum, their pitching staff will have two big spots to fill. The Giants can always plug in players to fill these holes and sign other players through free agency, but they will have kept these three players for two months of baseball that, as of now, has the Giants in last place. Worse yet, they will have gotten nothing in return for them in terms of minor league players. The Giants’ farm system is in dire need of some players and needs to be replenished. By not trading any of these three players, they are rolling the dice.
The hope is that either the good or the bad happens to the Giants in the offseason. If the ugly happens and they lose all three players, then their road back to not only the World Series, but just to get to the postseason will be a very difficult task.