5 Reasons Why the San Francisco Giants Should Trade One of Their Stars

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5 Reasons Why the San Francisco Giants Should Trade One of Their Stars

Pablo Sandoval
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants are just two seasons removed from an epic World Series triumph, but they are staring down the possibility of encountering a remade 25-man roster that might be without a star player in 2014. General manager Brian Sabean has begun the revamping process, re-signing slugging right fielder Hunter Pence, fan favorite Tim Lincecum and inking veteran hurler Tim Hudson to a two-year deal.

The free agent market is ultimately devoid of substantial talent, though, which could prompt the Giants to make a trade during Winter Meetings in order to bolster their lineup. San Francisco doesn’t boast a tremendous crop of prospects and reportedly highly regards its up-and-coming studs to the brink of making them untouchable.

If the Giants are unwilling to cough up guys like hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick and power-hitting outfielder Mac Williamson they could become intrigued by the idea of trading one of their star players.

The most notable player that could potentially land on the trading block this offseason is third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who has consistently struggled to remain healthy throughout a full season. Sandoval is entering the final year of a three-year contract and will be free agent eligible for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2014 campaign.

The emergence of right-handed reliever Heath Hembree gives the Giants some flexibility in the bullpen. San Francisco has an enormous amount of right-handed talent stacked in the ‘pen which could make setup man Santiago Casilla a valuable trading chip if the Giants are comfortable granting big-game responsibilities to young arms.

The Giants need to be creative in trying to acquire a legitimate bat to fill the void in left field if they’re truly unwilling to forfeit a draft pick for the sake of signing a marquee free agent. The following slideshow highlights five reasons why the Giants should trade one of their stars.

John Shea is a San Francisco Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @shea_prosports. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Sandoval is Built to Become a DH

Pablo_Sandoval
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The “Kung Fu Panda” is easily one of the most recognizable figures in pro baseball, boasting a gut that stretches beyond his waistline and a loveable persona that spurred the creation of the famed Panda hats seen across AT&T Park.

Sandoval is potentially expendable for the Giants, though, especially if he’s unable to keep his weight in check. The former World Series MVP features a marginal .957 career fielding percentage, a deceiving statistic that might seem unfathomable in respect to how nimble Sandoval sometimes looks when manning the hot corner.

After the conclusion of the 2014 season it’s highly likely for Sandoval to land a gig in the American League as a designated hitter, specifically because of his weight problems.

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4. Sandoval Hasn’t Flashed Signs of Significant Improvement

Pablo-Sandoval
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Despite blasting three incredible home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, Sandoval has endured depreciating production on a significant level since 2010. In each of the past three seasons, Sandoval’s batting average, slugging percentage and OPS have dipped.

After being benched during the Giants’ 2010 title run and suffering a career low in multiple major statistical categories, Sandoval enjoyed a comeback season in 2011. He crushed 23 home runs, drove in 70 runs and mounted a .315 batting average.

Since then, Sandoval’s batting average has declined to .278 and his slugging percentage has taken a dive from .552 to .417. His OPS has also depreciated from a solid .909 to a pedestrian .758. If this trend continues, Sandoval’s net worth is much higher now than it will be after next season.

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3. Casilla Offers Top-Notch Value Out of the ‘Pen

Santiago Casilla
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If the Giants opt to hold onto Sandoval during what could be his final season in orange and black they could look toward their bullpen for trade magic. Casilla has been stellar throughout four seasons with the Giants, never posting an ERA above 2.84.

He’s subject to an occasional stint on the disabled list but has managed to pitch at least 50 innings in each of the past four seasons. Casilla offers versatility out of the ‘pen, saving 25 games for the Giants in 2012.

He’s a big-time contributor for San Francisco but could be dealt in a package deal that would ideally net the Giants a legitimate bat.

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2. San Francisco Needs Improved Production in Left Field

Gregor Blanco
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Manager Bruce Bochy was forced to use an inefficient platoon in left field last season which devastated the Giants’ ability to maintain a potent offense.

Speedy outfielder Gregor Blanco is a solid option off the bench. He possesses above average fielding skills, boasting a .993 career fielding percentage. His speed also gives the Giants a valuable late-inning base-stealing threat. However, Blanco’s career .336 slugging percentage and high tendency to strikeout prevents him from being a legitimate everyday option in left field.

Blanco is a role player that shouldn’t be relied upon in key offensive situations. Trading Sandoval would ideally deepen the Giants’ bench if they’re able to acquire an everyday outfielder.

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1. “Kung Fu Panda” is Replaceable

Panda
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The most significant determining factor for the Giants to trade Sandoval is that his production level is replaceable. Trading Sandoval would make thousands of adoring Panda hats useless in the greater Bay Area.

However, the Giants shouldn’t be hard-pressed to replace Sandoval’s 14 home runs. The lovable “Kung Fu Panda” is averaging a home run once every 28 at-bats dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season.

The Giants ultimately need better production at the hot corner and in left field in order to contend for a pennant in 2014.

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