The two-time World Champion San Francisco Giants have completely relinquished an aggressive approach to constructing a formidable roster capable of contending. General manager Brian Sabean has developed a candid sense of patience in regard to potentially upgrading the Giants’ seemingly deficient offense this offseason.
San Francisco remains even-keeled at Winter Meetings while other divisional rivals, like the Arizona Diamondbacks, have added power and depth to their lineups. According to Nick Piecoro, the Diamondbacks have acquired slugger Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels in a three-team trade. The move vastly increases the amount of power the Diamondbacks feature on offense, aptly complementing MVP-candidate Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of their lineup.
The Giants’ front office brass appear distant in the trade market while divisional rivals continue to improve their chances of competing against the NL West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Sabean is “not feeling pressure” to find the Giants a left fielder, specifically because a move of that nature would reportedly cost the team a high-caliber pitching prospect.
It’s definitively apparent that previous trades, such as the deal that sent top prospect Zach Wheeler to the New York Mets in exchange for rental player Carlos Beltran in 2011, has influenced Sabean’s overwhelming willingness to remain “patient” this offseason. The Giants can ill-afford to be conservative though. But as the offseason rages on, it will inevitably become more apparent that Sabean and Co. are unfortunately satisfied with their current everyday lineup.
The lack of talent on the open market has ultimately prompted the Giants to look elsewhere in order to bolster their offense. Shea indicates that a majority of teams which have engaged in discussion with Sabean about a potential trade have asked for highly-coveted right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick in return. Crick is essentially untouchable though — a caveat extending from the Wheeler trade.
The Giants’ feature a top-heavy farm system which is mostly decrepit of mid-level prospects. In addition to Crick, pitchers Edwin Escobar and Clayton Blackburn are thought to be off limits in trade discussions.
San Francisco’s sit-and-wait approach to hopefully improving an offense that ranked 21st in runs scored last season could lead to another losing season, especially if the Giants’ starting rotation fails to reclaim former success. The Giants appear willing to gamble on big-time season-long performances from players like Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence, all of whom are capable of posting outstanding numbers but shouldn’t be heavily relied upon to carry the load.
The Giants have an opportunity to reassert themselves as championship contenders in 2014 but likely need to add another legitimate everyday bat in order to cement their status. The idea of resorting to another platoon situation in left field, headlined by should-be fourth outfielder Gregor Blanco, is a formula for disaster.
Sabean and Co. would be wise to carefully examine potential free agent options in terms of their upside, as opposed to the dollar signs that are connected to attaining their services. Mike Morse, nicknamed “The Beast,” endured the worst statistical season of his career in the American League in 2013 but owns a career .281 batting average and previously sustained substantial success with the Washington Nationals. Morse could command a price tag exceeding $10 million per season but would supply the Giants will an influx of power despite his recent struggles.
The limited amount of available talent in free agency combined with the Giants’ unwillingness to part with a top prospect via trade has forced Sabean to adopt a “patient” attitude which could lead to San Francisco’s demise in 2014.