5 Reasons Why San Francisco Giants Should Trade a Top Prospect
5 Reasons Why San Francisco Giants Should Trade a Top Prospect
Unloading premier talent is typically perceived as an organizational flaw that could damage potential future success of the San Francisco Giants.
General manager Brian Sabean remains reluctant to cough up a top prospect, specifically in an effort to conserve the foundation of the Giants’ middling farm system. But the Giants’ front office brass shouldn’t be completely detracted from the idea of trading a future stud if it nets San Francisco a player that can grossly contribute next season.
The Giants are two seasons removed from an unpredictable World Series championship and sustain a bulk of the big-time contributors from that squad. They’re in a position to compete for a third title in five seasons if able to bolster a below average offense which ranked near the bottom of the pack in almost all major statistical categories.
San Francisco was devastated by injuries in 2013, exposing a severe lack of depth on the bench and at the triple-A level. The Giants’ farm system is top-heavy, which means it features a handful of could-be future superstars and nothing else.
The idea of trading a top prospect for a difference-maker this offseason is troubling for multiple reasons for the Giants, especially because San Francisco considers most of their elite farm talent to be pivotal components of their future success.
The Giants are distinctly unlikely to upgrade their current roster via free agency, though, creating a need to become active in trade negotiations.
The following slideshow examines five reasons why the Giants should trade a top prospect for a premier outfield bat.
5. Solidify the Lineup
The Giants can ill-afford to enter the 2014 season with another lackluster platoon situation in left field. Combining speedy outfielder Gregor Blanco with a complementary right-handed punch-and-judy hitter is a formula for destabilizing the Giants’ offense. Blanco is a solid fourth outfielder but faltered upon becoming relied upon to be a catalyst for San Francisco at the top of the lineup last season. Making an ultra-aggressive trade for a player like Brown would solidify the Giants’ everyday lineup while simultaneously improving their bench depth. If the Giants are serious about contending in 2014, maintaining a patiently conservative attitude is not the approach they need to execute.
4. Acquire a Difference-Maker
The lack of perennial talent on the open market, in combination with inflated contract values, has prompted Sabean and Co. to look toward trade negotiation as the primary method of upgrading the Giants’ current offense. San Francisco could acquire a legitimate difference-making offensive presence if they become willing to trade a prospect highly coveted within the organization. The most intriguing name on the trading block at the moment is Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, who remains under club control and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.
Acquiring Brown would require trading a substantial amount of farm league talent. A deal of this magnitude would depreciate the Giants’ middling farm system on a massive level, although it would also set up San Francisco with a formidable cast of players capable of competing with any team in baseball. Brown had a breakout season in 2013, posting a .272 batting average with 27 home runs and 83 runs-batted-in. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Phillies are open to trade the slugging outfielder if a “win-win” scenario is present.
3. Adopt an Aggressive Approach to Winning
The Giants’ front office brass has become purportedly reluctant to signing big-name free agents in the wake of what is arguably the worst contract in the history of professional sports: inking left-handed pitcher Barry Zito to a seven-year, $126 million deal. Bad investments shouldn’t deter the Giants from making a big-time trade involving premier farm talent, though, especially if such a deal were to net the ballclub a player of Domonic Brown’s caliber. Trading Crick and outfielder Mac Williamson for Brown would be a franchise-altering deal which would assert the Giants’ aggressive approach to winning while simultaneously increasing their championship potential in 2014.
2. Pitching Surplus Advantage
The Giants’ heralded pitching staff struggled mightily in 2013, posting a cumulative 4.00 ERA. It’s often noted that a ballclub can never have too much pitching, but the Giants feature a relatively stable group of hurlers that should be able to maintain a high level of productivity over the next few seasons. No. 5 starter Ryan Vogelsong is the only pitcher likely to vacate the roster after the 2014 season. The Giants’ No. 1 pitching prospect is hard-throwing right-hander Kyle Crick, who is virtually off limits in trade discussions. Crick figures to be a front line starting pitcher when he ascends to the big leagues.
Giants have a slew of other prospects that boast serious big league potential, though, creating a surplus. Left-handed pitcher Edwin Escobar has slowly developed into a premier farm-hand. The 21-year-old has progressed through double-A ball in five seasons, posting a 5-4 record with a 2.67 ERA in 10 starts at that level last season. His slow development sparks intrigue considering his status as a top-ranking prospect. Escobar could be expendable if the Giants adopt a “win now” approach.
1. Win Now
The most prominent reason for San Francisco to trade a top prospect is to win now. The Giants boast an above average roster that features a contingency of players that have extensive playoff experience. Former National League MVP Buster Posey is the Giants’ perpetual leader and is also one of the best all-around players in baseball. Sabean has done a solid job of surrounding the Giants’ franchise player with complementary talents, like slash-hitting second baseman Marco Scutaro and slugging right fielder Hunter Pence. Adding a potent bat in left field could arguably launch the Giants into title contention, which is reason enough to consider trading a premier prospect.
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