By John Shea @real_johnshea on June 3, 2014
The San Francisco Giants are the best team in baseball through the first two months of the 2014 MLB season but must prioritize adding bench depth while also solidifying their pitching staff before the trade deadline. At 37-20, San Francisco has proven itself to be a well-rounded ball club. Even though the Giants could conceivably win the NL West without making deadline moves, they can greatly enhance their chances by targeting certain players.
The Giants have done business with the Mets in recent history, dealing outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez for leadoff hitter Angel Pagan before the 2012 season. At the moment, it's unclear whether Marco Scutaro will be healthy enough to contribute in the season's second half, forcing the Giants into position to trade for a second baseman. Murphy is a solid option. His $ 5.7 million contract expires at the end of the season.
San Francisco's bench has been an asset as of late, but it doesn't boast a true power threat. The Giants need to consider acquiring Twins outfielder Josh Willingham to fill that void. The 35-year-old veteran is in the final season of a three-year deal deal, earning $ 7 million in 2014. He's a proven asset as a pinch hitter, recording a whopping 1.021 OPS with three home runs in 42 official at-bats this season. He'd be a big time bench upgrade.
The Pirates began the 2014 campaign with lofty expectations but don't appear to be a contender through the first two months of the season, potentially making them sellers at the deadline. Second baseman Neil Walker would be a solid infield option for the Giants. Walker owns a .279 batting average with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 222 at-bats this season. He's much more consistent than Brandon Hicks, whose .178 average won't cut it in the playoffs.
General manager Brian Sabean has a knack for bolstering the Giants' bullpen at the trade deadline. In 2010, he cut a deal with the Pirates, acquiring left-handed specialist Javier Lopez, a present staple in the Giants' top-tier bullpen. If the Pirates indeed become sellers, Melancon would be an excellent addition. His one-year, $ 2.6 million contract is extremely economical. Melancon owns a 2.33 ERA with 10 saves and 21 Ks in 27 innings of work.
The Giants typically don't have an issue making a big midsummer splash, acquiring Carlos Beltran at the 2011 deadline and Hunter Pence in 2012. Sabean will grind his teeth at the thought of trading top pitching prospect Kyle Crick but will also be motivated by the idea of the L.A. Dodgers acquiring Samardzija, which could potentially hurt the Giants' playoff chances. Samardzija is in the final year of arbitration, posting a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts.
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