After brilliantly pulling the trigger on Los Angeles Dodger-beater Jake Peavy, the San Francisco Giants now turn their attention to their glaring problem at second base, which has dogged the team for nearly the entirety of the 2014 MLB season. The Giants are crossing their fingers and toes that scrap heap pickup Dan Uggla can help solidify the team’s everyday lineup at second base, but must make a big time move in order to legitimately improve the club’s chances of winning the NL pennant.
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the Giants have shown interest in former Philadelphia Phillies MVP and Bay Area native Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies are obvious sellers at the non-waiver deadline. San Francisco has a desperate need for another infielder, which makes Rollins a potential fit, assuming the Giants are willing to give up what’s necessary to acquire the three-time All-Star.
Rollins owns 10-and-5 trade rights, which means he could potentially veto a deal to the Giants. The 35-year-old veteran has an $11 million vesting option in place for 2015, which will become guaranteed when Rollins reaches 600 plate appearances this season. The Giants are already on the hook for $127 million to 13 players next season. They also face crucial decisions at third base, left field, starting pitcher and closer.
It’s uncertain whether 2012 NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro will ever be able to play on a semi-regular basis ever again, forcing the Giants into a discerning predicament. Trading for Rollins would require the club’s board of investors to approve a sizable team payroll bump for next season, which is already a preexisting problem considering the pending free agency of Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse.
Philadelphia is presumably asking for an outrageous return for their slew of trade chips. Either that, or a decent chunk of teams have deterred from engaging in such discussions with the Phillies because of the insanely expensive contracts several of their veterans boast. Thanks, Ruban Amaro Jr.
Aside from the cost-award analysis, the Giants are undergoing in an effort to ensure they don’t handicap their farm system and cripple future payroll by striking a deal for a guy like Rollins, the team must also figure out where they would play him. Rollins has played a grand total of 0.1 innings at second base in his 15-year career, which means Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford would have to switch positions in order to make the deal work.
It might sound crazy, but forcing Crawford to move over to second base wouldn’t be catastrophic for the Giants defensively. The fourth-year player has already committed 15 errors this season, the same number of gaffes he committed in 147 games in 2013.
A deal between the Giants and Phillies remains vastly unlikely, but GM Brian Sabean needs to do something more to help his team win — and that doesn’t mean switching out Uggla for Darwin Barney.