By John Shea @real_johnshea on August 9, 2014
The playoff hopeful-San Francisco Giants have been terrible since the first week of June, tumbling out of first place in the NL West after building an impressive 9.5-game lead over the LA Dodgers. Since June 9, the Giants are just 20-33, but remain in the thick of the NL playoff race. GM Brian Sabean remains active in trying to acquire potential difference-makers on irrevocable waivers to improve the club for the final stretch run.
The Giants' bullpen has been stellar all season, registering a collective 2.61 ERA to rank third in MLB. Relief pitching is the singular area where the Giants aren't in dire need of an upgrade, although Phillies' left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo would supply the orange and black with an additional tough-to-hit late-inning arm. Bastardo owns an impressive 11.2 K/9 with a 1.148 WHIP in 49.2 innings this season, and is open to a trade.
Outfield depth has been a problem for the Giants ever since Spring Training. The bench combination of Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez has been outrageously inefficient, creating a need for an additional outfield bat. The Cubs don't have a need for veterans, which could make 32-year-old OF Justin Ruggiano a trade target. Ruggiano would be relatively inexpensive and is under club control though 2016. He's slashed a solid .277/.335/.415 line in 2014.
The White Sox haven't exhibited a willingness to blow up their roster, but infielder Gordon Beckham could become an intriguing option for San Francisco if he's placed on waivers. Beckham has one more season of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent in 2016. He's been disappointing for Chicago in 2014, recording a .221 average with 31 extra-base hits and 35 RBI in 357 at-bats, but could form an effective platoon with Joe Panik.
The Giants' continued interest in Rays' utility-man Ben Zobrist has been documented throughout the summer. GM Andrew Friedman was initially reluctant to part with key pieces in July because of the Rays' sudden surge in the AL East. San Francisco was reportedly "ready to act" if Zobrist were to come available, and it doesn't seem as though anything has changed. Zobrist's versatility would fill multiple holes for the Giants. He owns a .797 OPS.
The Giants were reportedly locked-in on Rangers OF Alex Rios before the non-waiver deadline. Sabean told reporters shortly after thereafter that he didn't want to make a "bad deal" simply for the sake of making a trade. It's possible the Rangers' asking price was outrageous, although that could soon change. Rios has been placed on irrevocable waivers, and could be traded. He owns a .293 average with 34 extra-base hits and 45 RBI in 2014.
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