Monday, July 26, 2010

What to Get for The Push?

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is less than a week away.  The Giants are projected to win the National League West, which would put the team into the post-season for the first time since 2003.  The drought has been so long that even a long-time fan such as myself is having a difficult time remembering the Giants in October.  If the Giants do make it will be the first time the Giants will be in the playoffs without Barry Bonds, something which the army of fans the Giants have amassed since moving to AT&T park have never seen.  So the question on every Giants fan right now is what to do about the trade deadline.  There are two things which the Giants need to shore up to have an elite team: hitting and bullpen depth.

The Offense Now
Thus far, the Giants offense has not been bad, especially if you have been watching the Giants Bonds left.  As it stands now, the Giants have the fourth highest batting avg in the national league and the eighth best SLG and OBP.  This can largely be attributed to unlikely resurgences in Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, as well as the emergence of Buster Posey as the Giants best hitting positional prospect since Will Clark.  That said, if the Giants want to go deep into the playoffs they are going to need more than a slightly above-average offense.  They will need an offense that ranks among the top third of baseball, at least, in order to compete with the pitching staff in October.  Given that, which players should the Giants look to acquire before the week's end?

Jayson Werth
Werth would give the Giants an Edge.  
Of all the available players, Jayson Werth would probably be the most ideal for the Giants.  First, the Giants are looking to upgrade int he outfield.  This season right field has been manned primarily by Nate Schierholtz or platooned with Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres.  While Schierholtz provides superb defense, his hitting has been rather pedestrian this year.  Upgrading in right would allow the Giants to add a strong player without crowding out any of the other serviceable options.

After signing Ryan Howard to a ridiculous contract, it became clear in Philadelphia that they would not be able to financially hold onto Werth, who is set to hit free agency at the end of the season.  Thus, the Fightin' Phils have put Werth on the trading block.  Rumor has it that the Phillies, who are looking for starting pitching, and the Astros, who are looking to move Roy Oswalt for prospects, could be trying to figure out a three way deal which would land then the Astros' ace.  The Giants have been linked to Werth, and possibly could be involved in this three way deal.  The Giants certainly have a decent amount of prospects, including Tomas Neal and Nick Noonan, who may prove to be attractive enough to Houston to part ways with Oswalt.

So, it may be possible to get Werth, but why would be help the Giants out?  For the past several years, Werth has been around a 4.5 to 5.0 WAR player.  He is superb with the bat, plays defense well enough, and can run with speed.  Werth currently has been hitting with a .382 wOBA, which would bode well for a the Giants offense, and definitely hits for power (Werth hit 36 HRs in 2008).

As I noted above, however, Werth will hit free agency at the end of the year.  Thus, any trade for Werth would only guarantee his services through the end of the season.  His agent, Scott Boras, has made it clear that Werth will be the premiere free agent in the off-season, thus to retain him would require a lot of cash.  However, it Werth leaves via free agency it will give the Giants two draft picks, which will help replenish the farm system after trading some 'specs away for Werth in the first place.  Thus, while it may be frustrating to get a rental player, having someone like Werth who could help the Giants get a ring this play-off season would be well worth parting with a few prospects.  You have to spend money to make money.

Therefore, Werth should be on top of the Giants' list.  If it is possible to get him, they should.

Josh Willingham
Willingham is a 31-year old outfielder in the Washington Nationals organization.  Like Werth, Willingham could man down in right-field, and could provide some significant production there.  Throughout his career, Willingham has been a 2.5 WAR player.  Clearly, Willingham could not provide the same production that Werth could, nor would he impact the lineup nearly as much as would Werth, but Willingham could provide a more well-rounded lineup which offers more depth and fewer auto-outs.

Willingham's stats are impressive and would be a welcome addition.  He is on track to hit 30 HRs this season, and offensively this year has actually been better than Jayson Werth with a .391 wOBA.  Clearly, he is a good player.

And perhaps that is the reason why it would take a lot to get him from Washington.  After the emergence of Stephen Stausborg, Washington is working hard to build a formidable team.  While they have been wallowing in mediocrity, Willingham could be one of the pieces that they will need in the coming years to have a winning season.  In order to pry him away from Washington, the Giants would certainly have to wow him.  Apparently, Nationals GM Rizzo has mentioned that he is not shopping Willingham, but has received calls regarding them.  Thus, it seems that Willingham may not even be possible, but if he is an option, Brian Sabean should seriously consider it.


Cory Hart
Hart is currently an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers.  I wanted to address Hart because the Giants were closely linked to a deal with the Brewers for Hart, which the Giants wisely turned down.  Apparently the Brewers wanted Jonathan Sanchez for Hart.  Thank goodness, Brian Sabean turned this deal down.

The Giants are known for being a pitching team.  However, despite having a good rotation, the Giants system lacks pitching depth.  If the Giants were to lose one of their starters either Todd Wellemeyer or Joe Martinez would have to fill in, which has never worked out well for the club when they were forced to use those options.  Cory Hart has had an up and down career.  While he has provided his team with a 4.1 WAR one year, the next he regressed down to 0.7.  This year looks to be another career year for Hart, and it seems that he won't be able to continue the production he has had in the past, as his career has been one that remains very unpredictable.

Unpredictability is an adjective that goes hand in hand with Sanchez as well.  However, Sanchez remains a serviceable fourth-starter that has proven to be a strong anchor for the Giants at the end of the rotation.  Giving up a good starter for a hitter whose production is unlikely to be sustainable is something that the Giants were wise to say away from.  Thus, my hat is off to the Giants front office for not folding to the Brewers' demands.

Adam Laroche
Many fans might have remembered how Adam Laroche snubbed the Giants during the offseason.  Laroche was one of Sabean's initial offerees while preparing for 2010.  Larache apparently turned the Giants down and later accepted a deal for half the money from the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Now, half way through the season, the Dbacks are one of the worst teams in baseball, and management is having a firesale.  One has to wonder if Laroche thinks he made the right decision.

Laroche, while not an outfielder, would still make a good addition to the Giants at first base.  As far as WAR is concerned, Laroche would probably offer the same that Willingham and Hart would: he would be an upgrade, he would be a good hitter, but he would not be the impact player that Jayson Werth would be.  Laroche's wOBA is currently lower than Hart's and Willingham's at .340, but hopefully hitting in a better lineup would see those numbers get higher, even if half his games are played at AT&T Park.

One thing that I like about Laroche is that he may be open to a deal that we could lock him into for a couple years.  Players like to be part of winning teams, and the Giants are going to be competitive for several years.  With a decent hitter like Laroche on the club it might just be the addition they need to be a contender.

Conclusion
The Giants need offense.  They will probably win their division with the players they currently have.  However, it is unlikely they will be able to go deep into the playoffs without a little more help.  Jayson Werth is the best option available, and Brian Sabean should do everything he can to make that happen.  Short of Werth, the second-tier hitters available should be closely examined.

The bottom line: something has to happen.

9 comments:

  1. 真正仁慈的人,會忘記他們做過的善行,他們全心投入現在的工作,過去的事已被遺忘。.................................................

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