On June 8, the Giants were a Major League best 42-21 with a 9.5 game lead over their rival Dodgers. It appeared the Giants would just run away with another NL West title.
My oh my how the tables have turned.
The Giants suffered from a terrible case of June swoon and saw their commanding lead on the Dodgers diminish.
The starting rotation struggled, the clutch hits they got in April and May were non-existent and the typically reliable Sergio Romo was removed from his duties as closer after blowing three saves in two weeks.
General manager Brian Sabean has never been one to pull the trigger on a trade quickly to bring in reinforcements. He has a lot of trust in his players and knows that this roster can win.
However, if the Giants were to make some deals before the deadline, they should look to improve production at second base and add another arm to the rotation.
Here are three perfect trade scenarios for the Giants leading up to the deadline.
Trade for Daniel Murphy
Early in the year when Brandon Hicks was hitting home runs, it looked like the Giants had found a solid replacement for Marco Scutaro. However, Hicks has hasn’t hit a long ball since May 23 and has seen his average drop all the way down to .166.
The Giants tried exploring other options when they brought up Joe Panik, but he has been spotty in the field and unimpressive at the plate.
So what should the solution be? Daniel Murphy.
Murphy is having a fantastic year with a .300 batting average, 34 RBI and a .350 OBP. He would be a great improvement at second base and also give the Giants a bat at the top of the order, something they have not had since Angel Pagan has been out.
The 29-year-old Murphy has been one of the Mets’ most consistent players since breaking into the major league in 2008, so it is understandable that New York will have a big asking price for him.
When the Giants drafted Gary Brown, the club expected the speedster to become their center fielder and leadoff hitter of the future. However, Brown has been a huge disappointment and is no longer the highly touted prospect he once was.
With an underwhelming .267 average and .321 OBP in Triple-A Fresno, it is time for the Giants to part ways with its former first round pick.
Adam Duvall, promoted just over a week ago, hit a home run in his first major league game. While it is great to have another power bat in the lineup, the Giants won’t have space for him when Brandon Belt returns.
Belt is the first baseman of the future for the Giants and that leaves Duvall the odd man out.
If the Giants could work out this deal with the Mets, Murphy would be a more than welcomed addition to the San Francisco clubhouse.
Add Jason Hammel
While Jason Hammel is no David Price or Jeff Samardzija, he is still a very solid pitcher that would add some depth to a struggling starting rotation.
Hammel has a 7-5 record on the year with a 2.98 ERA and a 4.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a mark that ranks sixth in the National League.
The Giants would love to add Price or Samardzija, but they also would not like to trade away their top pitching prospects such as Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton and Edwin Escobar. The Rays and Cubs will have huge asking prices for Price and Samardzija, which is why a deal for Hammel seems much more appealing.
Making just $6 million in 2014, Hammel seems like a low risk, high reward pickup for the Giants.
Who should the Giants give up to get Hammel? Michael Kickham.
Kickham was a 6th round pick for the Giants in 2010 and has been unimpressive in his three major league starts, going 0-3 with a 10.16 ERA.
In Triple-A Fresno this year, Kickham is doing well with a 6-5 record and 3.46 ERA. Even though he is having a good year, the Giants can afford to part ways with him due to their plethora of strong pitching prospects.
Trade for Ben Zobrist
The Giants have some holes to fill in the outfield and at second base, which makes Ben Zobrist the perfect solution.
Zobrist can play anywhere in the field except for pitcher and catcher and hit anywhere in the order.
Zobrist is hitting just .250 this year, but that’s mostly be due to the lack of protection in a poor Rays’ offense. Place him in the Giants’ lineup, and he would improve.
The Rays love Zobrist due to his enormous versatility, so they might have a big asking price for him as the trade deadline approaches.
Tampa Bay has been successful in the past due to its pitching staff. If they want Michael Kickham and reliever Dan Runzler, this could be a good trade for the Giants.
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