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Sabean “Knows What We Need,” but What is Available?

June 24, 2009

And does he know what we have? Andrew Baggarly talked about potential trade options for Giants G.M. Brian Sabean a few days ago, and I think it was time to look a bit deeper at those options. Obviously, the biggest problem is the offense. Coming into today the Giants are 3rd last in runs scored and 2nd last in OPS. Yet somehow, they are the leading team in the Wild Card. They have two players who have been above average offensively, and luckily those two have been pretty good: Aaron Rowand and Pablo Sandoval. This means that the positions of 1B, 2B, LF and RF could all use an upgrade. I excluded catcher and SS because I don’t think Bengie and Renteria are going anywhere sadly.

Here are the names that the Giants have been rumored to be linked to: Matt Holliday, Troy Glaus, Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson, Mark DeRosa, Jermaine Dye, Dan Uggla, Jose Lopez, Adam Kennedy, Aubrey Huff, Adam Dunn, Luke Scott and the list could go on.

Obviously, Holliday is the player that would likely make the biggest difference, with Lee, Johnson, Uggla and Luke Scott as some of the better options.

Dunn’s atrocious defense hardly makes him an upgrade over Fred Lewis, and Jermaine Dye has a similar problem. Both project to costing their team anywhere from 15 to 25 runs below average. No thanks.

The 1st Base options of Nick Johnson and Derrek Lee are definitely intriguing, both are well above average offensive producers as well as historically good defenders. However, I’ve been a Travis Ishikawa supporter and believe that he’s beginning to figure it out. He’s becoming one of the better hitters on the team (still below average) and has definitely been one of the elite defensive 1st basemen in the game. Maybe in another month we can look more at these two guys, as they’ve had injury problems in the past.

Troy Glaus hasn’t played all year and is rumored to only be a 1B from now on because of his arm (a position in which he’s barely played in his career). Pass on Glaus please. Aubrey Huff has been a decent hitter in the past, but has been struggling this year and is a poor defender at 1B, so another pass.

The likes of Jose Lopez, Adam Kennedy and Mark DeRosa may be appealing to some, but not exactly thrilling to me. Kennedy has never had this type of success at the plate in his career, so I highly doubt he maintains it for a season. Lopez is simply mediocre, and DeRosa is more of a super utility guy that I wouldn’t mind having, but is no savior.

The guys that I think are the most appealing are Luke Scott, Dan Uggla and of course, Matt Holliday. Luke has been a solid hitter and good defender the last few years, so think Randy Winn defense with Jermaine Dye offensive production. Not too bad, as long as he doesn’t cost a lot. However the rumors around him haven’t been too strong.

Dan Uggla is simply odd. Every year he seems to have a different type of season. Usually been a good hitter, but also a notoriously bad defender, until last year. Now this year he’s having a down year offensively and defensively. However, this type of production could provide a bargain bin price, and anything would be an upgrade at 2B for the Giants.

And then the most complicated option is the Oakland Athletic Matt Holliday. Billy Beane gave up a pretty penny to acquire Matt this off-season, so I doubt he’d come much less than that. Holliday will be a Type A Free Agent at the end of the year so if the Giants were to trade and be unable to sign the slugger, they would at least get some compensation for him. He’s a solid defender and hasn’t had that Coors Field aid anymore (.790 OPS and .353 wOBA opposed to his career values of .925 and .397).

John Bowker has been lighting up AAA with a 1.040 OPS, will he get another shot with the Giants in 2009?

My preference has been to start an outfield of John Bowker, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz. Of course, I don’t believe that this 2009 Giants team is a favorite to make the playoffs in any form, and would just like to see us find a hidden gem. Bowker has been destroying AAA this year with a .346/.445/.595/1.040 line. The newfound plate discipline is a pleasant surprise for the Bowker who excited fans last year in his early success but struggled to remain on the team for the season due to poor discipline. But now, it may be time to try that experiment again. We’ll see what Sabean has in mind this upcoming month as the trade deadline approaches.

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