One of the most intriguing storylines in baseball heading into the MLB Trade Deadline is whether the San Francisco Giants should proceed as buyers or sellers.
Almost one month ago on June 29, the Giants were destined to be sellers with a 35-47 record. However, over the last month, the Giants have gone from last place in the NL West to 2.5 games out of the Wild Card, after winning 19 out of their last 24 ballgames.
One might assume that given the Giants recent hot streak, they would prefer to be buyers at the trade deadline, however, what is misleading about the Giants postseason hopes is that the Giants are one of seven teams within four games of the National League’s two wild-card spots. Therefore, there is certainly some risk in the Giants being buyers if they were still unable to achieve a postseason berth.
What may be the most sensible decision for the Giants, is trading away upcoming free agents for top prospects, while simultaneously working to upgrade the current roster with the intention of making a late-season postseason push in Bruce Bochy's final season as manager.
Arguably one of the biggest reasons for the Giants to be buyers is that this will be the final season for three-time World Series champion manager Bruce Bochy. It would be quite the storybook ending to Bochy’s already historic career if he were to lead this team from the bottom of the league to another surprising playoff appearance.
The Giants have an impressive history as emerging as a dark horse contender in the second half of the season after winning the World Series in 2014 as a Wild Card team. Furthermore, this Giants roster does not project to be a contender in the upcoming future, which may convince the team to seize the moment and pursue a postseason appearance.
Although the Giants are only 2.5 games out of the Wild Card, the team only has an eight percent chance of making the postseason according to Fan Graphs.
There are currently five teams ahead of the Giants in the Wild Card race and each of them: Nationals (83.2%), Cubs (74.7%), Cardinals (47.4%), Phillies (23.0%), and Brewers (38.2%) have higher odds of making the postseason according to Fan Graphs. This ultimately makes this year’s deadline extremely difficult for the first year President of Baseball Operations, Farhan Zaidi.
Furthermore, the Giants entered the season with the third-worst farm system according to the MiLB. Although it now ranks towards the middle of the pack, San Francisco would be smart to move on from upcoming free agents, such as Madison Bumgarner, in exchange for talented young players with great potential.
Most blockbuster trades in the MLB include an all-star level player traded for a package of top prospects. If the Giants were able to move on from Bumgarner, who likely will not return in free agency, they would most certainly prioritize adding young talent to their farm system.
In conclusion, the Giants would be wise to prioritize the future rather than trying to make one last run at the postseason with future hall of fame manager Bruce Bochy. With so many teams willing to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline, the Giants should try to receive as much as they can for players who may leave them in free agency this summer.
Being buyers at this year’s trade deadline would be a mistake and could certainly be a waste of an opportunity to maximize the return for upcoming free agents.
*preview photo credited to Redbird Rants
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