The San Francisco Giants are in a dangerous slump.
In the month of June, they had a 10-17 record. Since June 15th, the Giants have a 5-18 record. As of today, they are a season-high nine games below .500 with a record of 40-49.
If the Giants want to be buyers at the trade deadline, they could look to acquire a starting pitcher, a relief pitcher, and a veteran outfielder. However, the Giants haven’t been playing well enough to be able to score a deal (other teams could be wary of the Giants’ struggles or raise the price due to San Francisco’s desperation). In addition to that, the Giants are wary about giving up top prospects and getting just a rental player or a player who won’t make much impact on the team in return.
“We have to ride it out. The team has to play better for us to move forward,” Brian Sabean said. “If we don’t start playing better — the team at hand, especially the lineup itself — there’s not enough help in the world that’s going to turn us around from this.
The Giants also have a lot of areas to be addressed, and they can’t all be fixed via trade.
“You get a little leaky, and you can fill one hole, but if it gets to be too many, you’re asking too much there,” Bruce Bochy said. “It’s gonna come back to these guys getting back to the players they are and executing.”
Hank Schulman, the Giants beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, suggests that if the Giants have a bad homestand, they should concede the season now and be sellers, in order to at least acquire prospects for the future. If the Giants do well on this homestand, then he believes that the Giants should become buyers and make a serious run to win the NL West.
He also suggests that if the Giants decide to be sellers, they should try to trade Javier Lopez, Hunter Pence or Tim Lincecum, because they will all be free agents after this season. Also, the Giants could possibly get some quality prospects in return, especially from Lopez and Pence.
So, should the Giants be sellers at the trade deadline? Should they essentially try to acquire talent for the future?
The simple answer is no. First of all, there’s still a lot of baseball to be played. The Giants have 73 games left, and a lot of things can change in 73 games. The All-Star break is in a week, and it might be just the physical and mental break the Giants need.
Second, the Giants have shown that they like being underestimated and and are able to come back from adversity. In 2010, the Giants were trailing the San Diego Padres in the NL West for much of the season, and they didn’t clinch the NL West title until the very last day of the season. In 2012, the Giants were on the brink of elimination in two straight series, and they ultimately won the World Series.
The Giants have been in tough situations before, and they’ve shown time and time again that they can always come back. The Giants have won two World Series titles in three years for a reason.
“This is a club that’s always been resilient,” Bochy said. “They’ve had the ability to bounce back from tough losses, streaks. They’ve been down before. They find a way to get it done. I don’t think that they’re doubting themselves that it will happen.”
Third, the Giants are a loyal organization. They’re going to stick by their players, win or lose. This is essentially, minus a few injured players, the same team that won the World Series last season. The Giants organization believes in this group of guys.
“These are our guys, though,” Bochy said. “These guys have done a lot of good things here. You know [the slump] feels like it’s been forever, but it’s been maybe three weeks. It’s getting long, but still, they are our guys and we’re going to stay behind them.”
Lastly, the team still believes in each other, it’s still as confident as ever, and it’s still working hard. The players believe as much today as they did at the beginning of the season that they can win another World Series this year. That seems like a tough task now, but it can still be done.
“They’re fighting. I know when you go through something like this and you don’t score a lot of runs, you look flat,” Bochy said. “But they’re doing the work, they’re doing all we’re asking. It’s all we can do, just keep coming out here every day and keep believing that you’re going to come out of this thing.”
If the right deal presents itself, Sabean has said that he’s not afraid to make a deal. He’s not going to make a trade just to make a trade, though. He has had success in the past bringing in players at the trade deadline that make a difference in the second half of the season.
In 2010, Sabean signed Pat Burrell to a minor league deal, acquired Cody Ross off of waivers and traded for Lopez and Ramon Ramirez. In 2012, Sabean traded for Pence and Marco Scutaro.
Will he decide to sell instead of buy this season, though?
“You know, who knows,” Sabean said about the Giants possibly selling at the trade deadline. “I think you’re going to have an open mind going forward to whatever’s in best interests of the organization, the present and future.”
The Giants should not be sellers at the trade deadline. Even though they’re in a potentially disastrous downward spiral right now, they shouldn’t sell some of their most valuable assets, in order to acquire talent for the future.
The season is far from over. A comeback at this point might be tough, but the Giants are reigning World Champions for a reason.