Having won four of their last five games entering Saturday’s action, the San Francisco Giants could become buyers at the July 31 trade deadline. That’s a big “if”, but they’re very much in the National League West race, as they trail the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks by just 5.5 games.
With that in mind, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Kansas City Royals starter Ervin Santana could be a name to watch as the deadline looms.
I’m hearing the #sfgiants‘ focus if they are buyers remains rotation help. One name I’ve been told to watch for is KC’s Ervin Santana.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 20, 2013
After holding the Detroit Tigers scoreless through 7.1 innings on Friday night, Santana has a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts this year, a vast improvement on his 5.16 mark in 2012 with the Los Angeles Angels.
If the Giants do declare themselves as buyers, they have a few areas of obvious need. An everyday left fielder tops the list, as they’ve had to settle on a mixture of Jeff Francoeur, Kensuke Tanaka, Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres. Angel Pagan’s injury has exposed the flaws of the Giants’ outfielders who would normally be fourth options. But options are scarce on the outfielders market.
Another area of need is in the rotation, which is where Santana would help. Giants starters have combined to post the seventh-worst ERA in baseball.
Since joining the rotation, Chad Gaudin has a 2.23 ERA in seven starts, and Madison Bumgarner has a 3.02 ERA. But that’s been about it in the consistency department, as Matt Cain has an ERA over 5.00, Tim Lincecum, despite his no-hitter, has been inconsistent at times and Barry Zito struggles mightily on the road.
Moreover, the Giants have reportedly set a “soft” August 9 return date for Ryan Vogelsong. Andrew Baggarly’s postgame blog on Friday hinted that Zito would be the odd man out once Vogelsong returns, meaning that Gaudin would remain the rotation, and deservedly so.
Assuming that Vogelsong comes back and is effective (not a guarantee) the Giants rotation would look something like this (in no order): Cain, Bumgarner, Gaudin, Lincecum and Vogelsong. While it’s too premature to speculate where Santana would fit, a spot would obviously have to be cleared.
That’s all stuff that would have to be sorted out, and again, it’s unclear how much interest the Giants have in Santana. Schulman puts it perfectly: he’s a name to watch.