San Francisco Giants: The Case To Trade For Cliff Lee

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# 1 – Who Would San Francisco Trade?

August 3, 2011; San Francisco CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Carlos Beltran (15) returns to the dugout after scoring a run during the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT

If the last few seasons have taught us anything, it’s that Brian Sabean isn’t afraid to make a moderately big splash at the trade deadline:

In 2011, with San Francisco’s offense continuously slumping hard, he made a move that sent the Giant’s top pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler, to the New York Mets.  In return, San Francisco received the prized free agent of that season in outfielder Carlos Beltran.  The trade obviously did not pan out, but it showed Sabean was really willing to make a run for October.

In 2012, he made an under-the-radar type steal when he sent right-fielder Nate Schierholtz and minor league catcher Tommy Joseph to Philadelphia in return for the club’s current spark plug in fellow right-fielder, Hunter Pence.  Unlike the Beltran trade, Pence was integral in the team’s playoff run and eventual World Series sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

So we know he’s a man about the team, and that’s definitely put him into better graces with fans as of late.

But the Giants can’t afford to keep giving up minor league talent, which is what the Phillies will most likely want if they do go into rebuilding mode:

RHP – Zack Wheeler

C – Tommy Joseph

3B – Conor Gillaspie

All have been given up over the last couple of seasons, so who might be next?  The club has a whole bunch of pitching prospects, so that could be an area they might target.  However, with the Phillies’ Ruiz incapacitated for virtually the next month, the catcher spot might prove be another spot for them to consider.  With the Giant’s catching options at both the minor and major league levels, a proven record of promoting winners from within its own system, San Francisco could be a step above the rest when being considered as a landing spot for Lee.

In my honest opinion, though, I think it would take at least three mid-top prospects, plus a Hector Sanchez / Guillermo Quiroz, and some cash to sweeten the deal for Lee to come westwards.  Gary Brown could be an interesting option, as he has all of the talent, but isn’t having a very good season in the minors, and has never gotten the call-up.  But at this point, the team might need to go all out and acquire a quality arm such as Lee’s.  Who knows how long Delmon Young will last, so the outfield might be another area the Phillies target.

# 2 – Anything Could Happen

When making new acquisitions, teams inevitably face the risk of having their move blow up in their face.  And this potential trade is no different.  Anything could happen if this trade were to become real, so the Giants ought to consider all of their options before in fact going after him.

Now obviously, the trade deadline is a ways away, and many things could happen between now and the end of July.  But putting Cliff Lee into a rotation like San Francisco’s is more than enticing; it would provide a major shot in the arm no matter where the club is at that point.  Ryan Vogelsong’s injury only escalates the very real fact that the team might need to consider other options than promoting a minor leaguer or converting a reliever like Chad Gaudin to fill in for Vogelsong.  Especially since Gaudin is so practical as a reliever.

As mentioned before, I am all on board for a trade that would bring Lee to San Francisco; the cost may be too high, but how often does a team like this get a chance to chase a third World Series title in a span of four years?

Only the Giants can tell you that.