For San Francisco Giants, Price is Worth the Risk


The Major League Baseball trade deadline is so close, you can practically smell it. The days leading up to the deadline have been a whirlwind, with one big fish pitcher (Cole Hamels) being moved, three-team deals, and a bizarre situation involving two players with injury concerns and another left in tears.

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After some waffling back and forth and back again as to whether they were buyers or sellers, the Detroit Tigers finally made the decision that they would be sellers, and make some of their big pieces available on the market, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark. That would include their ace pitcher David Price, who has been tied to the San Francisco Giants by Buster Olney.

With Hamels no longer on the market, Price is now the biggest pitching fish available. Hamels’ contract, which had him under his team’s control until 2019, made him more the more attractive option. Teams wouldn’t have to worry about giving up some of their best prospects for just two months of a rental pitcher.

But after seeing the glut of players that the Texas Rangers were forced to surrender for Hamels, maybe it’s for the best that the Giants didn’t get to far in to the Hamels’ bidding. The Rangers gave up Matt Harrison, a talented, albeit oft-injured left-hander with a lot of Major League experience, and their number-two, number-three, number five, and number-13 prospects.

That leaves Price for the Giants, if they decide to make a big move. The risk with Price is that he is an impending free agent, and if the Giants were to swing a deal, there’s no guarantee he returns after the season.

The Giants have been burned in the past by a big-time rental deal. In 2011, the team acquired Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets prior to the trade deadline, giving up their, at the time, top prospect Zach Wheeler in exchange.

Beltran was very good in his short stint in the Bay, posting a .323/.269/.551 slash-line, with nine doubles, four triples and seven home runs. The problem was that Beltran missed time with a wrist problem, and with a lot of other players missing time because of injuries of their own, the Giants just couldn’t keep up, and missed the postseason. He didn’t re-sign after the season was over, leaving the Giants without Wheeler and without their big-time pickup.

But the team shouldn’t let that past indiscretion keep them from taking a risk this year. The Giants have an opening in their rotation, and filling it with Price would be an immediate, gigantic upgrade over Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, or Ryan Vogelsong.

The two teams have talked, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, and the Tigers like some of the young pitchers that the Giants have to offer.

Keury Mella and Tyler Beede are the Giants’ top-two prospects, and a package of the two would do some damage to the Giants’ farm system. But acquiring Price is worth the risk.

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But if Price and the Giants can’t come to terms on a long-term deal after the season, where does that leave San Francisco? Where do they go from there? The answer is, they try to move forward. Just like the Wheeler trade in 2011, the Giants will have to move forward.

The Giants will have a ton of money in the offseason, with a lot of big contracts coming off their books. If they can’t persuade Price to stay, they will have the means to attempt to coax other pitchers to come to the Bay Area. The upcoming free agent class of pitchers is set to be star-studded, including Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija. If the Giants can bring in a pitcher like that after losing Price, I’d consider that a wash.

San Francisco doesn’t need to make a big splashy deal. They’ve proven they can win without the flashiest roster in the past. But sometimes opportunity presents itself, and it should be taken advantage of.

Next: Jeff Samardzija Heading Back to Bay Area?