San Francisco Giants: How They Can Contend in 2016

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Trade Joe Panik to Cleveland Indians for Carlos Carrasco; Sign Howie Kendrick

Sep 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) delivers in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Saving the most controversial for last. The Giants previously have tried to trade for the Braves ace Miller and Carrasco, but their asking price is commanding MLB ready talent and middle infielders who can hit. The Giants have made a pledge to make Panik and Duffy untouchable. But what if one of them departing would be what it takes to win the division now and for the future?

In defense of shipping Panik, he has had success out the gate since arriving with the big club, and what is his ceiling? Do the Giants have guys almost ready in the minors? Same goes for Duffy. Duffy was not the projected third baseman to begin 2015, and he needed playing time and Bochy had to squeeze him in. Surprisingly, Duffy went on to lead all rookies in hits and finished runner-up for Gold Glove at third base behind rising superstar, Nolan Arenado.

Missing Panik towards the end of 2015 hurt, but the Giants do have Tomlinson and Arroyo who could be future options at second. Third base is more valuable as Duffy was a blessing and the Giants don’t have a third baseman ready in the system. Scarcity has made Duffy that much more valuable.

Carrasco has ace-like stuff and clearly would not jump Bumgarner in the rotation, but he could bump Jeff Samardzija back to the number three starter, and would provide a mean 1-2 punch. With Greinke leaving the Dodgers, they are struggling to find a 1-2 again. It appears their approach for now is to balance out 2-5 in the rotation.

To get the upper hand, why don’t the Giants make a push for the 28-year old Carrasco? Carrasco is under team control as well, so the Indians would be commanding a Miller-like return if they were to depart with him. The Indians originally asked for Belt and Panik in exchange for Carrasco, but the Giants quickly turned it down.

With Posey needing to get out from behind the plate and play first base down the road, Belt receiving an extension in San Francisco seems very slim. Cleveland needs a first baseman.

If the Giants send Panik as well, they would not have to face him in the National League. Tomlinson and Arroyo won’t be ready for every day duties, so then the Giants could sign Howie Kendrick. Kendrick is a free agent and very little has been said about him so far.

He has above average defense, but is certainly not on Panik’s level. Kendrick though, is a consistent hitter who has hit right around .300 in his career. That is all the Giants need from their second baseman. Is Panik the next Jeff Kent? Probably not, but most would sacrifice Panik before letting Duffy go.

The likelihood of this trade is slim, but it is just speculation and explains how it could work and push the Giants forward.

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