So, here's what the Giants should reference when shopping around the majors to rebuild.
A few things are taken for granted in this seller's guide. First is that any Giant veteran except Bonds that has less than 2 seasons left on their contract is a possibility.
Second is that this team needs good fits: that means generally avoiding pitching prospects and high level outfield prospects. The Giants have enough that getting those pieces would be superfluous and not help the team right away. So there's a focus on high level infielders. Other pieces would be nice as additions, but the guys here are the targeted centerpieces.
Third is that the team should be focused on prospects in Double-A or higher, that are closer to coming up to the big league team.
So, here goes. Enjoy!
Needs: Not many. Their biggest hole is at shortstop, where Lugo has been a major disappointment. They may also have a need at first to spell David Ortiz, who is playing injured, though Youkilis has the spot more or less nailed down. They could also use a good guy off the bench, though the AL needs that less than some.
Fits: Omar Vizquel says he wants to go somewhere he might play everyday. He may get the chance in Boston, where he wouldn't be a huge offensive upgrade to the Red Sox, but might be worth it with the defense. Sweeney might have some value to them, but not much.
Returns: The Red Sox don't have many high level hitters of note. The best fit would be Aaron Bates (#25 in BA's top 30 preseason prospect list). Bates is a power hitting first baseman, who is having a fine year in High-A. He's a couple of years away, though. But would the Red Sox give away power for just a rental of Omar?
Final Grade: D. There's not much fit here. Bates would be nice to get, but the Giants just don't have enough to offer.
New York Yankees (2nd)
Needs: Starting pitching jumps out. Outside of Wang, the rotation has had issues. Mussina has fallen off, and Igawa has struggled to adjust to American ball. They could also use help against left-handed batters, and first base is ever a question the size of Giambi's old mullet in the Oakland days.
Fits: Matt Morris was called the `best' pitcher on the market by Rosenthal, meaning the Yankees may target him. Then again, most of the Yankees farm system is pitchers, and they do have Hughes waiting in the wings. Steve Kline makes a lot of sense, too, for a bullpen that needs some steadiness. Klesko or Sweeney might help at first for them, but that's not as big a need.
Returns: There aren't any good fits. The Yanks have lots of pitchers to trade, just what the Giants don't need. The few position prospects at the top of the list don't offer much difference from the athletic, non-power outfielders commonly found on the Giants system already. 1B/3B Eric Duncan (#13 in BA's top 30) is an interesting option. He has wilted under Yankees pressure, and though he is performing poorly, maybe a change of venue could help.
Final Grade: C. Duncan isn't worth Morris, or Klesko. But a Kline for Duncan swap might be a worthwhile risk for the Giants.
Needs: Not much. Their offensive production is good enough to not be desperate enough for a Giant. But despite playing in a cavernous park, their bullpen is horrible. Jason Grilli tops their middle reliever depth chart - enough said.
Fits: Steve Kline is the most obvious. While he's a lefty, the Tigers need a lot. The Giants may trade one of several other younger relievers, too.
Returns: There's not much to get with a reliever. Jeff Larish, a power hitting first baseman who is struggling for contact (but has 19 home runs) in the Eastern League may be too much to ask. Ryan Raburn, a power-hitting defensive liability might be available, as the Tigers can't find a place they like to play him. He is playing OF mostly these days, but was drafted as a third baseman.
Final Grade: B. Kline clearly addresses a need of theirs, but he won't get a big return.
Needs: Second Base. Josh Barfield has been a bust since coming from San Diego. The team may also be looking to make a splash with a starter, with Westbrook and Lee both having issues.
Fits: Morris is an outside chance here, but the real fit is Durham. The Indians like Barfield, but even with a second year, Durham would be a big help to this team.
Returns: Here's the problem: more pitching and outfielders. The one place the Indians have a bulge is at catcher, with Kelly Shoppach having just come up, but is stuck behind Victor Martinez. Shoppach could be a very nice catch for a guy like Durham. A lesser choice might be AA's Wyatt Toregas, although BA thinks that Cleveland likes Toregas more than Shoppach. One interesting possibility: OF Brad Snyder, elder brother of Augusta's near-ace pitcher Ben Snyder. Brad has power and speed, though he has some contact issues.
Final Grade: B+. Durham fits very well here, but the return may not have an impact on the big league team for a while unless they can pry away Shoppach.
Needs: There's a few. Second base is a significant issue, and third isn't far behind. The team could also use a starter.
Fits: This is another decent spot for Durham. Luis Castillo is batting for contact, but isn't stealing and isn't slugging at all. Minnesota's .400 SLG is 21st in the majors, and only two AL teams (CWS, KC) are worse. Heck, even a one year look at Pedro Feliz might interest the Twins at third; he couldn't be much worse, and he couldn't be much cheaper. Morris could be nice, but the Twins are probably thinking offense first. However, they may not like where they stand, and want to pay high prices.
Returns: The Twins don't have much high to pay. The Giants are unlikely to get 1B Chris Parmelee, who is the Twins' top position prospect and having a poor year. 3B Matt Moses has fallen out of favor with them, and has contact issues and poor plate control, so he's no big catch. AA IF Trevor Plouffe is a possibility as well. He was a SS in high school, but is a likely third baseman.
Final Grade: B-. If the Giants is to unload Feliz, the Twins may be the best fit. Durham is less likely, and could probably get a better return elsewhere.
Needs: Second is an unsettled spot, where Maicer Izturis has been good but only played a few games (and probably won't keep it up). Third could be better, but no one is likely to displace Figgins mid-season. The bullpen could use some help.
Fits: Again, Durham is a good option, and would fill the biggest hole. Behind that, Steve Kline would be a help to a bullpen with just one lefty, the 5.79 ERA of Darren Oliver. Feliz may have some value as a utility guy, backing up both the shallow third and first positions.
Returns: Erick Aybar is a great target, as he blocked at both shortstop and second. He's struggling this year, but his defense would be helped a lot by playing with Omar. Double-A Shortstop Sean Rodriguez is probably on his way to second or third, but could be an interesting pickup for less. Hainley Statia, a High-A shortstop might also be in the talks, but the Giants don't need too many middle infielders that low.
Final Grade: B+. In terms of returns, the Giants really might be able to talk the Angels into something (even if it takes one of the Giants' young superfluous players). But Durham may not be a growing need as they see how Izturis comes back from injury. Kline might still land there, but no Aybar for him. Feliz might also help this team, but more as them seeing him as a backup.
Needs: Well, they wouldn't be the Mariners if they didn't need pitching, although they don't need too much help in the bullpen right now. The Mariners are also getting some of the worst production out of first base in the majors.
Fits: Morris has been talked about going to Seattle a lot, and he would be a good fit for them. In addition, Ryan Klesko makes a lot of sense here, with all the troubles that the Mariners are having with Ryan Sexson.
Returns: The Mariners just might be willing to give up power hitting outfielder Wladimir Balentien, but it'd probably take sending a young pitcher to the M's as well, and it'd be worth it as long as it's a guy not currently in the rotation like Sanchez or Misch. C Jeff Clement is also a target, but would also need something more than rentals. 1B Bryan Lahair might be a risky power hitter to get, but he has real problems against LHP. 3B Matt Tuiasosopo (brother of the former Raiders QB) could be a sleeper in Double-A.
Final Grade: A. The Mariners are a great fit for a couple of Giants, and a package deal could bring back someone genuinely significant. If the Giants are willing to get creative, and trade a Sanchez or a Misch, then this could be a jackpot team.
New York Mets (1st)
Needs: The team actually ranks 26th in the majors in OPS from first base (.744), but they aren't going to push out Delgado mid-season. Offensively, their most upgradable spot is second base, where Jose Valentin and Damion Easley have shared the bulk of the duties to mixed results. The Mets could also use some bench depth, with just a .211 batting average from pinch hitters. Pitching isn't one of this team's major problems, but they wouldn't mind help.
Fits: Not much. Durham might be an upgrade, but probably not a huge one, at second base. The Mets might make use of Klesko, but he wouldn't be a starter in their eyes (unlike other teams), so that would lower his value compared to other teams. Sweeney might be a nice fit for their bench, but teams will be (rightfully) scared off by his poor performance this year. If the Mets pursue Morris, it'll probably be more to keep him from going to a competitor than anything.
Returns: Don't expect much here, either. OF Lastings Milledge is often talked about, but he wouldn't help the Giants and would be superfluous with Fred Lewis on the same roster. This team's farm system is still aching from the trade-off to the Marlins recently. 1B Mike Carp is looking like a platoon player, and 1B Brett Harper is having contact issues in AA. There's not much else that is of use to the Giants here. But that Matt Durkin kid might be an underrated pitcher...
Grade: F. The Mets don't need what the Giants have, and the Giants won't make much use of the Mets' kids.
Atlanta (2nd Place)
Needs: The Braves could use some depth at pitching, especially in the rotation, but this team's biggest hole is first base. Atlanta's .638 OPS out of first base is the worst mark in the majors. The primary first baseman, Scott Thorman, has been painfully bad. Rookie Jarrod Saltalamacchia ha filled in fairly well, but he may not be the long term solution.
Fits: Ryan Klesko makes the most sense. A former Brave, Klesko's offense isn't perfect, but he'd given the Braves the kind of production they need, a complimentary player to the Jones' who can get extra-base hits. Mark Sweeney could help the team's bench, and they may also be in the game for Morris.
Returns: The Braves have two third basemen that are fighting to be the replacement of Chipper Jones. Van Pope is the better well-rounded player, but Eric Campbell has a bit more power. Either one makes sense for the Giants, and for the Braves to trade, but both are slumping. There's also first baseman Kala Kaaihue, but he's a bit lower than the Giants need.
Grade: A. The Braves have a glaring need the Giants can fill with their most-tradable rental player. The Braves have a couple of third base prospects, which the Giants need. This is where trades should come together.
Philadelphia (3rd Place)
Needs: Other than a sense they can be in this race? Pitching is the biggest Philly need. Behind Cole Hamels, the Phillies need a lot of help. The team is also last in the majors in batting average against when facing left-handed hitters. The team is also getting less than ideal performance from Wes Helms at third base, who only has 3 home runs.
Fits: If the Phillies want to go after it, Matt Morris would be the obvious pursuit. However, in Citizen's Bank Park isn't a place for non-strikeout pitchers, and unless the Phillies really think they're in it, they may not pay the price needed. Steve Kline makes sense, however, especially considering the team's serious need to fight left-handed batters, and Kline would be around in 2008. The Phillies might also consider giving Feliz a try, as he'd be a good compliment to the power hitters that make up the heart of the Phillies, and could benefit from the small park.
Returns: The Phillies will probably be uninterested in trading top prospects. They might be willing to part with AA third baseman Mike Costanzo, who has shown power in the Eastern League but is batting just .244. There's also slumping shortstop Brad Harman, but Harman doesn't fit the speed profile the Giants are suggesting they want, and is a lesser option than the middle infielders the Giants have in A-ball right now.
Grade: C-. The most important thing is that the Phillies will have to decide they're in it. Outside of Kline, no deals seem very possible, unless they want to take a gamble on Feliz.
Needs: Not many the Giants can address. They haven't gotten good production from second base, but that's mostly been because of Weeks slumping, but he's unlikely to be bumped. The team could use some depth at starting pitcher, and might also benefit from some experienced veteran leadership as this young team heads for the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
Fits: Matt Morris, and not much else. The team's rotation is solid with Sheets (when healthy), Capuano and Suppan, but Morris might put them over the top. They might have interest in Durham if they give up on Weeks, but it's unlikely they wouldn't consider utilityman Tony Graffanino for the role if that happened.
Returns: Not much. 3B Mat Gamel is having a good year at High-A, but he doesn't have ideal power nor is at a high enough level to be a desirable centerpiece of a deal. There's also Vinny Rottino, who plays from the OF to 3B to even C. He's having a solid year in the PCL, but isn't the high level centerpiece teams need, he's more of a utility player.
Grade: F. Milwaukee doesn't need our help, and they wouldn't help us much either.
Chicago Cubs (2nd)
Needs: Again, not much the Giants can help with. The Cubs are getting plenty of production from the infield positions the Giants could offer. The Cubs also have one of the top starting rotations in baseball. Their bullpen could use some help, but that's about the only spot they need improvement right now.
Fits: Steve Kline would make a very good addition to a bullpen whose top lefty (Scott Eyre) has been a disappointment, and whose only other lefty, Will Ohman, isn't the top of the line either. But there's not much else the Giants can offer.
Returns: The Cubs have a clearly blocked third baseman in Scott Moore, who is batting .262 in the PCL this year. Moore has power, but he's not a top of the line guy. He has contact issues, and is vulnerable against southpaws. But Kline wouldn't be enough to get him. AA's Brian Dopirak is a more realistic option, but he's the same sort of a problem: Power hitter with contact issues.
Grade: F. See Milwaukee.
L.A. Dodgers (1st)
Needs: Wait, am I seriously suggesting helping the enemy? Yes, yes I am. Sabes and Ned are obviously connected, and if the Dodgers are willing to help a rival to win, why not? The big question for the Dodgers is if they'll do something about Garciaparra, who is making contact but not doing well for secondary average. Wilson Betemit may have a future, but it's not in the present. James Loney has taken back first, but third is still open. But that's the only open spot. As with most teams, some help at starter wouldn't be turned down.
Fits: Oh, Giants fans will love this: Pedro Feliz. Feliz takes away some contact, but adds some power at the third base hole. The Dodgers have been suggested around Morris, too. But don't look for much more.
Returns: The ironic thing is that the Dodgers have one of the biggest bulks of hot corner prospects, which the Giants need. 3B Andy LaRoche is probably untouchable. So might be Futures Game MVP Chin-Lung Hu. But AA third baseman Blake DeWitt is possibly gettable. He doesn't have the upside, but the Dodgers have absolutely no fit for him. But even Colletti wouldn't trade DeWitt for just Feliz, would he?
Grade: C. The Dodgers probably don't have a high priority need the Giants can fill, but if the Giants can work something out, it could fill a big need.
San Diego (2nd)
Needs: Hitting, plain and simple. The Padres went out and got Marcus Giles last year, and are paying him nearly $10M a year to bat .242 and slug just .336. Whether or not the Padres will be willing to displace Brian's brother is a big question, though. At third, Kevin Kouzmanoff has been a big disappointment, although Russell Branyan is a little better.
Fits: If the Padres were interested in displacing Giles, Durham could be a fit. But it's unlikely they'd take on more than one year on a contract for an incoming 2B. Third would be a better fit for Feliz, although Feliz would also be the type to suffer in San Diego's huge yeard.
Returns: The Giants will be unlikely to pry Chase Headley, the AA third baseman who is thriving in the Southern League. But High-A 3B David Freese might be possible. SS Luis Cruz might be a possibility, but Cruz really had problems in Triple-A and doesn't have a stolen base on the season, and the Giants have discussed a speed-first offense, so that's unlikely.
Grade: D. The Padres would have to give up on someone for the more valuable deal, and Feliz wouldn't be a great fit. Too bad, the Giants would like Freese.
Needs: Arizona has a lot of young players, the question is whether or not they'd be willing to move one of them back. Probably their most vulnerable hole is at first, where Conor Jackson is doing pretty well but not great. Jackson does have a platoon split against RHP. The team could use some depth at starting pitcher, where replacing Micah Owings or Yusmeiro Petit at the back of the rotation would be a help, and also they have problems with left-handed batters in the bullpen.
Fits: The D-Backs would probably appreciate having a left-handed first baseman to work with Jackson, and since Klesko is a free agent after this season, he won't block Jackson for the future. Morris would also be a coup for this team, adding some pitching depth to keep up with the rest of the division, and give them a depth advantage in the rotation over the leaders of the other divisions. Kline would be a nice fit, as well.
Returns: The best bet right now is Chris Carter. Carter is blocked by Conor Jackson at first, and the D-Backs really like Jackson. Carter is a bay area native and Stanford grad, and is a good hitter but does have defensive issues. There's not much else the Giants could take advantage of right now, however.
Grade: B. Klesko wouldn't be as valuable to this team, but Morris could do a lot to get a blocked prospect back, and a package deal with Kline would be of nice value to this team.