Long-time lurker, first-time thread starter.
My basic thought is this: The Giants have done a fantastic job in the last few years of drafting pitching, and now is actually a surprisingly good time to move some of that for hitting that has some long-term potential and fit.
In terms of direction, there are a few things worth considering:
1. Catcher is taken care of, whether it's Buster or Sandoval (Buster, in all likelyhood)
2. One of the middle IF slots can go to whichever of the pups works out best of Burriss, Velez, and maybe Fransden.
3. Like it or not, Rowand has an OF spot locked up.
4. We need to fit Sandoval and Villalona in the long-term plans for the team.
5. I like Fred Lewis as a player on this team long-term
To me, this opens up two nice potential slots: 2B/SS and 1B/3B.
Intuitively, it would be better for our Giants to get a SS, but they simply don't come onto the market that often. As such, we can hope that Manny works as the SS for the next few years and get a 2B with my favorite target (by far) being Brandon Phillips. He is the type of guy that would help generate runs in a variety of ways, which is incredibly helpful for a team like the Giants. Despite having an off year, he was still in the top third of 2B's offensively and had the third-most steals. It is also nice that he has played 140+ games each of the three years he has played at his current level.
With the Reds' current situation, some combination centering on Mr. Sanchez could probably get the job done, and I think it would be 100% worth it for Phillips.
The second major challenge is to finally get a true cleanup hitter. While it would be nice to see a young'n take the spot, those guys are just too hard to find and the team cannot afford to wait around or overpay horrifically in the FA market for one. Prince Fielder has his issues, but he would be an amazing fit for the center of the Giants' order. Much has been made about how it would be best for the Giants' key power guy to be right-handed, and I agree that it could help, but I have zero doubt that Prince could hit it out into the Cove. What's more, he would become an instant fan favorite and let him forge a new identity (plus, the Bay Area is a great place to raise his kids).
Losing Cain in this trade would hurt, but the benefit of solidifying the order with a long-term fan favorite and big producer who plays every day makes the trade completely worthwhile.
Here's how I see that team shaking out over the next few years:
1. Fred Lewis, LF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
3. Buster Posey, C
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Angel Villalona, 3B
6. Aaron Rowand, CF
7. Nate Schierholtz, RF
8. Emmanuel Burriss, SS
Key bench guys: Pedro Sandoval (plays C for Posey, 1B for Prince, and 3B for Angel- lots of playing time), Connor Gillaspie, and Brandon Crawford (I love the kid)
Bridges of Madison Bumgarner
Henry Sosa (or one of the other pups)
Bullpen- Who knows by then, but there would be money to sink into it
As always, thoughts/criticisms/rants are greatly appreciated.