The trade deadline is less than a week away, and with the Giants 3 games back in the division and leading the wild card, it's pretty clear that a move or two will be made to improve the team. With the injuries to Dan Runzler and Jeremy Affeldt, and the overall shoddy performance of the bullpen recently, talk of dealing for a reliever has been hot. But it's hard to really know which relievers are available out there, or how good they are. Plus, middle relievers are boring. So while I hope the Giants can patch up their bullpen, my eye is still on the offensive upgrades they could make before the deadline. Here are names that the Giants have been tied to, along with my opinion on them, and what it might take to get them.
Note: The stats listed are as follows - BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and wOBA. wOBA is courtesy of fangraphs.com. It is a stat that attempts to weigh all offensive outcomes with their proper value, to show the overall offensive output of a player. The number value is calculated to be on the same scale as OBP. For instance, a .400+ wOBA would be considered an MVP type season. Babe Ruth has the all time highest career wOBA, .510.
Adam Dunn - .281 / .369 / .565 / .935 / .396
If Washington will trade Adam Dunn for Jonathan Sanchez plus prospects, the Giants should do it. Here's why: unlike Fielder or Werth, it appears that Dunn would be willing to sign a contract extension rather than enter the market this winter. Dunn has been one of the most underrated sluggers of the past decade. He was a butcher in the outfield with Cincinnati, killing his overall value in the past, but he has been much more average at 1st base this year. With his hitting ability, you really wonder why an American League team didn't sign him as a DH in 2009.
Josh Willingham - .273 / .401 / .479 / .880 / .391
Willingham is a very attractive player. His OBP, in relation to his BA, is nothing short of arousing. At 31, he's in fact older than his teammate Dunn, but he isn't a free agent next year. His offense is pretty consistent year to year. Would I give up the Dunn package for Willingham? I'm not sure. He had a red hot month of May, and since then his power has dropped.
Jose Guillen - .273 / .334 / .460 / .794 / .347
Before he was sidelined for the rest of the season, David DeJesus was one of the names most often linked to the Giants. Looking back now, it would have been nice to get DeJesus if the deal didn't include Jonathan Sanchez. He'd have been great hitting behind Andres Torres in the 2-hole. Now fellow Royal Jose Guillen is on the Giants' radar. I'm against such an acquisition, really no matter what it costs. Guillen's power numbers this year are a little intriguing, but what's the point when you already have Pat Burrell, who gets on base much more efficiently? He's no real upgrade on defense, and he has a history of clubhouse problems. This would be a pointless acquisition.
Prince Fielder - .262 / .399 / .506 / .904 / .394
It's going to be pretty much impossible for the Giants to acquire Fielder, but it's still fun to think about. They won't trade Cain or Lincecum for him, and they shouldn't. They should trade J. Sanchez/Bumgarner and prospects for him, but they won't, and it's unlikely the Brewers would be satisfied with that. I'm surprised by people that think Jonathan Sanchez is worth more than even just 1.5 years of Prince Fielder. Try naming 10 hitters under 30 in baseball that are better than Fielder. Hell, forget the under 30 part. It can't be done.
Corey Hart - .292 / .349 / .568 / .917 / .389
Corey Hart is the name most linked to the Giants this year. His recent injury is very minor apparently, so he's still on the trading block. Hart hasn't cooled down from his great first half, and you can't deny his offensive production this season. I'm wary of giving up anything good for him though, because of his 2 previous seasons, in which he OPS'd .759 and .753. To be fair, in 2007 he had a year comparable to this season. But he's just not a sure thing offensively like other players on this list. And his defense, contrary to popular belief, is not very good. Definitely not worth Jonathan Sanchez.
Jorge Cantu - .260 / .309 / .412 / .721 / .315
Cantu is probably the worst player on this list that the Giants are interested in. He would be a DOWNGRADE from the players he'd be replacing. Nothing about him is interesting or good. He will not help this team. It's disturbing that he's being mentioned in Giants' rumors recently.
Luke Scott - .296 / .363 / .576 / .939 / .402
Luke Scott is the most interesting name on this list. He's really under the radar, and has been his entire career, but this year he is just as productive as anyone the Giants have been linked to. He's the left-handed bat they are looking for, and his above-average but unspectacular previous seasons make him cheaper than Dunn or Fielder. The Orioles also have a lefty reliever, Will Ohman, that the Giants are interested in. A package deal of both could be very helpful.
Derrek Lee - .251 / .338 / .391 / .729 / .323
Lee will be a free agent after the season, when he will be 35. He is the definition of rental, because it's unlikely the Giants would want to resign him. Lee has had a few great offensive seasons, but also a lot of simply good ones. I don't see the point in acquiring Lee and banking on him turning it around, when the players he would be replacing (Burrell, Ishikawa) are performing better this year. Another name that has been mentioned for the Giants in connection to Lee is SS Ryan Theriot. That is absurd. I have no idea how Theriot could possibly help the Giants. He has as LITTLE power as anyone in the NL. He sucks. How do people come up with this stuff?
Lance Berkman - .236 / .360 / .420 / .781 / .345
Where I don't see the upside in Derrek Lee, I do in Lance Berkman. He's having his worst season ever, but the guy has been one of the best sluggers of the past decade. This is the kind of rental I would approve of, as long as it didn't cost the Giants too much. I could see him raising his performance on a contending team. Unfortunately, Berkman hates AT&T Park. Maybe former teammate Aubrey Huff could convince him it's not as much of a pitcher's park as he thinks.
Jayson Werth - .286 / .379 / .506 / .885 / .382
Werth is a very good player. He walks, he hits for power, and he plays defense well. He's a free agent this offseason, so his bat can be gotten for cheaper than usual from the Phillies. However, is he worth the contract he'll ask for this winter? No, probably not. So if the Giants want to trade for Werth, they have to ask themselves: do we want to trade for just 2 months of him, can we resign him, and is he worth resigning?
Jose Bautista - .242 / .355 / .548 / .903 / .386
Bautista would seem like a good pickup for a team needing offense. His numbers this year are very similar to Adam Dunn's, and he has more positional versatility than Dunn. Here's the problem: Dunn has a career OPS of .905. Bautista's is .758. Before his offensive explosion this year, the dude was simply not good. A below average player. It's really quite stunning how well he's hitting this year. And it's very likely that at some point he will regress. And regress a lot. Take a chance on him if he's cheap, but he's not worth anything valuable.
Adam LaRoche - .255 / .331 / .450 / .781 / .340
LaRoche is almost as much of a non-difference maker as Jorge Cantu. I worry that he's exactly the kind of left-handed bat that will shrivel at AT&T Park. His defense is annoying to watch. On the other hand, his teammate Kelly Johnson is very interesting, if only we didn't have the singles hitter installed at 2nd base. It'd also be nice to have a young shortstop, and Stephen Drew, while not helping this year, would fit the bill. After the Dan Haren trade, Arizona's front office has shown that they WANT to be used and abused. They're asking for it. Let's steal some of their guys for next to nothing. Do they know Kevin Pucetas has a .698 W-L percentage?
Carlos Zambrano - 55.2 IP, 5.66 ERA, 1.689 WHIP, 2.12 K/BB, 1.0 HR/9
Carlos Zambrano is having a terrible year for his standards, but I never felt it was bad enough for the Cubs to move him to the bullpen. Now he's persona non grata in Chicago, and available for any team that wants to risk dealing with his temper and the $44 million left on his contract. It has been suggested that the Giants could swap Aaron Rowand for Big Z, as Rowand is another player not living up to his contract. I believe Zambrano, as a former ace, has a lot more value than Aaron Rowand. If the Giants trade one of their starters for a bat, they'll need someone to fill that spot. Zambrano could be the one. Sure his numbers this year are bad. But there's nothing wrong with having a former ace who is 29 as your 5th starter. Think of Joel Pineiro. Carl Pavano. Pitchers can always have comebacks.
This post originally appeared here.