It all starts with Brian Wilson's injury. Santiago Casilla has stepped up nicely, but the depth of the pen gets upended. Bruce Bochy, like most Giant fans, doesn't completely trust Casilla, so he might hang back on pitching Romo or Lopez earlier as well in case they are needed in a pinch. On the back end, Mota's rubber arm is missed, and so there is no true long man, although Clay Hensley, Kontos and Loux are all candidates. Casilla as closer, Romo and Lopez as his set up or set back guys, Affeldt doing Affeldt things both good and bad and then Henlsey, The Greek and The Lukes. I smell the need for a guy who's an established veteran. Now they may be able to sit tight, who knows, but if I know Sabean, he'll want a proven vet back there for 7th-8th inning bolstering.
While all pistons are firing away with the Beautiful Pitching Staff, if there is one thing that Brian Sabean loves to do, its tinker with his bullpen. Since Steve The GasCan Edlefsen has been demoted, the pen has shaped up nicely, aided by George The Greek Kontos pitching some nice ball. However, he isn't battle tested, and Shane The Lukes Loux may not be deemed adequate as the long man replacement for the 100 game suspended Guillermo Mota. So here's some guys I can see the Giants looking at, to bolster that there pen of theirs.
Trade Bait: The G's have a C- or D+ in trade bait right now. On the big ball club it consists of 4th OFs Nate Schierholtz and Justin Christian. Yes, Nate the Great is a 4th OF. Given Sabean's bird in the hand mantra, nobody else on the 25 is going anywhere. Give up the dreams of selling high on Melky or Pagan in some big trade, it ain't happening - Sabean finally has his athletic OF that can flag ballz and swipe bags. They aren't going anywhere, and neither is Blanco. In the infield, nobody is getting traded either. Aubrey Huff will either embrace his inner veteran grit PH role or be shuttled off. No trade value, and Sabean won't look to trade to a contender, he'll look to peal off a non-contending team. Which brings us to the minor league trade bait:
Mike Kickham is front and center. Lefty. Starter. Maybe a future LOOGY. Back end starter at best. He screams Sabean trade fodder. With Runzler hurt and inconsistent (and consistently untouchable), Surkamp having not pitched yet, Kickham is the prime lefty trade bait. On the righty side is Seth Rosin, apparently getting stretched out for starting again. Kickham and Rosin scream out Sabean marginal trade to me.
They aren't going to sell low on their underperforming top guys: Gary Brown, Frankie Peggs, Heath Hembree and Tommy Joseph aren't getting dealt. Well, maybe Frankie Peggs. Conor Gillaspie is a strong candidate to be dealt because he is out of options after the year. He may suit an AL team better. Chris Dominguez is almost valueless, Culberson and Adrianza aren't far above that. Kieschnick is hurt. I suppose Jarrett Parker might be a throw in candidate. The Giants don't have a lot to trade.
Anyways, it won't cost the farm for any of these guys, because it fits with Sabean's MO. These are all culled from a) teams with losing records who are not contending, b) making three or more times the minimum and c) veterans of at least a couple seasons.
Trade Candidate #1: Brandon Lyon, Houston Astros. http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/4830/brandon-lyon 32 year old Righty, 10 year vet, making $5.5MM. This is the most expensive I think the RDF will go, assuming a half year salary. The Giants were rumored to be watching Wandy Rodriguez pitch, I bet they were scouting the pen arms. Lyon is the third highest paid pitcher on the Houston staff after Brett Myers and Wandy. Reason it'll go: Astros don't need him, salary relief. Cost: I'd say Kickham and Rosin. Sabean doesn't really chince on the throw ins. Reason it won't go: there will be a few teams sniffing around at Lyon, he's having a good year.
Trade Candidate #2: Edward Mujica, Florida Marlins http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/28501/edward-mujica 28 year old Righty, 6 year vet, making 1.625MM. The Art Wheeler-Dealer insists the Marlins aren't out of it. Maybe they'll want to bolster something, like their OF. One of the 4th OFs and a pitching arm? Mujica may be available due to struggling this year, but he'll be expensive. Reason it'll go: Marlins giving up or bolstering their OF. Cost: Schierholtz, maybe one of our fall back arms like Edlefsen, Otero or Loux. Reason it won't: Marlins need Mujica to help their shaky pen, refuse to admit they ain't contending.
Trade Candidate #3: Luke Gregerson, San Diego Padres http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/30276/luke-gregerson 28 year old Righty, 3 year vet, making 1.55MM. Gregerson has only been around 3 years? Doesn't seem right, I'm just going off espn profiles because I... was on ESPN when I started? The Pads won't be too eager to trade intradivision, and they have one of the strongest farm systems in the game. I don't know if they have any use for the Kickham Rosin poo poo platter or not. This is a doubtful trade, but I think Gregerson is a nice arm, good trade target.
Trade Candidate #4: Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/6482/glen-perkins 29 year old Lefty, 6 year vet, making 1.55MM. Lefties! Yes! Lets go grab this guy. Rosin back to his Minnesota roots, its a win-win. The Twins have lots of 4th OF types, they will want pitching. Don't know if this guy is worth both Rosin and Kickham, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Sabean throw them both in. Or Conor G, as this is an AL team.
Trade Candidate #5: Matt Belisle, Colorado Rockies http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/5829/matt-belisle 32 year old Righty, 8 year vet, making 3.77MM. How does O'Dowd still have a job? We get all up in arms over our expensive lefties, but has there ever been a more nondescript middle reliever than Belisle? Almost 4MM for him? Now O'Dowd and Sabey Sabes have never made a trade, and the only trade Sabean has ever made will the Rockies in his career here is Ellis Burks, so this is unlikely, but if Colorado wants to give up, they could do worse than snagging Schierholtz who could kick some butt at Coors and caddy oft injured Carlos Gonzalez. Just sayin'... And yes, that would come back to haunt us later, as Nate the Great would definitely become a Giant killer.
Trade Candidate #6: Jose Veras Milwaukee Brewers http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/28498/jose-veras 31 year old Righty, 6 year vet, making a cool $2MM. He can keep Melky Cabrera busy on beard ideas and domino games, if nothing else. The Brewers might turn seller pretty quick. They also don't have a very good farm system, making a Rosin or Kickham trade an interesting proposition instead of a cross eyed look, as with the Padres.
Trade Candidate #7: Carlos Villanueva Toronto Blue Jays http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/28466/carlos-villanueva 28 year old Righty, 6 year vet, making 2.227MM. This would be a weird one, but Sabean has embraced the "return to the mothership" after Vogelsong's success. The Jays need starting pitching, in fact they are using Villanueva as a starter right now. How bout our soft tossing crazy man buried down in AAA Yusmerio Petit? And the usual throw ins such as Gillaspie, Rosin or Kickham. Again, not a lot to trade with, and the Jays can't figure out if they're contending or building still. Their pitching injuries hurt big time.
A bonus, and a tad different; Tim Collins, 5'7 Lefty from KC http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/30995/tim-collins making the minimum, and struggling a tad. I love this guy, and I don't know if Dayton Moore is taking calls from Sabean currently, but KC is in a interesting grey area where they're not really contending and not really rebuilding anymore. They have some nice pen arms. Don't know how to hook up with them, because the Giants don't have a lot to offer thats ready now, I guess Schierholtz but they don't have a RF opening currently.
So that's some ideas I had - not the greatest arms in the world, but ones that might be pried loose due to cost, both coming and going. Chicago has a good lefty candidate in James Russell, but the Giants don't have the prospects for him I don't think, and they don't really care about salary. Same with the other big market teams. My prediction is a small trade for a player nobody really thought about, and giving up one of those small minor league pieces.