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Ranking the second basemen available at the trade deadline

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There's a table! Or a matrix. I can never remember the difference.

Brian Kersey

Oh, man, it feels stupid talking about trade rumors right now. The Giants are going to lose 90 games. Don't you see? They're going to lose 90 games, and they should trade Pablo Sandoval for prospects. THEY'RE GOING TO LOSE 90 GAMES, AND THEY SHOULD TRADE PABLO SANDOVAL AND TIM HUDSON FOR PROSPECTS. ISN'T ANYONE LISTENING TO ME?

Except the Giants are just a half-game out of a playoff spot right now. I have no idea how this happened, either.

The Giants could use another outfielder, but they absolutely need another second baseman. There are quite a few options available at the deadline. That is, if the Giants are willing to give up Kyle Crick, and/or if they're willing to pay the player next year, and/or if other teams are willing to trade within the division, and/or if the other three contenders desperate for a second baseman don't get there first. These options are confusing, so I made a table:


Definitely wouldn't cost Crick Under contract next year Salary under $10M Can also play 3B and/or OF Better than Uggla?
Daniel Murphy
X X
X
Ben Zobrist
X X X X
Chase Utley
X

X
Aaron Hill X X
X X
Martin Prado
X
X X
Emilio Bonifacio X
X X X
Gordon Beckham X X X
X
Rickie Weeks X


X
Stephen Drew X


X
Nick Franklin
X X
X
Asdrubal Cabrera X
X
X
Alexei Ramirez
X

X
Luis Valbuena X X X X X

The Crick part is speculation, of course, but considering the heavy competition for second basemen -- especially the ones under contract for next year -- I took my best guess. The Giants aren't going to overwhelm the Rays with quantity over quality, not when the Orioles or Dodgers can offer more of both.

I tried to phrase the headers as all positives -- as in, keeping Crick is a good thing, a player under contract is a good thing, et cetera. That way, you can see which players make more sense across the board. The part about third and outfield is more important for the players under contract next year, considering the Giants will have limited money to fill out their roster.

There's one who meets all five: Luis Valbuena, the current third baseman for the Cubs, who has experience at second. There's a caveat, though: I left out the "Just how good are they?" category. Valbuena has a .751 OPS in Wrigley, which is exactly the first time he's had an OPS that high in the majors. He's also a low-average guy with moderate power, so don't get too excited. He fits all five categories, but loosely.

The latest and greatest losing jag has me completely unwilling to deal Crick, the prospect with the highest upside. Considering the Wilson Ramos/Joe Mauer debacle from a couple years back, I'm pretty sour on trading Susac, too. I want a muffler, but I'm not going to pay a lot for that muffler.

With that, here's my official deadline 2B power ranking, in order of targets I want the Giants to go after:

1. Nick Franklin
2. Emilio Bonifacio
3. Asdrubal Cabrera
4. Luis Valbuena
5. Ben Zobrist
6. Martin Prado
7. Chase Utley
8. Daniel Murphy
9. Alexei Ramirez
10. Others

Oh, right, I would trade Crick in some sort of three-way something-or-rather for Nick Franklin. That much, I'd do. It's a win-now trade because even the Franklin who hit .128 to get demoted over 47 at-bats is more valuable than Uggla (defense), but there's a good chance he turns into something much more. There isn't another prospect-for-quasi-prospect deal out there. It's also highly unlikely.

Of the likely options, give me Bonifacio, who is versatile, provides the vrooom, can field the position, wouldn't take a top-10 prospect. With the Giants stinking so danged hard, I want a warm body who is better than the cold bodies, but who doesn't come at a substantial cost. Depending who the Indians want for Cabrera, Bonifacio is the best option.

He also isn't that good. Good enough for the Giants, though! Good enough for the Giants.