No, no, no.
Fake trades. It's an article filled with fake trades. Quick, Andy, you have to get out of here. The Internet is coming, and they have comments. Hurry, into the cellar, here's a pile of Slim Jims and a jug of water, we'll get you in a week. HURRY.
Fake trades, what are you a rookie, my word, now get in the cellar. There's wi-fi.
Rather than discuss the specific fake trades -- two of which I would be happy with, one of which I wouldn't, and I'm not telling you which are which, suckers -- I thought I'd focus on the Giants players who are presumed to be quasi-available in these trades. They all make sense in the right deal. It's probably time to figure out what the right deals are.
The big one! There have been whispers and chatters and mumbles about Belt being available in a deal for starting pitching. Two things could be true at the same time:
- Brandon Belt is a very good and valuable player
- His salary is starting to catch up with his production
He'll be a free agent in two years, and it looks like the time to lock him up to a team-friendly deal is long gone -- thanks, Freddie Freeman, you jerk. He's not that far away from being a player a team will overpay in the long term to get the short-term production, which eliminates the budget-conscious teams from serious consideration.
I don't see the Giants getting a reliable pitcher with four or five years of team control back for Belt. A younger, unproven pitcher or prospect? Sure. But if the Giants want a pitcher they can trust, it'll have to be one who's about to get expensive, just like Belt.
The problem is that's a very fine needle to thread. You'll need a team with a) an opening at first, and b) enough pitching to consider trading a starter for a position player. Did I just describe the Cardinals, who might not be sold on Matt Adams and might be in the same situation with Lance Lynn that the Giants are in with Belt, enjoying his current production without a strong desire to hand him a nine-figure deal in two years? Well ... sure, but I don't want to hide in the cellar with Slim Jims, so we'll just leave that hanging there.
Edit: Lance Lynn is now having Tommy John surgery and out for the year. Sorry about that, Lance, and good luck on your recovery.
Then there's the issue of who the Giants play at first. Posey, with Susac catching? Gross. Posey's an excellent catcher. Chris Davis, on a huge $150 million contract? Seems like that's a really, really, really bad idea. Some sort of second- or third-tier free agent? It's probably best just to keep Belt and buy a starting pitcher with money once you start digging that deep.
Belt is probably not going to be traded, not because he's a burgeoning All-Star who will hit 40 dingers one of these years, but because he's a weird trade chip for a team that doesn't want prospects back.
(Also, he kind of makes the Giants better.)
1. If the Giants have internally decided to move Buster Posey from behind the plate within the next two years, it's hard to see how they'll find a better option to replace Susac, which means he shouldn't be traded.
2. However, if the Giants are committed to using Posey as a catcher for the indefinite future, there is almost no way that Susac will be as valuable on the field for the Giants as he would be in a trade.
Still applies. The Braves have been vocal about wanting a young catcher to take pressure off Christian Bethancourt, and they might not have faith in their ability to fix Julio Teheran, BUT THAT'S NOT A FAKE TRADE, goodness, no, do you know what they put in Slim Jims? I'm not saying it's mostly armadillo meat and used coffee grounds, but I'm not not saying that, either.
This is the offseason the Giants seriously consider dealing Susac, though. As long as they're not secretly moving Posey to first. After the Belt-for-Lynn trade. Cough.
Owed $11.25 million and then a free agent, so he's not exactly Albert Pujols when it comes to trade value. The Giants could eat a little of the salary to save a little money. Heck, if they eat $9 million of it, they're still saving money to apply to the rest of the roster. And teams wouldn't run away from a Pagan gamble at a low price like that. It's not completely implausible.
The easiest way for the Giants to get better, too, would be to put an average-or-better defender in center field. Rather than deal with moping or general dissatisfaction that could come with Pagan being told to move to left, they might just want to let another team deal with it.
It all depends on what the Giants do in free agency or in trade. Even though Pagan wasn't so hot last year -- or the worst starter in San Francisco Giants history, if you want to get technical -- they would probably be a little nervous if they dealt him and found themselves in January with Mac Williamson in left and Gregor Blanco in center, having missed out on everyone else.
All of the prospects
I'd rather they just pay a pitcher or an outfielder. But if the right young or under-contract player comes around, and if the Giants prospects really tickle that player's current team, I'm fine with a win-now philosophy that involves prospects-for-major-leaguer deals. This roster deserves it.
A trade would surprise me, considering the depth of the free agent market and the Giants' clear needs. But the Giants do have some interesting pieces on the chessboard if they want to get creative. They certainly don't need to get creative, though, and I have a feeling they're not itching to trade Belt or Susac.
The Giants are mulling over some fake trades of their own, but they don't have to deal with Internet comments. We'll see if the next couple of weeks are hot with free agent rumors, hot with trade rumors, or downright boring. I'm expecting the first one.