If the Giants miss out on Zack Greinke, expect them to make a trade. If the Giants snag Greinke, don't be surprised at a trade. My dream offseason involves them getting him and trading for a young starter under contract for a couple years. Imagine the rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Greinke, and Shelby Miller for the next couple years. It's December. Take a load off and just imagine it. It's your right.
That's why it makes sense that the Giants would be interested in Indians' right-hander Carlos Carrasco if he were available. He's young, fantastic, and under contract through 2018, with cheap team options for two years after that. He strikes people out and keeps the ball in the park. Everyone should want Carrasco.
Everyone would want a pitcher like that, which means the Giants would have to lop off a chunk of their active roster to get him. From Buster Olney:
CLE/SF talked about possible Carlos Carrasco deal, with CLE asking about Brandon Belt and Joe Panik. Those discussions then faded.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 2, 2015
You might wonder if they're asking about Brandon Belt or Joe Panik. Indians fans seem to think they're talking about Belt and Panik. Let's figure out what would be fair.
Carrasco is a former top prospect who was acquired for Cliff Lee, and after years of struggles and injury (he's a Tommy John survivor), he's emerged as an ace. Or at least a potential ace. The Indians wisely locked him up to a long-term deal right when the 2015 season started, and they look like danged geniuses for it.
On the other hand, the next time he throws 200 innings will be his first, and he'll be 29 by the time next season starts. This isn't a trade for Roy Halladay in his prime. There's still a fair amount of speculation.
Still, you can do the same thing with the players mentioned in the deal on the Giants' side. To an Indians fan, Belt is a player who hasn't cracked 20 homers and is still dealing with a concussion. He's already making arbitration money, and he'll be a free agent three years before Carrasco.
Panik is a player coming off a concussion of the back, and he happens to play the same position as one of their best players. I guess he could move to third, but that's not really a reason a team would want him.
Belt with Panik would devastate the Giants' lineup too much to consider. Just Belt wouldn't be enough. Just Panik would make a fair amount of sense if a) Kelby Tomlinson were three years younger and a much better prospect, b) the Indians needed a second baseman, and c) the Giants and their fans hadn't fallen madly in love with the apple-cheeked, glove-flipping, sweet-swinging joy of a baseball player. Their values are roughly equal on paper. But the swap wouldn't make sense.
The Indians and Giants don't match up. The Indians don't need a catcher. They don't need pitching prospects. They need major-league help, and the biggest reason the Giants feel comfortable as potential contenders is because they're excited about their young major leaguers. Carlos Carrasco makes sense as a concept. He doesn't make sense as a realistic trade target, though.
(The Braves and Shelby Miller or Julio Teheran, though, still make all the sense....)