The headline promises a lot, you know. One statistic to tell you the Giants should be all-in at the trade deadline, get out of here. There's no single number that can tell you that. The Giants should make their decisions based on a rigorous cost-benefit analysis that explores both long- and short-term scenarios. Everybody knows that.
Yeah, but I'm telling you, there's a magic stat. It says everything. It tells you, and hopefully the Giants, what the right path would be at the deadline.
Are you ready for this magic stat? You probably aren't. If you're operating heavy machinery, please stop. This is your last chance.
The one stat that tells you everything you need to know about the Giants trade deadline (slideshow):
Runs scored, National League
Giants, 411 (T-1st)
They're tied for first in the National League for runs scored. They're tied with the Rockies.
It's a 40,000-word internal report from a think tank devoted to the deadline, truncated into one statistic. The Giants play in AT&T Park, one of the hardest places in the world to hit. They're ahead of the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers. They're ahead of the Nationals, the Brewers, and the Pirates. None of those teams have to hit at AT&T Park 81 times every year. The Giants are ahead of them all, except the Rockies, who play on the moon.
This would be a reason to be active at the deadline without park effects. "The Giants look like they can hit, but they're having trouble pitching," you might say in this parallel universe where AT&T Park doesn't suppress runs. "They should get more pitching." Except we know the park effects, and we know how extreme this all is.
This would be the first non-Bonds team to lead the league in runs scored in the AT&T Park era. They almost did it in 2000, but you know what screwed them up? Pitching. They almost did it in 2004, but you know what screwed them up? Pitching. They did lead the league in runs in 1970, but you know what screwed them up? That one night at The Top of the Mark when everyone felt a little too free and mistakes were ... wait, no, it was pitching. It's always the pitching.
Unless it's the hitting, like 2009. This isn't bad enough to be a reverse-'09, but the Giants have a clear need for a rotation upgrade. They'll just have to make a tough choice (on an expensive player) to do it. There aren't any reasonable arguments against the Giants making a huge trade.
Bobby Evans: "We were asked about Panik & Duffy in previous years, have to be careful to not trade your next slew of young guys."— KNBR (@KNBR) July 23, 2015
Oh, right. Yeah, I guess there are about 600 ways the Giants could look like bozos in a couple years if they trade the wrong guys, yes. Yes, that's a very, very good point. And maybe the thinking is more like, "We'll be fine because the lineup is so good. That's why there's less of a need to deal." I can almost see that. Almost.
The best part about this one magic stat is that the Giants haven't been fully healthy. Hunter Pence just started rolling, and Norichika Aoki is returning soon. The lineup might even get ... better? I wonder if this kind of season is happening to teams across the league.
Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval must go
Maybe, but it's hard to be sure.
I'll still evaluate any deal or non-deal on its own merits. As in, that's too much to give for 10 starts from David Price, or the Giants are dummies for reading too much into Mike Leake's recent hot stretch. But I'm on Team Buy Buy Buy, and here's why: The Giants can actually hit. This team is doing good things, everyone. They can do even better things, though.
Please note that I posted this on an off day, when they were guaranteed not to lose 1-0. If it happens tomorrow, well, the statute of limitations ran out. Not my fault.