The Giants will never win again, and this post is meaningless, as is life, as is the concept of existence in a universe that's slowly drifting apart and tearing. But pretend that isn't all true. Pretend the Giants might actually win again. We're three weeks from the trading deadline, and the Giants are going to need to figure out what their strategy is.
As far as I can tell, there are three ways the Giants can approach the deadline.
Strategy #1: YEEEEE-HAAAAWWWWWW
That is, going all in, six-shooters in the air, and pretending that Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and the Brandons are all free agents, and that ownership is cutting the budget in half next year. This is the window. Make a bold move, suckers.
In this scenario, Andrew Susac is one of the more valuable trade chips in the organization, but prospects like Tyler Beede could draw interest, too. Really, there isn't an untouchable prospect around, not even close. You'll stack them four or five high to get a premium pitcher, like Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels. Other teams might even consider Christian Arroyo, even though it's unlikely that a middle infielder who was considered a reach at the back of the first round will ever be more than a utility player, ha ha, just give me one example where a player like that exceeded expectations.
(Please don't trade Christian Arroyo.)
The goal here is twofold: First, to make the postseason. Second, to crush the other teams in the postseason. One player, over three months, usually isn't going to be valuable enough to make a huge difference in postseason hopes, no matter how good he is. The Giants are so very close to the fringes of the different postseason races, though, that an extra ace-type could be that tipping point. It's like the old baseball saying, "Bumgarner and Heston and pray for ... wait, Chris Heston is a fixture in the rotation now?"
And if you're going to make a trade, don't screw around. Get someone who will complement Bumgarner, not duplicate Jake Peavy.
Strategy #2: Duplicate Jake Peavy
I don't get this strategy. It's very half-in and lukewarm. It's also the modus operandi for the Giants over the last couple years, with Hunter Pence being the last blammo-all-caps trade. Even then, it's not like he was a perennial MVP candidate.
Since then, the Giants are more willing to acquire players like Marco Scutaro and Javier Lopez. Good players and even better ideas, as it turns out, but nothing super thrilling at the time.
The difference is that those players filled a very, very obvious need. When the Giants acquired Freddy Sanchez to be a nice, not-super-thrilling player, the Giants were playing Eugenio Velez and Emmanuel Burriss at second. When they traded for Scutaro, Ryan Theriot was getting most of the starts at second. When they acquired Peavy, Matt Cain was likely to be lost for the year, and the options behind him were limited.
That's not the case for this team. This isn't a problem of depth; it's a problem of talent. There's no sense in acquiring the next Dillon Gee or Jon Danks or Mike Leake and tossing him on the pile of meh-to-average starters the Giants have already built up. Assuming that Bumgarner and Heston aren't going anywhere, and that Cain and Peavy are likely to get a couple month's worth of chances, that leaves Ryan Vogelsong as the pitcher to be replaced.
So make sure the pitcher in question is much better than Vogelsong? Seems like an obvious requirement from here. It's at this point that we should all know better than to doubt this strategy, but I really feel like the circumstances are different this time.
Strategy #3: Are you kidding me? This team is terrible. Simply awful. This is the 2013 team, but we haven't seen the depths of how bad they can get, yet. They'll have another seven-game losing streak and then they'll have an eight-game losing streak, and then the season will end, and they'll be 25 games back from the Dodgers, and you'll think, "Gee, how did that happen?" And that's when you'll remember that these dorks also traded from their limited prospect stash, and you'll be very, very sad
Seems long for a section header, but you make valid points. The Giants are .500, closer to the Diamondbacks than the Dodgers. Lacing a Johnny Cueto to the seams of this roster wouldn't make the Giants much better than a .500 team. Just a little better. And if a little better isn't going to be enough, what's the point of mortgaging the future?
This, it would seem, is the preferred strategy of people filled with doom and gloom regarding the Giants chances. Or, as I like to call them, "People who have watched baseball games over the last week."
Except, to buy into this thinking, you would have to believe that Matt Duffy is a mirage and that Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are both hitting way over their heads. I could see impartial observers making those arguments, with statistical evidence on their side, explaining how all three infielders are unlikely to repeat their success.
I'm also not ready to buy that yet, which means the Giants have an infield that's stuffed with talent, they'll have two productive outfielders coming back, and they already have an ace and at least one or two quality pitchers behind him. This isn't a team in need of a new transmission. Just a kickass stereo, give or take. Maybe some relievers who throw fuzzy dice.
I was a believer of #1. Get the fancy things. Shoot them six-shooters in the air. Yee and/or haw. But I think I'll need to see them WIN ONE MORE FREAKING GAME before I even consider that strategy again. Right now, I'm on #3. It's gonna be a long month of vacillating between the two, I'm guessing.