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Giants trade for outfielder Alejandro De Aza, build bench depth

Right-hander Luis Ysla goes to the Red Sox, as the Giants' bench is suddenly much deeper than it was at the beginning of August.

This is De Aza four teams ago. So innocent, so naïve.
This is De Aza four teams ago. So innocent, so naïve.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Red Sox right before the post-waiver deadline, sending 23-year-old right-hander Luis Ysla back in the deal, according to Ken Rosenthal. If you're worried about Hunter Pence's oblique, this should make you feel better and worse at the same time.

De Aza has a career OPS+ of 101, making him a perfectly average hitter. That would make him perfectly qualified for a bench spot, especially considering he has enough speed to steal a base and play all three outfield positions. The left-handed batter is hitting .261/.319/.436 this season, including a .292/.347/.484 line since being traded to the Red Sox in early June.

If you're counting at home, this gives the Giants six outfielders in a perfect world, with Norichika Aoki in left, Gregor Blanco in center, and Hunter Pence in right, with Marlon Byrd, Angel Pagan, and De Aza on the bench. Yes, except Pence is coming along slowly and no one knows what Pagan can provide at this point. De Aza is a complement for Byrd, ostensibly, and the de facto fourth outfielder until morale/health improves. It's a move that made sense at the deadline, and it makes sense now, even with Byrd, but it also terrifies me because it hints that the Giants are preparing for the worst with Pence.

That's just speculation, though. In a bubble, if teams are handing out Alejandro De Azas, I don't have a problem with the Giants getting in line. The 31-year-old De Aza will be a free agent after the season, and he's owed less than $1 million for the remainder of the year. So are you, so don't get too cocky.

Ysla has a big arm, they say, but after a breakout year in Augusta last season, he struggled with his command and got hit hard in San Jose this year, with a 6.21 ERA and 95 strikeouts to 41 walks in 79⅔ innings. The Giants haven't missed on one of these lower-minors judgment calls since Francisco Liriano was dealt, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Considering the Giants have a sub-20-percent chance of catching the Dodgers, with a sub-10 percent chance that De Aza will be the difference in a close race, it would be quite a poke in the eye if Ysla turns into something.

If that happens, I'll just pretend he went in the Jake Peavy deal, and the Giants won the World Series because of it. Until then, the Giants' bench is a little deeper than it was yesterday. That's an okay thing, right?

Edit: Well, this seems harsh.

Huh. I'd probably rather keep Lollis and Ysla and figure that a month of De Aza probably isn't going to make much of a difference, but then I don't have the SECRET HUNTER PENCE X-RAYS, so ...

Edit II: Looks like the Red Sox basically bought Ysla from the Giants like they were paying a third-round draft pick.