Angel Pagan is hurt again. He hasn't been on the disabled list yet this season, but he just returned from a two-week sabbatical, and now he's hurt again. The Giants will lean on Gregor Blanco, again. They'll call up Jarrett Parker or Mac Williamson, again, unless they pretend that Pagan doesn't need to go on the DL. Again.
Edit: Jarrett Parker is up. Angel Pagan is on the DL. I wouldn't call it good news, but it's reasonable, at least.
Here's a guess disguised as a hot take: If the Giants are looking to make a trade in the next couple months, they'll target outfielders instead of pitchers.
Please don't mistake this for general Pagan criticism, because it isn't that at all. He's contributed to the Giants in his 35 games this season, far more than I anticipated. Even though he's been slumping since his return (.143/.250/.143 in 32 plate appearances), the Giants are still better with him than without him.
But having faith in Pagan's ability to stay healthy seems misplaced. The strategy should be something like "Be happy when he's contributing; plan for the times when he's unable," which is sort of what the Giants did this offseason, spending millions on a free agent outfielder and hoping that Blanco would be an overqualified fourth outfielder in a glass case for the fifth consecutive season.
The problem is that Blanco is slumping hard, too. He's done this before, even for months at a time, but we're talking a .400 OPS since his high-water mark of the season on April 29. The confidence meter is low. The options in Triple-A are a mish-mash of power and strikeouts, at least when they languish on the bench for a few days, so it's also hard to trust them. And what happens when Hunter Pence's hamstring or Denard Span's everything acts up again? Then Blanco becomes a second outfielder, and that's no good at all.
Still, they'll need to aim low. Giving up their very best prospects in a package for three months of Josh Reddick, for example, isn't a realistic goal. Although it would be very Giants-y, especially if it was followed by good-clubhouse vibes and an extension, they wouldn't be able to fight through the best offers the A's would receive. They'll have to look at the second tier.
The problem is that the second tier is nice in theory, but it mostly doesn't exist. If the Twins actually had an outfielder worth a hoot, maybe they wouldn't be the worst team in the AL. The A's are thin behind Reddick, with Khris Davis hitting dingers and doing nothing else. Carlos Gomez is broken. Nick Markakis makes too much money, and his production doesn't justify it. The Brewers don't have an outfielder they might want to trade, other than Ryan Braun, who is a sweet pipe dream and nothing more. Look through the bad teams and find the outfielder who would fit the Giants as presently constructed. It's hard.
Melvin Upton's last 120 games have been quite helpful for the Padres, and that's right about the time you realize the best outfielder for what the Giants need might be Melvin Upton. Which isn't the most exciting realization. Still, the Giants are going to do their best to avoid another Travis Ishikawa scenario in left, and they'll get someone who might not be an optimal starter, but who is certainly qualified in a pinch.
I have someone. After looking over rosters for every team under .500, I think I found the best fit. Let's just photoshop him into a Giants uniform and whoops don't need to:
Look in your heart. You know it makes sense. Carlos Beltran is a switch-hitter with power. His adjusted OPS has been 120 and 121, respectively, in each of the last two seasons. His defense has been abominable, but he could be somewhat hidden in left field, like Pat Burrell and Ishikawa. He's a free agent after this year, and he's making too much money, so the Yankees will likely temper their expectations when it comes to a prospect return.
He's not the answer in left. But he's a fifth outfielder who can fake being a third outfielder in a lineup that needs power. He's the perfect floater in left or right, depending on whichever hamstrings are barking. He's better off the bench in the ninth inning against a tough closer than Trevor Brown would be.
This is not an attempt to troll. This is a valid suggestion, you have to believe me. Beltran has a no-trade clause to 16 teams, and the Giants are probably one of them because of the dorkfaces that boo him for no reason, but there are ways around that. The promise of an even year, for one. The combination of regular rest and at-bats, along with lowered expectations, for two and three.
Chances of it happening? Five percent, tops. But if I'm the Giants, I'm keeping an eye on the Yankees' fortunes over the next two months. If they're not going to be in the Ryan Braun all-or-nothing market, and if they aren't going to have a young outfielder ready, they'll need a decent outfielder to help shoulder the burden. Here's a decent outfielder.
I've stared at a list of available outfielders, and I've come to the conclusion that the best fit for the Giants is Carlos Beltran, AMA. You have to agree, though, that it makes a little sense.