This week, the Giants farm system has been put on notice about trades. On Sunday, the Giants made a salary dump to open up major league roster spots to young players, but used another prospect to make the salary dump more appealing to Texas, whom I’m now calling New Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, word on the street is that the Giants are listening to trade offers on almost everyone.
It’s still unclear whether the Giants are true buyers or sellers. They are on the cusp on playoff contention, but still frustratingly inconsistent. And the team has only one prospect really worth using to make a big acquisition…but would they trade Heliot Ramos?
No, no they aren’t. Almost certainly. Probably.
However, what the Giants showed in their trade this Sunday is a willingness to trade mid-level prospects to help make salary dumps more palatable to teams. And, it’s not inconceivable that they might use a prospect as an addition to a trade to get a better prospect back. The Giants don’t have prospect centerpieces to trade, but they’ve got a lot of mid-level prospects and lottery tickets that might interest a team.
So, who from the farm system might the Giants trade that won’t destroy their system?
The Outfield Glut -
One of Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, or Chris Shaw
Two of these guys have been up and down the last two seasons, and one guy is still waiting for his chance. But the bottom line is that the Giants have three borderline-ready corner outfielders. Williamson is that guy who flashes potential (particularly for the start of this year), but the concussion he suffered seemed to contributed to his latest series of performance setbacks. Slater is the well-rounded tweener who is the best defensive fit with a chance to play right. That’s important with Andrew McCutchen potentially leaving at the end of the season (or earlier). Shaw has the most offensive potential, but also the biggest downside on defense and is the least ready.
Outfielders who are borderline Major Leaguers are a dime a dozen. But in the middle of the season, someone might be interested in a little bench help that has some major league experience already, or be interested in a prospect with high upside such as Shaw.
Any one of these guys could go, and not significantly impact the Giants’ depth.
(Again, a reminder, I’m not pitching any of these guys as centerpieces, but they could add some value to a deal.)
The Struggling-Top-Prospects-Change-Of-Scenery Options
Tyler Beede was the Giants’ 1st round pick in 2014, and was the #1 or #2 prospect for a couple of years, but this year he has just imploded and has been removed from the rotation in Triple-A, and has been surpassed by four other pitchers on the depth chart in a year the Giants have needed every inch of depth in the rotation.
Aramis Garcia was the Giants’ 2nd round pick in 2014, and has struggled with various injuries. He’s followed up a nice 2017 with perhaps the worst season of his pro career.
Trading either of these two are an ultimate sell-low instance… but it’s very possible that either could use a change of scenery to turn things around. Both players still have potential — reports say Beede’s stuff is still there; Garcia has hit 8 home runs and still has a strong arm — and that’s a real positive.
Also, neither player quite fits into the team’s plans right now. As mentioned, Beede’s been passed by a few guys in rotation depth, and the org’s bullpen depth has a few interesting names ahead of him there as well. Garcia is playing Buster Posey’s position, which also happens to be Joey Bart’s position, and there just isn’t a path for him.
The Giants could hedge some bets and wait for either to turn around to become more valuable, but they are a couple of lottery picks that teams might be interested in.
#Giants RHP Logan Webb comes out pumping 96 for the North. Every year, the Giants in particular just keep rolling out guys throwing 96-100+ like it’s nothing— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 20, 2018
That’s not a lie. The Giants do just keep finding guys, at least low in the system, who can pump some heat. And something that is always true is that power is one tool that is always in demand, either at the plate or on the mound, because it can’t be taught. The result is that these guys, while often low in the system, can be a bit of a lottery ticket that teams love to trade for. Matt Krook was one such arm, and was included in the trade for Evan Longoria in the offseason.
So who are some of the names that could be on this list?
Melvin Adon jumps out, and he could be the most valuable player I name on this list. 24 and in San Jose, he has a fastball that sits High-90’s and can touch 102. The Giants work him as a starter, but he’s probably a reliever long term…if he can stop giving up so many baserunners.
Logan Webb is another interesting name. The only stat he’s not putting up in San Jose while recovering from surgery is innings pitched; but his strong arm (92-96) is just one of his plus characteristics. Joe Ritzo says he could be the best Giants’ pitching prospect by the end of the year. He’s 21, but he’s been in the system since he was 17.
Gregory Santos is younger, 18, and making his U.S. debut this year with Salem-Keizer. The Giants got him as the lottery ticket in the Eduardo Nunez trade last season, and he could be shipped out as another one while throwing 95-97.
21-year old Camilo Doval has gotten strong as the season has gone on in Augusta, throwing 92-97. You could also think about very young lottery tickets from the Dominican Summer League like Juan Sanchez (17) or Randy Rodriguez (17).
All of these players have surplus value and intriguing upside potential, qualities that teams always look for in deadline deals. But they’re not cornerstone players. It might be a shame to lose some of these guys, but doing so wouldn’t cripple the Giants’ organizational depth for next year or beyond, and that’s more important.