I’ll start this blog off by reposting a tweet from Ray Ratto:
Based on updates in the last hour, the only team not in on Ricky Nolasco is Miami
— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) June 25, 2013
Yeah, that’s pretty much it sounds. Remember, this is the trade situation…in June. This is going to be a long trade season.
Here’s the rundown on the view from the San Francisco Giants’ perspective:
• Just before last night’s game started, the talk was that the Giants aren’t desperate to make a deal. They know they’re over a barrel, everyone else knows that they’re over a barrel, and the Giants know everyone else knows it.
Sabean: “We’re not going to make a deal just to make a deal.” Said G’s are in “negative-negative” situation cause teams know they’re hurt.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 26, 2013
There was one interesting note, however. Sabean said that money is not an issue. That means that salary dump trades might be interesting to look at. And that brings into play…
• Ricky Nolasco is all the rage.
The Marlins have been aggressively working to move Ricky Nolasco, ASAP.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 25, 2013
GM rumors du jour:Garza to Padres(Reymond Fuentes, 2 other Hoyer/McLeod prospects), Nolasco to Giants. — Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 24, 2013
One rival GM who’s trying to get Nolasco himself believes Sabean will win bidding war #SFGiants — Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 25, 2013
Everyone knows he’s going to get traded. Jayson Stark says he’s their likely winner of the “Most Likely To Be Traded Before The All-Star Break Pool.” And everyone seems to be in on him. There’s an entire article on the fact that it appears that every team in the NL West (as well as the Baltimore Orioles) seem to want Nolasco. Even the Dodgers, who seem to have the main motivation of keeping him away from the Giants and the Padres, among whom the Dodgers seem to be in a bloodfeud with.
Hearing Dodgers are on blitzkrieg to get Nolasco. Makes sense. They can absorb $$$, keep him away from #sfgiants, #padres. Could be soon. — Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 25, 2013
So why Nolasco? When the Marlins were playing some home games at AT&T Park last week, Henry Schulman noted that Nolasco really wants to come to the Giants, and is a good friend of Sergio Romo. And Nolasco was pretty public in his praise of San Francisco.
But the motivation goes deeper. The Marlins are willing to trade him for the most Marlin-est of reasons: dumping salary. Nolasco has about $6 million remaining on his contract for this year, and he’s a free agent after this season. With that, the Marlins aren’t likely to be demanding a lot of big name prospects, the way a Yovani Gallardo would. That won’t stop the bidding war from happening, though, and maybe demanding someone big.
Still, Nolasco isn’t exactly a buy you get into a bidding war for. He’s having a solid season, but not a great one. And he’s had a number of mediocre seasons with just one good one (in 2008). He won’t change a rotation, he’ll just give it depth. The Giants could use that. I’m not sure how I’d feel about him signing long term, which seems pretty possible given his comments. He’d definitely be an improvement this season, and with three possible free agent starters after this season, it’s worth keeping in mind. All the talk indicates something will happen soon, however.
• Bud Norris has been a top topic for Giants fans who don’t want Nolasco. He’s an Astro, so of course he’s on the market. Like Nolasco, he’s having a career season with a track record of mediocrity. And he’s a local kid, from Novato, so there is likely a similar love for the Giants as with Nolasco, if not as vocal. The big difference is his contract status. He’s under control for another 2 seasons after this one, so the Astros aren’t too ready to trade him. They have to be convinced. And Jayson Stark noted in his article above that the Astros want “Volume” in return for anyone they trade, which isn’t great for a Giants’ farm system that isn’t top-heavy.
• Yovani Gallardo: See everything I wrote above about Norris, except he’s a top-line pitcher with a good track record that’s got 2 years left on his contract. Yeah, that’s not happening for the Giants.
• Cliff Lee is not officially on the market, but a lot of people are talking about him. The only reason the Phillies aren’t in a basement is because they play in the same division with the Mets and Marlins, and seem primed to rebuild. Lee, meanwhile, is signed for two more years, but at $25M a piece, not including an option in 2016 that has a buyout that costs $12.5M, and costs $27.5M if it happens. Lee is having one of his best seasons, which is nice for a guy getting paid like that. When you look back at the Giants indicating they’d spend for help, Lee is a guy to think about, because taking that contract won’t mean spending big prospects.
On the other hand, Lee says he wants to stay in Philly and has a partial no-trade clause to 21 teams. Makes you wonder if 2010 caused the Giants to have a permanent place on that list.
• If you want cheap (note I didn’t say “bargain”), apparently Matt Garza is on the radar of the NL West as well.
Garza has the worst ERA in a season since his rookie year. He has missed two months this year with a lat injury, and half of 2012 with an elbow injury. He’ll be a free agent next year, and has a little over $5 million remaining on his contract. So what’s worth noting here? Despite the high ERA, he has a lower WHIP than he’s had in any season in his career. However, both his strikeouts and walks are down, and all his other peripherals have a small dip. He seems to be being victimized by extra-base hits.
• The outfield is another question. The platoon in left field was weak to begin with, but now Angel Pagan will miss pretty close to the rest of the season (and maybe the playoffs, depending on how long it takes him to rehab). But the list of names of outfielders who might be on the market is…depressing. Hell, perhaps the most impressive name who isn’t on a contender and is a free agent at the end of the year is Nate Schierholtz, who finally is with a team willing to give him playing time (granted, it’s the Cubs), and he has a .905 OBP and a career high in home runs already (10). Of course, that probably wouldn’t keep up at AT&T.
The minor league options are just as questionable. Juan Perez has had a bit of a nice start, but he hasn’t exactly been hitting the ball hard. Love his defense, but the Giants need the offense, too, and history suggests that any young hitter with a nice first couple of weeks will regress. Perez was in the middle of his best offensive season in Fresno, and it was his second strong one in a row. So, maybe. Problem is, the Giants have to play him to find out. And his next start will be today. Against Clayton Kershaw. Yikes.
Of course, there’s also Gary Brown. He is…or at least, was…the center fielder of the future. He was ice cold to start the season, as he was last season, but he’s hit .298/.353/.606 in June, with 7 home runs with just three prior. As good as Perez is defensively, Brown is even better in center field. But, he’s a speed guy, and he has only 10 stolen bases in 17 attempts through June. That’s…not ideal. The Giants have stated they want to see him do this with more consistency (i.e., not just one month) before bringing him up.
There is one other option in Fresno: Roger Kieschnick. Since all the left field players can play a reasonably good center (or better), Kieschnick could fit. He’s batting .270/.327/.512 with 17 doubles, 9 triples and 11 home runs in Fresno. His problem is the opposite of Brown: he started the season hot for two months, but is batting .192 in June. Kieschnick would be a very interesting choice: Blanco/Torres/Perez aren’t bad leadoff options, and Kieschnick would add an interesting RBI presence in the lineup. He’s not slow, either.
• The relief market just sucks. No one’s really available right now, except for Carlos Marmol. However, if the Giants get a starter, the bullpen gets better by returning Chad Gaudin to it. Plus, Santiago Casilla should be coming back soon, which really really will help the middle of the bullpen from the right side, and I can’t believe I just typed those words. But with these struggles, even though Sergio Romo’s not truly a part of them, it does make you ask… Where the #*%& is Brian Wilson?
Good source tells me he’s “getting closer” to showcase. RT @Gregory_Collier: What are the latest developments with Brian Wilson, if any? — Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 25, 2013
Personally, I see Wilson going the WWE route. Make everyone believe that you’ll be out even longer, and then somehow, someway, in the middle of some game with a real battle going on, this happens.
Hey, Cena’s even wearing the right colors.
I can dream, can’t I?