With this year’s All-Star Game festivities behind us, all eyes will now shift toward the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline. For fans of the Dodgers, any news surrounding the prospective return of starting pitcher Trevor Bauer will surge to the top of the headlines, but in the meantime, all focus will be watching how Los Angeles might improve its player roster.
No doubt, Dodgers fans can be some of the most creative people when it comes to dreaming up hypothetical deals with rival clubs. Even though we’re still more than two weeks away from the deadline, we’ve already been imagining ways on what it would take to bring some top-notch talent to Los Angeles, specifically in the forms of players like Max Scherzer or Richard Rodriguez.
However, for as much as we’ve been speculating internally, rarely do we consider what might happen among the other clubs in the NL West. Early in the year, the Giants were presumed to be bigtime sellers at this summer’s trade deadline. Based on where things stand now, though, both the Giants and Padres will surely look to upgrade their personnel, while the Diamondbacks and Rockies will probably sell off parts of their respective rosters.
Which players end up moving are anybody’s guess. Folks who follow the Dodgers are familiar with San Francisco boss Farhan Zaidi, knowing that his unpredictable nature is part of the reason he’s so successful. While Zaidi and skipper Gabe Kapler might be pretending things are quiet in the San Fran camp, he might just be playing it cool.
“We really like our team,” Zaidi said last weekend. “We like the way the pieces on this team fit. This is some of the best clubhouse team chemistry that I’ve ever been around. Anytime you talk about moves, it’s kind of fun to speculate, but there’s a very real impact on the clubhouse.”
Listed below are a few ideas — from a Los Angeles fan, no less — of how the Giants might proceed on the trade front over the next few weeks.
It seems like this year’s top blockbusters might revolve around some of the best starting pitchers that become available. The Giants have a solid ace right now with the re-emergence of Kevin Gausman. Also capable in the two and three slots are Johnny Cueto and Anthony DeSclafani, with Alex Wood a serviceable fourth, at least when he’s throwing well.
After those four starters, though, things become a bit cloudy. Tyler Beede is on his way back from UCL surgery, and Logan Webb has finally returned from the injured list. Those two pitchers could act as mini additions in themselves. Regardless, by adding an established, top-of-the-line arm from the outside, the Giants could conceivably make one of the best rotations of the first half borderline untouchable in the second.
At the same time, by the Giants improving their rotation with a quality starter, it might prevent the Dodgers, who are seemingly in much more need, from doing the same.
Having one of the best pitching staffs usually involves having a decent bullpen, and the Giants fit that mold, both from a lefty and righty perspective. Their horses this year have been former Dodger southpaw Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers, lefty Jose Alvarez, southpaw Jarlin Garcia and Zack Little. Additionally, both Dominic Leone and Caleb Baragar have sparkled with ERAs under 1.00. Still, there might be room for improvement, especially when considering the recent track record of somebody like McGee and how long he can stay effective.
Dalton Johnson at NBC Sports/Bay Area lists Rodriguez from Pittsburgh and Taylor Rogers out of Minnesota as prospective upgrades, setting up a potential Taylor/Tyler Rogers late-inning, one-two punch.
The San Francisco relief crew is definitely part of the roster to keep an eye on.
A Power Bat
Without question, Brandon Crawford has been huge for the Giants in almost every single offensive category in the first half. And despite a .234 average, Mike Yastrzemski remains a legitimate power threat whenever he arrives at the plate. Right now, though, the Giants have gotten a taste of the injury bug, as Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Evan Longoria are all sitting on the injured list.
Bringing in a big bat not just to strengthen the power department, but to also provide depth for further absences might play huge. Accordingly, offense might be a priority for Zaidi and his crew. With Alex Dickerson underperforming in left field and Mike Tauchman also injured, the outfield might be a logical spot to make an addition.
Either way, I don’t particularly believe the Giants have the stamina to keep pace the whole way through September, but if they do, they definitely deserve all the credit in the world considering where they’ve been in recent years. Undeniably, strengthening their roster over the next few weeks with a trade or two might give them a better chance of staying on top.