Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Thoughts on the Trade Deadline

Truth be told, I actually hate what the trade deadline has evolved into.  It's been a case of contenders loading up while non-contenders tank for a long time now, but as teams have come to place more and more value on top prospects, the return that non-contenders get in return has dwindled to the point where there isn't even a definite long term benefit for the fans of those teams.  It's more of a salary dump than anything else while teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox and yes, in prior years the Giants end up with teams that are virtually unrecognizable from the one they started the season with.  If I had my way, the trade deadline would be May 31 or something like that.  After that, you dance with who brung ya.  

So, in a way, it is kind of satisfying that the Giants stood pat.  They put together an interesting team this year that has gotten more interesting with the additions of young players from the farm system.  I'd kind of like to see how it plays out with this team.   Is there a chance Andrew McCutchen gets insanely hot down the stretch and carries the offense?  Ditto Madison Bumgarner and the pitching staff.  Can Dereck Rodriguez continue his amazing run of Quality Starts and win ROY?  Will Bruce Bochy finally come to his senses and play Austin Slater every day and then see him play well enough to bolster the offense?  Can Ray Black be a shut down setup man for Will Smith?  

For awhile, it looked like the Giants might back down from their "selling is not in our DNA" stance and trade McCutchen.  This would have had 2 potential benefits:  1.  Possibly bring back a decent prospect or two.  2.  Get them far enough under the CBT threshold to guarantee a reset for the offseason and open the possibility of signing a high priced FA or 2.  We'll never know what kind of deals they had in the works or how far down that road they actually went.   Had the Giants lost those two games on Sunday and Monday, we might have seen them pull the trigger on a Cutch trade.  Instead, not only did they win both of those games, they gained a full 2 games in the standings in the process!  5.5 games out may scream sell for some teams, but not the Giants.  Not a chance!

As for buying, I have said before it really is not clear how 1 or 2 additions are going to significantly increase their chances.  Yes, things could fall apart down the road, but right now the only clear need for an upgrade is LF and there actually were not too many LF's available.  Adam Duvall, anyone?  Me?  I am happy they are not trading away prospects, who I think are better than most analysts give credit for.

So I'm OK with standing pat and watching the season play out.  We'll worry about next season in the offseason.


I am trying hard to not call out other blogs I might disagree with, but there was one statement made on another blog which will go un-named that I just can't let go.  Here it is:

"This is the state of the Giants, same as it ever was.  Their focus will always be on improving the big league team, to the detriment of the farm, if necessary.  Because of that, the farm system will never be a reliable source of talent for the Giants, and we'll repeat this cycle all over again."

OK, let's stipulate that Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik came up a long time ago, so they don't count.  This season alone, the Giants have added Andrew Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, Reyes Moronta, Ray Black, Austin Slater and Steven Duggar from the farm who have all made solid contributions.  Heck, Dereck Rodriguez just might be the ace of the staff right now!  That list does not even count guys with previous MLB experience signed as minor league FA's such as Alen Hanson and Chase d'Arnaud.  

"....the farm system will never be a reliable source of talent for the Giants..."  just a very uninformed, unfortunate comment from a site that continues to sell a demonstrably untrue narrative about the Giants and their organization.


  1. Good post DrB, agree that there was no reason to trade Cutch and others now being only 5 games out because they can still make deals in August if they fall further out of the race. The Nationals are in an almost similar situation and made only 1 minor trade. I agree they have an interesting team this year with contributions from younger players. I'm glad Evans/Sabean tried to make the team competitive instead of rebuilding, because they couldn't afford to have another season like 2017. I'm hoping they continue to develop young players from the farm system and make smart signings to bring them back to the top! It'll be interesting to see if they continue to have Evans/Sabean in the GM chair in 2019.


  2. Yeah, that blog has fallen down a bit since Grant took up the microphone. His talent and style have been replaced by writers trying to capture his spirit and falling well short.

    So, yeah, now you get more whiny, petulant cry-baby rants that are more hyperbole than reality. There is no real analysis or even assessment in that piece. Just disappointment, expressed poorly.


    Regarding the rise in prospect valuation in recent years I considered comparing for the Giants' 2011 Beltran trade to the Dodgers 2018 Machado trade.

    This is because Machado & Beltran are very comparable at the time of the trade. It's true that 2011 Beltran was a lot older than Machado is, but their performance is very similar. Both with OPS+ in the 150's. Beltran was having a 5 WAR season in 2011, and Machado is dead on pace to have a 5 WAR season.

    Giants gave up Wheeler, 6th pick in the draft. His preseason Top 100 prospect rankings for:
    2011: In the 50's
    2012: In the 30's
    2013: Top 10.

    His star was rising. Definite top-of-the order potential. I don't know where the Met's farm was in 2011, but I gotta think Wheeler instantly became their #1. Definitely not lower than #2.

    Vs. The 5 guys the Orioles got for Machado

    Yusniel Diaz. OF. Big Cuban signing. Supposedly very good. Pre-season ranking was in the 70's. Slots in at #1 rated prospect in the Oriole system.

    Dean Kremer. SP. 14th Round in 2016. K/9 rate of 13.0 in A+ & AA. As a starter. Having a good year. Currently #16 in the Oriole system.

    Rylan Bannon. 3B. 8th Round in 2017. Currently outperforming expectations at High A, hitting loads of HRs. Currently #23 in the Oriole system.

    Zach Pop. RP. 7th Round 2017. Closing at A & A+ this year, pitching well. Currently #27 in the Oriole System.

    Breyvic Valera. Not really a prospect. Looks to be a AAAA player.


    I think I take Wheeler over a bunch of interesting guys. My take on Diaz is that he's not tracking to be a star. A starter, yes.

    So, who do you think got the better return?

  3. agree with your comments about trade deadline - it is a farce for a team to advance to playoffs with late season pick-ups

    a Cutch trade would have oipned up RF for Slater - but I also have have a huhch that Cutch is going to pick his game up last two months

    is Dereck R. really a product of Giants farm system? he is really a Twin farm product

    finally - Ray Black - what an electric arm - did he veer show up on national top prospect list?
    or are relievers rarely mentioned in favor of position players / starters?

  4. - I think Cutch should have been traded - if nothing else it creates space for kids like Slater // we eventually have to figure out if Mac is going to be a player.

    - watson / Smith / Dyson would have been some of the best arms on the market. We should have traded one for a good prospect. Just trading Nunez last year netted us 2 guys that some rank in our top 10 of prospects.

    - not to nitpitck you on Dereck, but I wouldn't consider him from our farm. He barely pitched in the minors, he's a FA signing. Same with Hanson / chase.

    -since Timmy / Bum / Posey, we haven't had that elite type prospect coming up, probably because those guys are high picks (Crawford not a first but same draft as Posey, Belt probably the exception.) Guys like Panik, Duggar, etc can be nice players to help a team, but none of them are impact guys. That's the problem with the Giants prospect pool, we haven't had a Seager type in the system in nearly 10 years (Posey) . Suarez is a great young piece and hopefully he can be a good giant, but he's more of a 4/5 starter then a Ace.

    1. I distinguish DRod from other minor league FA's like Alen Hanson and Chase d'Arnaud in that DRod had never played in MLB. So yes, he spend most of his development time with the Twins, but he "graduated" to the majors as a Giant, so yes, I count him as a product of the Giants farm system.

      Hanson and d'Arnaud, on the other hand, were savvy pickups but not graduates of the Giants farm system.

    2. The quote I was referring to was "...the Giants farm system will never be a reliable source of talent..."

      If he had said, "....reliable source of ELITE talent....", I would still disagree with it, but he might have been a bit closer to reality.

      Again, I would point to the not so distant past when the Giants did graduate elite talent in Timmy, Posey and MadBum with the Brandons in only a slightly lower tier. They may be aways away, but I would currently count Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Marco Luciano as elite talents who will likely eventually graduate as Giants.

      But back to the actual statement: The Giants farm system has actually been one of the more reliable sources of talent among MLB organizations even this season.

    3. Next thirteen or so games against playoff calibre teams - then ten against non-playoff teams- we'll see where they sit then before cleaning out Cutch and Dyson.

  5. Honestly, I got annoyed with the 'grades' given out to the Giants for not participating. I mean, what were they supposed to do? Look at all the problems:

    1. The OF has been bad all year. Worse, Duggar, Slater & Williamson have, for innings played, been the best OFers on the team. Those three have a total of 250 PAs between them. The total fWAR they've generated is 1.1. Compare that to:

    McCutchen has 459 PAs and 1.2 fWAR.
    Hernandez has 314 PAs and 0.7 fWAR.
    Pence has 149 PAs and -0.6 fWAR.

    2. The infield has serious problems.

    3B - Longoria is into his decline phase and is not pulling his weight. Even if he stayed healthy all year, he's not played to 2.0 fWAR. Sandoval had a small revival for a while, but he's just a utility man at this point. D'Arnaud has played it the best, but is totally Small Sample Size so we don't even know.

    2B - Panik has never been the same since his concussion & back problems. He now sports a -0.1 fWAR and continues to regress in the field and at the plate. Hanson seems to be our best option now, but he's got a weak glove. D'Arnaud has been, in his small sample, good at 2B as well.

    3. The bullpen has been erratic to atrocious for years now. There are some good pieces -- Smith, Watson, Moronata, Black, Dyson (even though he can be frustrating) -- but there is no established closer and it's looking very unlikely that Melancon will ever regain that role. Add in the Giants have one of the worst save percentages in all of MLB as even the 'quality guys' just blow too many saves... This unit is not getting it done like it needs to be.

    4. Rotation is in shambles. Bumgarner's cutter isn't wiping people out like it used to and his fastball diminished a couple years ago. Cueto needs Tommy John. Samardzija has shoulder problems and can't workhorse. Suarez is a #4/5 guy. Same with Holland. D-Rod is about the only bright spot in the roster.

    So with all these issues considered, PLUS having CBT issues... They can't fix them all. So the only smart move was to not play and hope for the best unless someone could have given them a 'knock your socks off' offer or they could have moved potential-future-salary/performance-problems like Longoria.

    1. ... "potential-future-salary/performance-problems like Longoria": excluding Crawford, Giants have 5 or 6 potential-future-salary/performance-problems including Longoria.

    2. And yet, despite all that disaster, they are still in contention, though barely.

      Yeah, Giants were in a tough spot to figure out. They either had no major holes to fill or 25!

      I guess the one thing I would have liked to see if they are serious contenders is a serious bat for LF.

  6. Perhaps we'll never know why no one was sold/traded away, but we do know why no one was bought -- CBT space was needed to pay for someone "good" enough to make a difference, some pricey guy probably would have to be included.
    Funny how our off-season pickups, McCutchen and Longoria, both figured prominently into the last win in July -- which was after the 4 PM EDT deadline anyway. (Jackson had a good day also!)
    SF, at .505, is on track for an 81 or 82 win season. Without 2 of the Big 3 SPs (all of the Big 3 at one point) missing, that's fairly credible, and if they can squeak a couple more wins, it's a 20-game improvement over 2017. And it will have been a good showcase for a number of first and near-first year guys.
    Mac will, at least, get to play in September. And Ryder Jones, too. Perhaps a 40-man slot will be opened up for Anderson, his AAA jitters hopefully behind him.

    1. I don't have any inside information but from reading the tea leaves, I think the Giants may have been close to moving Cutch mostly to get CBT space, but they backed off when they gained 2 games in the standings in 2 days.

  7. Im fine with no moves and it might even help this team buckle down and focus. The trade deadline has to affect the players as well when they dont know where they are going to be playing/living for the last few months of the season. Now that they know they arent going anywhere it probably takes some pressure off guys like Cutch who can focus on winning here the rest of the year. Sometimes the best strategy is to do nothing.

  8. August 2nd: Kershaw (4-5) - 2.52 ERA and Bumgarner (3-4) - 3.06 ERA!

  9. Every team, all 30, made at least 1 transaction with another team during the month of July, more than one without discernible consequences.

    The Giants made, probably, the most one-sided trade, sending Austin Jackson, Cory Gearrin and Jason Bahr to Texas Rangers for the ubiquitous PTBNL. Jackson was released before signing as a FA with the Mets 2 weeks later.

    Other than the Giants, only the Athletics, Rockies, Padres, and Tigers made just one transaction with another team.

    The rest and number of trades:

    Arizona Diamondbacks 5
    Atlanta Braves 2
    Baltimore Orioles 2
    Boston Red Sox 3
    Chicago Cubs 3
    Chicago White Sox 3
    Cincinnati Reds 3
    Cleveland Indians 4
    Houston Astros 4
    Kansas City Royals 2
    Los Angeles Angels 2
    Los Angeles Dodgers 3
    Miami Marlins 2
    Milwaukee Brewers 2
    Minnesota Twins 5
    New York Mets 3
    New York Yankees 6
    Philadelphia Phillies 2
    Pittsburgh Pirates 2
    Seattle Mariners 4
    St. Louis Cardinals 5
    Tampa Bay Rays 8
    Texas Rangers 2
    Toronto Blue Jays 5
    Washington Nationals 2

    I believe the hoopla around the "deadline" is a creation of the sports media, especially MLBTR. It's just a date -- very consequential trades are made during August.

  10. If players who are not hitting HR's start hitting HR's then the team does not need a bug bat trade. Cutch, Longorria, Posey know how to hit HR's have done it in the past. Crwaford has cooled and he too can hit the long ball. Belt has been out for various spells and he is a legit power threat. Slater has not hot one at all this year in about 60 AB's and I have an idea he will start clearing the fence.

  11. Panda needs surgery for his hamstring. He's out for the rest of the season. Cueto's TJ surgery was successful -- 12 to 14 months before he can pitch again...