Zaidi says a deal or two are on the way. Finally! Here’s a few ideas on what might be shaking out on the trade front.
Current Bumgarner status: Jon Morosi has officially irritated Farhan Zaidi over the Bumgarner rumors. Giants probably hold onto Bum now, if for no other reason than to spite the national media!
Players on the block: Will Smith, Tony Watson, Joe Panik, Evan Longoria
Potential Matches: Angels, Twins, Rays, Brewers
Trade Scenario #1: Giants trade Tony Watson to Rays for 2B Nick Solak (MLB#11) & LHP Colin Poche (MLB#24)
Rationale: The Rays used their bullpen more than any team in baseball last year, and could still use another proven lefty to pair with probable-closer Jose Alvarado, who is a budding relief “ace.” They have more 2B than they know what to do with, and I like Solak’s power/speed combination (19 HR, 21 SB in AA last year). Poche was a PNTBL in the Steven Souza trade last year, and if you think G’s Rule 5 pick Travis Bergen dominated hitters last year, go check out this guy’s profile. Neither of these guys is a young prospect, but both have the ability to carve out a role for the Giants, as soon as this summer.
Trade Scenario #2A: Giants trade Will smith to Twins for OF/1B Brent Rooker (MLB#7), RHP Zack Littell (MLB#20), & a PTBNL
Scenario #2B: Giants trade Smith to Twins for CF Byron Buxton
Rationale: Smith is the Giants best (and likely most realistic) trade chip at this point, and the Twins very quietly seem like the type of team who could make an intriguing offer for him. Some will scoff at the first scenario, but Rooker is a player who I was very high on in the 2016 draft. While it seems like his future is just about locked in at 1B now, the Giants could use his 25-30 HR potential from the right side. Littell is a starter whose above average command helps all of his pitches play up, and he should be in line for expanded MLB action after getting his first cup of coffee last season.
I also wanted to include another Smith to MIN scenario here, but one that I can’t take credit for. My Twitter buddy Steve suggested the Buxton idea to me. It’s hard to know whether the Twins would give up on him at this point after a disaster 2018, but it would sure make for an interesting roll of the dice on both sides. Can you imagine an OF with Buxton patrolling CF and Steven Duggar holding down right?
Trade Scenario #3: Giants trade Joe Panik to Brewers for RHP Zack Brown (MLB#8)
Rationale: The Giants have spent plenty of time chatting back and forth with Milwaukee this winter. Or, you know, they haven’t spoken at all, depending on who you believe this time of year. But let’s assume that there have been some talks, and even if a Bumgarner deal is off the table, Panik is still a fit for the Brewers, at least in a platoon role with Hernan Perez. We all know MIL GM David Stearns isn’t going to give up his top prospect for Panik but every team understands the importance of Statcast data now, so it’s not hard to imagine Zaidi reminding Stearns that Panik was one of the unluckiest hitters in MLB last year, according to the discrepancy between his expected wOBA and his actual wOBA. The idea here is the Giants are trying to find players close to the majors, and Brown is projected to start the season in AAA, with a profile comparable to G’s prospect Shaun Anderson.
Trade Scenario #4: Giants trade Evan Longoria, Joe Panik, Tony Watson, Heath Quinn, & $10M to Angels for INF Zack Cozart & RF Kole Calhoun.
Rationale: Let’s be honest. Many of us have been hoping for some kind of a blockbuster trade from the Giants for well over a year now. By blockbuster, I mean multiple MLB players moving on each side, so the Cutch/Longo trades last winter don’t qualify in my book. This would be a big one, and the sole purpose for me is shedding Longoria’s contract. I borrowed the basic idea from Baggs, who suggested Longo and Cozart as matches in a salary swap. What the Angels really need is pitching, and we know they’ve been talking to the Giants about their relievers this winter. I know it might seem like Zaidi is giving up too much here for underperforming players like Cozart & Calhoun, but when you look at the salary commitments to all involved, there’s still roughly a $25M discrepancy that favors the Giants (and that’s after factoring in $10M of Longo’s salary, + $1M for Calhoun’s buyout next year). Would adding in a prospect like Quinn help convince LA to make this happen? I’m not sure, but if Zaidi were able to both shed a long-term contract and acquire two everyday players he could pencil into his 2019 lineup, I’d be satisfied with it.