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Perfect Trade Scenarios for San Francisco Giants at Deadline

On June 8, the Giants were a Major League best 42-21 with a 9.5 game lead over their rival Dodgers. It appeared the Giants would just run away with another NL West title.

My oh my how the tables have turned.

The Giants suffered from a terrible case of June swoon and saw their commanding lead on the Dodgers diminish. 

The starting rotation struggled, the clutch hits they got in April and May were non-existent and the typically reliable Sergio Romo was removed from his duties as closer after blowing three saves in two weeks.

General manager Brian Sabean has never been one to pull the trigger on a trade quickly to bring in reinforcements. He has a lot of trust in his players and knows that this roster can win.

However, if the Giants were to make some deals before the deadline, they should look to improve production at second base and add another arm to the rotation.

Here are three perfect trade scenarios for the Giants leading up to the deadline.


Trade for Daniel Murphy

Early in the year when Brandon Hicks was hitting home runs, it looked like the Giants had found a solid replacement for Marco Scutaro. However, Hicks has hasn’t hit a long ball since May 23 and has seen his average drop all the way down to .166. 

The Giants tried exploring other options when they brought up Joe Panik, but he has been spotty in the field and unimpressive at the plate.

So what should the solution be? Daniel Murphy.

Murphy is having a fantastic year with a .300 batting average, 34 RBI and a .350 OBP. He would be a great improvement at second base and also give the Giants a bat at the top of the order, something they have not had since Angel Pagan has been out. 

The 29-year-old Murphy has been one of the Mets’ most consistent players since breaking into the major league in 2008, so it is understandable that New York will have a big asking price for him. 

When the Giants drafted Gary Brown, the club expected the speedster to become their center fielder and leadoff hitter of the future. However, Brown has been a huge disappointment and is no longer the highly touted prospect he once was.

With an underwhelming .267 average and .321 OBP in Triple-A Fresno, it is time for the Giants to part ways with its former first round pick.

Adam Duvall, promoted just over a week ago, hit a home run in his first major league game. While it is great to have another power bat in the lineup, the Giants won’t have space for him when Brandon Belt returns. 

Belt is the first baseman of the future for the Giants and that leaves Duvall the odd man out.

If the Giants could work out this deal with the Mets, Murphy would be a more than welcomed addition to the San Francisco clubhouse. 


Add Jason Hammel

While Jason Hammel is no David Price or Jeff Samardzija, he is still a very solid pitcher that would add some depth to a struggling starting rotation. 

Hammel has a 7-5 record on the year with a 2.98 ERA and a 4.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a mark that ranks sixth in the National League.

The Giants would love to add Price or Samardzija, but they also would not like to trade away their top pitching prospects such as Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton and Edwin Escobar. The Rays and Cubs will have huge asking prices for Price and Samardzija, which is why a deal for Hammel seems much more appealing.

Making just $6 million in 2014, Hammel seems like a low risk, high reward pickup for the Giants. 

Who should the Giants give up to get Hammel? Michael Kickham.

Kickham was a 6th round pick for the Giants in 2010 and has been unimpressive in his three major league starts, going 0-3 with a 10.16 ERA.

In Triple-A Fresno this year, Kickham is doing well with a 6-5 record and 3.46 ERA. Even though he is having a good year, the Giants can afford to part ways with him due to their plethora of strong pitching prospects.


Trade for Ben Zobrist

The Giants have some holes to fill in the outfield and at second base, which makes Ben Zobrist the perfect solution.

Zobrist can play anywhere in the field except for pitcher and catcher and hit anywhere in the order.

Zobrist is hitting just .250 this year, but that’s mostly be due to the lack of protection in a poor Rays’ offense. Place him in the Giants’ lineup, and he would improve.

The Rays love Zobrist due to his enormous versatility, so they might have a big asking price for him as the trade deadline approaches. 

Tampa Bay has been successful in the past due to its pitching staff. If they want Michael Kickham and reliever Dan Runzler, this could be a good trade for the Giants. 

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Second-Half Predictions for Every San Francisco Giants Player

The San Francisco Giants have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows so far in 2014.

On June 8, they were a season-high 21 games over .500 with the best record in baseball but have since dropped 10 of 13. 

With so much baseball left to play, it is difficult to predict where the Giants will be in the NL West standings come September.

Will Angel Pagan stay healthy for the rest of the season? Can the Giants starting rotation turn it around? Who is the solution at second base?

Let’s take a look at second-half predictions for every player on the club’s 25-man roster.

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Top 10 Moments in Giants-Dodgers Rivalry

From the days in New York to the present in California, the Giants and the Dodgers have had one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports.

When it seems like every game is as dramatic and heart-wrenching as the previous one, it is difficult to pick out only a select few of the highlights. Here are my top 10 moments in the Giants-Dodgers rivalry.  


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Why Tim Lincecum Will Have a Comeback Year in 2014

Tim Lincecum may no longer be “The Freak” he once was. His days of being the Giants frontline starter are long gone as Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner have become the top two pitchers of the staff. Lincecum has struggled mightily the past two seasons, but he will resurrect his career and have a comeback year in 2014.

After finishing 2013 with a 10-14 record and a 4.37 ERA, Lincecum spent his offseason back home in Seattle where he rented out a warehouse and built a bullpen to work on mechanics. This was something new for Lincecum as he normally heads into spring training without throwing off a mound during the offseason.

“I just felt like more throwing would be the best thing I could do for myself,” said Lincecum per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, “not necessarily throwing hard, but getting good mechanics and the feel of that ball coming out of my hand from an earlier part of the offseason.”

Spending extra time on the mound and becoming comfortable with his mechanics is big for Lincecum. Over the past two seasons he has given up a total of 44 home runs, a mark that must improve in 2014. 

Lincecum does not have the blazing fastball he once had as a young pup in the big leagues. In an effort to focus on command, Lincecum turned to veteran and fellow teammate Tim Hudson for advice.

“Hudson told him to divide the strike zone horizontally and focus throwing to the bottom half, relying on movement and not worrying if he can get hitters out higher in the zone,” said Schulman per the San Francisco Chronicle.

With a decreased velocity, Lincecum can no longer challenge hitters over the plate with his fastball. Instead, he has to be able to locate the fastball and effectively use his off-speed pitches.

During his no-hitter last season against the San Diego Padres, Lincecum produced 29 swing and misses while toying hitters with his change-up. This performance showed that Lincecum could still be a dominant pitcher. “Of his 148 pitches, Lincecum used his change a whopping 47 times,” according to

Lincecum has the ability to strikeout hitters with his off-speed pitches and should continue to lean on his change-up this year. Keeping the ball down and getting hitters to chase is how he will have a productive year.

By throwing bullpens during the offseason, Lincecum should not have to waste much time in getting comfortable back on the mound. If he can string together some quality starts in spring training, Timmy will be carrying a lot of confidence heading into the season.

How many wins do you think Lincecum will have in 2014?

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Why Pitching Leaves the San Francisco Giants’ World Series Window Open

It may be easy to reminisce about Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series or Marco Scutaro’s game-winning single in Game 4. The Giants have become accustomed to playing October baseball after winning two championships in the last four seasons.

Giants fans who are craving that third ring to add to their collection should not be discouraged by last year’s 76-86 record. Even though San Francisco struggled last season, there is reason to think its World Series window is still open.

The Giants have developed a pattern of winning a championship one season and then underperforming the next. If history does in fact repeat itself, can we expect the Giants to make the World Series in 2014, 2016, 2018 and so forth? Okay, maybe that is a bit excessive, but the point is they should be World Series contenders for the next three to five years.

The name of the game for the Giants is pitching. Playing at the friendly confines of AT&T Park, the Giants rely on their pitching staff to lead the way and win ballgames. Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner have all been dominant in their World Series runs and all three will return again this season.

Bumgarner had a career year in 2013 as he went 13-9 and turned in a 2.77 ERA, earning him his first All-Star appearance. Although Bumgarner is just entering his fourth full season in the Majors, he has a 2-0 record in World Series games with two shutouts. The young lefty is signed through 2017 and if he can continue his consistency, he will be in the Cy Young conversation for years to come. 

Cain has been the horse of the Giants rotation and is the longest tenured player on the club despite being just 29 years old. In 2012 he signed a six-year, $127.5 million deal so he is not going anywhere anytime soon. Cain has a lifetime ERA of 2.10 in the playoffs and won both his starts in elimination games in 2012.

As long as Cain can keep his postseason success rolling, the Giants will be a tough team to beat.

Lincecum went 4-1 in the 2010 playoffs, including an eight-inning gem to clinch a World Series title. Lincecum’s second time around in the postseason was a bit of a different story.

After a season where he had a career-high 15 losses and a 5.18 ERA, Lincecum became a weapon out of the bullpen in the 2012 playoffs. As bad as Lincecum was throughout the season, he registered 17.2 innings and a 2.55 ERA in the postseason. The Giants saw how dangerous Timmy can be as a reliever and if he struggles as a starter, off to the bullpen he goes. 

The Giants’ success on the mound does not just end with their starting pitching.

After being acquired during the 2010 season, Javier Lopez has become one of the best lefty specialists in the game. Lopez owns lefties, holding them to a .170 average since 2011.

Lopez became a free agent this offseason but the Giants kept him in San Francisco with a three-year, $13 million deal. The sidearmer has helped solidify the back end of the bullpen and set the table for closer Sergio Romo.

Since Brian Wilson went down in April 2012, Romo has racked up 52 saves, including 38 during 2013. Romo does not throw hard for a closer but is not afraid to challenge hitters, as Miguel Cabrera knows all too well. 

Romo is signed through 2014 and it would be a big surprise if he and the Giants do not reach an extension. 

San Francisco has proved that having a strong rotation and bullpen is how to win October baseball. This method has produced two world championships, and the Giants should stick with that philosophy.

The Giants’ World Series window will remain open as long as their pitching can continue to perform as well as it did from 2010 through 2012. Young pitching and playoff experience sure seem like a good recipe for the future. 


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Why Tim Hudson Will Thrive as a San Francisco Giant

Tim Hudson has been a model of consistency throughout his long career. Entering his 17th season, Hudson has never had a losing record as a starting pitcher and has exceeded 200 innings in eight different seasons. In 2014, Huddy will continue to be a bulldog and add depth to the Giants’ rotation. 

Giants general manager Brian Sabean continued his trend of bringing in veteran guys like Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Marco Scutaro when the Giants signed Hudson to a two-year deal in November. Sabean hopes Hudson will help improve the Giants’ starting rotation.

The 38-year-old is coming off a gruesome ankle injury from last season and just began throwing off the mound in late January.

While his injury makes his future a little murkier, Hudson has proven to be one of the best strike-throwers and ground-ball pitchers in the game. In his last full season in 2012, Hudson allowed just 48 walks in 179 innings pitched and finished 16th in the National League with a 1.21 WHIP.

Hudson only allowed 12 home runs that season, third lowest in MLB. He will now be throwing off the mound at the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park that ranked 28th in the league, averaging just .768 home runs per game, .157 less than his old home at Turner Field.

Hudson has the ability to eat up a lot of innings, something that Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum all struggled to do last season. 

According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, “It certainly helps fill a very important need for us as we try to get back on track here and get where we were a couple of years ago. I couldn’t be happier or more excited to have Tim, who brings great experience and is a winner. For him to choose us, we’re honored.”

Hudson is a proven clubhouse guy, who becomes the eldest pitcher in the Giants’ rotation and has the chance to mentor the younger guys. Lincecum has a similar stature to Hudson and should look to learn from the veteran, who relies heavily on his off-speed pitches. 

Hudson is a winner and will have success in San Francisco if he can continue to keep his walks down and take advantage of a spacious AT&T Park outfield. 

How many wins will Huddy have this season?

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5 Bold Predictions for the San Francisco Giants in 2014

With Opening Day just around the corner, the San Francisco Giants are looking to redeem themselves after a 76-86 record in 2013.

The Giants have won two out of the last four World Series, but there are some serious question marks about their 2014 club.

Can their starting pitching return to old form? Will Pablo Sandoval have a productive season? Can their defense improve?

Here are five bold predictions for the Giants in 2014. 

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Why San Francisco Giants Should Re-Sign Pablo Sandoval Immediately

There is no denying that Pablo Sandoval has had a roller-coaster career with the San Francisco Giants. We have have seen the highs of a healthy Sandoval, who can hit .330 with 25 home runs, and the lows of Kung Fu Panda, who was overweight last year and hit a mere .278. Inconsistencies aside, the Giants should lock up Sandoval on a long-term deal in the near future. 

Sandoval now enters the final season of his three-year deal, and the main question still lingers. 

Should the Giants sign Sandoval to a multi-year contract extension?

Sandoval has proved he can be one of the best hitters in the game. In 2009, Sandoval’s first full season with the Giants, he finished 5th in all of Major League Baseball with a .330 average. Just two years later, Sandoval hit .315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs despite missing 41 games due to a broken wrist.

While Sandoval has shown flashes of brilliance, he has been unable to maintain it year to year. 

After having so much success in 2009, Sandoval entered the 2010 season out of shape, hit just .268 and watched his team win the World Series from the bench.

Sandoval had his redemption year in 2011 but has struggled in the past two seasons to stay healthy. 

Sandoval has taken the initiative to shed some weight and it has shown.

Here is the Instagram picture Sandoval posted three weeks ago.

Here is last year’s Sandoval just for good measure. 

Obviously Sandoval understands that if he wants big money from the Giants, or any other team, he has to prove that he can keep his weight down throughout the course of a season.

If the Giants understand the future value of Sandoval, they would be smart to lock him up for the long term.

Sandoval was the 2012 World Series MVP while playing well overweight. Imagine what his ceiling could be when he’s healthy. 

Sure, the Giants would be taking a slight risk in giving the inconsistent Sandoval big money, but what would happen if they let him walk? 

The 2014-15 free agent class does not have much depth at the third base position as Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, Ty Wigginton and Sandoval highlight the group. 

Headley had a breakout season for the Padres in 2012 and will draw interest from a lot of teams if he becomes a free agent.

Ramirez and Wigginton will both be 37 years old come 2015 and would not serve as a long-term solution for the Giants.

Sandoval will be just 28 in 2015, and he and Headley look to be the most appealing options for teams. 

The last thing the Giants want is to lose Sandoval and not be able to find a viable replacement. 

According to Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, “[I]f the Giants don’t extend him this spring, and he gets to free agency, he’s probably in his last year as a Giant.”

The Giants have seen how Sandoval can perform when healthy, and this should encourage them to reach an extension. 

In the past few years, the Giants have inked Matt Cain and Buster Posey to long-term deals in the season’s early going and should continue this trend with Sandoval. 

Sandoval has become a fan favorite in San Francisco, where wearing panda hats has become the norm.

A panda hat-less AT&T Park would just be a travesty.


Should the Giants keep the Kung Fu Panda in San Francisco? Please comment below!


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Key Players Who Must Improve for the San Francisco Giants in 2014

Heading into the 2014 season, the San Francisco Giants will look to rebound from their disappointing 2013 campaign. Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum are three key players the Giants must see improvement from in 2014.

Last year, the Giants suffered from a World Series hangover and finished the season 76-86, third in the National League West.

The Giants’ starting rotation that has led them to two World Series championships underperformed and struggled to produce quality outings. Cain had a very uncharacteristically down year, finishing with a 4.00 ERA. Lincecum slightly improved from 2012 but struggled to find a rhythm for most of the season. 

Their fielding was awful, finishing 24th in all of Major League Baseball with 107 errors18 of them came from Sandoval.

The Giants are not a team that counts on hitting home runs or scoring a lot of runs. They rely on pitching and defense to win ballgames.

Let’s take a look at why Cain, Sandoval and Lincecum must have bounce-back years in 2014.


Matt Cain

The Giants need their bulldog to return to his old form in the upcoming season.

For the first time since 2008, Cain finished with a sub-.500 record. He has been the rock of the Giants rotation and has thrown 200 innings for six consecutive seasons from 2007-12. Cain struggled to turn in quality outings and gave up a career-high 23 home runs in 2013. 

Cain is the longest-tenured member of the starting rotation and is depended on keeping his run total down and to win games. 

The starting rotation hasn’t been announced yet, but projections list Cain as the Giants’ No. 1. Madison Bumgarner had a breakout season last year and became the Giants’ most reliable pitcher. If Cain can regain his old form, he and Bumgarner could form one of the best one-two starters in the league.

Cain has to do a better job at limiting early inning runs in 2014. According to, Cain’s ERA in innings one through three in 2013 was 4.66. He struggled to keep runners off base and allowed 13 walks in early innings. 

If Cain can limit the free passes and keep runners off base, he will keep his pitch count down and be able to eat up more innings. 

How many games will Cain win in 2014?


Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval has been facing the same question almost his entire career as a Giant: Can he keep his weight down and stay healthy for an entire season?

Sandoval has proved in the past that he can lose weight, but he has struggled to maintain it from year to year.

In 2010, Sandoval was out of shape and got benched during most of the playoffs.

He spent the offseason focused on becoming healthier and lost 38 pounds, according to Jorge L. Ortiz of

The next season, the slimmer Sandoval hit for .315 and was voted to his first All-Star Game. 

Since 2011, The Kung Fu Panda has put on weight as seen in this picture timeline:

Last season, it was clear that Sandoval’s weight affected him, as he hit for just .278. 

Sandoval is a key middle-of-the-order guy for the Giants, and if he can stay healthy, he is capable of hitting 23 home runs like he did in 2011. 

Sandoval has the ability to hit for both average and power and could do some damage in a lineup surrounded by Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse.

Sandoval has to improve this season, because if he does not, the Giants could let him enter free agency next offseason. 

The Giants have locked up their homegrown talent, such as Posey, Cain and Bumgarner, on long-term contracts. 

If Sandoval wants big money too, he needs to maintain his new look for the entire season. 


Tim Lincecum

The Giants took a gamble this past October when they signed Lincecum to a two-year deal worth $35 million. 

The former two-time Cy Young Award winner has been nowhere close to the pitcher he was from 2008 through 2011. His ERA was 5.18 in 2012 and 4.37 in 2013, finishing with sub-.500 records in both those seasons. 

Cliff Corcoran of wrote that “even as a sentimental move, it’s a failure. It’s difficult to imagine anyone wanting to continue to watch an iconic player scuffle along as an overpaid shadow of his former self. Apparently, Brian Sabean does.”

So, what does Lincecum need to do?

He needs to prove this season that he can still be a quality Major League starting pitcher again. He no longer has the 94 mph fastball he had early in his career, so he can’t rely on blowing away hitters anymore.

Lincecum proved that he can still be dominant without the high velocity as we saw in his no-hitter on July 13 against San Diego.

Command is more important now more than ever for Lincecum, and he cannot afford to give up 90 walks in a season, which he has been doing recently. 

If Lincecum can keep his walk totals down, look for him to have a turnaround season in 2014. 

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