The San Francisco Giants are off to a great start in 2010. They have the best record in the National League, and are led by perhaps the best starting rotation in all of baseball.

While the team has a stranglehold on great pitching, their offense is below the league average in most categories. They have grounded into more double plays than any NL team, and have the fewest number of walks of any team in the league other than the Houston Astros.

With the exception of Pablo Sandoval, no hitter on the team strikes fear into opposing pitchers. While their great pitching will keep them competitive all season, if the hitting doesn’t come around, the Giants will have a hard time making the playoffs.

San Francisco has long been mentioned as a possible destination for Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder. Fielder was born in California and many have speculated that he could end up playing for a team on the West Coast once he becomes a free agent after the 2011 season.

With the Brewers off to a slow start, trade winds are swirling about the Brewers unloading Fielder before he can exit via free agency, and leave Milwaukee left with nothing in compensation. 

The Giants have the great farm system needed to pry Fielder out of Milwaukee, but would trading for the slugger make them the favorite to represent the NL in the World Series?

Fielder would give the Giants that big bat in the lineup that they are desperately lacking, and they would easily be able to compete against the Cardinals and Phillies for the NL crown. However, how much of their farm system would they have to give up, and would it be worth it to take action this season or would they be better off waiting until after the 2011 season and just sign Fielder as a free agent?

Brewer fans should immediately give up any thoughts of getting Sandoval, Tim Lincecum, or top prospects Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner from the Giants. Those players are simply untouchable, and they won’t be traded for anyone.

In addition to a great farm system, there are several players on the Giants that could be involved in the trade either on their own or as part of a package.

Travis Ishikawa, Eugenio Velez, and Emmanuel Burriss are all players that are under team control through the 2014 season and could be included with prospects to head to Milwaukee.

Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez have each been mentioned in the past as possible trade candidates for the Brewers in exchange for Fielder.

Cain is off to a great start this season. He’s 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in six starts. He’s struck out 30 and walked only 10 in 38 2/3 innings in 2010. Opposing teams are only hitting .209 against the 25-year-old righty. The Brewers may actually have to include more talent than just Fielder in order to bring him to Milwaukee.

Sanchez has gone from a fringe starter to one of the best left-handed starters in less than a year. Since his no-hitter last year, his confidence has grown immensely, and he’s given the Giants a fourth very good starter. However, with lefty prospect Bumgarner expected to make his debut soon, he may still be expendable for the Giants. 

In 2010, Sanchez is 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts. He’s struck out 37 batters in only 29 innings. Opponents are hitting a mere .170 this year against the 27-year-old Puerto Rico native. 

Many of the Giants best prospects are at the lower levels of minor league baseball, but their talent may very well be worth waiting for the Brewers.

Zach Wheeler was the top pick for the Giants in last year’s draft. Wheeler was drafted out of high school, and most scouts feel he was more advanced coming out of high school than Bumgarner was.

Dan Runzler is a lefty reliever that made the Giants team out of Spring Training this year. Some feel he could be the eventual successor to Brian Wilson as the team’s closer, or he could be used to help land Fielder. In 12 appearances this year, he’s 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA and has struck out 12 in 12 1/3 innings. 

Thomas Neal is a power-hitting prospect that was taken by the Giants in the 36th round of the 2005 draft. He projects as a middle-of-the-order bat eventually, but he’s still at least a year or two away from making is debut in the majors. 

Other prospects that could be sent to Milwaukee include: outfielder Roger Kieschnick, second baseman Nick Noonan, and outfielders Francisco Peguero and Rafael Rodriguez.

Trading Prince Fielder to the Giants may be the best option for the Brewers’ front office; they have the best combination of major league talent and prospects to help Milwaukee both now and in the future.

Giant fans may not like the thought of giving up a player like Matt Cain or Jonathan Sanchez, but putting Fielder in the middle of the lineup would more than make up for losing either one.

Add to that the realization of being on the same level or better than the Cardinals or Phillies, and the Brewers and Giants would both be wise to become trading partners sooner rather than later. 



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