The San Francisco Giants have proved their buyers in 2014 with the acquisition of Jake Peavy but GM Brian Sabean still has work to do before the arrival of the July 31 trade deadline.
Matt Cain’s third and likely final trip to the DL in 2014 made an upgrade to the starting rotation crucial and the Giants will count on Peavy being a serviceable fourth or fifth starter to anchor the back of the rotation. Peavy was a second half addition for the Red Sox last year, playing a very similar role to the one he will now find himself in with the Giants.
Much like Cain, 2014 has been rough on Peavy. In 20 starts for Boston this season, Peavy has gone 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP, both of which are the highest of his 12-year career. Run support has plagued Peavy in 2014, receiving two or fewer runs in his last eight starts for Boston. Peavy and the Giants are counting on a return to the NL West as the answer to his struggles.
Sabean may have bolstered the starting rotation with a former Cy Young winner but Peavy is not the only answer to the Giants keeping pace with the Dodgers in the second half. Both middle infield spots remain a weak spot for San Francisco going forward.
Second base has proven to be a black hole for the Giants this season. It is unclear when Marco Scutaro will return to playing on an everyday basis and the acquisition of Dan Uggla serves as more of an insurance policy rather than a solution.
The Ray’s Ben Zobrist would be the ideal acquisition for the Giants. Zobrist could not only man the second base position but the veteran handyman also has ample experience in the outfield and could help to offset the spotty production of Gregor Blanco and Tyler Colvin. Zobrist is also affordable. He is due $7 million in 2014, with a $7.5 million team option for 2015. However, it is unclear whether the Rays will be sellers in 2014 due to their recent hot streak.
If the Giants are unable to acquire Zobrist, the key to addressing the revolving door at second could be upgrading the shortstop position.
Brandon Crawford has become a liability both offensively and defensively at shortstop and an upgrade at the position would allow Crawford, who is at lease durable, to become the every day second baseman. Crawford is hitting right around his career average (.239) at .234, which would not draw much attention but his defense has not been enough to cover his lack of offensive production this season. Crawford’s 15 errors in 2014 are as many as he had in all of 2013 and his .964 fielding percentage ranks 11th among NL shortstops.
ESPN’s Jason Stark reports that the Giants have shown interest in Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins but the chances of a deal are very slim due to the veteran shortstops contract and his 10-and-5 rights.
Another option the Giants could consider is the Rangers’ shortstop Elvis Andrus. Andrus is not only a superb defender but he could also help to provide the Giants an offensive spark at the top of the line up. However, the 25-year-old will enter the first year of a massive eight-year, $120M extension in 2015, a price tag the Giants are unlikely to absorb.
Without addressing the holes that exist in the middle infield, the San Francisco Giants will have trouble even keeping pace with their rivals in Los Angeles in the second half. Sabean has made a habit of making key second half additions en route to World Series titles and it’s definitely time for another one in 2014.