The Giants suck. I just had to get that out of the way, you know as a matter of procedure. Now on to the fact that they are 42 and 35 in a good position to make the playoffs this year as, despite being 7 games behind the Dodgers, the are the leaders in the NL Wild card. The Giants haven't been in the playoffs in the post Bonds era and Brian Sabean is widely viewed to be on the hot seat after several bad trades and years of thinking that signing Michael Tucker, Brian Roberts, and Aaron Rowand was the answer. With the once shinny new ballpark failing to lure people to see a terrible team and the Giants have a narrow window while Lincecum and Cain are cheap, Johnson isn't retired, and Zito doesn't completely fall off of a cliff.
The Giants pitching certainly hasn't been the problem with the 7th most WAR of any staff in the bigs. The Giant's bats have failed the bullpen that was revamped in the off season and the starters which have always been dangerous. The Giants are so bad at the plate this year that they even edge out the A's at batting runs below average by .4 runs to be the worst team in the big leagues in that regard. That is horrible. They only have 3 players that are more than 1 run above average with the bat (Sandoval, Rowand, Torres). Their biggest needs are 2b, COF 1b.
Their 2bmen have combined to be worth 1.6 WAR LESS THAN REPLACEMENT. This shouts Adam Kennedy to me. AK 47 has no position on the A's now that Ellis has returned and the A's can parlay Joe Dillion (the PTBNL) into a real prospect. Kennedy hasn't played good defense at 2nd this year but has in the past, so considering him a 0 RAA defensive player. With his ZIPs rest of the year projection for his wOBA he is about 5.75 runs below average with the bat. 11.67 runs worth of replacement will be awarded based on playing time and 1.45 runs for position. That means he is worth .73 WAR. Now the Giants are - 1.6 WAR through 77 games. At that pace they are -1.73 WAR for the rest of the season. That means that Adam Kennedy is a 2.4 Win upgrade. Wow.
Unfortunately the market value of a Kennedy is less than a #2/3 big league starter or a slightly above league average starting player, which is basically is the equivalent win value. But it does give Beane plenty of leverage, especially with the dearth of middle infielders on the market this deadline. The A's should be able to get any of the non "fantastic 4 prospects" (Bumgarner, Posey, Alderson, Villalona) as Giants fans call them. The problem is the Giants system while a good one is only 4 prospects deep. Looking at Sickles ratings:
5) Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Grade B-: I like the Midwest guys. Polished bat, will hit for average and get on base, glove needs to be more reliable but I think it will.
6) Henry Sosa, RHP, Grade B-: Good arm, but a bit erratic, can he stay healthy?
7) Nick Noonan, 2B, Grade B-: Strike zone judgment needs work but I like the other skills.
9) Waldis Joaquin, RHP, Grade C+: Fits the tradition of power arms in this organization.
10) Rafael Rodriguez, OF, Grade C+: I have no idea where to rank guys like this. Could be anything from a superstar to a superdud.
11) Jose Casilla, RHP, Grade C+: Another power arm of interest, though a long way away.
12) Clayton Tanner, LHP, Grade C+: I like him as a sleeper for ’09.
14) Scott Barnes, LHP, Grade C+: Intriguing lefty out of St. John’s in the 2008 draft. Good stuff, decent command.
16) Ehire Adrianza, SS, Grade C+: Good scouting reports, good glove, sample size very small. Could rise rapidly in grade in ’09. Other sources will rank him higher.
I don't really find much here exciting or having a lot sleeper potential. Conor Gillaspie is hitting less than his polish would indicate, he really has no home run power, is mediocre defensively and while his bat polish should make him a rather fast mover he is still in A+ ball. Sickles had this to say about him:
Gillaspie is a fairly polished player who should advance quickly up the system. His best attributes are contact hitting ability, strike zone judgment, gap power and a tremendous work ethic. He isn’t likely to be a big home run guy, and his ultimate value will depend on if he’s a .300+ hitter in the majors, or just a .270ish hitter, and at this point we don’t know. His defense at third base is decent but not great. He has a strong arm, and good athleticism, but his range is just average, and he makes more errors than he should. From watching him play in college, I think he can be a solid third baseman with more experience, though he won’t win Gold Gloves
This conflicts with other reports (PG crosschecker) that I have seen questioning his ability to stay at 3rd base due to lack of range, and the video that I have seen showed what I thought was poor range and hands that were anything but baby soft as he made some errors. On the upside he walks, he walks a lot and it wouldn't be surprising if he supported a huge isolated on base percentage in the .070-.100 levels. If he becomes the .300 hitter that many suggest he will in the MLB you can deal with a slugging percentage that only has an IsoP of .090 to .100. If he plays average defense his bat plays, if he doesn't it doesn't. Due to our positional need he could be targeted in an AK deal. He has enough warts that he should be available perhaps plus a C arm.
Sosa has a problem staying healthy, hasn't pitched that well in AA and is starting to get old. We don't really need pitching right now. Nick Noonan has inspired Utley comparisons, except his defense sucks, hasn't hit this year and he strikes out all the time, so really he is nothing like Utley. Rafael Rodriguez has a toolshed and just started playing baseball in the US as a 17 year old. He has high as the sky 5 tool potential, will need lots and lots of time. The arms are pretty much interchangeable but I do like Tanner, just as Sickles. Adrianza is someone that scouts dream on and I don't care for do to lack of results.
An honorable mention went to Brandon Crawford who after demolishing A+ in his first year of pro ball is struggling a little bit with the transition to AA. I like him much more than a C rating and better than many on the list above him. Roger Kieschnick is a left fielder who was the Giants third round pick in 08. He is demolishing the Cal League in one of the hardest parks to hit in what is usually a launching pad of a league. According to Baseball America he changed his swing to close some holes that scouts saw in college. While he is striking out way too much and walking way too little he had very good plate discipline in college, so hopefully that wouldn't be a long term problem. Thomas Neal was another honorable mention, with light tower power already hitting 15 home runs. His strike outs aren't that bad considering the power and his walks while not great aren't bad either. Neal is a little old (22) for High A and his defense in the outfield is suspect so he has been moved to first base, but he may just be figuring out his potential.
Kennedy alone should net a package of Gillaspie plus Tanner/Sosa/Neal, Crawford/Kieschnick/Rafael Rodriguez plus a throw in arm, or Neal plus Tanner and a better throw in arm than the other packages. However the Giants might want to expand the trade.
For Holliday, who is needed because Fred Lewis is full of suck this year and projects to be a 1 WAR player. Tim Alderson would be needed. Alderson has the potential to be a #2/3 starter in the bigs has plus command and excellent while not elite stuff. Some have compared him to a right handed Brett Anderson but he has just a touch less stuff. He is the only one of the fantastic 4 that would be touchable ( I want nothing to do with AnVil even if he is available, totally agree with Paul Thomas on this one, MadBum and Posey certainly aren't). For Holliday I think a package with my present grades comprised of Alderson (A-), Kieschnick(C+/B-), and Gillaspie (C/C+) is in between the Sabathia deal and the Teixiera #2 deal. If you put Kennedy in and picked up some money I think you could get Crawford too. The end package there would be Alderson (A-), Crawford (C+), Kieschnick (C+/B-), and Gillaspie (C/C+) for Holliday and Kennedy plus salary relief.