The State of the San Francisco Giants
Here’s a nice Q&A from Chris Haft of MLB.com regarding where the Giants are approaching Spring Training 2014. I agree with Haft that the Giants’ bench needs strengthening, at least when it comes to hitting.
The Giants have made it clear that they won’t be spending any more on top free agent pitching, but I’m still hoping the Giants sign someone to improve their bench. Jeff Baker, with whom the Giants negotiated back in December before signing Mike Morse and a role player who wears out left-handed pitching, remains unsigned. However, the Giants have not been linked to him since signing Morse.
Still, the fact that Baker remains unsigned in early February could mean his asking price will soon come down. Morse remains a real question mark, since his 2013 season was pretty poor, and he’s now 32 years old — players Morse’s size (6’5″, 245 lbs) don’t tend to age well.
Jeff Baker would definitely give the Giants a lot more security. However, the Giants have numerous young, players, including those listed in Haft’s piece, who can play the same positions defensively for a lot less money, although they won’t provide the right-handed hitting or veteran presence that Baker would.
As Haft also notes, it seems fairly likely that by the 2014 trade deadline, the Giants will have a surplus of young starting pitching in their minor league system with which to trade for players to plug up holes at the major league level. Presumably, the Giants will try to hold onto Edwin Escobar, Kyle Crick and Chris Stratton, although these are likely to be the pitchers other teams will demand in exchange for anyone worth anything.
A pitcher I’d certainly want included in a trade if I were another team is Clayton Blackburn. I like his body-type, his age and the fact that he’s handled 130+ innings workloads the last two seasons well.
As Haft mentions, most of the Giants pitching prospects have a long way to go before becoming major leaguers. However, a number of them will have pitched at the AA level (at least) by late July 2014. If they are successful there, other teams will no doubt be interested in them as trade bait.