The San Francisco Giants do not have the greatest rotation known to man, but it’s been decent enough to carry them to the Major’s best record through June 15th. How their rotation ranks overall for different stats:
- Innings pitched: 5th (620.0)
- Ground ball %: 4th (48.2%)
- ERA: 3rd (3.19)
- FIP: 5th (3.47)
- K%-BB%: T-6th (13.9%)
- First strike %: 2nd (62.4%)
- Swinging strike %: T-8th (9.7%)
Despite these stats, many of them top five in the league, there is always room for improvement. You wouldn’t see the Dodgers slowing down even though they have Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-jin Ryu, so why should the Giants even though they have five starters? Enter Bob Nightengale, USA Today journalist:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 15, 2014
The rumors of the Cubs dealing Jeff Samardzija are certainly not new and the Giants have been mentioned as interested suitors before, so as we get towards the trade deadline, consider this just being food for thought in terms of whom the Giants might trade for. With Samardzija having stats that would put him not too far away from 2014 Madison Bumgarner and a year and a half left on his contract to whatever team he’s paying for, the Cubs will expect a handsome return for The Shark. I would not be surprised if two pitching prospects and perhaps a bullpen arm goes over to the Cubs in exchange for Samardzija, but maybe I’m under-selling or over-selling the deal here. There’s a reason I’m not in a front office, but I would fully expect top prospect coming into the season, Kyle Crick to be in the deal. From there, it’s all speculation: is Edwin Escobar in the deal? Is Yusmeiro Petit the spare bullpen arm I think would be in the trade? Or does a current starter like Ryan Vogelsong or Tim Lincecum make his way onto the transactions sheet? I would hope not, as it would not hurt to have starting pitching depth in your bullpen.
Some Giants fans would only be OK with a trade like this if Samardzija signs an extension, but keep in mind Samardzija would be entering his age 31 season in 2016, so the Giants might be buying someone’s services who’s more on the decline than the up and up were they to do that. Plus, if the Giants are playing for the NL West, which they should be doing, they should make sure their four man rotation matches up with the best of them while the window of opportunity is there. With the trade deadline more than a month away, we’ll see if the Cubs and Giants hook up for a June deal, or if the Giants wait until July to see how things play out and then watch Sabean make his moves from there.