It's been a long time since the San Francisco Giants traded away a fan favorite. The highest profile position player they've lost was the Panda, and he left them. They've traded some pitchers and failed to sign Tim Lincecum. But mostly they managed to acquire players through their farm system and by trading minor league prospects.
That changed today, when they traded one of the mainstays of their popular infield, third baseman Matt Duffy. It's a risky move, beyond the sour taste it leaves. They traded for pitcher Matt Moore, another in the line of pitchers with past potential but recent troubles. That was the pattern before the season started, and arguably Johnny Cueto is the proof that it can work, while Jeff S. is still a question mark.
Both Moore and the other new pitching acquisition, reliever Will Smith, have shown talent but are under-performing this year. In dealing a solid everyday player--one who fit perfectly in that infield, on and off the field--the Giants take a tremendous risk, and in that trade and the trade for Smith, are fast depleting the young talent in their farm system, which has served them so well recently--including giving them Matt Duffy.
The Giants had earlier acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez, whose bat made an immediate impact. But he too is something of a reclamation project going forward. He looks to be the starting third baseman now, perhaps alternating with rookie Conor Gillaspe until their minor league phenom Arroyo is ready.
Dealing for pitchers is more of a risk always, and the impact on the fan sentiment that after all drives dollars to the ballpark is really risky if they don't perform, specifically when there's somebody missing from the everyday lineup, a player that fans--especially young fans--really looked forward to seeing. Moreover, it's not clear how a left handed reliever helps the bullpen all that much. Unless he's a closer.
By the way, I'm not among those who see Cain and Peavy as weak starters in the rotation. They may not be able to get very deep in the game, but they've pitched as well recently as any of the other starters. Jeff S. especially.
The Giants also traded Andrew Susac, who was stuck in the minors because the Giants carry only two catchers. It isn' t all that rare for a team to need that third catcher, and right away.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Pirates traded starting pitcher Francisco Luriano, and I detect some hometown dissatisfaction with recent personnel moves. I'm not following the team that closely but they do seem to be dealing more than usual.
But that's baseball these days, I guess. The Dodgers have added some rent-a-team philosophy since their buy-a-team hasn't worked out, but all that rarely does. You build a team, and even with some vital late season acquisitions in their World Series years, the Giants built a homegrown infield that was among the best in the league. And now they've broken it.
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