What hap­pens if the Giants de­cide not to sell at the trade dead­line?

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Kerry Crow­ley

DEN­VER — Fast for­ward to Tues­day, Oct. 1.

The Giants have just fin­ished off one of the best sec­ond halves in team his­tory and se­cured one of the Na­tional League’s two Wild Card play­off berths.

As they pre­pare to take the field, Madi­son Bum­gar­ner is warm­ing up in one bullpen. Johnny Cueto is warm­ing up in the other.

It’s a po­ten­tial night­mare sce­nario for the Giants and up un­til three weeks ago, fac­ing Bum­gar­ner with the sea­son on the line was wildly un­re­al­is­tic. It’s long been as­sumed that one of the great­est post­sea­son pitch­ers in modern base­ball will be traded ahead of the July 31 dead­line, but the Giants’ sud­den surge up the stand­ings is likely giv­ing the front of­fice sec­ond thoughts.

With a 45-49 record, the Giants still have a chal­leng­ing task on their hands if they hope to stay rel­e­vant in the post­sea­son con­ver­sa­tion. How­ever, thanks to an 11-3 stretch over their last 14 games and a 23-15 record since June 1, the Giants have en­tered a dis­cus­sion they once had no busi­ness join­ing.

“The vibe, you can feel the mojo with these guys,” man­ager Bruce Bochy said Mon­day. “They’re hav­ing a lot of fun right now which win­ning brings and suc­cess. Get­ting timely hits, we’ve had a lot of hits with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion.”

On the day be­fore the All-Star break, Giants pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Farhan Zaidi said that if the club con­tin­ues a re­cent hot streak, many of the nar­ra­tives ex­ist­ing around what the or­ga­ni­za­tion will do at the trade dead­line might dis­ap­pear.

Since the break ended, the Giants have won four of five games, picked up two games in the Wild Card stand­ings and passed two hope­fuls, the Pi­rates and the Reds.

“We’ve played long enough to un­der­stand that when things like this start hap­pen­ing, you sit back and en­joy them and try to keep them go­ing as long as you can,” pitcher Jeff Sa­mardz­ija said.

It’s too soon to know whether the Giants will regress and give Zaidi an easy choice to “sell” at this year’s dead­line. But given the sur­pris­ing suc­cess the club has en­joyed over the last six weeks, it’s fair to won­der what would hap­pen if the Giants de­cide to keep many of their most de­sir­able trade chips.

Out­side of Bum­gar­ner, re­liev­ers Will Smith and Sam Dyson are among the most at­trac­tive po­ten­tial ad­di­tions for con­tend­ing clubs in need of bullpen help. Young arms like Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta will at­tract in­ter­est while Sa­mardz­ija, a vet­eran with an­other year left on a hefty con­tract, could be pitch­ing his way into trade talks af­ter post­ing a 1.66 ERA in his first three July starts.

If the Giants de­ter­mine sell­ing isn’t in the best in­ter­est for their club­house, their re­tir­ing man­ager and their fans, “buy­ing” isn’t the al­ter­na­tive path this front of­fice will choose. San Fran­cisco is in the midst of re­build­ing its farm sys­tem and won’t part with any prospects who have the po­ten­tial to be high-im­pact con­trib­u­tors in the ma­jor leagues.

A re­luc­tance to sell and an un­will­ing­ness to buy could mean that Zaidi will tar­get more bal­anced strate­gic moves. The Giants could still flip a re­liever like Smith or Dyson, but they would want a re­turn that in­cludes a player who can help the big league club im­me­di­ately.

Trad­ing from an area of strength like the bullpen would al­low San Fran­cisco to ad­dress depth is­sues in the out­field, in­field and po­ten­tially even the ro­ta­tion. For­tu­nately for Zaidi, the Giants sud­denly look like one of the most com­plete teams in the Na­tional League.

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