The San Francisco Giants made some big moves in the past few days, adding the likes of Eduardo Nunez, Will Smith and Matt Moore.
So are they deals good for the Giants?
Well, it depends on who you ask, and it also depends on how you rate trades.
If you look at the deals from the perspective of “Did the Giants make their 2016 roster better for the stretch run?” the consensus is these deals are good for the Giants.
Peter Gammons on MLB Network said the moves were “very good” for the Giants.
“Under the radar, I thought they were really good moves,” Gammons said. “First of all, I think Matt Moore (has been) throwing better and better as the season has gone on, coming off Tommy John surgery. … Pitching in that ballpark (AT&T Park), which is really important, having Buster Posey behind the plate, who builds relationships with pitchers as well as anybody in the game, and it’s a great park to give up fly balls in. So it should be great for him. After (Madison) Bumgarner and (Johnny) Cueto, their starting pitchers had an ERA of almost 5.00, so getting this extra starter, particularly one who can match up, is important.”
Gammons pointed out that Will Smith has not been great this season against left-handed hitters, but added that he’s “battle-worn.”
“I think what’s really important is he just gives Bruce Bochy another way to go in the sixth to the ninth inning,” Gammons said.
Critics also called the addition of Nunez a perfect fit for the Giants, adding some needed pop and speed.
So the players the Giants added make them better.
But if you look at the deals from the standpoint of what they gave up, then the analysis is not so favorable.
Guys who rate prospects didn’t think the Giants did so well.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline said for the Brewers to get Phil Bickford for Will Smith was a good trade for the Brewers. But to get Andrew Susac on top was a bonus.
Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline said the Brewers getting Bickford for Smith “boggles my mind.”
But anytime a team makes a trade, the team not only considers the value of the players they are giving up, but also whether the voids left by those players in the system can be filled.
Now if you looked at a consensus of a variety of prospect rankings, Bickford rated as the No. 2 propsect in the Giants’ system. But right with him, tied at No. 2, is Tyler Beede, and Beede is further along than Bickford, pitching in Double-A as opposed to just making the move to High-A ball. Infielder Lucius Fox was the No. 4 prospect. But their top prospect is also an infielder in Christian Arroyo.
Last week, Giants executive vice president Brian Sabean went to Richmond to look presumably at Arroyo and Beede, and many thought it was to decide if the Giants would deal those players.
Instead, it was to decide how close to ready Arroyo and Beede were, so the team could decide to deal other prospects.
With Joe Panik at second, Brandon Crawford at short and Nunez at third through 2017 – then Arroyo in the system to move in at 3B – the Giants felt they were covered well enough to deal Matt Duffy and Fox to Tampa for Moore.
With Beede in the system, as well as others, the Giants felt they could part with Bickford.
And here’s one thing to keep in mind. None of the trades the Giants made this past week will be able to be rated in the ways that the Carlos Beltran/Zack Wheeler deal was or the Mike Leake/Adam Duvall trade.
In both of those deals, the players the Giants got were two-month rentals and eligible for free agency at the end of the season in which they were acquired.
Nunez is under club control through 2017. Moore and Smith are both under club control through 2019.
So these deals not only were made for the stretch run of 2016, but into the future as well.
And that’s why the price for these players were as high as they were.