San Francisco Giants: Trade Deadline Approaches as Struggles Continue

Keely FlanaganContributor IIIJuly 10, 2013

Jun 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro (19) fields a ground ball during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.  The Rockies won 2-1.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The season is steadily reaching its midpoint, and the San Francisco Giants need some help.  At 40-49, beleaguered and bruised, the Giants are looking for any possible spark to reignite their season. 

With the trade frenzy about to begin, this spark could be fast approaching. 

Recent desperation moves, such as signing former Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur, highlight the Giants' need for an outfielder—any outfielder.  Henry Schulman of SFGate writes:

This is a standard no-risk Brian Sabean flier. The Royals will pay the all but a couple hundred thousand dollars left on Francoeur’s $7.5 million salary, and the team hopes the Braves’ 2002 first-round draft pick can find new vigor in San Francisco as Pat Burrell did in 2010 after he was cut loose by Tampa Bay amid talk that his hitting days were over. That worked out well for the Giants.

Moreover, Francoeur can’t do any worse at the plate than Juan Perez or Cole Gillespie have during their looks.

"Can't be any worse at the plate." Signature desperation move.  Still, Francoeur has had seasons of relatively consistent hitting on his resume, dating back to his initial stint with the Atlanta Braves.  More recently, the usual right fielder (although he will move to left field after spending some time in the Giants' farm system) batted .285 and hit 20 home runs. 

Other possible trades could help the Giants moving forward.  

The Giants are looking to bolster their pitching staff.  Currently, the team ranks 19th overall, according to ESPN.  Collectively, Giants pitchers have posted a 4.01 ERA on the year, and Giants starters have only pitched 40 quality starts—placing them among the league's worst, just below the Houston Astros

Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza is one of the more attractive players who could be traded by the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.  He is 5-1 on the season and boasts both a 3.22 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

However, winning the growing Garza lottery could be difficult.  

Other possible contenders include the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. Additionally, USA Today's John Perrotto reported that Garza is in talks with his current team for a possible contract extension.  

The luster of the Giants' 2012 World Series victory could attract Garza, who has had success in his limited postseason action.  Garza's last stint in the playoffs came in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays, when Garza won the pivotal ALCS Game 7.  

The Giants already lost out in the battle for Ricky Nolasco.  It could be time to up the ante in possibly securing Garza. 

Are the Giants ready to unload current talent and give up on the season? Or should they ship off prospects in the hope of contending now? 

General manager Brian Sabean is in a far different position than he was at this time last year.  However, his dealing for Marco Scutaro is exactly the kind of seemingly magical move the Giants need from him now.  

They need a lightning rod to energize a team that, despite putting in the effort, just cannot seem to pull themselves out of the quicksand.  Rebuilding and giving up on the current formula that won a World Series a mere season ago is not the way to right the ship.  

Yes, the Giants are hurt.  Yes, the Giants are struggling.  And it is absolutely overly optimistic to say one trade—or even two—is enough to turn their entire season around. 

But the pieces to make a run to the postseason are still there.  The addition of a new arm and a new face to the rotation could very well re-energize and re-focus the current staff, who not too long ago were among the league's elite.  An experienced outfielder with moments of brilliance in his career could capture another brilliant streak at the plate. 

The last thing the team needs is to lose clubhouse leaders and former stars to the trade deadline.  A team one year removed from a World Series championship on the precipice of either a collapse or a return to greatness does not and cannot face a front office and fanbase who have already given up on them. 

This is truly a defining moment in the season.  The trade deadline should be used as a tool for improvement, not as a means to dismantle a slumping machine.