We have reported on it, and it has been talked about elsewhere, too: the Giants are in the mix for Yankees relievers, and even Carlos Beltran. This should be no surprise to anyone; the Giants are currently in first place in the NL West, and as of Friday, FanGraphs gave them an 87.4% chance of making the playoffs. Oh yeah, and it’s also an even year.
If you take a glance at the Giants’ depth chart, it’s a pretty balanced lineup, with just a few areas of obvious need. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, and Johnny Cueto are an impressive core, and as we have seen in the past with the Giants, that’s about all you need to make a playoff run.
There are two areas where they could shore things up if they want to compete with the Dodgers and beyond: the outfield, and the bullpen. The outfield at the moment features Angel Pagan, Denard Span, and Hunter Pence. Pence is currently on the disabled list, and Span has been less than stellar, to say the least (92 wRC+ in 84 games). This obviously makes Beltran an option. I think it’s more likely that Beltran goes to an American League club, but it depends on how desperate general manager Brian Sabean is to fill the hole. If I were to guess, they’ll probably stick with what they have.
The more likely scenario, though, is that they will pursue Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. The Giants’ bullpen currently features Santiago Casilla (88 ERA-), Sergio Romo (35 ERA-), and Hunter Strickland (82 ERA-), so adding one, or both, of Chapman and Miller would not only take some high leverage innings from a lower-tier reliever, but it would also allow Romo to be used as middle relief, taking away some innings from the likes of George Kontos and Javier Lopez. Especially in a short playoff series, that upgrade is immensely valuable.
On the Yankees’ side of this, there’s a chance to pry away one of the Giants’ top prospects. It isn’t as popular as trading for, say, Kyle Schwarber, but I think netting a top prospect for a worthless half-season of Chapman is a victory in my book. A couple of the prospects mentioned in trade rumors are Phil Bickford, Tyler Beede, and Chris Shaw—MLB.com lists them as the Giants’ second, third, and fifth-best prospects, respectively.
Bickford and Beede are the most intriguing, of course, because there’s always a need for pitching, and there’s going to be an immediate need in the rotation come 2018, around the time they are expected to crack the big leagues. Bickford just turned 21 years-old on July 10th, and he’s already at High-A pitching to a 2.58 ERA across the minor leagues since starting his professional career. He has a 98 mph fastball and four total average-to-plus pitches (four-seamer, two-seamer, slider, change). MLB.com gives him a 55 overall future value. I’d take that.
Beede features a fastball, curve, and change, and MLB.com gives him a 50 future value. Shaw, unlike, the other two, could possibly be blocked. He was arguably the best college hitter in the 2015 draft, but with Greg Bird in his path, there isn’t a place on the Yankees’ roster other than designated hitter.
This Yankees team is one in partial rebuild, and it’s reasonably likely that the organization ships out a decent chunk of the roster come the end of this month. It’s almost inevitable that Chapman and Beltran move, and like with a few other teams, Chapman fits in perfectly on the Giants’ roster. The question, of course, is whether Sabean would be willing to part with Beede or Bickford. If they could, then it would be a best-case for both teams: a contending team gets a top-notch closer, and the Yankees get a pitching prospect they can hopefully slot in, hopefully, their next contention cycle.