While it’s a bit unusual, the Giants kicked off their legitimate run at the NL West last night by trading away their starting catcher. By moving Bengie Molina to the Rangers, they can now re-arrange their line-up in such a way that will let them become buyers for what they really need.
Buy or Sell
This is an easy buy, and the sooner the better. The NL West is wide open and the Giants have a shot at this thing, but they’ll need to be willing to make a move for an outfielder who can hit if they want to run down the three teams in front of them. The Molina trade lets them put Buster Posey behind the plate and move Aubrey Huff back to first base, creating a spot in the outfield for the one guy on the market who fits their needs perfectly – David DeJesus.
Besides being able to play any of the three outfield positions, DeJesus can do one thing the Giants badly need – hit the baseball with regularity. A career .290/.361/.429 hitter, he’s in the midst of the best year of his career, putting up a .331/.398/.478 mark for the Royals. He would be a monstrous upgrade over Aaron Rowand, and he fits everything that Brian Sabean has said he’s looking for.
He’s not a rental player, as he’s under contract for 2011 at a bargain rate of $6 million. He’s a good defender who can run down balls in the spacious park, and putting him next to Andres Torres will somewhat offset having Pat Burrell out there as well. He can hit anywhere in the line-up as well, as he’s one of the rare high quality players who also offers a lot of flexibility in how he is used.
There just aren’t any players like DeJesus on the market, who fit the needs of the Giants so perfectly. Rumor has the Royals asking for the moon, but I have to think there’s a deal to be made here. Putting him on this roster makes too much sense for it to not happen.
On The Farm
While Posey and Madison Bumgarner got all the headlines, there are some interesting young players in the system besides those two. They could offer up players like 20-year-old shortstop Ehire Adrianza, outfielder Thomas Neal, or lefty reliever Dan Runzler, who would have value to the Royals but wouldn’t cripple their future. The Giants system has enough depth to pull of a trade for pretty much anyone they want, and Sabean has shown he’s not shy about trading young for old.
At just $6 million for 2011, the Giants should be able to fit DeJesus in the budget, even though they’re going to be stretched for payroll room. They already have $77 million in committed salaries for next year, and that doesn’t include money to re-sign Aubrey Huff. They’re not going to have a ton of money to spend to upgrade their roster over the winter, so a guy like DeJesus, who is worth far more than his salary, is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.