As the San Francisco Giants fade in the National West, fans are increasingly insistent that general manager Brian Sabean do something, do anything, that makes an impact on the club that is clearly in danger of being blown out of the water by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fans are right. The Giants do need big, bold moves to fill many holes. They lack talent to trade to obtain quality players. That angers fans even more. That’s when frustrated fans insist that Sabean always falls short at the trade deadline and that the club won two World Series despite the GM’s complete inability to swing an impact trade at the deadline or piece together moves to help a team without tearing apart whatever pieces got the team in the playoff race to begin with.
Sabean has done a magnificent job at the trade deadline, and using the waiver wire, in every season that one of his Giants teams entered late July in the hunt for a postseason berth. He took the Giants’ GM job in 1997 and made a trade that rebuilt the fading pitching staff without giving up a player off the big league roster.
Fans are entitled to their opinions, clearly. But, information is helpful before arriving at the opinions. Here’s a look back at Sabean’s trade deadline moves, as well as key waiver wire acquisitions.
Hunter Pence, outfielder
July 31: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the San Francisco Giants for catcher Tommy Joseph (minors), pitcher Seth Rosin and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
Marco Scutaro, second baseman
July 27: Traded by Colorado Rockies with cash to the Giants for infielder Charlie Culberson.
Giants fans remember that Scutaro became the team’s most valuable player upon settling in as the second baseman, having an amazing stretch run that carried into the postseason where he and Pence helped lead the Giants to a world championship. The Giants’ organization was deep behind the plate, so the power-hitting Joseph was sent packing. After a solid 2013, Schierholtz is batting barely .200 for the Chicago Cubs. The Pence deal was considered one that Sabean and the Giants absolutely would not make since he was nearing the end of his contract.
Carlos Beltran, outfielder
July 28: Traded by the New York Mets with cash to the Giants for minor league pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Beltran was hounded by injuries, but still hit 7 home runs with 18 RBIs. He batted .323 with a staggering .920 OPS in 44 games. This was the blockbuster trade that fans insist the Giants and Sabean never make. When healthy, Beltran provided exactly what the Giants needed. Still, many criticize the swap in hindsight since Wheeler remains a 23-year-old prospect who is 12-13 over two seasons for the New York Mets. He’s started 38 games with a 3.54 ERA.
Jeff Keppinger, infielder
July 19: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Giants for minor league pitchers Jason Stoffell and Henry Sosa.
With Freddy Sanchez injured, San Francisco was desperate for a second baseman and acquired the veteran Keppinger for two minor leaguers. He batted .255 as the club’s playoff run fell shy.
Orlando Cabrera, shortstop
July 30: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Giants for minor league outfielder Thomas Neal.