Buyers? Sellers? Somewhere in between? What the Giants will do before Tuesday's MLB trade deadline remains to be seen.
San Francisco's 2022 season certainly has been disappointing, and the team has multiple assets that could net exciting, young prospects. On the flip side, the Giants are just four games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the third and final NL wild-card spot before Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Former Giants outfielder Hunter Pence joined 95.7 The Game's Mark Willard and Joe Shasky on the "Garlic Fries and Baseball Guys" podcast, where he discussed why San Francisco shouldn't trade co-ace Carlos Rodón and how the team should attack the upcoming deadline.
"When you trade Rodón, it's a ripple effect, a message," Pence said. "No matter what you get back, it helps for now, you're not going to win a World Series. We are the San Francisco Giants, we are an incredible organization, we have a powerful fan base, and we have a Carlos Rodón and a Logan Webb, who you can step into the playoffs and be like this is our No. 1, this is our No. 2, come and get some. You trade Rodon, you lose that.
"I don't care who you get, do not do this buy/sell thing. I am so passionate about this. And by the way, we're three games out, whatever the case may be, you don't get opportunities to make postseason runs, have No. 1s and No. 2s like that very often. And the Giants can win every year -- we have the backing to do that. So to me, you add to this team. We're losing one-run games, we're playing a little bit of poor defense. These are things that are fixable."
Pence believes that by being buyers at the deadline, the Giants could instill confidence in a roster that hasn't had many reasons to be confident in recent weeks. There's one name in particular that Pence believes could be a good fit in San Francisco.
"These players aren't robots, they're not just going to be their stats," Pence explained. "You ripple and inspire all of them when you buy and have faith and you're like, 'Guess what? We're coming to win this year,' because an opportunity to get to the playoffs with a [Carlos] Rodón and a Logan Webb and the bullpen. ... Add one or two little arms, add one good defender, go get a Joey Gallo, who's really going to fit in over here that you don't have to give away the farm for.
"He's going to do a lot of things, he's going to play crazy defense, he has one of the strongest arms and help the pitching staff and send a message to these players and the city, 'Hey, we're coming to burn it down, because that's what we do and we have the team to do it.' "
The biggest name available before the deadline is Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto, whom the Giants reportedly have expressed some level of interest in, but they likely aren't one of the serious contenders to make a move for him at this point. San Francisco would pay a premium, one that Pence doesn't believe is necessary. Instead, the two-time world champion believes his former team needs to make moves that address the bullpen and clean up the shaky outfield defense.
"You don't sell the farm for a Juan Soto," Pence added. "What you do is find a way to find some bullpen arms to bolster this bullpen, especially a left-hander that comes in that's a veteran that could also breed more confidence into the other young bullpen arms that's like, 'I got lefties out.' Go get another lefty, and you might have to give away one prospect that's an average major league or maybe a plus-major leaguer. You don't give away your blue, blue-chip [prospects] because that's going to be if you're doing the Juan Soto thing. You get a reliever, you might have to give a little bit of farm up, but we can pick that up in free agency. You go out and get one more bat, outfield defense, sew up the left-field defense."
As a former deadline acquisition himself, Pence knows exactly what kind of boost a trade can provide to a team that's competing for a playoff spot. Pence himself provided a spark that played a huge role in San Francisco's 2012 and 2014 championships, and he believes a similar move can fire up this year's team.
Will the Giants make another Pence-like move, or will they sell off valuable assets and re-tool for next season? We'll find out in less than 24 hours.