The Giants find themselves facing a question nobody ever expected: Should they be buyers or sellers at the July 31 MLB trade deadline?
For months, the answer was obvious. The Giants found themselves at the bottom of the standings as one of the worst teams in baseball. Having two of the best trade assets in the game in pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, San Francisco was built to sell and keep building for the future.
Oh how quickly the narrative changes.
As the Giants enter Wednesday only three games back for the second NL wild-card spot, fans are clamoring for president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to be a buyer and hold onto the two left-handers. That won't be the case, however, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
"San Francisco's recent success isn't throwing a wrench in the team's trade-Bumgarner-and-all-the-relievers plan," Passan wrote Wednesday morning. "Even with their best run of the year, the Giants are three games below .500 and have the third-worst run differential in the NL. They are selling. One more time, a bit slower. They. Are. Selling."
And they should. Despite being on a four-game win streak and going 8-2 in their last 10 games, the math just doesn't add up, as Passan points out. Plus, it makes no sense for an aging roster that likely isn't a title contender to hold onto Bumgarner and Smith, both of whom will be free agents this upcoming offseason.
The Giants have been dangling Bumgarner to interested teams for a while now. According to Passan, they tried to get a deal done last month but nothing substantive came from the trade talks. As the deadline approaches, teams reportedly believe he won't be moved until the final days of the month.
Bumgarner and Smith both will be on the move. Who gets the greater return for the Giants is the biggest question now.
Everyone knows who Bumgarner is. While he isn't the same dominant pitcher he once was, his pedigree in the playoffs speaks for itself. A team on the verge of being World Series favorites knows adding someone like Bumgarner with his October experience could make all the difference.
But October is a month driven by bullpens and Smith has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season. Plenty of relief help will be on the way at the deadline, and the Giants' closer could be the cream of the crop.