PITTSBURGH -- On Saturday morning, a few hours after Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez had a frightening collision in shallow center field, the Pirates called up a pair of prospects.
One of them is a 24-year-old outfielder who is a former top pick and was tearing up Triple-A. The switch-hitter has a .367 average in 13 games, with five homers, three stolen bases, and a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a .312/.373/.472 slash line in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances. He can play all three outfield spots but is primarily a center fielder.
Is this the type of player you might be interested in seeing with the Giants, who have serious, serious offensive issues and little help on the way in the upper minors?
Under different circumstances, you would have.
The player is Bryan Reynolds, who was taken by the Giants in the second round out of Vanderbilt in 2016. The Giants felt he was a first-round talent who slipped due to concerns about his desire to sign, but Bobby Evans worked out a deal with Scott Boras. The Giants felt they had one of the steals of the draft. Two years later, they dealt Reynolds and Kyle Crick for Andrew McCutchen.
Now, that's a somewhat defensible move. Reynolds did not show much power while with Giants affiliates, although he did always hit for a high average. The Giants felt McCutchen and Evan Longoria could join the core and return an aging team to the postseason, and McCutchen was still a valuable player last season. The Giants did eventually get a couple of prospects in a second McCutchen trade. Abiatal Avelino may help them at some point and Juan De Paula helped bring Kevin Pillar to San Francisco.
Plus, who really knows what Reynolds will become? He has turned into a nice prospect but he's not on anyone's top 100 list. He could be a bust.
Regardless, he shows why it's so important that the Giants don't continue to kick the can down the road. They dealt one of their best prospects -- and a good controllable reliever -- to the Pirates a few months after losing 98 games. There was every reason to tear down, not deal prospects, but the Giants tried to extend the glory days. They desperately need players like Reynolds, who are young and have the kind of upside that they'll show up in Triple-A one season and start mashing homers.
The good news is that Farhan Zaidi knows all this. He has kind of tried to extend the window but has done it half-heartedly with low-cost additions like Derek Holland, Drew Pomeranz and Pillar. He is stockpiling lottery tickets in the minors, and the odds are good that this July he'll be adding a half-dozen more as he subtracts bullpen pieces and a starter or three from a team that's off to an 8-13 start.
But man, the Giants sure could have used this attitude after the 2017 season.