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Trade Target Team Profile: San Francisco Giants

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San Francisco leads Los Angeles by a game and a half for the NL West lead. As is typically the case, the G-Men have excelled on the mound, ranking fourth in the NL in ERA, while struggling on offense, ranking 11th in runs per game.

The Dodgers have proven pesky and the Diamondbacks currently six games back are always a threat to make a late-season run (last year they went 45-25 after the break), so one would have to think the Giants are very interested in making a move.

Why They'll Trade With the Twins
Although they're very strong at the top of the rotation with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong, the Giants may look to boost the bottom half, where an untrustworthy Barry Zito and a suddenly hittable Tim Lincecum lurk. Would Brian Sabean consider bringing back the pitcher he traded away as a prospect almost a decade ago?

Francisco Liriano would certainly provide an edge, but it's hard to see the team replacing Zito, who has a 3.75 ERA, or Lincecum, who is Lincecum.

The Twins player that really might interest the Giants is Josh Willingham. He's said to be available, though only at an exorbitant price. Ken Rosenthal, who offered up the previous tidbit about Willingham, has also noted that the Giants have a clear need for a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Would they part with a top prospect or two knowing that they'd have Willingham for two more years at a good price? I don't believe the Twins are very interested in dealing the Hammer, but I'd bet money that if they end up moving him it's because Sabean knocked them off their heels with an offer.

Why They Won't Trade With the Twins
Two words: A.J. Pierzynski.

The last time Sabean shipped prospects to Terry Ryan for an established player, it bit him. Hard.

Conclusion
The Giants don't seem like a viable destination for the Twins' top trade chip in Liriano, but they look like a prime landing spot for Willingham. That's true of Denard Span also, though to a lesser extent since they have a couple similar players in Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco.

Read on to find a few players the Twins might ask about if the Giants come calling for an outfielder.

~~~


POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES

Nate Schierholtz - OF
The 28-year-old outfielder recently suggested that he'd welcome a trade, as he feels underutilized. With a career .723 OPS, he's nothing special, but he's competent enough and could serve as a placeholder if the Twins deal Span or Willingham.

Joe Panik - SS
A middle infielder with a stick. Something the Twins could use. After putting up an .868 OPS as a 20-year-old in Low-A last year, he's come back to earth a bit (.265/.347/.374) but his 43/47 K/BB ratio is exciting.

Kyle Crick - RHP
Ryan has put a clear emphasis on young pitchers with upside, and Crick fits that bill extremely well. He's a big 6'4" right-hander who throws four quality pitches, racking up lots of strikeouts and lots of walks. He's also got a 2.75 ERA in Single-A as a 19-year-old.

Clayton Blackburn - RHP
Because who doesn't want another Blackburn in the organization? Oh, and this one is actually really good: 2.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 99/13 K/BB in 89 innings at Single-A as a 19-year-old. Another high-ceiling teenager.

Updated 07-24-2012 at 09:29 PM by Nick Nelson

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