The Giants’ trade of two prospects for P Jake Peavy of the Red Sox should open some eyes in baseball, more so than would be expected for a transaction for a hurler with a 1-9 record. A huge part of the reason why the Giants were World Champions in 2010 and 2012 was savvy summertime acquisitions.
In 2010, they mostly came after the July 31 trading deadline, interestingly enough. Between Aug. 11 and Aug. 22 of that year, they brought aboard 2B Mike Fontenot, OF Jose Guillen and OF Cody Ross. All three played major roles off the bench. Ross, who was signed off waivers from the Marlins, merely became the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Guillen helped the Giants hold off the Padres in the NL West division race before being mysteriously left off the post-season roster, and it was later learned that he was linked to an investigation into Human Growth Hormones.
The 2012 World Series run was sparked by two of the better trading deadline deals of all time. On July 27, the Giants received 2B Marco Scutero for P Charlie Culberson, and on July 31 they brought in OF Hunter Pence for OF Nate Schierholtz and two other players.
Scutaro batted .362 over the last two months of the season and drove in 44 runs while scoring 40. And the Rockies PAID the Giants to take him off their hands. Pence batted only .219 but he drove in 45 runs. Projected over a season, both would have had around 130 RBI.
Which brings us to Peavy, whose ERA has been under 4.00 only once since 2009. The Giants have a track record of great moves at this time of year. Note that the players listed above, like Peavy, were not performing terribly well before they were moved — and their teams wanted to get rid of them. They found new life and production under manager Bruce Bochy.
Don’t be surprised if the fiery Peavy launches another strong post-season run for the Giants.
For the sake of perspective, here are some major trading deadline moves by the Giants in other recent seasons:
In 2009, they sent a minor-league pitcher to the Pirates for 2B Freddy Sanchez, but they barely played over .500 ball the rest of the way and finished third in the division. Sanchez had a good year in the 2010 World Series season but was beset by injuries.
In 2011, they dealt then-minor league P Zack Wheeler to the Mets for OF Carlos Beltran, who gave the Giants a .323 batting average and 7 home runs. They also packed-off a minor leaguer to the Indians for Orlando Cabrera, who completed his long career solidifying the Giants infield.
That time of the season, specifically July 28, was the Giants’ high-water mark at 17 games above .500 and in first place by four games. They finished 86-76 and eight games off the pace.
The Giants made no major trading deadline moves in 2013, when they were 13 games below .500 and 11 games behind the division lead.