Wanted to start a new thread interested in peoples take....
The Giants are a terrific match with Cleveland in terms of being able to help strengthen the others weaknesses in certain areas. This potential match between the two clubs is something that should monitored, beyond even the trade deadline and that goes from minor deals onto a blockbuster. After doing a little research, I am very intrigued with some pieces that are definitely in play and reasonably be had reciprocating sending over similar fits to their organization.
Before going into detail on actual players, first I think it's worth mentioning that if there is an organization you want to deal with a straight to the point, no nonsense GM that will make a move in a heartbeat if it's one that helps his big league club now today.... Then there isn't a much better match than Sabean and the Giants. He has gone on record several times staring everyone in their farm system is available, no one is untouchable, up to and including Jared Crick.
Although the Indians have one of the top 3 bullpens in the American League, the one thing they definitely could add to their system are power arms and not necessarily the big league club right away, but throughout their system as the cupboard is pretty bare of these types throughout the organization. The Giant's farm system is interesting to say the least. They have most likely the worst collection of hitting/offensive prospects in all of minor league baseball, and I mean it's bad. On the other hand, they have an average to above average of 'starting rotation' arms throughout their system but when it comes to bullpen arms? They are absolutely loaded...... Lefties and righties and most at the lower levels. After breaking down their system, they have 3 levels of bullpen prospect I'd classify as; 1)Elite closer types 100 MPH types ( The Giants have FOUR of these guys that can throw 100 MPH), 2)'Power RH arms, 3)Power LH arms. Their system has so much depth within these 3 groups that the Indians front office could list 4-5 names within EACH DIFFERENT group and let the Giants choose which one they wanted to trade and these 3 players commit over would make an immediate impact to the shape and depth lacking at the lower levels with the Indians and the Giants could do it at the blink of an eye because of the amount of high level prospects they have still left.
At the big league level, there is no secret the Giants are actively pursuing a 2B (beyond Dan Uggla they recently signed to a minor league deal) and a starting pitcher to replace ailing Matt Cain. The Tribe on various levels have been linked,to the Giants because of this with recent reports of they being interested in either or even both of Asdrubal Cabrera and Alex Aviles,if the Tribe indeed become sellers at the deadline. This potential trade match interested me into looking into it further an I'm intrigued by what fits seem possible and almost a no brainer in their potential whether that be now or even further down the road. There is tremendous value to be had on both sides and for several reasons and mitigating factors. The main one going back to Giants as trade partners in general.... They would have no problem trading anyone the Indians seek if we in return can help their big league club NOW, because as of recent, the Giants are in the World Series discussion every fall.
On the lowest of levels, I'm fairly certain the Indians could ship Aviles over and get a couple decent bullpen arms that are in the lower levels of the Giants system, players that because aren't playing a premium position don't land on any top 10 or even some top20 prospect list of the Giants, but are definitely worth the rate in return. For instance, the Fiants have 3 power arm lefties in their lower levels that would immediately come,to the Indians organization and be labeled best left handed relief prospect for the Tribe. They have 5-6 right handlers who immediately would vault to the top of the same list for right handlers, all siting in the mid to high nineties with secondary plus pitches. Off,the top of my head, Austin Adams is the only guy we have at the lower levels that can touch high nineties... Now I know throwing hard isn't the secret ingredient to bullpen success, so if you already started typing that argument you can save your fingers. I use this barometer for projection and potential, simply enough.
Here are the targets and 3 groupings:
Elite Arms/Closer types (100MPH club)
1) Erik Bordier
- At 28 years old, he is Blake Wood plus a few miles an hour. The fact that he hasn't taken over the Giant's closer role that is there for the taking probably says enough, but the fact that as of recent, Bordier has been clocked in triple digits with frequency is enough to take notice. He's not a bulls eye target, but could be a nice sweetener in a multi player deal.
2) Hunter Strickland (25 yo)
-This is the guy I mentioned earlier who I watched pitch Monday night at Canal Park. My jaw dropped after his 1st registered at 99 MPH because no one in the park was expecting that. Then when he snapped off a breaking ball making Adam Abraham bail on a strike like a kid in pee wee ball seeing a curve ball for the first time... I immediately was googling him in my phone. I would absolutely target this guy simply because if there was ever a time to snatch a guy with this much upside, it's now. He is rated the #30 prospect in the Giant's organization at 25 years old... On paper, acquiring the #30 respect from a team already 25 years old would appear to be a pretty low price for say Aviles, wouldn't ya say? It would be an absolute steal, for the Tribe. Only problem is it won't be easy as it sounds. It seems the Giants have put more stock into Strickland than all the prospect lists and similar to Salazar, they too protected Strickland from Rule 5 and put him on their 40 man roster before his recent T John Surgery. He is literally 10 appearances post surgery and already throwing 100 MPH. I think it's realistic in possibility though simply because of the fact the Giants do not hesitate giving up on potential for upgrade now to the big league roster.
3) Ray Black
-'Only 24 years old too, was drafted in 7the round I believe in 2011, same draft as Crick. Another surgery survivor in the Giants stable of power arms, I saw him as #29 right ahead of Strickland on one prospect list, wasn't even listed on a few others. Under the radar would be an understatement. Now completely healthy, he's been on everyone's radar after throwing 3straight 100 MPH pitches in Arizona this pre season, right in front Keith Law who also wrote Black revealed a wipeout slider to go along with his elite fastball. Since then, he's regularly sat 97-100 mph and is injury free/healthy. I would target both Strickland and Black and try and get the Giants to cough up one of the two when/if one was acquired, they would immediately vault into the system's #1 closer prospect.
4) Jeff Soptic (23 yo)
- A big 6'6 hard thrower who tops out at 100mph with an occasional good slider, he has a long way to go in cleaning up his mechanics and is a project. Has a very bad career walk rate, 6/9innings!! Was recently acquired by the Giants from the White Sox when they shipped 3B Connor Gillaspie.
Left Handed Power Arms:
1) Steven Okurt (23 yo)
- Mid nineties guy with plus secondary stuff top out 97mph, prob best lefty in system, around #20 in system
2)Bryce Bandilla (24 yo)
-Big filthy lefty, best stuff potential in maybe whole org. Hits mid to upper nineties, intimidating.
3) Josh Osich ( 25 yo Int fact: threw no hitter for Oregon St in heads up math with Bauer at UCLA)
- Considered to be top lefty along with Okurt, prob closest to big leagues. Another T John, 95 MPH FB w 2 plus sec pitches.
* the Indians could ask for 1 of these 3 and be happy with any of them and whoever they acquired would be the best lefty prospect ahead of both Crocket and Hagadone on a fast track to the big league club IMO.
*Also in a bigger deal, the Giants have a left Mason McVay who would be an intriguing filler to a bigger deal. He's another T John 6'7 lefty who regularly sat at 95-96 mph for Florida National before getting hurt. Was drafted 26round purely on projection post surgery, he sits 92-93 mph now which is more than ok but he so far has not reached the arm strength previous to surgery, where as many st surgery T John see an increase in velocity. Could be a high return gamble. The other filler target for me would be young lefty Dominican Luis Isla who kind of swings but I see being a match up lefty in the majors. Very live arm, touched 96mph in most recent appearance.
Right Handed Power Arms
1) #1 guy on this list would be Derek Law. Imagine this, he is currently recovering from a thing called Tommy John Surgery and was the elite prospect on the fast track to their big league club. May be had in the right deal.
2) Heath Hembree
- he and Law are the two most advanced but I like a few other lower in their system just as much. Hembree has been considered to have the best fastball in the system for last couple years by baseball America, as he sits regularly in the mid nineties but is capable of reaching even higher. Has been clocked regularly at 99MPH a few years back, but has seemed to have geared back a few mph's lately for better command.
-23 yo is another guy clocked 100 mph a few seasons ago, sits between 95-98mph now with a plus frisbee type slider.
-Has been dominant, 96-98 mph guy
- Another young power arm sits in mid nineties and said to have best breaking ball in entire system
** Ian Gardeck 23 yo and Dan Slania 22 yo are two other power arms with good projection to look at.
* to recap, Hembree and Law would be two pieces that would help immediately in the systems bullpen or within a year at the latest. The other listed would be ideal depth to the systems lack of power arms with or without projection.
In an ideal scenario, I would love to see the Tribe go after one or two of these players within these groups, none even in the top 10 of Giants prospects. Beyond Cabrera and Aviles, the Giants literally have maybe 2 OF prospects worth even mentioning in their system, really weak in this area. A Tyler Naquin or even Carlos Moncrief, a Leon Washington would vault right into the conversation as a top outfield prospect in that organization. A trade off with outfield depth we have, even a Jordan Smith, that should be able to bring a return of like say a Cody Hall... A win win for both teams. I would look for these types of trade aggressively and especially trying to acquire one of their 3 lefties; Okurt, Osich, or Bandilla.
Lastly, I know it wouldn't happen, but I would kick the tires on a Masterson/Cabrera led deal if the Tribe were sellers, simply with the Giants history in paying top price for helping their big league club in return. In a blockbuster like this, I would include Tyler Naquin and go after a package surrounded with their systems gem, Jared Crick. He has recently been deemed expendable with recent draft pick Tyler Beede quickly becoming their closest to untouchable, and Crick when on can be simply dominant. If you are saying to yourself there is no way the Giants would cough up Crick for Masterson/Cabrera... You might want to stop and do so,e research. There are several reports he is the lead in packages for 2b Daniel Murphy and even Ben Zobrist by himself if that ultimately ends up the price in the end. I was surprised to see this myself but he would definitely be in the conversation in a deal with Masterson included and it's not like he's a top5-10 prospect in baseball, he's closer to like #25-26.
There are 2 position players that intrigue me I would target in a larger deal and the reason a Naquin might be needed to sweeten the deal. Tops on the list is their #10 prospect Mac Williamson. He's a big 6'5 240 pound right handed RF prospect that, I'm being serious here, is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. For the win now Giamts, the timing could be good to acquire possibly the Indians right fielder of the future. Adam Duval is intriguing as well as he has mashed everywhere he's been, is hitting .302 with 31 Hrs in AAA this year and has hit like that everywhere. He is an absolute butcher in the field at 3B and most see him headed to 1B in the future. He's only considered a fringe prospect at age 25 but as evidence of going deep in his first at bat, he has shown he can hit big league pitching too. Last, Richmond has a power hitting 1B prospect Angel Villanona who was a Wily Mo Pena type signing with a record signing bonus a few years back. Potential only there.
For fun, what would people think of a blockbuster like this:
Masterson Top rotation starter
Cabrera Big league starter former all star
Aviles(maybe both) if incled w, great depth, adequate starter by himself
Naquin Top 5 prospect
Jordan Smith Top 15 prospect
To Giants for
Jared Crick Top Prospect
Hunter Strickland #30 Prospect AA
Mac Williamson Top hitting prospect #10 overall
Stephen Johnson #21 prospect
Steven Okirt #17 prospect
Bryce Bandilla #23 prospect
Adam Duval or Kuery Meila Mella is a top 5 starting prospect