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SAN FRANCISCO – While the Tigers and A’s engaged in an escalation of arms not seen since the Cold War, the Giants did not complete any deals in the hours leading up to Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Although reportedly exploring a right-handed bat in the form of Texas outfielder Alex Rios and a switch-hitting leadoff presence in the Cubs’ Emilio Bonifacio, the Giants didn't add either player. Rios stayed put and Bonifacio went to the Atlanta Braves as the buzzer sounded.
Giants GM Brian Sabean has maintained that the urgency to improve must come from players on the current roster, and that he would not feel pressured to make a bad deal.
Here’s the reality: Although the Giants remain in the thick of two playoff races, when your club is 7-21 at home since June 9, it’s hard to justify making short-term fixes by raiding the farm or sacrificing the small amount of financial flexibility you have in 2015 and beyond.
If anything, the Giants’ unwillingness to take on future payroll signals a clear intent to bring back third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who already turned down a three-year, $40 million offer in the spring and will be a headline name in a thin free-agent market after the season.
Despite the Giants’ inaction, the deadline day ended up being a net positive for them. That’s because the Dodgers also stood pat, not even finding a way to bolster a bullpen in need of fresh arms.
It was the Dodgers, not the Giants, that most had the ability to make a move that would reshape the NL West race if they could add a dominant fourth starter to go along with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. But David Price went to the Tigers, Jon Lester went to the A’s and John Lackey went to the Cardinals.
Of course, both clubs – and everyone else – can continue to make trades through the end of August and beyond. Players must clear waivers first, though. There are plenty of big names that have been moved after the deadline, usually because of onerous contracts.
The most active NL West club at the deadline was the sell-mode Arizona Diamondbacks, who moved infielder Martin Prado to the Yankees and outfielder Gerardo Parra to the Brewers. The Padres also traded outfielder Chris Denorfia to the Mariners.