Rewind: Giants lose in Milwaukee, but waiver wire keeps brewing

Rewind: Giants lose in Milwaukee, but waiver wire keeps brewing
August 7, 2014, 4:00 pm
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Alex Rios registered 45 RBI and four home runs for the Rangers in 2014. (AP)

The Giants were playing one game on the field Thursday afternoon, when Jake Peavy scored the only run of support for Jake Peavy in a 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

They are playing another game on the waiver wire, where players are being placed and revoked and bandied about like Cirque du Soleil acrobats.

Some with fat checks in their future are clearing waivers entirely, which means they can be traded anywhere at any time with no restrictions.

According to ESPNDallas.com, Alex Rios is one of those players.

And the Giants should go get him.

[RELATED: Instant Replay: Giants drop rubber match with Brewers]

They looked in on Rios in the days prior to the deadline, but were more focused on trying to pry second baseman Ben Zobrist away from the Tampa Bay Rays. They knew Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt would be back shortly, and they are now (although Belt was not feeling well and unavailable Thursday).

It would be easy to think that with the cast all assembled, and Joe Panik looking serviceable as the second baseman, they are a complete team. They have regulars at every spot.

That would be a mistake.

Just look at what the A’s are doing. They platoon at several spots. They run players in and out of the lineup. They don’t worry about anyone’s feelings getting hurt if they aren’t in the lineup every day. They maximize matchups, stretch the most out of their roster and keep bench players sharper as a result. How else can a team even conceive of trading away their cleanup hitter, Yoenis Cespedes, when they have the major leagues’ best record at the trade deadline? When you have options, you have flexibility. You can pivot in any direction.

The Giants haven’t given themselves those options. They didn’t learn what should’ve been a painful lesson last season, when Pagan hurt his hamstring and Gregor Blanco got exposed as an everyday player. The same thing happened to them again this season. They can’t allow it to happen a third time.

So if the Giants were to acquire Rios, it might be a little crowded in the outfield with Pagan, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse.

You wouldn’t be able to play Morse at first base with Belt back and Buster Posey needing occasional starts there. It would be a juggling act for Bruce Bochy. But even if the Giants have no intention on picking up Rios’ $13.5 million option for next season, it gives them another way to pivot. If they sign Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, and Baseball America is reporting they are a finalist, it would give them a little more depth in an area where the farm system is a dust bowl.

[RELATED: As Panik settles in, Giants await return of Pagan] 

We already know the Giants like Rios. They seriously considered trading Tim Lincecum straight up for him at the 2007 winter meetings, just before the right-hander became the NL Cy Young Award winner in consecutive seasons.

Although Rios has just four home runs while hitting .293/.323/.412 in a Texas ballpark that does pitchers few favors, he also has 22 doubles and eight triples. Scouts say the 33-year-old has regressed in left field and on the bases, but he’s still far better than a station-to-station runner and would represent a defensive upgrade over Morse.

He hasn’t played center field regularly since 2011.

He is owed a little under $4 million the remainder of this season, and the prorated portion gets smaller with each passing day. Now that no team has claimed him, perhaps the Rangers will be more willing to eat a bigger chunk.

If the Giants want more depth from the outside world for 2015, it's more likely to come via trade. good free-agent pitchers don't sign with teams that already have five starters. Good free-agent outfielders don't sign with a team that already has three starting outfielders. So the Giants can't count on free agency to solve all of their roster holes this winter.

Another outfielder, the Phillies’ Marlon Byrd, reportedly was claimed by an unknown team on Wednesday. The Phillies have less than 24 hours remaining to work out a trade with the claiming club or revoke him from waivers. Because players can only be placed on revocable waivers once during the claiming period, if Byrd is pulled back, he could not be dealt the remainder of the season.

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