SAN FRANCISCO – The way GM Brian Sabean explained it, the Giants’ lack of activity at Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline wasn’t a failure on the part of him or his staff.
He sees a flawed and underperforming roster. And he sees little sense paying a premium to change the wallpaper in a house that might be condemned.
“I’ve done this a long time and I feel as good about not getting something done as much as any year, because I felt there were bad deals to be made,” Sabean said. “The club isn’t playing well, and that’s a frustrating position to be in.”
Sabean said he explored several options to acquire an everyday second baseman, and although he did not mention names, the Cubs’ Emilio Bonifacio was pursued with the thought of giving the club another leadoff option while Angel Pagan is on the DL.
“We were very willing to do what we could do to acquire that player, it fit our needs financially,” Sabean said. “We just couldn’t execute the deal based on what the ask was, and that had to do with too many buyers in the market. We’d do the same thing if we were on other side of the fence. They held out to the very end to get what we weren’t going to give up.”
The Cubs moved Bonifacio and reliever James Russell to the Braves for minor league catcher Victor Caratini, who was Atlanta’s second-round pick a year ago.
Although many Giants fans would’ve been perfectly fine with Sabean parting with catching prospect Andrew Susac, or other prospects in a relatively thin system, the GM made it clear: the team’s recent performance, including a 7-21 record at home since June 9, did not whet his appetite to take a scythe to the farm.
While noting the series in Philadelphia earlier this month took a lot out of the team heading into last weekend’s showdown series with the NL West-leading Dodgers at AT&T Park, Sabean said “the look of it wasn’t good” when their archrivals crushed them in a three-game sweep.
“Answering it the only way I know how, I don’t know how good we are,” Sabean said. “I don’t know how close we are, close to winning the division or even the wild card” based on recent performance.
Sabean said he is curious “to see how we flip the switch” when Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan return, which is likely to happen sometime during the 10-game road trip that begins Friday in New York. Belt could be active at some point this weekend from the 7-day concussion DL.
Sabean said he would he active during the waiver claiming period, putting in claims both for acquiring and blocking purposes. And he said he was pleased at how other clubs valued their minor leaguers in trade discussions.
“A lot of good free information and I’m pleased to say we might be even deeper than we thought,” Sabean said. “That’s certainly true from a pitching standpoint.”