The due date is nearly here. If the Giants want to impress before final marks and decisions are made, they will need to cram the next two days.
Cramming in two wins to return to two games under .500, leaving the Diamondbacks in last in the NL West and looking toward a second-half schedule that is remarkably easier than their first would send a message to Farhan Zaidi & Co. that additions, not subtractions, should be made.
A pair of losses would move them to 15-21 and in last place in the division during Monday’s trade deadline. A sell-off would not be likely, but it sure would be more likely than it looks at the moment.
The Giants have needs that could be plugged, and they have trade bait that could turn into prospects. Crunch time is here.
“We’ve got a really great group of guys,” Evan Longoria said Friday night after the club’s third straight loss. “I think that the belief is we can make the playoffs, and we have the pieces that are there.”
“All you can ask for is to be in it at the deadline,” Tony Watson said on Saturday before their Chase Field Game Two. “…Obviously different playoff format this year, and we’re in it, so I like our chances.”
Kevin Gausman, their most likely trade candidate, said this week he prefers staying. The team’s leaders are echoing the sentiment, feeling their seven-game winning streak before this losing streak should tell the front office this is a team worth keeping intact.
The Giants’ rotation has built up and rounded into form, looking like a strength even without Drew Smyly and Jeff Samardzija. After four weeks of struggles within the bullpen, Gabe Kapler has begun weeding the trustworthy from the untrustworthy, the unit posting a 1.46 ERA over its past 10 games led by Watson, Tyler Rogers, Wandy Peralta and suddenly Sam Selman. The Giants’ hitting has produced the sixth most runs in baseball, though it has been far deadlier against lefty pitching than righty pitching (with Arizona throwing righties Saturday and Sunday).
If Zaidi and GM Scott Harris decide to seek upgrades, a lefty-hitting corner outfielder would be useful, the Giants unable to find that bat all season. From Joe McCarthy to Friday’s Joey Rickard start to Mauricio Dubon’s turn Saturday, the third outfielder against righty starters has been elusive.
Adding a piece — especially after potential reclamation projects in Chris Shaw and Melvin Adon were inserted into the player pool this week, making them trade-eligible — would be a signal that the front office, too, believes in this team.
Watson is aware he could be subtracted from a bullpen that skews heavily lefty, especially if the three-game losing streak becomes a five-game skid. If there is an advantage to being traded during a pandemic, though, it’s that only the player is traded; his family is stationary.
“When I got traded to LA [in 2017], it was my wife and two small kids moving across the country,” Watson said over the phone. “That’s one of the hardest things to do, is pack up your family and pack up everything you got and just start up the next day somewhere.
“This year my family’s been back home in Florida the whole time, so it’d be a little different.”
Still, it’s a scenario he hopes to avoid.
“We’re in it,” the lefty reliever said, with the Angels as perhaps the only NL team that is likely out of it.
“There’s a lot to build off,” Longoria said.