The Giants are 37-28 and .5 a game back of the Dodgers and Padres for the NL West and Wild Card leads. They are playing pretty god ball right now, in fact they are playing better ball than anybody in the National League right now except for the Mets.
The Giants have the pitching to get them into the playoffs and possibly pretty deep. Their offense is OK as it is currently constructed but they have one glaring hole. A big time power hitter in the middle of their lineup.
I don't mean a Pat Burrell who through his career has been lucky to post an average above .260 and has struggled in recent seasons. I don't mean Aubrey Huff who, while hitting a couple balls into McCovey cove, has only hit 34 homers in his best season and that was 7 years ago. Nor Juan Uribe who had a career high of 23 way back in 2004.
No the Giants need a guy who can hit a lot of homers and drive in a bunch of runs. There is a guy who should be available out there since his GM has already said his team is open for business and should be the only guy, besides maybe a bullpen arm, that the Giants should be targeting.
That guy is Paul Konerko.
Konerko is that prototypical power hitter. He averages 32 homeruns a season, He hits for a decent average .278 over his career, and he is consistently healthy averaging 581 PA a season over his career. These are all things that make him easily the best option out there.
There are some obstacles to getting Konerko to SF however.
1. He has a not trade clause.
2. He is owed approximately $7 million the rest of this season.
3. The White Sox are going to want some pretty good prospects in return.
The Giants are probably going to negotiate some kind of contract extension with Konerko to waive his no trade clause. Which would be good for the Giants because in order for them to give up some of the prospects they will probably have to give up to get him they would want to get more than 2 months out of him. $7 million over the rest of this season probably isn't too much money for a team willing to throw millions of dollars at guys like Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, and Mark DeRosa to not even get on the field.
After that is the toughest part. Do the Giants have the prospects to pull the deal off? Can they pull the deal off and keep Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez?
I think they do.
The Giants farm system is loaded with prospects. One of the top organizations in all of baseball. It is particularly full of young arms which the White Sox will be looking for in any kind of trade. Let's take a look.
Starting in San Jose with the Giants single A affiliate which has won a record 6 straight California league first half championships:
The top prospect here has to be Brandon Belt. Brandon was taken in the 5th round last season and has done nothing but hit since joining San Jose. He is hitting .393 with 8 homeruns and 57 RBIs. He is only 22 so his power numbers should increase as he gets older. Next would be 2B Jose Flores .353 average. and OF Juan Perez .324, 7HR, 36 RBI
Pitching Wise San Jose has: Craig Wescott 5-0, 1.55, and Justin Fitzgerald 5-0, 3.00
AA Richmond has: OF Thomas Neal .280, 4 HR, 31 RBI, RHP Daryl Maday 8-2, 2.02RHP David Mixon 7-3 3.08
AA Augusta has: 1B Luke Anders .293 8HRs, Christopher Dominguez .264, 10 HRs, 43 RBIs, LF Nick Liles .298 13 SBs, and RHP Jorge Bucardo 6-2 1.57
AAA Fresno has: OF Tyler Graham .407 14SBs, OF John Bowker .400 5hrs in just 12 games, 2B Eugenio Velez .345 17 SBs, 1B Brett Pill .303 9 HRs 43 RBIs, Joe Borchard .287 7 HRs, RHP Eric Hacker 8-3 3.91, RHP Joe Martinez, who is now up with the Giants, 5-2 5.07, Steve Edlefsen 5-0 1.54
So as you can see, the Giants have a bunch of prospects and they can land a guy like Konerko while keeping their best prospects. Actually, if they can sign Konerko to a 3 year extension before a trade can be worked out, it may actually be worth it to trade a guy like Bumgarner for Konerko. I know it wouldn't be a very popular move, but given the availability of proven Power hitters these days it just may take a super prospect like Bumgarner to land Konerko.