With the Aug. 1 trade deadline getting closer, the Giants are considering acquiring outside help for their outfield, bullpen and starting rotation, reports Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). They won’t make a panic move for a right-handed-hitting outfielder, tweets Schulman, which comes as no surprise for a 43-26 team that holds a seven-game lead in its division.
San Francisco’s outfield took a significant hit earlier this month in losing right fielder Hunter Pence, who could be shelved until at least August after undergoing surgery on a torn hamstring. With Pence temporarily out of the equation, the Giants have been relying on Gregor Blanco, who has followed up a few solid seasons in a row with an uninspiring .260/.329/.353 line in 169 trips to the plate this year. Brewers star Ryan Braun, whom the Giants have been connected to since Pence went down, would be a clear upgrade over Blanco offensively. However, the Braun-related discussions the Giants and Brewers had didn’t advance beyond a preliminary stage. The Giants are also potential suitors for Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday. The 32-year-old Gurriel – a second baseman/third baseman – might be able to step into the outfield, per Rosenthal, after the right-handed batter slashed .335/.417/.580 with 250 home runs in 5,491 combined plate appearances between Cuba and Japan.
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On the reliever front, the Giants’ top four innings leaders – Cory Gearrin, Santiago Casilla, Hunter Strickland and Derek Law – have each performed well this year. All four are righties, though, which would help to explain why the club was mulling the pursuit of dominant Yankees southpaw Andrew Miller as of earlier this month. The Yankees remain in the thick of the American League playoff race, so it’s debatable whether the Bombers would move Miller if they stay in the hunt. In the event the Yankees do make Miller available, he’s likely to draw plenty of interest from contenders. Thus, the demand for his services could price the 31-year-old out of the Giants’ range.
San Francisco’s rotation, meanwhile, doesn’t call for a Miller-esque acquisition – not that a starter of his caliber is likely to be on the market, anyway. Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have excelled this year, giving the Giants an enviable top-of-the-rotation trio. And while the overall numbers for Jake Peavy and Matt Cain aren’t pleasing, they have mostly served as usable back-end options since beginning the season in brutal fashion. Cain went on the disabled list earlier this week with a hamstring strain, however, and it’s unclear how much time he’ll miss. In his absence, the Giants are turning to Albert Suarez – who allowed three earned runs on five hits (including three home runs) and two walks in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-4 win over the Rays on Saturday.