Ben Cherington Meet Brian Sabean
The past two World Champion General Managers may want to pick up their phones and have a nice little chat. When news broke yesterday that San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence would be out 6-8 weeks with a broken arm Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington should have gotten a call or seven from Giants GM Brian Sabean.
While Sabean may still feel a little anger with the Red Sox after they swooped in and stole Giants fan favorite Pablo Sandoval a deal makes sense in this case. The Red Sox have a plethora outfielders (even with Rusney Castillo‘s oblique injury) and the Giants just lost one of their best players. They will need someone to help replace Pence’s offense for the next month or two. Boston has Hanley Ramirez entrenched in left field and has pretty much deemed Mookie Betts untouchable. They aren’t trading Castillo either, that still leaves Allen Craig, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr as options for the reigning World Series champions.
It seems highly unlikely that Nava will be traded, the Red Sox love him and he loves Boston, seems no reason to make a deal there. He also is a switch hitter, though much more potent from the left side which is an added plus in Boston’s right handed dominant lineup. Bradley is by far the best defensive player of the group but his offensive limitations are something that San Francisco is probably not interested in. That leaves us with Craig and Victorino. Craig was traded to Boston in July with Joe Kelly in exchange for pitcher John Lackey. After getting hurt and going on the DL after one game with the Red Sox Craig was terrible after coming back, hitting an anemic .128 with only two runs batted in. Victorino was limited due to multiple injuries last year. However when healthy both are all star caliber players. Craig was one of the best hitters in the National League from 2011-2013 and Victorino was a key piece of Boston’s 2013 World Series run. Both players would really help out the Giants and a deal could be done.
Victorino only has one year left on his contract whereas Craig has three. That being said I would imagine the Giants being more interested in Victorino than with Craig for a few reasons. The first being that Pence should be ready by mid to late May. Second Victorino is a far superior defender compared to Craig and playing in cavernous AT&T Park, you are going to need to be able to flash the leather. San Francisco could keep Victorino on board all year as a fourth outfielder or sell him off at the deadline in case some team is desperate for a solid outfielder.
Will a deal get done? Who knows but one thing is for sure Ben Cherington and Brian Sabean will be racking up some long distance phone bills over the next few weeks.
Matt Cote is a MLB Writer for BaseballHotCorner.com