Cole Hamels

Giants’ trade deadline dance with the Dodgers gets boost with Cueto headed to KC

What’s similar about these two tweets, other than both came from baseball writers employed by Fox?

The Dodgers and Giants are involved in talks for both pitchers. It’s like Chris Farley’s old “Matt Foley” sketch — “Here’s Farhan, there’s Bobby. Here’s Farhan, there’s Brian …” presumably without Evans or Sabean belly-flopping through a weak-legged coffee table.

Johnny Cueto is on his way to Kansas City for a trio of prospects — including LHP Brandon Finnegan, who was the Royals’ No. 1 or 2 prospect in the eyes of many minor league talent evaluators — that makes Billy Beane’s return for Scott Kazmir look like peanuts, and stale ones at that. Clearly there are levels to this, even with the rentals: even with so many starters involved in trade rumors, the asking prices for the very best available pitchers are still astronomically high. And with Cueto no longer available, the Phillies and Tigers could ask for even more.

The Dodgers are better-suited to pay for a starter like Cole Hamels or David Price, because they have a couple prospects in Julio Urias and Corey Seager who are rated higher than Finnegan. However, Morosi thinks the Giants have some pitchers in the minors that teams might like.

The Dodgers are said to be highly reluctant to move left-hander Julio Urias, but Double-A right-hander Jose De Leon should be ready to join a major-league rotation by next year.

The Giants, meanwhile, have a number of pitching prospects who could be major-league-ready by next year: Tyler Beede, Joe Biagini and Kelvin Marte at Double-A and Keury Mella at high Class A.

Tossing aside the very real possibility that the Tigers won’t sell on Price or Yoenis Cespedes (they’re only four games behind Minnesota in the Wild Card race), it’s hard to believe the Giants have enough to land a superstar like Price.

  • Biagini and Marte are pitching quite well for Richmond (in a pitcher-friendly league), but the former is 25 and the latter is 27.
  • At 21, Mella is a year younger than Beede and he’s pitching well in San Jose, but it seems unlikely he’d be a candidate to make a big league rotation next year.
  • Beede doesn’t seem like a guy the Giants would want to trade, and he lasted just 1/3 of an inning today (one hit, three walks, one HBP) while allowing five earned runs, as he came within one pitch of the team-instituted 30-pitch limit. One has to wonder how many scouts were in the stands today in Erie, PA.

If a scout or team really likes Beede, a start like today’s (where it appears that he didn’t have his normal command) wouldn’t have too much impact. But the Giants consider Beede a future starter, perhaps as soon as next season. They also don’t want to saddle themselves with another big contract for a pitcher unless he’s the perfect guy, so this is almost certainly true:

It’s difficult for them to toss Tim Hudson aside (although it could become a little easier if he gets lit up today against the A’s), and Ryan Vogelsong is waiting in the wings. They’re talking like they think Tim Lincecum will be available to pitch at some point this season, too. This is a front office that likes its homegrown players, detests long-term contracts for pitchers (there were a lot of sighs of relief among the brass when they lost out on Jon Lester), and truly believes — with good reason — that they can win championships without having the best team on paper.

If anything, the rumors and the reports seem to point to the Giants spending late-July mucking things up for L.A. And the Trolley Dodgers are almost certainly going to land a starter at some point because (1) they’ve had eight different starters in July, (2) Brett Anderson is about as durable as a Fiat 500L, and (3) they’re the Dodgers and that’s just what they do.

Hey, Price would look amazing with Madison Bumgarner as the strongest lefty-lefty combo in recent memory. I already listed all of the reasons why they should strongly consider going after Mike Leake. But the Giants almost certainly won’t land a starting pitcher before the deadline unless an injury forces them to do some emergency patchwork; the key over the next week-plus is to see if they can force the Dodgers to part with Urias or Seager. After seeing what the Reds got for Cueto, the Dodgers will probably have to consider parting with either player or set their sights a little lower, and the Giants probably wouldn’t mind either option.

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