Eight star players Giants should target in offseason trades

Eight star players Giants should target in offseason trades originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Giants have a big offseason ahead, and while they certainly will be busy targeting superstar free agents such as Shohei Ohtani, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and the front office will have to get creative in order to revamp the roster for 2024.

Outside of Ohtani and a handful of other players, the free-agent class this winter leaves little to be desired. Fortunately for the Giants, plenty of stars could be available on the trade market.

Zaidi has mentioned multiple times since the 2023 MLB season ended that he envisions the organization being active in trade discussions as they look to plug multiple holes in the starting rotation, outfield and infield in a weaker free-agent market.

Here are some players the Giants should try to target in offseason trades.

Luis Robert Jr.: If the Giants only can make one trade this offseason, it needs to be this one. Not only is Robert a Gold Glove-caliber defender in center field who recorded 12 Outs Above Average last season, but he also is a great defensive center fielder who blasted 38 home runs in 2023 and is just 26 years old. He's under contract for the next four years and is everything San Francisco needs and more. The Chicago White Sox were open for business at the trade deadline and should be again this offseason. Give them what they want.

Mike Trout: The possibility of trading for Trout was met with some pushback by Giants fans when I floated the idea in response to a proposed Bleacher Report trade package. Yes, he has been hampered by injuries in recent seasons. Yes, he's still owed roughly $250 million through the 2030 season. But a 32-year-old Mike Trout still is a megastar and trading for him is a risk any serious organization should be willing to take.

Corbin Burnes: The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday, citing sources, that the Milwaukee Brewers are open to trading virtually any player on their roster. Burnes has been mentioned in trade rumors for months and will be a free agent after the 2024 season. He's a three-time All-Star and won the NL Cy Young Award two seasons ago. He's the bonafide ace atop the rotation the Giants are looking for. Make the call.

Spencer Steer: Not a household name ... yet. The Cincinnati Reds' infield is overflowing with young talent, and if they are willing to trade from their surplus, Steer would be an excellent fit for the Giants. In 2023, the 25-year-old slashed .271/.356/.464 with 23 homers, 86 RBI, 15 stolen bases and a 119 OPS+. Perhaps his most enticing attribute is his versatility. Steer started multiple games at first base, third base, left field, right field and second base. He's young, doesn't hit arbitration until 2026, can play multiple positions and is a middle-of-the-order bat you can build around. What's not to love? He likely would not come cheap and could cost one of the Giants' top pitching prospects. It might be worth it.

Dylan Cease: After finishing second for the Cy Young in 2022, Cease had a down year in 2023. The 27-year-old posted a 4.58 ERA in 177 innings pitched but did record 214 strikeouts with an encouraging 3.72 FIP. He's under contract for two more seasons and could be the co-ace the Giants are looking for.

Christian Yelich: As previously mentioned, the Brewers might be open for business. Yelich is owed $130 million over the next five seasons with a mutual contract option in 2029 that can be bought out for $6.5 million. Long gone are the days of his MVP-caliber play, but he did have a nice bounce-back season in 2023, batting .278/.370/.447 with 19 home runs, 76 RBI, 28 stolen bases and a 124 OPS+. He's pretty good defensively but probably best suited at a corner outfield position. There were rumblings about the Giants having interest in Yelich before the Miami Marlins traded him to the Brewers in 2018. Better late than never?

Pete Alonso: Should they make the call? Absolutely. Is he the perfect fit? Probably not. This one is tricky because the Giants desperately need a star like Alonso who can blast 40 homers and drive in 100 runs, but adding another bat to the middle of the order who hit .217 last season with 151 strikeouts is slightly counterintuitive to remedying the offensive woes from 2023. Regardless, he's Pete Alonso and if you're the Giants, you're not in any place to be picky. If you can get it done without emptying the farm system then go for it. Just make sure to sign him to an extension soon.

Nolan Gorman: Another trade deadline darling who ultimately stayed put. Gorman broke out in 2023 with 23 homers and 76 RBI for a massively disappointing St. Louis Cardinals team. He plays second and third base, is decent defensively and would be better suited as a younger upgrade over J.D. Davis should the Giants fall flat in a potential pursuit of free-agent third baseman Matt Chapman. Gorman only is 23 years old and, just like Steer, could be a cornerstone player for years to come. Gorman also is similar to Steer in that he will not come cheap.

Honorable mention

Juan Soto: Soto is an honorable mention, only because the Giants -- who unequivocally should do everything they can to acquire him -- will not be trading for him. After trade rumors began to swirl, it sounds like the San Diego Padres plan to keep him next season ,and even if he was on the market, there is zero shot they would trade him to a division rival. It's not happening.

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