Giants should try to trade for Athletics pitchers made available

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Giants should try trading for pitchers A's make available originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Giants' starting rotation right now is Logan Webb, and only Logan Webb. 

No matter how much you might wish they could let Webb walk out to the mound every game, that unfortunately isn't the case. The Giants made Johnny Cueto a free agent by declining his 2022 option, didn't hand a qualifying offer to Anthony DeSclafani or Alex Wood, and Kevin Gausman is set for a big payday on the open market. 

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has made it clear pitching is the Giants' No. 1 priority this offseason, and it's pretty clear why. Following a 107-win season that ultimately ended in heartbreak, the Giants already have been connected to big-name free-agent pitchers such as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Possibly signing Los Angeles Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw is sure to be a talking point, and the Giants will be connected to a handful of other free-agent starters. 

They also don't have to look too far for help on the trade market. 

It's once again time for the Giants' Bay Area partners to tear it all down, and we're not talking about the Coliseum. The Athletics already let Bob Melvin become the San Diego Padres' new manager, and reports surfaced Monday that All-Star first baseman Matt Olson is one of several A's players who likely will be traded this offseason. Tuesday brought up the pitching side of the picture. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday that the A's are willing to listen to trade offers for pitchers Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea. Zaidi should be on the phone with his old friends and immediately talking about what it would take for at least one of those arms to take a trip across the Bay.

Bassitt, who will be 33, is coming off the best season of his career. He was named an All-Star for the first time and still threw the most innings (157 1/3) in his career despite missing time to a facial fracture after being hit by a line drive. He also set a new career-bests in strikeouts (159), strikeouts per nine (9.1), walks per nine (2.2), strikeouts to walks (4.08) and WHIP (1.055). The veteran right-hander was worth 4.0 bWAR and led the AL in win percentage.

Montas, who turns 29 in March, excelled in his first full season as a major league starter. The big right-handed flamethrower was a workhorse and led the AL with 32 games started. He tossed 187 innings and struck out 207 batters, which ranked fourth among all pitchers in the AL.

This was the second straight season that Montas averaged at least 10 strikeouts per nine innings, and was the fourth time in his six-year career. Per Baseball Savant, Montas' fastball velocity was in the 88th percentile and his overall chase rate was in the 91st percentile.

Montas faced the Giants twice as part of this year's Bay Bridge Series. He allowed two earned runs over five innings and was handed a no-decision in his first start against them on June 26, but then threw seven shutout innings while striking out nine against the Giants Aug. 22. He again was hit with a no-decision in a game that ended as a loss for the A's. 

Manaea will turn 30 in February and again had an up-and-down season for the A's. He bounced back after a tough 2020 but lacked consistency at times. The lefty finished the year with a 3.91 ERA but also tied with Montas for the AL lead in starts with 32. His two complete games led the AL, and his two shutouts made him the major league leader. 

Manaea has a no-hitter to his name and has flashed that dominance at times throughout his career. He set a new career high with 9.7 strikeouts per nine, and had a 1.13 ERA over five starts in June. In his two starts against the Giants this last season, he allowed three earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. 

Bassitt and Manaea are set to be free agents after the 2022 season. Montas is arbitration 3 eligible in 2023 before becoming a free agent. 

On May 5, the Giants traded outfielder Skye Bolt to the A's for cash considerations, completing the rare trade between the two rivals, just one month after the Giants selected Bolt off waivers from the A's. In February 2020, the Giants sent right-handed pitcher Burch Smith to the A's for cash considerations. That was the first trade between the two teams since 2004, when pitcher Adam Pettyjohn was traded from the Giants to the A's, again for cash considerations. 

The Giants and A's haven't made a player-for-player trade since 1990 when Darren Lewis and Pedro Pena were traded from the A's to the Giants for Ernie Riles.

RELATED: Zaidi takes home MLB's 2021 Executive of the Year award

But with the A's hosting a firesale in the Coliseum parking lot, such a trade could seriously happen. It makes sense for both sides, too. The Giants need pitching, the A's need prospects. The Giants have built one of the best farm systems in baseball, and the A's have one of the worst. 

Take a deep breath, rub Howie Mandel's sanitized bald head and let's make a deal. 

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