MLB rumors: Giants hope to improve defense in trade, could deal Tommy La Stella

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Report: Giants looking to improve defense with deadline trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

After winning a franchise-record 107 games in 2021, the Giants have fallen short of expectations so far this season -- especially on defense.

Some are calling for San Francisco to go all-in on the Juan Soto sweepstakes in hopes that trading for a big bat could help the team’s playoff chances both this year and in the future.

But as the Aug. 2 trade deadline nears and errors continue to cost the Giants games, could they go in another direction and make a deal that would help alleviate their defensive woes?

It looks like that could be the case.

The Giants are considering the addition of an above-average defender in a trade, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday, citing sources.

An upgraded glove on the diamond wouldn’t just provide an instant improvement at one position for the Giants, Rosenthal wrote, but would “also allow manager Gabe Kapler to deploy better defensive configurations overall.”

Who could be in the mix?

Rosenthal pegs Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano as a potential fit for San Francisco. As far as who the team would send off in return for the above-average defender it seeks varies, but Tommy La Stella could be at the top of the list, per Rosenthal.

After landing on the COVID IL list in early July, La Stella began a rehab assignment on July 22 and should rejoin the team in the coming days. He’s one of the Giants’ “many DH types,” as Rosenthal notes, along with players like Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores.

La Stella is a career .268/.339/.742 hitter who has a .241 batting average in 35 games this season. He’s still owed $11.5 million of his three-year, $18.75 million contract in 2023 and has dealt with injuries over his two seasons in San Francisco, so he likely wouldn’t be the only piece packaged by the Giants in any trade.

Laureano, known as the “Laser” for his spectacular outfield assists in Oakland, is as sure-gloved as they come and has a 1.000 fielding percentage for the A's in center field this season. He would provide an instant boost for a San Francisco defense that ranks in MLB’s bottom three for defensive efficiency (28th), outs above average (27th) and defensive runs saved (28th).

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And the A’s, in the middle of a rebuild, have shown they’re willing to ship off homegrown talent if the price is right.

If a Bay-to-Bay trade is in the cards for the Giants and A’s, Laureano could be patrolling Triples Alley soon.

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