SAN FRANCISCO -- For weeks, Bruce Bochy has been asked some variation of the same theme. Will the Giants sell? How would the clubhouse handle a sale? How is Madison Bumgarner dealing with trade rumors? How is Bochy himself dealing with the possibility?
Bochy has his answers ready, always keeping the focus on the field and on the recent stretch of good baseball. And on Wednesday, presented with the complete opposite, he again didn't want to give too much away.
Asked what he would want if Farhan Zaidi turned into a deadline buyer, Bochy said he wouldn't want to identify any holes on his roster, knowing that players are particularly tuned in to reports this time of year. He credited Zaidi for upgrading this roster in-season and said that remains the focus.
Those upgrades led to a stretch of 17 wins in 21 games that put the Giants back in Wild Card contention, throwing a wrench into what was shaping up to be a dramatic midseason sale. Zaidi still may send out a reliever or two -- a Bumgarner deal seems increasingly dead -- but also must ask if this team is worth adding to. The Giants are back in the race, but they still have roster deficiencies.
Any additions would likely be similar to the ones already made. Mike Yastrzemski was acquired for Tyler Herb and Alex Dickerson came over for Franklin Van Gurp. The main pieces in the Kevin Pillar trade -- Derek Law and Alen Hanson -- were big leaguers who no longer had a home on Zaidi's roster.
You can go through the Giants' 40-man and Triple-A rosters and find a couple more familiar names in that mold, guys who may need a change of scenery and could be used to acquire someone in a similar position elsewhere. Zaidi has hinted, too, that a need-for-need deal could bolster this roster, one that still has holes.
Even with Dickerson, Yastrzemski, Solano and Slater filling in, the Giants still could use a bat. They expect Dickerson's back/oblique tightness to limit him the rest of the way, and Tyler Austin has started just two games in July and has five hits in his last 55 at-bats. There probably is not another Dickerson out there, but a right-handed version of Yastrzemski would be a boost.
Solano has been a revelation, but the Giants still are lacking production from second base. Joe Panik's OPS has dropped to .626, and while that's an area of focus long-term, Zaidi could look for help over the final two months. Zach Green is helping to fill in for Evan Longoria, but there is still uncertainty at third, with Longoria's left foot strain expected to be an issue the rest of the way and Pablo Sandoval's production slowing in recent weeks.
The pitching staff, the constant throughout this season, could use reinforcements, too. If you count Conner Menez it includes three rookies, and their innings will be watched down the stretch. If a veteran is available for cheap, he could help bridge the gap until Johnny Cueto returns in September. The Giants have bullpen depth in Triple-A, but Zaidi will always be on the lookout for Trevor Gott types.
The overwhelming likelihood is still that any trades involving the Giants send big leaguers away, not add them. If they're buying, they certainly won't be looking at names you're familiar with, either. But Zaidi has shown this season that he is a constant tinkerer, and the trade deadline is the summer's best opportunity to change the look of your 40-man roster. It wouldn't be a surprise if he does so.