Will Giants be buyer or seller at trade deadline?
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SAN FRANCISCO – The upcoming trade deadline creates lots of discussion regarding the Giants, but will they be playing well enough to warrant pulling the trigger on a deal?
Manager Bruce Bochy knows it’s no sure thing that the team will be a buyer as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. The Giants (39-46) are a season-high seven games below .500. They enter Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers 5 ½ games out of first place, and they sit in the National League West cellar.
Grabbing one of two wild card playoff spots will be a challenge considering there are three very strong clubs – Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis -- in the N.L. Central alone.
San Francisco has lost 15 of its past 19, and at some point, management has to decide whether it’s worth giving up some of its top prospects for a player upgrade that doesn’t have a chance to make much impact on the standings.
“You get a little leaky, and you can fill one hole, but if it gets to be too many, you’re asking too much there,” Bochy said before the game.  “It’s gonna come back to these guys getting back to the players they are and executing.”
That doesn’t mean the Giants won’t pursue trades that help for this season. It simply means they have to start playing better for it to be an option.
Reliever Santiago Casilla, nearing a return from surgery on his right knee, will pitch in back-to-back games Sunday and Monday (likely with Single-A San Jose). Pitching without difficulty on consecutive days is the last hurdle before he is activated from the disabled list. Casilla has missed the past 40 games.
Buster Posey is back in the No. 3 spot and Pablo Sandoval is batting cleanup Saturday, as Bochy looks for any way to snap his team’s offensive funk. The Giants have been held to two runs or fewer in 11 of their past 14 games. Since June 1, the Giants have averaged a major league-worst 3.06 runs per game.
Sandoval, 4 for 37 since returning from the D.L.,  has batted third for most of the season. But he recently spent a stretch of 11 straight games hitting fourth or fifth.