A Winn-win deal for Giants, M's

Winn-win deal for Giants, Mariners

Apparently, being 13 games under .500 on the eve of the July 31 trade deadline is in the eye of the beholder. It can be pretty enough in one place but ugly in another.

The Giants are 45-58 and acquired Randy Winn to help them this year because, strangely enough, they're actually in the NL West race despite their worst record at this stage of the season in years.

The Mariners are 45-58 and became a seller in the trade market, dealing away Winn while also playing musical catchers on Saturday evening. Sure, they're bringing in mound help with the Giants deal and help behind the plate with that swap and a deal with the Padres, but it's certainly not the kind of help that will somehow raise them into the tough AL West race.

These two teams are in the same place in one sense, but it's a heck of a lot better to be where the Giants are with that record. They're only six games behind the free-falling Padres with two other sub-.500 teams in front of them, while the Mariners are 14 1/2 back with three strong teams in front of them.

In Winn, the Giants are getting one of the more talked-about names on the trade market this month. The Yankees and Cardinals were among the teams rumored to be after Winn, but the Giants hadn't really reached the rumor stage. For too long, people assumed they might be sellers -- even possibly trading Jason Schmidt -- but this move says quite the opposite.

While the 31-year-old Winn won't necessarily provide a turbo boost to the offense, he'll deliver some help there and a solid glove for center field, or the corners if necessary. He's suited to the No. 2 hole in the lineup, and it appears as though he'll be the everyday center fielder.

Winn isn't a difference-maker, more of a puzzle piece. But he's a good stopgap until, or if, the big difference-maker -- Barry Bonds -- gets back in the lineup.

Either way, acquiring Winn is a message that the Giants feel they can contend, and he should help them make a move toward the increasingly vulnerable top of the division. Plus, he's a good story, a local product who prepped in San Ramon and played baseball and basketball at Santa Clara. This very likely isn't a rental -- he has an option the club can pick up for $5 million seven days after the World Series, or he can re-up for $3.75 million or choose free agency.

On the flip side, sending Winn isn't a white flag -- but it might as well be. It's not like they're selling off Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson. It's a realistic assessment of their situation, and picking up Jesse Foppert and Yorvit Torrealba from the Giants gives them two good, young players who can help a bit now and perhaps more in the future.

Foppert, the latest of a string of young pitchers the Giants have sent elsewhere (see: Jerome Williams, David Aardsma to Cubs), could wind up being a steal if he makes it all the way back from the Tommy John surgery that interrupted his promising rise through the Minors. He's got a good pitching body at 6-foot-6 and a good makeup to become a solid starter in the bigs if his health permits.

Torrealba, meanwhile, has been stuck as a backup for four years, and this might be his chance to start. But he has strong skills behind the plate, has shown occasional flashes of offense over the years and definitely gives the M's some depth that goes beyond what they got out of Pat Borders.

Later, the M's took another step behind the plate, dealing Miguel Olivo -- unable to find success after being dealt to Seattle a year ago -- to the Padres for catcher Miguel Ojeda and Minor League pitcher Nathaniel Mateo. Ojeda was a prototypical and valuable backup last year for the Padres' Ramon Hernandez but his hitting dropped off significantly this year and he's been in Triple-A for several weeks now. Most of his experience came in Mexico, where he played eight-plus years before signing on with the Padres in 2003. Mateo will add depth at the upper levels of the minors for now.

Add it all up, and this isn't exactly a watershed day for either the Giants or the Mariners.

But it does show you the Giants are headed one direction and the Mariners another. And, to think, they're coming from a starting point that's the same yet completely different.

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.