Giants try adding by subtracting 

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
9:35
PM ET
There are several ways for major league general managers to improve their club during a pennant race, with the most obvious being a trade to bolster a team’s weakness.

At the trade deadline, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean tried to do just that by wheeling and dealing to upgrade the offense by adding Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets. And in an attempt to improve at shortstop, he made a lesser deal with the Cleveland Indians to get veteran Orlando Cabrera. Neither trade has worked out so far because, in Beltran’s case, he missed time with an injured wrist; in Cabrera’s case, his decline on both sides of the ball weakened the team's defensive range (as compared to rookie Brandon Crawford) while not improving an already anemic offense. They were both good moves at the time, they just haven’t worked out.

Beside trades, there are other ways GMs can try to improve a fading but pennant-contending team. That includes bringing up a young player from the minor leagues, releasing under-performing veteran players and even making a flurry of “shock” moves that literally can shake up a complacent clubhouse. Sabean, in a surprising whirlwind of a Wednesday, did all of the above.