Giants looking for 'relief' before Aug. 1st deadline
Position players haven't really been on the Giants' radar because they are expecting those three key missing cogs back in the next couple weeks. Also, quite frankly, guys who've stepped in for them have done an awesome job and have not only kept the team afloat but gave it some more energy and kept it as strong a powerhouse as it's been all season. However, things have definitely changed since the All-Star break as the bats have really cooled off. They've scored 21 runs in 7 games since the break, but 13 of those runs came in two games. So essentially they had six games since the break where they've scored a total of 8 runs. I don't care if you have MadBum and Cueto going for you, if your scoring a run a game your not gonna win a lot of ballgames.
The replacements have been admirable, especially Ramiro Pena, Mac Williamson (for his D and his timely big fly's), Jarrett Parker and even getting a few big hits from Conor Gillaspie. However, the Giants need their A-players back and they need Duffy in particular to come back in 2015 form. It makes me wonder though whether the Giants should be looking at 3rd/2nd basemen. I mean, Pena has been nice, but do you really want him at third base if Matt Duffy is hitting .245 and slugging .300 come September? Or if Panik's concussion symptoms pop up again down the stretch? I don't think they need to look into dealing for an infielder before August 1st, but if they end up needing one for one of the reasons stated above, then I think that's some thing we could see happen through waivers.
With the positional players and bench seemingly worked out and hopefully will be coming together and at full strength in the next couple of weeks, the pitching staff in a whole other issue. I think everyone is pretty comfortable with the front-3, even though Jeff Samrdzija goes a little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on occasion, but come a 7-game playoff series, ideally you'd like to have 4 startable arms and I'm not sure the Giants have that reliable 4th option. Right now it would be Jake Peavy and the guy has an ERA over 5 and has been one of the most hittable starters in 2016. However, Peavy has been better the last couple months too. Take away his terrible April and his numbers wouldn't be nearly as bad: 4-6, 4.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP 61:23 K/BB ratio in 76 innings. Plus his ERA has been sub-4 the last two months. So he is getting slightly better and I think his improvement has allowed them to ease off a little on the SP hunt, however, they do view adding another starter higher up than adding a third basemen or utility infielder/outfielder.
So, that brings us to the bullpen, which is obviously far and away priority 1 and 1A. They need a good late reliever, at least. They really could use two, one lefty and one right-hander who can shut the door in the 9th if Casilla loses it down the stretch. There are a ton of names being thrown around out there from closers/set-up guys like Milwaukee's Jeremy Jeffres. NY's Aroldis Chapman, Oakland's Ryan Madson, AZ's Tyler Clippard and Tampa's Alex Colome. There are also late-lefties like Will Smith, Boone Logan and the perhaps the arm most linked to them over the last several weeks, Andrew Miller. I mean, of that group, the only closer I see as a clear upgrade over Casilla would be Chapman and Miller. Colome is also right there but this is his first year as a full-time closer and I don't know if he's ready to take the ball in a game 7 with it on the line. His numbers are even better than Chapman's though with that 1.59 ERA and 21/23 in save opps. Those both are better than Casilla and Colome is a guy who could be someone who could take on that role for years to come at age 28. However, Tampa knows this too and he's going to cost a pretty penny to obtain.
It's gonna be interesting to see what transpires in the next few days though. I'm still waiting for that one big move which will kind of get the dominoes rolling. If I had to bet on the Giants obtaining one of the guys linked to them, my money would be on someone along the lines of a Will Smith and/or Tyler Clippard. I think they'd be OK with using Romo in closing situations if Casilla losses it down the stretch and I think they really just want some more quality depth in that pen anyway they can get it and Smith/Clippard will come cheaper than Miller/Colome.