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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Giants Alive, But Far from a Legit Contender

The Giants have gone 14-26 since June 1st and have played like one of the worst teams in the league. However, despite their 43-51 record, they sit just 6.5 games out of first place heading into the second half and are still very much alive in the NL West, putting Brian Sabean and Co. in a bit of a conundrum.

We've talked extensively over the last few weeks about what the Giants should do before the trade deadline, which is now under two weeks out, and I still think that if a move is made, it's going to be a last minute deal. Their deficit in the West is hardly a huge hurdle, but the teams deterioration over the last 2 months has been abysmal. It's been the longest stretch of bad baseball I've seen this team play since they won their first championship in 2010 and unfortunately, their just don't appear to be a whole lot of signs that would point to a drastic turnaround anytime soon. I was really hoping that Tim Lincecum no-no would maybe ignite something in the bunch, but we then saw them roll over and get shut down by Eric Stults the following day. It just seems like every time this team may get some momentum shifted back in their favor, they can't quite turn the corner all the way and continue to stay stuck in the rut. To me at least, these signs all indicate that things aren't likely to get better any time soon, and even though they're just 6.5 games back, this team may enter the trading season in a much different position than they have over the last 4-5 years.

Now, if the Giants start the second half on fire, and reel off a string of 7-8 wins in a row to get themselves back in the neighborhood of .500, then maybe I see Sabean pulling off a last minute deal that could help give this team a shot in the arm. Realistically though, I have a hard time believing that will happen. The offense, which was the one area of the team that was carrying them while the starting pitching struggled, has been dreadful during this downward spiral. It didn't help that Angel Pagan hit the shelf, but even when he was out there, you could see the holes in this lineup. Pablo Sandoval looked like he was in for a big year in April, hitting .333 with 4 jacks and 22 RBI. However, in the 2.5 months since then, he's hit .220 with 5 home runs and 20 RBI. When your without your everyday leadoff hitter, and getting that kind of production out of your third hitter, it makes for one rough top half of the order. Marco Scutaro has been Mr. Steady, but without anyone doing much in front of, or behind him, a lot of his efforts offensively have gone to waste. Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford are two other Giants' hitters who got off to solid starts the first 6+ weeks of the season, then really hit a wall since. The only two guys in the Giants lineup playing up to their capabilities have been Buster Posey and Scutaro and it's just tough to get any kind of offensive rhythm going when only 1/4 of your lineup is performing with any consistency.

At this point, the Giants pitching struggles have been well-documented and it would be beating a dead horse for me to keep harping on the fact their bullpen is paper thin and their starting staff is vastly under-achieving. If I had to grade this teams performance as a whole over the first half, they'd get a D. If it hadn't been for the hot start by the offense, then this team could easily be 15 or more games below .500 and that's the only thing keeping them from getting a lower grade.

With all that said, I just can't see a trade, or even two trades that would take this team from a sub-.500 squad and make them legit World Series contenders again. I hope like heck they come out of the break hungry and ready to make a run in the second half, but if they're in this same spot two weeks from now on deadline day, I'd hope they rid themselves of some of their pending free agents (Tim Lincecum's stock my be as high as it's going to get right now), and attempt to stock their meager farm system with some major league-ready talent.

First Half MVP's: Buster Posey (.325/13/56/.931), Madison Bumgarner (10-5, 3.02, 122 K's, 0.95 WHIP). The two guys really keeping this ship from absolutely tanking.
First Half's Biggest Bust: Matt Cain (5-6, 5.04 ERA) just hasn't been the ace the Giants need. Pablo Sandoval (.266/9/42/.714), plus time missed and under-performance due to poor conditioning.
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3 Comments:

  • At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Who could they trade though. It seems like they always want to keep their players so they never deal away guys even if they're going to be free agents. I doubt they'd trade Pence cause they love him in SF and I think the town would revolt if they traded Timmy after that perfect game.

     
  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Well, they'd have to decide on which players they want to really try and retain this winter. I think they'll try and keep Pence around, so I agree with you in that I doubt they'd deal him. Lincecum seems like the one big fish they have that may be able to fetch them a nice return. Plus Gaudin has some value and Javy Lopez has value. There are definitely some trade-able players on this team that others would take.

    I actually think fans would understand if they dealt Timmy. He's been great for us, but the last year and a half have been brutal, and based on his history and relatively young age, he's still going to command some good $$ on the FA market.

    It's just not like the Giants to be sellers, especially after a World Series year, so I doubt they do anything drastic.

     
  • At 3:40 AM, Blogger In Game Training said…

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