Home  |  Contact Us  |  GBB Twitter  |  Subscribe to GBB  |  GBB Facebook 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Biggest Need: Relievers, Starter or Outfielder?

We're still over a month away from MLB's non-waiver trading deadline, but with the Giants battling injuries left and right, and the team sinking in the standings, they may not have the luxury of waiting it out to see what kind of bargain they can find.

The reigning world champs certainly haven't looked the part lately. They've gone 9-13 in June and there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of help on the way. Just as their starting pitching has started turning things around to a certain extent, the offense and bullpen have started to nose-dive. Losing Angel Pagan for what could be the remainder of the season creates a huge void in the Giants outfield and starting lineup. Gregor Blanco has really caught fire this month, and appears capable of holding down the leadoff spot in Pagan's absence, but that creates a new hole over in left field, where Andres Torres just doesn't appear capable of handling the everyday duties. Now a team that was in desperate need of another arm, or three, could really use another outfielder as well. They may decide to stand pat with their offense, but with the way they've been struggling to score runs lately, including throughout their most recent pitiful 7-game homestand vs. the Marlins and Padres, the need for outside help is looking more and more necessary. When it comes to the outfielders that are openly available on the trade market there just aren't that many names that intrigue you, especially when you consider the Giants don't have a whole lot of trade ammo to work with. I do like Alex Rios, but only if the White Sox agreed to eat some of his $12.5M salary for 2014.

So, what should the team that could use help in multiple areas prioritize as the trade deadline nears? My guess would be whatever area they could improve upon without parting with too many prospects, most likely the bullpen. With the pressure of trying to defend their world series tittle, I just can't see the Giants standing pat and attempting to ride this thing out with their current cast, but they also have so many holes that it's un-realistic to expect all of them to be filled by July 31st. There have been rumblings lately of the Giants zeroing in on Miami's Ricky Nolasco, but he looks like he's going to be a sought after arm this trade season and I'm not sure he'd be a significant difference maker. I really do like Matt Garza, who's also available, but his injury issues raise a red flag, not to mention he'd probably cost a few of their top prospects to obtain from Chicago. I just don't know if I can see this team bringing in another starting pitcher that will make enough of a difference to warrant trading for (Cliff Lee ain't happening). Starters, especially decent ones, always are the most expensive to come by during trade season. Then there's also the fact that they'll hopefully be getting a healthy Vogelsong and Gaudin back in the next few weeks. A lot can change between now and then, but I think a deal for a mid-tier right-handed outfielder with some pop, and maybe a reliever or two is much more plausible than overpaying for an average starting pitcher. 
_________________________________________________
The Giants Baseball Blog
_________________________________________________

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Giants Need to Make Changes With Pitching

We're approaching the halfway mark of the 2013 MLB season, and for about the last month or so, the Giants have been the definition of a mediocre baseball team.

Their pitching has been an issue all season long, and we've talked about it here in nearly every post over the last 6 weeks, and the fact that they haven't made any significant changes yet surprises me a bit. We all knew that once Vogey went down at the end of May, it would force Chad Gaudin into the starting rotation (where he's been remarkable so far), and would cause a ripple effect in the bullpen by result. Now we're seeing more of George Kontos where we were seeing Gaudin and Santiago Casilla late in ballgames and he's getting exposed. The lefties have been on point, and Sergio Romo continues to get the job done, but the Giants bullpen needs to add some stability. Luckily, Kontos was optioned back to Fresno after the game, but it wasn't in exchange for the guy I was hoping. I've been asking for a Heath Hembree call-up for the better part of a month now, but the Giants appear intent on letting him get more seasoning in Fresno. At this point, I don't see why they won't just give him a try, especially since all their other right-handed options are failing so badly. With the starting pitching struggling like it has, the Giants need their bullpen to be a strength, and right now, it isn't.

Offensively, things might start to get a little slim as well, as Pablo Sandoval joined Angel Pagan on the 15-day DL earlier this week. And if you saw Tuesday night's game in Pittsburgh, then you probably cringed when Marco Scutaro took that Tony Watson fastball off the left hand and exit the game immediately. X-Rays were negative but he was diagnosed with 'mallet hand', an injury that could take up to two months to heal properly. He is saying he'd like to try and play through the injury, but he may be joining Pagan and Panda sooner than later. All the sudden, the Giants are without their 1-3 hitters, and unless guys like Andres Torres, Tony Abreu and Joaquin Arias start really stepping up, then this offense is bound to take a dip. On the positive side, hopefully they'll be getting Pagan and Sandoval back when each are eligible to return from the DL. Bochy said it may be another week or so before before Pagan's return, and Pablo is expected to be activated when he's eligible to return on June 24th. The key though will be Scutaro, who led the team with a .332 batting average and will cause a huge void at the top of the order for an extended period of time if he indeed has to go on the shelf.

We all knew the Giants would be scouring the trade market for pitchers over the next 6 weeks, but they may be forced to look for an infielder no as well if Scutaro is going to be out until August. Either way, the next few weeks will be a key stretch for the Giants, who are barely staying afloat over .500, and seem to be taking on more water by the day.
_________________________________________________
The Giants Baseball Blog
_________________________________________________

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Giants Notes: Pagan To Return, Lincecum to Pen?

The last time the Giants saw the Blue Jays, they played one of their worst series' of the year, and they've struggled with a 7-12 record since. Tuesday night, Toronto will roll into town, and the Giants have to get back on track and take advantage of the reeling Blue Jays.

One positive the Giants get to look forward to when their homestand gets underway will be the return of leadoff man Angel Pagan. The Giants speedy center fielder has been on the bench since May 25th due to a hamstring strain that narrowly missed landing him on the DL. It will be nice to get some semblance back at the top of the order and gets to return to face a pitcher he's had good success against in Josh Johnson (7-17 in career). Not that Torres and Blanco have been bad in Pagan's absence, but having both of those guys in the lineup together doesn't exactly give you a potent offense. Mix that in with the fact that Pablo Sandoval has been sidelined since late-May as well and it's made things even tougher on the Giants starting 8 to put runs on the board consistently. The ETA for a possible Sandoval sighting in the lineup card is still up in the air too, and although the Giants would like to give the big third basemen some time without needing to DL him, they're not a team in position to be playing shorthanded at the moment. If they did need to make a call-up to take Sandoval's spot, Adam Duval could be the first option, or of course, they could use that spot to bring up another arm to take Gaudin's spot in the bullpen (which will need to be done anyway assuming he becomes the fifth man).

With their spotty starting pitching, and nagging injuries in the lineup, a big reason why the Giants aren't sinking below .500 is because a few guys in particular have really stepped things up on the offensive end. It's really been much of the same recipe as last fall, with Marco Scutaro tearing the cover off the ball and Buster Posey's bat coming to life over the last few weeks. The difference maker though to me thus far has been Hunter Pence. He's been the first half MVP in my mind and my reasoning is pretty simple. He's been the most steady, consistent Giant since game one, hasn't taken a day off yet (which is bigger than it seems), and enters play Tuesday leading the team with 9 HR's, 16 2B's and 9 SB's to go along with his .292 average. As tough as it was to watch him at the plate at times last season, it's become a sheer joy to watch him this year, and he's certainly making a case to be kept around beyond this season, more so than any other pending free agent on the team. Brandon Crawford, of course, has clearly been the most improved through the first 1/3 of the season, and his clutch bat has helped out tremendously. I still think left field needs some work, but once this team gets healthy, their offense clearly has some potential.

I've also been hearing whispers regarding Tim Lincecum possibly being moved to the bullpen if things don't improve with him in his upcoming starts. The Giants are already trying to fill Ryan Vogelsong's spot for the time being, but Timmy's got to be feeling some pressure and I don't blame the Giants' brass one bit. It would likely be the beginning of the end of Lincecum's era in San Francisco, but if the Giants feel they can replace him with a better option and use him as a reliever like this did last postseason, then I'm all for it! Problem is, I don't see a better option at the moment, and unless a deal is made for another arm, I just don't see it happening anytime soon... Cool link here, by the way, if interested in what goes on behind the scenes with sports wagering.
_________________________________________________
The Giants Baseball Blog
_________________________________________________