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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Should SF be agressive or wait things out?

Needless to say, the San Francisco Giants have gotten off to a pretty bad start. Especially coming off a year where they were a few breaks away from making another NLCS appearance then who knows what would have happened.

However, they failed to make it out of that divisional round because of multiple reasons, the most important being that bullpen, but we all know that story and I'm not here to re-hash the same old stuff. My question for Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and Co. at this point would be are you guys seriously planning on turning this ship around or you more in a "hey we made the playoffs last year, the fans won't go too crazy if we miss it this time around". Of which, I'm sure they're more on the side of the former, and if that's the case, this team is going to have to act sooner than later. They may not be able to wait until mid-summer to pull the trigger on an upgrade(s) to this roster. I'd say give this unit maybe until mid-May and if this still haven't climbed back up around .500 then I don't really see things getting much better.

The rotation has been on point, as the only guy in the rotation who isn't pulling his weight, and sure a lot of it has to do with "bad luck" is Jeff Samrdziaja. "The Shark" sports an 0-4 record and a 6.32 ERA but he's also struck out 32 in 31 IP so the stuff is there and hopefully the results start showing up in May. Everyone else has been pretty nails, although Matty Moore's outing Tuesday night in LA was his worst as a Giant (I believe). They're even getting strong starts out of Matt Cain and Ty Blach, in replacement of Madison Bumgarner until at least mid-season, has thrown well himself a couple of gems his first two starts of the season. The thing is, the movement from Blach from the Giants bullpen into the rotation has prompted Stephen Okert into the primary left-handed reliever out of the pen. Okert has the stuff and has had a little bit of success in his brief amount of big league time, and although he's thrown a lot better than his 5.14 ERA shows, he does have a 0.857 WHIP. He also doesn't give up the long ball or walk guys (two great traits for RP's).

Speaking of that bullpen, as a hole they seem to slowly be getting things together. They still have those games where if one gets roped then it's typically gonna cause a domino effect. I still would consider the bullpen a work in progress, but at least roles seem to be getting a little more defined. The one dagger the other afternoon was Mark Melancon blowing that 2-0 lead in Blach's start, which ended up costing the Giants the game, series, Blach a W and Melancon his 2nd BS in 7 opportunities. Now I'm hardly worried about the new closer, but it's just an example of what's happening that's causing the team to consistently be 5-8 games below .500.

So why is the team 8 game below .500 at the time of this post? Well, the defense has left a lot to be desired, no doubt on that, as they've cost the team a handful of games. The main reason why the Giants enter play on Wednesday night with a troubling 10-18 record, as we all know,  is largely in-part to the lack of offense this team is getting and the inability to put runs on the board. I know, surprise, surprise. right? Now Boch has tried just about everything. They've called up guys left and right, they've completely overhauled the batting and aside from Denard Span's shoulder, the starting lineup is pretty darn healthy. Unfortunately there is no clear timetable for Span's return after he sprained his right shoulder slamming into the wall in Colorado April 22nd. He was expected to be ready to rock when first eligible to come off the 10-day DL, but suffered a set-back last Thursday. So while Bochy is hoping he could be ready to go in the next week or so, it's Span we're talking about so even if he does return in a week, who knows how long it will be before he strains his hammy next or has the recurring hip problem pop back up?

With all this going on, the major question I want the answer to is if: A. They're going to keep trotting out this unit for another month or so and go from there: or B: They're actively searching right now for possible help in the outfield already and will upgrade before they fall to far out of things. If the answer is the ladder like most of us are hoping, the name that keeps coming to mind because he is one my fantasy team but I'm not quite sure how I feel about him is Andrew McCutchen. He's still  right in the middle of his prime at 30 and I highly doubt he's going to turn in another sub-par season like he did in '16, if you wanna call it that. By his standards then yes, but still, he slashed .256/24/79/.766 last season. He isn't hitting for his usual high average to start the year, but the power is there as he's amassed 4 jacks with 13, both would lead the Giants.

The especially intriguing things about McCutchen is he's a free agent after the season, so he should hit the block as long as the Pirates don't surprise everyone and go 30-12 over the next 6 weeks. Ryan Braun is a lot another name we've talked about here before, but I still think McCutchen would be the guy to get. They  wouldn't need to be tied to him long-term (maybe he loves SF like Pence did and signs a team-friendly deal), and he's a gold glove center fielder which would be a welcome sight in the Giants' circus of an outfield this season (aside from Pence). Braun is in his age 33 season and although he's still producing like a $20M player, he's under contract through 2020 and who knows if he'll be producing like this in 3 years? My guess is yes, Braun will continue to hit, as long as he stays healthy, and the end of that deal will take him through his age-36 season which isn't too bad at all. There are plenty players still thriving on the back half of 35 these days and Braun is one of the most talented players of the last decade.

The one thing we didn't mention, but obviously we all know, is that these guys would cost a massive return in prospects. We're talking probably Beede, Arroyo and maybe even Ty Blach. The Giants seem to have been spot on on picking who to trade and who not to trade in recent seasons so lets hope they keep that trend going this year as well.

There are going to be trade options, more than the ones I just named, much more, I just find McCutchen and Braun the two most intriguing (bug again, also likely the most costly). One reason why they'd both be attractive options for the Giants is because play outfield and both are above average defensive outfielders (in McCutchen's case he's got a couple gold gloves in center). Secondly both are right-handed hitters of which power plays a big role in their effectiveness. Both are 25 HR a year guys, and because they're right-handed, a move to AT&T wouldn't drastically diminish their numbers. Heck, McCutchen hasn't been hitting in a hitters paradise by any stretch playing half his games at PNC Park, the AT&T Park of the NL Central. Finally, both these players are true, tested middle of the order guys and could slot right in there ahead of or behind Buster Posey and alleviate a lot of pressure off of Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford. Also maybe not make Chris Arroyo feel like he has to be "the guy" to sort of turn this ship around.

Decisions aplenty await the Giants, and it really shouldn't come to many people's surprise. I didn't expect them to be this bad and still trying to find their sea legs in May still, but I also didn't expect them to be more than a .500 team or slightly above until they figured out LF and their bullpen roles. I'm also sick of hearing about how it's early. Yes, of course 20 games into a 162 game season is just a fraction, but the worrying thing, in my opinion, is that they don't seem to be showing signs of improvement. Boch's massive lineup overhaul and their numerous call-ups and send downs they've done over the last two weeks have been sort of hit and miss, but I'm willing to give this group another 3-4 weeks to get things turned around. Once June approaches and they're still losing games on the regular by scores like 4-1, 3-2 and so on, then somethings gotta be done, or they'll essentially be waiving the white flag on the season.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 3:02 AM, Anonymous Lunatic Fringe OG said…

    I dont think it's time to panic quite yet. Its good Blach looks like a decen fill in for Bumgarner or else we'd be double effed. They are losing in pretty bad ways though and when they do win it's like they baryly are holding on to win it. I read how some teams may be interested in Cueto if the Giants keep falling out of it? Anyeone else hear that and is it true, we already waiving that white flag? Hell it barely turned May, give it till at least June 15 before any big changes are made. I actually disagree I think Bochy shoudla kept rolling the lineup out and stuck with something. He tinkers too much and it doesn;t let guys get in their routine.
    One more thing is what about having Gillespie play left field? Aarryo's got 3B and Nunez has to be in left when Crawford gets back but lets let Gillespie out there vs. the right handers. Nunez can't rakes righties and Gillespie rakes lefties. Perfect platoon? Bochy's gotta start playing the best 9 HITTERS so we can get some RUNS.

  • At 6:38 AM, Blogger Bobby C said…

    Any team that has Gorkys Hernandez leading off didn't do their "Due Diligence" in the off-season. No depth!

  • At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wait things out, Wait things out for sure. I think the Giants have way too many ussues right now and they would need at least an outfielder and a really good one, not a middle of the road Denard Span or Angel Pagan type. They'd need like a Braun or CarGo like you mentioned, they also need another starter I think. Cain been pretty good but Idon't trust him long term plus who knows how long it's gonna take Bum to get back to himself. May not be till 2018. This is looking like a lost year for the Giants so I wouldn't make any moves right now that hurts their future. If they get back to .500 by June sometime then maybe you start looking but wait it out for now for sure.

    Just my two cents!

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