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Thursday, June 01, 2017

SF in unfamiliar spot, but not surprisingly

We've officially hit June, which means that the "it's still early" talk and optimism that most Giants fans and players are still holding out for this 2017 season, are waning, and doing so quickly.

In fact, there have been recent articles in bay area newspapers, as well as plenty of banter on the "sports talk" airways both in the Bay Area and throughout the league have begun discussing what the Giants plan of attack will be as we inch closer to July and the trade deadline at the end of that month. It's the first time since 2009 that the Giants are approaching mid-season with the thought of being "sellers" looking more and more likely. Now, nobody has come out and said this of course, and we're still just 1/3 of the way through the season but with the way the rest of the teams in the NL West are playing (minus the Padres), and the Giants already sitting 12 games back of the next closest team in their division, saying they have an uphill journey ahead is an understatement. As a matter of fact, as epic as their collapse was in the second half of 2016, they're going to need a second half streak and some other teams to really go into slides themselves. So, as the calendar has officially flipped to June, the Giants certainly are far from technically being out of it, but if they're still sitting in the cellar of the division and 10+ games out of any potential playoff spot then one would only draw the conclusion that this could be the year the Giants finally do some selling of their own at or before the trade deadline.

Now, of course I hope on wrong, the team goes on a 10-game win streak this month and gets right back into the mix, but with the AAA-level lineups they've been trotting out there lately, that appears like wishful thinking at this point. This holds especially true in the outfield where we here at the Giants Baseball Blog pleaded for Evans to solidify the outfield by getting a legit left fielder in the offseason but of course that didn't happen so I think we could all see this coming, I know I could, I just hoped for full health. I mean, the Tuesday night outfield of Orlando Calixte, Gorkys Hernandez and Justin Ruggiano was about as imposing as having three semi-skilled hitting pitchers (offensively) as your starting outfield. The team's outfield combined WAR is the worst in baseball, and again, this should be no surprise. The Giants outfield depth was thin last year, this winter and into spring, to say the least. They had no proven left fielder, and they had two guys coming off injury-ridden years on two 30-something outfielders who seems to really have hit a wall, health wise, the last couple of seasons.

I guess they expected one of Chris Marrero, Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker to really step up and take the reigns but I never liked that plan. There was nothing in their past that showed they were ready to be handed important big league roles. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joey Panik and Brandon Crawford all forced their way onto the roster and into regular jobs. Mac and Parker (who's now on the 60-day DL), while showing signs at times of being capable, have not come close to proving they're ready to handle playing everyday and were chosen not because the Giants had the utmost confidence in one taking the reigns, but because they had no other options and were hoping one of these guys would become the Adam Duvall who they gave up on and who's now become an all-star and a legit 30+ HR/year guy in Cinci. Even still, to this day, I don't know why the Giants didn't go get a decent plan B for left field. Rajai Davis would have been a perfect fit. Coming off postseason experience, well versed at all 3 OF positions and coming off nice year with the bat. But no, Giants were content with what they had and it's biting them now. 

You don't wind up 15-20 games below .500 at this point in the year because of one faulty aspect of your team though. Although plenty of the blame can be placed on the outfield's lack of both offense and defensive consistency throughout the first couple months of the season, they are part of the problem haunting the 2017 Giants. The starting pitching has been sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, having their ups and downs early on but they've now hit a funk where they just aren't getting the job done either. As crazy as this sounds, especially with all the problems last year, the bullpen may be the one area on the team that's closest to being competitive but they've had their hiccups too, especially Mark Melancon. So because there is no one area to blame, which is why it seems so tough to go out and make and addition or two because, say they added a Matt Kemp and some solid left-handed, proven set-up man came aboard, I still don't think this team would be a playoff team. Now if they got back to .500 and made some additions like that then yeah, maybe, but they still have what seems like miles to climb up hill and although the season is long, each passing day starts to matter more and more as it goes on.

Extras: I wanted to discuss more about who the Giants may make available via trade if they do so decide to become sellers but ran out of time as it's been fun really breaking down areas of this team and just how badly they went wrong as well as the little amounts of bad luck that have been sprinkled in throughout... Anyway, we'll try and be back tomorrow maybe after the game to discuss some of those bubble players, although there aren't a ton of guys the Giants have that would be highly appealing to other teams. At least not many they'd part with.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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