Let’s Play General Manager ( Or Not )

June 15

        I just woke up after a Saturday night-Sunday morning-early Monday morning tri-fecta on KNBR, but what a weekend!

        We had a great time at the ACME Chophouse with the 1989 Giants re-union, and a Giants sweep.  The Giants lead the NL wild card right now, and are six games over .500 for the first time in five years with one of the worst offenses in baseball.  Knock me over with a feather. 

        Are they for real?  Is it worthwhile to deal for a bat that might push this team over the top?  Or is it a .500 team masquerading as a contender?  The schedule gets tougher now, and we might have an answer to that question by the July 4th weekend.  That’s only a couple of weeks away so the game of “Deal Or No Deal” is drawing to a close with just a few suitcases left.

        Giants fans have been playing another little game in the last few weeks.  It’s called,”Hi, I’m Sabes.”  They have been trying to play the role of General Manager Brian Sabean, proposing deal after deal after deal on the air.   It gets a little tired after a while, but at the same time it shows fans are engaged and interested, and right now Giants baseball is the best it has been in five years. 

       ( My favorite deal over the weekend, Barry Zito for Dontrelle Willlis.  Anything is possible when you’re on Vicodin.)

       Why should a team that has won 14 of its last 19 make a deal?  There are some major holes in this lineup.  There is no cleanup hitter.  No consistent bat at third base, or left field.  If Pablo Sandoval’s elbow improves to the point he goes to third, the game of whack-a-mole leaves a void at first base.  I don’t think Travis Ishikawa is a long-term solution, but he could surprise me.  On the other hand, the Giants might prefer Pablo at first so as not to risk further injury.

        So here we go …  “Hi, I’m Sabes.”  We already have one thing in common.  We both love to be on KNBR.  ( Cue the rim shot. )

        The Giants might have already made one important acquisition over the weekend.  His name is Nate Schierholz.  Yes, he’s been on the roster all year but has basically been in witness protection.  Frew Lewis’ poor play forced Bruce Bochy to try Schierholz as an option, and he had what some are calling a “coming out party” over the weekend.  Big games on Friday and Sunday in which he displayed good range, a great arm, great speed, and a fairly live bat. 

        Is Schierholz the longterm solution in the outfield?  Who knows, but he’s making a case and will get a shot.  He’s another aggressive young Giants hitter who doesn’t walk a lot and hasn’t hit a lot of home runs, but he might be an improvement over Lewis.  He seems to show no fear — and why would you if you have already survived an international incident?  (See the Olympics last year.)

         The Giants probably want to see what Schierholz could do, perhaps in a platoon with Andres Torres, before deciding to pull the trigger to get an outfielder.  Let’s say the Schierholz experiment works out.  It would help, but the Giants would still need to make one more deal to become a serious contender.  Juan Uribe has done a nice job at third but I don’t see him as a longterm solution.  Look at the back of his baseball card.  That’s too many outs to put in the lineup on a regular basis. 

       The names heard most often in the last few weeks as trade possibilities ?  Miguel Tejada, Aubrey Huff, Mark De Rosa, Nick Johnson, Adrian Beltre, and Garrett Atkins.  One caller over the weekend even conjured up a six-player deal that would bring Grady Sizemore to San Francisco.   Oh boy, it’s fun to play GM, but I’m not sure the Indians are interested in dealing Sizemore, even as he deals with a bad elbow.

       (Uh-oh, De Rosa just parked one in the plaza at Jacobs Field.)

       Any of these players mentioned could probably help the Giants, but what do the Giants have to offer?

       Jonathan Sanchez’s name has been tossed around as trade bait for almost a year, and though he has yet to fulfill his promise, would draw interest from many teams in a mid-level trade.  Some would see him as a future middle-of-rotation guy.  You won’t get an All-Star in return but you might not need one. The pitching and defense are pretty damn good, and it wouldn’t take much to upgrade the league’s worst offense. 

       You could up the ante, however, by throwing in one of the Giants bullpen arms, such as a Merkin Valdez or Sergio Romo.  Valdez and Sanchez together would definitely stir the loins of many a GM.  Valdez is lighting up the gun at close to 100, so many would see him as a future closer.  The Giants could afford to lose Valdez because reliever Romo, also a very intriguing young pitcher, is now healthy and looking like the real deal.

      The Giants could make a deal without disturbing their minor league core, i.e. Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson.  If they deal Sanchez it might give someone like Kevin Pucetas a chance to show what he could do in the majors, with Bumgarner possibly ready by September.  Don’t rule that out.  He’s 19 but he has blown through the minors so far.

      The final question which needs to be asked — the most important one — does the Giants front office believe enough in this team to make that deal which would make this team a contender, a year before the braintrust thought they would be?   As John Lennon wrote in “Beautiful Boy,”  “life’s what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans.”  This team has shown enough over a 60-game stretch to grant a little belief.  And how dangerous would the Giants be in the playoffs with Lincecum, Cain, and Johnson in the post-season rotation?

       Nice thoughts on June 15th.  To quote Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War,”  … “we’ll see, said the Zen Master.”  I don’t think he was referring to Phil Jackson.

       Yes, we could talk deals and play GM all night long.  Well, y’all can play among yourselves now.  I’m done for the night.  Hi, I’m not Sabes anymore.

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