For the second time in the past four years, the San Francisco Giants have followed a World Series championship with a terribly disappointing season.
Following the most recent series, where the Cincinnati Reds let out some of their frustration from the NLDS in 2012—the Reds outscored the Giants 33-9 in the four-game series—it looks like general manager Brian Sabean has waved the white flag.
In an interview on KNBR (via Chris Haft of MLB.com), Sabean stated:
"As we speak, the math is horrific against us and we're almost ready to turn the page on this season."
I found it shocking that a member within the organization was willing to publicly state that the Giants—the defending World Series champs—have thrown in the towel.
Regardless of the team's current status, we tend to hear players and coaches alike state things along the lines of, "It's not over until we're mathematically out of it." Even if a team's season were realistically over, you'd still hear players try to deflect questions and answer them in a way that doesn't sound like surrender.
But when you sit back and somberly look at the overall picture, the season really is over for the Giants. They are nine games under .500 and 7.5 games behind the surging Los Angeles Dodgers, and the team simply doesn't look anything like either championship team from the past four years.
They rank 21st in overall offense (runs scored) 23rd in team pitching (staff ERA) and 26th in defense (errors committed). That not only doesn't look like a playoff team but also a team that shouldn't look to be a buyer at the deadline, and Sabean shares the same sentiment.
In the same interview on KNBR, Sabean also stated:
"If the right suitor came along, we would listen on some of our players—and teams are asking about some of our players."
But this is where things get tricky.
Even though the 2013 season looks to be a lost cause, does that mean the Giants should trade away key pieces? If the right deal comes along, then yes, but don't lose sight on how this team looks on paper and how well it played collectively in 2012.
Players like Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Jeremy Affeldt are all having disappointing seasons. Injuries have also plagued this team, as Angel Pagan has been out for the majority of the year.
This team is still constructed to win championships well into the future, and trading away players like Hunter Pence, Javier Lopez or Sergio Romo would not immediately improve this club.
Additionally, the Giants will have roughly $40 million freed up this offseason with Lincecum and Barry Zito coming off the books. That is more than enough money to revamp the rotation and build it around Cain and Madison Bumgarner.
If the right deal came along, then I believe every player on the Giants would be available outside of Buster Posey and Bumgarner. But even though the deficit is too great to overcome this season, the Giants are constructed to contend in the National League for years to come.