One thing that could be said about the Giants and in particular, Brian Sabean, is that they value pitching.
Perhaps too much.
Whether it be their approach to drafting, consistently using their top picks on pitching prospects over position players, valuing pitching in free agency over much needed hitting, or a reluctance to trade their only commodity (pitchers) for bats, the Giants have a clear and somewhat dogmatic philosophy towards building a competitive team.
This off season, I was astounded when I heard that southpaw, Jonathan Sanchez, was off the table as trade bait when the Giants sought to acquire a bat via a trade. It's apparent to me that Sabean and the Giants haven't grasped the concept of having to move what you got to get what you want.
I could envision Sabean sitting at his desk and defensively hording bobbleheads of all the top Giant pitching prospects in his arms, as he mans the phones.
They rank second to last in the majors in runs scored and team slugging, and dead last in homeruns and RBI. Let me state the obvious: the Giants are anemic on offense.
Sabean has to wake up.
The reality is even as the season progresses, the Giants bats are not going to improve dramatically. The everyday lineup simply doesn't have enough talented hitters, point blank.
To make matters worse, outside of Buster Posey, who still might be at least a year or two away, the Giants have no sure-fire hitters looming in the minors. Infielders Nick Noonan and Brandon Crawford might excite the Giants' hardcore fans, but they aren't on the radar of most scouts' Top 100 rankings, nor are they even on the horizon of seeing a major league field anytime soon.
Here's what we do have: Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner. Both pitchers received a promotion to Double-A Connecticut in early May this year.
Neither pitcher has seen a lapse in dominance at the level. As of May 21, listed is a breakdown of their stats for the Connecticut Defenders:
Does their current success promise to carry onto the majors? No. However, all signs internally and externally from scouts point to both prospects having bright futures with the major league ball club.
What does this have to do with Sanchez?
In short, everything. The emergence of these two pitchers makes holding on to a perceived commodity like Sanchez a luxury.
I've never been sold completely on Sanchez; he's far too erratic, throws too many pitches (a la Matt Cain), and when his arm slot on his delivery is off, all hell can break loose. Let's remember he's no spring chicken, either, as he turns 27 years old this November.
Much in the same way Fred Lewis is an older prospect, Sanchez's chances for refining his game may only be incremental at this point. To me, he's always going to be the guy that has three bad starts and then dazzles you in his next one.
The Giants should strike while the iron's hot with Sanchez, particularly after he's come off a solid performance against the Padres (6.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 SO).
Sabean has to be able to read the tea leaves. This team's pitching can't keep picking up an impotent hitting squad.
Message to Sabean: Deal him.