As the 2009 Season break and All-Star game approaches, the San Francisco Giants find themselves in a curious bind.
Coming into the season the Giants had the lowest rated line-up in the majors. Despite that, they are 7.5 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers, and are putting in a serious bid for a Wild Card berth. They continue to hover around .500.
To all Giants fans I ask, do we love them or leave them at this point?
If you are Brian Sabean, do you make a deal for a big time bat?
The Giants have dangled lefty Jonathan Sanchez, with a few teams around the league having interest, most notably the Cleveland Indians. The rumors that Mark DeRosa could be traded for Sanchez have come and gone.
Randy Johnson gained career win 300 and Jeremy Affeldt has not allowed a run in 13.0 innings pitched. Brian Wilson has quit twittering and is back to striking out his opponents.
Should the Giants part with a minor league prospect to make a push at a playoff appearance this year?
Or, will they stand pat and ride the year out, as they were content in doing at the season's start?
A lot of scenarios are playing out in the minds of fans and the media alike, as to what San Francisco will do at the trade deadline.
Meanwhile the boys in orange and black are playing good baseball.
The Giants, who have not played well on the road in 2009, are currently riding a 7-3 road trip. This is a positive sign for a team that looks to improving week after week.
A true hitter in this line-up might just be the difference maker in the NL West. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 7.5 games up, even with a Man Ram in the dog house. At this point in time, would a mid-season signing be enough to catch LA?
Suddenly there is a fork in the road on the curvy slopes of Lombard Street. Do the Giants go right and trade, gambling on making a run for the playoffs?
Or, do they stay to left, put a winning season in the books for a change and keep building?
Not so Suddenly, Brian Sabean and William Nuekom have found themselves in the "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" arena. If they reach a deal on a slugger—they absolutely must secure a berth in the playoffs to make it worth it. A tall order with LA being the current NL favorite.
On the flip side, not making any trade might be just as damaging. With the glaring offensive holes the Giants have had, the fans have begun to lose their patience and turn. Ticket sales are down and sell outs are few and far between.
Standing pat on the line-up, even though it might make sense at the moment, might just be enough in the court of public perception to drive more season ticket holders to pass next year.
What makes the situation a little more complex is improving players like Juan Uribe, who is suddenly hitting .306. Pablo Sandoval has also showed glints of stardom. In 2008 and in 2009 we are seeing him truly develop into a star caliber player. Even Travis Ishikawa who was on the verge of being sent down to Triple-A, started to turn it around.
Okay, so Travis Ishikawa is still a long way from an ideal first baseman offensively.
Some of these players merit more consideration, while some just increased trade value and some may get called up again at some point(provided they get sent down).
Adding to the already volatile mix, San Francisco's pitching staff is really one of the best. Matt Cain at 8-1, is tied for the most wins in the National League. Barry Zito despite having only three wins is finally earning his money in 2009. Lincecum, who's a little hit and miss in '09, is still second in the NL in strikeouts, and still a freak.
The San Francisco Giants are a bat away from Wild Card contention, or a good off-season away from being an elite team in the National League again.
What do you think Giants fans?