At this point in the season, the San Francisco Giants are rolling.
The biggest issue so far? Hunter Pence having his scooter stolen.
At 32-19, the G-Men have the best record in baseball. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is finally clicking at the plate, the bullpen is lights-out and the starting rotation is coming together.
So why write a piece, with everything going so well, about who to get rid of?
Sandoval is the most talked-about candidate, but he remains the Giants' best option at third base. Despite his paltry .239 batting average, Sandoval is just breaking out of his early-season slump. He was the bright spot in an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
In that matchup, Sandoval drove in three runs and went yard. On the season, he's posted a solid .413 slugging percentage as well.
The Kung-Fu Panda also has five home runs and 12 RBI in his last eight games. He's a young player, and an early-season slump shouldn't be held against him.
The Giants have demonstrated so much patience with Sandoval in the past that it's hard to believe they'd trade him away at this point.
Additionally, the Giants are considering extending Sandoval's contract. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes, "As I reported on Saturday’s pregame show on FOX Sports 1, the Giants aren’t ruling out keeping third baseman Pablo Sandoval, even though the team’s contract negotiations with him currently are on hold."
Rosenthal wrote that piece on May 13, back when Sandoval was batting south of the .200 mark. Now, he's finally finding his footing at the plate.
On the pitching front, Ryan Vogelsong has rebounded since making a minor mechanical adjustment. He's lowered his ERA to 3.20.
And the Giants have a bevy of young arms waiting in the wings: Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn and Edwin Escobar, to name a few. General manager Brian Sabean signed Tim Hudson to bridge the gap between this season and the future in order to give those young arms more time to develop.
In the outfield, the Giants can't afford to trade any of their starters (Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse). Morse also steps in to play first base while Brandon Belt recovers from injury. Tyler Colvin, Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco have made appearances off the bench, but they are downgrades from the starting three.
The Giants have struggled to put together a solid everyday outfield. Now, they finally have one. Morse has an exceptional line of .280/.339/.542 with 12 doubles and 10 home runs. He's been the guy the Giants were hoping for. Pence has an equally impressive .289/.363/.463 line, and Pagan is the go-to leadoff hitter. Now that he's healthy this season, Pagan is enjoying a line of .315/.359/.438. He also has 10 stolen bases.
In the infield, Brandon Crawford is the guy at shortstop, and Brandon Hicks is emerging as a solid second-base option in place of the injured Marco Scutaro. The Giants have also demonstrated patience with regard to Belt as their first baseman of the future. Before hitting the disabled list, the slugger was finally slugging.
At the plate, Buster Posey is untradeable, and Hector Sanchez is a solid backup option. After struggling last season, Sanchez is rediscovering his game, with 17 RBI and six doubles on the year already.
To improve upon last season's debacle, the Giants needed to add pieces—not subtract them. And that's what they did, signing Michael Morse and Tim Hudson in the offseason. Both signings have proved successful so far.
It's foolish to say no trades will occur at all as the season progresses. Depending on whether the offense continues to produce or whether the rotation needs another arm to push for a playoff run, time will tell.
And if a trade does occur, Sabean will probably reach into his farm-system pocket. He has a history of doing so. In 2011, he traded star pitching prospect Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran, who ended up being a one-season rental player.
But right now, the Giants aren't broken. They don't need to be fixed.
Maybe this is too much of a glass-half-full outlook, but why mess with a winning formula? Why second- and third-guess a lineup that's working? The Giants are all about chemistry, and the chemistry's clicking.
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