Future of The Giants: Another Ace In The Hole?
The Giants are nearing the All-Star Break, and that also means that they are nearing the trading deadline. I know there's rumblings among the Giants fans who want them to trade one of their young pitchers for a bat to add to their power-starved offense.
The two-five hitters (Durham, Winn, Molina, Rowand) haven't homered since the first week of June. The Giants now rank sixth in batting average in the National League, but are still 14th in runs scored. They also are first in the league in doubles, second in triples, but tied for last place in home runs.
But, the trio of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Jonathan Sanchez are all in the top-ten in strikeouts. Their pitching is still a strong asset, and after the break, they'll probably change the rotation to put Barry Zito farther back in the rotation. That should work for Zito, who, as stated in previous articles, had his Cy Young season as the third starter behind Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder.
So, with this abundance of able arms, including Kevin Correia and even Pat Misch, why not trade one of them for a bat in the middle of the lineup?
Here's why, and in a second, I'll get to the solution.
The Giants need to grow from within. That's the key to their rebirth as a franchise. Its been too long that they use veterans to patch the holes for a season or two. They need to grow from within. If they don't. it will just be like putting Band-Aids on on an artery. The pieces are already there.
For the outfield, look at Fred Lewis, Nate Schierholtz, and Brian Horwitz. While not young (average age of 26), they probably won't be demanding free agent deals or trades because they're just getting their chance to play. They want to be in the show, and they're good enough to be here.
Add them to Randy Winn, a very solid veteran, and Aaron Rowand, who is a great person to have as one of your franchise players, and your outfield is set.
In the infield, Emmanuel Burriss is being groomed as the shortstop for the future. With Ray Durham in a contract year, its up to the Giants to either resign him, which wouldn't be too bad, or leave it up to Kevin Frandsen to get back to his 2007 form. John Bowker is actually a decent first basemen, looking to take Dan Ortmeier's place as the outfielder/first basemen on the team.
Third base is still an issue, because I'm pretty sure the Giants don't see Jose Castillo as a long-term option. Catcher and first-round draft pick Buster Posey should be on the fast track to the majors, and expect to see him even as early as a 2009 September call-up.
This is where it starts to get interesting.
The Giants don't want to trade their pitching talent, but I'm proposing that they add to it. This may be a long shot, especially with the deals that have been going on, and other teams desperate need for pitching, but wouldn't it be great for the Giants to get in the running for C.C. Sabathia?
He's a local boy, who the Giants are keen on picking up once in a while, and he'd add that power bat at the bottom of the lineup. You might think I'm kidding, but hitting pitchers can be key on teams that lose a lot of games by a run or two.
In 40 at bats in his career, Sabathia owns a .300 average, with 12 hits, and two home-runs to boot. He's hit safely in nine of his last ten games. The only Giant who can say that is Fred Lewis.
Hitting pitchers can be a boon. Look at past Giant Livan Hernandez. In 2001, Hernandez hit .296 with four doubles. It may not seem like much, but more recently, pitchers like Bronson Arroyo, Micah Owings, and Dontrelle Willis have had success at the plate, getting rid of the stigma that the pitcher is an automatic out.
Already, Matt Cain has two homeruns, with more than half the season left. Pitchers like this just add another element to the team. Look back when the Giants would use Shawn Estes as a pinch-runner. Noah Lowry was used in that role too, but Estes was used frequently because of his speed.
In this essence, Sabathia is just another thing in the mid of the pitcher, something that makes it harder to concentrate every fifth day. He could be, at least.
It may be a long shot, seeing as the Giants still have to pay Barry Zito an exorbitant amount of money, but why not commit to Sabathia? Think of a rotation in 2009 of Sabathia, Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Zito. That could be the best rotation in baseball this decade.
Would it be ridiculous to sign two aces within three years of each other? Not if it meant the best rotation in baseball. I'd much rather have Sabathia than some of the other free agent options out there. Joe Crede will be available, and he would fit with the team, but if C.C. is out there, why not snatch him up?
The Giants should take the chance. It can only come out for the better.
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