At what point does a team finally determine that their season is done and they need to begin moving forward with the next season? For this year's San Francisco Giants, the time is now.
They were embarrassed by C.C. Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers at home tonight by a score of 9-1.
For weeks, there has been talk that maybe the Giants should be buyers at the deadline and make a run at the dismal National League Western Division title.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, now two games under .500, are holding onto a seven-game lead over both the Giants and Colorado Rockies.
Seven games back may not seem like a terrible place to be, given the talent of the team. However, the team is 16 games under .500 and have dropped 10 of the last 14 games. They own the worst home record in baseball at 17-29, and they are in an awful position.
Matt Cain was tagged for three earned runs in six innings, The powerful Brewers offense got to him early on a J.J. Hardy RBI groundout and a Rickie Weeks RBI single. These were the only runs that the team would need to hold off the lowly Giants offense.
In fact, the only run the Giants were able to gather off of Sabathia was an Aaron Rowand solo home run in the bottom of the eighth. Aside from the one earned run and four hits allowed, Sabathia blanked the offense.
The Giants largest issue was the continuation of a bullpen unable to keep runs from scoring. Keiichi Yabu, Jack Taschner, Osiris Matos, and Sergio Romo combined for three innings of work, allowing four runs on six hits. These hits included home runs by Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron.
Not that it made too much of a difference, because Sabathia was flat out dealing Friday night at AT&T Park, but it is an issue that must be addressed, as the team's bullpen continues to struggle.
Outside of Alex Hinshaw and Keiichi Yabu, who is completely unreliable, no Giants reliever even has an ERA under 4.00. Tyler Walker's tendency to blow games in big situations has cost the team numerous games.
The reality is that this team is going nowhere in 2008, and to even consider this team for contention in the playoffs is absolutely ridiculous.
Even if the team was somehow able to play decent baseball the rest of the season and both Arizona and Los Angeles were to completely collapse and fall into disarray, they would still struggle to claim a division title.
The Giants have absolutely no hope this season and need to consider themselves serious sellers at the deadline.
With the realization of being a non-contender, the Giants need to begin to phase out many of their older veterans like Ray Durham, Randy Winn, Omar Vizquel, Rich Aurilia, and even Bengie Molina. These guys are all expensive wastes of veteran talent, who could serve other clubs well.
Unfortunately, it is time for these guys to go. The Giants must begin their rebuilding process by acquiring young talent and giving them big league experience before the end of the year.
Many clubs around the league could be interested in some of these players, and some even have a lot of young talent. Consider a team like the New York Mets who may be interested in acquiring Randy Winn, especially if they do not get Ryan Church back from his injury.
They may need a fast outfielder, who can still swing the bat, making Winn a great fit. They may also be interested in acquiring Ray Durham, with injuries to Luis Castillo, and Damion Easley having to play as the starter, which may make Durham a valuable piece.
The Cardinals may also want to add a player to help make a run at the first-place Cubs and keep the Brewers from taking over. With all of the injuries on their team, they may definitely be interested in acquiring a veteran bat in exchange for some prospects.
Look for the Phillies to be interested as well, with their recent offensive problems and a lot of young talent to give as well. A player like Bengie Molina or Randy Winn may fit in well in Philadelphia for a final push in the second half of the season.
The Giants season is over and it is time to be thinking about next year. They have a lot of talent to give that teams may be interested in. Rather than thinking of themselves as contenders for winning the worst division in baseball, they need to be thinking about how they can get valuable young prospects.
After all, for this team, the future is now. If the Giants want to be contenders years from now, they need to start now.