The San Francisco Giants came into this offseason with clearly stated goals:
1. Improve the bullpen.
2. Sign a veteran shortstop
3. Add a power bat to the infield while not sacrificing defense
If the season were to start today, GM Brian Sabean could accurately say that he has achieved two of the three goals. By adding lefty Jeremy Affeldt and righty Bob Howry, Sabean has successfully bridged the gap from our fearsome rotation to closer Brian Wilson. Compound that with an improved Sergio Romo and Alex Hinshaw, in addition to a better role for Jack Taschner, and Sabean can say, "Mission accomplished!"
The signing of free agent Edgar Renteria provides a stable veteran presence at shortstop that will bridge the gap to allow our pitchers to breathe a little easier knowing that they will not have to rely on rookies at the most important defensive position in the diamond. "Mission accomplished!"
This leaves one major goal that is yet to be achieved. The San Francisco Giants need a giant bat.
As we approach the end of 2008 and are getting ready to begin 2009, the Giants have the traditional corner power spots occupied by Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, Pablo Sandoval, and Travis Ishikawa. While all of these players are highly skilled in certain areas, none of them, with the possible exception of Pablo Sandoval, strike fear into hearts of opposing pitching the way players in these spots should.
Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers have so much offensive talent on their major league team with more on the way from their system, that any opposing pitcher heading to Arlington is ready to see their ERA shoot through the roof. Unfortunately for Texas, they have the worst starting rotation in all of baseball and lack any hope for improvement in the future. Like the major league team, their minor league teams are stacked in offensive talent but do not have pitching.
The Texas Rangers are right now looking at starting the season with a rotation featuring Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Harrison (who?), and Dustin Nippert (again...who?) yet their lineup packs a punch with Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Taylor Teagarden.
In San Francisco, pitchers know they must pitch a near perfect gem every five days to have a chance of winning. In Arlington, hitters know they must put up at least six runs a game to have a chance of winning. This is a match made in heaven, so why aren't the sides talking?
There have been rumors in the past linking Blalock to the Giants, but with his injury history resembling that of Joe Crede, Sabean wisely took a pass. So what about the other corner infielder? What about Chris Davis?
In 295 at bats, Davis hit 17 home runs, had 55 RBIs, and a respectable BA of .285. Most experts project him to be a 30 home run 100 RBI man. If he were on the Giants, he would slide right into the cleanup spot, pushing Molina down to the 5th spot, Rowand to the 6th, Fred Lewis to seventh, and Ishikawa to the bench. While I appreciate the James Loney type defense that Ishikawa provides, the Giants can not afford to have their first baseman batting 7th.
Of course, the same reasons I mention above are the same reasons the Texas Rangers want to keep him. The thing is... they don't need him. They need pitching. San Francisco has pitching, lots of pitching, too much pitching, and desperately needs a bat they can control for the next few years.
San Francisco also has another thing that the Rangers need... money. If Brian Sabean could create a package that would allow Texas to shed salary while at the same time improving their rotation, they'd have to accept.
Some Giants fans may say that to get a player like Chris Davis, the Giants would have to sacrifice Matt Cain. I don't agree. We are not talking about the most talented player on the Rangers.
We are not talking about Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, or Michael Young. Johnathan Sanchez would immediately become the No. 2 starter on the incredibly weak pitching staff that Texas currently has. Couple him with prospects Pucetas or Alderson as well as cash and the Texas Rangers would have to accept.
With two teams with such glaring weaknesses in the other's area of strength this is a match made in heaven. These teams are also in different leagues, so if the unfortunate does happen and Johnathan Sanchez turns into Scott Kazmir and with his incredible fastball, power slider combination he could, at least he wouldn't wreak havoc on the Giants.
The worst thing that the Giants can do is nothing. Nothing does not put runs on the scoreboard. Nothing leaves the Giants with no one able to crack 25 homeruns. Nothing does not give Matt Cain the run support he craves. Nothing does not put fans in the seats. Lincecum can not pitch every day.
If Sabean were able to pry Chris Davis away and Bruce could field the following lineup:
1. RF Randy Winn
2. SS Edgar Renteria
3. 3B Pablo Sandoval
4. 1B Chris Davis
5. C Bengie Molina
6. CF Aaron Rowand
7. LF Fred Lewis
8. 2B Emmannuel Burris/ Kevin Frandsen
9. Lincecum/Cain/Zito/Lowry/Pucetas (or Randy Johnson if the Giants sign him)
then all of Giants nation could rejoice and yell: "Mission accomplished!"