San Francisco Giants: A Gut-Wrenching Feeling Every Fifth Game

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IJune 8, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 14:  Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants looks on after a wild pitch that scored a run in the third innin against the New York Mets during a Major League Baseball game on May14, 2009 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Despite the San Francisco Giants currently in the midst of playing some of their best baseball of the season (9-3 in their last 12), the Giants and their fans are still dealing with major inconsistencies with their No. 5 starter, Jonathan Sanchez.

On the year, Sanchez is just 2-5 with a 5.19 ERA and San Francisco has won just four times in his 11 starts.

For those of you who follow the Giants B/R community closely, you may recall that I wrote an article prior to the season questioning the hype regarding Sanchez. The article detailed Sanchez's ERA being consistently over five due to his control issues.

Well, nothing has changed since that article. Sanchez still has major issues with command and once again has an ERA over five, same old Sanchez.

To be fair, the 26-year-old lefty is currently only 11 starts into his second full season as a starter. However, Sanchez has been pitching in the big leagues since 2006 and has never shown a consistency to the strike zone.

For his career Sanchez has posted a 5.19 ERA, 15-23 record in 302 innings. Those aren't exactly numbers to call home about but to his credit, the young lefty has struck out 304 hitters in those 302 innings. Albeit, he has also averaged nearly five walks (4.8) per every nine innings.

However, Sanchez' statistics as a starter are even worse. In 194 and two-thirds innings pitched as a starter, the Giants' lefty has recorded a 5.54 ERA and just a 10-22 record.

Granted his record and ERA can be a bit inflated due to an anemic Giants offense throughout Sanchez' career and the fact that it can be easier to keep a lower ERA out of the bullpen.

But that being said, Sanchez has only put together a single stretch of consistent starting pitching. In June of last year, Sanchez went 5-1 with an ERA of 3.09.

In all of Sanchez's other starts, he has compiled a 7-20 record and a 6.07 ERA.

Now it is understandable why the Giants front office and their fans were once excited about Sanchez. The southpaw has a fastball in the mid 90's and an assortment of quality pitches including a slider and a change-up.

But, despite having "electric stuff," Sanchez has failed time and time again to harnass his control. So far on the season, he has managed to reach the sixth inning just twice in his 11 starts.

Now regardless of the endless amount of negative stats to be piled on about Sanchez, the fact that he has that "electric stuff" and throws left-handed means that there is still a trade market out there for the Giants' No. 5 starter.

In fact, Sanchez has been linked to trade rumors involving Cleveland Indians' Mark DeRosa.

Last year with Chicago DeRosa had a career high 21 homers, hit .285, and drove in 87 runs.

With Cleveland this season DeRosa has already hit nine home runs and driven in 38 runs which puts him on pace for over 25 homers and 100 RBI.

Granted those numbers may dip a bit if DeRosa were to hit at a pitchers park such as AT&T. 

However, if DeRosa were a Giant right now, he would instantly become the team leader in home runs and RBI.

That being said, if the Giants could receive a player with those offensive numbers and all they would have to give up is a shaky Jonathan Sanchez and perhaps a declining Randy Winn, the Giants would be getting a steal.

Now, Sanchez may possibly turn his career around with a new team, but even if he were to pick his game up as an Indian, it shouldn't be that disappointing to Giants fans because San Francisco has a plethora of pitching coming up through the minors.

Combine that with the fact that Sanchez was a 27th round pick, giving him up in a trade would not be that bad of an idea.

Obviously scouts weren't very impressed with Sanchez going into the 2004 draft and in all honesty with the other first round pitching selections the Giants have in the minors, Sanchez has never been penciled into the Giants rotation for the future.

The future of the Giants rotation is Lincecum, Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson.

The Giants would be crazy not to deal Sanchez for DeRosa if the Indians would agree to a deal.

Just think about it, if you were the general manager of a team with three Cy-Young winners in your rotation, had deep in pitching talent in the minor leagues and had a chance to trade your worst starter for an everyday player who would instantly become your team leader in homer and RBI, wouldn't you make the trade?

If the Giants made a deal of this stature, not only would it make their faithful feel less queasy about the fifth slot in the rotation, it would also make the faithful feel a lot better knowing there is some added power to the lineup.

In order for the Giants to make the post-season, they are going to need more consistency out of the fifth spot in the rotation, and more power in the lineup. This deal would bring both.

DeRosa would hit third everyday, and either Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson or Kevin Pucetas would pitch every fifth day.

I can't speak for all Giants fans, but I am tired of picking up the paper, seeing Sanchez as the projected starter and thinking "Darn, mark today's game down as a loss."