The San Francisco Giants have been a hard team to figure out. They looked like the worst team of all team during the first ten games of the season, ten they caught fire and got back up over the .500 mark. Even with their loss to the Florida Marlins on Monday, they are sitting at 29-27. Not bad, but not great. The biggest problem for them is that they are in a division with their hated rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who currently hold an 8.5 game lead on them for the National League West Division.
While I freaked out and a disparaging blog after their early troubles, I did pick them to finish second in the NL West (if they did not sign Mr. Female Fertility Drug himself, Manny Ramirez.) They seem to be on track to do that. But what can they do to help themselves? I hear lots of opinions, and it's hard to wade through all the muck to get to some sort of clarity.
Do they trade Matt Cain? Such a great question. He's currently 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA. That puts him in the race for the Cy Young Award. It's a pretty tough sell to trade a pitcher of that caliber. Look at the Pirates- they just trade Nate McLouth for almost no reason to the Braves, and if I was a Pirates fan I'd be jumping overboard like the passengers of the Titanic right now. I have a feeling a trade of Cain by the Giants would send similar (but not the same) shockwaves through the Giants fanbase. Who would be fair value for Matt Cain? I'll throw out a few names, and you tell me if any of them make sense (for both teams): Prince Fielder, Nick Johnson, Matt Holliday (this would have to include an extension), Alex Rios, Adam Jones, or Carlos Lee. I'm not sure all of those players would be fair value, but you would need someone in return that can mash in the middle of the line-up, and in a dream world play first or third and bat left handed.
Do they trade Jonathan Sanchez? This is more likely- and could be traded in a similar scenario as I laid out for Cain. I think Sanchez for Nick Johnson would be fair value. If you were trying to pick up Holliday or Fielder, you'd need to sweeten the pot to make it happen. Sanchez has a great chance to be a good pitcher for a long time to come, but his inconsistency will probably scare off some suitors, or create unrealistic deals that the Giants will refuse to make.
Do they trade Benji Molina? Any teams interested in a catcher? This guy has been their best hitter and a leader in the clubhouse, but with Buster Posey waiting in the wings, it may be time to cut bait with Molina and try to strengthen the offense in the farm system. Any trade the Giants make has to be for legit major league hitters, or high prospect type hitters. They have plenty of pitching and need to start operating that way. Not that it's a direct comparison, but I always fell in love with pitching in Fantasy Baseball. This year I made a strong effort to draft offense first, and low and behold, my team is in first and undefeated. I think the Giants have the potential to be an elite team if they can find two solid power hitters somewhere... that's not asking too much is it?
What other moves could they make? I've heard a lot of great suggestions, and I've heard suggestions that are worse than the decsions Michael Vick has made over the last few years. What would be a move that would make Brian Sabean look like a genius? Is there any move to make? What team would be willing to give up a power hitter? And why they holy hell did they pay Edgar Rentaria $18 million for 2 years, when they could've gotten Adam Dunn for $20 million/2 years? The world may never know...