Decision Time

Under a week until the July 31 trade deadline, and the Giants are 7.5 back in the NL West. We all know they’re trending in the wrong direction, while the Dodgers are on an incredible roll at the moment. Mattingly’s club has won 22 of its last 28, and is the hottest team in baseball. Make no mistake, they won’t keep playing .785 baseball, but the Bums really do have the starting pitching and lineup to run away with the division, in my opinion. They’ve already acquired Ricky Nolasco, and I’m sure they’ll try to bolster their bullpen at some point too. The Giants, however, are in a completely different situation.

Here’s the funny thing about the next five days: Depending on how the Reds do in Los Angeles for their big time four-game series with the Dodgers, the Giants may have a chance to move within four games or so again. That is, if they can take care of the Cubs this weekend. The Cubs will enter AT&T Park on Friday only a half-game worse than the Giants, record-wise. Both teams are in 4th place. Tell me who would have predicted that to happen back in April.  Both teams are 5-5 over their last 10, so it’ll probably be a pretty even series. But what if the Giants sweep? What if the Dodgers lose three of four to Cincy? Again, that’s not likely to happen either, but the Reds just showed us how good they are, so it’s not completely out of the question. Potentially, the Giants could hit the road next week with only a 4.5 – 6 game deficit in the division.  If that happens, there certainly won’t be any Pence’s or Lincecum’s or Lopez’s being traded from San Francisco, although it doesn’t sound like the front office wants to part ways with those guys this year, anyway. If the Giants are still close in the standings, that’s all the justification Brian Sabean would need to hold onto his trade pieces.

Most likely, the Giants will head to Philadelphia next week 7-9 games back with only two games until the deadline. That’s when Sabean has some real decisions to make. If you haven’t seen the August schedule, it includes 20+ games outside the division, with nine games against the AL East alone. If you’re a realist, you have to look at this team and figure there’s no way in hell they’ll come out of August with anything close to a .500 record. They don’t win on the road, and they don’t win outside the division. That’s a bad combination.

Considering all of this, let me pose a question for you. If you’re running the Giants, do you use the trade deadline to rebuild? If you hold onto guys like Pence and Lincecum, do you plan to re-sign them? If they go elsewhere, especially Pence, can you replace them in free agency? If the Pirates call for Pence, do you pull the trigger? What if a team like the Yankees asks about Pablo? These are tough questions, and I truly don’t know all of the answers to them. I have my opinions, and I’ll try to get into them at some point in the upcoming days. But for now, the Giants are running out of time to improve the team, both for this season and down the road. What are they going to do to fix that?

Lopez Pence

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5 thoughts on “Decision Time”

  1. The 2014 draft is going to be stronger than the last two. My best case scenario is to hang onto both Timmy and Pence until the end of the season, then make qualifying offers, let them sign elsewhere and take the 2 supplemental round picks. Add in a possible top 10 pick and you’ve got a nice infusion of talent.

    On the other hand, if Texas goes nuts and offers Jurickson Profar for Pence, yeah, I would take that over a supplemental round draft pick, but that ain’t gonna happen

    1. On second thought, after looking up what’s available on the upcoming FA market, and trying to think of who might be available in trade, re-signing Timmy and Pence might actually be the best option out there, particularly in The Rev’s case. The OF market, once you get beyond Shin Soo Choo is downright dismal!

      1. I found the list of FA a couple of nights ago, and was thinking the exact same thing DrB. It’s not going to be easy to rebuild the team through free agency. Just too many holes and not enough good talent to fill them. I would guess the Giants can’t afford to lose both Pence and Lincecum without getting back some ML-ready talent. If they make the qualifying offer and both walk, we’re looking at 3-5 years before we see any payoff. I really don’t think it’ll be easy to re-sign Lincecum, and I’m sure Sabean will have to overpay for Pence, but I bet they do it anyway.

        If Vogelsong can show something in August and September, I’d guess he’ll be back next year… so you fill two spots. Maybe a Scott Feldman or an Ervin Santana? Maybe Sabean will make a trade or two in the offseason for a young pitcher. It’s definitely going to take some creativity, but I don’t think they’re ready to think about that until the season is over.

      2. Sabes doubled down on his comments about using the Qualifying Offer today and referred to “gamesmanship.” That’s a bit cryptic, but it seems clear that he is not thinking of trading either Timmy or Pence. He could be actually hoping that one or both accept the QO as just 1 year at $14 M for either would be a pretty sweet deal for the Giants as it buys them another year of service with minimal risk.

        I actually think Pence would be harder to replace than Timmy. The no-no notwithstanding, a dumpster dive like Gaudin or Vogie or a journeyman like Marquis would be just as good as what they have gotten out of Timmy for almost 2 years now!

      3. The Giants traded for Guillermo Moscoso. Just looking for AAA depth in case there’s another injury, or do you think they’ll put him in the rotation to replace Zito?

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