Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Wednesday, June 23, 2004
 1) You have to admit, my timing was perfect. If I was going to put my writing on hiatus, why not make some bold, gloomy predictions before I left? That way, the last post can hang around like bad gas in a crowded BART car after the proclamations prove ridiculous. Perfection.

Brian Sabean wasn't too far from throwing in the towel himself. According to trusted confidante Shawn Estes, who gave the impression he text messages someone in the Giants front office several times a day, the Giants were going to "release eighteen or nineteen veterans, including Jason Schmidt and Jerome Williams." Heads were going to roll, and Willie Mays Plaza was going to run red with rivers of unproductive veteran blood. The purge began with Jeffrey Hammonds, who said:
A hundred at-bats is a lot more than most folks dream about. I'm not a .210 hitter, but that's what I've done in 2004, and if a change has to be made, I'm the one it's going to be.
It was Yogi Berra who never said, "Nothing fires a team up more than measured, respectful comments in the face of a career crisis.", and that certainly rings true now. The turnaround has been amazing. Michael Tucker has been worth the unholy sacrifice of a first-round pick. Edgardo Alfonzo has been one of the clutchiest bunch of clutches who ever clutched. Deivi Cruz has made the most of his limited time. The pitching has struggled a bit, but Jason Schmidt has remained stellar.

In the May 19th post, I wrote: "It's time to...wonder what this team can... trade...for...in...July..." Good point, me. The hottest name on the market is Carlos Beltran, though all of the Giants outfielders are currently hitting well. Tucker, as good as he's been, should come back down to earth. The Royals are looking for a young third basemen and a catcher, which the Giants actually have in Pedro Feliz and Yorvit Torrealba.

If Feliz isn't going to play short, which is a bit of a shame, he should be traded this deadline. He's already in his arbitration years, and the value/production ratio is just going to go down from here. Losing Torrealba -- though a great working title for some cheap Miramax Oscar-bait -- would hurt the future of the team, especially for a three-month rental like Beltran, which makes the deal untenable. If the front office is disenchanted with the red-assed stylings of A.J. Pierzynski, and has no intention of signing him to a contract, Yorvit should be kept at all costs.

Though a real first baseman would be outstanding as well, it is pretty obvious the Giants need a starting pitcher to replace Brett Tomko. Tomko has a decent fastball and curve combo when he can control it, and it often seems like he's just one pitch away from being a productive starter. Unfortunately, that pitch -- a 97 mph screwball thrown with the glove hand and controlled with his mind -- is still very much a work in progress. If teams like Toronto, Montreal, and Pittsburgh are willing to deal, the quality of starters will range from "interesting" to "Pat Hentgen", though the Giants aren't likely to waste their time replacing Tomko with someone who could easily play Tomko in the Jeff Speakman flick, "Designated for Assignment".

Peter Magowan has hinted that a starting pitcher is the route to explore, but also mentioned the team wasn't willing to Ponsonate the future of the team. Matt Cain is a boy among men in AA, and had a very nice first start in Norwich. Merkin Valdez is currently covering a bald spot for the San Jose Giants, but he'll be in AA before long. At some point, a team has to consider pitchers in AA as a part of the not-too-distant future, and not as concepts.

The worst thing the team could do is to dump a Cain or Merkin for a closer, as Peter Gammons suggests. Matt Herges isn't an especially exciting closer, but the difference between Herges and Ugueth Urbina isn't worth Noah Lowry, much less the top prospects in the system. Florida milked a hot streak by Urbina all the way to a title last year, but counting on the ebbs and flows of one particular reliever is foolish, especially when the reliever isn't pitching so hot in the first place.

The Giants have options. However, the choice is mainly between overpaying for premium talent, or switching out mediocrities. If Sabean doesn't find a bargain, he is probably better not making a deal at all. It's a drag to think about, but trying to limp out a 2004 playoff team with the current flawed roster is likely the best course of action.

2) The regular updates will come starting in early July. Waiting for Boof Corporate Headquarters is relocating to San Mateo. I'll be the one in Pancho Villa, trying to shove three steak and prawn burritos in my mouth at the same time. Or the guy in section 138, yelling at Luis Gonzalez until I pass out. Comment starter of the week, er, month: What was your favorite all-time heckle?

posted by G at 1:15 AM



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