Oct 22, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff (left) hits into a double play scoring left fielder Gregor Blanco (not pictured) in front of St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (right) during the seventh inning of game seven of the 2012 NLCS at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
I fully understand I’m going against everything the San Francisco Giants franchise stands for. A franchise epitomized by home-grown products as oppose to shelf-bought, should abandon their policy, just this once. Whilst the Giants have been stunning in the opening month of the season – good enough to lead the National League West – Matt Cain‘s trip to the DL and some poor starts from Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong, have been a constant reminder, the Giants have a long way to go until they can dream of another World Series Championship.
Don’t get me wrong, I have full faith in our rotation, and especially our bullpen. But little things like Cain cutting his finger making a sandwich, Vogelsong getting hit by a pitch or Tim Hudson getting stood on, on first base, should not have the potential to derail our season.
Rather, these unpreventable injuries shouldn’t even have the chance to upset one game. The only way to guarantee having a full strength rotation as a constant? Be aggressive in the market with remaining free agents or potential trades, and add a pitcher capable of guiding the Giants into the playoffs.
Right now, you may think I’m crazy. We have a superb team ERA, and guys like Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff are perfectly able to start on a minutes notice. However, once we reach the latter stages of summer – when, of course, we will be sitting top of the West still – when arms are beginning to tire, and our veterans more susceptible to injury, having an extra top quality starter could be the difference between October memories, or the season ending early.
Still not convinced? Towards the end of last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were close, but not quite close enough, to securing their first playoff spot in 20 years. Chasing a wild card spot against top sides like the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals, the Pirates made an aggressive short term move. They traded for Justin Morneau, who was only contracted for the rest of the year, who turned out to be a key player to securing the final wild card spot for the Bucco’s.
The Giants prize their pitching prospects like no other franchise, however, with such a plethora of young arms, surely they could afford to shift one. I’m not advocating moving Kyle Crick for someone like David Price, instead, someone like Mike Kickham or Jason Berken.With pitchers like Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel inevitably becoming available on the trade market, a short-term deal, for someone of the sort could send us not only to October, but to another World Series Championship.
If I still can’t interest you, how about a short term, low-risk deal. I present option B: signing an unwanted free agent. Who remembers Aubrey Huff? An unwanted free agent signed by the Giants, who, to cut a long story short, was a catalyst in bringing the World Series trophy back to San Francisco in 2010.
Jair Jurrjens, a former all-star is making a comeback. Having dominated with the Atlanta Braves for years, a string of injuries have seen him go from ace, to struggling minor league pitcher. Having had knee surgery in September, Jurrjens is now rehabbing and throwing 90 mph. Signing him on a one-year-incentive-laden deal, would be extremely low risk, and could potentially reap rewards.
One more time, in no way am I advocating the Giants shipping away their entire farm system to win a World Series this year, instead, let’s not be reluctant to move several prospects we don’t rate too highly in order to receive a top end starter or spending some money on a free agent, that could help send us into October.
With the height of the trade season rapidly descending upon us, we can’t afford to allow the free spending Los Angeles Dodgers to beat us to the division because of their money. Let’s be aggressive, and make the most of our amazing 2014 roster. I sincerely hope, the San Francisco Giants get shopping and make the most of our plethora of young arms to gain something much more valuable, a World Series Championship.