Apr 13, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy leads this players onto the field during opening day festivities at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Thursday. The Giants have the day off. Which means I have the day off. Or so you’d think.
It’s July 30th, meaning the trade deadline is tomorrow. Everyone is talking about what the teams need, who’s in contention, rebuilding, rebooting or standing pat. Then they start throwing stats around like infielders tossing the ball around after an out.
When it comes to baseball, I’m all about the game itself. The traditions, the superstitions, the gameplay. I don’t do the whole baseball stat-geek scene. The only thing I know about WAR is that I prefer peace, and as far as I’m concerned, WHIP means black leather and maybe some other things that aren’t suitable for print.
When it comes to what the Giants need, I’m confused. Everyone’s talking about picking up a starting pitcher or looking for an outfielder/utility guy. And that leaves me scratching my head. Because it wasn’t that long ago—maybe a week—that everyone was asking Giants manager Bruce Bochy if he was going with a six-man rotation because we had too many starters.
As far as utility guys go, I understand Joaquin Arias might be gone. I say give him a call if he clears waivers, and use him next time the Giants face the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. When it comes to outfielders, we’ve got a pretty good group already. Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki are back, Gregor Blanco and Justin Maxwell have been good coming off the bench and Juan Perez is in Triple-A if someone goes down with an injury.
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You know what I think we need? A closer. A good, solid, reliable closer. Just based solely on their performances this season, I get nervous when Santiago Casilla or Sergio Romo takes the ball. Honestly, I’m a big fan of both. Previously, Romo was the closer, currently Casilla is the closer, and they’ve been trading the job back and forth—when one wasn’t cutting it, the other was. But right now, as far as I’m concerned, neither is consistent enough.
Yep, that’s it. A closer would do it. And not just any closer. I’m talking Craig Kimbrel. He is the penultimate closer. I hear San Diego is entertaining the idea. That’s my solution.
There’s only one problem, and it’s kind of a big one. There’s no room on the roster. This is probably why the Giants have yet to jump on the trade deadline bandwagon.
Here’s the deal: Currently, there are 13 pitchers on the active roster. Our five regular starters: Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Chris Heston, Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy; Relievers: George Kontos, Yusmeiro Petit, Hunter Strickland and Ryan Vogelsong; Lefty specialists: Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez; set-up/closers: Romo and Casilla.
Now I ask you: Who do you ask to give up the ball?
Did you see that kid from the Mets when he heard he’d been traded? That was awful. He was heart-broken. I would have cried too. This game is not for the faint of heart. And everyone knows there’s no crying in baseball.
I’ve come up with a solution—and just like baby shampoo, it’s a tear-free fix. Two words: Hunter Strickland. Bear with me now. I know he struggled during the postseason, but this is 2015 and Strickland is a new man. Romo and Casilla can be the set-up guys and Strickland can ride into the ninth inning to save the game.
We’ve gotten this far with these guys—with all the injuries, slumps, snakebites and other garbage thrown their way—they deserve to ride the glory train all the way to October. We can be like good prom dates, and (like my BFF Vickie says) dance with the ones that brung us. Why not?
The Giants don’t want to give up any of our young guys, and when you consider how well they’ve done, why would they give up the next wave of homegrown talent? They’re Giants-born, Giants-bred and they turn out to be pretty good ball players. Pretty good? Make that world champion good.
It’s kind of like kobe beef—it’s not necessarily about the animal, it’s also about how it’s raised. Try this out: next time you go to a fancy-schmancy restaurant where they serve kobe beef, ask for their filet mignon, but tell them to trade the kobe for Prime or Choice. Then get ready for the men in the funny white suits to come and take you away.
Bottom line? As far as I’m concerned, trades-schmades. I say we stand pat.