Should Sabean get Giants a new closer?

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Should Sabean get Giants a new closer?

When Brian Sabean goes to sleep, chances are he dreams ofacquiring a reliable closer and a power hitter. When the Giants GM wakes up,however, he must face the fact that a utility infielder and a mediocre relieverare the only additions he can afford.Santiago Casilla, filling in for Brian Wilson while the All-Star closer sitsout the 2012 season, has performed admirably. But he has run into trouble moreoften than not since the Giants series in Oakland from June 22-24.Just because a portion of the fan base is screaming for anew stopper doesnt mean Sabean is working the phones for one. And he is limitedby a weak farm system and budget room. Regardless, lets examine five obviousoptions for him to kick the tires on in case Casilla cant continue to getthe job done:Jonathan Broxton: An overweight ex-Dodger is probably notGiants fans No. 1 choice, but its hard to ignore his 2.14 ERA and 22 saves.Filling in for Joakim Soria in Kansas City, Broxton has allowed just one home run in 33.2innings and is making 4 million this season on a one-year deal. Because of hisimpending free agency and the Royals lack of playoff hopes, Royals GM Dayton Mooremight not ask for much in return. On the other hand, because of the way theMelky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez trade has worked out, Moore might just hang up when he seesSabeans name on his caller ID. Broxton, a right-hander, has much more experiencethan Casilla in the closers role, but is still working on his first sub-4.00ERA season since 2009. With that in mind, its safe to assume that Sabean hassome concerns about Broxton regressing and if he truly represents an upgradeover the in-house options. Finally, presented without comment, is this pictureof Broxtons baseball pants being put to good use.
Huston Street:In his MLB career with the Athletics, Rockiesand Padres, Street owns a 1.80 ERA and 12 saves against the Giants. Currentlystuck with a fourth-place team in San Diego, Street owns a miniscule 1.08 ERA and 14 savesand has yet to give up a home run in 26 games this season. In the final year ofa three-year, 22.5 million contract he signed in 2010 when with Colorado, Street is thePadres highest paid player in 2012 with a 7.5 million salary. If the Padresdont move their right-handed closer before the deadline, they will be facedwith a choice of a 9 million option (player decides, club can decline) or a500,000 buyout. Trading Street makes sense for San Diego and it shouldnt takeSabean more than a mid-level talent (maybe from the catching prospect surplus)to send Street to San Francisco.Matt Capps: With 138 career saves and a lifetime ERA of3.50, Capps is certainly a qualified candidate to take over for Casilla. Afterstruggling in 2011, his first full season with the Minnesota Twins, Capps had astrong start to his 2012 campaign before soreness in his right (throwing)shoulder made him miss about three weeks. Now healthy, Capps is being easedback into ninth-inning responsibilities with the Twins, who are certainlyshopping Capps and his 4.75 million 2012 salary and 6 million 2013 option (or250,000 buyout). At 36-52 entering Mondays games, the Twins have no need forsuch a seasoned closer. If Sabean believes the Giants have that need, heprobably has the prospectspayroll to give Bruce Bochy a new bullpen optionbefore the trade deadline. Brett Myers: Like Street, Myers is thehighest paid player on a losing team. Those types usually get traded, and thestarter-turned-closer-turned-starter-turned-closer is unlikely to be theexception. A 31-year-old right-hander making 11 million with the HoustonAstros, Myers has a 3.64 ERA and 18 saves, but has given up four home runs in29.2 innings and has struck out just 19 batters. Myers owned a 1.99 ERA inmid-June, but has had some ugly outings over the last month. So while his tradevalue has certainly taken a hit, Sabean may still view Myers as an upgrade overCasilla, in which case he will be asking first-year Astros GM Jeff Luhnhow whatit would take to acquire Myers.Francisco Rodriguez: Just like Broxtonsties to the Dodgers, Rodriguezs affiliation with the 2002 World Series loss tothe Angels wouldnt make him very popular as a Giant. However, K-Rods dominantintroduction to the big leagues is water under the Bay Bridgeand he could certainly help the Giants bullpen. Now the Milwaukee Brewersright-handed set-up man, Rodriguez owns a 3.76 ERA and still has his strikeoutpitch working, with 38 in 40.2 innings. Its a far cry from his 2004 season,which included a 1.82 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 84.0 innings, but Rodriguez isstill a valuable bullpen arm. With John Axford holding down the closer role inMilwaukee, Rodriguez hasnt faced the pressure of getting the final three outsas often, but with 292 career saves he certainly has proven himself to be capableof closing. If the Brewers continue to fall from contention, look for Sabean tosee if he can get GM Doug Melvin to part ways with Rodriguez at a discount.The aforementioned five names would all be realistic possibilities for Sabeanand Co. to bring to San Francisco.However, is it realistic to think that any of these candidates would be able toavoid the natural ups and downs that any big league closer goes through?Casilla has struggled lately, but has still stepped up in Wilsons absence. When Casilla has control,his high-speed arsenal makes him one of the most dominant closers in the game,as he demonstrated earlier this season. Is it worth the risk of giving up aprospect or two and taking on added payroll for what might be a modest upgradeat best and a downgrade at worst?

After another loss, Bochy challenges staff to 'tighten it up here'

After another loss, Bochy challenges staff to 'tighten it up here'

DENVER — For the second straight start, Matt Moore watched an outfielder chase down a rocket, slam into the wall, and immediately leave the game with a hurt shoulder. 

“You’ve got to feel a little responsible,” he said Saturday night, shaking his head. 

That’s not entirely fair. The Jarrett Parker and Denard Span injuries have been flukes, but there is a different kind of responsibility for the starting staff. Bobby Evans built this team on the starting five, and through three weeks, the group has been a letdown. 

Madison Bumgarner was hurt during an off-field incident. Johnny Cueto has an uncharacteristic 5.25 ERA and 1.38 WHIP through four starts. Moore gave up six runs in four innings Saturday, raising his own ERA to 5.87. On the other side, a rookie — Antonio Senzatela — held the Giants to four hits, leading the Rockies to a 12-3 win.

“He just made mistakes. You saw them,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Moore. “They caught too much of the plate and they were up and they took advantage of them. This can be a tough park but they pitched well tonight with a young kid. You’ve got to make your pitches. Keep concentrating and don’t give in. That’s the way it works and we’re not doing a very good job of that.

“Obviously our staff, we’re a much better staff than what’s happened. We’ve got to tighten it up here and wake up. We’re not a team that goes out and pounds it with you. We’ve got to pitch.”

The starting staff, even without Bumgarner, is more important than it first seemed. That's because the rest of the Giants are dropping, too. Span went out in the third when he slammed into the wall while making a catch, and while the initial read is positive, he was going for X-rays Saturday night. At the very least, a right shoulder sprain will keep him out a couple of days. 

That means Bochy, 18 games in, is dealing with one of his Bomb Squad situations. Buster Posey will play first on Sunday after a couple of long days in the squat, and it’s possible Brandon Belt will get a day in left. Gorkys Hernandez, hitting just .088, is the man in center while Span is out. Hunter Pence (knee bruise) is expected to return to right field Sunday, but the outfield is hanging by a string. The Giants have even talked about putting Eduardo Nuñez in left, and on Saturday he played several innings in right because of the Span injury. 

Bochy challenged his starters, but the regulars behind them will need to be better, too. The bats didn’t get going until the eighth inning at Coors Field, and even then, a rally was cut short and the Giants promptly gave up six more runs. Nuñez was late getting over on a pop-up that clanked off Joe Panik’s glove and extended the inning. 

“You’re going to deal with that,” Bochy said. “He’s going to feel discombobulated.”

Bochy had just one positive to point to, and he lit up when asked about Chris Stratton, who threw three hitless innings to keep the Giants within shouting distance. 

“Boy, that kid did a nice job," he said. 

Stratton isn’t far down the depth chart if there are further injuries in the rotation, and with a fastball that touched 95, he looked better than he has in years. The Giants hope they don’t need to test him. They’re banged-up, but at the moment, they still have four of their projected starting pitcher, along with Ty Blach. Without Bumgarner, the group will have to be better, and Bochy let them know it Saturday. 

Instant Replay: Rockies crush Moore, Giants lose Span in third straight loss

Instant Replay: Rockies crush Moore, Giants lose Span in third straight loss

BOX SCORE

DENVER — Near the end of last season’s collapse, the Giants spent a couple of days sitting eight games out of first place. Less than three weeks into this season, they’re already six out, and there are no signs that this is going to get better anytime soon.

The Giants managed just four hits against rookie Antonio Senzatela and went on to lose 12-3 at Coors Field. They also lost another starter to injury. 

A week to the day after Jarrett Parker broke his clavicle, Denard Span was removed after a similar collision with an outfield wall. Span has a mild right shoulder sprain and will go for X-rays. Throw in Hunter Pence’s left knee bruise and the Giants played most of this game without all three of their projected starting outfielders. 

To hang in a game like this one, the Giants needed a one-man show on the mound. Matt Moore wasn’t up to it. The lefty gave up six runs in four innings, including three homers. Mark Reynolds hit a deep blast in a three-run first and Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon went deep in a three-run fourth. 

The Giants threatened in the eighth, getting two runs back and sending the tying run to the plate. That rally seemed a lifetime away by the top of the ninth. The Rockies scored six runs off Neil Ramirez in their half of the eighth. 

Starting pitching report: No pitcher likes this place, but Moore has a real beef. In three career starts at Coors Field he has thrown just 11 2/3 innings and allowed 16 earned runs. 

Bullpen report: Chris Stratton, called up for the Madison Bumgarner roster spot, made his season debut in the fifth. He was outstanding. Stratton allowed just a walk in three innings and he topped out at 95 mph, a significant tick up from where he was last year. Stratton struck out three and broke Nolan Arenado’s bat on a grounder. 

At the plate: Joe Panik went deep in the sixth for his first homer of the year. 

In the field: Eduardo Nuñez made a great stop in the second and threw Stephen Cardullo out as he rolled over. An inning later, he was in right field. The Span injury forced Nuñez to right for just the seventh time in his career. He wasn't tested until the eighth, when he was late getting over to a deep pop-up that Panik dropped. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 39,239 human beings. They’re excited about this team, and for good reason. 

Up next: Save them, Jeff.