Should Sabean get Giants a new closer?

Should Sabean get Giants a new closer?
July 17, 2012, 2:38 am
Share This Post

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?

More Team Talk

6h
9h
10h
11h
13h