Urban: Giants should sign, trade Jonathan Sanchez


Urban: Giants should sign, trade Jonathan Sanchez

Sept. 13, 2011


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Mychael Urban

Unless you're among the Giants fans still unwilling to concede the miracle it'll take to chase down the Braves for the National League wild-card spot, and if you need to take a peek at the impossibility that the remaining schedule represents, your mind is surely wandering in the direction of Scottsdale 2012 right about now.Specifically, the competition for the No. 5 spot in San Francisco's starting rotation.Let's assume for the time being that Ryan Vogelsong won't break an ankle jumping at the two-year deal the Giants should offer him the moment the season ends; he's in.
We'll also assume the Giants don't do the unthinkable and trade Tim Lincecum for a big bat rather than pony up another massive raise via arbitration this offseason; he's in.
Matt Cain is under contract, and trading him would be a PR nightmare on par with a Lincecum deal; he's in.
Madison Bumgarner has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's in, too.RELATED: Sanchez stats splits game logs
That leaves, as of now, three legitimate candidates for the final spoke in the wheel that once again will be expected to motor the Giants into contention in 2012: lefties Eric Surkamp, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito.As of today, because he's done in the short time he's been in the big leagues what Sanchez and Zito haven't done all year (i.e., proven himself to be steady, reliable, unflappable under a modicum of pressure), Surkamp is surely the frontrunner in most fans' minds.
Is he that in the minds of management? Probably not as strongly.Why? Track record. Sanchez, for all of his maddening inconsistency, remains the most gifted among the trio. Zito, whose five years in Orange and Black have redefined maddening in many ways, remains the most accomplished. Those things count for something, believe it or not. And they should.RELATED: Zito stats splits game logs
So if all three of them pitch well next spring, who gets the gig?Here's a better question: Will all three be in Giants camp next spring?Now, here's a scenario in which they aren't, and it's a scenario that could make the Giants considerably better:Sanchez, who heads to Scottsdale this week to continue his rehab, is eligible for arbitration this winter. Despite his lost season, he's going to get a big raise unless the Giants decide to non-tender him and let him walk as a free agent. That's just how the game works. At first glance, it might look sensible to strongly consider a non-tender for Sanchez, but the first glance is usually blurry. Look at the situation with clarity and you'll see that such a move would mean the Giants are giving up a very talented, still-fairly-youngish lefty and getting zero in return.RELATED: Surkamp stats splits game logs
So why not, as soon as he gets healthy, go to Sanchez with a one-year offer for 6 million? He's making 4.8 this year, and coming off such a disappointing season, he'd probably jump at that the way Vogelsong would jump at the aforementioned two-year deal (10 mil total sounds about right there).Then, with Sanchez firmly in the fold, get to work on trading him.That's right. Sign him and trade him. Think there won't be a number of teams out there jumping at a chance to add a talent like Sanchez for 6 million? Teams that will buy the change-of-scenery pitch that Giants GM Brian Sabean will surely pitch?
There will be plenty, and by packaging Sanchez and perhaps a decent prospect or two, the Giants should be able to get a decent hitter to fortify an offense that needs help all over the diamond. And there will be teams willing to give up a bat for a that kind of package. Then you're down to Surkamp and Zito for the No. 5 spot next spring, and may the best man win. If it's Zito, whose contract makes him untradeable until about midseason next year, Surkamp gets a little more seasoning or makes the club as the long man. If it's Surkamp, Zito has to figure out a way to survive in relief.Either way, with Lincecum, Cain, Vogelsong and Bumgarner in the first four sports, the fifth spot isn't going to be a make-or-break gig -- especially with an improved offense; improved in part by the Sanchez sign-and-trade.It's as simple as it sounds. And quite a bit more realistic than those crazy playoff hopes you might still be harboring.

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.