What should Giants do with Guillermo Mota?


What should Giants do with Guillermo Mota?

The Giants have a big decision to make in the next 24 hours.

They have to decide what to do with Guillermo Mota. And dont believe them when they say this is strictly a baseball decision.

Mota, as of Sunday night, had served his 100-game suspension for being popped for performance enhancing drugs. It was Motas second violation, his first coming after the 2006 season as a member of the New York Mets. Hes spent the last few days in Fresno, working his arm back to shape.

With the Giants bullpen struggling and the closer-by-committee strategy creating panic, its clear the Giants could use Motas services. Mota, 39, could fill a variety of roles: short or long relief. The right-hander was a key cog in the brilliant bullpen production in the 2010 playoff run.

So whats the problem? Plug Mota in and take the pressure off some of the other relievers, right?

RELATED: Will Mota decision be strictly baseball related?

Not exactly. Mota got popped back in May when his violation seemed like an aberration just another older player trying to find longevity through chemicals. He claimed his dirty test was because of his daughters cough syrup. And people were willing to buy that.

But given the events of the summer, Motas suspension no longer seems like a strange aberration but part of a third generation steroid era -- more stealth, less extreme, but still a time of rampant cheating.

The Giants are in the crosshairs, with Melky Cabreras suspension and online chatter about the franchise cheating its way to first place in the division. Can the Giants afford to be labeled, once again, as the team that openly embraces chemical enhancement? Or, at the very least, looks the other way and readily forgives when their players cheat?

That was the Giants reputation at least outside of AT&T Park throughout much of the past decade, as they clung to Barry Bonds production despite the mounting evidence against Bonds. Some of that co-dependency between Bonds and the Giants wasnt driven by baseball decisions, but other concerns, such as marketing, home run records and keeping the ballpark full.

The Giants were able to flip the page on that public perception in 2010, when a cadre of misfits as Bochy once called them young players and castoffs and wacky personalities won the World Series. Instead of Balco-enhanced Barry Bonds, the Giants were personified by the seemingly unenhanced skinny Tim Lincecum. The chemicals and slabs of laboratory-produced muscle seemed safely in the past.

But the Cabrera suspension has brought the nasty past back into the conversation. And it hasnt been a pleasant couple of weeks.

Now the organization has another decision that cant be simply considered in baseball terms. Do they want Mota back in their bullpen? Will the message they send be that they really arent that concerned about his drug use?

The Giants can either activate Mota or designate him for assignment. If they designate him, and he accepts a spot in Fresno, Mota could be recalled to the big league club on Saturday, when rosters expand.

That might delay the decision for a few days. But the Giants still have to figure out if they want Mota in their clubhouse. He brings a lot of things: veteran presence, flexibility in the bullpen, a battling attitude.

And another stark reminder that the steroid era isnt over.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.