Giants

Which Giants starter might Sabean swap?

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Which Giants starter might Sabean swap?

Giants general manager Brian Sabean was kind enough to take some time out of his busy offseason schedule -- he's in Arizona for a third round of organizational meetings -- on Wednesday to give CSNBayArea.com a one-on-one interview, and in typically understated Sabean style, he said a few things that beg a close look between the lines. The biggest bombshell seemed to come when Sabean, who has often mentioned that trying to find a way to keep his pitching staff intact would be an offseason priority, was offered an opportunity to take that vow a step further and rule out trading one of his starters.He did not jump at the offer. He did not rule out trading a starter.What does that mean, though?

Well, in conjunction with Sabean suggesting that adding a big-name hitter might not be financially feasible through free agency -- the Giants have 13 arbitration-eligible players and eight free agents, and though not all of them will return, those who do will get nice raises -- it means the only way to improve the offense could be by tapping into the rotation.But which member? Ooooh, the head spins with possibilities. If you're one who leans toward panic, you start thinking about the Matt Cain-to-the-Yankees "rumors" you've heard. Fine, but remember Cain's loyalty. He might be the easiest starter to sign to a long-term deal.If you're one who leans toward setting your hair on fire and stabbing your eyeballs with fireplace tools, you remember Tim Lincecum's plan to take things year-by-year until he's eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.Fine, but think about the likelihood of getting equal value for Lincecum in a trade. Is there such a thing? It'd be like the Cardinals trading Albert Pujols; you can't possibly get fair value for the man. Same deal with The Freak, and he's locked down for another two years. Plenty of time to make him want to stay longer.If you're one who leans toward pragmatism, you start thinking about Jonathan Sanchez. After all, he's been traded in your mind about 34,016 times already.Fine, but isn't it a year too late to deal Sanchez? Hasn't his value dipped considerably? Of course it has. No way he fetches much of an impact bat. But remember the nameBrett Pill. Might Sanchez and Pill fetch a legit stick? The call here is yes.(You think I'm crazy? You did when I threw out Thomas Neal's name last summer, too.)
If you're one who leans toward sitting in your basement, distractedly flipping through your shoebox of old baseball cards and wondering whatever happened to Russ Ortiz and Matt Morris, you think of Madison Bumgarner.Fine, but there's really not a lot of hope for someone like you, gravitating to the relative safety of going with salty vets because you just don't trust kids today. Good luck in that Strat-O-Matic league, champ. And finally, if you're one who leans toward sheer fantasy, you imagine a world in which Barry Zito is sent far, far away, with some bottomless-pockets owner happily picking up what's left on that contract and sending his best three players Sabean's way because his daughter thinks Z's dreamy and wants him to teach her how to play guitar and surf.Fine. Light some scented candles while you're at it. But it ain't gonna happen and we all know it.So who does that leave? Ryan Vogelsong?Come on. For one thing, you don't trade the reigning recipient of the Willie Mac award. For a second thing, you're not going to get much for a 34-year-old who just had his first good full season.Sanchez and Pill, people. Or Sanchez and someone.
It has to be that, no?

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants were in a different situation, Tuesday night’s loss was the kind that really would sting for a few days. As is, it was simply loss No. 77 in a stunningly bad season. 

The Giants went down 4-3 in somewhat familiar fashion, with their offense failing to break through and their bullpen coming up short. But this loss, No. 77, was also about small mistakes, both mental and physical. Let’s count down some of the ways the Giants went down:

--- Gorkys Hernandez, a late addition to the lineup because Hunter Pence has a tight hamstring, dropped a fly ball in deep right in the fourth inning. That cost Jeff Samardzija a run and a few more pitches. Bruce Bochy said Pence likely will be off Wednesday and then return Friday in Arizona. 

--- Bochy pulled Samardzija after just 89 pitches, and it was certainly peculiar in the moment. The thing is, the intention fit in with the reality of this season. Samardzija has carried a heavy load and Bochy was trying to protect his arm a bit. 

“The inning before, he logged some pitches,” Bochy said. “I’ve worked him pretty hard and I’m really looking after him as much as anything. We’re trying to give some guys a break and it didn’t work out. We had some guys lined up in the seventh, eighth, ninth — it just didn’t work out in the seventh.”

--- You can’t really argue with protecting a big-money pitcher in a down year. But Bochy probably wishes he had chosen someone other than Albert Suarez, who was fresher than others but has now given up runs in six of seven appearances. Suarez turned a one-run lead into a one-run deficit. It was more glaring when Kyle Crick entered and pitched 1 1/3 sharp innings. 

--- The Giants still had a chance — it helped that the Brewers took a dominant Josh Hader out of the game just because he’s a lefty and Nick Hundley bats right-handed — and they put two on in the eighth. Denard Span hit a soft single to right and Phil Nevin waved Hundley, who has catcher’s legs. He was out by a mile. Bochy said he was fine with forcing the issue there, although that’s a call Nevin probably wants back. 

Another twist on the play: Bochy could have put speedy Orlando Calixte in for Hundley and then moved Pablo Sandoval over to first in the next inning, with Calixte at third. He didn’t second-guess that decision.

“He was out pretty easily,” Bochy said. “I don’t know if a little more speed would have helped out.”

--- In the bottom of the ninth, Kelby Tomlinson singled. He was promptly caught stealing second with the heart of the order coming up. Again, a decision that went the visiting team’s way. 

Those moments could be defended or second-guessed. On another night, maybe they all work out and the Giants win 3-2, or 6-4. On this night, it was simply a familiar script, and loss No. 77.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Just when it seemed the Giants were starting to find some continuity in their bullpen, they have taken a couple of steps back. 

Two days after Hunter Strickland imploded late, Albert Suarez gave up the lead. The Giants lost 4-3 to the Brewers in a game that dragged. The Brewers did open the window a bit in the bottom of the eighth and Denard Span bounced a single to right with two outs and two on. Phil Nevin waved Nick Hundley all the way around third and Hundley was thrown out by 10 feet to end the inning. 

Anyway, here are five other things to know … 

—- Just one of Jeff Samardzija’s six innings went 1-2-3, and Bruce Bochy turned to the bullpen after just 89 pitches. Samardzija was charged with two runs, one of them earned. It was a little odd that he came out so early. 

—- Suarez entered in the seventh with a one-run lead and gave up two runs before being lifted. He has allowed a run in six of his last seven appearances. 

—- Brandon Crawford momentarily gave the Giants the lead with a two-run homer, his 11th. He is definitely starting to hit his stride. Crawford has four extra base hits and six RBI on the homestand. 

—- Why is it so hard for the Giants to sign power bats? Well, just ask Eric Thames. He hit a 433-foot blast to lead off the third but ended up with just a triple when it bounced off the top of the bricks in right-center. Per Statcast data, Thames is the first player in the last three years to hit a ball more than 430 feet and not get a homer. He was stranded at third. 

—- Over in Sacramento, a couple of rehab appearances went as planned. Johnny Cueto threw three scoreless innings for the River Cats; he will make at least one more minor league start. Joe Panik was 0-for-2 in five innings; he will join the San Jose Giants on Wednesday for another rehab game.