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Urban: Giants should sign, trade Jonathan Sanchez

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Urban: Giants should sign, trade Jonathan Sanchez

Sept. 13, 2011

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Mychael Urban
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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.

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

PAINED POSEY:
Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

UP NEXT:
Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.