Long-time readers know that any forced attempt at optimism on this site ends up with tears and blood. The Giants will win four in a row, I'll declare "Optimism Day!", and the expectation is that there will be merriment, revelry, and sumptuous feasts until the next morrow. Every time, though, the game after an Optimism Day is the kind of loss where Matt Cain allows one runner over eight innings, Rajai Davis catches his spikes on the bullpen mound, and someone finds a fingertip in their Cha-Cha Bowl.
I'm not a superstitious man, but I'm also not a moron. I stopped doing Optimism Days.
Wait, no. That's right. I am a moron. So allow me to present Optimism Week. Every day until Friday, I'll highlight a young player and explain why I'm looking forward to watching them.
Today's player: Jose Capellan. He might not even be on the roster when the team breaks camp, as he's a Rule 5 pick. The Giants paid $50,000 to the Red Sox for his rights, and if Capellan doesn't stick on the roster, the Red Sox can buy him back for $25,000. While he isn't a top-tier prospect, he certainly proved enough in low-A to be worth the equivalent of a 12th-round signing bonus. If the Giants don't keep him on the major league staff, he should be gone.
But there is some indication that the Giants might keep him. The Chronicle has some positive quotes from Bruce Bochy on Capellan. A 21-year-old lefty with a deceptive delivery and plus-control? I'll take three, please.
The reason to keep Steve Kline: He could pitch well enough to have value at the trade deadline. That's a pretty legitimate reason. Though Kline's K/BB ratios don't predict future success, a "proven" reliever in the middle of a good season can bring back a decent return in trade.
The reason to keep Capellan: He's probably the caliber of prospect you would want in return for Kline in a best-case scenario. By keeping Capellan, you eliminate the need for Kline to have an unlikely and successful performance.
The reason for keeping Jack Taschner: I still think he has a chance at a productive career as a lefty specialist - last year's reverse-platoon whomping notwithstanding - but he shouldn't come between the Giants and Capellan or Erick Threets, who is out of options. He'll go somewhere and have an Aaron Fultz-like career, but he isn't matching up with the Giants' current needs.
I don't know a thing about Capellan other than his limited minor league stats and a couple of quotes from Bruce Bochy. I couldn't tell you what he throws, or how hard he throws it, so there's no reason to get zealous about his inclusion on the roster. But he's a young player. You can project somewhat unrealistic hopes on young players. Somewhat unrealistic hopes make bad seasons watchable. It would be a disaster to run a baseball team under a philosophy like that, but it works for me as a fan.
Capellan/Threets '08. Lefty specialists for the present. Lefty specialists for the future.