The Reds were just swept in a four-game series by the Mets, leaving Cincinnati 6.5 games out and behind three teams. When a team is that far back from just one other team, you can hope the other team will fall into a pothole of suck while your team gets hot. Like, oh, the 2010 Padres. That particular team was up 6.5 games as late as August 25th before they were caught from behind.
Remember that? That was awesome.
But when you're chasing three teams, it's a little tricky to mount a serious comeback because you need three teams to have a serious collapse. Not bloody likely. And while were on the subject, it was this game that dropped the Giants down to 6.5 games behind the Padres on August 25th last year:
It was a Pablo Sandoval error that let the Reds tie the game, which was probably the start of Bochy thinking that he shouldn't play third so much. That led Bochy to play Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria together more. That led to the Giants winning a World Series. That also led to Pablo Sandoval getting in shape and improving his defense. That was also a good thing that could lead to great things.
So I'm cool with the Reds. They're a'ight.
But even though the Giants came back from 6.5 down in August to win their division, the Reds aren't going to be so lucky. And they should be in full trade-away mode. Say, that's a swell segue into ...
Hitter to watch
Oh, hellllo, Ramon Hernandez! You seem like a swell fellow. We have cookies and moon pies and beef jerkys in our clubhouse. Wouldn't you like to come over? Hella recliners and everything.
In Hernandez's worst offensive years, he hits like my most optimistic projections for Eli Whiteside. Over his last two seasons, he's hit like something we'd expect from Buster Posey. Just think of a lineup like this:
In this scenario, Huff becomes a small-town lawyer who fights for the rights of small-town folk against insidious corporations. He would read too many John Grisham novels, snap, and quit baseball. If you think it's rude to root for that, you probably hate small towns and everyone inside of them.
But even with Huff there, that's one less lineup spot to worry about. Are there problems with trading for Hernandez? Sure.
- He's old and catchery, which means he requires a lot of time off, and he's likely to eject vertebrae out of his nose at any time, and ...
- He'd have to learn a new pitching staff, and vice versa, which is sort of a big deal in August.
I'll take my risks with the first, and I'm not too worried about the second, seeing as Buster did just fine late last year. If Lincecum is as particular about his catchers as he appears to be, his starts can be the day to rest Hernandez.
The Reds are also perspiring catchers. Ryan Hanigan is good, and they have Devin Mesoraco tearing up AAA, and Yasmani Grandal doing the same in AA. Hernandez is a free agent after this season.
If the Giants don't work out a trade before they leave Cincinnati, they should just burlap-sack Ramon Hernandez. Wipe his memory. Give him a new name, like Johnny Backstop, and pretend like he's a rookie. It would be totally unfair for the Reds to keep all of their catchers. Just give us one. C'mon. Let us have one.
Of course, in the tradition of a true internet fanboy, I don't really want to trade anything away of value. Keeping Surkamp and Hembree, obviously. Peguero stays. So does that guy, that guy, and that guy. Would you like a Charlie Culberson, Cincinnati? That seems fair. Just take it, and we'll put the burlap sack down.
There are only a couple of rosterbate-shopping days left, and the Giants happen to be playing in ground zero of my rosterbatory fantasies right now. Ramon Hernandez, please.
Pitcher to watch
Dontrelle Willis, former Giants farmhand, is the second-best former-Giants-farmhand story in baseball this year, and he's also the second-best story in baseball. Love that he found whatever that was missing, or at least enough to make him a viable option in the majors again. Seems like a good guy, and he likes the Warriors. What's not to love?
Well, Aaron Rowand grounding out on the first pitch of the game, but other than that ...
Ramon Hernandez is a Giant at the end of the series, and everyone will complain about the Giants giving up too much. That's more "destiny" than "prediction," but I'm standing by it.