It’s been an awful month. I don’t need to tell you that if you are reading this website. The only reason San Francisco is even within striking distance of the West is that Arizona isn’t a particularly good team. They can hit, sure, but their pitching is almost FEMA worthy when compared to the Giants aces.
There is tension in the clubhouse. For the first time, even Tim Lincecum’s stoic presence is starting to waiver. Tejada has the nerve to argue he shouldn’t be taking sacrifice bunts. Cabrera is staring over Fontenot and no one can figure out why. Carlos Beltran won’t join the pile when the Giants win a one-run game (I kind of get that, it’s not something to celebrate against the Astros, but it's not helpful either). He’s hitting poorly in no small part because he’s not going to see strikes while batting ahead of Aubrey Huff or Cody Ross. As for Cody, lately he couldn’t hit a barn door with a pickup truck. It’s a very bad situation.
Perhaps it’s time to send a very clear message: produce or go home.
There seem to be two camps in the fanbase right now. One of them thinks the Giants should aquire Lance Berkman off waivers at any cost. The other more sane camp believes the Giants may as well see what they can build for 2012. If you're in the second camp, this will make sense. If you are in the former then hear me out, we can still find a compromise.
What if the Giants were to send a loud and unmistakable message to slumping veterans by designating five players for assignment. What if when we wake up after the Chicago hangover, we find out Rowand, Cabrera, Tejada, and Zito are no longer Giants? What if J. Sanchez is also released on waivers since we aren’t going to pay his post-arbitration salary anyhow? (See a post-publication note on this at the end of the article***)
The impact could go either of two ways.
It could completely demoralize the team or, alternatively, it might cut free a lot of dead weight – some with a notoriously bad attitude – and make room for something new. Hell, you could even fit Lance Berkman in there somewhere if you wanted to, since he’s good for a pair of rookies if he doesn’t take arbitration. Personally though, any player born after 1979 makes me nervous in a Giants uniform. If it doesn't worry you that Berkman is Huff's age, it should.
The move would also free up 4-5 spots on the 40 man roster. Those spots could be immediately filled by a mix of players who are ready and players who could use a look at a division race before they get here. Granted, it's a real tortoise vs hair situation at this point but it's still technically a race.
Brett Pill is ready and he's slugging the heck out of AAA. I don’t just mean September call-ups ready either. He could (and should) be contributing right now.
Gary Brown has been unbelievable, he isn’t ready for the big show but I’d be willing to give him a few cuts instead of O-Cab, Kody Ross, or Tehaha.
Max Ramirez has been stellar in Fresno. I wouldn’t mind letting him take a few of Whiteside or Stewart’s starts since two of those three will be in Fresno next year anyway. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
If management were to DFA the most serious non-performers and at the same time eliminate most of the clubhouse cancer while infusing the team with a bunch of guys who are psyched to be in front of a sell out crowd on a Tuesday night, we might just see some of the fire come back to the Giants.
Whatever the eventual outcome of such a move, the veterans would all get a very clear message: play as hard as Andreas Torres did in that double against Chicago (8/29) or you could be next.
***Post publication note - there is no reason to release Sanchez until after the waivers deadline has passed. It wouldn't do to see someone in contention pick him up to use against us as there is a very real chance Dirty's lack of performance is due to desire for a trade.