Tasty, tasty sour grapes -- Or, what to look forward to for the next month

Oh, Santiago. Always with rock. Will you never learn about the smothering effectiveness of paper?

Sour grapes. Mmmmm. So sweet and delicious, except for all that sour part. The parable isn't about a fox who loses, gets butt-hurt, and lashes out on the internet, possibly with all-caps fury. That's what a lot of folks think sour grapes means. But it's about a fox who convinces himself that his life is better without what he can't get. I love baseball. I love the Giants. When the Giants make the playoffs, it's swell and exciting and amazing and swell. There's a hum in the air. Them's good grapes.

But you know what? It's kind of nice not to stress out so much. Dropping this far back in the NL West at the beginning of September isn't the worst thing in the world. It could have fallen apart in the last week of the season (so painful), or maybe the Giants could have squeaked in the playoffs only to be bounced in the first round by the Phillies (oh, how, we'd never hear the end of it), or maybe they could have made it to the NLCS or World Series and suffered some humiliating end (Orlando Cabrera making an error, for example). Who knows what manner of misery we were spared?

I'll bet those grapes were pretty damned tasty, actually. This sucks.

Apologies to those of you who think the Giants still have a chance. They really do, I guess. And if they get within a couple of games, I'll hop right back on board. Right now I'm operating under the assumption that the Giants aren't an especially good team right now, whereas the Diamondbacks are. With those points in mind, it's a little hard to predict a miracle finish. Now that most of us are at peace with a September that isn't going to have a frenzied finish, here are some things I'm hoping for:

Surkamp!
I've written it before, but I'm pretty sure Jonathan Sanchez isn't going to be around next season. He has one more season of arbitration, and he's making $5 million now. He could get a bump up to $6M or $7M even after his sub-par 2011. The Giants aren't interested in an extension -- well, I'm not, at least -- so they'll probably look for a Merkin/Moss deal. They might not get one, and Sanchez might even be non-tendered. That could be a stretch, but the point is that we're a long way from Sanchez-for-Zobrist, or whatever wacky trade we could think of in 2009.

A strike-throwing Surkamp could settle this whole thing. A strike-throwing, strikeout-getting Surkamp, rather. He was all over the place for the first couple of innings in his debut, which is pretty understandable. But he could be a viable fifth starter next year. With Lincecaingarnersongurkamp, the Giants would have the first all-looking-forward-to-watching rotation that I can ever remember. I guess there were parts of 2000 that qualified after Russ Ortiz got on a roll. And then just wait until Zack Wheeler's ready!

Also, this post ignores Zito, which the Giants are trying to do as well. So there's that.

Justin Christian
Yeah, his ceiling is as a fifth outfielder -- we'll get just one 2010 Andres Torres in this lifetime, so be happy with it -- but Christian would be an interesting fifth outfielder.

 

Year Age Tm Lg Lev AB H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 31 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-AAA 510 150 32 5 14 54 5 58 62 .294 .376 .459 .834
2011 31 Richmond EL AA 273 70 12 2 4 18 2 23 31 .256 .328 .359 .687
2011 31 Fresno PCL AAA 237 80 20 3 10 36 3 35 31 .338 .428 .574 1.002
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/6/2011.


Dig that stolen-base success rate. Now that the Giants are free from the squatting shackles of Aaron Rowand, they can look for another fifth outfielder. Freedom! Christian can play center, hit lefties, and steal a base. A poor, poor, poor man's Cody Ross. But have you looked at what the Giants can spend this offseason? They'll be poor, poor, poor men.

So I'd love to watch Christian get a few starts, or a least more than a few innings in the late innings. The layman's fascination is with Darren Ford, but I think Christian is more likely to help a major-league team next season.

Brandon Belt starting ever ************* day
Got it. Huff didn't light the world on fire, but Belt didn't seize the chance. Understood. He looks at too many strikes, and he swings through too many pitches. Really, I'm not arguing that the Giants would be 12 games up if he had started the whole season.

But there's value in watching what Belt can do if he's left in the lineup unmolested against righties and lefties alike. Don't make him worry about getting pulled if he's too aggressive, not aggressive, semi-aggressive, aggressive for more than four consecutive hours and needs to seek medical attention, under-aggressive in comparison to how aggressive he should have been in the first place ... just stop. Belt, here's the job. We'll find a spot for you in left or at first. Just do your thing. Let's see how it works.

Yeah. Not going to happen. But it should. And because I'm stupid, I'm looking forward to the possibility.

See? There are things to look forward to, reasons to still watch baseball even as the division slips away. That whole playoff-making stuff was for the birds. This is the real meat of the season, right here. Who will be a part of the 2012 team? 'Cause that's what's really interesting around here, amirite? Has been the whoooooooooole time, if you ask me.

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