Giants walk all over Wheeler, Mets

Al Bello

You probably haven't been in the mood for a list of things that have gone right with the Giants' 2013 season. It's not a long list, but it's a list. And one of the things that have gone right is that no one is screaming for the Giants to rebuild. It's so easy, saying that a team should rebuild. Get some young potential stars, you know, and, uh … you know, bottle-feed them … tell them they're special … then, whammo, you have star players and the team is good again.

It's a lot harder to remember what rebuilding is really like. Zack Wheeler, promising young stud that he is, has some serious problems throwing strikes. He always has. That doesn't mean he's going to fail. That doesn't mean the Giants won the trade because at least they got to smell Carlos Beltran's hair for a couple months.  But it's nerve-wracking to count on young pitching. You can't just assume Wheeler's going to wake up one morning and throw strikes, like Randy Johnson did. So I'm pretty glad the Giants' fortunes don't hinge on young pitching.

No, the Giants' fortunes hinge on the very, very expensive pitchers remembering how to be good. Which is probably worse. But the Giants won a game started by Zack Wheeler on Tuesday night, and they're probably not going to get a lot of those over the next decade. So I'm making the best of it while I can.

After the season, there's probably a post coming on the most discouraging losses of the season. The 16-inning loss to these Mets, for one. But don't sleep on the game where Wheeler completely dominated the Giants at AT&T Park. That was someone banging on your front door. "METAPHOR-GRAM. PLEASE OPEN UP. METAPHOR-GRAM."

It doesn't mean anything that he had a typical-young-pitcher start against his old organization. It's just nice that he didn't have a second-coming-of-Seaver start like last time. To be honest, I'm rooting for Wheeler. Hard. After the success of the Giants over the last three years, it would be beyond petty wish him anything but the best. I watched him pitch in San Jose, and he seems like a nice young man, as these things go. I hope he wins a Cy Young.

But if he could keep that crap away from the Giants, that'd be the best of all worlds. When he pitches against the Giants, here's hoping he's a completely ordinary pitcher. Damian Moss without the first-hand knowledge of what wallaby tastes like, please. It makes everything easier for everyone.

Star-divide

I'm working on a piece about Jayson Werth right now -- please, don't wait up, it'll publish tomorrow -- and asking what kind of contract he'd get if he were a free agent tomorrow. It's an interesting case. He's old, but still productive. And by "old," I mean "my age," which is a distinction that hurts a lot more without this here bourbon, mmm-hmm.

The same kind of question applies to Angel Pagan, though. We're a quarter through the new Pagan deal. He provided the most exciting moment of the season (non-Timmy division), but he was also laid up with a serious injury. It was an injury to his runnin' legs. Those are important.

Yet, goodness, when he's going well, he almost seems like the most important player on the team. Do you like arbitrary endpoints?

(Yeah!)

Well, check this out:

2013 Giants with Angel Pagan
37-29 (90-win pace)

2013 Giants without Angel Pagan
32-52 (100-loss pace)

Can't argue with those #stats, you Luddite. And while it's ridiculous to play the causation/correlation game like that, you still feel it when it's happening. You still get the endorphin rush when Pagan is flying around the bases and helping the Giants win.

So here's what Pagan has coming to him: three years, $31.75 million.

I wouldn't have said it a month ago, but that seems like a bargain. Check back in 2016, but right now that looks like a decent gamble. As long as he can stay healthy, I'll take the over on the projected value a team should expect for that amount.

I'll also take the under on his ability to stay healthy, but that's quibbling. It's fun to watch right now. And his defense hasn't been asinine since coming back. What's that about? Do all outfielders have a defense gland behind their hamstring? Was Pagan's obstructed? Stay tuned ...

Star-divide

Yusmeiro Petit was the Zack Wheeler of the Mets once. That is not a joke. Oh, man, was Petit an exciting prospect among the number-crunchers. Fun times.

He's a sixth starter right now. Maybe a fifth starter. That was hard to see when he was approaching perfection. But his ceiling is quite limited.

I have no problem with him in the rotation next year if the other four pitchers have a chance to be plus starters. I'd lump Ryan Vogelsong into that category, too. Which is to say, nope. The 2014 rotation I'm thinking of will not have Petit in it.

But as a spot starter, as the Chad Gaudin of his time, absolutely. I'm actually kind of glad he's slowing down because it tempers expectations. There's probably a spot for Petit on next year's roster, and that's probably a good thing. He just isn't a rotation cog.

Star-divide

Obviously, RBI is a junk stat. RsBI are a junk stat. Whatever. Pick one. It's still garbage.

And then you gander at a list of Giants players to get to 100 RBI, and it's kinda neat. Hunter Pence has something like 20 over the last week, and he's making a run at 100.

I shouldn't care. You shouldn't care. But look at the names on that list. It's a good list. And in the off chance that Pence isn't back next season, I'd like to remember Pence's season as something that deserved to be on that list.

It's a weird thing for a saber-friendly writer to care about, I know. But I've expressed this in the past. I'm just a sucker for round numbers.

And Pence faces. Please keep those around. It's all I've had this season.

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