The first in a painstakingly researched series about what it is going to take to get the Giants in contention again. Well, not exactly "painstakingly" researched. Actually, the "researched" part might be misleading too. Live with it.
There are some new talking points making the rounds in GiantsLand1. The NL West is just weak enough, it starts, that the Giants are just as much in contention as anyone. The Padres are a flawed team, full of holes and ripe for a fall. The Dodgers have been plummeting, and the Diamondbacks can't keep the pace with their pitching. When Bonds comes back, things could get exciting....
Bah. Flimshaw. Those talking points have to be espoused by people who aren't watching this team on a daily basis. Even if Barry Bonds comes back at full strength (not bloody likely), and the Jason Schmidt of last week is the Jason Schmidt we can expect the rest of the year (not bloody likely), this team isn't going to make up ten games. Ten games! This from a team with chronic injury problems and bullpen woes, and a team that is about four-and-a-half pitchers away from a starting rotation. The Giants need to sift through the rubble, and start picking out what is going to be decorating the remodel.
Going around the horn, position by position, let's start a community discussion to see what is worth building around, what is worth keeping until the longer term solution is found, and what is the black banana in the still life painting. The first stop could be the easiest stop:
Mike Matheny is racking up RBIs, and his defensive legend still precedes him. The Giants have a young catcher behind him in Yorvit Torrealba, and a choice between organizational filler (Yamil Haad) or a possible future big league regular (Justin Knoedler) to replace the backup spot left by Yorvit's promotion. Even if you give the Giants the benefit of the doubt, and buy into the idea Matheny is the team asset the Giants believe him to be, he's a luxury. An aging all-field, no-hit catcher is a final puzzle piece to a contending team, not something to try and work around. The theory he is some sort of magical pitcher-helping sorcerer has to have taken a bit of a beating, even in the ranks of the old, crusty baseball vanguard, but there has to be a team willing to take him away.
Is Yorvit the future? Eh. That's probably a no. Is Matheny the future? That's definitely a no. Matheny isn't making an crazy amount of money, so if he can be moved, that's the easiest choice the Giants could make. The difference between Matheny's value to the Giants, even a contending Giants team, is not so far above the value of Yorvit to risk being stuck with Matheny on a rebuilding team if the reloading doesn't work.
1.GiantsLand is like DisneyLand with bigger, better, and more expensive rides! (Note: the rides are currently out of order. Please amuse yourself on the ancient spinning teacup ride in the meantime. What do you mean it makes you nauseous? C'mon, just give it a try. Maybe it won't make you nauseous this time. Oh, c'mon. How do you know if you don't try? Try the teacup ride. Please? If you don't try it, how are going to raise ticket prices? C'mon. You'll love it.)