Or, how I stopped worrying, and learned to love Merkin Valdez.
His name never came up in the fifth starter discussions, and his only shot of making the team is in the bullpen. However, his name should have come up in the fifth starter discussions, and while I'm convinced he will eventually end up in the bullpen, the team really doesn't have any automatically preferable options.
This is really just mental fluff, with a hint of devil's advocate, as Jamey Wright would have to kill a baby osprey to not win the fifth starter's job, but here are a series of rebuttals to the concerns that could come up with M-M-M-Merkin:
His control isn't great
It can't be worse than that of Brad Hennessey, Kevin Correia, and Jamey Wright.
He didn't have an impressive year last season
It couldn't have been less impressive than those had by Brad Hennessey, Kevin Correia, and Jamey Wright.
The Giants wouldn't want to rely on another really young arm with Matt Cain already in the rotation.
Merkin isn't that young, and is just a fake hair younger than Correia and Hennessey. If the Giants are seriously considering either of those two, there's no youth argument to be made against Merkin.
He has no real big league experience
Just because Correia and Wright have plenty of innings of poor big league experience, doesn't mean they'll be better.
His fragile arm and electric stuff are better suited for the bullpen.
I can see that. I also see Merkin as the potential starter with the most upside. Correia also has electric stuff, but has no idea how to pitch. Hennessey might always be short on stuff, though I still hold out some optimism for him because of his atypical career path. Wright's only saving graces are his road stats, which have never been that good.
It isn't going to happen, but if the Giants are resigned to throwing mediocrity in the fifth slot, it might as well be mediocrity with a chance to surprise.