It's nice that the Giants had last night off, as it allowed me to think about things like potential fifth starters. I pondered different permutations and possibilities, and the Giants did their part by not playing a game that was a great game except for six seconds of horror that consisted of two bunt singles, an excuse-me hit, and one hanging breaking ball. Because if I had invested three hours in a debacle like that only to see the Giants lose, I wouldn't be in the mood to write my name on an envelope, much less something about Giants baseball.
Now that the off day is behind us, we can figure out who is going to take Matt Morris's spot in the rotation. My choices, in order of preference:
- Russ Ortiz
The upset winner. He will never, ever, ever be able to throw strikes on a consistent basis, but he was missing bats like he was when he was with Atlanta. Ortiz might be able to get that ERA down to the league average, and that would be a very, very valuable trade chit in the offseason. A league average pitcher at the league minimum salary? Ka-prospect-ching!
Unless we don't control Ortiz's rights through the offseason, which I'm thinking we don't. If that's the case, you can move Ortiz from #1 to #1532, which is just behind Chris Begg pitching with his left hand.
- Pat Misch
Three lefties who can't break a pane of glass in the same rotation isn't the best template for playoff success. We'll have to remember that in 2011. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll have to trade Barry Zito for several top prospects this offseason. C'mon, Mr. Littlefield, he's a proven ace! Cy Young Award and everything!
The success he had in the Fresno bullpen was impressive, and it's fair to wonder if the Giants should just stick with what works. He'd be the most interesting of the candidates. Maybe that's because "new and unknown" is synonymous for "interesting" in this horrible season.
- Jonathan Sanchez
The difference between two and three is huge: I was a moderate Sanchez-is-a-reliever guy before the season started, and now I'm a zealot. There are flashes of a second reliable pitch, but for the most part, he's a fastball, fastball, fastball type of pitcher who relies on a combination of velocity and fastball. In other words, he doesn't seem like the type of pitcher that would be able to adjust the second and third time through the order. He can't really control the fastball from inning to inning, either. If Sanchez were put into the rotation after spending the whole season in the bullpen, it would be a guaranteed succession of high-stress, 110-pitch, five-inning outings. It isn't fair to completely give up on him as a starter...but I kind of already did.
He needs regular work in the pen, though, and hopefully that's a compelling reason for the front office to trade Steve Kline during this waiver period.