Russ Ortiz's injury doesn't look good. I feel for Russ, who came back from the graveyard to become something resembling a contributor for a couple of months. An almost-free Ortiz with improved velocity isn't a bad thing to have in the back of a rotation. Just not this rotation. With Pat Misch and Jonathan Sanchez as possible starters in 2008, Ortiz was taking away valuable evaluation time from the Giants.
Now comes the decision: Misch or Sanchez?
Pro: In his limited appearances, he's looked like Noah Lowry with control. If Misch does well, it could make it easier to swing that Adam Jones/Jeff Clement/Ichiro!/J.J. Putz-for-Lowry deal in the offseason. Or, if that one is inexplicably off the table, any other deal that could help the Giants for years to come. Misch gets bonus points for the pun potential. It'd be nice if the Giants had a Cain't Misch rotation.
Con: Noah Lowry with control is one way to describe him. Kirk Rueter with slightly better breaking stuff is another way, depending on just how jaded you are. If Jonathan Sanchez has the potential to dominate, and Misch has a limited ceiling, wouldn't it make sense to try out Sanchez first?
Pro: He can certainly get strikeouts, as he's averaged more than a strikeout per inning in his career. As noted above, he has the higher ceiling of the two candidates, and more innings on the mound will allow him more time to work on his secondary pitches. Plus, it's fun to yell "Ha! That's not a mustache! Sit down!" at opposing hitters when Sanchez strikes them out with a "dirty pitch," so more opportunities to do so is always a good thing.
Wait, I'm the only one who yells that? Never mind.
Con: His control is still a big, big problem. His upside and downside can both be expressed with one name: Oliver Perez. I can't tell if that's good or bad. And according to Brad Hennessey, it's hard on the arm when you're shuffled around different roles. It might be best to wait `til next year with an arm like this.
Verdict: Dunno. I've never been sold on Sanchez as a starter, so I'll go with Misch by default. If Misch makes Lowry redundant, it would open up a world of options for the franchise.