If you've been paying attention, you might have noticed that I'm in the tank for Santiago Casilla. Not because he's the greatest reliever in team history or anything, but because he's the greatest reliever the Giants can currently employ at this very second. He's been solid for years, and I'm firmly against knee-jerk decisions.
However, he's not a magic reliever.
No, don't look at me like that, it's true. He's not the kind of pitcher who can strike out the side on nine pitches with a runner on first. He's not the kind of pitcher you bring into the eighth inning of a one-run Game 7. There's no shame in it; there just aren't that many of those relievers in baseball.
The Yankees have two or three, though, and they're awful this year. They could certainly go on a run soon, but it's also likely that in a month-and-a-half, they've fallen further behind the teams at the top of the AL East. Which means get used to this:
Only speculation: Andrew Miller might be the perfect trade target for the San Francisco Giants; he is under contract through 2018.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 19, 2016
Only speculation! Rumor season hasn't officially started yet. But, yes, that would be one of those magic relievers we were talking about. The Orioles were a series away from the pennant in 2014, and Miller was a huge part of that. Once he got into the game, the Tigers just broke down and openly sobbed, as I remember it. Serves them right for trading him away in the first place for some random guy that nobody remembers.
Assuming the Giants wouldn't touch Aroldis Chapman with a seven-foot prospect, Miller would be the best reliever on the market. He would be exactly the kind of magician the Giants would need and, perhaps even best of all, he's not even a closer. That means he could be brought into the tightest of tight spots, like the old-timey firemen, and not wasted on 7-8-9 hitters just because it's the ninth inning.
The only problem with this scenario: Everyone's gonna want Miller, and he's going to cost hella prospects. And that everyone will include the Yankees, who are probably quite fond of this reliever they have who strikes out every other batter he faces. I'm not sure the Giants have the prospects to compete in a scrum, not unless something really surprising happens in the next couple months.
Everyone's focused on the back of the rotation right now, and rightfully so. But if Matt Cain and/or Jake Peavy pitch more like #4/5 starters and less like pitchers who will be out of the league soon (which they've done recently), the focus might go to the bullpen. While it seems very, very Giants-y to make a trade for, oh, John Axford or something, it's not hard to see the benefits of a magic reliever.
Rumor season will start soon. For now, enjoy the beginning of reckless speculation season. It's a gonna be a lot of fun.