Woulda, coulda, shoulda

The San Francisco Giants‘ decision to undergo a quiet MLB trade deadline seems to have sealed the team’s fate this season.  General Manager Brain Sabean opted to keep the team in limbo as opposed to orchestrate a fire sale or shop for a high-priced “savior of the season.”

Sabean could have gone after pitchers Matt Garza, Budd Norris and Jake Peavy more aggressively.  On the flip side of the coin, Sabean also could have shopped outfielder Hunter Pence and pitcher Tim Lincecum around the league to interested buyers. 

But he didn’t. 

The Giants’ pitching staff remains intact and unchanged, and Lincecum and Pence have kept their orange-and-black uniforms. 

Sabean‘s inaction can be interpreted as just that: inaction.  However, Sabean‘s apparent lack of productivity this trade deadline actually illustrates the front-office man’s patience going into 2014. 

The pitching staff has been a disaster all season.  Save for left-hander Madison Bumgarner, every starter has struggled for a large part of the year.  This once top-tier rotation is now in a state of transition and needs more than a Bud Norris-mid-level-type to breathe life into it again. 

Luckily, the Giants have several aces waiting in the wings in their farm system.  Pitcher Kyle Crick has ellicited comparisons to Matt Cain and Bumgarner.  Clayton Blackburn has impressed in Single-A, and a majority of the Giants’ top prospects are pitchers.

Crick, Blackburn, Chris Stratton, Heath Hembree, Michael Kickham and Martin Agosta all sit on the list of top-10 Giants prospects, according to MLB.com.

There were rumblings throughout the weeks leading up to the trade deadline pertaining to Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence.  Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas reported the Texas Rangers were interested in procuring a right-handed bat, and expressed interest in Pence.

Lincecum, meanwhile, has been the subject of talks that he might eventually be converted into a closer.  Still, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports writes, this conversion was ultimately unlikely:

However, there is really very little precedent for a big-name starting pitcher being acquired and immediately transformed into a closer. Lincecum’s pitching coach, Dave Righetti, along with cross-Bay Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz and a few other big-time pitchers are major stars who eventually made the switch from starter to reliever. However, those changes didn’t come as part of a mid-season trade.

The Giants were wise to keep these two pillars in San Francisco.  To remove such veteran leadership and positive clubhouse presences in both Lincecum and Pence would have been demoralizing to a franchise that not so long ago won a World Series trophy. 

Sometimes, the conservative approach is the right approach.  Sabean and the organization made it clear their intentions are to win with the current roster with a hope that minor league talent will develop come the 2014 season. 

For now, Giants fans will just have to ride out the season.


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