Do you remember that catchy Giants slogan from a few years ago? It went something like “There’s Magic Inside.”
Ya, it’s back. Not officially. But we saw it appear last week for four straight nights when the Giants held their opponent scoreless. Yup, we smelled it, magic was all around inside AT&T Park.
If you’ve had the pleasure of watching the Giants recently, you’ve seen a team with very few holes. Barring unforeseen injuries, general manager Brian Sabean isn’t going to have to make too many calls in the weeks leading up the trade deadline.
When I look at the Giants roster, I don’t see many, if any, positions that need to be upgraded. Could they use a power bat? Of course. You can never have too much offense. But there are very few desirable players on the market and to get one of the few out there, it will take quite a bit.
After some tweaks to his batting stance, Brandon Belt has started to hit like the player everyone expected. Since May 28, Belt has hit .313 with four home runs, 16 RBI and an dreamy .414 on-base percentage. Prior to that, he hit just .228 with zero home runs.
Ryan Theriot has made Giants fans forget about Freddy Sanchez, who was originally scheduled to come back on May 11. No one is asking about Freddy now, though he somehow finished fourth in All-Star voting at second.
In 33 games since coming off the DL, The Riot has hit .311, pacing the Giants with 35 hits in June. Take your time Freddy. No need to rush back.
Gregor Blanco has stolen the hearts of Giants fans and the right field job from Nate Schierholtz. The White Shark made the play of the year to preserve Matt Cain’s perfect game. He hit just .218 in June, but tied for the team lead in runs (15) and stolen bases (8) during the month.
The Giants like what Blanco’s doing in the leadoff spot, but CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly think there is an upgrade that could possibly be on the market.
Another name to consider is San Diego’s Carlos Quentin. The Giants can use a right-handed bat with some power. And, he can play right field.
After a disastrous April, no one could have blamed Sabean if he pulled the plug on Brandon Crawford. But the slick-fielding shortstop has regained his form, and the emergence of Joaquin Arias has eased concerns on the left side of the diamond.
The starting rotation clearly has no holes. Even everybody’s favorite punching bag, Barry Zito, has pitched well enough to keep his name off the chopping block.
The guys in the bullpen have filled in admirably with the injury to Brian Wilson and the suspension of Guillermo Mota. Santiago Casilla has 21 saves in 24 chances. Sergio Romo has allowed just two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings this season. Among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched this season, he has the fourth-best ERA. Clay Hensley and George Kontos have locked down spots in the pen.
And now, Brad Penny has re-joined the Giants after the spending the first part of the season in Japan. His presence in the bullpen could allow Sabean to direct his attention to looking for bench players.
But If Sabean does look to add an arm to the bullpen, these are some names to keep an eye on as the July 31 trade deadline approaches:
- Grant Balfour – A’s – 3.49 ERA, 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings
- Jonathan Broxton – Royals – 2.05 ERA, 20 saves, 23 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings
- Darren Oliver – Blue Jays – 1.59 ERA, 30 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings
- Francisco Rodriguez – Brewers – 4.00 ERA, 32 strikeouts in 36 innings
I expect a quiet trade deadline from the Giants. They aren’t going to make a Carlos Beltran-type deal like last year. Even if they wanted to, they can’t afford to give away any of their top prospects again. Any trade they make will have to be a deal where they take on the player’s salary and give up mediocre minor league players.
FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal thinks that Nate Schierholtz could be a player the Giants move at the deadline. Schierholtz has lost playing time and could be valuable to other teams.