Thursday, July 1, 2010

What the Bengie Molina Trade Means for the Giants

It's a great day for Giants fans today. Sure, Bengie Molina going to Texas for Chris Ray finally opens up the catching job for Buster Posey, something Giants fans have been clamoring for since Spring Training. Yes, the Giants get another arm in the bullpen, something that can't be taken for granted.

However, I think this trade means something more than just those two things above.

Today, the Giants youth movement should begin for the remainder of the season.

Of course, I say "should" because this is a team managed by Bruce Bochy and a team run by Brian Sabean. Bochy's affinity for veterans has been well-reported since his Padres days and Sabean is always itching to pull the trigger on deals at the Trade Deadline.

However, this latest series against the Dodgers showed that the Giants, unfortunately, are pretenders more than contenders in the National League West. At 40-37, the Giants have lost five straight and sit 5.5 games back in the NL West behind the division-leading Padres. They are 8-17 against the National League West (2-12 against the Dodgers and Padres) and fell from second to fourth after the Dodgers series. Unfortunately for Giants fans, they seem to be heading in the opposite direction momentum-wise in comparison to the Dodgers and Rockies, not a good thing considering how much better those teams are set up offensively.

The Giants may still "be in this thing" but they are hanging on by a thread, and it is only a matter of time before the wheels officially come off on this Giants wagon that has been teetering for so long.

And I think the Molina trade is a sign that the Giants management realizes that...finally.

The Giants really should be in "sell" mode this trade deadline, with all the veterans available for a certain price. Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria and even Freddy Sanchez should all be "trade-able" should a "contender" be calling. The Giants should have continued their rebuilding process last year, and started the whole "trade veterans for prospects" ordeal in 2009. A fluke season prevented that and put the organizational plan back a year. This year, the Giants have no excuse.

This isn't a bad thing for the Giants. There is young talent on this team and in this organization. Posey is one of the top catching prospects in the game. John Bowker is hitting .330 with nine homes runs and a 1.064 OPS since being demoted back to Fresno. Nate Schierholtz is one of the better defensive outfielders in the game (18.2 UZR/150) and has honed is free-swinging approach from a season ago (0.72 BB/K ratio).

And down on the farm? Ryan Rohlinger, Matt Downs and Tyler Graham have also proved to be too good for the Pacific Coast League this year with the Grizzlies, and in Double-A Richmond, Thomas Neal is finally coming back to form after a slow start this season in the Eastern League. He is currently hitting .288 with a team-leading eight home runs and 43 RBI.

The Giants youngsters should be given a chance, and that chance should be now. This organization has nothing to lose. The Giants have already given the chances to the vets, and as of today, they haven't gotten the job done and it doesn't seem as if they will get the job done either in 2010. The young players in this organization can provide upside, and even if many of them struggle for the remainder of the season, they will gain valuable experience for 2011.

Of course, it all comes down to whether the organization will want to do this or not. I have a feeling Bochy won't concede and thus, managing partner Bill Neukom has a decision to make. Does he continue to trust in Bochy and his "blocking the future" ways? Or does he send a message and have Bochy packing his bags like Molina?

It'll be very interesting for the Giants this July. There certainly will be pressure on the Giants to make a deal, and we have already heard the names pop up (David DeJesus, Jose Guillen and even Prince Fielder). However, that shouldn't be the course for the Giants. One guy can't rescue this team and push them into the playoffs. This team has too many holes too fill, and the holes simply can't be filled in the span of one month.

As a Giants fan, all I can say is this to Sabean and the Giants organization: don't waste the money. Go young, save the cash, and if anything, start stockpiling for the future. There's no shame in it. The Rays, Marlins and A's have done it, and the results have been kind to them.

Yes, Posey finally takes his place behind the plate. That is the immediate result of the Molina trade. However, this Molina trade goes beyond Posey. It should trigger more playing time for MORE young players on this Giants roster.

We'll see in a month if that happens.


  1. Give me a break. The Giants are by no means out of playoff contention. And I think you are dead wrong about the Giants being just a hitter away from turining things around. You're such a pansi for wanting to give up so easily - are you a Frenchie or something? (we surrender!)

  2. They aren't out of it officially, but by no means are they more in it in comparison to last year. This team is a mess. One hitter isn't going to solve anything, especially considering this market. You think David DeJesus is going to help us (and don't give me this Prince Fielder hoopla either. It's not happening and the sooner you get that pie in the sky dream out of your head, the better Giants fan you will be).

    This isn't about giving up. This post is about trying something new. Bochy has churned out the same vets game after game and it hasn't made us better. So my theory is, why not go with the young guys, they can't be much worse, right?

    Great remark at the end too. You are a tremendous tough guy, so tough that you have to comment as Anonymous. And I'm the wuss?

  3. I disagree, I think the Giants are contenders as long as they have this rotation. Last year was not a fluke, they have been playing at roughly the same level as last season, and better until this long losing stretch. This is just part of the seasonal ups and downs that happens to most contenders.

    I agree, though, that they are not one batter away from being a formidable opponent, though Fielder would be fantastic value for Sanchez, except that we probably could sign Sanchez long-term while Fielder is gone after 2011.

    And I hope they go younger by playing Schierholtz more in RF. Funny how we had been too left-handed for a while, and now we are too right-handed.

    Say, the Phillies now need a 2B, now that Utley is out 8 weeks, maybe we can clear out the MI jam by trading Renteria to them. Sanchez would be the more obvious choice, except that the Giants signed him to a 2 year contract and we have no 2B in the minors ready to come up (though Culberson is heating up in AA) for 2011. How's that for a contender looking for an MI.

    Unfortunately, I don't think anyone will be desperate enough to take on Rowand though, he's still owed $30M roughly.

  4. I HAVE to post anonymously because I don't know which voice in my head is making me say these things.

  5. OGC:

    I'm not totally giving up, but it is frustrating to see our struggles against the NL West. After two losses to the Rockies, it just doesn't seem like we can compete with the Dodgers and Rockies. If their pitching comes around (and it looks like it is), then we are in trouble, because offensively, both those teams are stacked (I leave out the Padres because I think Padres are going to regress as expected).

    Thus, I thinking go young would be good. With our pitching still solid (though perhaps overworked), we can still be in this thing and give the young guys a shot. As I said before, I can't imagine them doing much worse.

    Renteria in my mind is a guy the Giants could ship, and with only one year left on his contract he could be very enticing. Furthermore, he's having a good year of sorts (when he's healthy) and considering teams are always looking to upgrade at middle infield offensively, Renteria could produce good value. I mean, hell, Jack Wilson and Ian Snell produced four prospects last year. I wonder what the Giants could get.

    As for second basemen, I trust Downs and Burriss could hold down the fort in 2011 until Noonan or Crawford develops a little more.

  6. I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree