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.