I don’t want to talk much about the soul-crushing defeat last night. I will say that it’s amazing how many new ways this team comes up with to kill me. The bullpen not getting outs is an old theme but last nights game was torture. Lincecum sails through 8 innings looking like the tiny savior with a gun for an arm that he is. And then, the 9th inning unravels like a giant ball of yarn. The bullpen tried to keep the game close but instead threw more gas on the fire. I bet Steve Kline has an octane of at least 92.
The Giants march on as they continue to be a bad baseball team. Today’s post centers around 4 things that I would do if I was in charge of the Giants. I’m not necessarily saying I could do a better job than Brian Sabean but these are 4 things that I would like to see happen for the rest of this year.
1. Bench Ray Durham
Ray, what happened to you? Durham has had the most brutal season ever, so brutal that it would make Deathklok cry for their mommies. That’s brutal. I don’t fault Sabean for bringing back Durham, in the context of when he was signed it was a good deal. He was the 2nd best second basemen in the NL in 2006 and he settled for a short 2 year deal. Great move.
What looked to be a bargain has turned into a disaster. By any metric you use, VORP (-5.4), EQA (.235), WARP-1 (0.2), Durham is one of the worst second basemen in the entire National League. Since Durham arrived to SF he’s been worth about 4-5 wins per year. This year he’s only been worth 1/5th of a win. That’s a huge dropoff. I can’t remember the last player I saw go this bad, this fast. Durham isn’t even hitting his 10% PECOTA projection.
What’s wrong with Ray? He’s lost 5% on his LD% and he’s hitting fly balls more than any other time in his career. In 2006 when Durham had his power surge, 16% of his flyballs left the park, this year only 7% are landing in the stands. He still has a low BABIP (.248 to a career .309) but it seems that we’ve been waiting all year for it to correct itself. It’s very possible that Durham will end up with his lowest BABIP ever this year.
From watching him on TV it looks like Durham’s bat has slowed down. I’ve seen him get beat on a lot of average fastballs. From his numbers it appears to me that Durham has trouble making solid contact this year (lower LD% and HR/FB%), which would coincide with his loss of bat speed.
The team should bench Durham for awhile, or better yet send him to the DL with a “mystery injury”, and let Kevin Fransden get a bunch of starts at his natural position. K-Fran’s had a poor year but at least he’s shown some signs of life lately since talking with Barry about hitting. Durham is either injured or has collapsed as a player, why not let Kevin get some reps at 2nd? And for if Durham has to be in the lineup, bat him 7th or lower.
2. 6-Man rotation
With the news that Russ Ortiz will most likely be done for 2007 with a “tear in the flexor tendon of his throwing elbow” the Giants should give some consideration to the idea of a 6-man rotation. The advantages would be that you could help limit some of the innings on the younger arms of Cain and Lincecum and that it could serve as a try out for the open spots in the 2008 rotation. Did I mention that Jonathan Sanchez struck out 10 in 4.2 IP last night in Fresno? Sanchez might need a couple more starts to stretch out that arm but the Giants should make every effort to give him a few starts in the big leagues this year.
Here’s how the six man would look:
6. Sanchez / Blackley
Blackley is already on the 40-man and could start a few games until Sanchez is ready to go.
3. Let Brian Wilson close out more games
Brian got a chance in the final game of the Marlins series to get a save after Hennessey had been used three days in a row. He successfully finished the game for his 1st save of the year. Small sample size caveat aside, Wilson has looked good this year covering 8th inning duties (5IP, 2H, 0ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) while pumping mid-90′s heat and throwing a slider clocked at 91mph. Hennessey has been good as the closer but Wilson has way more upside. Walks are going to be a problem for him from time to time but his stuff is electric. That’s why I would like to see the Giants use him in a few more save opportunities to see how he responds. If he keeps succeeding he could be a closer candidate for 2008.
The informative OGC actually covered this idea some yesterday. Give his site a peak for his reasons on Wilson as well.
4. Give Scott McClain a freaking chance!
You won’t find most fans clamoring for the call up of a 35 year old journeyman but I’m doing exactly that. McClain has bounced around his career in the minors from team to team, and even played 3 years in Japan with the Seabu Lions. But you can’t ignore his year, even in the hitter-friendly PCL. This year he’s hit (.273/.358/.542) with 31 HR’s. Including a three HR game yesterday in Fresno. Hopefully the success of Jack Cust this year has taught GM’s that sometimes guys that are deemed AAAA players should get a shot, they could potentially surprise you.
McClain has bashed lefty pitching this year to the tune of (.291/.404/.573) so he could be a potential platoonmate at first base in 2008. He’s old, sure, but the Giants have zero prospects at 1B and the FA market isn’t very inspiring. Why not give McClain a call up this year and left him get some starts? He’ll probably outhit Dan Ortmeier and could be a cheap solution for a year. McClain isn’t on the 40-man so someone might get bumped to call him up. If it was up to me, I would probably bump Scott Munter. He has a nice groundball rate in AAA but he ranks pretty low on the reliever depth chart for the Giants.
From the Fresno Bee article on McClain:
“I would say he’s got a good chance to come up and help us in the final month of the season,” said Jack Hiatt, director of player development for the Giants.
“He’s a veteran hitter, he’s a good hitter. I think he can probably help us.”
Let’s hope so, let’s hope so.
Comment Starter: Your Armchair GM moves?