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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday notebook: Well, there goes the J. Sanchez deal

Well, there goes the Jonathan Sanchez deal.

With Barry Zito reverting to form, the Giants may want to hold onto their other enigmatic left hander.

I don't think the Giants were seriously considering trading Sanchez because the Giants are likely not sold on Zito actually finishing out the season in the rotation.

Boss Bochy's comments in the SF Chron after Saturday's 11-3 loss seemed a bit forced when asked if it was just a "blip" in Zito's resurrection : "That's how I'm looking at it. Hopefully that's how he looks at it and how everybody in here looks at it."

Bochy is all too familiar with Zito's long-standing struggle with his own deficiencies, so has to brace for the worst every time Zito takes the mound.

For Zito to succeed, all the pieces must converge: psychological, physical, luck. His fortunes rest on a fine line straddling between a curve that has a sharp break and one that doesn't, a fastball that hits a precise location and one that is two inches off. His change up loses all effectiveness if he can't get the other two pitches over.

And when he loses confidence with his pitches, Zito gets ruluctant, falls out of the strike zone, walks people, setting up the inevitable big blow. It's been a long-standing pattern, broken up only by a rare sunny three-game patch that broke through the clouds.

That's why it's been so hard to invest emotions in Zito: there's no way you can rely on a pitcher who can't rely on his own stuff.

Trade notions

Who knows how the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes end up? He's got many suitors, so it may not be all that fruitful to put all eggs in that carryall. For the life of me, though, I don't know why the Red Sox or Tigers  even put feelers out for him: they don't need another bat; they need pitching.

Still, let's presume that Beltran goes elsewhere. Any other options? Sure.

The Tigers are looking for pitching, they have a surplus of outfielders: how about left-handed slugger Brandon Boesch, the former Cal outfielder, for Ryan Vogelsong? Boesch is having a breakout year (.297 BA 12 HR), though he is hot and cold: .318 in April, .186 in May, .380 in June, .268 in July.

I've resisted throwing Vogelsong out there as trade bait because he's been so essential to what the Giants are doing. But it could be that, as "found money," Vogelsong represents the best opportunity for the Giants to cash in and get the bat they really need with him.

The problem is if you get rid of Vogelsong, you're putting your fate in the hands of two beguiling lefties. So, I'm right back to where I started with Vogelsong: he's too central to the Giants' hopes.

The Twins are still considering offloading Michael Cuddyer because of the $5.5 million remaining on his contract. The Giants could step in and take his contract off their hands. His price may be going up, though, with the July he's having (.378, 3HR, 14 RBI). Overall, he's .296, 13 HR, 44 RBI.

The Royals are looking to go younger/get cheaper, and appear to be offering Melky Cabrera, who is having his best year: .293, 11 HR, 52 RBI. Surprisingly, he's only 26, which means he may be just coming into his own after loitering around as a prospect for all these years.

On the rumors that the Giants continue to hold interest in Pudge Rodriguez: Doesn't it say something that the Washington Nationals are so willing to let go of him? His decline has been so apparent that he couldn't even stick with the Houston Astros.

So, the Giants still harbor fond memories of Pudge's throw to nail the fleet Darren Ford. But have they considered that Pudge's strong arm won't mean a thing if their pitching staff continues to ignore base runners?

Let's just hope that Jim Riggleman's talent evaluation is better than a recommendation of a declining catcher who can't get more than a hit in five at bats, and who has never known how to take a walk. Let Pudge search for his 3,000th hit elsewhere.


Where did Miguel Tejada's newfound power come from? A blast into the deepest part of the Padres cavernous park? Over the 405 foot mark in left center field?

Granted, the last three home runs he's hit were in wipe outs (in 13-7 and 15-3 wins and the 11-3 loss), and he continues to disappoint in clutch situations. But his bat is perking up. In fact, he's been one of the steadiest bats in the lineup over the last two weeks -- when he's in there.

He's hitting .361 in July (13-for-36) with two home runs and six RBI. He's had at least one hit in nine of his last 10 starts, and multiple hits in four of those games. Dating back to his three-hit game on June 28, he has hit .346 (17-for-49) with three home runs and three doubles, a .591 slugging percentage.

Do you know who's leading the Giants in hitting among those qualified for the batting title? Miguel Tejada. At .243. But, hey, remember how long he was living in the slums of the 2-teens?

It's OK, fans. You can start to root for Tejada, or rather, enjoy the unexpected. The way to appreciate Tejada is to keep expectations to a minimum and count your blessings when he delivers.


The Giants are actually in need of a win today. After opening up with a pair of wins, it would be hard to swallow a split of a four-game series with the lowly Padres, especially with Matt Cain on the bump.

They've got to get through the voluble Mat Latos, who has had an up and down year. He's 5-10 with a 4.04 ERA, but is coming off a nice performance against the Dodgers (7 IP, 1 ER).

The key to him, it seems, has always been to appeal to his psychotic side. Get under his skin. Maybe a drag bunt by Andres Torres. Or, someone -- Mike Fontenot? -- can lean into a pitch. Something to get him off his game.

It would also be nice to head into the Dodgers series with a little momentum. Though the Dodgers lost Saturday to Arizona, they are still playing good ball, having won the previous five games.

1 comment:

  1. "That's why it's been so hard to invest emotions in Zito: there's no way you can rely on a pitcher who can't rely on his own stuff."

    That pretty much sums up fans' relationship with him. Its like having a good kid riding on the edge of truancy; you know he's a good kid, but he does things that will ruin him if he's not capable of changing his ways. You have to detach or your heart will explode.

    The main difference of course is that Zito has 3 digits of $millions to comfort him :D