The San Francisco Giants are immersed in trade talks with multiple teams across the league but seemingly don’t have their priorities straight. The Giants need to do stuff. They absolutely need to make a few roster-altering moves in order to solidify their status as legitimate contenders down the stretch. Although several glaring voids reign prominent on San Francisco’s roster, general manager Brian Sabean is supposedly attempting to bolster the Giants’ bullpen, a unit that ranks fourth in all of baseball.
Sabean is one of the most well-respected GMs in MLB. The man has a knack for pulling the right strings in order to make his club do the unthinkable: win championships when nobody flashes orange and black on their radars. But attempting to acquire the likes of Antonio Bastardo from the Philadelphia Phillies instead of Chase Utley isn’t exactly the kind of move that’s going to launch San Francisco into title contention.
Adding bullpen depth at the trade deadline often makes sense, given the climate of ultra-competitive baseball in September and October. The Giants undeniably lack depth at most positions around the diamond, but relief pitching isn’t one of them.
San Francisco’s bullpen has been rocky at times, just like every relief unit around the league, but they have managed to register a solid 2.77 ERA and .222 batting average against. Those numbers don’t exactly beg for change. The Giants have much bigger areas of need, and Sabean knows this, but old habits die hard. Infusing the bullpen with guys like Javier Lopez has worked in the past.
Who’s to say that Bastardo is incapable of having a Lopez effect for the Giants in the late innings?
The 28-year-old southpaw is a solid relief pitcher, tossing 43.2 innings while posting a respectable 3.30 ERA in 2014. He’s under club control through next season and is due the remainder of a modest $2 million salary for 2014’s stretch run. Adding Bastardo would be economically efficient. It would also theoretically “improve” an already dominant bullpen and send George Kontos (2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings) back to Triple-A Fresno, but the move wouldn’t make the Giants title worthy.
The Giants need a real live, breathing second baseman as opposed to the virtual corpse of Dan Uggla. They need a stopgap in center field to help alleviate the pressure off Gregor Blanco and the minds of Giants fans, while leadoff hitter Angel Pagan pretends like he’s actually going to play again this season. San Francisco also needs help at the back end of their starting rotation, considering Matt Cain‘s “cranky” elbow and Ryan Vogelsong‘s dimwitted competitive spirit, blaming poor performances on a man cold.
Sabean needs to pull some strings, just not the kind that control the bullpen. He knows this, but it likely won’t prevent the longtime GM from prioritizing a segment of the team that doesn’t need significant help — that is, unless Bastardo can hit 98 mph fastballs like Madison Bumgarner.