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Monday, July 15, 2013

Midseason Evaluation, the Francoeur era begins, and Big Time Timmy Jim!

So the All Star break is here.  The Giants are sending 4 players to New York for tomorrow's game.  Buster Posey, well deserved, making his 2nd consecutive appearance in the midsummer classic.  Madison Bumgarner with his first of what I predict to be many All Star game appearances (hope I didn't just jinx you Big Country).  Sergio Romo with a well deserved spot even if he had to "sneak" in via the crazy pitching rules.  And Mar-co Scu-ta-ro gets to see his first All Star action in what has been a solid if unspectacular career.  3 out of the 4 players are first timers.  Pence lost out on the final vote, but honestly he wasn't deserving over the other guys on the ballot.  Ian Desmond is the one that really got the shaft, not Puig or Pence though Freddie Freeman also earned his All Star credentials.   Pablo missed the original fan vote in and didn't deserve to go either  Hopefully he doesn't gain more weight between now and the resume of play on Friday.  When Pablo does well or gets a big hit, fans like to joke that he looks slimmer.  But it's not funny.  His weight has affected his performance.  I don't know who deserves credit for this graphic but it's damning:


That being said, this isn't a slam Pablo piece.  This is a slam the Giants piece.  Ok, not really.  The Giants enter the break at 43-51.  They are 8 games under .500 but only 6.5 games back.  Things would be a lot worse had Tim Lincecum not thrown a no hitter against the Padres.  Timmy's surprising no-no has given Giants fans a distraction for the break.  San Francisco ended the half on a high note, winning 3 of 4 against San Diego, even with Barry Zito continuing to be absolutely wretched on the road (to the tune of 0-6, 9.89 ERA in the grays).  The no-hitter has started a domino effect as well.  It now effectively removes Lincecum from trade talks even if it still makes sense.  It eliminates the "Lincecum to the bullpen" talk as well.  And it put the wheels back on the "Let's resign Timmy" bandwagon that had completely fallen off during 2012 and most of 2013.  How about this for coincidence; after pitching the no-hitter, at this very moment, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have the exact same career ERA (3.40).  Freaky huh?  See what I did there?  The Freak just happened to throw his no hitter on the day that The Frenchie joined the team, Jeff Francoeur.  

Francoeur was productive as recently as 2011 when he did it all for the Royals, hitting 20 homers and stealing 22 bases while hitting .285 with an .805 OPS.  Wait a minute, that sounds pretty similar to another Royals outfielder we got that one time.  Melky something.  That guy hit 18 homers with 20 stolen bases while hitting .305 with an .809 OPS.  Deja vu?  Doubtful.  Sabean is likely hoping Francoeur is more like his Pat the Bat acquisition than his Cabrera one.  That being said, Francoeur could be useful.  Teamed up with Kensuke Tanaka the Giants may have found their left fielder(s)!  Ok, probably not.  It's still more likely that if Sabean decides to become a buyer he gets an outfielder.  Oh yeah, and that's another thing the Timmy performance has done.  It has likely taken the Giants out of the starting pitcher trade game.  With Vogelsong coming back hopefully early August and Gaudin pitching like the revelation Vogelsong was in 2011 the Giants all of sudden have too many starters.  It's doubtful any team takes Zito off our hands so it'll be interesting to see what Bochy and Sabean decide to do when the time comes.  One thing for certain?  Lincecum will not be going to the bullpen anytime soon.

The Giants have looked mostly bad for much of the season and their place in the standings reflects it.  They have the 4th toughest schedule after the break (allegedly) but have their first 10 games at home.  Those 10 games will determine whether the Giants become buyers, sellers, or stand pat.  If they can carry over the way they played against San Diego (minus the Zito game), they could turn this thing around yet.  They're finally getting healthy and those 6.5 games back don't seem nearly as daunting when you're coming off the high of a Freakish no-hitter.


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