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Slumping Giants can get younger, better

May 24, 2010, 6:30 PM EDT

Indications are that the Giants, losers of five in a row, are thinking about having Eric Hacker replace Todd Wellemeyer at the back of the rotation. It’d be another stopgap for a team that has generally given more weight to short-term solutions over long-term considerations during GM Brian Sabean’s time at the help.
Fortunately, the time is approaching at which those short-term needs and long-term goals will meet. Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey are looking ready for the majors, and it’s going to make sense to bring both to San Francisco next month.
Bumgarner, who essentially had a rotation spot to lose this spring, has regained his velocity over the last month and gone 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five May starts for Triple-A Fresno.
Posey has been hitting all season long, but only recently did the power start to come. He has four homers and seven doubles for Fresno this month, and he’s hitting .327/.422/.506 in 156 at-bats for the year.
There is one complication with both players. Since they were up last September, they already have a few weeks of service time. The Marlins can call up Mike Stanton on June 1 without any worries that he’ll be a super-two arbitration case after 2012. The Giants, though, would have to wait until around July 1 to be guaranteed that same protection with their two elite talents.
That might be too long, and the Giants probably won’t wait once they’re convinced the youngsters can help them win ballgames. Bumgarner, in particular, could make a big impact right away, given that the alternatives for the fifth spot in the rotation are less than stellar. The 27-year-old Hacker is 7-1 with a 2.20 ERA as Bumgarner’s rotationmate, but his fastball is below average and he major leaguers won’t be particularly vulnerable to his curve.
Inserting Posey into the mix would be more complicated. Bengie Molina got off to a great start, only to fall into an awful slump of late. He hasn’t had an extra-base hit since May 6 or an RBI since May 5.
The Giants, though, are happy with how Molina handles the pitching staff. And backup Eli Whiteside has done fine work in limited action, hitting .298/.340/.532 in 47 at-bats. The other position Posey can play, first base, is home to Aubrey Huff. Huff’s 800 OPS in unspectacular, but only part-timers Whiteside and Andres Torres have higher marks on the Giants.
Whether Posey gets the call in the next couple of weeks will probably be determined by how Molina bounces back. If Molina starts producing runs again, the Giants would rather have his experience behind the plate. Posey, though, is likely the second-best hitter in the organization at the moment, behind only Pablo Sandoval. He’d likely be an asset while catching two or three times a week and playing first base against lefties. The Giants have made the right move for his future in letting him catch regularly in Triple-A for two months, but it’s about time for a change.

  1. Mike C - May 24, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    I am probably wrong, but I thought players called up for September didn’t have those days count as service time. Since they’re not technically on the 25 man roster, but rather part of the 40 man roster, I thought those days didn’t count against them. How wrong am I?

  2. Matthew Pouliot - May 24, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    It counts as service time for all purposes except rookie status. Posey has 33 days of service time, while Bumgarner has 27.

  3. Lunatic Fringe - May 24, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    With this pitching staff who couldn’t handle the rotation well? That’s an awful excuse to not bring up Posey. He’s more than ready and should be catching.

  4. Old Gator - May 24, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    I can get younger too. In fact, I think it’s happening already.
    Where’s Poppa?

  5. Alan - May 24, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Bringing up Posey now would be a disaster waiting to happen like it did for so many other Giant prospects. The Giants aren’t going anywhere this year with or without Buster Posey. The Giant’s need a big bat, someone that can score some runs, not some old worn out dude like they always go get because they are cheap. They have to trade a Pitcher for a good bat or two. After scoring 1 run in the last 27 innings it is becoming embarrassing for this team.
    The question that I have to ask is why did Tim Lincecum sign an extention when he could make double the money somewhere else and win a championship? He will never win a championship in San Francisco because San Francisco is not committed to winning a championship. San Francisco is committed to having a low payroll.

  6. Jackson - May 24, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Alan the Giants have one of the highest payrolls in baseball.
    And Tim Lincecum signed an extention to avoid arbitration, since he’s already under team control for 4 more years.
    But awesome try!

  7. Michael - May 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    It’s embarrassing to be a Giants fan sometimes. For a team that charges one of the highest ticket prices in the league and has one of the best attendance rates, they are extremely cheap and never go out and get any big bats. They should have signed Holliday last year, but again they do not care about winning. They care about making money. It’s pathetic.

  8. Alan - May 25, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    The Giants payroll for 2010 is 17th out of 30 teams. I don’t think that that is considered one of the highest payrolls in baseball. Perhaps you do. They are below such small market teams as Seattle, Toronto, Milwaukee and Cleveland. Here is the link below to the web site so you can see what is going on with the Giants. You can also Google MLB payrolls. How can you make such a statement without checking out the facts?
    To me Timmy should have gone to arbitration! I bet he lost out on 20 Million by signing this extention and accepting the fact that he will be on a losing team for years to come. When was the last time the Giants won the World Series? 1954 they were the New York Giants then and that was 66 years ago. I know that the management of the Giants are still kicking themselves for moving out of New York! Historically and financially this was an awful move for them but at the time the competition in New York was too much for them to handle. The Giants and the Dodgers decided that a move to the West coast could only work if both came out together. At least the Dodgers won out in LA but the Giants don’t have the personal.

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