San Francisco Giants: Jonathan Sanchez and Five Players That Need to Step Up

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 10:  Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants looks on after giving up three runs in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park on August 10, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

he San Francisco Giants are at a critical junction in their season. After a strong first half the team has encountered recent misfortune.

The misfortune has been an inability to perform and win games.

In their last 13 attempts San Francisco has won just three. They have lost four straight series including one to the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants have surrendered their NL West lead for the first time since July 25.

This team is at a pivotal turning point. If they can not reverse their recent skid, they will slip onto a downhill path that may lead to the elimination of a postseason appearance.

On August 12 the Giants will embark on a 10 day, three series road trip. They will faceFloridaAtlanta and Houston. They are now a half game out of first place in the NL West.

San Francisco certainly has all the right pieces to win this division. If they can make the postseason, the pitching staff will carry them through the playoffs. However there are players at every position on this team that must step up if the Giants are going to be serious about contending.

Here are the five players that’s performance will be urgently important, down the stretch and in upcoming games.

5. Whoever Is Playing Left Field

OAKLAND, CA -  JUNE 17: Cody Ross #13 of the San Francisco Giants high-fives teammate Nate Schierholtz #12 after hitting a home run against the Oakland Athletics during a MLB baseball game June 17, 2011 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, C
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

ody Ross and Nate Schierholtz have been sharing time in left field since Carlos Beltran was brought in to an every day role in right.

Both players have the potential to be offensive contributors in this lineup. Cody was a key run scoring catalyst for the Giants in the postseason stretch in 2010. Nate has shown that he can be a real threat at the plate when he’s gotten hot in 2011.

Niether player has brought that consistently to San Francisco yet this year, although Schierholtz is batting .277 with 7 HR’s. Cody Ross is hitting just .246.

One of the two outfielders needs to step up and prove their worth as the defending champs starting left fielder, because neither are having much success in a shared role.

Both Schierholtz and Ross can be key players in the lineup and help this team defend it’s title, but someone needs to step up.

4. Andres Torres

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 24: Andres Torres #56 of the San Francisco Giants scores on a foul pop-out by Aubrey Huff #17 against the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the six inning during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park June 24, 2011 in San Francisco, Ca
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

He was a huge impact in 2010. He was the perfect leadoff man, and one of the only true base stealer’s on the team.

The Giants desperately need to keep Torres’ speed in the lineup and in center field. However Torres desperately needs to find some of the pop that he had in his bat last year, when he hit 16 hrs and hit .268.

So far in 2011, the 31 year old has struggled. He has not found last year’s swing. He is batting just .231 with 3 HR’s. The Giants “small–ball” style of play desperately needs back a key component to the offense.

Even if he cannot bring back the offensive success he once had, the Giants need to get this guy on base. Maybe a little more patience at the plate will be a key ingredient to wins for San Francisco and Torres, who has struck out 75 times in 286 AB’s.

3. Aubrey Huff

OAKLAND, CA -  JUNE 18: Aubrey Huff #17 of the San Francisco Giants hits a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to score Andres Torres #56 against the Oakland Athletics during a MLB baseball game June 18, 2011 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oaklan
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Aubrey Huff’s performance has been a real disappointment for the Giants in 2011. The team’s first–basemen became a fan favorite in 2010, when he had a career year, batting .290 and hitting 26 HR’s.

He was the number three hitter in the Giants’ lineup last year. So far this year he has hardly proved his worth being in the lineup at all. Meanwhile Giants top prospect first basemen Brandon Belt has continued to dominate in triple A.

Huff started the 2011 season at an alarmingly slow rate, finishing the month of April with a measly .211 BA  and a .275 OBP. Since then, his performance has increased steadily, but slowly. He is currently batting .249.

However, as much as the Giants have struggled in the past two weeks, Huff has finally found some success. He is hitting .353 so far in August with a .405 OBP. In the Giants last victory Huff went 3-for-4, coming a triple away from hitting for the cycle.

If Huff can keep up his recent performance, the Giants will surely follow. His stability and perhaps re–emergence as a legitimate offensive contributor will be key in the Giants reclaiming of the NL West.

2. Carlos Beltran

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 31:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the San Francisco Giants waits to bat during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 31, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

He was probably the most potent bat available on the market at the trade deadline.

When the Giants snagged him in a deal that sent their top pitching prospect to New York, they solidified their chance of repeating success.

The trade spoke for San Francisco, making a bold statement that the defending champs were going to lay it all out and do everything in their reach to make a run at the title again in 2011.

The Giants have not exactly performed well, since Mr. Beltran’s arrival with the team.

While Carlos can certainly not be blamed with the teams struggle, he has not yet made the impact expected. While he has only played in eleven games so far for San Francisco, he has hit .244 and gotten just four hits.

Not only has he been relatively quiet at the plate, but Beltran has missed the past three games due to a strained wrist. However it’s not time to panic yet, as he is expected to return to the starting lineup in the next game, the beginning of a challenging road trip for the San Francisco.

If Beltran can stay healthy, the Giants can count on him making the impact that he was acquired for. This will be an increasingly important factor in the Giants success.

1. Jonathan Sanchez

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 10:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the third inning against Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 10, 2011 in San Francisco,
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

San Francisco’s greatest pitfall remains their offense (or lack thereof).

However another problem has recently made itself alarmingly clear, and that is the fifth spot in the Giants starting rotation.

While the Giants still boast a league-leading pitching staff, their fifth man has been in flux all season, with the injuries and relative ineffectiveness of Sanchez and Barry Zito.

In the wake of recent disastrous outings for both struggling southpaws, Giants fans have growing concerns regarding the stability of the starting staff.

The Giants rely very heavily on their loaded pitching staff, which carried them all the way last season. They certainly will not revert to a four–man staff, in a valid fear of over working their stars.

Sanchez is 4–7 with a 4.29 ERA in 18 starts for San Francisco while Zito is 3-4 with a 5.62 ERA. Jonathan Sanchez numbers have been less atrocious, and he has youth on his side.

Sanchez is just 28. While he been notorious in struggles with his command, he has shown in the past that he can be a dominant pitcher.

On the other hand, the 33 year old Barry Zito has made clear to San Francisco in a four year, 126 million dollar stint, that his days as a formidable starting pitcher are long behind him.

While neither have earned their spot in the rotation this year, it is Sanchez who has the potential to turn around his career and this season for San Francisco. His stability will be key in the playoff race.



San Francisco Giants Lose NL West Lead, Concerns Arise for Defending Champs

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 10:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the third inning against Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 10, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

he San Francisco Giants lost not only their NL West lead, but also their dignity as they endured their fourth straight series loss yesterday. The defending champions dropped Game 3 of the three-game series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-2.

Jonathan Sanchez made it clear that the Giants have a serious problem to address at the fifth spot in their starting rotation. Sanchez has struggled with his command historically, but also proves to be unhittable when he has his best stuff. On Wednesday afternoon he had as much trouble finding the strike zone as ever, walking four and giving up five earned runs over just 4.1 innings.

The Pirates are just one of two teams in the majors who have scored fewer runs than San Francisco. They managed nine hits but were given scoring opportunities by their opponent as well.

The Giants have relied so heavily on their stellar pitching that when it does not completely shut down the opponent, the frequency of wins are decreased significantly. Since the All-Star Break, they have won just two games in which the opponent scored more than two runs.

When the staff does perform, the Giants play like the champions that they were in 2010. The team managed to shut down Pittsburgh just one night earlier when Madison Bumgarner tossed a five-hit gem and struck out 10 batters. The offense responded by scoring six runs on nine hits. Even the struggling Aubrey Huff went 3-for-4 and came just a triple away from hitting for the cycle.

Still, when a shaky Jonathan Sanchez took the mound Wednesday afternoon, he faltered, and the rest of the team followed.

A total of seven Pirates batters walked, all of whom scored. Runs were also scored on an error and a wild pitch.

The Giants offense has been shut out 10 times this season. Although they managed to score a couple runs in the series finale against Pittsburgh, they continued to come up empty handed in situations with runners in scoring position. A total of four Giants baserunners were stranded in the 9–2 loss.

The loss appropriately reflected the struggles that San Francisco has sustained in August. The team has recorded just three wins in its last 12 games.

The inability to score runs remains the team’s greatest pitfall. While the Giants still boast a league-leading pitching staff, the fifth man in their starting rotation has been in flux all season, with the injuries and relative ineffectiveness of Sanchez and Barry Zito.

In the wake of recent disastrous outings for both struggling southpaws, Giants fans have growing concerns regarding the stability of the starting staff.

Carlos Beltran has been sidelined for the past few games with wrist soreness. He is expected to return to the starting lineup on Friday, where he may be able to help relieve the offensive deficiency.

However, it has become clear that San Francisco also must answer the uncertainty that has been established by the lack of a solid fifth starter.

For the first time since June 25, San Francisco conceded its NL West lead to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have now taken a half-game lead.

San Francisco Giants: What to Expect in the Postseason Stretch

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CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 31:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the San Francisco Giants waits to bat during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 31, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The 2011 season has been anything but predictable for the San Francisco Giants.

In the first half they lost their top three offensive producers with injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Freddy Sanchez.

As much as the offense disappointed with injuries and the struggles of 2010 heroes Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff, the pitching has continued to prove dominant and even surprising with the addition of league ERA-leading journeyman Ryan Vogelsong.

Despite a roller coaster ride of a season, San Francisco has managed to hold first place in the NL West as their own for most of 2011. That lead has only come under siege recently as the surging second place Diamondbacks have come within a half game of the Giants.

Trade deadline additions of Jeff Keppinger, Orlando Cabrera and possibly the best hitter that was on the market, Carlos Beltran, were brought in to bolster the offense. However in the past ten games the Giants have won just two. Beltran has hit just .244 since joining the team.

In a stretch that began July 29th they have scored a total of just 19 runs, eight of which came in one game, a victory against Cincinnati.

The offense has been abysmal to say the least. Meanwhile the pitching staff has continued to perform, maintaining the 2nd best ERA in the NL, and the best BAA, despite minimal run support.

The slump may have inflicted flashbacks upon Giants fans who endured the torture of 2010 and well remember a horrific August for not only San Francisco, but for their ace Tim Lincecum. Tim Lincecum went 0-5 in August 2010, finishing with a more than uncharacteristic 7.83 ERA.

Lincecum lost his first game of August 2011, 6-1. But is it time to panic for Giants fans?

Well, many are probably already in panic mode. However they can trust that the defending World Champions are not really as bad as they have looked to start off the month.

On August 7th, the Giants managed to squeak out Game 4 of the four-game series against Philadelphia. Trusty Tim Lincecum proved himself once again and was a stopper to the recent skid.

The two-time Cy Young award winner gave up just one earned run in seven innings of work while striking out five. The offense scored enough runs to get their starter the win, as Carlos Beltran and Orlando Cabrera each scored runs and Jeff Keppinger went 4-for-4. Manager Bruce Bochy credited his superstar after the game, saying that “In a skid like this against a great team like (the Phillies), its gonna take a great pitching effort to get it done.”

Although Carlos Beltran has been a relative disappointment for high expectations in his first week as a Giant, fans can expect him to find his place. He came to San Francisco with the pressure of becoming the much-needed centerpiece to the offense of a team fighting to defend their title. His career-long success says that he will make his mark soon.

San Francisco’s success has been attributed to the best pitching and timely offense all season. Although the Giants have played small ball and been the victors of low scoring games, including 30 come from behind victories, it seems their luck has run out of late.

On this day in 2010, San Francisco was six games out of first place. Despite everything that has happened, last year’s champions are still better now than they were at this point in their championship season.

While hard times have fallen upon the Giants, fans can expect that the offensive additions will make the impact that they were acquired for. If San Francisco is going to get back in a place to establish themselves as the division leaders and make a run at a repeat title, this is a must.

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Giants Reclaim First in the West, Vogelsong a Legitimate Cy Young Candidate

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 8: Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants tips his hat to the crowd after coming out of the game in the top of the seventh inning against Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park May 8, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won the game 3-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

he San Francisco Giants beat out the Arizona Diamondbacks in the last game of a three-game NL West showdown. It was the Giants’ lone win against the division rival.

In a captivating victory, San Francisco accomplished pretty much everything that they were not able to do for the past week.

The Giants scored eight times in the series finale, matching the total number of runs scored in their past five games.

Meanwhile the D-Backs had won 12 of their last 17. In those games they were able to diminish a 4.5 game deficit, tying San Francisco for first in the NL West.

The win snapped a five game losing skid for the Giants, and they again stand alone in first place at the top of the division.

Ryan Vogelsong, who started for San Francisco, improved to 9-1 on the season, maintaining his league-leading record and the best ERA in the National League.

The first-time All-Star allowed just five hits, one run and struck out seven batters. Over 40,000 fans rose in standing ovation and the crowd roared as Vogelsong tipped his cap in departure in the sixth inning.

The veteran right-hander is in his sixth professional season, but is just now making a name for himself. Vogelsong fit right in with the Giants pitching staff, and their winning ways, as soon as he replaced Barry Zito when Zito made his first trip to the disabled list in April.

The Giants can thank his success, as well as the rest of the solid staff, that has allowed San Francisco to stay in first place for most of the season.

He not only leads the National League in pitching, but has the second best ERA in the majors, and his 9-1 record gives him the best win-percentage in baseball.

It seems as though every time the 32-year-old takes the mound people are waiting for him to regress, and return to the form of a mediocre starter that he was for the first several years of his career.

However San Francisco has faith in the comeback player, who has overtaken the place in the rotation of two pitchers, in situations in which he could have potentially been simply a temporary replacement.

If Vogelsong can continue the dominance that he has brought to the diamond every fifth game for San Francisco, he will be a legitimate contender for the Cy Young award in 2011.

Re-focusing on the regular season, the Giants still rank among the worst in baseball in all offensive categories, and the best in all pitching contests. (27th in runs, 28th in BA, 2nd in ERA and 1st in BAA)

It is the hope of the Giants organization that the additions of Carlos Beltran and two middle infielders will increase those numbers at the plate, easing the torture of just coming out on top in one run ball games.

The Giants have a tough road ahead of them. They will be facing Atlanta, Philadelphia and Arizona again several times before the season’s end.

However if they can continue to support their All-Star pitching staff with run production like they did in this game against Arizona, they will continue to be a favorite to win the division and perhaps run away with even more than that.

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San Francisco Giants Drop 5th Straight, Is the Time Now to Bench Aubrey Huff?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 11:  Aubrey Huff #17 of the San Francisco Giants stands in the dugout before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on May 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Aubrey Huff
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

n game two of a critical three-game series between the NL West’s first place San Francisco Giants and the closely-trailing Arizona Diamondbacks, Giants ace Tim Lincecum lost to the D-Backs’ Daniel Hudson.

By the numbers, Lincecum pitched a better game. However, Hudson was lights out against his opposition, which actually may not have been a highly impressive feat on August 2nd at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The final score of 6-2 resulted in the Diamondbacks moving up the NL West rankings to share the first place slot with the Giants.

Lincecum gave up just three hits and two runs on three walks, while striking out eight. Meanwhile, the offense left six men on base and went 1-5 with runners in scoring position.

The defending World Champs notoriously rank among the very worst offenses in the majors. San Francisco looked like a team that had exhausted all of their options for run scoring Tuesday night.

It has been rather clear for some time now what the Giants need to do if they want to be taken seriously about another trip to the World Series this year. The lineup needs to step up and support the pitching staff, which continues to be heralded as one of the best in the National League.

It seemed as though they had acquired just what they were looking for five days ago when Giants GM Brian Sabean sent top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the New York Mets in return for right fielder Carlos Beltran.

Beltran has gotten off to a rather slow start for the Giants, barely hitting .200 and driving in just one run in six starts. The veteran slugger has shown glimpses of the swing that Giants fans hope will lift them to contend for the title again in 2011, although San Francisco has won just one game and lost five since his arrival.

There is no need for fans to worry that the trade will not be beneficial to the team. Actually, Giants fans have every reason to believe that Beltran will become the much-needed contributor that they hoped for him to be sooner or later. He is a lifetime .282 batter and has done better than that with New York this year. He also has hit 15 home runs and leads the league with 30 doubles.

However, San Francisco certainly needs to shake things up.

The acquisitions of infielders Jeff Keppinger (2B) and veteran Orlando Cabrera, who will likely take most of the time at shortstop for the Giants, have helped solidify the middle infield which was impacted by the loss of team leader Freddy Sanchez.

Pablo Sandoval continues to be the hottest bat, hitting .308. Despite missing six weeks to injury, he is also leading the team with ten home runs, trailing only Beltran.

Who should start at first base for the Giants for the rest of 2011?

  • Brandon Belt

  • Aubrey Huff

  • J.T. Snow


Total votes: 72

Sandoval’s success at the plate has been one large reason the Giants have been able to back up their phenomenal pitching staff and stay in first place for most of the season. It is expected that Beltran will also bring some desperately needed relief.

It is clear the intention of the Giants organization is to muster together every last scrap off the heap to win again this year rather than preserving moderate success. Now more than ever, the Giants must bring together the misfits and castoffs who won it all in 2010.

Aubrey Huff had one of the best seasons of his career last year in his first full season with San Francisco. He became a team leader and a fan favorite, but has not followed the same path in 2011. He has in fact struggled, performing so poorly at the plate that he is bringing the team down.

Huff hit a dismal .211 in April, and since then his average has steadily increased to the .240 mark while he has achieved just .294 OBP. His contribution still does not compare to what he did in 2010, in which he finished with a .290 batting average.

Nevertheless, for some reason he continues to start on a daily basis, while the rookie Brandon Belt awaits his time to shine on the bench seeing just minimal playing time, in which he has rarely met the high expectations that have been set for him.

Who should start at catcher for the Giants for the rest of 2011?

  • Chris Stewart

  • Eli Whiteside

  • Bruce Bochy


Total votes: 52

It has been a slow start to what should be a promising career for the rookie Belt. Despite a lack of success in his one real shot at becoming an everyday starter for the Giants, the kid deserves the opportunity to develop into what all baseball science and knowledge says that he will.

Although Belt hit just .184 in April during his first stint in the big leagues, he has returned back to Triple A several times only to prove that he is ready to take the next step up. He has hit .324 with a .462 OBP in 42 games with the Giants’ minor league team in Fresno.

The time is now to bench Aubrey Huff and start Brandon Belt everyday for San Francisco. Huff has made it clear that he will not be returning to last year’s form any time soon.

Giants GM Brian Sabean and Manager Bruce Bochy need to give Belt the opportunity to develop into the player his statistics show he promises to be. It is a risk worth taking, as he will not be a significant downgrade, if even a downgrade at all, to the player Aubrey Huff has been for San Francisco this year.

With the proposed experience and playing time accumulated, fans can hope that Belt will become the Buster Posey of 2010 by the time the postseason rolls around. That is a void that the Giants desperately need to fill if they are to be a true threat.

The past several days have been dismal for San Francisco. The lineup has gotten better, but the outcome has not. This is a great team lead by a great pitching staff that needs run support to be successful. It seems as though this is a franchise that is willing to do what needs to be done in order to produce a winning recipe while they have the championship ingredients.

They just might have the right pieces to beat the best of the best, but these pieces need to be played correctly to make it happen.

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MLB Trade Scenarios: 3 Targets To Address the Defending Champs’ Greatest Flaws

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2011 has been a tumultuous year in San Francisco for the 2010 World Champions. An injury-plagued season for San Francisco will make or break the chance to repeat the feat.

They have lost three of their greatest contributors throughout the season. Seemingly out of no where, they gained another member of their starting rotation whose performance has fit right in with the staff’s success.

However in some of these cases, the loss of one player to injury has opened up opportunities to another. Some of the players who filled the void have been outstandingly successful, and others have showed tenacity and potential. Some have disappointed.

With all that has happened in San Francisco in 2011, all we know for sure is that, so far, the Giants have found ways to win games. The team entered the All-Star break with the fifth-best record in baseball and proudly sent five members of the franchise to the All-Star Game in Phoenix.

While San Francisco continues to hold their first place lead in the NL West, Manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean both know that the second half of the season can be a whole different ball game, and want to come out strong in the second half.

The pitching staff has been outstanding as everyone expected. While San Francisco is notorious for lacking offense, injuries have also created voids that the front office will be interested in filling before the trade deadline on July 31.

None of these moves intend to transform the Giants into an offensive powerhouse or replace Buster Posey. However, they should provide the stability that San Francisco needs to be a serious threat.

For everyone out there who still believes that San Francisco has a smaller chance of repeating in 2011 than they had to win it all in 2010, I present to you three trade targets that would address some of the defending champs’ greatest obstacles to becoming World Champions again this season.

3. Ramon Hernandez

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 24:  Catcher Ramon Hernandez #55 of the Cincinnati Reds in action against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It makes sense that San Francisco’s General Manager Brian Sabean’s first priority before the trade deadline is acquiring a much needed offensive spark plug.

However, there is room for improvement around the diamond, and especially behind the plate where Buster Posey’s season-ending injury left a gaping hole, offensively, and as a young leader on the team.

Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart, who are sharing time behind the dish for San Francisco are hitting .229 and .172 respectively. There is a lot of respect for both players especially among the Giants pitching staff, however, the Giants need to better fill the void left by Posey if they want to remain contenders.

Ramon Hernandez, who is currently sharing time behind the dish for the Cincinnati Reds with Ryan Hanigan, is the ideal backstop for the Giants to target.

Hernandez is hitting .322 and has 10 homers for the Reds in 2011, in 53 games played. Those are career numbers for Hernandez and an everyday role catching for San Francisco could allow the 35-year-old catcher to make an impact offensively for the Giants as well.

Hernandez will also be a free agent at the end of the season and would be a perfect “rental” for the Giants until Posey returns in 2012. He is a better option than what San Francisco has to offer as backstop from within the organization, if they are serious about going deep into the 2011 postseason.

The Reds are in dire need of starting pitching to stay in the tight NL Central race as their staff has struggled in 2011. The Giants have six starting pitchers. Jonathan Sanchez, who has struggled in SF, might be the answer for Cincinnati.

2. Rafael Furcal

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 8:  Shortstop Rafael Furcal #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers turns a double play after forcing out Will Venable #25 of the San Diego Padres in the third inning on July 8, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.   (Photo by
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Sources say that the Giants are looking to acquire an impact hitter, regardless of position. However, it would behoove them to make a move that would also bring some stability to the middle infield spots.

Miguel Tejada has been less than effective at short stop and at third base. He has shown his age with minimal range and speed and is hitting just .243 with a dismal .276 OBP.

Brandon Crawford, who has provided relief defensively at short stop, has shown that there may be a promising future for him in San Francisco, but he has not developed the skills necessary to be successful against big league pitching. Crawford is hitting just .194 in 40 games with San Francisco.

The injury to Freddy Sanchez has brought the same problem to the right side of the infield where he distinguished himself as a leader offensively as well as in the clubhouse, while the three-time All-Star’s presence is even more greatly missed defensively on the field. Sanchez will likely be out for the season after the dislocation of a previously injured shoulder.

The Giants should seek infield help not just as a rental for the rest of 2011, but a player to stick around for a few years while players like Crawford, who was brought up straight from San Jose Single A, take necessary time to develop. Rafael Furcal of the Los Angeles Dodgers has several of the characterstics that the Giants desperately need.

Furcal has not had the chance to get hot in 2011 because of first-half injuries. However, he has proved himself throughout his career as an infielder with speed who can contribute offensively. The Giants could use speed anywhere and everywhere, as well as a new leadoff guy with Andres Torres recent struggles at the plate. (.236 BA, 60 SO/ 27 W)

More importantly, the Giants have something that Los Angeles does not…Money.

Furcal is still owed $13 million by the Dodgers, whose financial situation could provide San Francisco the opportunity to purchase the player without having to give up much—other than money.

1. Carlos Beltran

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 08:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets hits a single that scored Angel Pagan #16 of the New York Mets in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 8, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jose Reyes has been the talk of trade between the New York Metsand the San Francisco Giants as he fulfills many of the qualities lacking from San Francisco’s lineup. However, heads have turned to New York’s other All-Star, who may be easier to acquire for the Giants.

The Giants rank 27th in runs scored. Although they keep finding ways to defeat opponents, it is obvious that they will be seeking offense to solidify their chances to continue their winning ways.

Jose Reyes, 27, and Carlos Beltran, 34, will both be free agents after the season ends. Although Reyes may seem like the perfect piece to the puzzle for San Francisco who in addition to poor offense lacks speed and middle infielders, Carlos Beltran is a better target for a “rental” trade that will bring a much-needed bat to the middle of the order for the rest of 2011.

The Giants can acquire Beltran for a much more reasonable price than the Mets will demand for a superstar like Jose Reyes. Although the Mets will not bargain their six-time All-Star right fielder, the Giants just might have the financial resources to pick up Beltran from a team in dire financial straits like the Mets, without giving up any highly promising prospects.

The Mets have already dealt their all-time, single-season saves record holding closer toMilwaukee. They aren’t afraid to send out contributors, like Beltran.

The only glitch in this blockbuster rental is that the Giants already have five outfielders to fill three spots, a few of them with qualities that the Giants aren’t ready to let go and others that just don’t fit what the Mets are looking for.

However, if the Giants GM Brian Sabean can find a way to bring Beltran to SF, there is no doubt that Bruce Bochy will find a way to make things work.

Not to mention adding another outfielder, especially one with a powerful bat, might free up players like Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand as potential trade bait in other scenarios.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Would Jose Reyes to the San Francisco Giants Be a Good Thing?

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets celebrates after defeating the Oakland Athletics at Citi Field on June 23, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)With the New York Mets‘ recent financial situation and the San Francisco Giants‘ desperate need for offense and a real shortstop, Jose Reyes has been one of the hottest names floating around MLB trade rumors.

This is an intriguing idea for both teams. They have exactly what each other wants and needs. However, neither team will bite the bait for a small price.

Reyes will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Mets are facing a $1 billion lawsuit due to their involvement with the Bernie Madoff scandal. All that is for sure is that they will be reducing their payroll significantly in 2012.

If New York is not a postseason contender (in the highly competitive NL East) when the July 31 trade deadline rolls around, you can bet that there will be no more “Joseeeeeé, José, José, Joseeeeeee—José, José” chants for Los Mets fans at Citi Field come August.

The defending world champion San Francisco Giants have been plagued with issues in 2011 of similar magnitude but very different circumstances.

San Francisco won its championship in 2010 because of its dominant pitching staff and timely hitting. A band of misfits and castoffs was strategically strung together by mastermind general manager Brian Sabean.

106490845_crop_340x234Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Sabean did everything in his power to keep his champions together, making only a few small moves during the offseason. However, fate destroyed his careful work when San Francisco was plagued by several devastating injuries.

A team that has notoriously struggled offensively and barely strung together enough runs to secure wins for its staff has already lost almost all of its biggest producers at some point this season.

Heartbreaking injuries to the comeback Pablo Sandoval, sensation Buster Posey, the consistent and reliable Freddy Sanchez and a few other utility players have created a “giant” need for an offensive spark plug.

The Giants currently hold the sixth-worst batting average in the majors and are last in runs scored.

Somehow they have managed to stay within half a game of first place in the NL West the entire season (proof that great pitching really does go a loooong way, my friends). Although the NL West is admittedly not the most competitive division, this has been no easy feat for the Giants, and they will need to make a move to stay there.

The Giants have a big hole at shortstop, especially with an aging Miguel Tejada picking up most of the playing time there and hitting just .226.

With second baseman Freddy Sanchez possibly out for the season and the middle infield positions being held down by high-potential but not so high-impact players who have been brought up to the majors in wake of recent injuries, the need for an offensive shortstop with speed and range just became a high priority for San Francisco.

If you looked up “Jose Reyes” in the dictionary, that is exactly what you would see: “an offensive shortstop with speed and range,” and one having one of the best years of his career, leading the league in runs and average with the second-most stolen bases.

If San Francisco wants to have a shot at repeating its title—or even remaining a contender, for that matter—it will probably need someone of the likes of Jose Reyes to fill the void in 2011.

What exactly would the Giants have to give up to make this happen?

New York needs good, young players, particularly pitchers. San Francisco has many very valuable young players and pitchers, but some may have too much future value to be traded.

This could involve Giants top pitching prospects such as first-round draft pick Zach Wheeler, as well as young position players such as Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, who both still have developing to do but have already shown potential at the big league level.

Other players that will be targeted are members of the Giants’ top-tier starting rotation.

Giants GM Brian Sabean will not give up his ace Tim Lincecum or workhorse Matt Cain. He would be lucky to get rid of Barry Zito in a package to the Mets. However, this could be even more costly for the Giants, who still owe the struggling lefty over $40 million and would likely have to buy out the rest of his contract.

With the season comeback player Ryan Vogelsong is having, you can bet the Giants are going to hold on to him as long as he keeps up the best numbers and performance of the entire pitching staff.

However, No. 3 starter Jonathan Sanchez, who has had several shaky starts this season, although he can be lights out when he’s locked in, has been relatively inconsistent with 38 wins and 44 losses in six seasons with San Francisco.

It might be smart for the Giants to include Sanchez in a package with prospects to bring Reyes to SF.

It all depends. Do the Giants want to give up the potential future success of their franchise over the next decade to bring Jose to the team for the rest of 2011?

Yes, with the year Reyes is having, his addition would all but guarantee postseason success.

However, if San Francisco makes a trade for Jose, it would likely be a short-term “rental,” as when he goes on the free agent market after the World Series, it would have to re-sign him.

Reyes is only 28 years old, and if he keeps up his All-Star numbers through the second half, he will demand and likely be awarded a big-time superstar contract the likes of those of Troy Tulowitzki and Carl Crawford.

The Giants will not sign Reyes to a long-term contract. If they do, it will cost them.

Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson’s contracts are all up in the next few years. This is a team that is built around pitching, and it won the Giants a World Series. If they want to repeat as champions anytime soon, they need to save their money to keep the pitching staff intact.

Look for a team with a higher payroll to sign Reyes for 2012. The New York Yankees? That’s a whole other story.

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