It was a disappointing summer for me in two very important ways. First of all, I am still nowhere near the top 1,000 on mancrush.com. I blame all of you for this, so get on it and get me on that list. I refuse to believe that guys like Aristotle and the Hamburglar are more desirable than I am. Secondly, my hometown Giants finally showed their true colors, amassing the fifth-worst record in the league and finishing almost twenty games behind the Rockies and Diamondbacks, one of which will represent the National League in the World Series. Now short of posting pictures with my columns, I can’t do anything about moving up the Mancrush list, but I do have the power to write solutions for the Giants. So what can they do to get better in a hurry? I’m glad I asked…
– Don’t hurry: Yeah, I know that baseball fans are impatient and I know that we want to see a contender every year, but forcing General Manager Brian Sabean to put a championship caliber team on the field next season will only inspire him to continue with his penchant for signing old and overpriced players. The Giants need to take a look around and see that both Arizona and Colorado grew from within. It may take a few years, but it’ll be worth it.
– If A-Rod opts out, show up at his house with a blank check: Sure it’s a probably just a pipe dream, but if Alex Rodriguez does in fact tire of New York, the Giants need to make a hard push for him. He would instantly provide a replacement for Bonds and transform a Giants lineup that as of right now is seriously lacking in power. He would cost a lot, but in case you hadn’t noticed, MLB teams are kind of awash in cash right now. If you don’t believe me, go and check out the new scoreboard at AT&T Park, and take a look at the 40,000 plasma TVs while you’re at it.
– Give Kevin Frandsen the second-base job: The Giants need to find out once and for all if the Bay Area native can lock up the position for the next 10 years, and they’re not going to do that by platooning him with Sugar Salty Ray Durham. The 25 year-old Frandsen hit .370 in September, while Durham – who is 10 years his senior – hit above .239 in only one month all season long. It’s time to ship out the old guy for whatever we can get. Hell, at this point I’d settle for a bag of baseballs and a coupon to Red Robin. All-you-can-eat streak fries, baby!
– Let the rest of the youngsters play as well: Rajai Davis, Fred Lewis, Dan Ortmeier and Nate Schierholtz all showed flashes of potential this year, and it’s time to see what they can all do with regular playing time. The Giants should open next season with Ortmeier starting at first base, and the other three rotating with Randy Winn and Dave Roberts in the outfield. Sure that group provides very little power, but it would load the lineup with speed and defense, two keys in S.F.’s spacious home park. In a best case scenario, a Giants team centered around pitching and defense would emulate the Padres, who were a Trevor Hoffman meltdown away from a playoff berth. Worst comes to worst, you figure out who can play and who can’t, which is really the most important thing for the organization at this point.
– Explore trades involving the young pitching: I love Noah Lowry – not in the same weird way that female Giants fans do – but in the sense that he’s the perfect compliment to the power of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. However, the Giants need to at least see what the market is for Lowry, especially after the year he had. Shopping for young arms like Lowry, Jonathan Sanchez, Pat Misch and Kevin Correia should create some interest for other teams, and you never know what you might be able to get in return. Guys like Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn are rumored to be available, and either one would fit pretty well in that cleanup spot.
– Let the bullpen build itself: Every year teams head to the winter meetings and return with a high-priced middle reliever or two. This doesn’t work!!! How has Kyle Farnsworth worked out for the Yankees or Scott Eyre for the Cubs? The best bullpens are built from within and the Giants have the pieces to do so. After being recalled from the minors, Brian Wilson was for the most part dominant, and Brad Hennessey quietly had a great season. The bullpen has most of the right pieces; they just need to be placed in the right spots.
– Most importantly, give Alex Pavlovic free season tickets: C’mon, after all this hard work, I kinda deserve it right? Right? Ok, maybe not… but with Bonds finally gone there should be plenty of empty seats to go around.