I heard somewhere recently that when 40 games pass by in a baseball season, you're no longer allowed to say "it's too early to tell." And while we're entering the "there's still plenty of baseball left in the season" portion, the Giants' are right at that 40 game mark, sitting at a 17-23 record -- last in the NL West.
ESPN's Buster Olney wrote that if Farhan Zaidi and the front office want to make changes, the time is now and the president of baseball operations needs to get serious during Bruce Bochy's final season as manager.
"The No. 1 puzzle in this era is how to cope with and adapt to a World Series hangover; like the Cubs and Astros and other teams before them, the Red Sox are trying to become the first repeat champion since the 1998-2000 Yankees by navigating through the complications of a deep run through October," Olney writes. "But another major quandary that some front offices have struggled with, in the past decade, is identifying the appropriate time to break up a championship team."
The struggle with the hangover is real. The championship rings and individual awards (ahem Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta) cause headaches that no amount of hydrating can cure. Staying true to the hangover theme, fans are clinging on to the younger bodies that were able to bounce back from such things.
Now, they have to recover and move on from the 2010, 2012, and 2014 years like Olney says. Some of those players remain with the team and still own those gorgeous rings they earned, but the young bucks need to be introduced -- and more importantly, acquired.
This brings Madison Bumgarner into the conversation, who has been the center of trade talks for the team since the offseason and his impending end to his contract year.
The eight teams on his no-trade cause list have been revealed, which ultimately gives him more control and potentially more cash in his pocket. He loves playing for the Giants and would ultimately want to stay playing for them, but has picked his no-trade list full of contenders so that he has leverage. Additionally, Olney suggested that Zaidi to clean out those "mess of those contracts as best he can."
And the moves? OIney has some opinions on those as well starting with pitching.
"The Giants also can flip some pitchers. Derek Holland, making $7 million this year, was dropped out of the rotation Saturday night, but has the stuff to be effective out of the bullpen for a contender."
Despite having some harsh words for the front office -- which have since been put to rest, as NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported -- Holland boasts a 6.75 ERA with a 1-4 record. But his K/9 rating has improved drastically this season and Olney mentions his ability to control lefties could make him a tasty target for some teams. And Will Smith has always been a potential trade chip with the way he's been pitching and his affordable $4.23 million contract.
Infield wise, Brandon Crawford was mentioned, but it's hard to believe they would part ways with someone of his magnitude -- the dude bleeds orange and black. But what about Evan Longoria? He blew 33 candles out on his last birthday cake and as much as it scares me to admit 30 isn't the new 20 -- and never will be in the world of sports -- his contract has three and a half years left on it.
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"But the larger sell-off appears to be inevitable, now that the Giants have declared themselves the kind of team they are in 2019."
Zaidi has been making a lot of moves. Erik Kratz was DFA'd on Monday and everyone sporting a Giants' jersey is holding their proverbial breath and waiting for the next move to be made -- and it needs to be a big one.