Let’s review some basic headlines before baseball resumes.
— Manny Machado is now a Dodger.
— The Giants appear to have their hands tied in terms of trade deadline pickups, given their stated obsession with staying under the $197 million luxury cap line.
— The gravitational pull of .500 seems to keep preventing the Giants from making a sustained run, with only 64 games remaining.
— And even their inter-league rival across the Bay, the $65 million A’s, are showing up the Giants, taking two of three at AT&T Park and winning 21 of their last 27.
So, what’s a Giants fan to do?
Or, more to the point: Is it reasonable to be upset with the Giants front office for the 2018 team they’ve built, which so far appears to be inadequate?
The answer I’ll offer here won’t make the Lunatic Fringe happy: Getting upset isn’t going to change the direction of the franchise. It appears Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean have built the team a certain way — read: count on the core, hope for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen — and that formula will determine how happy you will be come October 1.
All signs indicate the Giants roster, as currently constituted, won’t be worthy of the postseason. The Dodgers are the odds-on favorite to win the West. The Diamondbacks and Rockies are troublesome. And the wild card is a tough ask, given the amount of teams jockeying.
What could change for the Giants?
MLB.com reports the Giants are front-runners for Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi, but that may not be the game-changer to get the team to 88-90 wins.
Hate to say it, but it appears that despite the old line “Hope is not a strategy” — Hope just may be their strategy.
As in, hope that Johnny Cueto’s elbow heals up. As in, hope that Jeff Samardzija’s shoulder heals up. As in, hope that Longoria returns and hits lefties. As in, hope that Joe Panik returns and shakes his summertime blues. As in, hope that Steven Duggar can hit big-league pitching on a consistent basis. As in, hope that young starters Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez don’t tire under the strain of the biggest workloads of their career. As in, hope that McCutchen’s exit velocity results in more extra base hits.
The Giants may need to hire Jesse Jackson as their new bench coach, to keep hope alive.
Sorry, Giants fans. I wish I had a road map for how to acquire Jacob de Grom from the Mets, but the Giants’ farm system isn’t rich enough. I wish I had a road map for how to undo the Machado trade. I wish Cueto’s 0.84 ERA from April was spread out over the course of the entire 2018 season.
Sometimes, it is what it is, sports fans.