San Francisco Giants Wednesday report: After “embarrassing” first half, who to unload? Who to keep?

July 12, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

AP File Photo: San Francisco Giants executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean during an MLB National League Division Series Game 3 Baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants Sunday October 10, 2016 at the AT&T Park, San Francisco Ca. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-5. (Bill Nichols Images via AP)

By Jeremy Harness

SAN FRANCISCO–Brian Sabean executive vice president of the San Francisco Giants recently came out and said that the Giants’ season thus far has been “embarrassing,” and that his team has suddenly forgotten how to win.

 Who can blame him?

 Outside of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Giants have been the laughingstock of the major leagues. They currently own the second-worst record in baseball, which is even more astonishing considering that this team was in the postseason last year.

 And oh yeah, there’s that whole three-championships-in-five-years thing.

 Let’s cut to the chase here. Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Madison Bumgarner aren’t going anywhere any time soon, since one has cemented his legacy as a World Series hero and one of the greatest playoff pitchers in history, one is a budding star and the other stars are locked into long-term deals.

 Meanwhile, right fielder Hunter Pence and reliever Mark Melancon have full no-trade clauses, so they will be sticking around as well, while Brandon Belt is under contract for four more guaranteed years.

 Now there are some familiar names who could be playing for other teams by the end of this season, including starter Johnny Cueto as well as Matt Cain.

 Cueto may be the first to go. The righty is technically signed for four more years at $21 million per season, but he can opt out after this season and receive a buyout. He has expressed a desire to return to the American League to finish his career, and with the way things are going now, it’s hard to believe that Cueto would want to hang around this rapidly-sinking ship.

 Cain could follow him out the door. That is, if anyone wants him at this point.

 Cain’s gigantic six-year, $127.5 million deal comes to an end after this season, and even though a $21 million club option is in place for next season, it’s hard to imagine the team picking that up. The trick is to find a team that will be willing to gamble – albeit a half a season – on a guy who is coming off a major elbow surgery and is having a subpar 2017 campaign.

 Cain, meanwhile, is being moved to the bullpen to make room for Bumgarner, who is expected to make his return to the Giants’ rotation Saturday in San Diego. If he performs well out of the bullpen – manager Bruce Bochy said that he is expected to be the team’s long reliever – that will likely peak the interests of contending clubs in need of a reliever who can also be a spot starter.

 So although there is almost no chance that the Giants make the playoffs this year – they were among the first teams to be taken off the books for this year’s postseason – the remaining few months of this season should be interesting, if not spectacular.

 

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