As the San Francisco Giants limp into July no longer sitting atop the division, the team must now decide whether to make a move to bolster the starting rotation or be content with another year lost.
Following a 31-11 surge between April 23 and June 8, the club has posted a 4-15 record since, squandering a 9 1/2 game lead in the NL West during the slide. June has shown that the Giants will be lucky to squeak by as a wild card qualifier as currently constructed, and that may just be an understatement.
The good news for Giants fans however is that general manager Brian Sabean has made key second half additions something of a habit. Both Cody Ross and Marco Scutaro, were key second half additions that helped to propel the Giants to World Series titles in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Hunter Pence was also a second half addition in 2012.
This time the Giants need an arm, not a bat. The team is rumored to be interested in either Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija or Rays left-hander David Price. Both Price and Samardzija would provide the Giants with a significant upgrade in their rotation but such a move would surely cost the club several minor league prospects.
The only question that remains is whether the team is willing to part with several of their top prospects in a hope to regain a dominant edge on the pitching staff.
Another issue the Giants may look to remedy through trade is the revolving door that exists at second base. Marco Scutaro has yet to play a game in 2014 due to back trouble and it is unclear whether he will be able to contribute to the team going forward.
His replacements have not worked out to say the least. Brandon Hicks, Joaqin Arias and Ehire Adrianza have all failed to produce in their opportunities and Joe Panik appears to have promise but time for development is a luxury the Giants cannot afford.
The Rays’ Ben Zobrist and the Mets’ Daniel Murphy could be potential options for the Giants to explore to shore up second base.
While a trade may solve some of the teams problems, there are issues with the Giants that cannot be solved through the front office.
Without a healthy and productive Angel Pagan the Giants’ offense is mediocre, at best. Pagan is the table setter for the offense and since being sidelined with a injured left hamstring, the offense has sputtered.
The club’s record with and without Pagan speaks for itself. They are 36-21 with him and 10-15 without him.
The Giants will also look for a second half boost with the return of first baseman Brandon Belt. The lefty’s return will provide the Giants with another threat in the middle of their lineup that has been absent since Belt fractured his left thumb on May 9.
June proved to be the wake-up call for the Giants in many ways and one can’t help but believe the alarm may have sounded too late.
If the Giants fail to bolster their starting rotation by the July 31 trade deadline, the club can only expect the struggles of June to bleed into July and beyond.