The San Francisco Giants are notorious for making key second additions on their way to winning World Series titles but in order to compete for one in 2014 another mid-season acquisition is essential.
While Madison Bumgarner appeared to be settling into his role as the San Francisco Giants’ ace early in the season, his performance during the club’s June skid was anything but ace-like. In times of struggle, MLB teams rely on their ace as a stop gap, ensuring that losing streaks don’t continue to build into collapses.
After going 5-0 in May with a 2.08 ERA, Bumgarner has gone 3-5 with an ERA over 3.50 since June 10, which essentially marked the beginning of San Francisco’s slide. Following a 31-11 surge between April 23 and June 8, the club has posted a 10-22 record since.
Bumgarner cannot be blamed as the sole reason for the Giants’ struggles but as the ace of the staff, it is his responsibility to be at his best, even when the team may not be at theirs. Aces such as Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw serve as the anchors of their ballclubs, making sure their team has a great chance to win every fifth game.
June may have shown that Bumgarner just may not be up to the task of being the anchor at the top of the San Francisco Giants’ rotation.
The Giants have proven in the past that they can overcome a lack of offense with dominant pitching and timely hitting but they have yet to prove they can win without their trademark: good pitching. Their offense may be in a slump with the absence of Pagan but a stronger pitching staff would have minimized its impact on the team.
With no timetable for Pagan’s return, the Giants need to focus on bolstering the starting rotation if they hope to compete for a title in 2014.
David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays would be the surest option for the front office to consider and they are. Chris Haft of MLB.com reports the Giants sent special consultant Pat Burrell to actively scout Rays’ ace David Price and veteran infielder Ben Zobrist.
Price would undoubtedly provide the Giants with the bonafide ace they need to become serious contenders again but his acquisitions would surely throw a monkey wrench into the Giants future. Not only would the Giants have to part ways with pitching prospect Kyle Crick and second baseman Joe Panik but they would also potentially lose out on re-signing upcoming free agents Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse and Sergio Romo. Both Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are up for long term extensions as well.
Another potential option the Giants’ could consider is the Phillies’, Cliff Lee, who has plenty of experience and has thrived being dealt to contenders in the second half. However, Lee would be a serious gamble for the Giants as he has yet to make his return from the 60-day DL with a left elbow strain.
With a potential dynasty hanging in the balance, the San Francisco Giants will have to decide whether accumulating three World Series titles in five years is worth an uncertain future.