The San Francisco Giants are in limbo. Not the fun grass-skirt-mai-tai-luau kind either—but that purgatorial torrent of constant movement that goes nowhere kind.
Earlier this week, the front office was rumored not to be interested in selling at the Trade Deadline, but over the weekend news broke that they were hearing offers on just about anyone not named Logan Webb.
While celebrating the legacy of Will Clark, a tenacious player who pulled the perennial losers of the mid-80s into the national spotlight, these Giants seem to have found their weight class in a middling Chicago opponent. Joc Pederson slammed into the wall in left chasing a home run ball on Thursday and Thairo Estrada, beaned by an errant breaking ball on Saturday, have found themselves on the concussion list. Both games the Giants won—even their victories came at a cost.
Out of necessity for a shortstop, the front office orchestrated a trade hours before first pitch for Chicago’s Dixon Machado in exchange for pitcher Raynel Espinal.
The Giants acquired Dixon Machado for minor league righty Raynel Espinal. He will wear No. 49. He is already here so there’s your shortstop for the night.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 31, 2022
We’ve felt it all with this team. From week to week, day to day, sometimes inning to inning—fans just don’t know what version of the club they’re going to get. We have questions, but no definitive answers. The front office is operating like the great Wizard in Oz, telling us as we refresh our Twitter feeds that if we want news to come back tomorrow.
I’ve run the gambit on what I think we should do with this deadline. Find bullpen help. Trade for defense, a consistent bat. Let’s trade our limbs for Juan Soto. Let’s go after Josh Bell. Let’s break the embargo with Oakland. Have faith! Believe! Anything can happen in the postseason. Why plan for tomorrow when all we have is today?
And within the same day, I’ve swung with the pendulum of my heart to the opposite pole. Sell Carlos Rodón. Sell Joc Pederson. Milk the Yankees or Braves or Blue Jays or Cardinals for all their worth. Cash in. Save save save.
Choosing one option over the other is no guarantee of a certain outcome. Buying does not promise playoff contention. There are ways to sell at the deadline that won’t scuttle the 2022 season.
Pederson hasn’t hit a home run in over a month. His OPS for July is .421. There is no dearth of left-handed outfielders on this club. With Tommy LaStella healthy and LaMonte Wade Jr. back, the club has options off the bench. We all know Pederson can get hot with the bat, but other clubs like the Atlanta Braves know it too. It might be a productive middle ground for the front office to stock up for the future in a Joc deal without signaling the white flag by trading someone like Rodón.
That being said, a savvy Rodón trade is an investment for the future. You know Farhan got a little giddy when he saw the prospects the Seattle Mariners gave up to get Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds.
Why can’t we just have it all? Why can’t we deal our two all-stars, load up on prospects with some Major League ready players to plaster the gaps in our lineup and still contend?
My position on the matter is shifting within paragraphs.
Right now—something on this team needs to change—but maybe it’s just attitude? Or approach? Finding a balance between patience and aggressiveness in at-bats? I think Mike Yastrzemski needs to swing at the first pitch in his next five plate appearances. I think Brandon Belt needs to bat more against lefties. I think Evan Longoria needs to not get injured anymore. I think Gabe Kapler needs another hand tattoo.
The probability that any of these options produces positive results this season and/or seasons to come is—*beep-bop-boop into calculating device*—shoulder-shrug.
We might as well look to the saints.
Desperate for help, guidance, and clarity I pulled out of my in-laws driveway in White Plains, New York this afternoon and drove ten minutes north to The Gates of Heaven cemetery in Hawthorne where George Herman Ruth is buried.
The gravestone, adorned with an image of Christ blessing a young child, looks down from a gentle slope on the Taconic Parkway. On his left, the names of Ruth and his wife; on its right, a quote etched from Cardinal Spellman: “May the divine Spirit that animated Babe Ruth to win the crucial game of Life inspire the youth of America!”. The large patch of grass at the base of the grave, usually covered with countless offerings left by baseball fans who make the pilgrimage at the start of each season, had been recently cleared but for the most recent benefactions: a Yankee hat, a plastic batting helmet, five baseballs and an unopened bottle of Michelob Ultra.
What was I doing there? I didn’t know—desiring a degree of control over an uncontrollable situation. It couldn’t hurt to go before one of the baseball gods and ask for intervention, offering up a Hail Mary in one confused heaven of secularized prayer and metaphor.
Today, I placed a Brandon Crawford baseball card at the feet of the Babe. A humble offering. May he help him to heal. May he sweeten his swing.