Wow. I had planned on blogging this morning. Then I decided against it, realizing that the trade deadline was this afternoon. The Giants might make another move today, and I wanted to be able to post about it if they did. And oh boy, did they make a move. Two even. And one was extra unexpected.
Let’s start with the first. I need to thank my brother Paul for alerting me to this one via text. The Giants got left-handed reliever Will Smith from the Brewers in exchange for pitching prospect Phil Bickford and Andrew Susac. I had mentioned in previous blogs that Will Smith was on Bobby Evans’ radar, so that’s not really a surprise. The Giants feel they needed another lefty in the bullpen to enable Bochy to work his bullpen magic. I understand that and agree with that. But is it worth losing Phil Bickford, probably their best pitching prospect, at a time when they will soon need to bolster their rotation? And Susac? I know he’s been hurt, but the guy is a solid catcher. Sounds like they were pretty desperate to get someone to me. And they new it was going to cost them. As far as Smith, there are several positives. He’s not a temporary acquisition – he’ll be under Giants control through 2019. And he’s a good pitcher. Well, if you ignore his July, he’s a good pitcher. So I’m hoping he can overcome whatever changed during last month and get back on track, because there is a lot of potential there. So I’m trying to be positive about this one. But we sure had to give up a lot of potential to get this guy. Welcome Will Smith (the Fresh Prince of SF), and goodbye Phil and Andrew. And special thanks to Andrew for filling in as backup catcher and helping us win that ring in 2014.
I can’t leave this topic without bringing up something I found while doing research on Will Smith. Besides the fact that I need to remember to put something besides just “Will Smith” into Google when I do a search for him, I came across an interesting fact about him. He had an unusual, Affeldt-like injury at the beginning of the season during Spring Training. Is it just a left-handed reliever thing to be accident prone? The incident occurred while Smith was trying to take off one of his cleats. He was standing on one leg to take off his other shoe when he lost his balance and twisted his knee. “My knee just went up and popped,” claimed Smith. Wow. This caused him to start the season on the DL, and he didn’t pitch in his first game with the Brewers until June 2nd. Wow. Just hope this kind of freak accident doesn’t follow this guy around like Mr. Affeldt. Please, please, please stay away from knives and small children!
Now we’ll move on to that second trade. I really thought the Giants were done after the first one, so I was very surprised to hear about another one. Credit goes to my brother Nick this time for informing me of the details. The Giants acquired left-handed starting pitcher Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sounds great. I wasn’t expecting a trade to bolster the rotation, but a lefty is definitely nice, especially when you consider the heavy lefty lineup of the Dodgers. With the inconsistency of Peavy and Cain, it’s also nice to have some insurance. His ERA is a little high (4.08), but it’s been consistently moving downward since mid June. Combine that with having Dave Righetti as a pitching coach and I see a lot of promise there. But what did they give up for Moore? Two prospects (shortstop Lucius Fox and pitcher Michael Santos). Oh, and MATT DUFFY! WHAT? How desperate were they to bolster the rotation? Thinking about it, though, that trade for Eduardo Nunez makes a lot more sense now if they knew this was coming. I’m still in shock that Matt Duffy is no longer a Giant. I know it’s just a business and stuff like this happens all the time, but I loved Matt Duffy as a player and a Giant. Going to be so weird seeing him in a Rays uniform. So weird. The guy threw his batting glove to me at Spring Training (I didn’t catch it, but I almost did!)! And I love his dad, too! I’m really gonna miss that guy! Come to think of it, it’s kind of ironic that he gets traded this year. He was on the flip side of this kind of thing when he came up to the bigs last season and Casey McGehee was released. You really never know in this sport. Giant today. Ray tomorrow. We welcome one Matt and say goodbye to another. Welcome to the team, Mr. Moore. And all the best to you, Duffman. You’ll always be a Giant to me.
With the addition of Eduardo Nunez to the team and the returns of Joe Panik and Hunter Pence, there were corresponding moves to make room for them on the roster. When Joe Panik was activated, Grant Green was designated for assignment. Hoping he won’t be picked up so he can remain a Giant as he did a fine job as a replacement. When Eduardo Nunez came to the team, Jarrett Parker was sent to Triple A. This was expected, as Mac Williamson made his case to stay in the outfield (and in the batting lineup) a little more strongly than Parker. At least he’s still in Sacramento and could easily come up again if needed. Then when Hunter came back to the team, Ramiro Pena was designated for assignment. I’m most upset about this one. Pena was key to keeping this team going while guys were injured. He came through with some clutch hits while maintaining an incredible batting average during the games he played as a Giant. Keeping my fingers crossed that no one picks him up off waivers so that we can keep him.
Another guy who snuck into the roster when Josh Osich went on the DL is left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds (so many Matts to keep track of!). Reynolds is not a newbie to the bigs, having played several years for both the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. He’s pitched in two games thus far while not allowing any runs. I like that. Welcome to the Giants, Matt!
It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride for the Giants since the All Star break, but it appears things may have finally settled down with these last two wins against the Nationals. Those wins are extra significant as the Nationals top the National League East Division. My boys went from the low of winning only 2 out of 13 games, capped by that horrible triple play on Friday night (was anyone else just sitting in shock, dumbfounded, staring at the TV with their jaw dropped like I was?), to the high of winning two in a row against the Nats. And to counter that unbelievable triple play, on Sunday Bum (a pitcher) pinch hit for Cain (a pitcher), got a double, and was pinch run for by Samardzija (a pitcher) who ended up scoring the game winning run. You can’t make this stuff up! I’m not totally sure, but I can’t believe that’s ever been done in the history of baseball! Kudos to Bruce Bochy for being a maniac and bringing the entertainment! And kudos to Matt Cain on getting his 100th win during that game yesterday. So proud of you! Nice accomplishment, Matt! So many Matts!
I forgot to mention that Ginny and I discovered two new taste treats at AT&T Park when we attended the game last Tuesday (that they won!). We both had loaded tater tots (loaded = sour cream, cheese, scallions, and bacon bits) and grilled brussel sprouts. Both were fabulous! We found them on the View Level near section 321 where we were sitting, and I’m not sure they are available anywhere else in the park. They are definitely worth a trip up those stairs! And Ginny realized that since they won that game, we need to do that every time we go to the park as a good luck charm. I’m game!
I’ll end on a funny note. Came across this on Facebook today. I absolutely love it when players do stuff like this. Makes the game that much more fun. Silliness is a good thing! Poor Bochy gnome! At least he was returned to his owner (breathing might be a bit difficult, though).
The Giants start a series against the Phillies tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, one of the ballparks I just visited. Nice park – dull fans. Hope the quiet isn’t too distracting. And hope all these changes to the roster aren’t too distracting, either. Hoping they can carry the momentum of those two wins to the other side of the continent. Unlike the Nats, the Phillies are in 4th place in their division, so I’m looking for lots of Ws. You can come together as a new, improved unit and do this, Guys! Until next time, GO GIANTS! TAME THE PHILLIES!