5.30.2005

Herges Designated for Assignment

Well the other shoe fell and Herges was the player dropped in order to bring LaTroy Hawkins onto the team. One of the media noted that Herges had a low ERA since some early blowouts but, really, Herges has not been what we were expecting when he signed with the team, has not even been close, unfortunately, 2003 appears to be a peak season for Herges. Sounds like the Giants are looking to trade him to another team and put him into a good situation, though I wonder if that is PR-speak for "to save on his salary for the rest of the season," since the other team would be taking on at least some of his salary if he were traded.

There appears to be a lot of consternation on the part of some Giants fans over the loss of Williams and Aardsma for another Fifi-F-Rod type, the sacrificing of the future in order to win this season, as in this season is not worth saving. Looking at Hawkins stats from last season, 2.63 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, what I see is a setup man par excellance that the Giants have not had during the Sabean era, except for Joe Nathan, in one of Sabean's rare huge gaffes of a trade.

He is what the Giants had envisioned in Joe Nathan, someone unable to take on the duties of closer but makes a hell of a setup man. Hawkins clarifies the 7/8 innings for us, simplifies it, he owns it. And we got him for at least until 2006 because there is no way he is getting $4.5M (or something close to that for his player option year) from another team if he is not going to be a closer, so it is not like we rented him for half a season for Williams and Aardsma. Plus, cost-wise, he will cost the Giants about $5.5M for a season and two-thirds, which works out to about $3.3M per year, which is not too bad for a proven, premier setup reliever. That's what we would have paid for Worrell had we kept him.

I'm tired of sabre-fans saying it is easy to get good, cheap relievers. I drank the kool-aid a couple of years ago but I don't see it happening. It is nice to say it is better to develop relievers internally and get cheap relievers instead of going out and paying for one. But I'm coming of the opinion that that is same as saying it is better to buy something cheaper but not tell you how to buy cheaper.

It is easier said than done to draft and develop premier relievers, A's amazing record notwithstanding. Many point to the successes of taking some inexperienced player and suddenly you have a cheap great reliever. However, that bypasses all the blown saves and terrible frog of a pitcher you have kiss in order to find that gem of a reliever. That is not something a contending team can withstand and still compete at the end of every season, as the Giants have in every year of Sabean's tenure as GM, for those who need a reminder of HIS excellence.

And relievers do not come cheap on the market either. You have to pay for consistency and the Giants are finding that to be true this season, where only Eyre is doing what we have been expecting. While there is sometimes a free lunch, the bill will eventually come due.

I don't like losing Williams either but you have to give quality to get quality. And frankly, Williams is damaged goods right now given how poorly he has pitched this season. We can wait for his value to rise again - we were offered Urbina for Williams last season according to one press account previously - but by then it could be too late. As good as Williams could potentially be, apparently from reports he has been unable or unwilling to change his pitching mechanics, which just beats up on his body, so what good is that potential if he just ends up blowing out his arm again? For those still crying over the Ponson trade, Ponson did more for the Giants in that half season than all three players traded combined in the MLB since the trade.

However, even getting swept, the Giants are still only 7.5 games out, big but not insurmountable. The Padres were scuffling along not too long ago and the D-gers were on top of the world, much like the Padres, as well. Fortunes can and do change.

I still think that if the Giants can stay around or above the .500 mark until Bonds return, they should be able to make a run at the pennant this season. They have played poorly overall because of poor performances and injuries and illnesses, a repeat of last season's start. If the team can just stabilize itself and play the way they are capable of playing, they can make a run at the top just as the D-gers, D-backs, and Padres have done this season.

Whether they will do it is, well, baseball's great truism: that's why you play the games.

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