The “even years” of the 2010s have done the Giants well. It has brought them four playoff appearances and three of them ending in World Series titles. However, it appears the “even year magic” has run out. After dropping the first two games of a four game series against the Brewers, the Giants have fallen to a game under .500 and 5.5 games out of first place in the NL West. The roster, in its current form, cannot reasonably compete for a playoff spot. Of course, baseball is still a funny a game in which basically anything can happen on any given night, and the Giants have been able to find the right time to get hot in many years before this. It might not be great to remember, but the Giants as recently as last year were clearly one of the worst teams in baseball. After now proving the 2018 Giants seem to be more of the same more or less, it might be time for a reset.
Funnily enough, moving pieces might not be so easy. Andrew McCutchen would be welcome on basically any playoff team but he is wildly underperforming and will be a pure rental. The return for him would be modest at best. Jeff Samardzija was hurt, then terrible, then hurt again, then terrible again, and is currently hurt. Other than those two, no one on the roster has really come up in trade talks amongst the Giants rumors. Of course, the New York media has been floating Madison Bumgarner to the Yankees since April because who wouldn’t want Bumgarner on their team? However, given his cheap contract and age (he is still just 28), the Giants would be silly to trade him now. I would only accept a trade for him by the Yankees if it included Gleyber Torres and a couple other high level prospects. Other names that have been asked to be traded by Giants Twitter include Mark Melancon, Evan Longoria, and Sam Dyson. A fire sale might be necessary, but the pieces provided might not allow for it.
Not only will finding pieces to move prove difficult, the Giants have done a perfect job of convincing fans like me they can actually contend. I’ve written numerous pieces lauding the performances of the young arms Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez and my most recent piece was on how the Giants could make the postseason. The games they lose are games they could have easily won if one bounce goes their way. Being a good baseball team, especially at the highest level, involves an incredible amount of luck. It appears, finally, the Giants have run out of luck.
The future of the Giants seems relatively bright. Joey Bart, the #2 overall pick in the draft this year, is absolutely destroying lower level minor league pitching. Outfielders Austin Slater, Steven Duggar, Mac Williamson, and Chris Shaw prove the Giants have a full outfield homegrown outfield corps. The young pitchers mentioned above as well as Chris Stratton for stretches show much potential. Will that be enough to compete? Who knows…