The 2010 San Francisco Giants are as sound and complete as any Giants team in the last few years. The starting pitching staff is solid, the bullpen is reliable, the defense is adequate, and the offense is gaining momentum. And while it’s true that the team is winning, there are still some holes to fill if they want to win in the postseason.
One of the glaring deficiencies of the 2010 San Francisco Giants is their number five starter. For the first third of the season they relied on Todd Wellemeyer. He showed potential when pitching at home but on the road he was horrible. One of the best things to happen to the team was for him to get hurt while running to first base. The decision was then forced on the team to bring in a replacement starter for his spot in the rotation. The replacement was Joe Martinez.
Joe Martinez had a mediocre showing in the majors in the 2009 season but seemed to be doing better in AAA this year. He is not the answer! The San Francisco Giants will need to trade for a veteran pitcher to fill this gap in their starting pitching. Brian Sabean has shown in past seasons that he is willing to bring in a wily old arm for the team’s stretch run.
The next chink in the armor for the 2010 San Francisco Giants is their catcher position. For the past couple of years Bengie Molina has been the anchor of the pitching staff and the lineup. His management of the young pitchers has been phenomenal. His consistency in the middle of the lineup has been necessary. However, his time appears to be over.
While Molina still manages a good game, his hitting and base running has become a liability. Bengie Molina is currently hitting .258, which is 43rd in Major League Baseball for catchers. His power has seemed to disappear with only three home runs this season. And his clutch hitting has dried up with only 17 runs batted in.
The Giants have Eli Whiteside as a backup catcher but that is exactly what he is, a backup catcher. While having an asset like Whiteside in the clubhouse is beneficial, he will not be the answer to the Giants’ catcher problem.
Some have called for Buster Posey to be behind the plate more, but that is not the best use of his talent. Recently Posey admitted that when he had to catch a game for the Giants, he was focused almost entirely on how he was going to manage the game and the Giants pitcher instead of on his hitting. The best use for Buster Posey will be at first base where he can concentrate on his hitting and allow his fielding to take care of itself.
That leaves some work for Brian Sabean. To find a solid hitting and running catcher is quite the task. You don’t find catchers that produced like Molina produced in years past everyday. Yet, the fact remains that the hole needs to be plugged if the San Francisco Giants hope to make a postseason run.
Overall, the 2010 San Francisco Giants look good. There are reasons for the fan base to be more optimistic than anytime in recent seasons. If they continue to click on all cylinders, they stay healthy, they find a fifth starter, and can trade for even an average catcher, we will be seeing them atop the National League West come season’s end.