Where Do the Dominoes Fall Following the Jake Peavy Signing?


Now that the San Francisco Giants have locked up Jake Peavy, does that complete the team’s pursuit of James Shields?

According to Assistant General Manager Bobby Evans, the answer is no. Evans stated that the team is still looking to bolster the rotation, and is still in play to acquire another arm. 

More from San Francisco Giants

Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Peavy, Tim Lincecum, and Yusmeiro Petit are all available starters next season; the continued pursuit of Shields would spawn a few questions. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for signing Shields – another experienced arm that won’t cost a king’s ransom, one that devours innings and has a good head on his shoulders.

But the questions raised are significant ones: Is Cain healthy enough to start the season in the rotation? Will Lincecum finally be sent to the bullpen? Will Petit spend the rest of his career as a pitcher on the cusp of solidifying a rotation spot?

Oct 26, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning during game five of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s my belief that Petit is more valuable in his current role as a spot starter/middle reliever. His arm can be used daily and, with excellent command, he can be relied upon to pitch in any situation. Unfortunately, for guys like him, once you show success in that role, you are pigeonholed. That isn’t to say that pitching in the big leagues and getting a nice check is unfortunate. But as a full-time starter, he could command a much higher salary.

More from Golden Gate Sports

As for Lincecum, it might be time to acknowledge that a role in the bullpen is in his future. Although he’s paid as an elite starter, his performance has not lived up to the salary. Perhaps a change of scenery may help him overcome the recent lack of success on the mound. The Giants are not likely to release him, and it is highly unlikely that another team would trade for him. But what if – and I am completely speculating here – they are worried about Cain coming back at full strength? I understand that the human body heals differently for everybody. Hopefully Cain is on track to start in the number two slot in the rotation come spring training. It was reported last week that he’ll be ready come spring, but there’s always lingering doubt. If the injury affects his status, Lincecum will be the number five starter.

Perhaps the Giants trade Petit and obtain a decent asset in return. Maybe they end up with both Lincecum and Petit in the bullpen. Options, options, options.

June 6, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) delivers a pitch against the New York Mets during the second inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sport

This is, obviously, an excellent problem to have. Just yesterday the prospect of both Lincecum and Petit in the rotation was scary. Now it is possible that both may be used in roles that will allow them to flourish. Lincecum can pitch with reckless abandon knowing he won’t be required to save anything for later in the game, perhaps even permanently transitioning into a late-inning guy. Petit will continue to provide depth and pinpoint control in his role. And hopefully, Cain returns healthy and pushes Bumgarner as the number one starter he was prior to his injuries. 

Regardless of the Giants’ lack of success in free agency, the starting rotation is as deep as ever.