San Francisco Giants: Time to Embrace the Rebuild

May 30, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) reacts while watching the game against the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) reacts while watching the game against the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco Giants aren’t going anywhere this season, so it’s time to embrace the rebuild and start looking to the future.

Well, this season hasn’t gone quite to plan, has it? The San Francisco Giants had to Atlanta’s new SunTrust Park for the first time toting the second-worst record in baseball at 26-45, better than only the Philadelphia Phillies. Their most recent series had heartbreak written all over, with a pair of heroic comebacks being wiped away by the Colorado Rockies.

So, where do they go from here? October is out of the question, save for that mandatory season finale on the first day of the 10th month. It’s time to embrace the rebuild. Management has to face that this season isn’t going anywhere, standings-wise, and start looking to the future.

Maybe rebuild is even too strong a term. They don’t need to completely blow everything up, with a still-productive infield, the best catcher in baseball having a mighty fine season, and some young players (Ty Blach, Austin Slater) providing excitement. They definitely need to re-tool some areas, and this is a great time to start trying to do so. Let the future start now.

There are moves to make, and it starts by doing some in-house shifting. With that in mind, these moves could be a starting point for the future.

Call Up Crick

San Francisco Giants
Feb 20, 2017; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Kyle Crick poses for a portrait during photo day at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Once the forgotten man in the Giants’ farm system, Kyle Crick is tearing up Triple-A. He’s gone from a top-40 prospect in all of baseball to not even a top-30 prospect in the Giants’ system, but Crick seems to have found his calling as a full-time reliever. He’s gotten the command issues under control, and while he’s still issuing four walks per nine innings, it’s a massive step forward from allowing 9.4 in 2015 and 5.5 in 2016.

In 24 appearance with the Sacramento River Cats (his first Triple-A stint), he’s pitched to a 2.76 ERA and 1.261 WHIP while striking out 39 batters in 29.1 innings. Crick has earned a chance to get his first taste of big league action, and with his electric stuff, he could turn into a huge part of the bullpen down the road.

Crick is already on the 40-man roster, so the only issue would be clearing a space on the 25-man roster. In order to do so…

DL Melancon

It’s becoming more and more clear that Mark Melancon just isn’t himself, and it looks more and more like his arm troubles from earlier in the season have something to do with it. His numbers suggest he isn’t himself. His 5.09 ERA and 1.472 WHIP are well above his norm, and his four blown saves and three home runs allowed already match his 2016 totals in both categories.

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His usage also suggests a bigger issue. He’s pitched only 19 times in 71 games, and only three times in June. His outing on Sunday was his first in 10 days. Save opportunities are hard to come by for this team, but the fact he doesn’t get into blow-out games just to stay sharp is quite concerning.

With the team out of the race, it wouldn’t hurt to put Melancon back on the disabled list to give his pronator the proper time to heal. It would also give Crick, a guy who could more than conceivably be a ninth-inning guy in the near future, a chance to show his stuff at the highest level.

Bring Up Jones and/or Hwang

Ryder Jones is an interesting young player. He was drafted in the second round in 2013 as a third baseman, and has since played all corners of the infield and outfield. First base has been his second home throughout his entire minor league career, and this season, he has begun to play the corner outfield spots for the first time.

He’s got plenty of power, owning a .549 slugging percentage that ranks second on the team behind Christian Arroyo. Jones has already hit 10 home runs and 13 doubles in 50 games. His strikezone recognition has also taken a big step forward this year, with a walk rate in 2017 (11.7 percent) more than twice as high as his career rate entering the year (4.9 percent).

Jae-gyun Hwang has built off a strong Spring Training and put together a solid campaign in Sacramento. In 61 games, he’s hitting .283/.320/.464 with 17 doubles, four triples, and six home runs. A corner infielder, Hwang could provide fine protection at first or third base.

Part Ways with Hill

On a contending team, a veteran like Aaron Hill might be a nice asset. He’s been around the block, and in a limited role, could have a chance to contribute. On a team like the Giants, who are in need of a youth movement, a struggling 35-year-old infielder doesn’t really have a place. His .143 average and .511 OPS just don’t really have a place anymore.

Cut Back with Span and Pence

Denard Span‘s bat has been a lot better since returning from the DL on May 11th, owning a .291/.349/.462 slash-line. His defense, on the other hand, has noticeably slowed down. He isn’t covering as much ground in the middle of the outfield, and it’s hurting the team.

For right fielder Hunter Pence, his bat and glove have taken a hard dive this year. In Colorado, Pence was terrible in the outfield and cost the team a lot of runs. His bat was better in the high altitude, capping off the series with his first career pinch-hit home run on Sunday, a 440-foot blast, but his numbers are at career-low levels across the board.

For the time being, their playing time should be cut back just a bit to keep their legs fresher. Not entirely, but a day or two off a week each is a good place to start. Jones, Slater, or even Mac Williamson could cover in right field, but center field is a bit trickier. There isn’t really a natural center fielder knocking on the door. Orlando Calixte is an option, but he didn’t exactly light things on fire in his limited time in the big leagues earlier this year. Still, with Calixte just 25 years old, the Giants might be interested in giving him a longer look to see if he’s a candidate to stick around in the future.

Next: Giants Lose Hitters, Game, but Keep Fighting

Staring 20 games under .500 in the face, the Giants have to make the most of this season. Going in the same direction they’re currently going isn’t the right way. Let the future start now.