Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Replacing Santiago Casilla

Today the Giants lost a game to the A’s, however Sandy Rosario did not give up any runs so if you’re a fan of little victories today you’re a winner. Sandy Rosario is no longer with the team, but his spirit is still here. By spirit I mean the fact that Sandy Rosario had to be called up and put on this major league roster is still very indicative of the shape of the roster.

The point here is that you should go ahead and try to name your most trusted right handed reliever on the Giants roster besides Sergio Romo. Here’s a list to help:

- Jean Machi
- George Kontos
- Chad Gaudin
- uh
- I mean...
- Osiris Matos
- lol that guy... good times
- Terry Mullholland

I guess it would be… Jean Machi? At least if you go by pure numbers. He’s done well when he’s been up here, posting a 1.80 ERA and pretty decent strike out to walk rate. But it should probably be a little concerning that a week ago he was getting ready to play the New Orleans Zephyrs and he's a 31 year old career minor leaguer.

As for the other two, George Kontos is a hanging slider machine, and Chad Gaudin is Chad Gaudin. You expect Kontos to be better, for no better reason other than he wasn’t this bad last year, and he’s just so darn cute. Gaudin has actually pitched well posting 1.95 ERA but he's walking almost four batters an innings so it may be just a lot of fools gold so far.

That list is a little short right now because the Giants just sent down Rosario to bring up Mike Kickham to make the start tomorrow. Still, with Santiago Casilla out until at least the All Star break, there isn’t a lot of help on the way. Somebody is going to have to fill that role. Granted, if right handed middle relief help is one of your teams glaring weaknesses, it’s probably not the worse thing in the world. But it is a weakness, and everyone’s goal is perfection! To the solutions!

Jeremy Affeldt isn’t really used as a lefty specialist and Bochy has used him against plenty of right handed hitters. Lefties and righties hit about the same against him last season. This season started slow for him but the strike out to walk rate is a little inflated due to early season shenanigans. Since coming back from injury though, Affeldt has only allowed one earned run in 10.2 innings. He’s probably better than any right handed relievers the Giants have besides Romo, so as far as the 40 man roster goes, Affeldt is probably the best bet to take over the job Casilla had.

Outside the 25 man roster, there are still some options. The minor leagues is not exactly brewing with pitching talent. Steve Edlefsen is always available to quell the aggressors. 

But I think now is the time to call up Heath Hembree. He's been excellent so far, with ten strikeouts and just two walks per nine innings, and he's got the stuff to have some longevity at the next level. He’s at least better than reliving the Shane Loux experience. Ramon Ramirez would probably be the choice by Giants brass, only because he’s pitched here before and started a fight with Shane Victorino, which gives him immunity from everything. But again, you know what you’re getting with Ramon Ramirez. Hembree has the upside and based on the AAA numbers he appears ready to at least fill the gap while Casilla is fixing his knee. If it doesn't work out, you can always just send him back down and  go with the emotional return of Ramon Ramirez. What's important is that you have to at least give Hembree a shot, because really he's the best minor league option to fill the spot. 

The point here is that even though the Giants relieving core is a little shaken up, there are ways to fill those gaps. Bullpens are the easiest part of a roster to repair and the Giants should have the assets to patch it up. And Jean Machi looks good and who knows maybe he can keep it up! I like him! Affeldt should help and hopefully Hembree is involved too.

The hope is that everything works out and Carlos Marmol's name will never come up. If we work together we can do this Giants fans.


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