You knew after their last 5 games and 9 of their last 12, Brian Sabean had to do something. After all, if the team stays this stagnant on their marathon road trip going into the All-Star break, the Giants can kiss the idea of selling 3 million tickets this season goodbye. Oh, they’ll also have a hard time making the playoffs. Not that that really matters too much.
What the Giants’ “braintrust” would do, we weren’t sure. Was Eugenio Velez on his way back to San Francisco? John Bowker? Shea Hillenbrand? Tyler Walker?
Well, it turned out the rumors floating this afternoon were more than just rumors, and Bengie Molina was traded to the Texas Rangers for righty reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later. And after watching him clog up the team like the worldest softest speed bump for weeks, this is certainly a move that is going to be celebrated from Ocean Beach to Hi Dive (and yes Mark Purdy, by the Giants fans in San Jose, too).
Nobody here’s going to rain on the parade. My fiance’s called Bengie a “baby” for the last two years, and carrying a grumpy catcher who spent more time complaining about a SportsCenter gag than hitting extra base-hits, a guy who could no longer consistently catch pitches above his shoulders or below his ankles, made less and less sense every second Buster Posey was in San Francisco.
Posey has to be doing cartwheels, and he better be careful because Bruce Bochy will definitely fine him for such youthful shenanigans on the team plane. He’s the new non-Sanchy catcher, and because of that the Giants’ starting staff will do cartwheels too. Forget Tim Lincecum sticking up for Bengie earlier this season; a lineup without Molina probably means more runs and fewer stolen bases given up, wild pitches and passed balls.
Chris Ray saved 33 games for the Orioles in 2006 and besides an injury-plagued 2008-09, he’s put up some decent numbers. That’s the good news. This year he’s walked and struck out the same number of batters (16), and while his numbers don’t look too bad on the surface (3.41 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2-0, 1 save), his .214 BABIP tell you that he could easily have an ERA over 5.00 and a WHIP over 1.60. That’s the bad news.
To summarize: even with Ray around, neither Jeremy Affeldt or Dan Runzler will see much difference in their respective workloads. But if Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota or anyone else in the pen has a meltdown, it’ll be easier to stop using them since Ray does have a pedigree.
However, the fact that any team in the Major Leagues looked over at the Giants and thought, “I’d like to give up a Major League reliever and another guy for the dude ESPN played “Chariots of “Fire” for,” is fantastic. Most fans would have been happy to hear that the Giants had received 20 rosin bags in return, or even (shudder) cash considerations. And who knows, maybe Molina will go off in Arlington and the Rangers will feel generous enough to make the player to be named later a guy like Nelson Cruz. Of course, after watching Molina struggle through the first few months of this season, most Giants fans would have accepted Tom Cruise for the guy who was in Posey’s way. To play catcher. Never mind.
Update: You have to check out this movie poster from McCovey Chronicles. I laughed out loud.