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We recently had a chance to catch-up with SI's senior baseball writer, and one of the best baseball minds in the media as far as we're concerned, Tom Verducci. We talked to Tom a little bit about the Giants' chances at the postseason and got his views on what the future holds for some of the younger players on the roster, so here it is:
Q1: How do you see the NL Wild Card playing out? The Giants had the lead for a while there to start the second half, but their offense has gone stagnant and the Rockies are really heating up. Any chance the Giants re-gain their momentum over the last month and re-take the lead, or do you see the Rockies (or Dodgers if they continue to stumble) staying atop the bunch in the NL?
A: I'm guessing it's going to take about 92 wins to win the wild card. The Giants would need to go 23-12 to get there. Can they do it? Sure. They've already had a 23-12 run this season. We know they have the pitching to do it. But the injuries to key offensive players make it very difficult. Obviously the Giants are going to have to take care of business when they play Colorado head to head. Nobody has slowed down the Rockies for four months of .700 baseball. They're bound to step on a banana peel at some point, right? I still think the Rockies are the wild card favorites, but I think the Giants do have a run in them to make it close.
Q2: There are still a couple of days before the MLB Waiver trade deadline. Have you heard anything regarding the Giants possibly acquiring some more help for the stretch drive? Who are some names that have been placed on waivers or could be before the 31st?
A: I wouldn't expect very much. The Giants may have some interest in bats such as Felipe Lopez and Mike Cameron of the Brewers, but in both cases Milwaukee would want a decent prospect in return rather than viewing those guys as pure salary dumps.
Q3: The Giants made a couple of moves before the non-waiver deadline, acquiring Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko in attempt to help bolster their sub-par offense. What was your initial [[Image:FSanch.jpg|200px] reaction to these deals, and did you think that those 2 would be enough to help keep the Giants atop the NL Wild Card? Do you expect these guys will become mainstays in the Giants lineup over the next couple of years?
A: I liked both moves because without the addition of any bats the Giants' postseason chances were about nil. I guess the deal for Sanchez depends on what you think Tim Alderson will be in the big leagues. Scouts like his breaking stuff, but the Giants saw some regression this year, particularly with velocity and command. Sanchez will play next year at 32 for $8 million and has to hit well over .300, as he did in 2006, to be really valuable, so I don't think he's going to be a mainstay. Garko does hit lefthanders well so he does fit a role, but I don't see him as an everyday fixture in the Giants lineup for years to come.
Q4: Over the last couple of years, there's been a lot of talk about Jonathan Sanchez's potential and his value as a trade chip. He's shown flashes of brilliance, including his near perfect game last month, but can't seem to find any consistency. How do other general managers and team executives around the league view this guy? Is he someone who could bring the Giants back a nice bat in a deal, or is he someone they'd be better off hanging onto and hope he reaches his potential in San Francisco?
A: I think people around baseball would love to get Sanchez from the Giants on the premise that maybe they can get him cheaply. The guy is lefthanded, only 26, has never even qualified for the ERA title yet, never made 30 starts, and strikes out one batter per inning. Obviously, the walks are a concern. But he still has big potential. Of course, people have been saying that about Oliver Perez for years.
Q5: Even the casual baseball fan is becoming familiar with "The Big Panda" Pablo Sandoval as the Giants have finally developed a position player of note. What's your take on Sandoval? Do you think he's a guy who will be a .320+ hitter with 30 homers and 100+ RBI a year type player, or do you think those numbers will recede as the league starts to learn him some more.
A: Sandoval reminds me of guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Vladimir Guerrero. They can hit just about anything and go up there hacking. That's normally not a game plan for consistent success, but these guys have exceptional hand-eye coordination and you'd rather not change them. My only concern long term would be his size; he's 245 pounds at age 22. He's a better athlete than what he appears to be, but you wonder about staying away from injuries when you play at that size.
Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog