Liotta: Overachieving Giants gave us a season to savor

Hold it a second. Let’s take a deep breath and marvel at the fact the Giants won 88 games during the 2009 season. Before this season began, most of us figured spring training victories would have to be included for this franchise to reach that total.

Short-handed offensively, these Giants came together to bring the buzz back to AT&T Park. It was cool to be at a Giants game again, and this collection of players more often than not made it memorable for anybody who purchased a ticket. You can’t ask for more than that.

No matter the smoke, no matter the mirrors. The Giants were legitimate postseason contenders right up until the season’s final two weeks, no matter how many times it looked right to write them off. 

Now, nobody’s saying this is a team without needs, but as we all look forward, this was a season to savor, to appreciate these major leaguers made something out of nothing.

Pablo Sandoval? Giants fans are already salivating at what this Kung Fu Panda could do with a .330 season under that already impressive belt of his.

Bengie Molina? The pro’s pro. There’s nothing “by-the-book” to his approach at the plate, but it felt as if he served as the grounded center to all that occured in 2009.

Barry Zito? Take away the bazillions his contract calls for the Giants to hand over, and his second half would make a general manager write his name in next year’s rotation with a Sharpie. Good for him.

Simply put, the Giants have to make the game of baseball easier, and three-run homers make the game easier.

Unfortunately, based on every report touching on the finances of this franchise, its going to take trading a key commodity to add the kind of bat that will make a difference to an offense that generated a measly 647 runs this season.

And if the Giants think that trading Tim Lincecum is that commodity, they’re not paying attention to the pregame conversations at LuLu’s. Lincecum is the face of Giants’ franchise. Just ask Mike Krukow.

Entertaining a trade that involves Lincecum’s name is as close to blasphemy as this team can get.

Only here’s the rub. Lincecum has been — and always will be — second-guessed by the baseball brass because of his slight build and his funky windup. He fell to the Giants in the draft because nobody thought his arm would hold up, and that fear is going to follow him the next 12 months as it comes time to pay him big-time money in arbitration.

Matt Cain? Different story. Can’t trade him. He looks like thousands of pitchers who’ve come before him, something the baseball brass can trust. They see 15 years of injury-free pitching when they look at Matt Cain.As fun as it was to experience 2009 with the Giants, its going to be just as difficult for this team to take the next step forward.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.
 

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