OK, it’s not so shocking if you’ve watched the Giants day in and day out.
They’re dead last in the majors with 61 home runs and on pace for 90. They won’t break the major league record, as teams in the early-20th-century dead-ball era could barely crack the single digits, but they’ll be the worst team of this millennium with room to spare.
You have to go back to the 1993 expansion Marlins to find a team with fewer than 100 home runs in a full season. They hit 94, led by Orestes Destrade with 20. (The strike-shortened ‘94 and ‘95 campaigns, which saw several teams fall short of 100, don’t count.)
And don’t expect a late surge to get the Giants over the century mark. Their co-leader John Bowker is fading, with only three extra base hits and 23 Ks in 72 ABs last month. Aaron Rowand, also with 9 HRs, slugged .343 in June and .360 in July, making me wonder if he’s hiding an injury that is sapping his power. Next on the team are Aurilia, who will see his playing time reduced, and Molina, a 34–year-old catcher on pace to play in a career-high number of games for the second straight year. Next is Fred Lewis, who has a painful bunion on his foot. If anything, this team will be lucky to hit 80.
It’s not quite a dead pool, but place your bets here on how many home runs the Giants hit the rest of the way.
A few quick comments on the deadline trades:
– Agent Ned does strong work, trading the team’s third baseman of the future Andy LaRoche for two months of Manny Ramirez. Manny will bolt after the season, probably back to the American League where he can be a part-time DH (otherwise, woe to any N.L. team that thinks he’ll be good enough in left field as he approaches 40). Perhaps he’ll help the Dodgers win the NL West, and anything is possible once a team gets into the playoffs, but this seems like exactly the kind of short-sighted move Agent Ned was programmed to make. Our plan is working to perfection.
– The Red Sox came out better, even though they lost two top prospects and had to pay the rest of Manny’s salary this year. They get Jason Bay through 2009. He might not go toe-to-toe with Manny on offense, though it’s possible, and his D will be better. He also won’t fake injuries and pick fights with 60–year-old men. Don’t be surprised if he hits 40 homers as a full-time Red Sock next year.
– The Washington Nationals are bringing Alberto Gonzalez back to the capital with a new job — utility shortstop — and a slightly different spelling. Makes sense: Watching the Nats is a form of torture, so who better to help justify it to the public?
Photo courtesy of flickr user nicolasnova via a Creative Commons license.