My Favorite Month 

Coming soon: July.

Isn't there's an Einsteinian theory about time speeding up the older you get? Weren't we just cautiously optimistic about the A.J. Pierzynski/Joe Nathan trade back in November? Distraught over the Michael Tucker signing in December ? Six months have gone by like *that*, and once again I feel older than the resin in Willie Nelson's bong.

But July is here, my favorite baseball month. Not only are the pennant races heating up, but the trade deadline also looms. Better than the flying rumors of Sweeney, Beltran, Garcia, Benson, etc, are the trades that come out of nowhere, the smaller moves that shore up defenses and benches and bullpens and that, once in a while, end up turning a team's season around. As a Giants' fan, I can count on Sabean doing something interesting, even if "interesting" is a bloated white guy from the Caribbean who talks like Mike Myers playing "Goldmember." I'd love to see him pull off another Schmidt trade. Remember, when the Giants got him (and John Vander Wal) from the Pirates, he was considered second-tier. Not a pennant-winner, not a landscape-changer, not a staff ace. He was a big question mark. Who else like that is out there? Who will be the sleepers of July? Any thoughts?*

Not only are the big-league Giants coming around, but the farm system is more interesting than it has been in years. Cain, Valdez, Niekro, Taschner, Lewis, Trumble: if these names mean nothing to you, you're not geeking out enough on baseball. For a nice roundup of who's hot and not in the minors, check out Steve Shelby doing a guest turn at Fogball.

If the Giants take three of four against the Dodgers, they'll be up by a half-game. Go get 'em, boys.

*In his news and notes column today, Peter Gammons has this thought about a "trade that makes sense": San Francisco trades right-handed pitcher Matt Cain and infielder Lance Niekro to Detroit for closer Ugueth Urbina and starting pitcher Mike Maroth. For the Giants, the future is now. For the Tigers, two years from now to have Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Kyle Sleeth and Cain for the rotation will get them a lot closer to where they want to be rather than shooting for .500 in 2004.

Uh, Peter, I have a question: Mike Maroth? Am I missing something? The guy is Kirk Rueter North. If the Giants trade Cain, they should get back a better starter than Maroth.


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