My Motto: Opinions On Demand ... The Giants are playing as if they want half of their roster to be turned over during the offseason. Coincidentally, that's what I believe general manager Brian Sabean has in mind. He has never been the timid type. And he can't like what he has been seeing. I can think of only three position players who might be untouchable: Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt. As for pitchers ... Tim Lincecum will obviously be the main issue. But he'll have the most to say about his future when the Giants ask him and his representatives for a rough outline of contract expectations. If the answer is for more than three years and $30 million or $33 million total, the Giants' decision to say goodbye will be easy.
The A's situation with their catchers -- Derek Norris and John Jaso both injured -- might be their biggest challenge to overcome in the season's final weeks. And it shows you the folly of trying to strategize any trade deadline moves in July. Who would have thought the A's needed to swing a deal for a catcher back then? Mark your calendars: Any chance the A's have of going deep in the postseason will be determined Sept. 2-4 (home) and Sept. 13-15 (away) in their final six games against Texas. The A's need a division title. Making the playoffs as a wild card, with a likely one-game showdown against the Rays at Tampa Bay, is a road to a quick exit. The Raiders are probably doing the right thing in making Matt Flynn their starting quarterback. The idea is to try to win every game, and coach Dennis Allen can't post another 4-12 season while expecting to keep his job. Flynn is the lowest risk/reward because he makes fewer mistakes.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy takes out starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)
Derek Norris #36 of the Oakland Athletics is hit by a pitch from Brandon Maurer of the Seattle Mariners (not pictured) during the seventh inning at O.co Coliseum on August 20, 2013 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
But the only man on the roster who could -- I stress could -- be the team's next playoff quarterback is Terrelle Pryor. And with injured left tackle Jared Veldheer gone for an extended period, the Raiders will need a quarterback who can run out of trouble. If Pryor's accuracy and decision-making reaches 80 percent of Flynn's skill set in those departments -- it's not there yet -- Pryor has to be on the field. Allen does have one quality I appreciate. He can't pull off lying. I asked Allen if, because the Raiders are in flux or new at so many positions, he might drop the traditional practice of playing no starters in the fourth preseason game next week. Allen said: "Right now, my focus is on this (third preseason) game." So he hadn't thought that far in advance, for the final exhibition? Allen's response with a smile: "I didn't say I haven't thought of that." I guess it's possible that A.J. Jenkins will bounce back and become a contributing receiver in Kansas City. But usually when a team gives up on a No. 1 choice this soon, it's because they believe he's not only doing damage on the field but also not helping the culture in the locker room.
Strictly from observation, Jenkins never seemed to be a malcontent, but he definitely operated in his own orbit. You really think G.M. Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh would have decided to make this move without consulting the team's leadership group? Me, neither. It finally dawned on me exactly why the America's Cup has no real chance to grab a mainstream sports audience. Average fans expect to know three basic things when deciding whether to attend or watch: 1) That the event will be held; 2) That it will begin at a specific time; 3) That there will be a conclusion with one team beating another on the scoreboard or over the finish line. The America's Cup can guarantee none of those things. The International Cycling Union announced this week that zero Tour de France competitors tested positive for doping. I'm not sure if that makes me more or less confident in the effectiveness of ICU testing. Are you telling me no one cheated in the cheating-est sport going? Or did everybody just find a way to avoid detection? We'll know if former Raiders executive Amy Trask has truly left her Oakland past behind if she shows up for her new gig with CBS Sports Network wearing something other than Silver and Black in her wardrobe. In her time as the team's CEO, I don't think she wore any other colors. Trask will have interesting things to say, guaranteed. But she'll earn her biggest credibility by being unafraid to criticize the Raiders. In a construction tour of the new 49ers stadium last week, my top impression was the multiuse potential of the club/suites "stack" on the structure's west side. The landscaped roof is going to be pretty groovy and workers are already referring to one large staircase in the club as the "wedding stairs," figuring there will be plenty of receptions there. Getting hitched in a football stadium wouldn't be my idea of romance. But in other news, the sightlines in the new stadium are fairly spectacular. Also, the "stack" configuration allows more seats to be closer to the sidelines, so noise will be intense. The dual pedestrian walkways around the perimeter should severely reduce people-traffic jams. Any downside? Only for kickers. One worker told me he's gone to midfield in the late afternoons and the wind can swirl like crazy. By the way, great news that the WWE WrestleMania event could be booked for the new stadium in 2015. I understand that travel agents are already fielding inquiries about flights to the South Bay from the region that produces the most pro wrestlers: Parts Unknown.
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