AT FIRST GLANCE, the National League West appears as weak as ever. That's not necessarily good news in terms of the long-term health of the Giants.

You see, the best way for Peter Magowan's stale product to become competitive again by 2010 is to begin the rebuilding process as soon as possible. That means Midseason 2007, not Off-Season 2008.

Ideally, the Giants would continue the pattern they had in the San Diego series: Barry Bonds hits one home run every three days and other veterans play well enough to accrue some trade value, all while the clubs loses two of three.

If that's the case, here's my plan ...

-Fire Brian Sabean. Do it on July 11 — the day after the All-Star Game — so the new guy gets more than two full weeks before the trade deadline to turn each marketable fossil into at least one prospect.

-Auction off Bonds. One homer every series means Bonds not only would have broken the record in June but also would lead the majors at the All-Star break with 28. You'd have the Yankees, Angels and Tigers tripping over each other to plug him in at DH for a run at the title. All have the type of young talent that could immediately brighten the Giants' future.

- Jettison Ray Durham. Hitting behind the slugger should maximize the veteran's numbers, as it did Thursday when just one hit produced two runs. I've got to believe at least one contender will be able to use a second baseman with some pop for its playoff chase. He ought to be worth one prospect, which is more than any other position player (other than Bonds) would command.

- Deal Matt Morris. About 10 more games like Thursday's and the playoff-experienced right-hander might be the No. 1 available arm at the deadline. In the final year of his contract, he'd be the ideal rent-a-pitcher down the stretch. It would be nice to reel in a couple of 2009 major-leaguers for him.

DATELINE: Up Rae's Creek. There's a lot to choose from when watching coverage of The Masters on a Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes too much.

This weekend there'll be the world's best (Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson), foreign stars (Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy) and former champions (Ben Crenshaw and Fred Couples).

Most, if not all, are likable guys. It makes choosing a primary rooting interest a bit dizzying.

My goal is to root for the winner, without having to follow the flock with Woods or Mickelson. Yet who among the others truly has a chance to beat those two, even with as many as a five-stroke advantage?

Alas, I've stumbled upon a worthy challenger who needs our help. He goes by the name of "the future of American golf."

Yes, basically the same group of guys who allowed the Europeans to walk away with the Ryder Cup last year. They need a confidence boost, and I suggest we all root for it this weekend.

Give me Brett Wetterich, Vaughn Taylor and Zach Johnson. One man alone cannot beat Tiger, so I'll take three.

Anybody but Vijay Singh.

DATELINE: The Derby trail. The first Saturday in April isn't the first Saturday in May, and thank goodness for that. Nobiz Like Shobiz, the Kentucky Derby pick I gave you in October, isn't ready to wire the field at Churchill Downs quite yet.

But we'll get a good indication where he stands today when he tries the Wood Memorial in New York. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a lose-lose situation for him there.

If he wins the Wood, every New Yorker will jump on his trailer and he'll be the Derby favorite, which is the kiss of death.

And if he doesn't win the Wood, it's an indication he's unlikely to run his best race a month from now in Louisville.

So here's my suggestion: Invest in him today. After all, they don't just pay you for picking the winner of the Derby.

Who's your choice for next general manager of the Giants? E-mail your thoughts (with full name and hometown) to dave@angnewspapers.com.