Brian Sabean and the Giants already are past the denial stage, and they are headed toward alert acceptance.

Amid a season of accumulated miseries, this is necessary. This is wise.

This is realistic, and it is what reasonable executives for successful teams must do, even if they have won two of the past three World Series.

"We've had a lot of things go right -- apparently this is the year that things go haywire," Sabean said in a phone conversation Monday afternoon.

"What we don't want to do is forsake the future for something that might be looking like a bad-penny year at this point."

To be clear, Sabean said it's still possible for the Giants to rally in 2013, and he said they might begin the process with the final two series before next week's All-Star break.

San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean watches batting practice before a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in San Francisco, Friday,
San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean watches batting practice before a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in San Francisco, Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

But the general manager also was making a point-blank statement:

There are no major upgrades on the horizon, because the Giants don't have the trade chips to do it and because the team isn't playing nearly well enough to be worthy of it.

Sabean isn't happy about this, but he isn't going to live in Fantasyland, either.

"We're basically two different teams -- one that's fairly competitive at home and one that's not competitive on the road, and that includes the rotation," Sabean said.

"Do you go out and trade for a whole other team that goes on the road and keep the other one at home? That's said tongue in cheek, but it's a reality.

"There's not enough players out there to turn us around on a dime. It has to start in-house."


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Unless they start winning immediately, the worst thing the Giants could do is lie to themselves and start dealing away top prospects for short-term fixes or absorb an enormous salary just to pretend they are N.L. West contenders.

Sabean tried a version of that in 2011 when he gave up pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to land Carlos Beltran as a rental in an effort to defend the Giants' 2010 championship.

But that was a different time with a different Giants team.

(I supported this move, because the Giants' pitching was still at its peak -- and proved it by leading the team to another title in 2012.)

And now, as a stark reminder of what even the most logical gamble can cost you, Wheeler is scheduled to face the Giants on Wednesday.

So the Giants' front office and ownership is going through the phases of World Series mourning: denial, anger and finally acceptance, if it has to come to that.

Then, after all that, they have to figure out how to get better next season.

"We've been miserable in scoring runs, obviously; we've been miserable on the road," Sabean said. "So there's no possible way we can get as much help as you actually need from the outside world. It's just not going to happen.

"While it's frustrating, that's when you have to exercise even more patience."

The injuries to leadoff man Angel Pagan (possibly out for the season) and Pablo Sandoval (back in the lineup but struggling) have combined to thrash the Giants' offense, no question.

But there were probably root problems in this roster, which is natural for any team that has won so much and peaked so often.

It was worth keeping much of the core together to try again in 2013; it has not worked.

What can the Giants do now? Sabean said it's not time to call up all the team's best prospects; the Giants probably just have to ride it out with the lineup they have, then prepare for 2014 and beyond.

Could the Giants possibly be sellers at the trade deadline, offering pending free agents such as Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence?

"Who knows?" Sabean said. "I think you're going to have an open mind going forward to whatever is in the best interests of the organization, the present and future."

There are some hard decisions ahead, and maybe after living through all the parades and parties, some fans will not approve.

But you deal with one problem at a time, and Sabean's singular issue is to make sure the Giants are better in the future than they are now.

"We've had our place in the sun," Sabean said. "If this is the year that's been dealt to us, we have to handle it."

The Giants' recent past was incredible. The future is unknown. And the present is what the Giants have to get through, as thoughtfully as possible.

Contact Tim Kawakami at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

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