SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants owner Peter Magowan cited the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres as examples of the approach the Giants will take to rebuild their roster -- mixing homegrown prospects, free agents and players acquired through trade to form a team with a "premium on pitching and defense." "I think we've got the beginnings of this blend, because we have some pitching and we have some players that have a lot of potential," Magowan said Friday, referring to Triple-A Fresno outfielders Brian Horwitz, Nate Schierholtz and Clay Timpner, all batting above .324. "You have to think that at least one of these guys can come through, maybe two." Magowan indicated that reconstructing the Giants in the image they'd prefer will be a gradual process.
"It can't be done in one year, because we have players signed to multiyear contracts," he said. "But we want to end up with a team that is best suited to win and particularly win in this ballpark and in this division." Magowan said "absolutely not" when asked whether he'd order manager Bruce Bochy to bench Barry Bonds during the Giants' upcoming six-game trip to Los Angeles and San Diego, which would enhance the left fielder's chances of breaking Hank Aaron's home run record in San Francisco. Bonds hit No. 754, leaving him one behind Aaron, in Friday night's first inning against the Florida Marlins. "I would much prefer to see it done at home, but if it happens on the road, it happens on the road," Magowan said. Echoing Bonds' recent remarks, Magowan added, "I'll be happy that it happens. I'll say this: I don't think he'll try not to do it on the road. I think he's too competitive a player for that." Magowan doesn't directly participate in trade negotiations, but he hinted that there might not be much activity around the Major Leagues before next Tuesday's trading deadline -- a sign that the Giants will stand pat. "I think we'll have less trades than we've had the last several years, but there will still be trades done in August," he said. Why not us? Go ahead and laugh, snicker or scream with outrage. But at least a few Giants remain who sincerely believe that the team still can win the National League West. Overwhelming evidence shows that the Giants have no shot. They began Friday occupying last place in the division, trailing first-place Los Angeles by 12 1/2 games. San Francisco would have to pass four teams in the standings on the way to the top spot, an arduous task. To win 90 games -- the total the Dodgers are on pace to reach -- the Giants would have to finish a ridiculous 47-15. So, Steve Kline, do you really think you guys can come back? "You can't ever quit," the left-hander said. "We win five games a month that they lose, all of a sudden we're back in it. We have a long road ahead of us, but anything's possible in this game. We haven't played good baseball all year, so why don't we start now?" Kline qualified his confidence somewhat. "We can't have room for error anymore," he said. "We can't lose seven or eight in a row. Then it's going to be over." Kline also admitted that the teams leading the Giants in the West must falter. "The ball's in our court, but we also have to have some luck falling our way," he said. Outfielder Randy Winn is another believer. "Until we're mathematically eliminated, I don't see why we can't [win]," he said. "You can't give up. Crazier things have happened. I feel like a broken record, but you look around the room at the talent we have here, and there's no reason why we can't win." The Giants could boost their confidence and momentum significantly next week by performing well against division rivals Los Angeles and San Diego in three-game road series. Said Winn, "It doesn't matter who we play right now; we just need to win. But it helps when you're playing the teams ahead of you because that's the fastest way to make up ground." Pregame observance: The late Rod Beck's widow, Stacey, and their daughters, Kayla and Kelsey, delivered ceremonial first pitches to commemorate "Until There's a Cure Night," the Giants' 14th annual benefit game to raise funds for Bay Area HIV/AIDS education and care/service organizations. Rod Beck was extremely active in supporting causes related to HIV and AIDS during his Giants career. Coming up: The Giants will continue their series against the Florida Marlins on Saturday starting at 6:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Matt Cain will try to change his luck against Florida's Dontrelle Willis, who's 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA at AT&T Park.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.