(Shea Hillenbrand went 3-4 with a 2-run HR last night. Even more impressively, he’s found someone willing to high five him.)

Last night’s 7-3 win over the Dodgers
brought the Giants within 4 games of the NL West lead. The San Jose Mercury News’ Ann Killion proposes “six weeks of hanging in there could add up to another season of mediocrity in 2007.”

What would you rather see? Your team win the division and be waxed by the New York Mets in the first round? Your team hanging on until late September before being eliminated — like we’ve seen the past two years? Or would you rather see a foundation laid for the future?

By hanging around for the next month, the Giants will continue to postpone the future. They’ll play the old guys and not the kids. They’ll consider bringing back Barry Bonds for one more subpoena-laden round of fun.

The Giants’ front office has had one master plan in place for the past umpteen years and has shown little inclination to change. A year ago, General Manager Brian Sabean said the Giants had to “plan for our future without” Bonds. But those plans still aren’t in evidence.

For three seasons, the Giants have played mediocre ball, while failing to move significantly forward. Yet the pure horror of their division has allowed them to maintain the illusion of success and the possibility of a playoff payday. However, it should be noted that they haven’t actually been to the postseason since that first-round exit against the Florida Marlins in 2003.

Bottoming out in these final 40 games would be depressing for fans. It would suppress the sales of $9 beer at the ballpark. But it could be the shock to the system the Giants need to turn the page.

The team could lose Ray Durham, Moises Alou, Steve Finley and Jason Schmidt to free agency. The young pitchers have been solid. Eliezer Alfonzo has been a revelation. Durham is having a heck of a contract drive, but since he’s likely to depart, it would be nice to give Kevin Frandsen some more time. Can anyone in the Giants’ system play first base? (It’s clear Lance Niekro isn’t going to be the answer.)

But if the Giants hang in there, the young players will sit on the bench. The illusion will be maintained. The future will be an afterthought.

The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton
reports the much-traveled Reggie Sanders cleared waivers last week and might be of interest to the Mets if the rumored Shawn Green deal doesn’t happen. Dave Williams, acquired from the Reds last May, will start for the Mets tonight against Colorado writes the Daily News’ Adam Rubin, who notes that Ruben Sierra will not be signing a minor league deal with New York. Sierra’s agent is named Chuck Berry. In an era of Scott Boras and self-righteous fucks like Matt Sosnick, it’s time that someone brought the duckwalk back to player representation (if not hidden cameras in the toilet).