What do you do with a 28-year-old journeyman who throws a near-perfect game and has gone 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA since he was recalled in late August?
Give him a seven-year, $126 million contract.
In all seriousness, the Giants' brain trust must be grinning from Ocean Beach to Oakland watching Yusmeiro Petit seize his opportunity to pitch with the big club after bouncing from Kingsport to Binghamton to Oaxaca over the past 11 seasons. He's logged more miles than Chad Gaudin and he's creeping up on Ryan Vogelsong.
But Brian Sabean can't depend on him to hold down a spot in the rotation next year. The sample size is just too small and his stuff is moderate, at best. Who knows how long this run will last?
Having said that, Petit could be a valuable piece heading into the 2014 season. With a cloud of uncertainty hovering over the rotation, the Giants should be looking to stockpile arms.
After boasting the best staff in the majors over the past three seasons, the Giants ran into trouble this year when Vogelsong fractured his pitching hand, Barry Zito returned to his 2007 form and Matt Cain lost his consistency. Right now, the rotation's ERA is 24th out of 30 big-league teams, which isn't going to cut it for a club that plays half of its games in a pitcher's ballpark.
At this point, it makes sense to pick up Vogelsong's $6.5 million option and the front office will probably need to spend another $45 million to $50 million to retain Tim Lincecum because there just isn't going to be a lot available this offseason.
This still leaves one open spot in the rotation and it would make sense to go after veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo, as others have already suggested. Larry Baer and Co. will to need to spend money to keep up with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Zito's departure is freeing up cash flow this winter.
A Madison Bumgarner, Cain, Lincecum, Vogelsong, Arroyo rotation could, potentially, go pitch-for-pitch with any staff in baseball, but as we learned this summer, 162-game seasons take unexpected turns. Championship teams need reinforcements.
Look at the A's: They lost Brett Anderson early in the season, Bartolo Colon is running out of steam down the stretch and Tommy Milone is struggling through a sophomore slump.
But the team is still leading its division because Billy Beane always has another arm waiting in the wings.
Last year, he called up Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily, and this year, Sonny Gray jumped on board to fill the void.
Kyle Crick is still a couple years away, which is why the Giants need to shore up the rotation through free agency and hold on to Petit and Gaudin as backup plans.
If the Giants pencil in Petit as the fifth starter in 2014, they risk another disaster if Vogelsong flutters or Lincecum backslides. At this point, it's better to dish out some cash and buy yourself an insurance package. At least it won't cost $126 million.
Paul Gackle is a contributor to The San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @GackleReport.