By Matt Furtado/Sports 1140 KHTK

The San Francisco Giants have struggled in the second half of the season. Injuries and an awful bullpen have diminished a lead in the National League West from 6.5 games at the All-Star break to just a half game over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Two former all-star players, who were released by their respective teams, could be on the Giants’ radar to help hold on to the small lead in the division.

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Jonathon Papelbon, released by the Washington Nationals, and Carlos Gomez, released by the Houston Astros, were both having down years, but at one point, they were once top five players at their respective positions.

Because both players have been all-star players in the past, they will draw interest from a handful of teams who are fighting for a playoff spot.

The Giants bullpen has been a weak point all season but the team missed out on bullpen arms such as Mark Melancon and Andrew Miller before the trade deadline.

As Papelbon’s velocity has dropped, his ERA has shot up to 4.37 this season, but the Giants may take a flyer on the hot headed reliever out of pure desperation.

Santiago Casilla has been shaky all season and the middle relief has changed a number of times due to inconsistent pitching and injuries.

If the Giants sign Papelbon, they could test him out in the late innings as a set-up man. If he shows that he still has the stuff to get outs late in the game, he could be an option to replace Casilla as the closer.

The biggest gamble, and one of the main reasons the Giants may not push too hard to sign Papelbon, is his poor attitude on the field and in the clubhouse.

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The Giants, under manager Bruce Bochy, have always been known to have a great locker room. Taking a chance on a guy like Papelbon may not be worth the risk of hurting the chemistry in the clubhouse.

Gomez is in a similar situation as Papelbon. The former all-star center fielder is also a hot head and can be a cancer in the clubhouse, but the potential is definitely there.

The outfield for the Giants has been in a constant flux all season, primarily because of the injury to Hunter Pence. Since Pence came off of the Disabled List, the Giants outfield has been more consistent.

San Francisco’s starting outfield is set, baring any injuries, but the fourth outfielder, Gregor Blanco, has not been good.

He’s batting .225 on the season with just 18 RBI and six stolen bases.

Gomez, who is batting .210 with 29 RBI and 13 stolen bases, could be an option for the Giants as a fourth outfielder. He would be an upgrade over Blanco if the team can tame his temper and attitude.

Signing Papelbon and/or Gomez isn’t an ideal situation, but taking a chance on a former all-star during the last month of season couldn’t hurt.

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Neither player would cost the team a lot of money for the remaining part of the season. It’s a low risk move to sign one, or both, of these players.