I almost died laughing while driving my manual Civic on the freeway: fans always get pooh-poohed by the talk show hosts when they provide outrageous trades ("yeah, we could trade Pedro Feliz and Ryan Klesko AND Randy Winn and they will give us Johan Santana"), but Fitz didn't react at all to that outrageous trade. There is no way the Rays are giving up Young AND either Upton or Crawford. We probably could get one of them plus a nice but still developing prospect, but not what was suggested.
First Off, We Need a 3B
Plus, if we are going to trade for anyone, we are getting a 3B at minimum, in return. We have a good set of OF, both vets and prospects, so we don't need to pick up another, at least not until we traded off some of them to clear out space, else you are dealing from a position of weakness and the offers will be less than you could have gotten for them.
If we are giving up Lincecum, we should be getting Evan Longoria plus one of their MI/SS prospects coming up (they would want to keep Reid Brignac, so give us Ben Zobrist or Brendan Harris), plus a struggling formerly high prospect, like Joel Guzman, a former D-gers bonus baby (I think he got as much as Villalona got, but years ago) who had a lousy first season in AAA in 2007 (.689 OPS), can play 1B and 3B, lots of power potential but have only showed average power in the minors; he'll only be 23 for the 2008 season though, and/or Edwin Jackson, another former D-ger wunderkin gone bad.
Lincecum is a top talent so that's why we get Longoria in exchange, as he is a top talent too. But Ace pitchers are very hard to find and he has almost a full year of proven MLB experience while Longoria is good but still unproven (much like Kouzmanoff was good but unproven) so they have to give us Zobrist or Harris, one of two OK MI/SS prospects, not top line, but we only want an adequate replacement for Vizquel, plus a little high risk/high reward in Guzman and/or Jackson. I think that would be fair, though again I must state that I would not agree with Lincecum.
Proven is Better, He Sez
Dave also did the Sabean thing that fans and columnists deride and said that he chose to trade Lincecum because Cain is more proven. I will say right off that I don't know Dave's exact stance, but from my reading across the Bay Area, I don't think that there is one columnist around who thinks that Sabean should still be GM, or at least questions whether he's the right man for the job. And neither of them saw the irony that Dave was making his choice based on Cain's proven performance.
Much as I love Cain and think he's going to be an ace and the anchor of a rotation for years, I would keep Lincecum in a heartbeat if forced to chose between the two. Lincecum dominated the minors. Cain did nicely but struggled with his control while down there. Admittedly, Cain was a couple years younger than Lincecum when both were in the minors, but still, I think that Lincecum is the better pitcher, he just have better overall stuff, from what I have read and heard about the two of them.
Nyet: No Tradee LinceCain
Still, I cannot agree with trading either of them. Trading them is a similar to the dog trying to get the bone in the water, but ending up losing the bone in the water: you lose what you had before, trying to get something illusionary. We have a great situation with our pitching rotation with Cain and Lincecum in our rotation: two starters who can totally dominate the other team, both in keeping hits (and thus runners) down plus striking out a lot of batters.
It is idiocy to suggest that we trade off either one. If trading one of them would suddenly make our offense above average, then I would be for it, but even if we added Delmon Young and Carl Crawford to the team for Lincecum, we still have nothing at 3B (with the ugly thought that Feliz might return - <
Speaking of Omar, here is the official announcement of his signing. He is getting $5.0M in 2008 with a $5.2M team option for 2009 that vests to a contract under certain performance conditions (reportedly reaching 140 games played), else he gets a $0.3M buyout, making his total contract value $5.3M. The Giants are hoping that Emmanuel Burris or Brian Bocock ("their top shortstop prospects") will be ready to take over the SS position then.
Unfortunately, I read somewhere that Burris did not look good this season, and Bocock was not a top prospect last year, so it looks like of bleak going forward unless we can pick up a good SS prospect with our #5 draft pick in 2008. Don't know who is available though.
3B Is Next
In the press conference, Sabean noted that with Feliz going into free agency, he will concentrate on getting a 3B next, probably by trade. Surprisingly, Feliz has received "quite a bit of action" from teams seeking a third baseman, according to Sabes. In addition, apparently Feliz is looking for deal that could extend into a third year, which I interpreted to mean a 2 year contract with a 3rd year option.
Sabean then basically said that the Giants will not pursue Feliz "at this time" meaning that if they get desperate, they might re-open negotiations. Lets hope they don't get desperate. Though by that time, Feliz might be desperate too, and if the Giants really wanted to, they could start Aurilia at 3B, if push comes to shove.
He said that trade is the most probable avenue for getting a 3B. The article lists quite a number of 3B who might be available. The ones who seem most possible to me are Scott Rolen (feuding with manager, oft-injured, down year 2007, lots of $ for next 3 years), Troy Glaus (Toronto might want to clear out salary, play Russ Adams there instead and use money to get free agent), Akinori Iwamura (The Rays have the aforementioned Evan Longoria ready to move up; he could move to 2B, but they might want to play Harris there instead and flip Aki for prospects).
Ay, What About A-Rod?
The "A" word was mentioned (A-Rod) and the Giants appear to be taking the same stance as last year with Barry Zito: they will stay aside and observe what is happening, and reading between the lines, gauge whether A-Rod is truly interested or just using the Giants for leverage. The article noted that Sabean did not indicate his interest, but since it is known that Sabean and the Giants tried to initiate a trade with the Yankees for A-Rod a while back, I think it is pretty clear that the Giants (meaning ownership) are interested, but are waiting to see how the scrum gathering around A-Rod works out.
Lincecum Is Basically Unavailable, OK?
Lincecum was also brought up. While this writer noted that it was a qualified no-trade statement, I think it was pretty clear that Sabean is not looking to trade him, but, when you are one of the worse teams in baseball, you have to listen to every trade overture initiated by other teams for Lincecum. What Sabean said: "I am in no position to think that there's a trade out there that we would make to want to give up Lincecum. But when you finish 20 games below .500 and you're in last place, you have to listen."
So I think the author is being picky here. You never say never: if the Rays offered, say, Scott Kazmir, James Shield, Delmon Young, Carl Crawford, and Reid Brignac for Tim Lincecum, of course you trade Lincecum, but you also know that this trade would never happen in a million billion googol years. But for all intents and purposes, the Giants are not going to trade Lincecum unless they are overwhelmed.
People Don't Understand Management
That's what this writer and people I see posting on MCC always miss: Sabean cannot put everything out on the table as far as his intentions are because then the other side of the negotiating table will use that information against you. Sabean represents management, and you cannot go out there and say "Feliz is full of crap if he thinks he can get 3 years from someone", that's something you can do if you are anonymously posting your thoughts at your nearest blog.
When you do that, you can say whatever you want without consequence to yourself, so you get these "brave" souls who can rip you a new one with their rude and brutal comments, pretend that they didn't say something (they forget that the internet has a perfect memory), act like they know it all, and talk down to you like they are some high and mighty person.
You have to say something like what Sabean says when you are management, you never know when you are forced by circumstances to come back with hat in hand to try to sign the person you just disrepected openly. That will cost you, and you won't look good in the ownership's eye then.
As a public representative of the team, you are forced to say pabulum, give bland generic statements, because you don't want anything you say to come back to you, unless, that is, you decided once and for all on something, and then you can say "he's not coming back" with repercussions. I've made fun of that before, on MCC, but I know it's a dance that any public representative has to dance, that is, if you still want your job.