Thursday, December 06, 2007

2007 GM Winter Meeting: Day Three Rumors and News

Just realized that some are rumors and some are news. One source is sfgiants.com/mlb.com and the other is MLB Rumors, another rumor site I go to. Tried to get this out last night, so there might be new news now, but I'm just finishing this up first.

ogc briefs

Lineup in flux: Ortmeier/Ishikawa/trade 1B; Frandsen/Durham 2B; Frandsen/trade 3B

Rios for Lincecum still alive, or is it? I think Sabean is screwing with Toronto.

I hate KNBR for pushing Lincecum trade for Rios. Logic fails me all around.

Few Positions Set

Not really news that only SS and C are set for the Giants right now, with Vizquel and Molina. The two sources above discuss some interesting twists that I wanted to capture here.

For the infield, a lot of possibilities, some unknown as yet, perhaps. At 1B, in addition to Ortmeier, Travis Ishikawa was brought up, though I'm not sure if the guy really know what he's talking about because he mentioned Ishikawa's struggles in AAA and, of course, he's never played there yet (or maybe it's Bochy who didn't know, as he's quoting a conversation with Bochy :^). Plus there's always the chance of a trade, but if true, that's exciting, I've been hoping the Giants give Ishikawa a chance, why not, it's his last option year for him, we need to find out what he's got now or lose him possibly. At 2B, Frandsen and Durham will be competing there. At 3B, either a trade or perhaps Frandsen.

In the outfield, unless there's a trade, always a possibility, it seems pretty set. It was noted that Winn, Roberts and Davis will definitely be starting, but the configuration is not set yet. I think it revolves around how well Nate Schierholtz and Fred Lewis does in spring training. If either one can excel and grab the starting spot in RF, then Roberts and Davis will probably platoon in LF while Winn mans CF. If neither do well, they will probably occupy spots on the bench while Roberts, Davis, and Winn starts, with Lewis and Schierholtz getting a lot of ABs anyhow, as Roberts will probably be platooned in some way, and since Lewis and Schierholtz are both lefties too, Winn could be splitting time between CF and RF extensively in 2008.

When asked what our 3-4-5 hitters would be, Bochy noted that right now it would be Winn, Molina, and Durham. He also said that Aurilia and perhaps Schierholtz will see time in there as well, depending on the cirucumstances.

The best case circumstances is that Schierholtz wins the RF spot and becomes our clean-up hitter. He might not show the power right now, but he probably has the highest homerun potential in the lineup, particularly if the lightbulb in his head turns on, like it did - after a slow start - at every level he climbed to in the minors. May as well let him get some time there, though with his low OBP, he is probably more suited for the #5 or #6 spot in the lineup, but it would seem odd to bat Durham 4th, assuming he returns to normal.

Rios for Lincecum Won't Die

Here is the latest on that from sfgiants.com. It is the deal that "won't die" as the article puts it. It is my fervent hope that, since Sabean is being so public about the angst of the deal and freely talking about it, that he's is just doing this for public consumption so that one segment of fans will "see" that Sabean is trying to do something for the offense, but then determine that the Giants do not want to let go of either Cain or Lincecum.

Here's why I think this. First, Sabean never talks about a deal in public. Never. He would either pooh-pooh it as media rumors, say there's no official comment, or say that they don't discuss deals in public because then the players who might get traded have to go through this issue for nothing if the deal falls through. That he's discussing it openly makes it seem like a PR move to me.

Second, if you read the comments coming from the other side, Toronto obviously wants to do the deal and is hopeful, but don't sound particularly positive about getting what they want. In this linked article, for example, they seem positively glum about it:

"I don't know. ... I just think we don't have much dialogue left. We're just waiting to see what their thoughts are on some things. We'd be willing to do some [different] things. I think they're weighing a lot of things on their end for other options."
Third, Sabean has been saying all along something along the lines of, "we have an interesting proposition, but we're probably not going to pull the trigger." So on the one hand, he keeps on saying it's alive, but on the other hand, he keeps saying that it's probably not going to happen.

All this makes me wonder if it was Toronto who leaked the deal to the press - which Sabean absolutely hates - and so he's leaving them twisting in the wind by leaving them hanging there by saying the deal's alive, but how alive he's not willing to divulge.

Then again, perhaps Sabean leaked it for once because he wants to show the fans that, yes, he knows the offense is horrible, but look, this is all we can get for Tim Lincecum, "Mr. Franchise!", so cut me some slack for 2008. Really, if that is the best that teams can offer for Tim Lincecum, I say we hold onto our great set of pitchers for now and revisit the trading off pitching idea until mid-season when teams are a bit more desperate. There is no reason to make a deal now, 2008 is pretty much not going to very competitive for the Giants, only the most idealistic think we have a great chance to win.

I Hate KNBR At the Moment

All day it has been "Trade Lincecum for Rios" day at KNBR, so much so that I thought hard about calling them up and giving them both barrels, and have a nice public debate on it. Unfortunately, my wife has been sick so I've been Mr. Mom and don't have time to do the call during the day.

Here are the reasonings they have been giving, it's like they handed out a paper on their position and they all have been repeating it like robots. First, the Giants offense suck, so you "have" to trade your pitching for Rios. Second, sure with one ace, you don't trade, but with two, you have to trade one for Rios. Third, the Giants have to improve their offense now for 2008 because there's the mortgage and fans don't tolerate losing well here.

Let's tackle them one by one.

First, yes, the Giants offense suck, but it will still suck after you trade Lincecum for Rios, but now your rotation will no longer be great, it will be lucky if it is average with Cain, Zito, Lowry, Sanchez, Correia/Misch. Clearly, Rios is not Lincecum's equal in value, but KNBR is united in saying, "Well, the offense sucks so you have to trade your pitching for an upgrade in offense. You HAVE to."

Well, I think Giants fans can agree on one thing about the talent level on the Giants: it is not the greatest right now, it could be a while before the ship is righted. So what they are advocating is this: "We have a great pitcher, but we HAVE to improve our offense by trading a pitcher who could be great for a good (but not great) offensive player, we have to take lesser value because we HAVE to improve our offense." So, we have a limited amount of talent so we overpay to improve our offense? What sense does that make?

Just because we need offense does not mean we should overpay for it. You compound that by doing that when you don't have a lot of talent on your team. You compound that again when the player you are getting don't make a whole lot of a difference for your team, I'll bet his improvement of the offense over, say, Schierholtz, doesn't offset the loss of Lincecum over Sanchez.

Second, the two ace so it's OK to trade rationale still don't make sense. When does it make sense to trade off another player for a lesser talent in order to fix a hole in another part of the team? Well, when you are close to the playoffs or, even better, winning it all. The Giants are closer to the beginning than the ending of that journey. Then there's when you have so much talent in your system and team that you can make sideway steps like this move in order to boost your team. As we can all agree, the Giants are not overflowing with talent, they have a great set of pitchers, but you can trade them ALL off and the offense probably is still not going to be a top of division offense.

So why does it make sense for the Giants to trade away one of their aces when you got two of them? That smacks of desperation. And some may say, yes, but desperate times require desperate means. Hitler over running Europe is desperate times, your baseball team sucking does not even rank in terms of desperation. You have to think long-term, you have to think about what your team in the future is going to be about, you can not think desperate, desperate thinking leads to desperate acts which often don't end well.

Besides, why not reach for greatness with two aces? This decision point is very similar to when Vlad was a free agent. As I wrote then, there was not much payroll to get anyone on the free agent market. We could re-sign maybe one or two of our free agents and settle for mediocrity, or we could pony up a few millions and reach for greatness and get Vlad. Signing all those players was a sign of mediocrity and, while I could rationalize passing up Vlad and doing that because he did have the injury history (and apparently a distaste for Felipe Alou), I could not do that for a Rios deal. Trading for Rios is going for mediocrity, we must reach for the World Series, not try to figure out things along the way as some suggest, that is what we have been doing for 5 years now, we need a plan, a strategy, and we must stick to it.

Third, their position is that the fan base won't tolerate losing but as I established in the first rebuttal, adding Rios does not make the offense suddenly a winner, so then the next logical step with this argument is that the Giants somehow, magically, will trade other players to make up for the talent shortfall and become a winner. If that doesn't happen after trading Lincecum, who the hell are the Giants going to trade AFTER trading Lincecum? Cain?

Let's say, we go ahead and trade Cain after trading Lincecum for Rios. We get another Rios-type hitter for the middle of the lineup. Does the lineup look like a great offensive force now? No. But now we are short two aces. Trading away more talent than you get back is something you might do when you are close to a championship AND you have a surplus of talent. The Giants are neither of those. If trading for two Rios-type hitters don't work, how does trading for one work?

This whole position reeks of desperation and hope. Hope that the Giants can develop the talent to make up for the loss of talent in the pitching. Hope that the Giants can develop the talent to cover up the talent loss in the trade. Desperation that the Giants are so hopeless offensively that we have to GIVE away pitching just to improve our offense.

Even if Lincecum is traded, it is acknowledged that the offense still needs a lot of work. So somehow the Giants are suppose to trade their way to competitiveness, even AFTER trading Lincecum. So why trade him now? Why not wait until a team is so desperate that they trade us their Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller? There is no reason to trade now, other than to appease some misguided fans that demand that something be done. Sometimes the best move is not making any move.

3 comments:

  1. I hope you are right about Sabean.....I'm not as confident as you that he won't do something done. Totally agree that Lincecum for Rios would be just plain dumb. While he is a nice player, I don't think he is the type of young impact player that you can build an offense around.

    They also have me nervous about poking around players like Tadahito Iguchi, Scott Rolen, etc. I just don't get the feeling that they are totally committed to acquiring young talent. We shall see, but all the rumors so far don't give me a great feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not sure what's up with KNBR folks. I haven't been listening all week but it seems most the on-air guys that I've heard are all really good with this trade idea. It boggles the mind.

    There are so many reason for keeping Lincecum (other than Rios is not good enough straight up), here is one I think are also worth noting: Even with a bad team I believe the Giants can get fans out to the park on weekends - a lot of people will still follow the club through thick and thin, and it's just easier for folks to get out there (with family in tow) on the weekends. The question is, are you more likely to go out there on a Tuesday night to see Rios get four ABs or to see Cain or Lincecum pitch?

    One other thing. My feeling is that Cain and Lincecum are the favorite Giants at this point. They're our boys, our Giants. We've started this journey with them, watching them come up as rookies, and we want to see it through with them. That's an intangible sure, but it's gold in the hearts of many fans. Maybe that's just me.

    ReplyDelete

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