Monday, December 10, 2007

Kawakami's Off On Rios

ogc brief

Kawakami says be bold and trade Lincecum for Rios, because there's no better offer.

Just because there's no better offer doesn't make it a good offer.

Just because it's bold, doesn't make it a good move for the team.

There's no reason to hurry into such a deal, we are not competitive with or with Rios in 2008.

It's bolder to go against public opinion and to follow your vision, your plan.

Kawakami Riff on Rios

I'm a little late to the party on this - Grant on McCovey Chronicles did some pieces, like this one, on Tim Kawakami's blog rationale for getting Rios, see link on Grant's post - but I thought I would take issue with some of his statements that he made in the San Jose Mercury column he wrote.

Kawakami exhorts Sabean to do the daring bold move and trade Lincecum for Rios, harkening back to Sabean's earthshattering trade of Matt Williams for Jeff Kent et al which prompted the motto that will mark his tenure for most Giants fans, "I am not an idiot." He has no better option available via trade or free agency, so Sabean has to make this move, so says Kawakami. Then he says that Rios is a potential 30 HR hitter while Lincecum could break down physically.

Giants Thoughts

There's cautious and there's reckless. Just because a move is bold does not make it a good move. If anything, keeping Lincecum and making do with what we got would actually be a bolder move because it pretty much writes off 2008. I think the Giants underestimates the fans. Part of the reason fans didn't attend during the 70's and 80's was because there were not players who looked like they would be great, we had good players like John "the Count" Montefusco, Bill "Maddog" Madlock, Vida Blue, Jack Clark, Jose Uribe, but Cain and Lincecum are already good and has the potential to be great, barring injury and such.

In addition, the Williams-Kent trade was way different from this trade. With the Williams trade, we gave up an oft-injured old 3B and received a starting 2B, starting SS, a very promising starter/reliever, and a fungible starter/reliever. For Lincecum, all we would be getting is an OF who is just figuring things out at a position where we have a lot of prospects ready for a shot, including one who is arguably similar to Rios, except it is early Rios, before he figured out the power and the hitting, in Schierholtz. For a similar deal, we would get Rios plus a 3B (since we need one there) and a pitching prospect.

And where is Rios getting 30 HR? Rios was much below average his first two seasons in the majors. Plus, even today, his HR/FB is nothing extraordinary, so unless he cuts down his strikeouts drastically - and it is borderline good at that - or somehow boosts his flyball rate dramatically or somehow boost his HR rate dramatically, he's never going to touch 30 HR in a season.

Wrong Trade Comparison

Kawakami is also using the wrong trade as a comparison. Trading Lincecum for Rios is not like the Williams trade, it is more like the Accardo-Hillenbrand trade, where we traded away a pitcher before he had established his talents in return for a player that didn't make a big difference to the lineup.

A trade like this expresses the same impatience in team building as the Accardo trade, looking for a quicker fix to the offense. At least the Accardo trade was understandable, as we were close to first place at the time and needed just average 1B help (though ultimately he was just as bad as Niekro). Right now, trading for Rios won't make the offense even average by himself, it is just stemming the bleeding from the loss of Bonds, which is something Kawakami admits.

Relax

We are not in a 100 yard sprint, we are in a marathon. Sometimes the best move is no move. Particularly in this case, there is no compelling reason to hurry, no urgency to rebuilding the offense, unless you think the Giants can be competitive in 2008. A deal like this for a good RF/CF should still be available from someone should we decide to move Lincecum later in 2008, but a pitcher like Lincecum won't.

A deal like this is the easy way out, one where you cover your ass and say, "see I tried something." Those types of moves are rarely good overall or long term. And just because it is the best player we can get for Lincecum today does not make it a good deal for the Giants.

To win, I believe you need an overall strategy for the future and stick by it. That's bolder than following public opinion and the local critics. It's easy to say, "improve" the offense, trade the pitching. It's harder to have an overall philosophy, a plan that guides your player acquisition decisions, and to stick by that plan, while understanding you sometimes need to take a step back before taking two steps forward.

It's figuring out if the move is the right step back that will lead to two steps forward, or end up being more steps backward. A Rios deal for Lincecum would be the latter in my opinion, because at some point, you are going to say, we need a Lincecum-type to pair up with Cain. And you won't get one of those easily.

6 comments:

  1. If this clown Sabean trades away Lincecum for a very unproven Rios then he needs to be fired on the spot. That is all I have to say about that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very well said. It would be a panic move made out of desperation to trade Lincecum for Rios. Panic is never a good basis for any decision and almost never produces a good result.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do not agree with your paralell to the Accardo/Hillenbrand trade. We gave up a young pitcher with an upside for a player that really sucked and had been tossed out by a few teams already. Rios is certainly not the equivalent of Hillengarbage. You are getting a player with very real talent that is just entering his prime. Not comparable at all.

    Having said that, Rios is not enough to trade Lincecum for. If Sabean does make this trade, then he really will prove that he was wrogn when he stated that "I am not an idiot." We all know that he is an idiot based on how he has mismanaged the Giants organization these last number of years. This move would cement it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Boof,

    I think Hillenbrand is about as close to Rios as Accardo is to Lincecum. In otherwords it ain't just Hillenbrand that ain't no Rios, Accardo ain't no Lincecum either.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Martin, this is not in response to this post, so I apologize. But, Ann Killion had an article in this morning's Mercury News to the effect there doesn't appear to be any plan in place for the Giants. I am definitely not a fan of Ann Killion and there are many criticisms I could level at her, even for this one article. I think it is kind of taking chjeap shot to assess Sabean's "plan" or his "winter progress" in early December. But having said that, I am not sure that Killion doesn't have a point. You and I have been laboring under the belief that Sabean has a plan: pitching, speed, defense. So, I ask you, have you heard ANY news that would lead you to believe a) there is a plan, b) this Winter is not, in the words of the critics, "business as usual?"
    Whose names have we heard? A. Jones (surprising), Rolen, Rowand, Matsui. And several more. I have not, that I recall, heard a single rumor that would indicate Sabean has had serious discussions with another team about a young propsect, especially an IF prospect, say a Zobrist or an Encarnacion, etc, etc. So far I am not seeing even a hint that there is a plan, or more accurately, the plan that I thought was obvious is THE plan: I see no commitmment to our young players, especially the OFs. Instead, I hear rumors that perhaps 2, TWO, more veteran OFs may be brought in. Let's just say, at a minimum, I'm perplexed. Your take?

    ReplyDelete
  6. allfrank, I'm working on a response to Killion's assertion. Thanks for your comments.

    I will note here, though, that Sabean's targets are rarely, if ever (don't recall one but I'm sure there must have been a few over the years), publicized until they become fact.

    Also, there's serious negotiations or there's the kicking of the tires, like when (and I still laugh when I think of this) he, himself, admitted on (probably with Ralph) a show that he did contact Gary Sheffield, and said that he asked him if he wanted more than $10M, and when Gary did, that was the end of Sabean's interest (at the time, it was widely known that he was going to get way above $10M; he ended up getting $13M per season from the Yankees; I'm laughing still :^)

    ReplyDelete

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