Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Giants Reportedly Trade for Carlos Beltran

The rumored news is that the Giants have traded for Carlos Beltran, sending Zack Wheeler to the Mets.  Out of his $6M remaining on the contract, the Giants will get a reported $4M from the Mets and pay the remaining $2M.  Because Beltran is a 10-5 player, he gets 24 hours to reflect on the trade, but reportedly will approve it, according to a report by Tim Brown of Yahoo.
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Giants Thoughts

Assuming this trade goes through, it is probably the biggest deal that Sabean has pulled off in a mid-season trade to boost their chances of making the playoffs and winning once in.  The second biggest is probably the one that netted us Ellis Burks, and I would call that a close second, mainly because Burks was not that good defensively, though an equal as a hitter.  Third would be the one early in his tenure when he acquired Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez, and Danny Darwin for a package of prospects.  I'm probably forgetting someone (I don't count the Jason Schmidt trade because he wasn't that good a pitcher when we got him, at least in terms of career accomplishments, he was just right on the cusp of breaking out), but I think those are the top three.

To fit Beltran on the 25-man roster, the Giants will need to move someone to the minors.  At first, I thought that Emmanuel Burriss was the one to lose his spot, but now I think Brandon Crawford is the one who would go, as he is only hitting .160/.236/.160/.396 for the past three weekends, and perhaps tellingly, Fontenot started the past two games at SS, despite facing RHP.  Also, on the bench, Burriss is a fast pinch-runner that could help the offense, but Crawford's main value (great value) is playing great defense at SS.  Then Crawford can work on his hitting in the minors playing regularly.

To fit Beltran on the 40-man roster, the Giants look like they will have to DFA someone.  Posey, DeRosa, and Sanchez are all already on the 60-day DL, so there is really nobody to move there, unless they are not planning on bringing back Bill Hall anyway, and since they cannot DFA him while on the DL (at least I think the rules are against that), they could move him to the 60-day potentially to open a spot, though I do not think they should be able to do that with him since he "only" got spiked.  If they actually have to DFA anyone, the speculation for a long time is that Alex Hinshaw was a goner.  I think he's the one who makes the most sense right now, unless there is some way they can manipulate the DL somehow.

They are saying that Beltran will remain in RF (reportedly is more comfortable there) and Nate Schierholtz will move to LF, where he has never played before in the majors, but has played it in the minors (along with some games in CF as well).  Nate is reportedly not comfortable playing LF, though.

In any case, the rumor is that Cody Ross and Nate will platoon in LF, which works two ways.  One is that Ross is a tweener, he kills LHP but is only adequate against RHP, so platooning him with a LHB like Nate would optimize his usage.  He will probably see a good amount of starts against RHP anyway, if he has been good against them in his career.

And the way Bochy has managed, whoever is hottest would get more starts anyway.  I would also note that the main reason Beltran got moved to RF is that the Mets had found a CF that they wanted to play so they moved him to RF even though he was still handling CF well defensively, even when he was having his kneed problems the past couple of years.  He could conceivably end up playing some CF if Torres continues to go hot and cold as he has, if Bochy can convince him to move around for the best of the team.

I see some people talking about how hot Nate has been, but he's doing what he has done for a number of seasons now, get really really hot for a while, then go really really cold for a while.  You can't win consistently with a hitter who does that to the extremes that Nate has done in his career.  So, while he got hot about a month or so ago, for the past two weeks, July 14-26, he has hit .233/.233/.302/.535 with no homers.  And while he was better against LHP in previous seasons than RHP, this season he is hitting .293/.336/.466/.802 against RHP and only .239/.280/.304/.584 against LHP, so a platoon actually would work this season if he can continue that.  He has been a bit of a tweener himself, like Ross, and a platoon should maximize his value, at least in this season.  Hopefully he can be more consistent a hitter next season and take a starting spot permanently.

Another way that this works is that Beltran has been having health problems the past two seasons and if he goes out again, the Giants will need both Ross and Schierholtz ready to take over.  Platooning should keep both of them from getting too rusty on the bench.

I am disappointed and resigned to losing Zack Wheeler.  He has of a lot of skills to like, particularly striking out batters and getting a lot of groundballs.  He is ranked among the best prospects in the majors, 30-40 range, so he is a very good prospect.  I have been worried that we will lose Lincecum to free agency and was hoping that Wheeler could allow the rotation to lose a Lincecum and not take a huge dip.  Now that will obviously not happen.

The Giants are giving up a lot to rent Beltran for two months, albeit, he would greatly improve our offense.  Had Huff been hitting like he did last season (or Posey not knocked into the 2012 season), I don't think that this trade would have gotten done (or even Burrell hitting), but with the offense running on fumes for a while, they felt the need to give it an additional boost.

I would have been OK with the status quo, the Giants even with Beltran will have a hard time taking the Phillies in the playoffs.  Why make such a big trade just for the hope of winning this season?  I would rather take the long-term view.   I am still hoping that the two teams will be the top teams and thus not play each other in the first round, and that the Phillies get upset in the first round by the wild-card team.  I have no problem with missing them that way.

But I do trust the Giants brain trust to make the decision on who to keep and who to let go.  If they are letting Wheeler go, then I have to think that he's not on their keeper list for some reason.  A reason that none of the prospect hounds apparently see because he's seen as a future top of rotation starter.  I would have rathered that the Giants would have worked out some way to pick up Colby Rasmus or another young player who would be boosting our chances to win for more than just this season, which Beltran hopefully is doing this season.

In any case, the only prospect that the Giants gave up who has gone on to become an elite level player is Francisco Liriano (Nathan was not a prospect when he was traded).  And his injury history makes him a bad player to have on your playoff competing team, because once he is out, your team is usually screwed for the season because you can't replace talent like that normally in your roster.  He was and still is a huge injury risk and the Twins playoff chances take huge hits when he's injured or performing badly, which happens seemingly every other season.  So Sabean has a pretty good track record, the best prospects traded away are Liriano, Keith Foulke, and Bob Howry, and Carlos Villanueva looks like he'll be joining the list some day.

I don't anticipate the Giants trying to resign Beltran except for maybe 1 or 2 seasons.  That should be doable for the finances, the pitchers will really be much more expensive going beyond 2013.  And if we hope to dominate this decade, they will need to retain as many of their top pitchers as they can (meaning Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner).  But with Boras as his agent, I expect him to go for maximum years and maximum dollars, and I don't think the Giants can do that and still hold onto their pitching, unless Neukom puts a lot more money into the team to pay for all that.  Plus, do we really want to commit big money long-term to an injury prone mid-30's outfielder like Beltran?

Still, exciting move - once officially announced - that should energize the team and the fan base.  Carlos Beltran gives us two switch-hitting elite hitters in the middle of the lineup, paired up with Pablo Sandoval.  If Beltran can go on a huge hitting spree, like the last time he was a pending free agent, that should win the Giants the NL West division title easily, and help us avoid the Phillies in the first round.

It could also help the rest of the players (and I'm looking at you Aubrey Huff) relax and play within their abilities, which is actually good enough if they could just do that.  The loss of first Posey, then Sanchez, plus Burrell's fade out, from the lineup has put a lot of pressure on the team's remaining hitters.  Beltran and Sandoval in the middle should make everyone else around them better, giving the other guys better pitches to swing at and thus be more successful.

Adding a great hitter like Beltran is always a good thing, obviously.  Though he is no guarantee of a repeat, he does greatly improves the chances of it happening.  He cost a lot but great hitters usually do.  As much as I like Wheeler, he does walk too many, and perhaps the Giants think that he will never solve that problem, because he doesn't dominate (that is, strike out a huge number) like you need to in order to mitigate all the extra walks that he gives up.  However, he does generate a lot of groundouts, so if he does figure out how to reduce the walks, watch out, he's going to be a great one.  And should a team get desperate to sign Beltran quickly, he could possibly sign early and give us those draft picks, though I wouldn't count on it.

24 comments:

  1. Just realized that people might not be realizing that I have my usual long posts, I have been using their jump function but I was surprised that there is nothing on the post that warns readers that there is more after "the jump". Please tell me if you have been confused, I'll stop if it is, I just thought I would use this since I know my long posts makes it hard to see all the posts and info on my front page.

    Thanks!

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  2. Ugh, hate losing long comments...

    Dang Safari!

    Basically, don't know if it is just my mind justifying the trade, but my ardor for Wheeler fell as I thought about it more today.

    First of all, I think the key thing that I didn't focus enough on was that Wheeler is already 21 and still in Advanced A, yet he isn't really dominating down there. Nice K/9 but that will go down drastically in the majors unless he can figure out a strikeout pitch. And his walk rate will just balloon even worse in the majors until he figures out how to control his pitches. I mean, Bumgarner just turned 21 himself this season.

    Second, I went through the Cal League, back 4-5 seasons, looking for 20-21 YO pitchers and what their K/9 and K/BB were, and the ones with ratios similar to Wheeler were prospects I did not recognize - and I try to know each teams' top prospects - or ones that I knew flamed out already. Few were ones who made it to the majors, suggesting that minor league prospects with ratios like Wheeler tend to flame out in some way.

    Third, Sabean has a no-trade list and at some point in the past couple of weeks (tried to locate the money quote but failed) he noted that his no-trade list is not necessarily the same as the no-trade list that others outside might think. I think this trade of Wheeler is a sign that Zack was not on that list.

    FYI, there was a good interview Tim Kawakami did with Sabean recently: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2011/07/24/sabean-on-trade-talks-quite-frankly-the-line-up-needs-a-lot-of-help/

    In it, Sabean notes that there are 3 or 4 on his no-trade list.

    I think now that Brown, Panik, Surkamp are on that list. Belt could be on that list as well, not sure if he's gone past his rookie eligibility yet. If he is eligible, though, certainly on the list. That could explain the 3 or 4 comment.

    Tim tried to pin Sabean on that statement, but was not able to get a definitive answer about whether Belt is on that list or not.

    So, overall, I think other teams can see this same information, so the Giants had a choice: keep Wheeler and hope he somehow figures it out, trade him for someone else's equally confounding question mark, or trade him for a rental.

    Carlos Beltran, probably being the best rental middle lineup run-producing bat on the market, qualifies as a great deal, following this logic and observations I made above.

    I am always OK with rentals when it involves players not on their keeper list, they have had a great track record with that. I'm still sad that it is Wheeler, but given the info above, you either have a little hope that maybe he figures it out in the next 2-4 years or you go with a very known quality like Beltran who can give your team a huge boost today, this season.

    Once seen this way, this trade looks like a great deal for the Giants. I think the team should have had this philosophy back when we had an opportunity to sign Vlad instead of signing a bunch of no-names to fill the roster. Aim for the heights, get the difference maker.

    Unfortunately for Wheeler, he doesn't look as great a prospect as I thought he might be pre-season. And so he's the faded prospect we give up for a big chance to do something in the NL in 2011.

    Hopefully Beltran is up for it, he was super the times he was traded and joined a team in the middle of the pennant race. Hopefully he can be the Cody Ross and Edgar Renteria of the 2011 Playoffs.

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  3. I was updating my side column on the Giants performance and looking at the data, the Giants offense has actually been producing this month, averaging 3.91 runs per game.

    And for the past three months, the team has been allowing roughly 3.33 runs per game (and actually been getting better from month to month). At that rate, to play at a .550 winning percentage (roughly 89 win season), the Giants need to score an average of 3.75 runs per game.

    Now, on top of that, they add Carlos Beltran. Given how poorly Huff has been hitting in the clean-up spot, eyeballing the lineup analyzer, the addition of Beltran could add 0.2 runs to the team, per game, replacing Huff's poor production there with Beltran hitting 3rd and Sandoval hitting 4th. Assuming the offense continues at his higher pace, adding 0.2 would put the offense roughly in the 4.1 range, which with our pitching should put the team on a 95 win rate.

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  4. Thinking more about Beltran after 2011, I think his bad knees has to play to our advantage if the Giants decide that they want to keep him for 2 more seasons like they did with Huff. Other teams have to be wary of the knees and thus also go with a 2 year offer.

    That would change the decision process for Beltran, because now the total money between the Giants and other bidders will be about equal, kind of like the quandary that Uribe was in with the D-gers and Giants bidding for him.

    Most players really enjoy playing for the Giants, it seems, and he already have a couple of buddies on the team, Andres Torres idolized him (as much as a 32 YO man can idolize someone just a couple of years older) and Sandoval came over to talk with him on the Giants flight when they were flying together to the All-Star game. He could be very comfortable here, very fast.

    Also, Beltran is nearing the end of his career. One would think that making the playoffs and winning it all has to be a huge factor in where he goes. Obviously, with their pitching, the Giants will be trying to get back there every year for at least the next two season, if not longer once Lincecum and/or Cain are signed to long-term contracts.

    The key now is how much is he expecting to be paid plus how much other teams would be willing to pay for him this off-season. Huff got $11M per from the Giants, so one would think something in the $13-15M range is what Beltran could hope to get in the market, given his prior injury history.

    Given all this, Beltran might not be a rental, and that could have changed the calculus that the Giants was going through in deciding on this trade and giving up on Wheeler. Obviously, they can't say that now, that would give Boras negotiating leverage when the off-season comes. But I would not be surprised if the Giants are bidding for Beltran's services in the off-season.

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  5. I thought the same about re-signing Beltran. The trade makes more sense if that's the plan, and thinking about the '12 season with a 3-4-5 lineup of Beltran, Posey, Sandoval sounds pretty legitimate to me. Let's see what happens and hope for the best.

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  6. Great post, OCG; thanks for all this. Two quick things:

    1. The "untouchable" list is almost certainly Belt, Brown, Hembree. Panik and Crick (and all other 2011 draftees) aren't tradeable for a year by league rule. Surkamp, while intriguing, isn't projected as a front of the rotation starter.

    2. Beltran is quite likely to get a 4-5 year deal from an AL team who will be able to DH him. Don't be misled by the "I don't want to DH" quotes from Beltran; he was speaking about THIS year. He'll DH part time next year and then move into a full DH role as he gets into his late 30's. He won't be a Giant next year.

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  7. Thanks for the comment Mario, and for taking it to the logical next step.

    Yes, Beltran, Posey, Sandoval sounds like a great lineup 3-4-5. Even better if Huff continues his even-odd years of performance and ends with a bang in 2012 with us, as the 6th hitter. That would make Schierholtz a good 7th hitter, and with an improved offense, the Giants could afford to start Crawford as the SS in 2012. That would leave Torres and Franchez up top, unless the Giants start Beltran in CF and move Torres to LF for 2012 (Rowand too if they are platooned again).

    FYI, the NL average RS is 4.10 runs per game so far in 2011. That is a steep drop from the 4.33 of 2010, and that was a good drop from the 4.43 average in 2009. It was 4.54 in 2008 and 4.71 in 2007 and 4.76 in 2006 (only 4.45 in 2005).

    So the scoring has dropped over half a run per team in the last few years.

    In any case, as woeful the Giants offense has been, it appears that the addition of Beltran should boost our offense at least back to the average level it was in 2010, and if this helps Huff return to 2010 form, maybe even above average.

    Key hitters in July for Giants: Tejada .333/.378/.524/.902, Sandoval .306/.358/.529/.887, Schierholtz .322/.341/.494/.835, Whiteside .250/.348/.400/.748. Plus Brandon Belt's couple of nice games.

    Huff has been horrible in July, but better after the ASB, when he said he will try to start fresh. Since the ASB, he has hit .263/.326/.368/.694 with 4 BB and 6 K in 38 AB, which is not too bad but not good enough yet. He needs a few more extra base hits and his batting line would be OK. Average NL 1B hitting .265/.344/.439/.783.

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  8. Thanks Jewy, very good points, thanks.

    Yes, I was thinking about that about 2011 draftees, but went with the overall concept, not the way you did, but I totally see your point, and I agree that Hembree should be on the list, I forgot to include him.

    I know most lists do not include Surkamp, but I like that he basically jumped the first big hurdle - AA - and still doing what he does, high K/9, high K/BB, I'm really encouraged by that. But yeah, I see your point, he still has a lot to prove.

    There is just something that got me excited about him. But my gut has been wrong before. And him not having an out pitch, he will need to prove himself at each and every level. And Pucetas flamed out before reaching majors, for a recent example. Thanks for curbing my enthusiasm.

    Forgot about the AL. Still, if he wins it all with the Giants this season, he might be willing to go 2 years and go DH after that. But I see your point, he's probably not coming to the Giants.

    Not that I thought it was good odds that the Giants would get him. But I, like I think most fans, only really thought of him as a rental with no future with the Giants, and then I realized that maybe there could be a future.

    And DH or no DH, a hitter has to be able to run, and knees are a dangerous part of the body for long-term problems. I would bring up Ellis Burks as one example, he only got three years from Indians when he went free agent. And Andre Dawkin was crippled by his knee problems.

    Plus, it has got to spook most teams that Beltran went ahead and got knee surgery without notifying or consulting with the Mets. I think that costed him a 4-5 year deal as you propose that he will get in his next deal.

    I think something in line with Burks' 3 year deal is more realistic, then it becomes a 2 year deal with Giants, which presumably he will like, vs. 3 year deal with a team he doesn't know as well, potentially. Plus, the Giants could put in an option year based on PA in 2013 to vest 2014, which could make the offers similar enough.

    Anyway, I know this is all speculation, that's how my brain works, I look at every angle I can think of and then I finally stop.

    Until I think of another angle... :^D

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  9. Latest news from Baggarly is that Burriss has been optioned to AAA to open up a 25-man spot for Beltran. I guess Crawford's defense is too important in the Giants mind, and Burriss' speed, not so much. I read too much into Fontenot starting, Crawford is starting today.

    Here is Baggarly's blog post on Sabean news conference regarding Beltran trade: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/extrabaggs/2011/07/28/brian-sabean-on-beltran-hopefully-this-shows-we-mean-business/

    Big news include:

    The Giants decided to give up Wheeler only after vice president Dick Tidrow, Sabean’s most trusted advisor and the Henry Ford of pitching development, assured him that the farm system has enough power arms to absorb the loss.

    Bill Hall was DFAed, ironically again because Keppinger came around.

    Notes that Belt will play a role similar to Ishikawa's last season.

    Sabean still looking for offense, in any case, though C and SS looking not so good.

    Lots more in transcripts

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  10. I see a lot of tweets questioning why Huff instead of Belt.

    The fact is that if Huff can figure out what is wrong, he's an impact hitter. Belt, however, looks like he's still having problems striking out too much, even in AAA, let alone the majors.

    But I have to think that Huff is nearing the end of Bochy's rope. That he has warmed up after the ASG helps but still not good enough. I think/hope the Giants are hoping that the addition of Beltran will take off enough pressure on Huff and he loosens up and hit like he did last season.

    And if he does not respond, then Belt will start taking over more starts by, say, mid-August, and the hotter player will get the starts, just like how Bochy has managed in the past. Belt will get his chance, but only after they are sure that Huff is just having one of those years.

    Remember, Sandoval played all season and didn't lose his starting job until playoffs. It can and will happen if Huff continues to scuffle, but I think fan's unreal expectations about what Belt can do is interfering with their beter judgement regarding this situation.

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  11. Another point that I should have been noting regarding the impact of Beltran is that one of the major problems this season is that Huff and Torres have not been delivering against RHP, so the Giants have a pretty poor 40-36 record against RHP. They had an excellent record last season (68-50 RHP vs. 24-20 LHP). Their record this year is built on LHP: 20-8.

    Adding a premiere RHB should help our record greatly against RHP, he is hitting .313/.428/.504/.932 against RHP, "only" .232/.288/.547/.836 against LHP, most via 8 HR in only 95 AB. Not only that, but he has been hitting really well from May to July, after figuring things out in April.

    That could boost our scoring by almost 0.4 runs per game versus what we were getting before. That should greatly help our winning percentage against RHP.

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  12. Looking at the splits in greater detail points out where Huff has been scuffling the worse: against RHP. That really hurts the offense in the cleanup position, really anywhere, as he is around .600 OPS. He is much better against LHP, .745 OPS. That would help explain to a large extent our poor record against RHP.

    Torres also hurts the team this season, only .732 OPS, vs. RHP. He was much better last season. And Keppinger really shouldn't be starting against RHP, they should play Fontenot (though this season he's worse than Keppinger). Oddly for him too, hitting much much better against LHP than RHP, both suffering a lot of bad luck vs. RHP. (.222 BABIP for Fontenot, .229 BABIP for Huff)

    And, of course, having Whiteside as the C instead of Posey really hurts the offense too.

    Adding Beltran would give us three good hitters against RHP: Beltran, Sandoval, and Schierholtz. And if this unleashes Huff as well, we would have four good hitters, plus Torres does OK getting on base up top.

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  13. Red flag for me on Wheeler is the BB/9. I also hadn't put together the 21/High A connection. It does seem like a better trade in that light.

    I don't know what to make of Huff - he may be pressing, he may be playing hurt, or both. Certainly with Sandoval a question mark at the start of the season (and out for a while) and Posey out after two months, he was the ostensible cleanup hitter, and may not have the makeup for that.

    Either way, I think Beltran will help the whole lineup - the "torture" bit makes the games fun to watch, but it has to wear down the players eventually. Belt too got put in the shoes of being as much of an impact player as Posey, especially as Huff seems unwilling or unable to play the outfield.

    As long as Beltran can stay healthy...

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  14. Good insights obsessive, as well as everyone else. My enthusiasm about Wheeler tempered a bit as I kept up with his performance this year and his inability to dominate at a level I think the front office hoped he would- albeit, he's still only 21 and he still pitched well. That perspective softened the cost of the Beltran rental a bit more.

    However, who do you suppose were the power arms being referred to by Tidrow, other than Runzler and Crick, who will help to absorb the loss of Wheeler?

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  15. Marc, I think it was the combination of lack of strikeouts and low K/BB ratio plus his age in only Advanced A that did it for me. I am not bothered by a high walk rate as long as he can strike out enough to keep his K/BB ratio above 3 in the minors and ideally much higher.

    And don't get me wrong, I think Wheeler still could figure it out. It is just that players who are having a hard time figuring it out in Advanced A is going to take a while to make it to the majors, and I think that part is a key fact why he was traded.

    And that was one of the points that Sabean noted that I did not reference yet, that he said that they did not think that "Wheeler would impact our situation in the immediate future". Contrast that with what he said about Bumgarner, that he would make the majors in two years, which he did. He never said that about Wheeler that I'm aware of.

    Wheeler is at least two seasons away from the majors, and probably at least three years from making an impact at the major league level. If the Giants draft a pitcher they see with good potential in next year's draft, that pitcher could be coming up when Wheeler comes up.

    Another thought I had regarding the Giants willingness to give up on Wheeler is one of the reasons many of us wanted to hold onto Wheeler is because we will need replacement starters atop the rotation if we lose starting pitchers, particularly Lincecum.

    But what we don't know is Neukom's willingness to boost his investment in the Giants to enable the Giants to keep Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner atop our rotation for the rest of the decade. If he's willing to bankroll that, an ace Wheeler, while great for almost any team, would not be necessary for a team like the Giants having a rotation with those three up top.

    That would make it much more palatable to trade if the thought is that the Giants can hold onto those key three for the long term, while they try to develop the next to join them.

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  16. I see your point about how torture might wear down some players, but I would note that the opposite is also possible, that pulling things out of their nether regions and winning games they had no reason to win could give them a quiet confidence in the face of daunting odds. At least from their public face, they appear to be that, particularly Cain who one would think would have succumbed to that thinking years ago.

    About Huff, he is actually hitting much better 4th than 3rd this season, even better 5th, this season. But for more of his career he has hit 4th and hit OK there, .278/.346/.458/.804, which is to your point, he has been much better batting 3rd in his career, .291/.351/.508/.859, and he has spent a large portion of his career there as well. He has not done as well at any other lineup position.

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  17. JA, thanks, yes a lot of good comments.

    According to one of the accounts, these are the names Sabean noted as possible replacements: "Sabean put his trust in vice president Dick Tidrow, who assured the G.M. that the team had more power arms in the system -- Dan Runzler, Heath Hembree, Eric Surkamp and recent pick Kyle Crick among them."

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_18569262?source=rss

    I find it odd that Surkamp was included in the list, his fastball is rated as high 80's, maybe 90 MPH, which is the minimum for a LHP to be successful usually. That is not a power arm.

    However, BA's description notes that with his size (6' 5"), the coaches think that they can get him to throw harder, eventually. Maybe he's throwing with higher velocity this season? Anybody heard?

    Anyway, as I noted above, Wheeler looks like a long-term project who may or may not pay off, and even if he did, if the Giants plan on keeping the big 3, he would only be the 4th guy, nice but not necessary. That gives the Giants time in the next 1-2 drafts to find somebody to replace Wheeler. As BP once noted, the Giants found Matt Cain with a back first round pick, and they could do it again (forgetting, of course, that such picks are usually just lottery picks that don't pay off most of the time).

    Meanwhile, we get a potential difference maker, both in terms of helping the team get into the playoffs and making a run at the World Series championship again.

    I'm getting more and more comfortable with the logic of the trade and seeing that it was the better move than holding on to Wheeler just in case, particularly if Neukom is bankrolling keeping the big 3 with us for most of this decade.

    I think that is a key factor for making this move seem like a no-brainer to the Giants, that Neukom will bankroll keeping the key players. That is how success in the business world works, where one see risk from their perspective (me when the trade was being speculated on), the other (Giants management) see another perspective based on inside knowledge that we don't have access to, like their scouting reports on Wheeler, their finances, Neukom's willingness to bankroll massive payrolls.

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  18. Something else that I didn't touch on yet is the $4M that the Mets are giving us.

    That basically pays for the Giants monetary investment in Wheeler so far (bonus and salaries) plus change, essentially making the Giants #6 pick in 2009 become 2-3 months of Carlos Beltran in 2011 season at $2M roughly (I think he's owed $2.5M and we got roughly $500K in change from the money relative to Wheeler's payments before).

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  19. Re: Surkamp, I like him as well and his peripherals are nice as you note. However, as you say he has no "out" pitch. This is a big problem. I'm rooting for him to make it, and he could become a nice #5 behind Tim/Cain/Bum/Song if we deal Sanchy this offseason.

    Re: Beltran, you have to always keep in mind that his agent is Scott Boras. I'm not one of these mindless internet goofs who bashes agents in general and considers Boras the devil, but I do recognize that Boras has a huge ego and will want to make sure that his players get top dollar to protect HIS reputation for future clients. OTOH, I've read reports that opine Boras was steering his client toward SF all along so that a memorable post season run (which Beltran is certainly known for) could endear him to our fanbase so much that Sabean et. al. would pony up the big cash to re-sign him. Not likely, but an interesting theory.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Another Surkamp thought: his fastball resides in the 86-89 range, but he's got very good control. He could very well end up being a Rueter type. We will need another lefty to balance the rotation (assuming Sanchy gets traded and Zito continues to be Zito) and he very well could be the #5 guy in 2013.

    Oh, and don't sleep on Andrew Susac, who has not yet signed (at least, officially) and who I expect to move up the minors very quickly. We have a good amount of talent behind the dish in the system (Sanchez, Ramirez, Monell, Joseph) but I could see Susac finishing the season at Augusta, ending up in San Jose next year, and pushing for a roster spot in 2013. He's that good.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for your comments Jewy!

    Won't forget that Boras is the agent, but at Beltran's age, playoff competitiveness has to be a factor.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Like the trade but I'm not one of those who thinks Wheeler's stock had dropped. I just think Sabean realized he absolutely had to get an impact bat and Alderson was firm in demanding Wheeler. I think it is probable that Wheeler will eventually be a #1 or #2 starter in the majors.

    I also do not expect Beltran to be wearing a Giants uniform next season. This is a rental, pure and simple. I tend to believe Sabes prefers it that way because there is a wave of talent in the Giants system approaching the majors that will allow the Giants to control their costs and pay to keep their pitching core intact. Sabes didn't want to take on a long term veteran obligation that might block the wave from cresting.

    The reason I like the deal is the Giants have a legitimate shot at winning back-to-back WS. I think they've already proved last year was not a fluke, but winning again would make them one of the great teams of all time. Beltran significantly increases the probability of that happening.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for your comments DrB. You make a lot of sense, I see your points.

    And that's probably the most important point that I did not focus on, that adding Beltran gives the Giants chances a huge boost and now they have a legitimate shot at winning back-to-back championships.

    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete

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