Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Spit Take

I'm not sure what to make of this article by Tracy Ringolsby, which mentions that the Giants may be willing to trade Tim Lincecum for a "quality bat". Perhaps Ringolsby has just confused Lincecum for Noah Lowry, as Rotoworld speculated (the rest of Ringolsby's article is littered with factual errors), or maybe he's just had a little too much of the drinky-drinky, but this has touched off some shockwaves throughout the Giants community, and rightfully so. This is the sort of unthinkable doomsday scenario that should have hordes of murderous Giants fans breaking down Brian Sabean's front door with pitchforks and torches in hand (or they could just hire this guy to nuke Sabes's house).

Let me come out and say that I'm not in the "Lincecum-as-untouchable" camp. I think that the Giants should certainly be open to trading him, if the right deal comes along. If it takes Lincecum to get a potential star-quality bat, a guy who can turn into a franchise player, it's worth strongly considering. After all, I still believe that a team can return to contention quicker by rebuilding the offense than by focusing more on pitching, as the Giants have, for the simple reason that hitters are just less likely to get injured. Pitchers are just unpredictable animals, especially pitchers built like high school A/V geeks, and sometimes you just have to hold your breath and take some risks in order to improve (okay, at least risks that have some chance in hell of working out).

Lincecum, of course, looks like he might be one of the best pitchers in the league very soon, and he's under the Giants' control for the next five years or so. All of this means that if he's going to be traded, the Giants need to just demand the hills. I mean, go crazy. Screw it, ask for Carl Crawford and Reid Brignac. It might make the DRay front office harumph, but that's what it's going to take, baby.

No, the problem here isn't the idea that Lincecum might be used as trade bait; it's the idea that Brian Sabean is using him as trade bait. Look, I don't mean to keep knocking the poor guy (well, yeah I do), but I just have no confidence whatsoever that Sabean can get a good enough return if he does choose to put Timmy on the table. This is the guy, after all, who traded Francisco Liriano, a Lincecum-caliber talent, for a middling catcher, all the while feeling the need to throw in an All-Star closer and...well, let's not bring back those old sordid memories.

Another scary bit is this nebulous "quality bat" that Ringolsby talks about. Is he talking "Evan Longoria" quality or "Miguel Cabrera" quality? Or is it far, far worse? Once again, Sabean's definition of "quality" is sketchy at best, but I'd like to think he hasn't fallen so far from his pre-2002 trade acumen that he'd entertain an offer of anything less than a player who is one step away from being a superstar. If the article had said "potential franchise cornerstone", then maybe I'd feel a little safer. Maybe.

All in all, it's probably completely irrelevant. While it is a little scary that BP has picked up the rumor (with Carl Crawford potentially coming this way...meh), I still think this is probably just a bit of goofy Internet speculation churned out by a bored writer with too much writing space and way too much JD. The hysteria will probably wear off, just like it did when those crazy rumors of a Mike Matheny signing floated around a few years back.

Oh, wait...

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