Thursday, July 30, 2009


Giants Deal For Crappy Infielder; Sky Is Blue

First things first. Brilliant win tonight, with the Giants taking advantage of the pitching inability of Rodrigo Lopez, who is inexplicably back in the major leagues again. Eugenio Velez had three hits, Pablo had a splashdown, Jonathan Sanchez pitched a good game, and the team took Game One from a red hot Phillies team currently trying to run away with the NL East. The only thing keeping it from being absolutely perfect was when Chase Utley stepped out early and then homered after being buzzed by an errant Sanchez pitch. A swinging strikeout in that situation would have been divine.

Okay, so I caught wind of the Freddy Sanchez rumors yesterday at work. When it became almost a certainty that Sanchez would be a Giant, I started rolling around who would be sent the other way to Pittsburgh. Probably not a great prospect, I figured, certainly not one of the Big Four. My guess was some combination of Kevin Frandsen (would have made sense) and/or one or two Scott Barnes-esque A-ball types that we've never heard of.

Later on I learned that it was indeed Tim Alderson, one of the Four, being sent to the Pirates. Tim Alderson. The 60th best prospect in baseball, according to Kevin Goldstein of BP, and a guy placed on many Top 100 lists before this season. A bit after that, I read that no money would be changing hands, i.e. the Pirates would not be paying any of the $6 million owed to Sanchez this year or the $8 million option that will most likely vest for 2010. As it so happens, my day job requires me to be very friendly to all of the people I interact with on a daily basis. No, this wasn't going make it easy.

Freddy Sanchez once won a batting title by hitting .344. That's wonderful, but man cannot live on batting average alone, and that was three years ago, anyway. Since then he's been decent-to-awful and, at 31, he is not young nor getting better. He doesn't walk, he doesn't hit for power, and he doesn't play phenomenal defense, certainly no better than Juan Uribe. He's a singles hitter with a mediocre OBP, a sub-.700 OPS waiting to happen. Don't the Giants have enough of these guys already? And as if that weren't enough, he's also hurt. Just ugh.

In fact, at this point, Sanchez isn't much of an upgrade from Uribe playing a full-time second base. That's not flattering. I don't think Uribe can sustain his current hitting line, but the fact that it's even close should be a big freakin' indicator that maybe this trade isn't worth it. The only reason this trade was made was because of the shiny All-Star credentials Sanchez has, but someone needs to tell Brian Sabean that someone had to be the Pirates' representative all those years. It wasn't going to be Tike effing Redman.

There are some Giants fans now who want to see Sabean waterboarded and lynched, much less fired, over this. I don't like the trade at all, but I will say that I don't see it blowing up in the team's face. The major reason for this is that Alderson just isn't the prospect he was coming into the season. Scouts have been down on him all year, as apparently his stuff has waned to that of a finesse lefty. Keith Law, who used to rave about him after having seen him pitch in high school, said in a chat today that he basically projects as a fifth starter now. Yeah, that doesn't exactly get me excited.

So trading Alderson isn't the end of the world, and probably doesn't merit the kind of venom being spit at Sabean in the past 24 hours. My question: If you are going to trade Alderson, was it even remotely possible to nab either Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham? Why not use that trade chip to net a guy with power who could improve the lineup substantially? I voiced concern about the defensive side of the spectrum, but if the Giants are just going to put Velez out there, why not go after one of these slow guys?

I'm basically having too much fun with the Giants to get too riled up about silly trades like this. I'm perturbed, but not ready to jump in front of an oncoming semi...yet. Freddy Sanchez isn't that good, the Giants overpaid for him, but it's probably not the worst thing in the world and he will be at least a marginal improvement, for what that's worth. It just seems like the team could have gotten a little more for what they gave up.

Par for the course. This just makes the third year in a row that the Giants have obtained the services of a player who's seen better days in years past and were already on the decline when they showed up in SF. Zito, Rowand (though he's better this year), and now Sanchez.

And for my obligatory Damon Bruce Hate, he sounded really happy about both Garko and Sanchez a couple of days ago. At least he gave the impression that the Giants, who needed a 'bat', went out and got two... If I wasn't so apathetic, I'd have to start a Fire Damon Bruce blog.
I'll follow your lead and start a sister site called Fire Bruce Jenkins.
So I just now find out that the Red Sox just aquired Victor Martinez from the Indians... Did I miss the memo that said the Giants didn't have a hole behind the plate?

I'm pretty sure these 'moves' were done more to cover Sabean's ass. Now his defenders can point to his actually having done something at the trade deadline even though it isn't a significant upgrade and likely won't make a difference in the final two months.

And the performance this season is going to absolutely kill expectations for next year.
Sanchez is about a 150 OPS improvement at 2B, and It cost them what appears to be a #5 starter in 2011.

V-Mart cost the Sox Masterson, Price, and Haggadone. Alderson might contribute some day, but Masterson is a solid ML arm right now who can start, relieve, and set-up.

There was no way the Giants could, would, or should have matched that package for one year and 2 months of Victor whose value is much greater at C (Posey's) than at 1B.

I am no fan of Sabean, but this is a very good move.
Well, Sanchez is certainly proving you right so far. My issue is that if Alderson is being dangled out there, I would have tried to go after a power bat. Maybe Sabean did, and there was no interest. We'll probably never know.

And I completely agree that Martinez wasn't worth the kind of package the Sox gave up, certainly not for the Giants with their Posey/Sandoval/Molina logjam.
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