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…. Cain and Disable?

Looks like Brian Sabean is getting ready to make another franchise-devastating trade:

…. It's becoming more apparent, though, that if the Giants are to build a respectable lineup before 2011, they must give up a prime asset — the kind of trade that Sabean made as a rookie G.M. in 1997, when he moved popular third baseman Matt Williams for a package that included Jeff Kent.

With that in mind, club sources said Sabean would put out feelers to see what he could fetch for right-hander Matt Cain, who pitched a complete game Saturday to improve to 5-1. Because Cain is young, controllable and relatively cheap for two more seasons, it would require productive offensive players with similar service-time attributes to strike a deal.

“If the bat per se is talented and hopefully not a free agent to be, you pay the market price, whatever that is,” Sabean said.

The Chron also wrote about the potential moves:

…. “We obviously can compete, but we know where we are challenged, and it's maybe more acute than we thought it would be,” said Sabean, who interrupted his draft scouting to attend this series after the Giants scored four runs as they were swept in San Diego.

…. Sabean said he has held preliminary trade discussions on a “narrow list” of hitters. He would not name them but acknowledged that the list of hitters publicly known to be available is fairly accurate.

The Nationals are willing to deal first baseman Nick Johnson and the Indians have made infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa available. Both are potential free agents. Others who could be moved include A's outfielder Matt Holliday, Texas infielder Hank Blalock and Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre, whom Sabean is known to like.

Where they play does not matter.

“Wherever we can find a bat, we'll make the adjustment positionally,” Sabean said. He acknowledged that to swing a deal this early in the season, a team seeking players needs to make an attractive offer, and he is willing to deal young players and prospects.

However, Sabean is not willing to move his best prospects, saying, “If it's young and potentially up-and-coming impact talent, no. Nobody wants to trade that.”

Of course where they play doesn't matter. When you field an entire team made up of role players and has beens, any real hitter will immediately play where wherever he normally plays. But is there anyone out there who cares about this team who thinks that Sabean's gonna get the best of a trade right now? I sure as hell don't.

Not to mention that the entire framing of this dilemma is flawed from the outset. It is apparent that the team needs to trade to acquire a hitter because the team did not go after any significant free agent hitter in the off-season. It was

not apparent that they would be forced to trade a good, young pitcher to acquire a hitter prior to the off-season. After we ended last season with the worst offense in baseball, it was obvious to everyone in baseball who didn't work for the Giants that the team absolutely had to upgrade the offense. Anyone who knows anything knew this team did not have the offense to compete. They could've signed a free agent or three or four.

Instead of solving a known problem, however, they went out and got a shortstop; an old, declining shortstop, to fill a position that was already filled. (Two years ago, we went out and signed a center fielder, an old, declining center fielder, even tough we already had a center fielder)

Now, we're gonna see Sabean trade Matt Cain for Adrian Beltre, an old, flawed, overpaid player. Beltre, by the way, is currently falling off the face of the earth, running out a cover your eyes awful .214/.246/.306 .552 OPS line.

Only in Sabean's Bizzaro world could you envision trading a 24-year old starting pitcher –one who has just begun to reach his potential– for a declining, 30-year old third baseman who earns five times as much. Here's an idea….

STOP PRETENDING THAT THIS TEAM CAN CONTEND!!

Don't trade good young pitching at all.

The 2008 Giants are three position players –at least– away from being a real team. I wouldn't trade Cain for A-Rod right now, let alone Adrian Beltre. Be afraid, be very afraid.

UPDATE: Via Musings, Henry Schulman says Cain ain't being dangled:

…. I have the utmost respect for the reporting ability of my talented friend and San Jose Mercury competitor Andrew Baggarly.

I don't know if I'm right. I don't know if he's right. But the fact is, he wrote a rather jarring paragraph that said the Giants are dangling Matt Cain to other teams to gauge his trade value. I ran that by a very high-level source with the Giants, and he said, “Absolutely false.”

The player he's supposedly being dangled for is Florida's Dan Uggla. Uggla is an OK hitter, with good power, but he's 29 years old, he's running out a dismal .205/.328/.424 .756 OPS line this season, and he also makes twice what Cain makes. If you look at Cain's numbers –other than wins and losses– he's one of the top pitchers in baseball. Uggla's not even one of the top second basemen in the NL, for crying out loud.

But that's the kind of deal you're gonna see Sabean make. An absolutely horrible one.

I'd also like to mention that the clumsy, inept and worthless Adam Dunn is still hitting, with 14 home runs 39 RBI and banging out a stellar .284/.420/.594 1.013 OPS. Yep, the Giants sure don't need that kind of player.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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