According to this article, the Blue Jays and Giants are talking about Alex Rios for half of Caincecum, though the Jays would prefer Cain. Sabean has referred to the potential deal as "interesting."
The case against the insanity, now with bullet points:
- With Alex Rios, the Giants would still have a below-average offense, and their rotation wouldn't be as likely to be a strength as it would be with Lincecum. Ground gained: zero.
- The Giants would have Rios under control for three years, though he's just now entering his arbitration years. In a best-case scenario, he becomes a star, but the Giants wouldn't get him at a bargain price for the last two years he's under contract in that scenario. So the Giants would trade a five-year window of Lincecum or Cain for a three-year window with Rios, but still have multiple lineup holes that would hurt their chances to compete. I just don't understand what that accomplishes other than closing a window of fiscal maneuverability.
Another thing I don't understand: how is Rios still under contract for three more seasons, as the Chronicle is reporting? He's had more than 400 at-bats in four seasons, and he was already eligible for arbitration last season. By my admittedly amateur understanding, that would make him eligible for just two more arbitration years.
- Rios is good, no question. He's young, and his power numbers are trending upward. He's an excellent athlete and a good baserunner. He is not, however, the building block of a franchise, and he isn't that close. Rios just isn't good enough to make that needle-off-the-record screech that the Giants should need to trade Lincecum or Cain. A 26-year-old hitting .297/.354/.498 just isn't that special. It's impressive, sure, and the Giants sure don't have anything that can sniff that, but it isn't as impressive as a 22-year-old striking out over a batter an inning in the majors after just 63 minor league innings, or a 22-year-old cracking the top ten in his league's ERA.
- Rios is a corner outfielder. The Giants don't have very many interesting young players, but two of the interesting young players they do have are corner outfielders. The difference between a) Lewis/Schierholtz with Lincecum and b) Rios without Lincecum isn't worth the risk.
The Blue Jays are the wrong trade partner. Back away, Brian. Don't make any sudden movements, and get the hell out. And, as an aside, what is this crap:
Adam Lind for Lincecum. We are officially through the looking glass. I would probably trade Nate Schierholtz for Lind. I'd think about it, discuss it with scouts, and probably decide that Lind's power potential makes up for his horrible defensive reputation. Adam Lind for Lincecum? If another GM offered that to me, I'm not sure if I would pat him on the head or kick him in the crotch. The Jays-don't-like-Lincecum angle also sets this up:
Oh, so it's Lincecum plus other players for Rios. As long as we're in fantasy land, maybe we can build some mud golems, use some sort of witchery to breath life into their shapeless bodies, teach them how to play baseball, and include them in a deal once they're at an All-Star level. It's only fair, as the Blue Jays can't just get Lincecum as a return for Alex Rios. The Giants will also throw twelve griffins into the deal. They have the head of an eagle, you know.
I can't take these rumors seriously, even if they come from a local paper. I just wish they'd stop.