I saw Load of Baloney open for Undeserved Extension at Slim's. At the end of the show, both of them were on stage together. It sounded like a knight in full armor using a live parrot to get a bicycle chain out of a running garbage disposal.
The Brian Sabean extension is still a complete shock. On a recent KNBR interview, Sabean talked about the increased trade leverage he had with the extension. Now that other teams know he isn't a lame duck, the theory goes, there might not be as many lowball offers for the wares Sabean will peddle. There could be something to that. It's about the only positive I can find in the extension.
That doesn't mean there are only negatives to be found - just a whole bunch of uncertainties. What does "rebuilding" mean to Sabean? Is he even thinking in those terms? Is every move made this July done with one eye on a free agent bonanza of Torii Hunter (6 years/$72M), Eric Byrnes (4 years/$50M), and Mike Lowell (4 years/$36M)? Heck, if you're going to bring in all of those sluggers to contend next year, you'd be silly to trade a proven winner like Matt Morris!
That reads like a ridiculous nightmare, but we have no idea how Sabean intends to fix a broken team. The on-the-record comments are useless. There are vague allusions to "getting younger", and Peter Magowan has pointed to the retooling of `96/'97 as the reason he wanted Sabean back as GM. That isn't much to go on; that '97 team didn't have the young pitching that the Giants now have, but they also had the best player in the game. The 2008 Giants won't have that luxury.
Then there are fifth-hand whispers that Matt Morris isn't going to be traded. Morris would be the most valuable pitcher on the trade market, even after you account for his recent struggles. It wouldn't be close. The other starters are guys like Jose Contreras, Steve Trachsel, and Woody Williams - veterans having poor-to-awful seasons. There are teams like Seattle or the Mets that wouldn't give a whit about Morris's low strikeout rate, but would love some of that magic veteran juju. Not to mention, the acquiring GM will be able to tout Morris as a non-rental who would be part of the 2008 season. This could be a perfect storm for a rebuilding heist. Good gravy, how I want Sabean to burgle the Mariners.
Matt Morris: the groundhog of a franchise. If we're seeing his shadow at Mays Field in August, the nuclear winter will continue indefinitely.
Comment starter: What is Sabean's plan? Be honest, now. I don't think any of us expect him to start throwing any more money at 35-year-old players to surround Bonds, but I am legitimately terrified about the Hunter/Byrnes/Lowell sinkhole scenario.