Matt Morris is an average pitcher. I don't have any delusions that he really is the missing piece to some championship puzzle and that the Giants should be compensated accordingly. In a just world, the Giants wouldn't expect a bounty for an average pitcher who was owed $9M for the following season.
But consider the pitchers who are coming up in trade rumors:
Maybe Dontrelle Willis or another pitcher under contract for '08 will be moved, but that would still leave slim pickings. If the pitchers on the market are bad and expensive Michael Bay movies, at least the Giants are peddling The Rock.
Morris's contract should actually help his value. The free-agent market for starting pitchers is Carlos Zambrano and the usual mish-mash of soon-to-be-overpaid mediocrity and sub-mediocrity. Teams with a possible opening in the 2008 rotation can look at Morris as someone who can help prevent them from spending $30M on Kyle Lohse or $50M on Jason Jennings. Nine million and one year for Morris or $8M and four years for Livan Hernandez?
The number of possible suitors is also in the Giants' favor. There are 13 teams within five games of a playoff spot, and just about every one of them need a starter. Boston is still starting Julian Tavarez. The Tigers have an offensive beast of a team, but Mike Maroth is still going out every fifth day. Every starter past the Mariners' top three has been abysmal. Only the Cubs are currently getting production from all five slots in their rotation.
That's about 300 words to get to this point: It isn't unreasonable to hope the Giants are able to trade Morris for a player who will be starting for them in 2008. I still have my Asdrubal Cabrera hopes. He's a defensively gifted shortstop who's hitting in the Eastern League. He's walking more than he's striking out, stealing bases, and he's hitting for a little power. He's only 21 and he's blocked in the Indians organization by Jhonny Peralta. Want.
The problem is that the Indians are a smart organization. They might want Matt Morris, but not enough to give up a top young player. That description also fits with the Braves, Red Sox, Tigers, Padres, and Diamondbacks. What the Giants need is a team that's contending, but also run by a GM of questionable competence. A GM who has made curious move after curious move, attends the Church of the Veteran every week, and has young players the Giants could use....
Here. The Mariners are three games back of the Angels, and I'm not quite sure how. If you go by runs scored/runs allowed, they aren't that much better than the Giants; the offense is a bit better, the starting rotation a bit worse. And though it's a little presumptuous for some dink like me to call a GM incompetent, Bavasi certainly doesn't have the confidence of the Mariner bloggers. In fact, here is the U.S.S. Mariner explicitly asking Bavasi not to trade for Matt Morris. Don't listen to their lies, Bill! Look at the sparkly ERA! Sparkly sparkly!
Point is, I'd love to take Wladimir Balentien off the Mariners' hands. They already have Ichiro. They can keep their prize prospect, Adam Jones. Everyone wins. Except the Mariners. But that's not the point.
Comment starter: With the help of Brute Sentiment's thorough diary, try and come up with your own Matt Morris pipe dreams. I really do think he's going to Seattle, though it's probably not realistic to hope for Balentien or Jeff Clement. A fella can dream, though....