Everyone is talking about rebuilding, but it seems as though there is no real agreement upon schedule. On one hand, I hear people talking about making big trades and FA acquisitions this off season, on the other there are those who are convinced that Angel V. is our savior, and waiting 4 years for him to arrive is the way to go.
I am a big believer of that whole birds in the hand vs. birds in the merkin thing. I don't put a whole lot of faith in minor league prospects as much more than "prospects", and I believe that any single highly-touted prospect is just as likely to turn into Pedro Feliz as they are Prince Fielder. It's not that I don't think home-grown talent is important to building a team (It's crucial), I just think that sitting around on the farm waiting for something to happen is a poor strategy. Players are like fruit, they ripen and then they go bad. Some more slowly than others.
So here is our delimma: The Caincecum era is now. By all indications, It started at the beginning of this season. The giants have now started the clock ticking on this opportunity for dominance, and would do best to strike while the iron is hot. While Cain and Lincecum are both young and both likely to improve, there is also an uncomfortably high chance of a Harden/Zito/Hernandez esq disappearing act sometime in the next 4 years.
I am concerned by those who want to wait for homegrown talent because I think we stand a very good chance of losing what we have. Caincecum is going to get expensive (You think Zito brought coin...) and probably isn't going to want to be on a team full of 4A callups and washed out veterans that's still in "rebuilding" mode in 2011. We will have to fight with big time money spenders, and not having an attractive club to play for will cost us... a lot.
So I think we need to start moving now. That is why I don't think the Rowand acquisition was a poor choice, and I don't think we should sit around and wait for Angel V. (or even be opposed to trading some of our TOP prospects for some real, in the now, MLB talent). This season is our season to discover who from the farm can play MLB average or better @ the positions. This coming off season is our chance to spend $$ / move players in order to bring in some MLB top talent (Texeria?) to augment the homegrown players. I think this team has to be focused on making a strong push starting in the 2009 season based around the Caincecum rotation and possibly the Wilson/Valdez bullpen. If we push the timeframe out much farther than that, We run a really high chance of missing the boat.
Oh yeah - Lincecum may be The Franchise, Zito may be the #1 starter, but Matt Cain IS the San Francisco Giants, pure and simple. That kid is a franchise player if I have ever seen one, and if he doesn't play his career wire to wire in SF - it will be a damn shame.