– William Faulkner, from the introduction to Absalom, Absalom!
Don’t bother looking for it. It’s in there. Trust me. Would I fabricate a quote just to amuse the 2% who think I’m funny? But Billy Faulk is spot on; I loves me some Bumgarner. And I’m just giddy about Tim Alderson, too. When I’m feeling down, I go back and read the open draft thread from 2007. It’s hilarious. Seppuku and the drafting of high-school pitchers: Are your readers safe?
Fast-forward to 2008, and most of us are just giddy about that particular draft. As it turns out, Beau Mills wasn’t the polished, majors-ready beast that a lot of us were hoping he was. The only hitters who probably could have helped the 2009 or 2010 Giants (Matts LaPorta and Wieters) weren’t around. Ben Revere might be up in the next couple of seasons, but ohmahgawd would there have been gale-force moaning from the blognoscenti if the Giants had picked him. Speed, defense, center field, and all that. Our collective heads would have popped like pimples.
The 2010 Giants might need pitching. It’s silly to project rosters two years down the road. In 2006, John Bowker was a .750 OPS guy in the low minors. In 2008, he’s getting a bulk of the at-bats at first, and most of us are just ducky with that. All things being equal, Bumgarner and Alderson might have been the perfect choices for the 2010 or 2011 Giants. Unless you’re sure a player will have a Jim Abbott/Will Clark path to the majors, and unless you’re sure that said player is a special talent, don’t draft for need. The Giants were right to go with (who they thought were) the best players available in the first round. Lesson learned.
So now that I’ve made my peace with the pick., we get this:
The fabled young-pitching-for-hitting maneuver? Could it be? It was only held up as the main reason the Giants drafted pitcher after pitcher in the first rounds of the draft for the past decade. Problems I can see with this scenario, though:
1. Prospect-for-prospect trades never happen. Salomon Torres for Shawn Estes is the only example I can recall, and that was more of a "challenge" trade. My great pitching prospect for your great hitting prospect? Not going to happen.
2. If a hitter is young and a middle-of-the-order hitter already in the majors, it would take a lot more than even Bumgarner and Alderson to get him. Young, middle-of-the-order hitters currently in the majors: Evan Longoria, Nick Markakis, Carlos Quentin, Justin Morneau, to name four. Teams aren’t exactly itching to trade players like these for A-ball pitchers, even if the pitchers in question are exceptional. The teams would hang up the phone the second the names passed Sabean’s lips.
3. Young hitters who will be free agents in two years or less would be bad, bad risks to take. Matt Holliday, I’m looking at you. Adding Holliday to the Giants doesn’t make them contenders any more than it made the 2008 Rockies contenders, and it would probably be a ridiculous package with Sanchezes and Lewii flying between the teams. No thanks.
So it would seem that the Giants should just enjoy the sweet wafting aroma of pitching on tap.
…say there’s a team that’s contending with an underproducing middle-of-the-order youngster. They could use a short-term fix in the outfield to help win the division, but they certainly don’t want to just give up on the talent of this player for a stopgap fix. They’d need to get a piece for the future that helps soften the blow of the future potential they’re giving up.
Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, and either Tim Alderson or Madison Bumgarner for Delmon Young and Chris Parmalee. Carlos Gomez goes to the minors for seasoning, the Twins have a new and productive outfield for the stretch run, and they’re still making a trade for the future. The Giants hope that Young becomes the cleanup hitter he was projected to be as the 1st-overall pick.
Grant effigies are on sale in the McCovey Chronicles store for one-stop shop-and-burn convenience.