Deadline fears

During yesterday’s interview with Brian Sabean on KNBR, Ralph Barbieri asked several questions about what the Giants might do before the trade deadline. Sabean couldn’t be too specific, but he was pretty clear that the starting rotation would stay intact. A trade wouldn’t involve Cain, Sanchez, or Bumgarner. Simple.

Barbieri probed a little more. What if a trade for a "big bat" fell into your lap? Would you consider something then? It was a fair question. I’m thinking names like Prince Fielder or Hanley Ramirez -- if those teams come calling, and they want Sanchez or Bumgarner as the centerpiece of a deal, as unlikely as that would be, you’d have to listen. Then Barbieri clarifies:

Would it be worth having that vacancy (in the fifth starter’s slot) to get a Bautista, a DeJesus, a Dunn, or a Hart?

There it is. My biggest fear. Everyone with more than five home runs, all lumped in to the same amorphous "big bat" blob. Now Sabean wasn't the one lumping all of those players into one category, nor was Barbieri doing anything more than listing the usual suspects in trade rumors. All it takes is one player, though, to sneak over the line Sabean has drawn between "useful" and "big bat", and the Giants are hosed. To be fair, Sabean couldn’t say that Bautista was garbage, or that Hart was overrated; he just reaffirmed that it would be almost impossible to trade someone in the starting rotation.

Running down the names...

  • Corey Hart scares me because he’s having a fluky good year. He’s also the kind of hitter who can be beat regularly by good pitching. There’d be nothing worse than overpaying for Hart, making the playoffs, and watching him flail at slider after slider against playoff pitching.
  • David DeJesus scares me because he’s a batting-average dependent hitter. He’s not bad when his average goes below .300 -- he’s just not someone worth a pail of prospects, even after his defense is accounted for. He’s a nice player, nothing more.
  • Jose Bautista scares me because there’s no way he’s going to keep up this kind of home run pace. He’s the J.J. Hardy of 2010. He’s the biggest buy-high guy on the market, which is saying a lot.
  • Adam Dunn scares me less as a hitter, but the Nationals are supposedly asking for rare works of art for him. I’m not convinced that his offense makes up for his clankmitt, and he’ll also be a free agent after the season.
  • Jose Guillen would be a debacle. The difference between Guillen and Pat Burrell are worth a Kevin Pucetas. Maybe. Take it or leave it, Kansas City.

I’m not opposed to any of the names on the bullet-pointed list up there except for Guillen, but none of them are worth Sanchez. I’m glad to hear that Sabean seems to agree. What scares me is that Sabean might think that a couple of them are worth Brandon Belt and Zack Wheeler. There are reasons to empty the farm -- and at this point, the Giants have only two or three players who are B- or better prospects, so a trade of Belt, Wheeler, and/or Thomas Neal would probably qualify as an emptying -- but no one on the market is worth it except maybe Fielder, but he’d take the farm and a starting pitcher. No thanks.

The Giants have square pegs, the rest of the league has round holes. Well, the Giants have a few round pegs, but they’re keeping the wheels on the axle. Also, one of the round pegs is playing third base. We should keep that guy. It should be a boring deadline. Should be. I hope.

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