Uninformed Trade-Mongering, Vol I: Alexei Ramirez

Jim Bowden has a column up suggesting that the Giants trade Heath Hembree, Eric Surkamp, and Ehire Adrianza to the White Sox for Gordon Beckham. I'd like to think that Sabean is pals with him, and that they two are exchanging all sorts of texts with lols, omgs, and no u's right now. There might be a player worth three of the top ten prospects in a thin system. Beckham isn't one of them. He's a non-tender candidate next year, not a centerpiece.

Beckham isn't a shortstop anymore, and he's a pretty lousy hitter for a starter -- last year was something like Manny Burriss with 10-homer power. That's before we even get to Former All-Star and Batting Champion Freddy Sanchez's imminent return, where he'll make several million dollars to be fully healthy and just as good as new. It's just a nonsensical trade idea.

Let's pause and reflect that there are some here among us who decried the selection of Buster Posey in the 2008 draft. Some of you preferred Beckham. I know who you are. There will be a day of reckoning for you and your ill-formed opinions.

But the White Sox are intriguing trade partners. Mark Buehrle is gone, and Sergio Santos was traded away. And while I'd love to see an Adam Dunn for Zito swap -- put him at short! -- the Giants-bait on the White Sox roster is their shortstop, Alexei Ramirez. Before we go any further, it's a good idea to remind everyone that Ramirez isn't a great hitter. He's pretty okay for his position.

Edgar Renteria, final season with the Giants: .276/.332/.374, OPS+ 93
Alexei Ramirez, 2011: .269/.328/.399, OPS+ 97

At no point before Game 5 were we thinking, "Man, all we had to give for this Renteria guy was money?!? He's AWESOME!" A .330ish OBP with just a hint of power isn't exciting. It's cromulent. No more, no less. As a high-profile, gut-the-farm-to-save-the-offense move, trading for Alexei Ramirez wouldn't work.

But Renteria also preceded Tejada and Orlando Cabrera, who were like the Ghosts of Summer Future. In this version, the GM makes the same moves over and over and over, getting visits from 12 different ghosts before they give up. But we're scared straight, alright. We know what a bad shortstop looks like, whereas we only thought we did before.

A lot of Alexei's value comes from his defense, which is hardly exciting, especially when Brandon Crawford is just fine in that department. But where Crawford will struggle to ever hit better than Renteria at his worst, Ramirez is pretty danged average with the bat already. The best comp for a Giants fan would be Rich Aurilia, minus the absurd 2001. A little power, perfectly fine with the glove, and a good chance at being a starting first baseman for the Giants in a decade.

So what would you give for Ramirez? That's the problem: The White Sox would ask for Gary Brown, the Giants would say no, and then they'd both race to see who could hang up faster. I honestly don't think there's a fit for the two teams. Ramirez is under contract for four years and $32.5 million -- perfectly reasonable. There's no reason the White Sox should be in a rush to trade him, and if they can't pry a top prospect from a team, why bother?

That's all true. But something else that's true: Kenny Williams is crazy. He's the kind of guy who could raise a son who wears too much white on his shoes. Yeah. Crazy. Well, maybe not in the classical sense, but he's certainly not predictable. And I can see the idea of Heath Hembree rattling around in his brain until he snaps.

I don't know what a smart offer would be. Maybe start with Zack Wheeler, toss in Thomas Neal, and go from there. But if there's any chance that the White Sox would trade Alexei for something like what Bowden was offering on the Giants' behalf, I'd hope they'd would seriously consider breaking into the rainy-day fund for that. As a realistic, somewhat-inexpensive option for the next couple of seasons, there probably isn't a shortstop in baseball who makes more sense.

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