Tradin': How the other side lives

So you want a trade, eh? A sweet deal to improve the Giants without ruining the future? Sure, we all do. Here's how internet trades work:

Fan of good team: I would like Good Player, but I am only willing to trade 26-Year-Old Non-Prospect.

Fan of bad team: I would trade Good Player, but only if we receive Good Prospect, Good Prospect, Great Prospect, and Young Player Already Doing Well In Majors

Simple enough. Do a Google search for "belt, bumgarner, reyes" and avert thine eyes. Again, that's a package for a pending free agent who plays for an owner with financial problems who has publicly laughed at Reyes's potential contract demands. Oh, and some people want Zack Wheeler as a throw-in.

Crawfish Boxes has a post on what the Astros might want from the Giants for Michael Bourn, a defensive wunderkind with an okay-to-good OBP who is under control for 2012. Crawfish Boxes does some good research to determine Bourn's present value, figures out what the potential value of prospects is, and tries to make a match. It's smart work, so I don't intend to mix it up with the belt-baumgardner-wheeler-for-reyes crowd or the "fan of bad team" dichotomy. They've done research, which is more than you'd ever see here. Their conclusion?

Trade One: Houston trades Michael Bourn to the Giants for Zach Wheeler, Francisco Peguero and Hector Sanchez

...

Trade Two: Houston trades Michael Bourn to the Giants for Gary Brown, Eric Surkamp and Chris Dominguez

...

Trade Three: Houston trades Michael Bourn to the Giants for Wheeler, Brown and Surkamp

Again, they're using stats -- historical values of top prospects versus what Bourn's value is expected to be for the life of his contract. It's cold and calculated. And every one of those trade scenarios makes you twitch. Bourn is a valuable player. A very valuable player. But if the player coming back isn't Roy Halladay, every time the Giants' top prospects are mentioned, it will make you twitch.

(The bigger problem with a Bourn deal is that the Giants have about sixteen needs that are bigger than a center fielder whose value has a lot to do with his defense. Even though Torres has a .310ish OBP now, he can still field. Trading 12-to-18 years of potential team control would be a steep price to pay for 30 or 40 points of OBP and an extra fly ball caught every week.)

But this isn't really about Bourn -- it's about how we're going to overvalue our prospects, and how the people who aren't attached to them won't. We have a couple of weeks of this. Gary Brown has already won a batting title and stolen 100 bases in the majors. Sure, it was just in our minds, but you can't take that away from him. Zack Wheeler is already an above-average starter in the majors, and he's just going to get better. In our minds. Which is just like real life. This is the sort of thing that leads to posts that look horribly reactionary in retrospect.

It should be fun! Let's all look forward to the trade deadline, where we should expect value back without giving any up. It's our right -- nay, duty -- as fans.

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