The worst trade rumor of the deadline isn't Yuniesky Betancourt coming over from the Royals because that isn't even a real rumor. The only Yumor around is just a simple "The Royals have made him available" note. That's a statement, not a rumor. I made myself available to the ladies when I was in the eighth grade, too. They could have had every INXS cassette included in a package deal. But nooooooo. Guessing the Yuni availability is similar.
But if you want to start a rumor yourself, then, yeah, Yuniesky is the worst one you can possibly come up with. I'm a little scared about the closer rumors, too. There's always a chance for a wild overpay when it comes to closers. In retrospect, it turns out that Jerome Williams for LaTroy Hawkins wasn't the end of the world, and that John Bowker/Joe Martinez for Javier Lopez was actually the stuff parades are made of. If the Giants keep playing with that particular fire, they'll end up having their Heathcliff Slocumb moment.
Hell, it might be the actual Heathcliff Slocumb. He wouldn't exactly make less sense than Brad Penny.
There are other bad rumors, though. For example:
Can't see any bat that would make an impact as big as Aramis Ramirez for #SFGiants. Right-handed pull power plays at AT&T Park.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 25, 2012
This isn't to pick on Baggs. Because in the abstract, he's absolutely right. The Giants would have a better lineup with Ramirez in it. He's right-handed, he has power, and he's ridiculously consistent. For seven of the last eight seasons, he's had an OPS+ between 126 and 139. That's not quite as freaky as Barry Zito going six-for-51 in three consecutive seasons, but it's still a consistency that you don't see from too many hitters.
The contract is dicey (over $30 million for the next two years) and the age is worrisome (36 by the time the deal's up), but that's not my problem with the rumor. Is it even a rumor? A suggestion, then. A trade suggestion. The contract and age are a risk I'm almost willing to take. I doubt that Milwaukee has a lot of interest in sending millions away with Ramirez several months after signing him, so the Giants would be on the hook. It's not a booby-trap of a contact, though. Again, in the abstract, I'd take the risk.
So if Ramirez has a bat that would improve the Giants, and he's probably available for little more than picking up his contract, what's the problem? Before I answer, check this out: Aramis' middle name on Baseball Reference is "Nin." That's Aramis Nin. Hellllllloooooooo, erotic-literature parodies! I put on my blogger's bathrobe and wizard hat …
This just keeps getting better and better. He almost sounds like the perfect acquisition. It's a two-pronged problem, though:
1. Pablo Sandoval, permanent first baseman
2. Brandon Belt, cautionary tale and Fresno City Council member
Not ready for Sandoval at first forever and ever and ever. I still think he has some value to add at third. Even though his defense is down this year, he's capable there. That leaves first base open for the Giants to fiddle with. For the last, oh, 20 years, there has been a lot of unpleasant fiddling. But the theory is that first base is the easiest place to find a plus-hitter.
And while I don't to wade into the Belt-infested waters too deeply, let's just say that I'm not ready to completely give up on Brandon Belt. Not enough, that is, to block him utterly and completely for the next two-plus seasons. I'd do it for Joey Votto. Heck, I'd do it for Paul Goldschmidt. But I wouldn't do it for a 34-year-old who makes me a little nervous. Although if Ramirez started a serious age-related decline over the next two seasons, I'm sure Bochy would replace him with Belt at just the right time. Right? Right? Who's with me?
The only way I'm in is if Belt is traded for more value than we currently think possible. In a deal for Matt Garza, for example. I know the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo, but work with me here. Make it a three-way deal. Make it a blockbuster with the Brewers for Zack Greinke. Or make it a deal with the Rays for James Shields. Don't care what your preference is. Make something up.
If the dust settles, and the Giants have Aramis Ramirez and a good starting pitcher, I'd be giddy, at least with the short term. I'd worry about Belt later, and even if he turned into John Olerud for another team, I'd feel safe assuming that was never going to happen with the Giants.
Chances that happens: .00003 percent. Chance the Giants are actually entertaining a trade for Ramirez? Maybe .000001-percent higher. So why am I writing about it? Because I'm sick, man. I have a disease. My roster palms are fuzzy, and I don't see so good. It's the trade deadline. I can only write about Jonathan Broxton so much, and that so much has passed.
Giants still looking for bullpen help. Had some interest in K-Rod...until they saw him the other day. And they don't see Broxton as answer.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) July 25, 2012
oh man thank you thank you thank you thank you
This is going to be a predictable deadline. But it'll still be weird around here for the next few days.