Baseball is a humbling sport, even for the GM. Brian Sabean thought he was making the right move in 2011 when he traded the Giants best young pitching prospect for a rental slugger. And everyone from Marty Lurie to Andrew Baggarly still support that decision, even though it was wrong. Marty gets apoplectic when ZW is mentioned by a caller.
He talks about parades and rings, forgetting I suppose that in 2011 the parade was in St. Louis. Yeah, in hindsight it's easy for all of us to see what a disaster it was to put Wheeler on the block so that Beltran could play in 44 measly games, ultimately still bringing the Giants a long and restful post-season 2011. And, truth be told, Sabean usually ends up the winner in his "wheeling" and dealing...but not that time.
And now we know that occasionally those trades come back to bite you in the ass, (Zack has been brushing his teeth for quite awhile now.) But Wheeler knows it's just baseball, no hard feelings and all that, yet I can't help the feeling that he will be out for blood on Wednesday. He currently has a 6.00 ERA with nine strikeouts and eight walks in 15 innings pitched over three starts. Small sample size, as the McCoven like to say.
Yet, it's a cautionary tale.
Should Sabean have known that the 2011 season was over when Posey went down? Of course not. The Giants had fought into first place and were making a run. Is it right to trade a huge but untested prospect for a known big-leaguer? I wrestle with that one. Do I still miss Nate and Cody and all the other former Giants who seem to be having better seasons now then when they were with us? Yes.
But the lesson that we really learned the hard way was about timeframes. You don't trade someone you have in your pocket for years for a guy who is going to give you one season. Beltran was here, he played a little, he got hurt, he played a little more and then he left and played really well for someone else. We still have to wait and see how good Wheeler may or may not turn out to be.
It stings though, seeing Wheeler in his Mets uni, when we need a good, new arm in our rotation. The irony. The dreams of what might have been. It may be treason, but I hope ZW has a great outing at AT&T, I really do. It underlines the lesson.
Hopefully this little contest on a sunny Wednesday in July will give Brian Sabean some pause. Think about what you have in Hembree, Crick, Panik and Brown before you start dialing the phone next time.