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Part II

Grading Sabean's pitching moves

Re-signing Steve Kline

Short Term: B+
Long Term: N/A

The team needed at least one PROVEN LEFTY or Brian Sabean's head would have blown up. Sometimes that organizational philosophy leads to Jason Christiansen for a decade, sometimes it means lucking into a one-year deal with a decent pitcher. I love the lack of years for both sides. If Kline drops one of those lefty specialist 2.50 ERAs this year, he'll be a rich man. More so.

Signing Barry Zito

Short Term: A+
Long Term: B

The Giants having Zito for 2007 isn't preventing any other kind of roster upgrade. With an INMM philosophy in place, that's like a free Zito for a year. After that, he'll start messing with the payroll. In three years, he might not be worth the money, so he's downgraded to the B. An important thing to remem...

Term after the Long Term: C-
Term after the Long Term's Long Term, which is like two Short Terms plus three Long Terms, with several Medium Epochs divided by the radius of the Foreseeable Future: D-

I mean, Zito's contract might be a Miguel Tejadastic value after accounting for inflation. Zito might be a historically special pitcher. But, good gravy, that's not soddin' likely. Seven years. Seven years. Seven years. Woof.

In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy the free Zito for 2007. And that long-term grade of a B is legit...because I'm thinking 2010 is long term. 2013 is off the radar. But for the next three years the Giants will actually be committing a relatively small portion of their payroll to starting pitching. That doesn't entirely excuse the drastic overpayment, but Zito is still a good bet to have value in 2010.

Adding all of the grades up, Sabean gets a solid B average for the short term, and something like a D+ for the long term, depending on what grade is used for Zito. That's more of a reflection on the player's projected production rather than payroll allotment, so it might seem a bit too harsh.

This all ties in to this diary, which asks how the Giants should have constructed a roster this offseason. There wasn't an easy answer. I was a big, big Maddux booster - I wanted a 200+ IP guy with a league-average ERA, and we, uh, sort of got one - and I wanted someone else starting at third base. More power from first was my last wish, but I didn't want to trade young pitching to get it. So that kinda sorta worked out if you squint. The person who made up those Benitez-for-Sexson rumors should be pistol-whipped.

The main point is that there were about 5000 ways to make a dreadful roster, about 50 to make an interesting roster, and nary a perfect way to be found. So I'm relatively pleased with an interesting roster.

And as long as Todd Linden forces Randy Winn to the bench and hits .340/.460/.700 with 45 homers, we'll be just fine.