Problem: The Giants have several veterans who won't be a part of the next successful Giants team. These veterans are making more money than the market says they're worth, and they're blocking young players who have any chance of being a part of that team.
Solution: Trade them to another team and make up for the above-market contract by sending cash.
This seems like a pretty obvious solution to a problem that I would hope is just as obvious. By "several veterans," I'm mostly referring to Ray Durham and Dave Roberts. The only acceptable argument for keeping either would be that the Giants are hoping that both players have successful starts to the 2008 season. If Durham or Roberts get off to a fast start, the Giants wouldn't have to kick as much money (if any) back in a deal, and there's also a chance the Giants could receive a worthwhile young player in return. If they get off to slow starts, the organization could always release them, bury them on the bench, or trade them with a sack o' cash in the middle of the season.
An outright release isn't likely for Dave Roberts even if he hits .210 for the season. Since Sabean took over, he's released veterans like Rick Wilkins, Jim Poole, Ruben Rivera, Jeffrey Hammonds, Kirk Rueter, Marquis Grissom, Jose Vizcaino, and Jeff Fassero, but they all had one thing in common: They were all in the last year of their contract. Jim Poole had an ERA in 1997 of 7.11 in 49.3 innings. 7.11! But Sabean likely said to himself something like, well, he's under contract for 1998, so we might as well see if he's really lost it. (Answer: Good god, yes.) Over a decade-plus, that seems to be an organizational philosophy. If a player is under contract, you might as well see if he's capable of bouncing back.
Durham, being in the last year of his deal, isn't immune to the axe if he struggles like he did last season, but there's no way Roberts will get the Russ Ortiz/Diamondbacks treatment with a couple of years remaining on his deal. Trading a sack o' cash with Roberts seems to be the only way to guarantee playing time for Fred Lewis and Rajai Davis, who are both out of options. During Sabean's tenure, he has made exactly four dump trades. When Matt Herges and Alan Embree were traded away, cash went with them, but it wasn't a significant amount in either case. They don't count. The others:
Armando Benitez, a sack o' cash, and no return address to the Marlins
Matt Morris to the Pirates
Edgardo Alfonzo to the Angels
The other three: A malcontent who was famous for messing himself in a Game Seven World Series start and ignoring the advice of his pitching coach, a malcontent who would have caused riots throughout the Bay Area if he continued to pitch, and an unbelievable bonehead move by an outgoing Pittsburgh GM.
I started this post - and I actually did research for it, dang it - because I wanted to see if Sabean had anything in his past suggesting he could dump Roberts or Durham. It seems like Durham is a possibility to go the way of Grissom or Rueter if he struggles, but in order for Roberts to go away this season, he'll either have to go back in time and cost the franchise a World Championship, he'll have to become one of the top-five least-liked players in the history of the franchise, or the Giants will have to pull another fast one.
None of it seems likely. We're probably stuck rooting for fluke performances and deadline deals. At least it's an easy thing to root for when you're forced to.