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Winter Meetings

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Winter Meetings! Winter Meetings!

Let’s see…the Giants are linked to Miguel Tejada, Hank Blalock, Ken Boyer, Tom O’Malley, and every other player who has played third base in the past, could play third base in the future, has made it to third base on a recent date, or has ever listened to 3rd Bass’ "The Cactus Album" in its entirety. The Miguel Tejada rumor from Ken Rosenthal, for example, reads like the Giants might have interest in Tejada because Rosenthal thinks that the Giants might have interest in Tejada.

It makes sense. Kind of. The Edgar Renteria Paradigm changes everything. The ERP, defined:

The Giants are rebuilding, and they have a top-five farm system. However, the reason the top-five farm system is ranked so highly is solely because of prospects in the low minors. It would be overly optimistic to expect much of an impact from these prospects before 2010 at the earliest. So if the Giants can acquire veterans to improve the team in the short-term – no contracts longer than two years, and no MLB-ready prospects blocked – then Brian Sabean should be open to those options.

Your mileage may vary with Renteria if you believe Burriss qualifies as an MLB-ready prospect, but that’s a debate for another time. A difference with Blalock or Tejada, though, is that both of them would block someone who is ostensibly ready. If the Giants trade Jack Taschner and some homemade banana bread for Blalock, that’d be just swell. But that would mean that Pablo Sandoval would need to get the bulk of his at-bats at first base, which would leave Travis Ishikawa out in the cold. While Ishikawa isn’t a great prospect, it would be worth it to find out if his 2008 breakout is for real.

There are obvious reasons to leave Ishikawa out in the cold, mind you. If the Giants can miraculously swing a Cain-less trade for Chris Davis, or if Mark Teixeira wants to take a below-market deal because of San Francisco’s thriving theater scene, then they can worry about Ishikawa later. But consider these options:

  • Miguel Tejada – 3B – 1 year, $13M
  • Hank Blalock – 3B – 1 year, $6.2M
  • Paul Konerko – 1B – 2 years, $24M
  • Joe Crede – 3B – 1 year, FA contract

If any of these players are put up on Craigslist with a "Free to good home"-ad, should the Giants take the bait? Maybe all of the above teams are kidding themselves and expecting actual prospects/players in return. But pretend that they aren’t.

My super-secret counterintuitive plan: Trade for one of the stopgap third basemen, and trade Bengie Molina. The Giants would get a year to see if Sandoval can catch at the major league level, a Josh Phelps/Travis Ishikawa platoon would get a chance, and the organization would probably receive a nice prospect or two in return for Molina.

Chances of that happening: -56%. There’s just no way the Giants will trade Molina before the deadline. So we’re back to the original comment starter: Should the Giants accept a free Blalock, Konerko, Crede, or Tejada if any of them are offered? Free as in "talent required to give up", not as in money. Because they'll cost a lot of money.