The names are immortalized in the Hall of Here, Just Take This Guy. Derek Hasselhoff. Matt Blank. Ben Cox. Dusty Bergman. Ronnie Ray – all players who came back in minor deals for less-than-exciting major leaguers. If the only trade offers for Bengie Molina are just future inductees to the HOHJTTG, it’s understandable that the Giants wouldn’t be too interested. While Pablo Sandoval is tearing up the minors, it wouldn’t be fair to say that he’s being "blocked" by Molina. Sandoval still needs a little time to work on his defense and offensive approach. The Giants have a relatively productive catcher under contract for next season, and he's probably the best option for the job in the long-term (meaning next year) and short-term. That’s worth more than a C- prospect.
Randy Winn, on the other hand, is blocking Nate Schierholtz. Winn’s horrible slump has left him at .276/.341/.385. Schierholtz’s MLE suggests his current minor league numbers would translate to .273/.306/.472. The Giants would likely take a hit on defense and on-base gettin’, but Schierholtz’s power would probably allow the Giants to break even in the short-term. Even if the Giants had to eat half of Winn’s contract, they’ll still save millions on what could be a lateral move.
Rich Aurilia should be traded for a future inductee of the HOHJTTG, and a contending team should be happy to have him. Maybe the Giants get lucky and get a Travis Denker- or Kelvin Pichardo-type quasi-prospect.
Thus concludes this year’s review of the most boringest trade deadline ever. I fell asleep twice while writing that. But it did make me wonder what the Giants’ deadline strategy is. I have two possible theories:
1. They’re repeating that Molina and Winn aren’t really on the market in an effort to drive their price up, or in Winn’s case, force another team to eat his entire salary. If the price is right for Molina, they'll trade him even if they don't particularly want to. If the other teams call the Giants’ bluff on Winn, trade him for a future inductee of the HOHJTTG.
2. They believe that Molina and Winn really shouldn’t be on the market, as they’re part of the difference between a last-place team and a 110-loss catastrophe, and not just for this season. The good folks of San Francisco will grumble about the former, but they’ll flatly reject the latter.
I’m guessing the Giants are knee deep in #2. There’s probably a financial hit that comes from a bad team (the Giants the last two seasons) turning into a joke team (a team that loses 110 games), and I’d guess that the Giants are terrified that if they turned the team completely over to unproven youth, the Giants would crack 100 losses. Ticket sales would plummet even further. Winn and Molina are kind of a buffer against some sort of roster apocalypse, and that’s why the Giants aren’t too keen on trading Molina for an 8-track player so they can start Steve Holm. That would also mean the Giants are drastically overrating the difference between Winn and Schierholtz, but I think we all knew that already.
Comment starter: Do the Giants have a trade deadline plan? Is it one of the two scenarios above, or something different? Is that second scenario a little ridiculous, or is it a legitimate fear? Also, can I get you some coffee?