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Hoping That the Giants are Just Kidding, Guys

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In case you missed it, this was the headline of the Orange County Register on November 11:

Dipoto: Angels won't be big spenders this winter


"I can't say it's Plan A," Dipoto said of pursuing Pujols or Fielder, both of whom are seeking deals in excess of $150 million. "I don't particularly think it's the right way to go."


Well, if the reporters are doing their jobs, the GMs who obfuscate and run interference are doing their jobs as well. There usually isn't a good reason to tell the truth, especially in the Giants' position. They've been a wet blanket this entire offseason, loudly exclaiming at every turn that there isn't a chance that they'll sign anyone more expensive than Eli Whiteside. But what's the risk of being a wet blanket, that the waiting list for season tickets will shrink? And what's the alternative?

Sabean: Oh, man, we are totally interested in Carlos Beltran. The whole offense clicked when he was here.

Other team: Uh, we will offer Beltran three years then.

Sabean: I mean, a switch-hitter with power who gets on base? Everything that's wrong with this team has to do with not having guys like that. And we can have one for just money? Of course we're interested. Very interested.

Different team: $40 million, then. Final offer. Please accept this and hang up with the Giants or we're pulling the offer.

Sabean: Boy, we sure are interested in Carlos Beltran.

No one benefits in that scenario. Except for you. And me. And everyone who would prefer to see an offense-minded upgrade to the Huff/Pagan/Schierholtz outfield. We'd get the satisfaction of thinking that Beltran is still a legitimate possibility, but at the cost of Beltran being a likely possibility. It's all very go-back-in-time-to-kill-your-own-grandpa, this paradox.

Now Beltran's price is reportedly down. He's weighing offers for two and three years, probably around $12 or $13 million per year. Here, then, is the handy-dandy guide to affording Carlos Beltran:

Step 1
Sign Carlos Beltran before you move on to step two.

Step 2
Trade Jeremy Affeldt for anything.

Step 3
Trade Melky Cabrera for anything.

Step 4
Do not re-sign Aubrey Huff for $12 million after the season is over.

There you have it -- Carlos Beltran without an increased payroll. Maybe we're talking $1 million or so. Maybe even $5 million if the bidding gets hot and heavy. But there's a pretty good chance that the McCovey Chronicles Four-Step Method is a sound one.

Edit: It should be noted that the McCovey Chronicles Four-Step Method was originally developed by Lefty over a week ago. The idea wormed into my brain, "My Sweet Love"-style, and I apparently absconded with the idea and didn't give credit. So, please, visit Lefty's fine blog and encourage him not to sue me. Also, please don't tell him that I've done this before on six separate occasions because then he'll look for those posts too.

I can't shake the idea that the Giants are playing the game because they have to. They weren't going to sign Bengie Molina until they signed Bengie Molina. At three or four years, maybe the Giants really weren't in on Beltran. But if he's willing to accept a large two-year deal, it is ludicrous that the Giants aren't making an effort to do that. Here's hoping that they are. And the math is already done for them.