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Giants/Astros Series Preview

Stared at that title for 30 minutes before I started typing. Another Giants/Astros series? Man, there's nothing to say about that. It's a four-game series at home against the worst team in baseball. If the Giants win at least three games, well, they're supposed to. If they split the series, that will be the source of much consternation. If they do worse, there will be looting after the fires die down.

No one wants to read another Giants/Astros series preview. So that got me thinking about things people would want to read about less, and that's what led me to a list of the most interesting trades between the Giants and Astros. The list wasn't very long. Actually, there isn't really a list. But that led me to a list of the trades between the Giants and Astros that I find interesting.

Rick Wilkins for Kirt Manwaring
In 1993, Wilkins had 30 home runs and a 150 OPS+ in 500 at-bats. He was 26 at the time. So even though he was hot garbage in 1994 and 1995, you can't fault the Giants for taking a chance on him. He was still young, and his historic season wasn't that long ago. And when Wilkins came over to the Giants in 1996, he hit .293/.366/.510 for the rest of the season, usually batting behind Barry Bonds in the batting order. What a steal!

He hit .193/.259/.319 for the rest of his career. What a weird career. If he doesn't stink so much in 1997, though, the Giants never trade for Brian Johnson. So hooray for Rick Wilkins!

I have a lot of Kirt Manwaring anecdotes, but I'll spare you most of them. I was fired from a dishwashing job in college because they wouldn't give me the weekend off to go home and attend a Dusty Baker/Kirt Manwaring Q&A session before a game at Candlestick. My mom had won tickets, and I was pretty sure it was my destiny to go, so I just didn't show up to work. And I don't remember a damned question or answer from the session, but I do remember what my clothes smelled like after a night working in a restaurant. I think that means I chose wisely.

Another Kirt Manwaring factoid:

1988 Giants: .250/.279/.336, OPS+ 80
1999 Rockies: .299/.374/.409, OPS+ 80

I know it's funny to make fun of the humidor, but, man, am I glad that thing exists now.

Enos Cabell for Chris Bourjos and Bob Knepper.
Really trying to put this into perspective. This would be like trading Jonathan Sanchez for, oh, Russ Davis. Like, today's Russ Davis. Knepper was inconsistent and young. Cabell was terrible -- he hit .276/.305/.351 the before he was traded to the Giants, which isn't that awful for the Astrodome, but he complemented it with 29 errors at third base. He was a -0.7 WAR player in 1979, a -1.0 WAR player in 1980, and when he joined the Giants in 1981 he was a ... -1.7 WAR player. Math!

The Giants did not win the World Series in 1981.

The San Francisco Giants purchased Roger Metzger from the Houston Astros.
Metzger cut four of his fingers off with a table saw, attempted a comeback with the Giants, and hit .074/.167/.074 in 28 games. Finally, we have the perfect comp for Orlando Cabrera.

Dave Bergman and Jeffrey Leonard to the San Francisco Giants for Mike Ivie
This site would have melted down. Ivie was a former #1 overall pick, and in his first two seasons with the Giants, he hit .296/.361/.515 with 38 home runs in 720 at-bats. He had a down year in 1980, eerily reminiscent of Aubrey Huff this year, but Bergman was a generic bench guy and Leonard was a 25-year-old tools goof with a career line of .268/.334/.351 (again, Astrodome: OPS+ was 95).  

I probably would have taken my chances with Ivie. Whooooooops. He only played two more seasons, retiring when he was 30. And Hac Man was Hac Man -- the very definition of a badass.