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Scurrilous rumors part I: Brandon Belt


Thearon W. Henderson

Welcome to the offseason. It's been a slow offseason so far for scurrilous rumors. The Giants are interested in bringing Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Affeldt back because, well, of course they are. That was the big rumor to this point, and it was concurrently started by 174,938 different people, some of whom were waiting for a bus and thinking out loud.

But there could be a whisper! And whispers can turn into rumblings with a little sunlight and the right soil, and then the rumblings can turn into chatter if you feed them after midnight. Chatter becomes multiple sources by the light of a harvest moon, and multiple sources can turn into a REPORT: if you rub them with a paste made from ancho chiles and ground rhinoceros horn. So you can see how this is serious.

Hm. Getting lots of calls is usually a gateway drug to whispers, so we should be wary. I guess a lot of calls is an ambiguous thing to write, though. Left unspoken is what happens on those calls. I'd guess something like, "Yeah, not a lot of interest in trading Brandon Belt. I mean, we'll listen to anything, but it would be unlikely." Or maybe Sabean gets sassy and says something like "Interested in Belt? Can't do it. He's the only thing holding Pence up. hahaha /click."

I will suggest, though, there are players out there that would make Sabean consider such a trade, so it's not right to get totally snarky. It doesn't have to be Mike Trout or anything, either. It's possible for a smart baseball mind to think Belt's ceiling is limited because he'll never hit for power. If another team doesn't think so, and they're offering all sorts of riches and treasure, it's within the realm of possibility.

But think about the Giants' needs. The rotation is full. They have a catcher of some note. They're happy with Crawford on the cheap at short, and it's not like Belt would bring back Jurickson Profar. Third base is locked down for the next couple years, at least. They don't need a bushel of prospects considering where they are on the Ferris wheel of success.

That means to trade Belt, it would likely have to be for an outfielder or second baseman. Here's a list of outfielders and second basemen, ranked by WAR. Try to find one who makes sense. Either the other team wouldn't, or the Giants wouldn't, or the players are free agents, or ...

Then add in that the player coming back would have to be worth the loss of the team's starting first baseman. None of it makes sense. Belt is at a weird spot on the plane of value, split between axes of low cost, current production, untapped potential, and likelihood of reaching that potential. But everyone is plotting different points on that plane, which makes it useless for teams to give up too much to get him, just as it makes it useless for the Giants to expect a huge return that would help the current roster.

They're getting calls, sure. But they're more of the "Are you gonna eat that?" variety, I'd guess. And the calls end quickly.

This has been your scurrilous rumor of the day. I'm not even sure if I'm using the world "scurrilous" right because I think that word is used to describe rumors that are defamatory in nature. I just like typing and saying the word. Scurrilous. Scurrilous. Scurrilous.