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Giants rumors: Expect two years, a lot of money for a starting pitcher

Jonathan Ernst

Here are three different links to three different sources about two different subjects. But they are intimately related. Intimately. Don't make me wink.

The first is a very nice profile from Henry Schulman about the state of the Giants' farm, specifically pitching. It includes a profile of Kyle Crick that specifically mentions how he's the next Matt Cain and there's nothing that could possibly change that. At least, that's how I read it. If you pay attention to the stodgy old words, you might come to a different conclusion.

The Giants farm system is more than Crick, though. Last month, every member of the San Jose Giants' rotation made Baseball America's top-20-prospects list for the Cal League. Next year they'll be in the Eastern League; Edwin Escobar already made the jump last season. While pitchers make the jump from Double-A to the majors all the time, and we might see polished prospects like Escobar or Ty Blach next year, the realistic target for the next wave is a couple years. The second link comes from Alex Pavlovic at the end of September, and it includes and interesting and sensible quote from Brian Sabean:

"I’m a big believer that if you’re a strike thrower and you have a confident ability to use all your pitches, you might not have to pitch at Triple-A. Triple-A is not a good read for us in the Pacific Coast League. Our goal is to get some of these guys to Double-A, build their innings. We may get a surprise but it’s more geared for 2015 than it is for next year."

Makes sense to me. If two of the five pitchers in Double-A next year can contribute in 2015, the Giants will be in good shape. It's always a good idea to be pessimistic with young pitchers, so it's nice that you don't need that irrational, if-everything-goes-right kind of optimism* to predict good things for the 2015 rotation.

That brings us to the third link. It's a tweet, actually, and it comes from David O'Brien from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

It's only November 12, so I apologize for beating this into the ground already, but there are a lot of one- and two-year options out there. O'Brien is following Hudson because of the Braves angle, but he's hearing what we've all been expecting. The Giants need a bridge to 2015 and 2016. Some rookies might get their feet wet this year, but the long-term outlook for the farm is what's driving the Giants' offseason right now.

That means no Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, or Ubaldo Jimenez. Which is a good thing all around. I don't trust those guys more than a Hudson or Haren (or Johnson or Colon or ...) at all, so there's no sense giving up the third or fourth years and/or a draft pick. They might be worse options for 2014, much less 2017.

Back to that O'Brien tweet. There are words there that probably give you the jibblies. "Higher average salary than you'd expect." They rattle around in your head like "dental plan" and "Lisa needs braces."

"Higher average salary than you'd expect."


"Higher average salary than you'd expect."


Yeah, something like that. The money the Giants are about to give to someone like Tim Hudson is going to make you spit up oatmeal, even if it's been years since you've eaten oatmeal. They kind of set the market with the Tim Lincecum. The follow-up probably isn't going to be pretty.

So make your peace now. Mutter "2015 2015 2015" and think about Blach and Escobar and Crick and Adalberto Mejia and Clayton Blackburn when you hear the news. And remember that paying too much for a two-year deal is far, far, far better for the Giants than paying market value for a four-year deal would be. Another expensive two-year deal is probably what's probably coming, you know. Maybe two.

*"Look, all the Giants need to do is get some pitchers with their first-round picks, develop them into aces, pick some hitters off the scrap heap, turn a fat catcher into a third baseman, draft a franchise catcher, and get hits at the right time, they'll be golden. Don't worry about it."

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