It's been awhile since the surprising announcement that Brian Sabean wasn't the Giants' general manager for the first time in, oh, 83 years. He was supposed to wander North America and beyond, going back to his super-scout roots, but it felt more like he disappeared completely.
He's back, though, and the return to super-scouting is a dramatic one. Behold! The co-ace the Giants desperately need!
Yes! Exactly what the Giants need! An actual difference-making starting pitcher! Someone who can ...
After news that #SFGiants' Sabean and Elder were at Wrigley for Cueto on Friday, some fans opined that team is more likely to pursue Leake.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 14, 2015
Of course, the Cueto rumor isn't so exciting when you remember a couple of things. First, this is a headline from two weeks ago:
Johnny Cueto injury: MRI reveals no tear in right elbow
That's good news! However, there needed to be an MRI in the first place. That's bad news. The other reason to temper that ace-related priapism is that it would cost the Giants a lot of prospects and youngsters and shiny trinkets. Everyone wants Cueto, even with the barky elbow. He's one of the few ace-types available, and he won't require the same kind of financial commitment that Cole Hamels would, for example.
I'm not going to play fake GM and pretend I know exactly what would get the deal done, but I would assume Andrew Susac would be a part, as would anything remaining at the upper levels of the Giants organization. Enjoying Christian Arroyo's breakout season? TOO BAD, throw him on the pile. Same with Tyler Beede. Chris Heston! Joe Panik! Buster Posey! NOTHING IS TOO OUTRAGEOUS FOR AN ACE.
Phew, lost my breath for a bit, there. Okay, maybe Panik and Posey are off the table, but I'm still sure whatever the Giants would have to give up for Cueto would sting. That's if they have enough compared to other teams, which they might not. So it makes sense to wait around and take a Leake if the Reds make him available for relatively cheap.
Except Leake is really, really boring. Exceptionally so. His adjusted ERA for his career: 98. He's basically what the Giants are hoping from Jake Peavy when he returns, which probably isn't something the Giants need to mess around with, considering they'll have a bushel of limited-ceiling pitchers like that.
That's the paradox of the Giants deadline: They need something they can't afford, and they can afford things they don't need. The only thing that makes me reconsider Leake is that he's pitched in a rugged place for a flyball pitcher, and he would move to one of the very best places in the world for someone of his talent. That's intriguing. On the other hand, he's still a dooky-throwing flim-flam artist who's a CD of Eve 6 covers away from being Bronson Arroyo, and he's striking out batters at a Rueterian pace. I like sinkers. I don't like them that much.
It's possible that the Cueto injury scare puts him in the Nordstrom Rack section of the deadline, in which case the Giants would be right to take a gamble that bold. Even if he's full price, the Giants should consider him. Just imagine this team with another Cy Young-type in the rotation. It's a beautiful dream.
The odds are good, though, that the Giants will get another Peavy-type instead. I'd complain, but that sure worked out well last season. Leake almost feels like the Giants' destiny at this point.