Earlier in the week, I reminded everybody that the Giants’ talk of being maxed out on payroll could be a smokescreen. There’s no advantage to declaring a desperate remaining need; there’s every advantage in promising little, delivering big.
I would like to hedge my bets, if I may.
The headlines aren’t encouraging. From The Chronicle:
Giants maxing out on payroll, relying heavily on Matt Cain
Huh. According to these records, the last season in which Matt Cain was good, Aubrey Huff played second base. That can’t be right.
“I don’t think there’s anything more to ask of ownership,” Evans said. “It’s more what I can do with what we have.”
In one sense, I completely understand the first part. The Giants will have a top-five payroll again. If you were around in the ‘80s or ‘90s, or even the early ‘00s (“DEBT SERVICE!”), that should blow your mind. The Giants have a top-five payroll again, the Giants will have a top-five payroll again, say it over and over again when you start to feel sorry for yourself.
On the other hand, J.D. Martinez.
From CSN Bay Area:
Why The Giants Are Likely Done Making Big Offseason Additions
Is J.D. Martinez considered “big”? He probably isn’t. They’re talking about, like, Dexter Fowler. Ha, Martinez isn’t a big addition, this is all semantics. I’m just going to order a J.D. Martinez jersey right now.
Recapping the Winter Meetings (Alternate title: Why you should hold off on ordering a J.D. Martinez jersey): https://t.co/DykoE1Pf9e— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) December 8, 2016
WHERE WERE YOU FIVE MINUTES AGO, PAVLOVIC? I’m going to have to eat this $15. And on second thought, I’m not sure that jersey shop is legit. Regardless, my Martinez dreams are being dashed left and right.
I’m starting to wonder about $15 million for a closer, everybody. Greg Holland is suddenly looking much more palatable.
[whispers] what have we done
It’s December 8. We have just under four months until Opening Day. That means four months of wondering if Mac Williamson and/or Jarrett Parker can be a viable outfield solution in the majors. There are arguments for both. There are arguments against both.
There’s also an argument for pushing past the payroll limits when it comes to cost certainty and a substantial upgrade for a large-market contending team with a roster that isn’t quite elite yet. The heavy lifting was done by Vince Gennaro years ago, but it still applies. He quantified just how much a 90-win team meant to different teams compared to an 80-win team.
To think about this in the reverse, or negative, we could say that if the Yankees don’t contend for the postseason, attendance and fan support would drop precipitously, as the team would fall far short of fan expectations. The result is a steep win-curve.
That’s about the Yankees, but it sure applies to the 2017 Giants, too. And the dollar figures used in that article are in 2007 dollars, which means they’re almost certainly low for today’s purposes. To dumb it down: An extra three or four wins for the Giants could mean $10 million in extra revenue, if not more.
Let’s check in with the combined WAR projections from Steamer for Parker and Williamson:
And the average WAR from Martinez over the last three seasons?
If Gennaro’s numbers are right — and I promise you that I’m too stupid to know for sure — that would mean a trade for Martinez might not just be a way to make us fanpersons happy, but it might be a financial investment that would reap extra revenue. Maybe not the $16.5 million the Giants would have to pay Martinez after the salary cap tax, but it could make up a whole bunch.
Man, if I could just reach that straw up there. Almost have it. Alllllllmost have it.
Of note: I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Williamson was worth two wins this year. Parker would surprise me a little more, but we’re not talking a “Brandon Crawford learning how to hit” level of surprise. Don’t take this pining for Martinez as a complete lack of confidence in either of them.
Just take it for what it is: pining for Martinez. Who is a .300 hitting, 20-homer whomping, can’t-possibly-be-much-worse-than-Pagan fielding player who happens to play the exact position the Giants could fill. I’m going to take the over on last year’s defensive stats, which would mean he’s an All-Star caliber outfielder.
The Giants could probably use one of those.