It’s a stretch to say that Mike Trout was almost on the Giants. I’m about to share a snippet of a long, enjoyable article that suggests the Giants might have been interested in him before the 2009 draft, when they had the sixth overall pick, but that doesn’t mean they were close to pulling the trigger.
On the other hand, this paragraph has “Giants” and “Mike Trout” in the same sentence, which means you deserve to read it:
The Diamondbacks were definitely interested in Trout, and they had the 16th and 17th picks in the draft. The San Francisco Giants, selecting sixth, and the Oakland A’s, with the 13th selection, also were considered possible landing spots for Trout. And the New York Yankees, it was well known, had an eye on the local kid too, but they would pick 29th.
One thing that makes me think this could be true: Trout probably would have agreed to a pre-draft deal for below the average cost of a sixth pick. The Giants were always rumored to be interested in one of those deals, though when it came time to actually draft, they never shied away from high-priced prospects, like Buster Posey. If there was one outfielder talented enough to escape from the Giants’ nameless void that sucks young outfielders out of existence, it would have been Trout.
My reaction: Would have been neat, alright, but I do not have one single regret about the 2009 draft.
It’s the same reason I don’t regret the Aaron Rowand deal, the Jose Castillo experiment, or not trading Angel Villalona for Corey Kluber when they could have. I don’t regret Barry Zito’s contract, Jose Guillen, or letting Barry Bonds disappear after 2007. The Giants won three championships, and they might not have one of them if Cody Ross doesn’t get the right fastball at the right time. If they don’t have Tim Lincecum lined up for Game 1 of the NLDS. If, if, if. And I’m not messing with a single one of those ifs.
Y’all act like you’ve never seen Back to the Future before.
Don’t believe me? I have scenarios.
The Giants, a game-and-a-half behind the Padres at the trade deadline, see their chance. They could improve the offense, or they could double down on their stellar pitching. They have Jack Zduriencik, GM of the Mariners, on the line, and he’s giving them an ultimatum.
Look, I get that you’re keeping Bumgarner, and I’m fine with that. Just give us the teenager from A-ball, no big whoop, and send some lesser prospects along with him.
It was a reasonable price to pay for Cliff Lee, really.
Now the Giants have Cliff Lee. Their rotation is Lincecum/Lee/Cain/Sanchez/Bumgarner, and Barry Zito is in the bullpen. Unless it’s Sanchez or Bumgarner in the bullpen. Either way, there’s no need to trade for Javier Lopez.
The Giants win the pennant. They face the Rangers in the World Series. C.J. Wilson pitches in Game 1 and outduels Lincecum. Lee gets let up by the Rangers in Game 2, and Colby Lewis can’t lose.
You see how this goes. Rangers in six.
After the season, disappointed by the close-but-no-champagne finish, Brian Sabean signs Carl Crawford to a seven-year deal. This is how all of these scenarios end. Like this, or with Brandon Belt being traded for Nick Markakis. There are no championships.
Dodgers and A’s fans make fun of you. The horror.
MLB Trade Rumors publishes a story titled, “Giants interested in Cliff Lee; Could give up Mike Trout.”
Barry Zito reads the story and says, “Aw, raspberries. I’m no good no how.” The trade falls through, but Zito is demoralized, and he loses his next six starts because he knows the Giants wanted to replace him.
Mike Trout is in Augusta, tearing the place up. One night, drunk on carrot juice, he gets in an argument with Madison Bumgarner about barometric pressure. Bumgarner breaks his hand in the fight. The bones don’t set right, and his command is off for the rest of his career.
Or maybe Trout hits Bumgarner with a line drive in batting practice.
Maybe Trout gives Bumgarner a cow for his birthday, and the cow gores him.
Don’t know! The odds are good that it all works out, and they’re amazing together, but I also know the Giants won three championships with Bumgarner and not Trout. I don’t know if they win four or five with both. I don’t want to find out. Three World Series parades later, it’s just not worth it.
Fine, they win in 2010. Mike Trout is up in 2012 and excellent. Everything looks great. Then he goes 0-for-4 against Mat Latos in Game 5 of the NLDS, including a rally-killing line drive double play in the fourth. That’s baseball for you! Reds win.
Barry Zito is walking through the clubhouse before Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS. Trout is on the phone, and he says, “It’s like, why does ‘fat chance’ and ‘slim chance’ mean the same thing, you know?”
It’s all Zito can think about for the next hour.
When it’s time to pitch, Zito gets in trouble in the second inning. Right before he uncorks a curveball against Daniel Descalso, he thinks, “why does ‘fat chance’ and ‘slim chance’ mean the same thing?”
There are roughly an infinite number of these scenarios. Some of them are legitimate! At least a couple of them lead to, oh, eight straight titles.
But I’m very, very, very, very happy with the Giants since Mike Trout was passed over. I’m happy with the Carlos Beltran trade. I’m happy with the Dan Uggla signing. It is all part of the exact sequencing that was needed, and I’m not keen on watching the Giants reverse-engineer their success, even if they get to do it with one of the greatest players in baseball history.
Maybe you’ll take your chances. That’s great! It’s a viable opinion. But I’m the guy who walks out with the $100,000 when he doesn’t know the last answer on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
I’ll take the trophies in the hand, thank you.
If you wanted to give us Mike Trout right now, though, I’d be cool with that.