“With one more bat, the Giants can win the wild card easily.”
“We should move our young pitching prospects now while their stock is high.”
“If we don’t make a move now, this is a lost season.”
These are the types of things I hear Giants fans saying as they leave AT&T Park after yet another one-run loss. I see the same sentiment written on message boards on Bleacher Report and around the blogosphere.
All of the above statements show the impatience of Giants fans and the fallacy of making a trade just because you can. Acquiring a player like Nick Johnson or Dan Uggla would mean less playing time for Emmanuel Burriss and Travis Ishikawa. Sure, the kids have not exactly transitioned to the major league level with ease, but I’d rather see what our prospects can do than acquire a second baseman with an iron glove or a 30-year old first baseman that has only hit 20 home runs once in his career.
Yes, the Giants would be much better with a superior cleanup hitter. Yes, former Giants pitching prospects flamed out so there’s no guarantee Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson are going to turn into MLB-ready aces. Yes, there is a distinct chance the Giants continue to play .500 ball and miss out on the postseason for the sixth straight year.
However, and this is a big "however," to make any of the trades I’ve heard around the water cooler or on mlbtraderumors.com would erase San Francisco’s long-term goal of having a great nucleus of young players that will be poised to make a serious World Series run (or two) in the next decade.
Besides Bumgarner and Alderson, the Giants have 2008 first-round draft pick Buster Posey tearing it up in San Jose, and learning the art of catching so he can have the honor of calling games for Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Alderson, and to a lesser extent, Zito.
Then there’s the AnVil, Angel Villalona, who is advertised as the true 40-50 HR threat the Giants have been lacking since Barry Bonds tragically left the shores of McCovey Cove.
The Giants also established themselves as serious players in the international scouting world when they signed 16-year-old Rafael Rodriguez out of the Dominican Republic for $2.25 million, a franchise record for an international player.
If you were unaware, now you know what you have to look forward to as a Giants fan.
With that in mind, do you really think it makes sense to trade someone like Jonathan Sanchez or one of the top prospects for a guy like Uggla or Johnson?
If we can get a Miguel Cabrera or an Adrian Gonzalez in return for a handful of prospects, I’m all for rolling the dice.
But great hitters aren't usually on the trading block and the prospects that the Giants would have to give up are not the type that GM Brian Sabean should look to deal because I think these players are the real deal.
I’m a firm believer that Bumgarner, Alderson, Posey, and Villalona are as good as advertised. It’s too early to judge Rodriguez but he’s a five-tool player that just needs some time to mature and develop before he’s ready for the Show.
I may be wrong; injuries happen and top prospects often flame out. As Giants fans, we understand that far too well. Regardless, I’d rather see homegrown talent lead the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco than a bunch of midseason acquisitions and free agent signings.
For years, the Giants have had a laughable farm system. Case in point: Pedro Feliz has been the best position player the Giants have produced in a very long time until Pablo Sandoval came around. That’s a sad but true fact and should be motivation to keep the jewels of our organization in house.
I know it’s hard to stomach this anemic offense, these close losses, and the possibility of staying home during the postseason yet again, but just look at what Bumgarner, Alderson, Posey, and Villalona are doing in the minor leagues.
If you are a real fan who follows the Giants no matter how they are playing, you will understand why the wisest move is to be patient.
Based on Brian Sabean’s free agent signings the last few years (Zito, Rowand, Renteria) and his trading history (think Liriano, Nathan, and Bonser for Pierzynski), I question his ability to fleece another GM in a trade and a fleece-job is the only thing that would make sense.
If the Padres are willing to deal Adrian Gonzalez to a division rival for Sanchez, Alderson, and Ishikawa, I’d pull the trigger. But if we’re trading Bumgarner for Uggla or Johnson, that is exactly the type of move that will jeopardize the future and keep the Giants out of the playoffs for another six years.