As I was getting ready for bed last night, I headed over to B/R to see what type of articles I could come up with for my nightly reading. I browsed through the NFL section and found nothing so I headed over to the MLB section and found a gem of sarcasm that I couldn't help but scoff at.
It appears that after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series by what most sports fans would say was a miracle run of good luck (and it was, make no mistake about it), Giants fans began to overvalue Matt Cain, and indeed, the entire rotation that pitched them through that World Series vs. Texas.
Now, most fans rarely, if ever, will so openly discuss their blatant over-valuations of any one player. However, one Giants fan did just that by writing this article about what he thinks the Giants should receive if they decided to trade Matt Cain in the coming months. That fan's name: Andrew Brining.
It has come to my attention that most San Francisco Giants fans have become disillusioned following the dream run through the postseason, but I had never thought that any of them had fallen this far, this fast.
Now, I don't want to be taken the wrong way. Matt Cain is a good pitcher, possibly even a great pitcher, but he is by no means worth what the majority of Giants fans seem to think. As I read over this article (and it's rather well written) I couldn't help thinking to myself "What are they drinking over there in San Francisco?"
Let me begin by saying that if you haven't read the article, you should. You'll see what I'm talking about when you get to the first slide proposing a trade with the Orioles. Throughout the comment section, the author was kind enough to explain his position repeatedly to many people who were also kind enough to inform him that he was out of his mind. The problem with him repeating his position is that his position is incorrect.
Mr. Brining repeatedly states that because the Giants won the World Series, they are the top team in the league. I don't think that after the offseason they've had, or lack thereof, that the Giants (or their fans) should be touting themselves as top dog. Their offense is bad, their pitching is good. Problem is, several teams have tried the "Pitching Wins Championships" approach, and most of them fail.
It's true. Pitching does win championships. Pitching is top dog in the playoffs. If you have two pitchers who could be aces on most of the staffs in the league, and a serviceable 3rd starter, you can probably pitch your way through the postseason and through the world series. But make no mistake, offense (and defense) scoring, (and holding your opponent to fewer runs) are what get you to the postseason.
Take a look at the 2009 Seattle Mariners. Their pitching was FANTASTIC. Felix Hernandez would have been the AL Cy Young winner in '09 had there not been a masterpiece of a season by Zack Grienke. Their defense was the best in the league by every measurable statistic. Where were they in October? Sitting at home with the regular folk watching the playoffs on tv. Why? because their offense couldn't get more runs over the plate than the opponent. Had they reached the playoffs, they probably could have won a series or two, possibly even made it to the World Series.
Now take a look at the 2011 San Francisco Giants. They've got the pitching. They don't have the offense or the defense. It's going to be very tough for them to repeat.
Which brings me back to the aforementioned article. Mr. Brining would like you to believe that, should the Giants get an offer on Matt Cain, and should they need to trade him (which they don't...he's young, he's cheap, and he's good), they can hold out until they get a trade that is absolutely lopsided in their favor. He's thinking Cain for Hanley Ramirez or Miguel Cabrera here folks.
Any rational baseball fan would look at these proposed "trades" and tell you they're all fantasy. There's absolutely no way any of the teams mentioned would trade the stars mentioned straight across for Matt Cain. Brining has an answer for that too: look at Cain's body of work in the playoffs. 20 innings of scoreless baseball. That's fantastic. That's two and 2/9ths of a game. When you factor in the fact that the Giants had to play 15 games to win the world series, that's not even 1/5th of the team's games in the playoffs.
Giants fans have become so disillusioned that they believe Matt Cain is worth more in a trade than 2010 Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez, more than 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee was (in both 2010 trades combined) and Lee's body of work in the 2009 postseason was even more impressive than Cain's.
If Texas were to offer the Seattle Mariners Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler in a trade for Felix Hernandez, I think the Mariners would think about it. If they threw in Neftali Feliz to sweeten the deal, Jack Zduriencek would pick King Felix up, twirl him around his head and throw him in the general direction of Texas.
Brining says that the Giants wouldn't even consider trading Cain for Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. I hate to break it to you bud, but Felix Hernandez has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball for the last two years, and even he could be had for that type of deal. Cain isn't as valuable as King Felix, not by a long shot. Felix Hernandez is arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Cain isn't even top 10, probably not even top 15.
The whole point of this article was to say this: Stop thinking a player is God simply because he played well during short run in the Playoffs. If San Fran was to be offered any of the deals mentioned in Mr. Brining's article, they'd jump on those deals in a heartbeat.