Jorge Cantu to the San Francisco Giants? Thanks, But No Thanks

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IDecember 8, 2008

The biggest rumor at Winter Meetings in Las Vegas having to with the San Francisco Giants—and not CC Sabathia—is steadily gaining momentum.

A National League source told on Monday that the Giants and Florida Marlins are continuing to discuss a deal that would send infielder Jorge Cantu to San Francisco in exchange for starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.

But would this trade really benefit the Giants?

Obviously, upgrading the offense is General Manager Brian Sabean's No. 1 priority while he is in Vegas.

And while Cantu had a big year last year, hitting .277 with 29 HR and a team-high 95 RBI, his defense was simply awful. 20 of his 22 errors came at third base, the position he would most likely play if he is acquired by the Giants. He was usually switched over to first base late in games last season, obviously a sign that defense isn't his best quality.

Other than last season, the only legitimate season Cantu had was back in 2005 with Tampa Bay. 2006 and 2007 are seasons that he would obviously like to forget.

He's also arbitration eligible, with his salary expected to rise to around $4 million.

So if he does come to San Francisco, the left side of the Giants' infield will be a guy who has lost a step at shortstop in Edgar Renteria and Cantu, who committed the third-most errors in the majors and had the lowest Zone Rating (.720) in all of baseball.

Not exactly what you want to hear when most games will be won with pitching and defense.

And if Sanchez is dealt, that would leave Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain as the only big guns left in the rotation.

Going 9-12 with a 5.01 ERA was obviously not what the kind of season that Sanchez wanted, as he struggled down the stretch, winning only once in 12 second-half starts and going into the seventh inning only twice.

However, with Barry Zito coming off of another up-and-down season and Noah Lowry's status still uncertain after missing all of the 2008 season, parting ways with a starter might not be the best option.

And to say the Giants have a lot of options in the minors that can take Sanchez's spot in the rotation doesn't make much sense.

The Giants' top two pitching prospects, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, are both at least one year away. And while both youngsters are extremely talented, they still need to develop in the minors and the Giants have no plans rushing them.