Brian Sabean should always hold a special place in the hearts of Giant fans for the 2002 season. On July 30, 2001, Sabean traded Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong for John Wander Wall and Jason Schmidt.
This will go down next to a series of great moves that also included trading for David Bell and Kenny Lofton in 2002. The trades put the Giants a horrible Dusty Baker decision away from winning the World Series. Sabean had done wonders and the future was oh so bright.
Yes, Sabean is also the guy that traded Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, and Joe Nathan, who is arguably the most durable closer in the game. In return, Sabean received the pest A.J Pierzynski and cash.
The cancer behind the plate not only cost the Giants two All-Stars and a starting pitcher but should help mold Sabean's legacy. Add in the Barry Zito signing and 2002 seems centuries ago.
The man that received the prestigious 2003 Sporting News Executive of the year award has lost his imagination that helped put together competitive Giant teams.
Sure, Sabean can brag about his work for the Evil Empire. As a scout for the New York Yankees, Sabean did find and signed talented armature's Derrick Jeter, Andy Pettitte, J.T Snow, Jorge Posada, Mariano Riveria, just to name a few.
Sabean has also built a very good pitching farm system. Giant pitchers have held their own against the rest of baseball adding a C.Y. Young this year in Tim Lincecum. But the same cannot be said about Giant hitters.
In fact, it is the exact opposite. The Giants might have the best pitching farm system and the worst hitting although that might be a bit exaggerated.
Sabean has signed Edger Renteria and two former setup men. Plain and simple the bullpen was terrible last year and whoever you bring in is an upgrade, enough said. The Renteria trade is a crossroads trade. It could work and the potential is there. Financially does not kill the Giants and two years is ideal.
Yet, Renteria is old in baseball years, and the Giants have already explored that route with the guy Renteria is replacing. Renteria had a down year hitting in a lineup that featured Miguel Caberara, Maggilio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, and Curtis Granderson. Now replace those guys with Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn and Benji Molina.
If Renteria is a bust, not only does it financially take away from the Giants but also takes playing time from the youngsters. The time you took to regret signing Renteria you could have been developing, Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandson, or Eugenio Velez. Yet Renteria is an icon, a player with pride that possibly has something left to prove. Playing with Renteria can also become the best development for the young shortstops.
The Giants do need a corner infielder and the Florida Marlins are dangling Jorge Cantu. Cantu is an overachiever who constantly has to prove himself. For this reason alone, Cantu’s time is short.
Overachievers who constantly have to prove themselves are great stories and fun to root for but are a different type of gamble. Management gambles with every move made but logic should tell you if a player is an overachiever his luck is bound to run out sooner than later.
Is not the talent Jonathan Sanchez posses greater than a corner infielder who has battled injury. Salary-wise, Cantu is a steal and no doubt has proved he can hit but a career on base percentage of .317 is not worth Sanchez.
In fact Cantu would be a solid pickup for the Giants. They do not have a better corner infielder on their roster. Cantu will give them some pop in a lineup that desperately needs power. But trading Cantu for Sanchez is a horrible move.
Sanchez pitched in 158 innings last year striking out 157 batters. Not to mention Sanchez only gave up 14 home runs. The lefty was wild as his earned run average shows but most young left hander's go through this stage. Yet Sanchez had spurts of greatness and with seasoning and patience can become a legitimate number two or three starter.
Sure, the Giants have a deep starting unit but Sanchez is not the one that should be used as bait. Especially considering the progress of Noah Lowery and Barry Zito, the Giants need Sanchez behind Lincecum and Matt Cain.
Pitching and defense wins championships and Sanchez is a big part of the Giants rebuilding. The Giants should trade for Cantu but Sanchez should not be part of the package. The Giants should be dangling John Bowker, Patrick Mitsch, Kelvin Pichardo, or even Tim Alderson in a package for Cantu but not Sanchez.
Sabean has fallen from grace as the Giants G.M and a Cantu for Sanchez trade would only add to his demise. But packaging a few minor leaguers not named Madison Bumgarner, Bustor Posey, Conor Gillaspie, Pablo Sandoval and Angel Villalona can only help restore Sabean’s career.
If Sabean truly wants to make a Barry Bonds splash home run, Sabean should sign CC Sabathia, trade Cain for Prince Fielder and try to sign Joe Crede or trade for Adrian Beltre (only if he can get Dave Roberts and his salary into the deal) if the Cantu deal falls through.
Yet Sabean’s hands are tied unless upper management is willing to trust in Sabean by expanding the payroll and giving the G.M the luxury of spending. Maybe money can help make up for the loss of imagination.
After all it has been more than a decade since Giant fans doubted Sabean after trading the lovable Matt Willams for Jeff Kent, Jose Viscaino, Julian Taverez and Joe Roa. Sabean is long overdue to make Giant fans believers again and forgive him for the Zito signing as well as the A.J trade.