Would the Giants Acquiring a Short-Term Solution Hurt Their Long-Term Goals?

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IMay 26, 2009

As the San Francisco Giants look for some kind of solution to attempt to solve their offensive woes, the rumor mill is churning out story after story in which potential players could be sent the other direction to sweeten a deal.

It’s a strange little situation the Giants find themselves in. They want to compete for a division crown with the hated Dodgers while also trying to move in some young talent and see what they have to offer, with some patience needed by the masses in the process.

Not exactly a logical combination for success.

General manager Brian Sabean knew this was the case heading into Spring Training, but he failed to pull the trigger on a bat other than shortstop Edgar Renteria before this season and Aaron Rowand before the 2008 edition.

As we’ve seen the team go through its ups and downs in the first two months of this season, the Giants aren’t much better than they were last year, when they scored the second-fewest runs in the majors.

While discussing the team’s current state this past weekend while the Giants were on the road in Seattle, Sabean said he is in hot pursuit of a bat.

Now because of it, Sabean is considering all options, whether it is rumored to be Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson (the short-term option), Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla (signed through 2011), or any other bat on a bad team that becomes available over the next few weeks as teams start to ditch the plan of competing for a playoff spot this season.

The problem for the Giants is their players that have significant trade value are also the ones that are the most important to their competing in the immediate future.

Matt Cain has been the hot commodity as of late, and for obvious reasons.

This season has proved that Cain can be the horse on the staff, despite that Tim Lincecum guy whom you might have heard of recently. He is 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA, leads the team with 60 innings pitched, and has a contract until 2011 at a low cost—exactly why teams will be asking for him every time Sabean calls and inquires about a bat.

But Cain is becoming the kind of pitcher that people thought he would be, which makes parting with him so much harder to see the Giants doing despite their extreme need for a serious bat. With some run support finally coming his way after two years of being in a dead zone, the 24-year-old righty is beginning to flourish.

Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson are expected to join the rotation next season, which would give the Giants the ability to say they have one of the deepest, youngest pitching staffs around.

Say the Giants don’t trade Cain or Jonathan Sanchez, yet try to get somebody like Matt Holliday from the A’s—it’ll cost a pretty penny. They may not be giving up talent on the major league roster, but the minor league system, now one of the best around, would be seriously gutted.

Have you seen the kind of prospects that Billy Beane has hauled in over the past two winters as he has offloaded player after player that would bring in quality players in return?

Look at the kind of raids Beane has done on the Diamondbacks and White Sox’s farm systems when the A’s dealt Dan Haren and Nick Swisher.

Sabean said in Seattle that he wouldn’t give up any of the top prospects, but as we have seen in the past, parting with a top pitching prospect (Kurt Ainsworth or Francisco Liriano) doesn’t faze the Giants GM if need be.

This is why making a trade for short-term help seems so sketchy, even though the offense is so poor. The market isn’t as deep as it may be getting toward the trade deadline, and it certainly isn’t close to being what it may be at this current date in late May.

If you want to get somebody to help in the next few weeks, it would certainly cost more than it would four or six weeks from now.

Yet to get talent you have to give it up. Would Sabean, despite what he has said in the press over the past week, pull the trigger on something that would help now yet hurt the team later?

That’s something we’ll just have to wait and see. But trying to save his own backside while mortgaging the team’s future certainly would be the wrong move to make.