Well, so much for all of Sabean’s claims that the Giants wouldn’t trade away their future trying to win this year. The Giants acquired 2Bman Freddie Sanchez today from the Pirates straight up for pitcher Tim Alderson, the Giants’ best pitching prospect after Madison Bumgarner and the 22nd player taken in the 2007 Draft. Keith Law of ESPN rates Alderson as the 26th best prospect in baseball, and Baseball America ranks Alderson as the Giants’ 4th best prospect.
Alderson had struggled in his last six starts at AA Connecticut, giving up 20 earned runs in 33 IP (that’s a 5.45 ERA, boys and girls), but so what? He’s only 20 years old this year, and he’s already has 13 AA starts under his belt.
Giving up Alderson is heavy price to pay for a team that should still be in rebuilding mode after four consecutive losing seasons. Apparently, the Pirates didn’t even pony up any money to pay Sanchez salary.
After opting for quantity over quality in the McLouth and Wilson trades and getting little in return in the LaRoche trade, this is a brilliant trade for the Pirates. They finally get a grade-A prospect, something they desperately need if they are going to trade off all their veteran starters. Bad teams have bad luck, and Alderson could hurt his arm long before he reaches the majors, but for the time being it was a good move by the Pirates.
What disappoints me particularly is that earlier in the day the rumor was the Giants would send RF John Bowker, 2Bman Kevin Frandsen, and 1Bman Jesus Guzman to the Pirates for Sanchez. While I like John Bowker, he turned 26 three weeks and he still hasn’t established himself as a major league regular. Besides, the Giants have plenty of depth already at the positions (corner outfield, 1B) Bowker.
The Giants also have plenty of depth at 2B, and Guzman was a player the Giants picked up off the scrap heap last off-season. He can hit, but he’s got stone hands on defense and he’s already 25. Kevin Frandsen is already 27.
The Giants have now traded two of their top half dozen pitching prospect at the Class A+ level or higher, and a third, Ben Snyder, took a line drive off his head in yesterday’s ballgame. If Madison Bumgarner hurts his arm and Tim Alderson turns into a star, the Giants will regret this move for years. Unless, of course, the Giants make it past the first round of the play-offs this October.
In my mind, the Giants now have to make the play-offs, or it’s finally time to cut Sabean lose.