Sigh. I really thought I'd done it.
The Major League Baseball trade deadline was only a couple days away and I had resisted the urge to speculative heavily on the San Francisco Giants. I'd even passed on the urge to give an extensive reaction of the franchise's acquisition of Ryan Garko for a secondary (or tertiary) prospect in Scott Barnes.
Didn't hurt that Danny Penza basically covered my sentiments on the matter already, word for word.
As far as I was concerned, the Baseball Gods should've had taller targets for their lightning bolts.
Brian Sabean and San Francisco brain trusts deemed it the wiser course to send super-prospect Tim Alderson to the Pittsburgh Pirates for...drum roll...Freddy Sanchez?
Look, he's a fine baseball player. Anyone with five full years in the bigs possessing a .300 career batting average is a great hitter. Of course, Sanchez has never launched more than 11 home runs in a season and is 31 so it's not as if his best power numbers are ahead of him.
Complicating matters is the former Bucco's new home digs—AT&T Park.
I've heard some of the newer stats that try to estimate an arena's status as a hitter's/pitcher's park put AT&T somewhere in the middle, even skewing to the splinters.
Every single everyday player los Gigantes have picked up since Pac Bell opened has seen his power numbers dip. Every. Single. One.
Freddy Sanchez will be no different.
So the question remains, why the hell would you burn arguably the second-best blue-chipper in your farm system to bring in a player that doesn't address your most glaring need?
I've said it before and I'll say it again—if not for Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson would've BEEN Madison Bumgarner. He would've drawn the lion's share of the hype, he would've been the legendary AAer, and he would've been the sincerely untouchable commodity.
In the Show's modern era, having one such ace-in-waiting does not make the other expendable.
What if something derails MadBum's development? What if Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain gets a wild hair up his nose and decide he wants to go pitch somewhere else?
If, if, if, if, if...there are a lot of 'em where the consequent scenario shakes out much better with Bumgarner and Alderson.
Sabean said losing the double-take talent of Alderson is "the price of doing business."
To a degree, the Giants general manager is right. What he's wrong about is the "doing business" part because this appears to be activity for activity's sake. Transparent clichés to the contrary, Sabean's simplistic explanation was just a dodge.
He needs to explain why the business was done before he explains away its cost.
Whether anyone acknowledges it, San Francisco has plenty of Punch and Judy hitters who will flirt with the superlative .300 mark. Randy Winn, Aaron Rowand, Ryan Garko, Bengie Molina, and possibly a healthy Nate Schierholtz.
Shoot, the way Eugenio Velez has been torching the ball since being recalled, you might be able to toss him in the group. An important note since Velez played a good amount of second base during his first tours of the bigs.
Obviously, Sanchez has a better history of actually going home with the .300 mark, but all of the aforementioned pack more wallop than the newbie (based on that same history).
Perhaps not Velez, but he can fly so he brings the plus-trait of speed, which Not Fast Freddy lacks.
And Pablo Sandoval still remains the most potent bat in the lineup.
So what have the San Francisco just gotten in return for an arm that would be the class of almost any other Minor League system in baseball?
From here, it looks like they've grabbed a more reliable version of Emmanuel Burriss (who I know is injured), Kevin Frandsen, Eugenio Velez, or any other youngster who might be able to hit for good contact and play a clean second sack.
I don't mean to disrespect Freddy Sanchez, but look at his career resume. The new Giant infielder has the one anomalistic year where he hit .344 and won a batting title.
Other than that single campaign, there isn't anything all too remarkable. Again, very good and better than most players who hit the majors, but not the kind of track record that superficially warrants sacrificing such a valuable chip when the team needs power.
Which is the most confounding element to the whole fiasco.
This is not the bat San Francisco needed, if they really needed one at all—I'd still argue the 2009 World Series isn't the ultimate goal here, but that's for another day.
Freddy Sanchez makes the Giants marginally better (if he's even healthy).
But he doesn't drastically improve the run production. You can't plop him in the middle of the batting order to move Bengie Molina down into a more natural five hole. No Major League pitcher is going to tread any more lightly through the Orange and Black because it STILL doesn't have a guy capable of bombing away at will.
This is not a bat that instantly makes the San Francisco Giants the Wild Card favorite.
Take a gander at the National League Central. You'll see a Chicago Cub team starting to play to its battle-tested potential. You'll also see a St. Louis Cardinal squad starting to fully assimilate Matt Holliday's prowess and really steam.
Against this dual backdrop, you have the same impotent San Francisco Giant offense being dragged along by its Herculean pitching staff. Plus Freddy Sanchez.
Minus one radiant gem from its once envy-inducing farm system.
Brian Sabean is right, Tim Alderson was obviously the priced paid to do business.
Which is why it shouldn't have been done.