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Friday, July 29, 2011

The Other Shoe Dropped

So when Brian Sabean said he was working on a bigger deal when he acquired Jeff Keppinger, we now know who it was.

Ladies and gentleman, your new rightfielder: Carlos Beltran


We're so used to Sabean smoke and mirrors that it's hard to comprehend that he actually acquired the guy he was linked to all along.

It's a big pick up. I wanted Carlos Beltran on the Giants all the way back when he was a Royal. Then he ransacked the 2004 postseason and I REALLY wanted him. Now, 7 years later, he's a Giant. He's not exactly the player he was but he's still above average. And the fact that he and Pablo are both switch hitters makes the new middle of the line-up much harder to pitch to for opposing managers. Remember last year's NLCS when Bochy could bring in Javier Lopez and shut down Utley and Howard? Sure, Charlie "Senile" Manuel ("Lincecum and Cain are good but not great") tried to insert Jayson Werth in between his lefties once to no avail but the point is the Giants had a counter for the Phillies lefties. With Beltran and Sandoval batting 3-4 there are no specialist relievers that can come into the game and neutralize them. Beltran isn't hitting lefties as well as he has in the past but he's not a eunuch up there either.

The Giants got the crown jewel on the market at the deadline and when was the last time the Giants could say that? Jason Schmidt and (gasp!) Sidney Ponson were at the top of the wishlist in 2001 and 2003 respectively but when was the last time the Giants truly acquired a top flight hitter? Freddy Sanchez was a nice complementary piece. But go down the list and you see the Ricky Ledee's, Roos Davis's, and Shea Hillenbrand's of the world. Ellis Burks may have been the closest thing but it cost the Giants their leadoff hitter at the time. And Randy Winn wound up having a huge final two months with the Giants in 2005 but that was extremely unexpected.

No, Sabean this time saw a gaping hole left by Posey and he filled it with the biggest bat on the market. The Phillies may counter with Pence, who was my original pipe dream. But if the Giants just set the market by trading Zach Wheeler for a 2 month rental then the Astros have leverage to demand the Phillies entire farm system for Pence.

And who knows? Sabes may not be finished. There is still a black hole at catcher and shortstop and given that the Mets actually threw 4 million dollars back into the pot, you might see the Giants leave Cincy with Ramon Hernandez on Sunday. Or some other catcher. Because even with the addition of Beltran, the Giants bottom third of the line-up is littered with automatic outs, whether it's Whiteside, Stewart, Tejada, Crawford, or Fontenot.

Giants clearly are going for the trophy again in 2011. Ownership has stepped up to the plate and already hit a home run. It cost them a major chunk of their future as Eric Surkamp now becomes the top rated starting pitching prospect in the Giants farm system. We can only hope Beltran makes it worth it. San Francisco didn't bring him on to solidify a division title. They brought him on to get them to the World Series. We'll know in October if the move paid off.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's The Other Shoe?

The Giants are playing well. They are 4.5 games up in the division. They just made a trade for Freddy Sanchez Lite (Jeff Keppinger). Brian Sabean is talking all sorts of crazy claiming he's working on a bigger deal. And the Giants are starting to sit down the dead weight (Tejada gets DL'd, Zito gets skipped, and Huff gets to enjoy the bench while Belt gets some starts).

The Giants are 16 games over .500 and Brian Sabean says they're lucky to be in that position. It sounds like ownership is ready to bite the bullet and go for it again (whether that means sacrificing some prospects or taking on more salary).

So.

What deal was Sabean working on when he mentioned a bigger deal? In my dream fantasy land, it meant he was talking about Hunter Pence. But Hank Schulman ruled that out. Obviously it was Beltran then, right? Well, Baggarly shot down Beltran.

So what other big fish is out there? Sabean always likes to get those under the radar guys. I was thinking maybe Nick Markakis but that seems like too much of a financial risk. Michael Bourn perhaps? I hardly would classify Bourn as a difference maker however. Michael Cuddyer? Apparently Sabean had talks with the Twins about Cuddyer. A glorified Mark DeRosa if you ask me.

Sabean has put a lot of emphasis on pitching and defense so I'd have to assume the player he was looking at was solid defensively. Again, I think back to the Orioles. Adam Jones? Forget anyone on the Royals and the Cubs.

I'm left scratching my head. I have no idea who Sabean is going after besides the obvious (Beltran). I want Pence and I'm REALLLLLY hoping the Keppinger deal opened the dialogue. But the Astros have seemed pretty intent on keeping Pence thus far.

I guess we'll see. There's a week and a half before the deadline. Sabean picked up this year's Mike Fontenot. Now he just needs to conjure a player that has elements of the Ross and Burrell pick ups last year. A bigger fish. Can he do it? We'll know come Aug. 1st.

Oh, and as always (especially with Timmy going for the sweep against Kershaw)...