Giants general manager Brian Sabean was kind enough to take some time out of his busy offseason schedule -- he's in Arizona for a third round of organizational meetings -- on Wednesday to give CSNBayArea.com a one-on-one interview, and in typically understated Sabean style, he said a few things that beg a close look between the lines. The biggest bombshell seemed to come when Sabean, who has often mentioned that trying to find a way to keep his pitching staff intact would be an offseason priority, was offered an opportunity to take that vow a step further and rule out trading one of his starters.He did not jump at the offer. He did not rule out trading a starter.What does that mean, though?
Well, in conjunction with Sabean suggesting that adding a big-name hitter might not be financially feasible through free agency -- the Giants have 13 arbitration-eligible players and eight free agents, and though not all of them will return, those who do will get nice raises -- it means the only way to improve the offense could be by tapping into the rotation.But which member? Ooooh, the head spins with possibilities. If you're one who leans toward panic, you start thinking about the Matt Cain-to-the-Yankees "rumors" you've heard. Fine, but remember Cain's loyalty. He might be the easiest starter to sign to a long-term deal.If you're one who leans toward setting your hair on fire and stabbing your eyeballs with fireplace tools, you remember Tim Lincecum's plan to take things year-by-year until he's eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.Fine, but think about the likelihood of getting equal value for Lincecum in a trade. Is there such a thing? It'd be like the Cardinals trading Albert Pujols; you can't possibly get fair value for the man. Same deal with The Freak, and he's locked down for another two years. Plenty of time to make him want to stay longer.If you're one who leans toward pragmatism, you start thinking about Jonathan Sanchez. After all, he's been traded in your mind about 34,016 times already.Fine, but isn't it a year too late to deal Sanchez? Hasn't his value dipped considerably? Of course it has. No way he fetches much of an impact bat. But remember the nameBrett Pill. Might Sanchez and Pill fetch a legit stick? The call here is yes.(You think I'm crazy? You did when I threw out Thomas Neal's name last summer, too.)
If you're one who leans toward sitting in your basement, distractedly flipping through your shoebox of old baseball cards and wondering whatever happened to Russ Ortiz and Matt Morris, you think of Madison Bumgarner.Fine, but there's really not a lot of hope for someone like you, gravitating to the relative safety of going with salty vets because you just don't trust kids today. Good luck in that Strat-O-Matic league, champ. And finally, if you're one who leans toward sheer fantasy, you imagine a world in which Barry Zito is sent far, far away, with some bottomless-pockets owner happily picking up what's left on that contract and sending his best three players Sabean's way because his daughter thinks Z's dreamy and wants him to teach her how to play guitar and surf.Fine. Light some scented candles while you're at it. But it ain't gonna happen and we all know it.So who does that leave? Ryan Vogelsong?Come on. For one thing, you don't trade the reigning recipient of the Willie Mac award. For a second thing, you're not going to get much for a 34-year-old who just had his first good full season.Sanchez and Pill, people. Or Sanchez and someone.
It has to be that, no?