Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thoughts on the Trade Deadline

The Trade Deadline came and went today without the Giants making any additional trades beyond the acquisition of Jake Peavy last week.  Rumors had an imminent deal for Emilio Bonifacio from the Cubs.  We do not know what the asking price was, but he ultimately was traded to the Braves for a pretty good catching prospect.  The Giants were not really involved in any other rumors and the beat writers were warning against expecting any major trades.

Brian Sabean commented that the available talent was not enough upgrade to justify the asking price.  We will never know exactly what the asking price was, so we will have to trust Sabes on that one.  Just remember that Bonifacio hit .214 in May, .189 in June, .245 since the first of May and missed most of June and July with an injury.  He was not a clear upgrade on anything the Giants already have and he cost a pretty good catching prospect.

Asdrubal Cabrera was another 2B possibility who got traded on Deadline Day and he cost a pretty good SS prospect with some MLB experience.  I don't know about you, but in my book, Asdrubal Cabrera was not going to alter the balance of power in the NL West.

Stephen Drew got traded to the Yankees in a really weird trade for Kelly Johnson.  Martin Prado was traded, but out of the NL West, by the D'Backs.

There were two 2B who I thought could be worth paying a significant price for because they would be a significant upgrade on the rookie, Joe Panik or the other rookie, Ehire Adrianza, which is what the Giants are looking at right now:  Dan Murphy or Ben Zobrist.  Again, we don't know what the asking price was for those two, or even if they were available.  From the prices paid for Bonifacio and Cabrera, it's not hard the imagine that the asking price was indeed steep.

Assuming at least one of them was available for the right price, I would have pulled the trigger on just about any trade with the possible exception of Kyle Crick, who the Giants would be selling low on if they traded him for either player.  The Giants do not have any elite prospects in their system, with the possible exception of Crick, but the next level of talent is quite deep.  They could afford to lose 2-3 of the non-Cricky prospects and it would still be a deep system.  If Sabes could have landed either Murphy or Zobrist for as much as 2-3 of those, I would have been A-OK with it.  We will never know if he could have.

With the understanding that the Trade Deadline is really no deadline at all when you factor in waiver trades which are allowed after the deadline, I am also OK with stopping with the Jake Peavy trade and going with what they have.  This team had the best record in baseball over the first 3 months of the season.  The schedule is not particularly friendly the rest of the way, but I believe the team is capable of playing much better ball over the next two months with what they have, at least if Pagan and Belt are going to be back soon, and it appears they will be.

As for 2B, I'd like to see Sabes and Bochy put their faith in Joe Panik and commit to him as the starting 2B the rest of the way, for better or worse.  If he absolutely tanks, Adrianza had hit over .300 in his last 10 games before his injury.  Let him play when he comes off the DL.

I do have a couple of concerns with the way Sabes has handled this deadline:

1.  I disagree with the way he has publicly tied his aggressiveness, or lack of same, in the trade market with the recent performance of the team.  If he thinks trading away prospects for a veteran or two is throwing good money after bad, he should keep it to himself.  To tie it to the recent performance of the team, then to do nothing is sending a message to the players that he does not believe in them and has the potential to further demoralize them at at time when they need a boost of confidence.  Even today, he was musing to the media about not liking the feel of the recent homestand.  I don't think anybody liked the feel of it, but I would have preferred that Sabes simply say, "you know, there was nothing on the market that I believe was enough of an upgrade on the guys we have to justify the cost.  We're still in this race despite the recent losing and I believe we can get it done without a trade.  Instead, it looked like the old thin-skinned Sabes getting defensive about his non-activity and throwing his own players under the bus in defending it.

2.  The shuffling of prospects in and out has become almost comical.  It seems directionless and based on yesterday's minor league boxscores rather than any development plan for the prospects.  It's trying to catch lightning in a bottle and trying with a different bottle every day!  I mean, the Uggla promotion was ridiculous.  I would have preferred that Abreu get the PT, but Abreu was up for just a few days and got a total of 4 PA's.  Now it's Matt Duffy and Jarrett Parker, both guys who I like, but you have to wonder what the plan is for either of them.  Does this mean Panik gets less PT or is Crawford going to lose PT at SS?  I guess Matt Duffy will be the back up at both SS and 2B and Parker could conceivably  be the regular CF.  We'll see how much PT either of them get.  At this point, I just want them to make a commitment to somebody, for better or worse, and stick with it.

22 comments:

  1. In the trade market I agree that there really wasn't an upgrade. Sabean would just be making a trade to make a trade. Glad he stood pat. My question is can Matt Duffy play 3rd base? Winning a World Series comes down to pitching. Glad Price, Lester and the Shark all were traded which means no qualifying offer. Let Panda go, Duffy to 3rd and sign a frontline starter in the offseason. Shut Cain down and have him ready for next season. Call me crazy, but I would also try to get the Melk Man back. Let him say sorry and forgive and forget. Unless Morse gets hot last month of season. My point is I rather have money in a starter not in Sandoval.

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    1. I don't think going after the Melk Man is crazy at all, but I'm afraid he burned his bridges with the Giants, both from a PR standpoint with the PED thing and with his teammates in the clubhouse for not being upfront with them. As a player, though, I would love to have him back.

      I believe Samardzija is under contract for 2015, but Price and Lester will be FA's this offseason. I believe both of them will command far bigger contracts than Sandoval, and Sandoval is going to get paid! I think it is more likely they bring Peavy back on a 1 or 2 year deal or else go for another mid-level FA.

      Let's see. The Giants have Bummy, Timmy and Huddy under contract for next season. Cain is under contract if healthy, which he should be, one way or another. The question is whether to bring Vogey back for 1 more season and whether to sign a 6'th starter other than Petit. Ideally, I'd like to see them sign somebody who is more of a sure thing than either Vogey or Peavy.

      I'm sure Duffy can play 3B, but I'm not sure you just hand a guy like that the job going into next season.

      As for Sandoval, I'll say it again. I'm OK with re-signing him as long as it is not for 1 day over 3 years.

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    2. Price is under contract for 2015, last arbitration. Kind of shocked the Tigers got him that cheap. I do think Smyly is very underrated though.

      Good post on Sabean throwing players under the bus. He's always pretty plain spoken, but he's really glossing over his lack of planning this year. Specifically that they've seen how hard it was to swing a trade last year, they shouldn't be shocked shocked! that its hard this year. While I do think that Sabean has evolved over the years (particularly with contract length discipline) I do feel he is behind the times some.

      I'll give a couple examples: the entire league is youth obsessed. So it should be no surprise who you trade guys are. Want more ammo? Might want to draft more youths. Another: most dead soldiers stay dead.

      That being said, I am glad they didn't overbid to land Bonafacio. Or give up Susac and Crick for Zobrist. I have to imagine the Mets didn't budge off of Crick and a Blackburn/Mejia for Daniel Murphy. Glad the Giants didn't either.

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    3. I don't think Sabes has to put blame on himself. He just needs to not throw the players under the bus. Just simply say the right trades weren't there, we're going to go with what we've got. I belief the British refer to it as keeping a stiff upper lip.

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    1. Name the young hitting prospects in this organization, please, whom the Giants frustrated and who blossomed elsewhere, i.e., whom this organization unwisely held down. I can think of young hitting prospects in this organization that frustrated me as a fan, and frustrated the organization that spent time, money, and personnel space on them. But apparently you mean something else.

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    2. The Giants are a prove out org. Comping them to some other place won't end well for the compers though. the examples are going to revolve around Belt, comping to Goldschmidt with the D-backs and Freeman with the Bravos. I don't think there's anything unusual about how Belt was treated, and the Giants have done great things with him at 1B that those other two orgs dream of doing.

      The problem is always grass is greener where comment makers look to examples of success and then comp to the Giants failures without putting those successes in context. Top 100 prospects instead of entire orgs. Proven MLB'ers instead of failures. Many hyped up front offices have miserable record of hitter development.

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    3. Some hitting prospects have longer leashes than others. I really wasn't wanting to get into the old Giants mishandle prospects arguments, er wars. I was simply looking at the current situation and as someone said down below, they did probably stick with Hicks longer than they should. I hope they give Panik or Adrianza or Duffy the same leeway because they are more likely to improve with more experience. My current concern is that with all 3 in the mix, none will get enough PT to gain that experience.

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  3. I completely agree on all counts, DrB.

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  4. I don't think he threw anyone under the bus and I don't think this group of players will take it that way. These guys are competitors and they will be the first ones to tell you they are not playing good ball althought they may not know why. If anything, I think the lack of making a trade and these comments gets them motivated.

    As far as sticking to someome at second base, they did try that Hicks, longer than I would have.In the end, you have to show something, even if it is only in a short time, to earn the position. Truthfully no one has done so and when Hicks did at first they tried too.

    I think Sabean did the right thing the way he handled the trade deadline in his actions and his words. It's up to the players to show how good they are.

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    1. I can't agree with 1 or 2, DrB. Since as far as I know, Sabean has blamed no one, there's no throwing or bus. He is saying what everyone knows, that he is baffled by a team that can play .667 ball till June 9 and stink thereafter, despite keeping its core of hitters largely, though not wholly, intact. As to 2, since he needs to find out on the fly how he can best strengthen his bench and deal with starting in the outfield and at 2B, he's calling up prospects who have had good success in the upper minors to see what they can do, within the personnel space created by regulars on the DL. What look-sees at five promising prospects has to do with lightning and bottles I don't understand, and what demitasses of espresso should damage schemes for the development of those prospects, I understand still less. I would have thought that exposure to major league situations would sharpen the team's sense as to these prospects' development.

      None of this is meant to absolve Sabean from his failure to get bench depth or to construct a team that can stand the loss of one or two injury-prone players.

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    2. I think he threw Panik and Duvall under the bus with his comments that they aren't MLB players coinciding with their arrival of 2-3 days. I don't think that is a professional thing to do, and I don't think its a constructive thing to do.

      I do agree that Sabean saying this teams is baffling is just being blunt, as he always is.

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    3. He said that they weren't ready, which has to do with their experience; and since that is what every team is effectively saying to every minor leaguer in their system simply by keeping them in the minors, I see no throwing and no bus. He did not reflect on their talent or promise.

      Was he tactless or rude? Certainly the former. Should the whole situation have been avoided by his having foreseen that he might need players who were ready? Absolutely. Might he have made the same point by saying apologetically that in a time of need he was rushing these two young men? No doubt. But if I were Panik or Duvall, and I saw that Sabean's doubts did not keep me from having playing time to prove myself, I think that I would want to rise to the challenge, not take umbrage or feel undermined.

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    4. Sabes did tie how aggressive he would be in the trade market to the performance of the current team in several pre-deadline comments. It then leaves us and the players wondering if he didn't pull the trigger because the price was too high, which is a perfectly good reason not to, or if he sat on his hands because he doesn't think this team is capable of winning even with reinforcements. That's what I meant by throwing the players under the bus.

      He should have just said, "we will look for trades to improve, but we're not going to pay a ransom for a small upgrade" and left it at that. No need to tie it to the team's recent performance on the field.

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    5. And hey! I still think Sabes is a good GM. He's never been a smooth talker and probably never will be. He's a good GM with some warts. You have to take the good with the not so good and look at the big picture.

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    6. I think Sabean believes they are good, capable of winning, even without reinforcements, but also that they will be better with reinforcements, if they are not too expensive.

      That's my guess as to what he believes. Whether that's an accurate assessment of the state of the team, that is another matter.

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  5. One trade that I do think worth point out is Beane picking up Fuld for Milone. If Sabean had done something like that - trade a cost controlled starting pitcher who has pitched well in the show - for a journeyman 4th OF who he'd previously cut off his 40 - he'd get lambasted all over the interwebz. Because its Beane, crickets. There is a double standard that's pretty painful.

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    1. MLB network was saying that was a bad trade (or a hard trade to defend). Maybe Slusser was saying it too. But it is completely overshadowed by names like Cespedes, Samardzija, and Lester. And even Gomes.

      I wonder what kind of crap Sabean would get for getting a Gomes-like player back. OPS 683, OPS+ 92. Platoon guy. Old. But then Gomes has a high OBP than Cespedes, so in some ways this is an old fashioned Beane move.

      It might be like signing Huff or Torres from retirement to fix our outfield problems.

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  6. How different is this year's team from last year?

    Hudson instead of Zito.

    Morse instead of Blanco.

    Peavy instead of Cain (for now).

    And one player or two.

    I think we have fought harder than last year or perhaps not. Maybe we just got off to a better start this year but we still can't handle slumps nor overcome an injured Pagan.

    Perhaps he expected last year's team to compete better than it showed, and he expects this year's to play better than what it is now.

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    1. There isn't much difference is there? Sabean's biggest mistake was not getting a back up lead off hitter.

      22'sSweetSwing

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    2. The same problem 2 years in a row.

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  7. The MBL talking heads probably didn't read the the fangraph piece or they might not be bad mouthing the trade (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/sam-fuld-and-completing-the-as/).

    22'sSweetSwing

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