Melky! (Thoughts on Pivotal Giants’ Trades)

Last night I got home at 10 pm (est) to find my pregnant wife fast asleep in bed, so I opened up the computer and got to watch the final 3 innings of the Giants beat down (finally) of the dreaded Marlins. I turned the game on in time to watch Melky Cabrera rifle a 2-RBI double down the left field line.

The Marlins commentators then launched into talking about how good Melky has been, and what a surprise he is given how bad he was in New York. It hit me: this trade is eerily reminiscent of when Sabean brought Jeff Kent over, way back in 1997. Then this morning I see this. Scooped! Dang.

I’m going to talk about it anyway. Cabrera for Sanchez did not produce the public outcry of Williams for Kent. But, I would say most Giants fans weren’t in favor of the trade. No one saw the Williams trade coming, and it looked this Giants were going backwards. The big difference with Cabrera is that Giants fans had been expecting a Sanchez trade for a long time. So long in fact, our imaginations got out of control: Sanchez for Votto…Sanchez for Wright…Sanchez for______(insert up and coming hitting star here).

When that blank ended up being filled in with Melky Cabrera there was a collective “really, that’s it” groan from the Bay Area.

Kent had a couple of decent years (his “struggle” years are so far beyond the production the Giants are getting from 2B right now it’s really not funny), but had been widely panned as  a disappointment for the Mets. A similar situation unfolded for Melky with that other NY team, followed by a very disappointing season in Atlanta (take note Brandon Belt apologists, Melky’s horrible season for the Braves came at age 25, a year ahead of Belt and with four full seasons of big league ball under his “belt”…stay patient).

The real point I want to get at here is that GM Brian Sabean takes his lumps for sure. I think he is terrible at signing free agents, and I think the organization as a whole (not sure how much blame to put on Sabes for this) is shoddy at position player development. But I think Sabean is one of the best trading GMs in baseball. He has made one spectacularly horrible trade (don’t even need to mention who was involved), but on the whole he’s done well.

Giants’ fans need to get over the fantasy trade scenarios with Jonathan Sanchez…maybe there was a time when he could have fetched something really remarkable. But maybe that never existed. And, let’s be honest, Melky’s been pretty remarkable. So has Pagan. And those extensions to Cain and MadBum and Vogelsong look pretty good. And that non-extension to Lincecum…maybe the best move of the offseason. Brian Sabean, you’ve taken plenty of heat, but here’s a tip of the cap. This offseason, which seemed so boring, was pretty awesome.



3 thoughts on “Melky! (Thoughts on Pivotal Giants’ Trades)

  1. The reason the Giants have been having problems developing position players is because when you spend most of your first round picks on pitchers, the pool of talent coming into the position player pool is not very good. The odds are bad in the first round and just plummets in the rounds after that, particularly when you are competing for the playoffs each season.

    If you’ll notice, the Giants recent position players drafted in the first round – Posey, Brown, and Panik – have done pretty well in the minors.

    I think that Brandon Belt’s rapid development is a good indication that maybe the Giants know a little something about developing someone with some skills in hitting. I think that improvement on their poor record with position players will coincide with their drafting of more position players in the early rounds once John Barr took over the draft.

    I think you just have to wait for it, much like fans had to wait 2007-2009, wondering what are the Giants doing, and they found out that the Giants developed a great rotation and then a great bullpen. We have a great core in the middle in Sandoval and Posey and hopefully Belt soon. Brown and Panik would be good up top if they continue to develop and move up.

    I mean, they clearly can tell good hitting talent, they stole both Kent and now Cabrera, got Burks for Hamilton, Snow for Watson. If they can ID it, then they should be able to develop it, if they had good talent to develop.

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