Something About a Trade?

So, yeah, this.

A fascinating trade for a million reasons, but of primary importance is this: this trade is way more about the next five years than it is about this season. Nothing about this move dooms the Giants’ chances, they don’t need to do anything drastic, and when all the dust settles the most important development for THIS season that took place last night is that the Giants starters have now won five games in a row. Each starter won his turn through the rotation for the first time since 2007. That’s huge.

Now, thoughts on this blockbuster move:

  • Short Term: Replacing James Loney with Adrian Gonzalez is a huge upgrade for LA. I felt like Adrian not got his fair shake from the Boston fans/media, but he’s good and he’s back to torment the Giants. (That said, Cody Ross has hit 19 home runs this year to Adrian’s 15…just saying). The rest of the trade is pretty much a non-factor over the next 36 games. Becket will either take the place of Joe Blanton or fill in for Billingsley (if his elbow keeps him out). In either case, his addition is fairly negligible. He might show a few flashes of brilliance, but the other big move the Dodgers had pondered involved Cliff Lee, and that would have scared me. Beckett does not. Nick Punto fills in for Hairston and Carl Crawford is a long-term gamble who won’t play this year. The Giants are 7-5 against LA so far and even going 3-3 over the final 6 games will secure a winning record against their rivals.
  • Long Term: AGon is clearly the big catch. The Mexican-born, SoCal native will help mobilize the franchise and be a face as they move forward. Beckett has a Huff-like odd/even season thing going. He does well in the odd years, if healthy he could be a plus for LA in 2013…I also think he will do well in the NL West, but doing well and being an Ace, circa 2003/2007 is not going to happen. Nice guy to have next year, but would you take Beckett over MadBum or Vogelsong as your 3rd/4th starter. No. Crawford is interesting. He will likely take over for Victorino, but he is also going to miss 2 seasons worth of baseball, in his prime, when this is all said and done. And he still will be owed a ton of money. The Dodgers are essentially saying this: “we are willing to pay, for Adrian Gonzalez, the price (~250 mil) that the Angles are paying Pujols and the Reds, Votto, and if we get lucky we also get an All-Star left fielder out of the deal.” Interesting.
  • Big Picture: while the move does help, somewhat, the 2012 Dodgers, this trade is all about making a statement. The New Dodgers are here to play and to spend. Deal with it MLB.

The NL West really is shaping into Red Sox/Yankees. What is interesting, is that the Giants, through very different from the Red Sox, have a philosophy, a way. In the end, the trade the Giants may most regret in light of all this is the Wheeler for Beltran move last year.

In this new day and age, and with an extra wild card, the Giants don’t need to do anything different. Strong starting pitching, development of young players, and reasonable extensions for our own talent is the way to go. The Giants, if they stick with this plan, actually have the edge in my opinion. I will take the Giants strong pitching and Buster Posey over an All-Star lineup and a Cy Young award winner any day. Obviously, there’s more to the Giants line up than Posey and more to the Dodgers rotation than Kershaw, but that is essentially the story that is developing here. Moreover, the Giants must hope that the Gary Browns, and Joe Paniks, and Francisco Peguero’s of their system develop into good players.

If nothing else, the NL West is no joke anymore.

One final thought, the player who now matters more than anyone else to the remaining 36 games of 2012 is none other than Tim Lincecum. We’ve been saying this to one extent or another all season, but it is now more true than ever. He must pitch like vintage Timmy in his final 7+ starts to help the Giants nail this division down.

(-SB)

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2011 NL West Predictions

Three days to go until “real” baseball games are played. Until then, enjoy our final season preview and predictions posts leading up to the seaon. Today, our final divisional look, the National League West.

Nick

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Colorado Rockies*
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks

After trading Adrian Gonzalez there is just no way the Padres contend like they did last year. To that I add: the Dodgers have some major pitching and hitting issues and the NL West will turn out to be a two team race between the Giants and Rockies. While the Rockies are the one team that scare me every time they play the Giants, I just love the Giants pitching (and Buster Posey) way too much to pick the Rockies, although I do have Colorado winning the Wild Card.

Josh

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. San Diego Padres
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers

Yep, the Dodgers will always be in last. I’m not just picking the Giants to win this division because I’m a homer. Well, ok, yes I am. However, I really think they will win it and I don’t think it will come down to the last game of the season. I will say that I’m a bit nervous about the Rockies. They could turn out to be the wild card team. Now as a Giants fan, I have a hard time picking them to win the division because I don’t want to jinx it. Because of this, I’m writing this blog sitting on a wood floor, knocking on a wood door, watching old games of Kirk Rueter pitch, and whittling a wooden canoe out of pure wood. COME ON G-MEN!

Jon

  1. THE San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions of the World
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. San Diego Padres
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks

I won’t lie, the last 7 days have been a bit sour in the Giants’ Spring Training camp. A couple of injuries and a few poor performances have given the impression that they are limping into the season after dominating most of the preseason schedule. Fear not, the Giants are way too young, talented, and angry (in the sense that they still believe they have something to prove) for them not to be the front-runners in the battle for the NL West Crown. The Rockies are good, real good and they may prove to put up a battle for the Wild Card against the Phils. The Pads aren’t going to drown in the sea of mediocrity because of the loss of Gonzales, but they will not have enough to take the crown. The Dogs got divorced and the D-Backs are hopeless.

Steve

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Arizona Diamonbacks
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. Los Angeles

It’s clear we are high on the Giants and low on the Dodgers. Bay Area homers or what? Really, though, could these two organizations be more different? Whatever one thinks about Brian Sabean, the Giants are showing the wisdom of stability in the front office and management of a baseball orgnanization. The Dodgers, by contrast, are in chaos. My controversial statement is this: the Giants are the class of the division and the Rockies are closer to 3-5 than 1. The Giants win because of pitching and depth. This team is much deeper going in to the season and well equipped to deal with injuries (like Wilson and Ross). Now if Lincecum or Cain go down, that’s a world of pain. The Rockies have some stud hitters and Ubaldo Jimenez but I don’t like the rest of the rotation. Arizona is better than people think, especially with some real pitchers in the bullpen. San Diego will not even come close to what they did last year and it’s not because of losing Adrian Gonzalez. Injuries, luck, and the inability to repeat their bullpen magic will make for tough times.