It's quiet…too quiet…
It’s been a down month for trade rumors. Not a lot has gone on, as most teams are content to sit on their hands and wait until the Winter Meetings before anything gets done. Brian Sabean himself has admitted that he won’t pursue trades, preferring to test the waters of the free agent market. Which brings us to the frightening realization that our General Manager, the man responsible for building our team, is gun shy.
Think back to the last major Sabean trade and compare that to who’s on our roster now. Aaron Rowand, free agent. Edgar Renteria, free agent. Juan Uribe, free agent. Our rosters from the last few years have been almost exclusively free agent-based with some homegrown talent sprinkled in. The last “major” trade I can recall is the one that brought Randy Winn over in exchange for Jesse Foppert and Yorvit Torrealba. As we all know, Winn went bananas in the month and a half we had him, earning himself an extension.
Since the Winn trade, the most notable move Sabes made was the one that sent Jeremy Accardo to Toronto for Vinnie Chulk and Shea Hillenbrand. Accardo went on to save 30 games the following season while the Giants were left with Brad Hennessey as their primary closer. The lesson to be taken here is that Sabean is reluctant to swing big deals, and when he does more often than not it’s blown up in his face. The book is still out on the Garko/Barnes and Sanchez/Alderson swaps, but the general consensus so far is that we gave up too much on our end. You see this, and then compare it with Sabean’s first move that brought future MVP Jeff Kent over in exchange for Matt Williams and it starts to become evident that our fearless leader isn’t quite as bold anymore.
So where did this all begin? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say on November 4, 2003. On that fateful day, the Giants dealt Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, our most notable acquisitions have been Dustin Mohr, Dave Burba, Latroy Hawkins, Randy Winn, and Mike Stanton. All decent role players, but no blockbusters to be found. Since that fateful day in November, it should be noted that the Giants have not made a playoff appearance. Put simply, man cannot live on free agents alone.
If this team is to truly turn itself around, it needs to come from the top down. Extending Sabean and Bochy another two years wasn’t the ideal way to do this. That said, we’ll just have to work with what we have. With a free agent market where our best option at this point is Nick Johnson, there isn’t a lot of improvement to be found in that realm. Right now, Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres are slated to start in left in 2010. If that doesn’t worry you just a little, then start worrying. There’s work to be done yet, and this year’s free agent class is not going to be the solution.