Friday, September 30, 2011

Get Real. Get Higher.

I think I’ve heard most of Sabean, Bochy, and Baer’s public comments regarding their future plans moving into 2012.  Now, and only now, I’m getting VERY concerned.  I keep hearing the same things.  Their top priority is retaining their pitching staff, and that is their “Gold Standard.”  I hear about how the team went 5-8 during Beltran’s injury time.  I hear how losing our #2 and #4 hitters was a tough loss.  I hear “after we sign our pitchers, we’ll see what kind of money we have left.

Damn.  We absolutely need to transform our expectations and perceptions.

I haven’t once heard the top brass say, “it is a crime if we don’t get offense to support our pitchers and allow us the best chance to win games.

It seems to me that the Giants organization has the ‘assumption’ that we can keep our top pitchers like Cain and Lincecum with a lackluster offense.  I attribute this to the front office’s stubbornness.  They see we won the World Series in 2010 with a sub-par offense.  They see we’re only 6 games off from the same number of wins this 2011 season with one of the worst offenses in pro baseball history.

And this doesn’t appear to faze them.  It doesn’t seem to concern them.  Not in the least.

We should have expectations as high as the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies.

We can’t run Belt, Huff, Schierholtz, and Crawford out there as our 5-6-7-8 hitters with a pitcher batting 9th.  That simply isn’t a championship-caliber team.  Yes, maybe it COULD get it done once in five years.  But I would highly doubt it.
  • We’re in possibly the weakest division in baseball.
  • We have the most elite pitching from top to bottom.
  • We got Bumgarner, Sandoval and Posey still way under market value.
  • If Belt or Crawford can step up, they are also under team control and under market value for six years.
  • We expect Brown and Panik to be major contributors by 2013.

We also have at least a few prospects that are likely to make a big impact within a couple more years.  Maybe Oropesa, Joseph, Susac, Fitzgerald, Westcott, Hembree, Crick, Sanford, and/or Black.  Maybe even others like Culberson, Peguero, Dominguez, Adrianza,or Gillaspie.  Maybe someone else entirely.

If only TWO or THREE of those ‘future’ prospects really help make a big impact, we’d be in such great shape.  Our payroll balance is close to perfect, with graduated ‘steps’ in payroll increases.  Just when Posey, Sandoval and Bumgarner hit market value or free agency value, we have guys like Brown and Panik cutting payroll in another area or two.  Maybe by 2014 we got Susac, Oropesa, and Crick starting that cycle all over again.  You see what I see?

Take a look at the top outfields in MLB, like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Royals; to name a few.  Can we seriously not have at least ONE outfielder that would be a starter on those teams?  Why not?  We don’t have to have Belt, Torres, Schierholtz in our outfield.  Only if they deserve to be.

I’ve said we have more buying power than the Yankees, and I truly believe it.

They’re pretty ‘locked up’ with some huge contracts.  Plus, they’ve hit the Luxury Tax ceiling a couple times recently and I think are in the 30% or 40% bracket for another year or two.  If they spend, they need to cut some weight to do it, or spend A LOT when you include the Luxury Tax penalty.

The Yankees carried the most expensive payroll for 2011 (no surprise!) at $207M.  The Yankees have $168 million tied up in 10 players.  Luckily the Yanks have a few cheap, team controlled talents like Nova and Montero for a number of upcoming years still.

Same for Philly, they’re kinda stuck.  They are trying to not go over the Luxury Tax limit this next year, so they can lower their Luxury Tax rate if they were to break it two years in a row down the road.  That’s why Oswalt might not get his team option extended.  That probably has a lot to do with whether they re-sign Rollins too.  Maybe they sign J-Roll to a 6-year deal just to break up the average annual salary to stay under the cap.  Yet still allow him to get $60M+ in income.

The Phillies have about $126 million tied up in 8 players for 2012: Halladay, Howard, Oswalt,Utley, Lee, Blanton, Hamels, and Victorino.  That is if they pick up the option on Oswalt and pay Cole Hamels (he’s arb-4).  And I assume they turn down Lidge’s team option.

In contrast, our SF Giants have about $80 million tied up in 15 players; 3 position players, 5 starters, and our entire bullpen, less Ramon Ramirez.  Let’s add Zito’s and Rowand’s salaries…  Our Giants have $105M  tied up in 17 players: F. Sanchez, Sandoval, Posey, Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, J. Sanchez, Mota, Edlefsen, Casilla, Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, and Wilson, Rowand, and Zito.

If we were to look at the Phillies and use their 2011 ‘starting’ budget of $166M…

Let’s build a 25-man roster for 2012.
  • The Phillies need 17 players with $40M to spend.
  • The Yankees need 15 players and are already over budget.
  • The Giants need 8 players with $86M to spend.

Tell me who has spending power?  We probably have more than any team in baseball.  We got revenue.  We got inexpensive stars.  We got elite pitching.  We have payroll balance.  We have what every team in baseball wants...


Ask any GM in baseball, they’d drool over an opportunity to be two or three bats away from a 5-year dynasty.  Most teams have many, many more holes to fill to get to where we are.  Maybe it is a closer and a middle infield with a weak rotation.  Maybe it is three players taking 50% of team payroll in a small market.  Maybe they lack power from their corners, have only a serviceable catcher, and a so-so bullpen.  Maybe a team is bloated with bad contracts and bad draft picks.  Maybe a team is simply good but not great all-around and not very deep with prospects.

If we spend right, and trade creatively; we build a filthy team to go out against anybody from 2012 to 2016 easily.  A couple nice moves along the way, and a couple more prospects make the jump, and that window stays open even longer.

It could really, really happen.

We should accept no less.  I can’t even begin to explain how much NY fans would get on the Giants front office if this opportunity was being wasted there, like we did here in 2011.  It would be intolerable.  It would be unthinkable.

Our expectations should be that high.  We should be feared.  We should have teams saying they would prefer to face any team but the Giants in the first round of the playoffs.  We should have AL teams hoping they win the All-Star game to take away the Giants’ advantage from the home NL games.  We should have teams using off-days to tweak their rotations, to get their aces up against our lineup.  We shouldn’t be facing prospect pitchers and almost be no-hit.

Yeah, the free agency players list is weak.  Go get some creative trades.  I don’t care.  Get the Giants a lead-off hitter.  A shortstop.  A left fielder.  Maybe a back-up catcher and a solid utility player.  The better the players, the better our chances of multiple World Series titles in the next 5 years.

As a business proposition, it is simple.  I’m not talking as a fan.  Hey, new management!  I'm writing to you!  Spend $130M and get a mediocre offense that *might* do just fine.  Or might suck.  Spend $140-150M and have a perennial contender.  The merchandise, tickets, concessions, gate/parking, tv/radio/media affiliates, sponsors, advertising, and playoff revenue streams would surely justify the additional $10-20M.

The best news is, you only gotta spend $140M-ish for 2012.  After Rowand and Huff come off in 2013, you can get to $135M-ish for three years (thru 2015).  By 2016, there will be a couple decisions to be made, for sure.

Don’t try to sell me that crap that our 2-3-4 hitters alone can win us another World Series.  I ain’t buying it.  Build a team that is legit.  Time to get REAL hitters.  I hold HIGHER expectations.

It really is quite simple.
There’s no time like the present.

Some 2012 Giants Potential Trade Worksheets

I'm including some trade worksheets I've made up.  I don't know if we can get Aybar and Wells from Anaheim for Jonathan Sanchez and Brian Wilson.  My guess is it's very possible.  I dunno if trading Zito and Johnny Monell for Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy could also bring us $8M cash.  I'm not including all the trade details here, if you read my other posts you'll see what I have in mind though.

Let's start simple.  We got these players under contract.  If we don't trade anybody, you can see our 5-6-7-8 hitters would still look fairly weak.  Even at up to a $150 million payroll.  It can't really be helped when over $31M goes to non-active players and a few pitchers have basically hit market value.

  • "Cheapest" would still be lucky to squeak 4 runs/game avg with Sanchez and Posey.  That's because we don't have a great lead-off hitter to get on base and be driven in.  And the rest of our lineup isn't deep enough to sustain big rallies IMO.
  • FA upgrade #1 might scratch 4 runs/game avg but we'd likely still have lots of close games.  The matrix of things is quite complicated.  Do we have a good hitter up in situation at-bats?  Odds don't favor it.  You can figure Wilson would be supremely valuable still.  If we have droughts where we are held scoreless for 5+ innings, any lead we get calls for a great closer.
  • When you look at FA upgrade #2... All I can wonder is "why are we spending $150 million this way?"  I'll show you a lot of ways it could be better spent.

Now we’re talkin’.  All that gibberish about using Zito’s salary productively is at work here.  You can read about my 3-team trade here.  You can read my review of possibly moving Zito to the White Sox in the same post link.  Another option is sending him to the Red Sox.  I can’t say how ‘feasible’ any of these scenarios are.  But the more options we ‘shop’, the more likely we would be to find a taker.  And actually, it just might work out for all parties.  Who knows?

  • 3-Team Trade: we get a poorly performing utility man that was a shortstop in Figgins.  Maybe he can get back towards being a .300 avg hitter or speedy base stealer.  Maybe not. We are getting enough offense here that our bench players could start to be more specialized- like Torres as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.  Belt & Pill for big situational double-switches.
  • Zito to Chi Sox gets interesting.  Ain't no way I figure a career bomber like Dunn is off-loaded after one horrible year due to his large contract.  Not for Zito anyways.  But say we'll take Peavey off their hands too, and his big contract?  Well, a pitcher who ain't pitching well after a serious lat-muscle separation...  Just maybe we get a deuce for an ace?  Or uhhh, not-really-an-ace.  ha ha.  I'd hope we get $12M cash (8, 2, 2) to pay down the $19M difference, heck, they're also clearing TWO roster spots.  And we know from this year how valuable those are (just ask Clayton Tanner, for instance).
  • Zito for Figgins I ain't crazy about.  But seriously?  Seattle might be the only team in baseball that would welcome a chance to try-out Zito for two years.  I've written about how Figgins isn't even on their depth charts for any of the multiple positions he plays.  They're over $100M in payroll, never get 20,000 attendance for games, and can't move him anywhere else.  We'd need to pay down the $29M difference, but I figure we might get away with paying only 8.5 + 8.5 + 5 = $22M over three years.  $22 million and a breathing player sounds better than $46M to me.

Here’s where we really can shine in creative problem solving.  Bust a $140M payroll budget and we could really get things done now.  A great thing is we could be less reliant on having a top-tier closer.  It would be much easier to trade Brian Wilson.  If we are in a close game, odds are we can still add a run or more.  Just as good as any team we are facing I’d say.  Probably better.  Maybe much better.

I’m not getting stuffy or arrogant, these lineups would produce offense. Maybe top-6 in MLB offense.  Maybe better than most AL teams.  I'd figure 4.5+ runs/game.  $140-150 million really gets it done.  And after 2012, Huff and Rowand come off book, so we could stay around $135-140 million through 2015.

  • IDEAL 3-Team Trade is likely one of my top choices.  We get a balance of lead-off, avg, power, and speed.  I see a line-up that could sustain some major rallies.  I see a bench that would work for defense, speed, and power.  Posey’s off-days wouldn’t worry me in the least.  Even if it is a full off day, not playing first.  Joel Pinero would make a great 5th starter on the cheap IMO.  Give one of our prospects a bit more time to be ready.  This is the kind of team we should build.
  • Zito to Chi Sox #2: I’m not sure we can get Aybar, so I give an option here with possible free agent Rollins.  We’d be very left-handed bat heavy in this lineup, that’s a small issue to me.  But since most teams carry less than 30% lefty arms, it should work out alright.  Pill would platoon well, and we got three switch hitters in the starting lineup (Rollins, Sandoval, Crisp).  Plus, Belt and Fontenot have shown they can hit lefties well.
  • Zito for Lackey #2 makes a lot of sense in some ways.  But a soft-tossing fly-ball pitcher (like Zito can be) going to Fenway probably ain’t ever gonna happen.  Even if the Sox would love to be rid of Lackey.  The nice advantage of this deal is we aren’t restricted to a specific hitter.  We can acquire who fits best and is available.  This is how Beltran could potentially stay here.  If we have a chance to acquire FOUR bats, I don’t mind at all if Torres is the fourth of those.  Not great for a third bat, but here?  He’ll come cheap, and he just might be great without a lot of pressure.  His speed and defense make him valuable enough.  If he can hit even .230 and get a few walks, he’d be fine on this team.
  • Zito for Lackey #3: here’s about the most massive lineup we can create for $150M.  Unless we can get Matt Kemp.  This lineup is better than our lineup would be with Pujols.  And it can fit our long-term plans for Brown and Panik to be slotted right in.  We are on the hook with Lackey for three years, so it might become another Zito issue though.
Sorry all, there may be a few errors in the charts.  On a few of the higher payroll charts, I adjusted a few salaries, that was intentional. "Zito for Lackey #2 & #3 should have Lopez at 4.5 not 3.5.  He'll probably get $4M-ish.  Dunno exactly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Real Deal: A Three-Way Shuffle

We all know the Giants need offense.  The question is how to get it, and who we get.  My main concern is the ‘how’.  The list of the ‘who’ could be extremely long, but the ‘how’ narrows that list to only a few.  My ‘how’ solution is simple.  Use our ‘wasted’ money and turn it into ‘productive’ salaries.  Sure, they won’t be the most ideal of all players, but they’ll help more than Zito sous-cheffing $46 million into his grill.

If we can’t find a way to transform Zito’s salary, we need to ADD at least $10+ million on top for a bat or two.  That is $30M+ per year for 2012 and 2013.  No matter how flush the Giants organization is with their World Series- sellout games- panda hats windfall, I still doubt they go above $140M/year for team payroll.

There just isn’t another way to build a serious offense if Zito’s contract remains on the books.

And it’s a double-edge sword.  If we don’t get offense, we will lose our pitchers.  If we lose our pitchers, not only will we no longer be a winning team, it will be that much harder to acquire any future talent via free agency or trades.

In short: get a wicked offense or we’re hosed.

I look at other ‘bad contracts’ and just don’t see a good matchup for trading Zito.  Anybody really think Chicago will ‘put up’ with Zito?  You’re kidding yourselves.  A nearly 6.00 ERA soft-tossing lefty in 2011 for Zambrano or Soriano ain’t happening.  Maybe the controversial Luke Scott could be delivered for Zito, but our city just couldn’t handle his off-putting remarks.  If the O’s wanna get rid of him they could straight up release him into the Chesapeake or whatever, they don’t need no $46M weight tied to their ankles to do it.  Alex Rios?  Maybe..  Bay has a no-trade clause and publicly stated that he wouldn’t play here at AT & T (and previously turned down an offer from the Giants).

Jason Werth?  Really?  Maybe trading a bad contract for a worse, more expensive, longer term contract?  No thanks.  AJ Burnett or John Lackey?  I just don’t see those markets taking Zito, they’d rather eat their contracts than cause further embarrassment by publicly compounding bad decisions.  Adam Dunn?  Maybe a slight chance, but I think a power hitter with a career slash:  .243/.374/.503/.876 and 127 OPS+ isn’t getting moved for Zito after one terrible season.  No matter how terrible that season was.  Guy still has the potential to turn around 40+ HR’s in a season.

Rios or Wells look like the only ‘possible’ options IMO.  I’d include Chone Figgins, but Seattle is only talking about $17M without the vesting option for 2014.

So Vernon Wells is the guy I’d go for.  Put him 6th or 7th in a lineup and you aren’t gonna be hurt, and you just MIGHT get some good production.  Maybe some 40-50 RBI’s type of production & value.  It ain’t like we’re gonna do better if we hold onto Barry Zito and have the budget of an order of garlic fries and a beer to spend on a professional bat for the next two years.

Ahhh.  I’ve been on my soapbox about Erick Aybar since we missed out on JJ Hardy at the trade deadline, we all know it (enough already!).  But that’s the how and the why of him fitting so perfectly.  They include Aybar, we include J. Sanchez.  They've got 3 shortstops ready to play in their system, but no lefty starter.  We got a lefty starter without a roster spot.  We could use Wells’ threat and OF play.

The addition of Figgins to make this a 3-team trade complicates things.  But it spreads money out so Anaheim can save $10 million net over the 3 years.  So, maybe it is more enticing to deal.  Seattle might actually start Zito in 2012.  If we can catch Figgins sniffing a .300 avg we’d be ever so lucky.  But he can be a serviceable off-the-bench utility guy for at least 2012.  Releasing him at any point for any/all of his $17M shouldn’t even make us blink.

Maybe Crawford stays in Richmond for much of 2012.  Maybe our prospects like Cavan, Culberson, and Gillaspie could be our UT, but I figure Chone could fit that role alright.  We aren’t likely to spend $3-4M on Keppinger or DeRosa.  Why trade for a utlity guy like Jake Fox or Blake DeWitt?  Maybe Figgins can pinch run if his wheels still work at all.  Maybe he can sac bunt a spell.  He has played a few positions, that helps.

If we don’t trade Sanchey for something, we’re most likely to release him outright anyways.  I seriously doubt we carry his salary at $5-8M for 2012.  Yes, our organization believes in his ‘stuff’ but he’s effectively being ‘priced-out’ of our 2012 team roster.  It would be a different animal if he was a $1M salary.  If we don’t move Zito, we’re flushing $46M anyways.  And we still need hitters on top of all that.

Here's the whole dealio.  Please feel free to forward this to Sabean or Baer if 'your people' can be in touch with 'their people.' I wrote about this before, but I think I've finalized the most optimal 'terms' of the deal now.

Three-team trade:

SF Giants trade to Anaheim Angels:
  • Jonathan Sanchez
SF nets: Aybar, Wells
Loses Zito’s $46M contract
Adds Wells’ $63M contract
Adds Figgins’ $17M contract
(63 + 17) = 80.  80 – 27M cash = 53.  53 (Wells & Figgins) – 46 (Zito) = 7.
A net of $7M added over 3 years, for Wells and Figgins instead of Zito.

Anaheim trades to SF:
  • Erick Aybar
  • Vernon Wells
  • $27M cash compensation over 3-years (7.5, 7.5, 12)
LAA nets:  J. Sanchez
Loses Wells’ $63M contract
Pays 27 (SF) + 26 (SEA) = 53
A net savings of $10M over 3 years.

SF trades to Seattle:
  • Barry Zito

Seattle trades to SF:
  • Chone Figgins
SEA nets: Barry Zito
Adds Zito’s $46M contract
Loses Figgins $17M contract
46 - 26 cash = 20.  20 (balance on Zito) – 17 (original Figgins obligation) = 3.
A net of $3M added for Zito for 2 years instead of Figgins.

Anaheim trades to Seattle:
  • $26M cash compensation over 3-years (10, 11, 5)

That's the best deal I can see.  I realize there may be complications like no-trade clauses in the players' contracts.  I am working under the assumption they would still wish to play.  And therefore, would decline the no-trade clause(s) in order to have an opportunity to play again.

Personally, I don't see Seattle having any type of 'leverage' with which to bargain for a prospect or additional consideration.  They just don't.  I don't think the Giants simply take the deal without at least some cash from Anaheim for the $17 million difference between Zito and Wells.  If Anaheim asks SF for a "type-B" prospect before signing the deal I'd think that is still acceptable.  As long as it is someone like Burriss, Ford, Christian, Eldred, or maybe Culberson.  Not a 'type-A' prospect like Susac, Brown, Panik, Hembree, or Crick.

Next, I'll talk about what our 'expectations' should be like for 2012.  Cheers.

Image credit: Vernon Wells from

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Should the Giants sign Jose Reyes?

I keep having this nagging thought in the back of my head, a thought I don’t really want to happen.  It brings equal parts of interest and dread to me.

I think the Giants might sign Jose Reyes.

Let's take a real look at this for a second.  How many other GM’s and teams would’ve traded a high prospect like Thomas Neal for an aged, sliding veteran like Orlando Cabrera for a playoff run?  Maybe only our Gigantes.  And to replace an aging veteran shortstop, who we willingly signed for $6.5M last offseason.  Seriously.

Consider the poor strategic moves made this year.  We gave up Zach Wheeler, Henry Sosa, Jason Stoffel, Thomas Neal, and released Jose Casilla, Ryan Rohlinger, Clayton Tanner, Aaron Rowand (including his $12M salary for 2012), Miguel Tejada, and Bill Hall (after also acquiring him).  All for what?  Two months of Beltran.  A 31-year utility infielder, Jeff Keppinger.  A 36-year old Orlando Cabrera to replace a bad 37-year old Miguel Tejada at shortstop.  Another utility infielder, Bill Hall, who couldn’t even earn a starting spot on the 100-loss Houston Astros.

The Giants front-office decided to ‘make a splash’ at this trade deadline.  Maybe it was partly to the fans.  Maybe for the pitchers.  Maybe a little too much ego from a World Series Championship glossed over the rationale of trading Wheeler for a 2-month rental.  I’m just sayin…  I wouldn’t put it past the Giants brain trust to 'make a splash' and sign Jose Reyes.

It wouldn’t be without precedence that the Giants take a chance on an injury-prone player.  I won’t even get into the list.  The recent list.  We all know the names.  Seemingly every single $6M player we have signed recently has the initials D.L.  And a few others do too.

Luckily (IMHO), there are likely to be several serious suitors for Reyes.  I haven’t read others’ predictions, these are completely my own opinions.  I'd currently rank them in this order:

  • PHI: If they let Jimmy Rollins go, they’d be a top candidate for Reyes and a lead-off hitter.
  • BOS: They’d be so stacked at the top of their lineup, they’d have to be creative.  But with Scutaro a free agent in 2012, I have to figure Reyes’ productivity would be welcomed in Boston.
  • ATL: Sure, they got Bourn as a leadoff hitter.  But they don’t have a solid shortstop (Jack Wilson & Alex Gonzalez?).  I bet they could be alright with either Bourn or Reyes batting in the 2-hole, probably Reyes.
  • DET: If they want to get serious about contending, they might think of trading a solid SS in Jhonny Peralta to make space for Reyes as their leadoff.  It could happen.
  • WAS: I don’t put anything past the Nats.  I’ve said I think they are building a serious contender by 2013, and I’m sticking to that.  If they can find a new home (via trade) for a solid, cheap, team-controlled Ian Desmond; I bet Washington would be in the bidding battles for Reyes.  I have a feeling the Nats might nearly double payroll in the next couple years.
  • CIN: I don't know if the Reds will have the kind of payroll to cover Reyes, but they're on the edge of being a highly competitve team with Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Stubbs, and all.  I see Janish and Renteria as an offensive position that could be really upgraded with Reyes.  Phillips would move to #2 spot, and maybe gets lots more RBI's, hitting HR's with Reyes on.  Not likely, but possible as a dark horse.
If you really want to stretch the bidding, you might find AZ or SD or LAD put a bid in for Reyes.  Not sure any could really afford him, so I don’t consider them major contenders.  However, if LAD sort out their sale to a new owner, well…  They might just keep Kemp, Kershaw, and have Reyes as well.  Oh, that could be bad for us Giants fans.

How much has Reyes’ stock fallen due to his stints on the DL this season?  A bunch.  Maybe heaps.  Some teams might now offer a 5-year limit, others maybe a $100 million budget over 6 years.  How many teams left in this conversation still have enough payroll to spend on Jose Reyes?  At the trade deadline, I thought someone would pay $120M over 6-years.  Now, I think a majority of those suitors have dropped their budget/terms substantially for him.

I see the Giants maybe offering $115M for 6-years, and nobody else coming close.  I even heard that the Giants wouldn’t go after Reyes at the trade deadline, but MIGHT be saving $120M to plan a run for him during free agency this offseason.  Oh shizzle.

So let’s see.  Let’s say we don’t sign Reyes.  The Giants might bottom-feed and pick up Desmond.  I mentioned Desmond in my post at the trade deadline.  We might end up with Tejada 3.0 in Marco Scutaro.  I wanted Scutaro back in 2008(?) when he went to Boston, I wanted Scutaro and Ryan Braun as my top trade deadline targets.  *sigh*  What could’ve been…  Or we sign Rollins.

I was so excited by the potential of a homegrown rotation, Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Wheeler, and maybe Crick.  I just hope we use our remaining prospects well.  Please nothing crazy like Gary Brown for Juan Pierre or Ian Desmond.

So here’s my problem with Jose Reyes signing as a Giant.  I can’t ‘figure’ a solid roster for less than $150M per year, each year through 2016.  It just doesn’t ‘work.’  I go through my projected salaries and roster estimates.  I don’t see a way we ‘fit’ Reyes on a team that has a significant 3-4-or 5 hitter upgrade as well.

Let’s say we can trade Zito for Wells…  Wells has no business being above 6th in a serious lineup, considering his 2011 performance.  I really think we need a batter that lets Posey move to 5th, that would be ideal.  Either a Kemp or Pujols 3rd, or a Cuddyer or Melky Cabrera or Jeff Francoeur 4th.

Keeping Posey 4th and having Josh Willingham or Aubrey Huff or Vernon Wells 5th just isn’t quite ‘deep’ enough IMO.  Not to build a championship team.  A real, legit Championship team for a 5-year run.

I can’t figure a way to get both Reyes and Cuddyer on a team roster for less than $150M.  We either eat Zito’s contract and it stays on the books, or we trade and have Vernon Wells’ bat on the books for $21M per from 2012 through 2014.  Personally I want Wells in LF over Zito wasting a roster spot.  Period.  No question.  No doubt.  And see, if we’re spending $150M each year, I think there are a dozen ways to better spend and build a long-term roster than Jose Reyes.

The numbers don’t work.  Reyes would likely mean we field Belt in RF and Torres or Christian in CF.  Our bench would be Pill, Crawford, and other unproven prospects.  Schierholtz would likely be gone since he’s arbitration eligible and going to make seven-figures.  We’d likely have doubts from 6-8 in our lineup, and our pitcher batting 9th.  Maybe it works out, maybe not.  I just don’t like the potential of 4 easy outs every time our lineup turns over.  Maybe.

But those ‘maybes’ would ‘likely’ be the end of Matt Cain being a Giant.  I bet he’d ask to be traded if he gets wind of this plan to get Reyes.  Get us some players in return while we still can, otherwise we get draft picks after 2012 when he walks as a free agent.  I mean, would Cain be confident we’ll be improved in 2012 if he sees our 5-hitter is Pill/Huff, #6 is Belt, #7 Vernon Wells, and #8 Brandon Crawford?  I just don’t see it.

Jose Reyes just doesn’t ‘fit’.

I wrote about how Pujols or Fielder doesn’t ‘fit’ and what a roster could look like at $150M each year.
Now, I’m saying Reyes doesn’t ‘fit’.

Heck, I might change my #1 target to Matt Kemp.

If we got Kemp, we might be able to deal with Rollins, or Ian Desmond even, instead of Aybar.  Maybe we could package some prospects with Schierholtz, Belt, and Brian Wilson for some great young players.  Like Kolten Wong or Desmond Jennings.  And we’d still have Brown and Panik in the pipeline to hopefully offer a lead-off and/or #2 hitter if needed.

I still say throw our farm towards L.A.  Heck, I don’t care, sign the deed for the Salem- Keizer Volcanoes over to them.  Like I said, I don’t care.  Just get Matt Kemp.  Could you seriously imagine:
2-Sanchez, 3-Kemp, 4-Sandoval, 5-Posey, 6-Wells, 7- Pill/Huff.

You could have enough options from there.

Leadoff could be: Aybar, Crisp or Rollins, maybe Jhonny Peralta.
Your 8-hitter could be: Belt, Schierholtz, Crawford, Crisp, Desmond, or even Ross.

If we got Kemp, we can have a serious 2-7 immediately.  Seems like the best-case scenario to me.

Better than Pujols.  Better than Fielder.  Better than Reyes.  Better than Hanley Ramirez.  Better than Brandon Phillips.

I mean, think about this 2011 season.  Our batters couldn’t hit a wall if they were holding a full paint bucket.  The lineup options with Kemp look really good to me, at least.

Yeah, I’m starting to think we should make trading for Kemp our #1 priority this offseason.

I don’t even care if we have to face a tough (and pissed off) Brian Wilson 18 times per season.  (Not really likely there would be save situations in EVERY Giants/Dodgers game, eh?).  Think about it.  We’d have a 4.5+ runs/game offense for 162 games.

I’d take my chances.

Image credit:  Jose Reyes image from begonewithwilpon.