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

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