Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dreamland Wonkyness.

Oh my.  I got a new think in me head.  It only hurts a bit when I scratch it.

What if we throw everything we got to get Andrew McCutchen?

The Pirates ain’t really staying competitive like they did for much of this year, are they?  I mean, they finished up 72-90 and 24 games back in the contentious NL Central Division race.  To say they have playoff aspirations for 2012 would really be saying something.

BTW, just for the record, this might be my most creative problem solving to date.  I really think I need to be hired by Sabean though, to help ‘sell’ the Carlos Lee/Aubrey Huff platoon thing.  LOL.

We trade these players to PIT for Andrew McCutchen:
not enough?  Maybe add Chris Dominguez.  Not much chance he'll get a call-up while Pablo is at 3B.  Belt and Pill have 1B.  And Ricky Oropesa wants a corner infield spot in a couple years too.

We then trade LAA for Erick Aybar and one RHP prospect:
  • Brian Wilson

This is where things can get wonky.

We also trade HOU for LHP Wandy Rodriguez:
  • Aubrey Huff
  • Barry Zito
  • $39M cash offset

We get this for our 2012 Giants $133M lineup:
  1. SS  Erick Aybar
  2. 2B  F. Sanchez
  3. 3B  Sandoval
  4. C    Posey
  5. CF  Andrew McCutchen
  6. LF  Belt
  7. 1B  Pill
  8. RF  Schierholtz

And our rotation looks like:
  • RHP  Lincecum
  • LHP  Bumgarner
  • RHP  Cain
  • RHP  Vogelsong
  • LHP  Rodriguez

Why trade Huff, if this is supposed to be his ‘up’ year?
Why get an expensive pitcher when we got great pitching?
What if Belt, Schierholtz, and/or Pill don’t perform well through a whole season?

My goal isn’t to ‘look for bad contracts’ to trade for Zito.

We don’t need a weak, suffering Alex Rios to add to our ‘noffense.’  I’m looking for a big or bloated contract (like Ichiro or Torii Hunter) on a team that can’t support a big payroll (KC or BAL) or isn’t nearly in contention (PIT, MIN, SEA).  But I’m also looking for performers that we can expect a good reward from.

If we just ‘accept’ that Zito’s money isn’t going to be traded for Jose Bautista, we’re better off mentally.

We eat all of it or most of it.  If we eat ‘most’ of it, what do we get in return?  Chone Figgins who is relegated to not playing on the worst team in baseball?  Sounds like another Bill Hall Experiment.  Vernon Wells and the hopes he can turn it around?  I don’t doubt his next year will be better, but that is a large $21M per contract for a $7M per player right now.  Adam Dunn?  John Lackey?

I thought about Ichiro as our leadoff, but I doubt he leaves Seattle at this point in his career.  He also can’t ‘fit’ for 2012 as he doesn’t play CF.  But I’ll be damned if it wouldn’t be attractive to trade Zito’s $46M plus a cash offset for Ichiro’s $17M to get us a one-year lead-off hitter in Ichiro.

Here’s the real deal.  Carlos Lee is struggling.  Especially against RHP.
2010 vs RHP: .238, .170 (Isolated Power), .771 OPS
2010 vs. LHP: .274, .170, .680

In April 2011 vs RHP: .185, .055, .461
In April 2011 vs. LHP: .538, .462, 1.538

2011 vs. RHP: .253 avg, .319 OBP, .396 SLG, 11 HR in 450 AB.
2011 vs. LHP: .348 avg, .413 OBP, .615 SLG, 7 HR in 135 AB.

Lee has one more year on his Houston contract at $18.5M.  (I think that’s a very unlucky salary amount.  Lol).  We offer to send Aubrey Huff to platoon 1B and or LF for the Astros.  Add Barry Zito to replace their LHP Wandy.

2010 Huff vs. RHP: .287 avg, .388 OBP, .506 SLG, 19 HR in 407 AB.
2011 Huff vs. RHP: .270 avg, .318 OBP, .372 SLG, 3 HR in 137 AB.

Folks in Texas love hitting They ain’t so interested in great pitching.  Maybe Lee and Huff each hit 21HR’s on separate teams in 2012.  But maybe platooning them you get a combined 45-50 HR’s total?  I could see it having some merit.  I know Huff can hit LHP.  We know from 2010; but based on 2011, we can’t tell.  (Too small a sample size for HR’s.  lol).

We take on Wandy’s contract, with one stipulation.  He allows us to restructure it to a two-year deal, with no player option if traded, or maybe a mutual option.  His contract stands at 10, 13, +13 for the next three years.  We negotiate up to a max of a two-year $27.5M at 12.5 & 15.  MAX.  Hopefully we can make a $25M 2-year at 12 and 13.  Maybe he does it, because he’d like a real chance to play for a winning team and a shot at the World Series.  I’d think that would be meaningful for a quality arm like Rodriguez.  He gets paid MORE and aims for the playoffs.  He’d restructure, I’ll bet.  To play in a pitchers park like AT&T?  Oh yeah.  To be part of an elite pitching rotation?  Hell yeah.  I bet he would.

So we gotta send cash to Houston to offset Zito and Huff.  We send a lot, up to $39M max, if necessary: 19, 14, 6.  They are spending the same $10M they would’ve on Wandy for 2012, but getting another bat and swapping pitchers.  Houston will spend $8M of their own money on Zito and Huff’s buyout in 2013 (if they choose to not pick it up), instead of the $13M owed to Rodriguez.  So, a $5M savings for 2013.  In 2014, they’ll need to add $1M to buyout Zito’s option.  Uh, unless they pick it up.  Ha ha.

We don’t care about Houston’s money.
How about us?  What about our Giants?

We have Wandy’s 12.5 + 19 (cash) = 31.5 for 2012.  That is $2.5M higher than the 29 of Zito and Huff combined.  And we built a sick rotation from 1-5.

For 2013: Wandy’s 15 + 14 (cash) = 29.  We had 22 for Zito and Huff’s buyout.  So, we got Wandy for $7M more.

For 2014: we owe $6M to Houston for Zito’s buyout.

In total, we spent 66.5 over three years.
Z & H would’ve cost us 58.

I’m hedging the bet that our offense is solid enough it doesn’t matter whether Huff would’ve had an up year or another down year for us, he’s expendable.  Belt won’t lose 350 AB’s this way.  That’s worth something too.  Pill see's the plate more too.  We get a better fifth starter and solid offensive upgrades, and our chances of winning more games improves.  That's my take on swapping Aubrey for Wandy.

I’ll bet on Belt and Pill pulling their own weight in the 6 and 7 spots in the order.  If not, we got a really, really solid bench now too.  We signed Adrian Gonzalez’s brother, Edgar, last spring.  Yeah, you’ve heard of him, he played a bit in our division.  We got thump with Eldred and GonzalezWe got some average and OBP in Peguero and Gillaspie.  And Ramon is a very good hitting catcher.

BTW, I wish Bochy would use the catcher as a bench option, instead of this old adage “you can’t use your second catcher in case something happens.”  Bullocks to that.  You swap Posey to 1B, pinch-hit Ramon.  Swap out your other hitter from your lineup.  You got Posey still in the game.  And Sandoval as an absolute emergency catcher if Ramon and Buster collide and knock each other unconscious in one play.  It ain’t that hard to use all five bench players.  But I digress.

I’d love it if we could get Brian Bogusevic (ESPN link)from Houston as part of the trade coming to SF, but that would be really doubtful.  Not without giving up something major like Belt or Brown, I’d guess.

A short article on Brad Eldred on sfgiantslocker.
A short aritcle on Max Ramirez on csnbayarea.
SF Giants signing of Edgar Gonzalez on rotoworld.
More about Edgar on giantslocker.

So we got Zito’s and Huff’s contracts off our books.  We picked up a fifth starter who should be a #2 or #3 starter anywhere else.  We got McCutchen.  We got Aybar.  We got a solid bench.

Perhaps my most creative $133M roster yet.

We get the majority of the young Giants talent playing on this team.  Still no Stamos, sorry kids.  (That is Brandon Crawford, for all y’all who don’t know who I am referring to when I say “Stamos”.  Use Google Images for Crawford, people.  Then do again for Stamos.  Look them up.  Same results).

We got the filthiest 1-5 rotation in baseball now.  All those ESPN and FOX knuckleheads can’t say the Phillies is better, especially if they don’t pick up Oswalt’s option.  Our pitching will absolutely continue to win us games and keep our bullpen fresh.  Hembree can work on closing, and have less stress doing it with a full bullpen supporting him.

We get McCutchen still pre-arb.  I swear, he’s about as close as we might get to having Matt Kemp in another couple years.  I’d definitely make sure we sign him to a 6-year deal to eat a couple of the FA years.  For a 25-year old ball player, I appeal to his wants.  He wants his payday sooner (now) than later (arb-2 and beyond).  Here’s how you sell him.

He can get league minimum for one more year (’12).  Then, the pay structure works so I can basically predict he’ll get about $3M, $6M, and $10M respectively if he continues to play at or near an All-Star level.  That is a totally back-loaded $19.5M in four years.  He’s not seeing much pay until 2014.  And then his first two free agency years are likely to be smaller figures in a back-loaded contract.  Maybe $15M and $16M.  That totals $60.5M if he goes through arbitration years without a contract until he’s a free agent.

Sign him in his pre-arb year to a 6-year $60M deal: 4.2, 4.3, 10.5, 12, 14 15.  He gets some good walk-around money now, and still gets his pay later.  And then, there is always the insurance of a guaranteed salary, in case (God forbid!), something happens, he gets injured, or his performance slumps. He’ll be 30 years old at the end of the contract, and in perfect position to leverage one more huge payday and two very large salary draws after this one.  Sold?

Oh yeah, it’s worth selling him on the fact, he is an important piece of making this a World Series dynasty caliber team.  Forget the losing seasons in Pittsburgh.  Freddy came here and got a ring.  You can come and be part of winning two more here in SF.

I’ve been at games and seen McCutchen play.  He’s that type of electric, that fans are dazzled by.  Even opponents.  Yeah, Matt Kemp might be the hottest stock rising right now.  But I’d buy futures on McCutchen getting there soon.  I think he’d bat #4, ahead of Posey in a year or two if he were on the Giants.

You take a look at the 2013 lineup projection?
Where is the weakness, I ask you.
Lead-off?  Middle of the order?  Bottom of the order?
Panik might bat second.  Maybe Aybar still leads off. 
I think there is not a one glaring weakness.
Maybe Hembree isn't a great closer.  But I bet he will be.

This team would have depth and flexibility.
Power, speed, offense.

And an outfield that covers better than a Snuggy.

I'd be excited for this team.  How about you?


Image credit: Andrew McCutchen from bigleaguescrew.  No that's not an 'adult' site.  And yes, the "s" is capitalized in their name.  Please don't hassle me on this, I found it from a Google Image search.

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