Monday, November 10, 2008

Sabathia The Giant

A week ago I launched a missile at a Buster Olney column, but this week I couldn't agree with him more:
The San Francisco Giants committed $126 million to Barry Zito a couple of winters ago, and in spite of Zito's best efforts and work to find solutions, that contract is destined to be regarded as one of the most significant busts in baseball history. The Giants shelled out record-setting dollars for high-impact pitching, and it does not appear as if they will get that return.

But that experience should not discourage them from pursuing another left-hander who will set a new record for pitchers. There are good reasons for the Angels to chase CC Sabathia, and for the Yankees to do so, and for the Dodgers. The team that might stand to gain the most from signing Sabathia, however, might be the Giants.
Buster deals with the obvious objection -- the Giants are in the middle of a $126M bath on the Zito contract and may be more than twice shy to jump in that water again -- but he dispatches with it the same way I would, and that's by noting that not signing Sabathia won't make the Zito contract any better. When you have no offense to speak of, a rotation of Sabathia, Lincecum, Cain, a strategically-rested Zito, and whatever else you can find isn't the worst way to go into battle in the always winnable NL West. He's also an awesome guy, a fan favorite, and a local, and when you put all of that together, you have just as good a rationale for spending big in the free agent market as any other. If I'm the Giants, I go for it.

But I'll admit that there's a non-rational basis for me championing this deal, and that's that I really want to like the Giants again. I've mentioned this a couple of times before, but there was a time when the Giants stood almost as good a chance of supplanting the Tigers as my baseball love as the Braves did. This was the Will Clark/Roger Craig-era when, for reasons I can't fully explain, I became somewhat infatuated with the Giants. Maybe it was Clark himself, who was one of my favorite players then and now. Maybe it was Roger Craig's stint as Tigers' pitching coach. Maybe it was because of the uniforms (which I still love), or the history of the team (nothing matches it west of the Bronx), or the fact that San Francisco is my favorite U.S. city (save it: it's a tomato/tomahto thing).

Even before the steroids stuff, it was hard to like the Giants during the Bonds/Baker years, and my distaste for all things Sabean is on almost weekly display on this blog. But despite all of that, I still have some residual love for the Giants, and while we'll likely never get serious, I'd like to be able to call them up to have coffee once in awhile.

Lincecum has me interested. Having Sabathia around might make me commit.


christopher said...

As much as I'd love to have sabathia in a giants uniform, if they spend money this winter, they need to spend that money on a bat. Their offense was, well, offensive. They hit 94 home runs last year. The last NL team to hit fewer home runs (excluding strike years): The Dodgers and Mets in 1993. Ray Durham had the best OS+ on the team, and they traded him. They had a Molina hitting cleanup! So if you are going to throw gobs of money at someone, I say go after texeria. I know that means fewer at bats for rich aurilia at first, but sometimes you have to sacrifice.

Vegas Watch said...

"When you have no offense to speak of, a rotation of Sabathia, Lincecum, Cain, a strategically-rested Zito, and whatever else you can find[...]"

Don't forget about Sanchez. A bit too many walks, but 157 Ks in 158 innings, and he doesn't turn 26 for another week.

That would be an absolutely sick rotation. Too bad their defense sucks.

mooseinohio said...

That assumes Matt Cain is still there as he has been rumored as bait for Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard as the Giants do need to get at least one bat that can hit something other than singles.

Also - loved Roger Craig with the Niners, who said Deion was the best baseball/football player (maybe 'Bo Knows' the answer).

rob said...

East of the Bronx? There are only two teams that play east of the Bronx: the Mets, and the Red Sox.

Just what are you trying to suggest there?

Craig Calcaterra said...

That I'm a moron and meant to write "west"?

Going to edit now . . .