I suppose if I’m going to write about baseball fifty years ago, I should say something about the current team.
Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko are an improvement over Travis Ishikawa and rent-a-2B. This is mainly because what the Giants had was so bad … Sanchez (if he’s healthy, and who the hell knows the answer to that one) is a decent hitter (if he’s healthy) who started the season hot but has been abysmal of late (is he injured?). Since proponents of the trade keep telling us that Sanchez is a former BA champ with a lifetime BA of .300, I’ll use their favorite stat. Sanchez’ BA by months in 2009 so far: .337 .330 .282 .193. Maybe it’s a small sample size; I hope so. Garko mashes lefties, is probably worse than Ishikawa against righties, which means they should platoon, but I doubt the Giants acquired him so he could sit on the bench 2/3 of the time.
As Keith Law pointed out, Sanchez replaces Uribe, who hasn’t stunk quite as much as most of his teammates, so the improvement there isn’t all that great. But if Uribe moved to SS and Renteria went … oh, how about the DL? … the improvement would be more marked.
In short, the two trades make the team marginally better, and it makes sense to do what you can to sneak in via the wild card when you have Cain and Lincecum. I don’t think the Giants gave up too much … they still have all of their top prospects, Alderson was good but not great and since he plays where they are deepest, his future with the Giants was likely no higher that #4 SP. As I told someone, it’s not that the Giants gave up too much, it’s that they got back too little.
Brian Sabean hasn’t been as idiotic as usual this season, but the offense he’s provided us truly reeks. He also still loves “veterans” … Sanchez is “only” 31, Sabean has referred to him as a “kid.” Not only is Sanchez a potential injury problem, he is 31 in the post-steroid era, if you believe in that stuff … 31 year old hitters may not have the long-term future they did in recent years. Freddy Sanchez is a typical Brian Sabean pickup, hopefully on the good side of Sabean pickups but typical nonetheless. If the team extends Sanchez’s contract, we’ll know nothing has changed. For now, the offense is a little better, the future isn’t much worse … I suppose I can live with that.