Over a Beer and Peanuts: Bay City Ball – Part 2

‘Over a Beer and Peanuts’ is a new section on The Baseball Opinion where I have a frank question and answer session with a fellow blogger to get their opinion on issues related to the area of baseball that they cover.  Chris, over at Bay City Ball, has graciously accepted to be my ginuea pig for my first post of this section.  His blog goes into depth on numerous issues related to the San Francisco Giants, including some masterful PITCHfx analysis.

Here’s Part 2:

There’s been a rumor running around of a trade that would center around Matt Cain for Prince Fielder (with others leveling the field on either side). Are you for a trade of this stature?

I’ve heard the rumors and I know I wouldn’t personally do the deal. Fielder’s production has been down this year and his defense at first base is horrid. Some are concerned about his weight, but those concerns don’t bother me too much. I think people often do two things with the Giants and Cain.

1) They don’t realize how young Cain is (he’ll be 24-years-old next year) and how well he’s performed at such a young age. His career ERA+ with the Giants is 117. Jason Schmidt’s career ERA+ with the Giants was 126.

2) Overstate our rotational depth. The Giants are usually advertised as a club with a strong rotation, but I think it’s often overstated. Removing Cain from our rotation leaves us with Lincecum, Sanchez, and Zito with the last two spots being filled by guys like Brad Hennessey, Kevin Correia, or Pat Misch. Not pretty. I don’t think the Giants have the depth to trade Cain away right now.

Most fans look at our terrible offense and want to improve it at any cost. Make no mistake, Fielder would instantly be the best hitter on the team but Cain contributes more than Fielder. When you factor in defense, Fielder is worth about 1 win less than Matt Cain. Cain is also signed to a pretty favorable contract and Fielder should start getting expensive in arbitration. The “Trade Cain” phenomenon on the Internet is a really weird thing. Giants fans don’t seem to understand how good Cain has been and while he might have been overshadowed by Lincecum lately, he’s still a darn good pitcher. Keep ‘em.

“If you were GM”, what would be your top five goals for the off-season?

1. Trade Dave Roberts. He doesn’t have a place on the team. Eat some salary if you have to.
2. Trade Randy Winn if you can get a decent return, if not, hang onto him.
3. Not sign Joe Crede.
4. Keep Matt Cain.
5. Try to figure out 3B. The Giants need help at 3B more than any other position right now. Maybe pick up some high reward, low risk-type players to fill that position. Players like Russell Branyan would be a good start. Maybe even check on failed prospects like Andy Marte or anyone that once had upside that can still play third base. Entertain trades for guys like Adrian Beltre if the price is right.

Date that Tim Lincecum’s arm will fall off?  Tommy John or shoulder?

No comment! I can’t say that I’ve liked the way that the Giants have handled Lincecum this year and the thought of losing him for any stretch of time horrifies me. So, I’ll pretend I didn’t see this question.

In all honestly, Lincecum could be a different beast but the Giants have pushed him hard this year and for little reason. When you’re still throwing 130+ pitches in September for a .400 team, I question your judgement making abilities. I hope Lincecum stays healthy for a long time, even when he eventually leaves the Giants. He’s just that fun to watch.

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