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Merry Untradeday To You!
2005-08-01 16:01
by Ken Arneson

The trade deadline has passed, the Hall-of-Famers have been honored, and now that all those pleasantries are over, it's time to get back to the action on the field bad news about the sport.

Wait a minute! I still have some unresolved rants regarding the trade deadline. It's not nice to try to distract my audience with Big News™. I wasn't done!

Screw it, I'll go anyway:

One relatively heretofore (and heretoday, too, thanks MLB) unnoticed feature of the A's recent string of playoff appearances is the immobility of their AL West competitors come the trade deadline. The A's have been blessed in recent years by a division filled with GMs who do little but twiddle their thumbs in July. It's not just luck that the A's outperform these teams in the second half.

This year, the Angels and Rangers both still have decent odds of making the playoffs, but did nothing to improve themselves. Again.

How tough would the Angels be to pitch to if they had Mike Sweeney batting behind Guerrero and Anderson? That really worried me. I'm relieved it didn't happen. It still could, I guess; can't imagine too many teams would risk taking on his salary with a waiver claim given his history of back problems. But what would change in August that couldn't have happened in July?

The only AL West team that did anything this weekend was Seattle. The Mariners now have Bill Bavasi instead of good 'ol Stand Pat at GM, and Bavasi did a good job of pulling in some talent.

All the Mariner trades look good to me. In particular, the Randy Winn trade really annoys me, both because it improves an A's rival, but because as a fair-weather Giants fan, I think the trade is just plain stoopid, in so many ways.

First of all, the Giants don't need Randy Winn. Without Barry Bonds, the Giants are not going to win anything. With Barry Bonds, they don't need Randy Winn.

Secondly, the difference between Randy Winn (.275/.342/.391/.733) and either of the two men he would replace, Michael Tucker (.260/.338/.399/.737) and Jason Ellison (.276/.331/.385/.716), is small. They're all the same type of player. Is that small difference worth giving up either Yorvit Torrealba or Jesse Foppert? Maybe, but I don't think so. Both? No way.

Third, with Foppert, I think they're making the exact same mistake they made with Joe Nathan. They looked at his year coming off arm surgery and thought he had lost his stuff and was washed up, and traded him. Next year, Nathan's stuff is back, and he's an all-star. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if Foppert did the same thing.

Fourth, and most importantly (to me), I like Torrealba, but Brian Sabean doesn't. I wanted him to be the starting catcher for the Giants before they traded for A.J. Pierzynski and before they signed Mike Matheny. From what I've seen of Torrealba, I think he can be a pretty solid catcher if he got a chance. Not great, but good enough, especially for a minimum salary. Sabean had two chances to give Torrealba a shot at the starting catcher job, but decided to go the far more expensive route instead. I still can't figure out why.

And now, as a direct result of Sabean's distrust of Torrealba, he went and traded for Pierzynski and Winn, giving up not only Torrealba, but Foppert AND Nathan AND Boof Bonser AND (this may be the most painful part of all) Francisco Liriano (go take a look at Lirano's stats this year for the final dagger in the folly of Sabean's dislike for Torrealba)--with, in the end, just the difference in production between Winn and Tucker/Ellison to show for all of that distrust.

Just an awful, awful, awful sequence of events for Giants fans. It will cost them for years to come. There's a thick fog rolling in over San Francisco, and as I look toward SBC Park from across the bay, I suspect it will be a long, long time before this fair-weather Giants fan will be able to see a thing. So long, I may forget they even exist.

My only reminders will come on days like today, when the A's face Joe Nathan's Twins. The A's will probably have to face him and Liriano and Foppert many times in years to come. And each time they do, I will shake my head and remember, knowing that these talented opponents, and those thick gray clouds that block my view to the west, all grew from one brain cell in Brian Sabean's mind, where he stored his inexplicable dislike of Yorvit Torrealba.

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