In a smart move that will definitely help the Giants in the 2012 campaign, San Francisco traded for Colorado Rockies' veteran infielder Marco Scutaro.
Scutaro will give Manager Bruce Bochy another offensive chess piece to work with for the next two months as the team tries to increase their runs per game average.
The Giants sent Triple A Fresno second baseman Charlie Culberson to the Rockies for Scutaro, which will have zero impact on San Francisco's minor league factory. When he was brought up in mid-May of this year Culberson looked totally lost at the plate (.136/.136./.136) and shaky defensively.
But the reality here is that super prospect Joe Panik is likely the Giants' second baseman of the future and Culberson was just marking time in the organization.
The amazing thing is the typical response from fans calling into local sportstalk radio after Hanley Ramirez and the Dodgers demonstrated what a bold trade can do for a team in a tight Division race. Many callers were upset that Charlie Culberson was traded for Scutaro; for some unknown reason they thought Culberson was a promising prospect.
I love fan loyalty and sticking up for home players, but fans shouldn't ignore the objective assessment that statistics provide as a way to quantify talent and production. I've seen it with other players traded by the Giants in past years: fans went nuts when John Bowker was traded to Pittsburgh in 2010 for reliever Javier Lopez-- you would have thought Babe Ruth was just traded to the Yankees. Bowker's career ended last year after he hit .133 in 31 games for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
We see the same thing with current Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz-- a locally raised guy with a great right field glove and occasional power. But a six year career and 501 games with 1,200 at bats also counts for something: it demonstrates that Schierholtz is not an everyday player and is likely at best a 5th outfielder.
And even Schierholtz can mess up in the field. In last night's loss against the Dodgers, Schierholtz misplayed a ball in right field with two outs that led to two runs scoring. No one wants a player on their team to do poorly, but that's no excuse for not being analytical and recognizing a player's actual production.
On another note, have you ever listened, I mean really listened, to San Francisco Giants General Manager Brian Sabean doing a sports radio or TV interview?
Brian Sabean always plays his cards tight around the annual non-waiver trade deadline. He puts out such a deliberate and detached casual attitude about potential trades when he's talking with the local media that he appears to be only vaguely aware that there is some kind of baseball trade deadline in late July.
Meanwhile he's quietly packaging a six player deal to get Hunter Pence from the Phillies (or some other impact deal).
In order to figure Sabean out, I'm working on a series of translations of his recent comments and phrases so we can all better understand what he's really saying. Eventually I'll put them in handy booklet that can be whipped out quickly whenever you hear Sabean giving an interview.
So far, I have three translations completed:
Sabean: "We doing our due diligence in exploring ways to fill our current needs, but we don't expect any big names to be involved."
Translation: "I've done everything I can to get Houston Street from Padres GM Josh Byrnes including an offer of domestic partnership and a commitment to wash his damn Lexus every morning".
Sabean: "We like our team make-up as is, but you always think you can tweak your roster here and there for the better."
Translation: "We can't f--king pick up the damn ball and our closer has one pitch in his repertory. You try tweaking that motherf--ker into a winning season."
Sabean: "As far as the team payroll, at the end of the day we do have some flexibility."
Translation: "Luckily the fans are still buying that 'small market' bulls--t. At this point, ownership is printing money and if we wanted to we could afford to have Ted Williams dug up, reanimated, and starting in left field by next week."
I expect there will eventually be a language course at UC Berkeley devoted to understanding Sabeanese. Maybe "Sabeanese 1A-- the Art of Speaking in Tao".