Orange and Black: The Albatross, the Freak, and the Lineup

As any fan of the Giants has come to realize, it is hard for the team to hide any mistakes that are made in the free-agent market. The team has imposed a $130 million dollar budget on itself that has enraged some of its fanbase. I am one of the few that understand that the team needs to have a cap on spending. I understand that it’s not my money and I should want the team to spend whatever it takes to win another championship. The problem with that type of thinking is that this is no longer a situation where the fans are saying “Please just win one world series for us!” The team accomplished that without selling the farm. And now it is time to put together a perennial playoff team that continues to increase payroll due to consistent appearances in the fall classic.

The long-term success is going to be tied to the draft and having the guts to move players before their performance begins to decline. But in order to start down that road, there is one move that I believe would make sense now and into the future. Trade Barry Zito. Now, I know what you are thinking. “This guy must have just started following baseball. There is no way you move a contract like that!” Welp, I have an answer. Last month there were rumors going around about the interest that the Yankees had in Matt Cain. I would not trade Matt Cain at this point in his career and I believe he is the heart of the pitching staff. The possible package the Giants may have received back reportedly was centered around top prospect Jesus Montero and was to have included Nick Swisher and a couple of prospects that would include pitching prospect Dellin Betances. The question is do the Giants have the guts to pull the trigger on a move that could initially hurt them on the marketing side?

I am talking about trading Tim Lincecum to the New York Yankees. As a Giants fan, I see Lincecum as a great pitcher who wants to maximize his value each and every year. That type of player, with his talent, has the potential to break the bank every off-season. So you have a high-value pitcher on a team that is trying to improve the lineup. But you cannot project your payroll on a yearly basis when one of your players has a salary that can increase considerably every year. Here is where the creativity comes in. The Yankees can have The Freak and all of the great marketing that comes with him, but they must also take The Albatross with him. Lincecum and Zito go to New York and all I would want in return is Phil Hughes and some prospects.

The Yankees can easily absorb Zito’s salary and The Freak in New York would be a marketing dream. The Giants would aquire a very good arm and some much-needed depth in the system. But most importantly, the Giants would have the financial relief to secure all of their young talent and still go out and get a few bats. Teams like the Giants need to learn to use the chips they have, not only to get talent back, but to help purge bad contracts.

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