Brian Sabean, Corey Hart and the art of the “fleece”

July 05, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Milwaukee Brewers Corey Hart  continued his hit streak to 20 games today, Hart had 2 hits including a double off of Giants pitcher Dan Ruzler..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the San Francisco Giants 1-6..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

There’s no way Brian Sabean will overpay for Corey Hart.

Brian Sabean won’t overpay to get Corey Hart, will he?

Oh God, Brian Sabean is going to overpay for Corey Hart, isn’t he?

If the Giants’ GM has taught us anything over the years, it’s that he’ll sell his wife, kids and soul just to get the player he covets. See Edgardo Alfonzo, whom he overpaid for in 2003 despite the third baseman’s well documented back troubles. See A.J. Pierzynski, whom he inexplicably acquired from the Twins in exchange for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser because the Giants needed a catcher. See Barry Zito, whom he gave a $126 million contract to after outbidding himself.

For as great of a job as Sabean has done building one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, he’s done an equally horrendous job developing position players (Buster Posey being the exception, of course). Because he wasted years signing past-their-prime veterans instead of building through the draft, Sabean has had to overpay when it comes to free agents and trades. So when I read that the Giants are interested in Corey Hart, my palms and forehead get sweaty and the room starts spinning.

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Just one more reason for Giants fans to loathe GM Brian Sabean

If you’re a Giants fan and you’re eating while reading this, stop immediately. For those general baseball fans checking this post out, you might find this extremely interesting and damn near hilarious.

ESPN’s Buster Olney conducted a poll recently where he asked “a dozen general managers” about making trades with other GMs. Below are the five poll questions.

1. Who is the easiest GM for you to make a trade with?
2. Who is the toughest GM for you to make a trade with?
3. Who is the most open, as you go through the process of making a trade?
4. Who is the biggest poker player, as you go through the process of making a trade?
5. Of the other 29 general managers, who would you hire to be your GM?

As Olney points out, the results were fascinating – or nauseating for Giants fans.

The point of the exercise was not to rip anybody; rather, it was merely to get some sense of the style of various general managers. Without a doubt, however, the GM who got hammered in a way I never expected was the Giants’ Brian Sabean, for one simple reason — rival executives say they cannot get him on the phone. They cannot get him to return messages. In a couple of cases, some GMs say they don’t even bother calling Sabean, they just go straight to assistant Bobby Evans.

The feeling of the other GMs is that beyond the issue of simple etiquette — “It’s just flat-out disrespectful to not return a call,” said one GM — Sabean isn’t putting himself in position to hear trade ideas that could benefit the Giants. “What happens if somebody calls to offer Brock for Broglio?” said one GM. “That’s what I get nervous about — what if the other team is shopping a really good player and he gets traded without me getting involved? That’s why I return all calls.”

In 14 years (dear Lord, has it been that long?), a general manager is going to have some ups and downs. It’s not realistic for a GM to have never been burned by a signing or a trade. But Sabean’s resume reads more like a horror script than someone who has kept his job longer than any other current GM in Major League Baseball.

You want bad trades? Try Jeremy Accardo for Shea Hillenbrand and Vinnie Chulk, or Russ Ortiz (in his prime) for Damian Moss and Merkin Valdez, or of course, the mother of all bad trades: Joe Nathan, Fransisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for one miserable year of A.J. Pierzynski (and cash!).

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Buster Posey making an immediate impact, but will the Giants keep him up?

Giants fans had been waiting since the end of spring training for their team to recall top prospect Buster Posey from Triple-A Fresno. The club teased fans by announcing that Posey had a shot to make the big league club in the spring, then pulled the chair out from under them at the last second while sending him back to the minors. (And laughing the entire time.)

“Ha, ha! Posey isn’t going to make the team, idiots. Now go watch Eugenio Velez play everyday…and lead off.”

But then on May 29, the impossible happened: the Giants actually called Posey up from the minors. Better yet, he delivered.

He went 3-for-4 with three RBI in a win over the Diamondbacks on Saturday night and then chipped in three more hits (including a pair of doubles) and an RBI in the Giants’ win over Arizona on Sunday. His two extra base hits allowed San Fran to stay in a game they probably would have otherwise lost. He provided a spark to their offense that has been missing all season.

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Ten Predictions for the MLB second half


The second half of the 2009 MLB season has kicked off and with that, I’m going to make some predictions that are sure to be proved wrong in a couple months.

Feel free to whip out your crystal ball in the comments section but before you do, please do everyone a favor and take off your favorite team prescribed glasses and be objective for once in your life, will ya?

1. The Blue Jays will trade Halladay…to the Phillies.
Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is reminding everyone who will listen that he doesn’t absolutely need to trade Roy Halladay – which he doesn’t. But the bottom line is that he’ll probably get more in return for the “Doc” this season than he would next when Halladay is set to become a free agent after the 2010 season. And despite Ricciardi stating that he’s open to trading Halladay within the division, he’s not stupid. He’s not going to trade Halladay to the Red Sox or Yankees and risk becoming public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Jays fans for not only getting rid of their best and most popular player, but also trading him to a division rival in the process. In the end, I think Ricciardi will trade Halladay to an NL team and my guess is that it will be Philadelphia that will eventually puts a package together to acquire him. Although they might balk at the $7 million that’s remaining on Halladay’s contract, the Phillies are built to win now and need more starting pitching to make another run at a World Series. They also have enough appealing prospects to entice Ricciardi to make a deal.

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Report: Pirates pushing hard to deal Freddy Sanchez

One of the more intriguing names on the trade market is Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who is currently batting .316 with six dingers and 33 RBI. And as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting, the Bucs are pushing hard to deal him before the trade deadline.

Two teams that covet the second baseman are the Giants and Rockies, each of whom are battling it out behind the Dodgers in the NL West and are in the thick of things for the NL Wild Card. Sanchez would be a nice catch for either team, although something for both clubs to consider is his salary. The All-Star makes $6.1 million this year and will make $8 million in 2010 if he picks up another 271 plate appearances before the end of the season.

Colorado might hold an edge over San Fran in the Sanchez sweepstakes because Pittsburgh is reportedly gaga over Rockies’ minor leaguer Eric Young. The 24-year-old has 23 extra base hits, 37 walks and a whopping 47 steals so far in the minors and if the Rox are willing to part with him, they could have Sanchez in uniform sooner rather than later.

That said, the Giants always have an abundance of pitching, but whether or not they’re willing to give any of it up remains to be scene. Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson are certainly out of the question, but GM Brian Sabean could still put a decent package together with the likes of Jonathan Sanchez or Kevin Pucetas, coupled with a couple of offensive prospects. (Sabean would probably be willing to throw Fred Lewis into the mix as well, although who knows if the Bucs would even want the struggling 28-year-old outfielder.)

It’ll be interesting to see which team eventually winds up making a move for Sanchez. Either way, it appears that his days in Pittsburgh are numbered.

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