The last time I put on my matchmaking cap, I explained my hesitancy to do so. While the bothersome elements of meddling in the futures of two distinct parties hasn’t lessened, it’s a slow afternoon and no one really seems interested in talking too much about the rotting corpse that is Bob Geren’s managerial career.
And besides, today, we can deal with a team that I actually care something about: the San Francisco Giants. Yes, I jumped on that bandwagon only last summer during a brief exile to the West Coast, but having a vested interest in a team that not only competes for a championship, but also wins said championship, has a way of immediately strengthening your bond with the club. If I were writing for Grantland, I’d probably compare the phenomenon to sleeping with a girl after a single date, talking about the sudden euphoria of the relationship and then go on for multiple paragraphs about the unrealistic expectations that it creates.
Fortunately, this is merely a baseball blog, so the only conjugation I’ll be writing about is that which should happen between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants.
Look at it this way:
As pleasant of a story it would be for the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish this season above .500, a far nicer narrative for Pirates fans would involve acquiring players that will one day contribute to a championship caliber team. While those days may not be as far away as they seemed at the end of last season, the timing for serious contention isn’t likely to coincide with the employment of the team’s current stable of catchers.
As both Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit battle each other to catch the majority of Charlie Morton’s two seam fastballs, they also compete against the structure of their contracts. Both Snyder and Doumit have team options of similar value for next season and both are enjoying a resurgence in form before recent injuries handed the two injury prone catchers setbacks.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, we can’t forget, no matter how hard we try, that Buster Olney was bowled over at home plate and broke his leg and tore apart tendons, cancelling any plans for his appearance in a Giants uniform for the rest of the season.
In the National League West, the Giants, despite their many shortcomings (I’m looking at you, Miguel Tejada), can’t help but compete for a playoff spot. In order to actually return to the World Series though, and not just run into an exit at the hands of the Phillies or worse, the team can improve greatly in one specific area, and as you may have guessed, it’s the catcher position.
Although it was nice of Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy to give Eli Whiteside a chance at the job, if his first 70 plate appearances is anything to go by, a sub .600 OPS isn’t exactly inspiring confidence for a team that already struggles far too much to collect runs.
While either Snyder or Doumit would be an immediate upgrade, the former might be the preferable option for both sides. The Giants currently rank third last in the National League in on base percentage, and Snyder’s .376 OBP this year, admittedly while splitting time with Doumit, would actually be an upgrade on Posey’s OBP to date. While the constant injuries might be a concern for the Giants, the team doesn’t have to be interested in him as a long term solution, with Posey coming back next season.
For the Pirates, Snyder was something of a salary dump pickup from Arizona at the end of last season to provide coverage for the oft injured Doumit. With their team option for Snyder in 2012 at $6.75 million, it’s questionable if the team would be interested in bringing him back next year no matter how he performs for the rest of the season. Trading him to San Francisco for an infield prospect, an area of need after the graduation of Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez to the big club, would be a great return on a player with such little expectations when he was first acquired.
And oh, looky there, the Giants happen to have a few infield prospects that might tickle the Pirates fancy: Charlie Culberson, Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Crawford were all thought of highly enough by Baseball Prospectus to be listed in the team’s Future Shock rankings. Perhaps Culberson and Adrianza are too steep a price to pay for a rental player, but the depth of prospects that they do have could more than justify a move.
So, there you are, Pirates and Giants. I’ll leave you two alone now, so that you can get to know each other.