Insiders Say Giants May Trade Cain

If you're a fan of San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain, you may be upset by a report out of the San Jose Mercury News that he's being shopped about in trade talks

Or you may be encouraged by a report out of the San Francisco Chronicle insisting that the above report is "absolutely false."

But no one is disputing this much -- the Giants' batting line-up has been limper than Jeremy Shockey at a poolside rave, and a certain Giants manager and general manager might pay the price with their jobs if that doesn't change by season's end. The most valuable pieces this club can offer in a trade are from the pitching staff, and GM Brain Sabean acknowledged to reporters this weekend that he is actively pursuing a trade for a more powerful bat.

In his Mercury News column on the topic, Andrew Baggarly manages to get some specific dirt from his team sources on just what the Giants would give up for that more powerful bat. "Club sources said Sabean would put out feelers to see what he could fetch for right-hander Matt Cain, who pitched a complete game Saturday to improve to 5-1," Baggarly writes.

But the Chronicle's Henry Schulman put that to one of his people, and they insist Cain's not going anywhere. "I ran that by a very high-level source with the Giants," Schulman writes," and he said, 'Absolutely false.'"

Whether it's true or false, it's difficult to see the Giants getting equal value for Cain. A 24-year-old pitcher with an ERA under 3.0 is one of the most valuable commodities a ball club can have, in terms of both current and future considerations. If the Giants are going to trade off pitching, I'd much rather see them trade Jonathan Sanchez. I'm just not sure how many boxes of paper clips they would get for that guy.

Also, the lists of potential assets the Giants could get in return for Cain is a little underwhelming. Baggarly and Schulman tease out a few bats that  could potentially be available -- Dan Uggla (Florida), Mark DeRosa (Cleveland), and Nick Johnson (Washington) make the list. It's hard to imagine any of those guys someday getting a statue out front of AT&T Park, but at least the Giants are saying -- to Schulman -- that they would not pursue the A's hard-slumping Matt Holliday.

Sabes knows that the team is going nowhere fast with this batting line-up. But in his attempts to bring in a more productive bat, Sabean may have to swing for the fences.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who would command several boxes of paper clips in a potential trade.

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