In the past 24 hours, two notable MLB writers have lobbed out the possibility of the Giants trading Tim Lincecum.
Hey! Stop screaming. Seriously, let's talk about this.
First there was Dave Cameron, the writing brains behind FanGraphs, who asked "Can the Giants Improve by Trading Tim Lincecum?"
Cameron's premise is pretty simple: there's an absolute dearth of starting pitching on the free-agent market (C.J. Wilson is the top starter available) and if the Giants played to the market by making Lincecum available, they could potentially land a haul of talented, young, cost-effective talent from a team with a big payroll like the Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers.
Additionally, if the Giants moved Lincecum for cheaper players, it would clear up a chunk of payroll that would allow them to pursue a player like Carlos Beltran in free agency.
"Lincecum’s clearly one of the best pitchers in baseball, and subtracting him from their roster would make their rotation a lot worse," Cameron writes. "However, Linecum’s roughly $20 million expected paycheck in arbitration accounts for around 15% of the Giants budget, and in a market where there is no premium pitching to be found, the team could likely acquire some significant offensive talent in return for their ace."
Cameron adds that the three teams noted above would be "falling all over themselves to out-bid each other" for the Freak. Indeed they would, and it would result in some serious young talent acquisition for the Giants.
Additionally, as Cameron points out, the Giants have been significantly better at developing young pitchers in their system and home ballpark than they have with developing young hitters (Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are the exception, not the rule).
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports chimes in Friday with the possibility of moving Lincecum as well, noting that the Giants have two choices for maximizing their chances of getting back to the World Series.
"Spend big for Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes or at the very least Carlos Beltran," Morosi writes. "[Or] trade one of those prized starters for impact bats, because the day is fast approaching when the Giants won't be able to afford them all."
Morosi believes that Lincecum represents the most value in a possible trade while also representing the most inflated value in terms of salary structure for the Giants if he stays. (Read: he's more expensive than Matt Cain and won't sign a long-term deal.)
Of course, Morosi believes that Brian Sabean can somehow manage to deal Lincecum for prospects and sign Fielder or Reyes.
So what do you think Giants fans? Because, personally, I think it's a logical move that would make sense if this were a video-game version of baseball.
That's not me knocking Cameron or Morosi for their opinions; it's just that in the real world of baseball-team management, you actually have to deal with upset fans, season-ticket holders and team chemistry.
Lincecum is going to be expensive. Really expensive -- but he's also a two-time Cy Young winner on the right side of 30, and a guy that's become the face of the Giants franchise.
Fans would revolt, particularly if the haul for Lincecum didn't include guys who could step in and produce immediately (that's just a psychological effect). And how about the pressure on those guys to perform whenever they did get to the show? Yeah, it might be intense.
Besides all that, there's the practicality behind the front office actually doing this: they won't, even if it's the most logical move out there. They love the pitching rotation and they believe that the offense isn't that far off from being strong enough to get the team back into the postseason.
Indeed, a healthy Buster Posey and an improved outfield could do wonders for the lineup.
Could it happen? It could. Should it happen? There's an argument. Will it happen? Don't bank on it.