Saturday, January 28, 2012

Just Keeping Up With the Cabreras

During this brief interlude between the 49ers' heartbreaking loss last Sunday and the now-meaningless but sure-to-be-entertaining Super Bowl next, we were directed, via facebook, to the San Francisco Giants' website, where over the course of a few minutes we reviewed the roster and noted the many changes that have transpired since last October.

On the trade front, gone are Jonathan Sanchez, Ramon Ramirez, and Andres Torres; arriving in their wake are two outfielders, Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera. Melky (Lord'a'mercy, is that his given name?) takes over as the Giants' "designated Cabrera" now that veteran shortstop Orlando C. has announced his retirement.

We're sorry to see Sanchez go and we wish him well in Kansas City; maybe he'll pull a "Kevin Correia" and develop into a consistent, reliable starter there (and if he does, at least he'll be doing it in the other league). Ramirez' departure is the bigger loss, at least based on 2011 standards, but we can likely survive it since Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, and Jeremy Affeldt remain on the roster.

Affeldt's on board for one more year, at least; the club exercised its option immediately following the World Series. Likewise, backup catcher Eli Whiteside will be back after signing a one-year deal. But several free agents-- Cody Ross, Jeff Keppinger, Mark DeRosa, Darren Ford, and, perhaps most notably, Carlos Beltran, have moved on down the road. Beltran joins the world champion Cardinals, who are still reeling from the Angelicization of Albert Pujols, and good ol' Cody landed in Boston, where the Green Monster will no doubt entice him.

Knowing Beltran was bound to go, the Giants made those above-mentioned trades to reel in the two outfielders, Cabrera and Pagan, only one of whom is in Brian Sabean's sweet spot-- over 30, that is. Cabrera is better-known because he played for the Yankees and won a ring in 2009; he's coming off a rebound season in KC after an unhappy year in Atlanta. He's a decent swap for Sanchez, considering how many games the lefty missed last year. And being fat in the bullpen allowed Sabean to take a flyer on Pagan. This guy didn't crack a big-league starting lineup until age 28, and he's coming off a disappointing year after a good one in 2010. At 31, he sounds a lot like-- well, like Andres Torres, who just happened to be the throw-in on the deal. Torres gave us one excellent year; perhaps Pagan can do the same. We'll have more to say about these guys when spring training gets underway.

And the facebook note that sent us on our journey concerned the Giants' signing of Ryan Theriot, the former Cardinals infielder for whom we have a fondness because he was on our fantasy team last year. He essentially replaces Jeff Keppinger and has a chance to win the starting shortstop job if Brandon Crawford can't hit. Now, if you'll pardon us, we need to prepare for the Senior Bowl and see if we can predict the Niners' first-round pick for 2012.