Well, I've been unusually happy with Brian Sabean lately, mainly because he's finally learned that a team is better off if it is open to multiple sources for hitting talent. Yes, plenty of Sabean's trademark full price Proven Major Leaguers, but suddenly there are drafted & developed guys (Posey of course, but also Sandoval, and bits and pieces from Ishikawa and Schierholtz); seemingly washed-up former regulars available at deep discount prices (Huff, Burrell, Uribe), and even a "AAAA" type, Andres Torres.
Well, I can't really say I'm as happy about his midsummer trades. Javier Lopez is fine; at that point there was no lefty in the bullpen, and he qualifies. Ramon Ramirez I'm not so thrilled about...he's Just Another Arm, but if the cost was low (which it seemed to be), then I have no real problem with it. Mike Fontenot? Well...the Bats L is nice, and BP had a 337 OBP/412 SLG prediction line for him this year, but presumably his power won't be producing any home runs in his new home park.
Now, though, Jose Guillen? And according to the great Giants beat writer Henry Schulman, he's going to be the regular RF. Really? BP's PECOTA prediction this year for Guillen was 323/406, which pretty much stinks for a regular corner outfielder. He's right on that: designated for assignment by the Royals when hitting 314/429. Presumably, his PAs come at the expense of some combination of Travis Ishikawa (312/390 PECOTA, actual 2010 343/442) and Schierholtz (PECOTA 326/456, actual 2010 312/361). I don't know...I guess if the plan was to play Guillen against LHP, I couldn't really complain. And, looking at the numbers, it's hard to say that it's anything like a clear mistake...still, I don't like it.
I guess what I really think is that the Giants hit the All Star break with a reasonable chance of getting to October, and Sabean churned a lot -- four trades -- but didn't actually seem to help the team in any obvious way. As far as I can tell (and pending the last PTBNL) he didn't give up much, and it's hard to say that any specific move was actually a mistake...but add it all up, and it doesn't seem to amount to anything.
You know, what it really comes down to, I guess, is that my trust level with Brian Sabean remains as low as ever. It's not as if a ton of bats moved -- Lance Berkman is the biggest name, and while I'd rather have him than Guillen, it's not really clear he's an impact bat any more. Was there someone bigger available, for a price Sabean should have been willing to pay? Well, Adam Dunn is the obvious big name, but we don't really know how available he was...as I said, the more I think about this the more it just seems to me that this is really about not trusting Sabean.
As for the specific move, taking on Jose Guillen: all I can say is I wouldn't have done it. We'll see; I'm getting ready to start rooting for him to prove me wrong.