Different D-Backs

When the Giants play Arizona next year, it's going to be a very different ball club. As expected, Az. just traded for Richie Sexson, giving up one of the prospects they got in the Schilling deal as well as a host of others: Junior Spivey, Craig Counsell, Chad Moeller, Lyle Overbay and Chris Capuano.

I'm a bit surprised they gave up so much for what will likely be a one-year rental of Sexson. He makes $8.6 million in 2004 in the last year of his contract. If he hits 40+ homers again -- quite likely in the BOB's friendly indoor spaces -- he'll be cued up for a multi-year contract that probably averages more than $10 mil per year. Given the D-Backs commitment to shedding payroll, that doesn't sound like money they want to spend. Or maybe he becomes the keystone around which the team rebuilds.

Wait, did the D-Backs really give up a lot? I didn't realize until checking just now that Spivey is 28 years old, turning 29 in January; Moeller is also 28, turning 29 in February. What I thought were two young, promising players are in fact two players approaching career "middle age," who spent a lot of time in the minors and have only recently proven to be useful at the major league level. In other words, replaceable.

Just like Craig Counsell, your new Mr. Milwaukee.

So far, that's three utility/useful/replaceable guys...

But Overbay's another matter, right? He's young, he's got a sweet swing, he could be the next Mark Grace...hold on. Overbay is 26, turning 27 in January. He's not so young anymore, either. (In contrast, Mark Grace made his Cubs' debut at the age of 23 and never looked back.) A couple more years of struggles at the major league level for Overbay, and we're talking Damon Minoresque levels of promise unfulfilled.

So, from the point of view of the D-Backs risk factor, the trade seems to boil down to the two young lefties malos the D-Backs are sending: Chris Capuano, who made his ML debut in 2003, and Jorge de la Rosa, whom the pundits say could be an ace in the making.

Of course, Brian Sabean traded the Giants' Richie Sexson of the mid-1990s, Matt Williams, for what everyone thought were a bag of journeyman spare parts. Thanks to Jeff Kent, the deal went the Giants' way. And this deal will fall the Brewers' way if Spivey becomes the next Jeff Kent, if Overbay becomes a pretty good line drive hitter, and the two lefties become mainstays in the rotation.

But that's a lot of ifs.

Meanwhile, Giants' fans will see a whole lot more of Richie Sexson in 2004. Their lineup is looking roughly like this:

SS Cintron
2b Kata
LF Gonzalez
1B Sexson
3b Hilenbrand
CF Finley
C Hammock
RF ??


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