Prospect Check-Off, or, The Cherry Borchard 

Since the trade of Edgardo Alfonzo for Steve Finley in late December -- i.e., the successful completion of "Operation Fonzie Removal" -- all has been quiet on the Giant trade front.

But the next couple weeks could bring swappage. One reason is that the Giants might add to the team (and thus to the 40-man roster) RHP Jamie Wright and backup catcher Todd Greene, whose only competition remaining is Elizier Alfonzo.

If Greene and Wright are in, two others would have to be removed from the 40-man. Better to make such removals via trade and get something in return rather than risk the players being claimed off waivers.

Even if 40-man shenanigans don't factor in, the Giants could trade from a surplus of relief pitchers. Henry Schulman in today's Chron noted the abbondanza:

Assuming Armando Benitez is healthy, there are nine relievers who could fill the seven jobs, the other eight being Tim Worrell, Steve Kline, Tyler Walker, Jeff Fassero, Scott Munter, Jack Taschner, Accardo and Valdez. That management has so many starters and relievers from which to choose bodes well.

"To have that depth is not something a lot of organizations have," catcher Mike Matheny said.

Accardo and Valdez, being the youngest and hardest-throwing of the lot, probably have the highest trade value and are the least likely to be traded. After them, I'd guess Tyler Walker, with his lively stuff and experience as a closer, would be next. I've argued in the past that Walker has little trade value, but that was before guys like Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry started pulling down multi-million dollar contracts this winter. Walker doesn't have the full-season success of either Eyre or Howry, but he would seem to be a reasonable middle-relief option for a team that doesn't want to pay a lot for that muffler.

(The inflated market for middle relief makes all the more galling the LaTroy Hawkins trade -- all the Giants could get was Steve Kline?)

You want more evidence that Walker is tradable? The Mariners just unloaded Matt Thornton, a 29-year-old lefty with fugly career numbers (lots of walks, lots of homers), for White Sox prospect Joe Borchard. OK, "ex-prospect" is more accurate: Borchard is 27 and has stunk it up in several short major-league stints. His triple-A track record isn't overwhelming, either, but there's still time for him to become a good 4th outfielder. In other words, when Todd Linden asks his Mirror Mirror on the Wall what his future holds, the mirror shows him Joe Borchard's ugly mug.

Holy dopplegangers, Batman: I just looked at Linden's PECOTA card, and guess who his #1 most-comparable is? Here's a hint: it rhymes with "a big field full of fruit trees."

More heartening for Linden, and for Giants fans, are other names on his comparable list: Dale Murphy, Paul O'Neill, Pat Burrell, Jermaine Dye, Larry Walker, and Dwight Evans.

All that said, Tyler Walker must have more trade value than Matt Thornton. In this market he might fetch the Giants a pretty good high-minors position player, someone younger and with a little more upside than Joe Borchard.

Speaking of Linden, he's losing the battle of Small Spring-Training Sample Size to Jason Ellison, who had a monster weekend and is now hitting .452/.540/.619 in 42 Cactus at-bats. If the Giants go with 11 pitchers, both could break camp with the team, but as noted in reports today, that seems unlikely.

Assuming 12 pitchers, here's an outline of the opening day roster:


Wright (if Hennessey is 5th starter)?/Correia?/Taschner?/Accardo?





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