Trade Bait: I Don't Know --Third Base? 

Round two of your favorite game show, Trade Bait!

I'll throw across the diamond to third base, leave Ray Durham for a later discussion, and skip shortstop entirely. Right now Vizquel is giving the Giants far more than their money's worth: an OBP over .400, excellent defense, and even strong work from the right-hand batter's box, a rarity from Omar. He's also Mr. Dreamy, and much joy would be lost in Garlic Fryville if he went away.

Now for this Feliz clown. If the Giants can upgrade elsewhere and leave Pedro to hit seventh, I won't complain too much.

Yes I will. But Pedro and I have come to this understanding: he swings at first-pitch sliders in the dirt, and I sadly sigh. He drinks milk from the carton, I slap him upside the head and say, "No! Disgusting!" It's dysfunctional, it's co-dependent, but we've kinda gotten used to each other.

I could also see the Giants trading for a third baseman and sliding Feliz to first, but his hot-corner defense has become an asset. Dither, dither, dither. Would they really trade him?

Sorry, more dither. First, let's ask this: Does anyone want him? His contract isn't onerous -- whoever acquired him would owe something like $2.5 mil and nothing beyond this year. A team that needed defense, with any offense a plus, could be persuaded. He'd be a solid upgrade over Brandon Inge, David Bell or Aaron Boone, current starters for contending teams.

But if Feliz goes, who fills his shoes?

Mike Lowell of Boston is an interesting case. He's rebounded from a terrible year to make the top 10 among MLB 3B OPS. Fenway has helped -- in some ways. 15 of his 23 doubles have come at home, but only 1 of 7 HRs. If he keeps his stroke, perhaps those doubles off the Monster would become Mays Field HRs. On defense the Giants wouldn't losing anything -- he's considered a top glove man. And other than his dreadful '05, he's always had a good batting eye. He's making $9 mil this year and the same next year, perhaps too much for the Giants to swallow.

Why would Boston trade him? They can move Youkilis back to third and upgrade at 1B from elsewhere, and one of the Giants young pitchers could be tempting.

Other names: There's no one else who's tradeable, affordable and an obvious upgrade over Feliz. It would take a fool's ransom to pry Morgan Ensberg (still arb-eligible) from Houston, Troy Glaus is still powerful but expensive and fragile, and the Marlins would want half the farm system for Miguel Cabrera. I certainly would. Hank Blalock? Like Mark Teixeira, some wonder if he's overrated from hitting in friendly Arlington half the time. It's possible, but trading for him wouldn't be an overly expensive gamble: He's making $4.75M next year, $5.95M in '08, with a club option in '09. He's definitely better at home, but this year he's hitting better away (.832 OPS) than he has the previous three years (a miserable .707 OPS). My worry: Mays Field would eat him up. Home runs in Arlington are 400-ft outs in triples alley. The upside: Hank Joe's only 25 and could be getting a lot better the next two years. It's unlikely Texas will trade him, but they always need good young pitching.


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