The Real Trade Deadline 

Now that even Henry Schulman has abandoned the Giants -- he recently used "oblivion" to describe their predicament for the second time in a week -- two questions remain:

- Can the youngsters get enough time in the spotlight for a decent evaluation? Next year starts now, and Brian Sabean should give himself and other GMs as much exposure to the Frandsens, Taschners and Lindens of the world. We all want to know what these guys can really do.

- Is it worth trading the remaining vets for a prospect here and there? Some vets -- Jason Schmidt, for example -- may be difficult to trade because teams can claim him as a blocking maneuver and force the Giants to withdraw him from waivers. (If they haven't done so already.)

Moises Alou is most likely going to retire, which means the Giants don't benefit from keeping him through the season. He should absolutely positively be traded to an AL team that needs DH power down the stretch. Give Mo a last shot at the playoffs; get back someone decent in return.

Then Sabean needs to do what he did with Michael Tucker and Deivi Cruz last year: fob off the spare parts for even the fringiest of prospects. I'd put Finley and Greene in that category. Probably won't get much back, but you never know which 25-year-old scatter-armed pitcher is going to turn his career around in single-A ball. The only guy I'd keep is Sweeney. He's the perfect bench guy for next year's team, and he's signed on the cheap.

As for the A-list free agents -- Durham, Feliz, Schmidt -- is it better to let them walk in the off-season and collect draft picks? I don't know the scouting report for next year's draft, so I'll let someone else answer that.

All these questions now only underscore how Sabean couldn't pull the trigger and move any of the team's pending free agents before the July 31 trade deadline. By July 31, the Giants had lost eight in a row to S.D., Washington, Pittsburgh and Washington and Captain Sabean tossed out this scow of a metaphor:

"We have to get well in a hurry or we're going to be a sinking ship."

Arrrggh! Scalliwag!

In some quarters, obviously, there was still hope for a cure. Perhaps even in my quarters. But 3-and-15 overall since Mando got Sledged, and you have to rue the missed chance to dismantle the team and get back promising prospects. Sabean said at the deadline there wasn't enough talent being offered in return for Schmidt. Let's hope there's enough talent in the upcoming draft that a couple picks in return for Schmidt's free-agent defection will bring back fast-moving prospects who can help the big team in two or three years, not five or six.


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