Friday, December 5, 2008

San Francisco Giants Fans Should Be Rooting for the New York Yankees

"Sure, a lot o' rich people are a**holes, but believe me, a lot o' poor people are a**holes, too. And an a**hole with money can at least pay for his own drinks. - Tom Robbins, "Jitterbug Perfume"

According to Ken Rosenthal, the New York Yankees have offered C.C. Sabathia a six-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $140 million. The two sides are apparently meeting for a tete-a-tete in the very near future. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Rosenthal's info is usually dead-on even if his style isn't my cup o' tea. It's pretty much gospel.

I really hope that meeting goes well and results in some ink on paper.

But there is still reason to worry. Sabathia has openly and repeatedly professed a desire to play in his golden home State. As a Northern Cali product myself, I'd say there's a decent chance that someone who loves California (particularly the northern part) isn't too stoked on the idea of playing in NYC. Nothing against the Big Apple, but it's a different pace and approach to the daily grind - not better, not worse.

There's also the issue of the lumber.

The big fella has also made his penchant for gripping and ripping no secret. Obviously, he's hoping for more at-bats than is offered by an American League's interleague slate.

Of course, an offer of over $23 million a year for six years can be very persuasive.

As San Francisco Giants fans, we should hope so.

I wrote yesterday that one reason the Edgar Renteria move scared me a bit was because Rosenthal linked it to Sabathia. Not directly, but he mentioned the two in the same breath. And it makes sense. Offense is SF's biggest concern and Renteria isn't exactly a juggernaut in that regard. It makes sense that the signing could be a prelude to a bigger splash.

One would hope the splash would land in the batter's box rather than the mound, but the most persistent rumors have been about Sabathia.

That begs the question: WHY?

Any casual follower of Major League Baseball either knows nothing about the Giants or they know about the young staff, specifically Tim Lincecum. More serious fans have heard ad nauseam how lousy San Francisco's lineup is. Giants' die-hards woke up each morning from April to October thinking, "Benjie freakin' Molina as the most dangerous power threat?"

Seriously, John Bowker almost led the team in homeruns and he barely saw the field for the last month and a half.

Then there's the issue of payroll - SF is in a huge market yet it doesn't spend that way. We can argue the equity of that 'til we're blue in the face, but it's the bottom-line. With that in mind, look at the money guaranteed to some key players next year:

Barry Zito - $18.5 million
Edgar Renteria - $9.25 million
Aaron Rowand - $8 million
Randy Winn - $8.25 million
Dave Roberts - $6.5 million (seriously?)
Benjie Molina - $6 million

By my math, that's $56.5 million devoted to six players who, as a collective, are not very good as a foundation on which to build. Now consider throwing Sabathia's enormous contract on top of that heap. Even with a hometown discount, you gotta figure he's gonna command at least $20 million per year considering the Yankees set the bar three million higher.

That would bump the number up to $76.5 million. Realistically, the Giants aren't gonna go over $100 million. Probably won't go too near it.

So signing Sabathia would leave SF with seven players eating up most of the payroll, a virtually unimproved offense, and less than $25 million to work with. Much less because the other guys use around $15 million between the likes of Matt Cain, Noah Lowry, Bobby Howry, Jeremy Affeldt, and the rest of the bench.

San Francisco's payroll would be up over $90 million with Sabathia on board. Who out there thinks the Orange and Black would add more payroll after that?

Not me. I think we'd be looking at Cain being shipped for offense or another futile, impotent year from the team's offense.

I don't like either of those scenarios. I don't like the idea of the rich getting richer either, but it's the least of all evils this time.

So cross your fingers with me San Fran, let's hope we see Sabathia in pinstripes sooner rather than later.

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