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Fasten Your Beltre, It's Going to Be a Bumpy Winter

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ESPN’s Jayson Stark tells us the Giants have scouted the crap out of Adrian Beltre this summer. (Link tip to MLB Trade Rumors.) He also says the Mariners will insist on a quality starting pitcher in return, even though Beltre will be a free agent after 2009 and the M’s would be shedding $12 M from payroll.

Greedy bastards. Who do they think Beltre is, Randy Winn? It’s not like Beltre is a switch-hitting gamer who plays all three outfield positions, loves him some Steve Nash and mischievously snaps towels against bare bottoms in the locker room. That kind of guy is worth keeping.

With the unlikely emergence of Pablo Sandoval as a solution at third base next year, it’s possible the Giants’ thoughts about Beltre have cooled. But let’s say the Giants are set on Beltrifying their ‘09 lineup. Obviously Cain and Lincecum are out of the question as trade bait, but what about Jonathan Sanchez? Given his contract status — four more years under the Giants’ control — a straight-up swap is unlikely, too.

Is there a scenario in which a trade of Sanchez for Beltre makes sense? If the M’s are persuaded that Sanchez is in fact the more valuable player, the next step is to find other players in the Seattle system to even things out. (This guy? Nope.) I don’t have a good grasp of their prospects, but a young reliever with a great arm would be a good start. A third baseman with power would also help, because Adrian Beltre won’t likely be a Giant in 2010 and there still isn’t anyone in line to replace him. Conor Gillaspie, you say? Let’s wait for him to have an OPS higher than .700 in the low minors before we anoint him with supple oils.

Even if the Giants consider trading a starting pitcher, I wager they’ll want to see first how Noah Lowry throws in the fall. He’s slated to pitch in the Arizona instructional league; good results and no health setbacks could convince the front office it can spare a starter. And no, Madison Bumgarner, despite his steady rise toward immortality, is not an option for the big-league rotation next year …. though I swore Pablo Sandoval wouldn’t sniff a major-league uniform til next spring, at the earliest, so really, there’s no point in listening to me at all.

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