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What If...

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I just read this on Fangraphs, a story about how weirdly quiet it's been on the Carlos Beltran front. In fact, the only noise has been Cap'n Sabean describing how the SS Beltran has sailed.

But what if the Giants look up two weeks from now and Carlos is still an unwrapped present under the tree? His Mets' buddy Angel Pagan is now a Giant. In 2010, Pagan was the kind of leadoff hitter Beltran suggested a few months ago the Giants need to find in 2012. Carlos surely remembers watching from the trainers' room as Angel wreaked havoc.

Nah. Stop it. You're deluding yourself, Lefty. But really, what if...

- The Giants trade Jeremy Affeldt and replace him with a guy making the minimum, someone the Giants have been deft at finding in recent years. That's $4.5 M free.

- The Giants flip Melky Cabrera, who is predicted to make north of $4 M in arbitration.

Suddenly they're about $9 M lighter. If the Giants truly cannot go a dollar more, turn around and offer Beltran $9 M in 2012 and whatever it takes in 2013 to top other two-year offers. St. Louis offers 2 years, $26 M? Give him $17.5 M in 2013. Or shift a couple of those million to a third-year buyout so that it's guaranteed but attached to the lure of a third year if all goes well. Something like this:

2012 $9 M
2013 $15 M
2014 $15 team option, $3 M buyout

Who knows, that might not be enough. An American League team, happy to make Beltran a DH in his golden years, might step in with four years, $50 M guaranteed. And perhaps the Giants saw something in Beltran's medical records that completely freaked them out. (If that's the case, bad on them for trading for him in the first place.)

But if the years and numbers and dollars make sense for both sides, the 2012 Giants would be going to work with Beltran instead of Melky in left field, and this year's version of Santiago Casilla, or perhaps top relief farmhand Heath Hembree, in the bullpen mix. Tell me I'm not crazy. 

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