Brian Sabean is an idiot.
The future of this franchise is in serious jeopardy, because there is a man at the helm who doesn't care if the boat falls apart after the voyage is finished.
Sabean yesterday traded both Jerome Williams and Dave Aardsma in exchange for LaTroy Hawkins, a move that could help the Giants...to stay in contention for another game or two.
How stupid is this?
Don't get me wrong -- everything about Hawkins currently points to a decent reliever, but let's figure out Sabean's timing in acquiring Hawkins.
First of all, I'm going to make an assumption that Sabean, like most of us, is uncomfortable with the idea of Tyler Walker as the team's closer. I'm assuming that in addition to wanting Hawkins to stabilize the 'pen, he has visions of converting Hawkins to the closer should Walker have more struggles.
Well, Hawkins has already failed in that role for the Cubs, and was pulled as the closer. He blew 9 saves in 34 chances last season, and was running a 50% conversion rate (4 of 8) before the Cubs decided Hawkins wasn't going to cut it. Strike one.
In addition, it's fairly easy to see that Hawkins could be on that final downward slide to the end of his career. Let's look at a few alarming stats:
ERA (Earned Run Average) - 2003 (1.86), 2004 (2.63), 2005 (3.32)
HR/9 (home runs per 9 innings) - 2003 (0.47), 2004 (1.10), 2005 (1.90)
K/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings) - 2003 (8.73), 2004 (7.57), 2005 (6.16)
K/BB (strikeout to walk ratio) - 2003 (5.00), 2004 (4.93), 2005 (1.86)
OPS (opponents OPS against) - 2003 (.596), 2004 (.659), 2005 (.757)
So, pretty much every single stat that matters has been getting worse for the 32 year old Hawkins for three years running. Strike two.
Yet Sabean not only trades for this guy during his downward spiral, but he trades two promising young pitchers to do it. If this was a starting pitcher, I maybe could see an angle, but a reliever? Is he going to pitch every freaking day or something? No, he's going to pitch an inning or so around every other day, coming into the game when it may or may not help, when it may or may not matter. Strike three.
How stupid can Sabean be?
Luckily, Sabean did get the Cubs to pick up most of Hawkins' fat-ass contract for this season, and he has an option for '06 that I pray Sabean won't pick up. But this wasn't a great move for the here and now, not to mention it's an insipid move if the Giants GM has ever bothered to think of the state of this franchise in '07 and beyond.
With the trade of Williams and Aardsma for a struggling reliever, how much of a stretch would it be to think of who Sabean would trade Matt Cain or Merkin Valdez for? A journeyman outfielder? A mediocre starting pitcher?
Aneel, you asked how I felt about the trade, so there's a complete answer for you. I'll be looking for your reaction, as well as Lefty, Marty, Doug, Bud, and David.
Joe, Grant, and John have already chimed in with their takes on it. And now I've chimed in with mine.
Just to reiterate, in case you missed it: short-sighted and stupid. I can be reached throught the comments section or via e-mail if anyone needs me to restate my opinion on this trade.