Crazy and Uncouth Trade Speculations

The weeks leading up to the trade deadline are like Advent, Lent, and a Felix Rodriguez payoff pitch all rolled into one. My crazy cousin and I often celebrate the anticipation with midnight voicemails.

"Richie Aurilia is coming back for sure," my cousin will claim. "Nobody loved him like his Giant San Francisco Mamma—and he misses her!"

I have no idea where he gets his crazy information. Probably some ungainly marriage of The Merc, KNBR, and the occasional sports agents and single-A ballplayers down at his favorite bar, C.B. Hannegan's in Los Gatos. I suspect that the bobbleheads on his TV-stand are also a source. I can see him in the darkness eavesdropping on the likes of Russ Ortiz, Kirby Puckett, a decapitated Jose Cruz Jr., and amorously positioned Jeff Kent and Sammy Sosa figurines, all of them whispering about possible trades in the ghostly tone of conspiracy not meant to be overheard by those whose necks don't jangle in the wind (except for Kent, who deep down is insecure and solicitous and hopes to be the source of rumors, even in bobblehead form).

My own late-night messages detail hope:

"Mike Sweeney has a gentle bearishness to him. Do you think Snow would weep like a man-child if we picked him up?"

"Is Frank Catalanotto Italian? If so, we should definitely get him. No Italian has ever been a mediocre major leaguer."

Sometimes, after my cousin has been running crazily with his dog, Goose, across the tarped surface of the pool adjacent to his house, he'll call up with puzzling epiphanies of denouncement:

"F--- Steve Finley. Kris Benson. Mo-ta. Beltrizzle. That little Bee-atch Freddy Garcia. We don't want any of them. What? What! Yeah. That's right. Ya heard me!" He may be on to something. Ownership was acting coy in the recent Merc piece,"Big deal is unlikely." Listen to a pair of Sabeanisms.

One: "We're not in the business of renting players out…We're not willing to mortgage our future."

So no sexy names. J.T. Snow seems safe for now. As long as the starting lineup doesn't trade for first baseman Pedro Feliz.

Two: "We're not ruling anything out…There's no number we have in mind. It all depends on what the deal is."

Brian Sabean you saucy temptress! No deal unless the right deal, eh? The old, "We're not not looking to pick someone up, a ha ha." Yogi Berra would be turning in his grave if he weren't alive and making sassy commercials with that loveable and never annoying AFLAC duck.

Then what is the right deal? In a recent voicemail, I suggested William Van Landingham and Mike Benjamin for the Cubs' Glenallen Hill, but later I realized that if it were still 1994, I would be listening to Snoop Diggity and playing Mario Kart ten hours a day (which, ha, I obviously don't do now…Hmm).

Peter Gammons, the ESPN analyst most likely to avoid beatings from larger predators like John Kruk, wrote recently that the Giants should send super-duper pitching prospect Matt Cain and infielder Lance Niekro to Detroit for closer Ugueth Urbina and starter Mike Maroth.

Unless you feast on the brains of the living, "Ugueth" and "Maroth" are two of the least sexy names ever.

And a source in the Sacramento Rivercats organization said that Gammons has been out of his mind since his chin gave birth to other, more jiggly chins (and of course by source I mean an old high-school friend with whom I would split a bottle of my parents' Popov vodka as we tried to cripple the quarterback in Madden '92 with well-timed C-button dives). Gammons proposed another trade in his article: Barry Zito, Arthur Rhodes, and prospects to Texas for Mike Texeira and Francisco Cordero. Besides obvious reasons for this trade's suckiness -- Cy Youngs, Scott "I'll sell your eyeballs to the Yankees for a profit" Boras, potential arbitration, etc… -- the sheer gall to suggest an interdivision deal is itself unclean, my source reported.

The Detroit pitchers would help the Giants, but at what price, and at what risk of inviting back the waddling ghosts of Livan and Ponson?

So if Sabean, Gammons, my crazy cousin, and conspiring bobbleheads won't reveal what's to come, how are we supposed to alleviate all the anticipation, besides a shot of Devil Jagermeister, of course.

Looking past the horizon of the NL West, a Brower-Herges tag-team might not be the best playoff bullpen. I doubt that Brian Sabean will let us down -- example: Jason Schmidt, Ellis Burks, a younger Big Cat, a sane Roberto Hernandez -- in the way many still feel shortchanged from the offseason acquisition of Michael Tucker, hater of Dodger pitchers, be they gangly and blonde or stumpy and evil. (That was so big time when he mouthed-off to the Gagne figure, by the way).

But my crazy cousin seems to have found the answer, as usual. He left a message during a six-in-the-morning stroll home from a recent party, after he had grabbed a Merc sports section from someone's recently delivered newspaper:

" I swear to god, it seems like every single player on our team has raised their average at least forty points since April. It's like we traded sucky Pierzynski and fatty Alfonzo for better, skinnier versions of themselves. And Ray Ray's back…Even Wayne Franklin has a baller ERA. We are so damn good."

Yes. Right now. But a little insurance would greatly help. Since the future, like the emotional solvency of an F-Rod slider, is always tricky to predict



Tim Denevi is a raving Giants fan who can't decide if he would rather have Mike Aldrete or Marvin Biz-nard pinch-hitting with the game on the line. E-mail him with your opinion on any issue at denevi@hawaii.edu

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