So my orginal plan for this trade long ago was for the Orioles to try and aquire "The Freak," who is currently my favorite MLB pitcher. After thinking about it I couldn't even imagine a scenario in this fantasy trading land where that could happen. Therefore, the O's next best option for acquiring that front line starting pitcher to lead the O's into the promise land and help smooth the Machado, Bundy, Schoop era transition is none other than Matt Cain.
So why do we want Matt Cain you ask? BECAUSE THE GUY IS NASTY! And I don't mean Rodrigo Lopez nasty, this guy can straight deal from 60 feet 6 inches. I think having Lincecum in the #1 spot helps Matt Cain because his personality seems laid back and he gets attention with his performances...like when he went the entire 2010 postseason without giving up an earned run!
Now the boring, but good, stuff, Matt Cain's career stats (the ones that matter):
2011 and 2010 Quality Starts-78%
41% Groundball Rate
The only concerns I have about Matt Cain is his walk rate of about 3.2BB/9 which isn't good for Camden Yards. He is also due to become a FA after the 2012 Season so the O's would need to negotiate a pre-trade long contract to keep him around through his prime years. A pitcher of Matt Cain's caliber will demand upwards of 15 million a year and the O's should definitely pay it to him in order to solidify their team. His post season experience also provides a worthy attribute to be a clubhouse leader/mentor for all the young players the Orioles will have coming up.
The Giants are a team built to win now (their pitching staff is arguably the best in the league) and they are coming off a season in which they scored the fewest runs in the history of their franchise. They need help at the dish and the Orioles are just the team to provide cheap offensive pop in trade for a stud like Cain. I see two players who the Giants would love to insert into their everyday lineup: Adam Jones and JJ Hardy. Both these players would probably be interested in staying with the Giants long-term and OF and SS are positions of need. Here is what I propose:
Basic trade: Matt Cain for Adam Jones, straight up. With MLB worth, this trade favors the O's, Adam Jones could develop into a perennial All Star. He is also from the west coast and would benefit from playing in the NL West's big ballparks.
More Involved: Matt Cain for JJ Hardy and a prospect like Bobby Bundy. That will give the Giants both pop in the front of their lineup in front of Brandon Belt and Buster Posey as well as a decent prospect that they could develop.
Super Trade: Matt Cain and Gary Brown for Adam Jones and JJ Hardy. Here is what Keith Law has to say about Gary Brown:
Brown is at least a 70 runner who covers a ton of ground in center field and profiles as an above-average regular in the big leagues because of the value he'll add on defense.
He is one of the fastest right-handed hitters I've ever clocked from home to first -- the fastest is the prospect at the top of this list -- and his hands are very quick, allowing him to stay inside the ball well. But his swing is very linear and he doesn't let the ball travel, so there's not much present or future power here. And while he makes a ton of contact he's never been a high-walk guy to potentially generate .400 OBPs.
He'll probably end up cast as a leadoff type because of his speed, but I see more of a .300 hitter without great secondary skills who saves 10 runs a year with his glove in center.
This would help the O's feed another top prospect into their organization for 2013-2015 while avoiding the inevitability of AJ disappointing us.
After reading through this I think it would be smart to try to turn over the reins of someone like Brian Matusz over to the Giants to see what kind of magic they could work but I have a feeling the Giants are in position to win big now and the O's have above average hitters and fielders that could tremendously impact their offensive output.