The San Francisco Giants should be open to re-signing Ryan Vogelsong, trading Matt Cain


Ryan Vogelsong limped across the finish line as the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. I earlier advocated that the Giant shouldn’t re-sign anyone. I take that back. The Giants should in fact re-sign Vogelsong for next season. For one last swansong year. That said, my epiphany doesn’t stem from his championship blood, or his fan favourite status, nope. It stems from his metrics. The numbers. The statistics.

Rather surprisingly, Vogelsong, according to the most predictive metric SIERA, should post an sub-four-ERA next season. As a fifth starter, that would be brilliant production. With staff ace Madison Bumgarner leading the way, the number one spot is set in stone. Sadly, Matt Cain‘s ERA is expected to jump to above four for next season, and hence his role as second starter should be re-evaluated. A trade for Cain is the best option, if you ask me. Petit has to go third, as he has the chance to cement ace status next year, in the rotation. (His high BABIP and low LOB% have led to struggles in the rotation previously.)

At the back of the rotation, Tim Hudson and Vogelsong. Hudson should post an ERA around the 3.60 mark, which is very encouraging indeed. Yet more, it would be a brilliant ERA for a fourth starter. And last, but not least: Vogelsong. With an ERA just under four, he could complete the rotation in solid fashion. A one-year, $2-million deal would probably be more than enough to see Vogelsong back in the bay, back in AT&T Park. Cost effective, metric efficient, re-sign Vogey, Sabean.

The bigger problem is Matt Cain. The former ace has struggled of late. The right-hander, fly-ball pitcher lost that title to Bumgarner two seasons ago, and has struggled ever since. Last season, in another massive down year, Cain gave us something else to worry about: his health. He had to have surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, and didn’t even make it to the 100 innings mark on the year. Yet more, his SIERA predicts him to have an ERA of well over four. Which isn’t good. Which is very bad.

As I pointed out last week, the Giants do actually have plenty of in house options to fill out the lineup. Maybe a cost effective deal for Chase Headley at third would be nice. Or a trade to replace Angel Pagan would be good. But other than that, the Giants don’t actually have a lot to do with their lineup. In turn, money should be available to pursue some extra pitching. Kenta Maeda or Hyeon-Jong Yang could be acquired. Or maybe a James Shields or Max Scherzer could come to the bay.

They could trade Matt Cain for a centre fielder or third baseman, and in turn, free up yet more funds to sign another pitcher to place behind Bumgarner. Vogelsong will be solid, and most importantly, buys time for the plethora of young arms in the minors. It’s highly unlikely in honesty, sadly. But it is the best option for the franchise. If Sabean implemented these ideas, the Giants could be a serious force in the West next season, and for many years to come. Vogelsong should be re-signed, and Cain should be traded.