Prior to winning the World Series in 2010, there were many fans calling for the San Francisco Giants to trade Matt Cain for a big bat. At the time of the original rumors a couple of years ago, I was a proponent of trading Matt Cain for Prince Fielder. Thank goodness GM Brian Sabean didn’t make that move.

Over the past couple of years, in addition to Prince Fielder, we have heard rumors involving Jose Reyes, Adrian Beltre, Grady Sizemore and several others in blockbuster deals involving Matt Cain. 

The trade rumors have also swirled around moving Jonathan Sanchez for a powerful bat. I must admit, a year ago at this time, I was in favor of making a move involving either Sanchez or Cain.

Watching the Giants in 2010 and also looking at their 2011 roster, I have now changed my view completely. The Giants proved that excellent pitching is the most important thing if you want to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Cain was the most consistent and reliable pitcher for the Giants in 2010. During the regular season he threw 223 1/3 innings, finished with a 13-11 record, 3.14 ERA and 1.084 WHIP. 

In the post season, Cain continued his dominance. In 21 1/3 innings, Cain only gave up 13 hits.  He went 2-0 and did not allow an earned run. 

Durability and reliability are also Cain’s trademarks. Over the past five years, Cain has also never failed to start at least 31 games for the Giants. 

Sanchez was also extremely effective over the last couple of months of the season. He had a breakout season in 2010, finishing with a record of 13-9. His ERA was a career-best 3.07 and his WHIP ratio was also a career best of 1.23. Sanchez also had 205 strikeouts in his 193 1/3 innings pitched.

If it were not for Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants would not have even made the playoffs, let alone won the World Series. Kudos to Brian Sabean for not trading either of these young arms.  The Giants proved that top notch starting pitching, along with a solid bullpen, is a recipe for victory.

Trading from an area of strength when you have nobody ready to step into the role for the departed player is a flawed approach. It makes no sense to strengthen one area of your team by weakening another.

Looking ahead to the 2011 season, the Giants will be wise to hold onto their starting pitching staff. The top four pitchers—Tim Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner—are outstanding. Keep these four and the Giants will be poised to make another deep run in the postseason.

The No. 5 starter, the much-maligned Barry Zito, cannot be traded unless the Giants were to eat a huge portion of his salary. It doesn’t make sense to do that, so the Giants must just hope Zito can be an effective fifth starter. At least Zito is a durable innings eater as he has made at least 32 starts in the past ten seasons. 

The additional argument against trading Matt Cain or any of their top starters is that the Giant offense should be much improved in 2011. The Giants will have a full year of Buster Posey behind the plate.  In addition, Pablo Sandoval is looking svelte and his bat is quick. He looks ready for a big year.

Super utility man Mark DeRosa should be a big contributor after missing most of 2010 with a wrist injury. NLCS MVP Cody Ross will also add punch to the Giants outfield. 

Rookie phenom Brandon Belt will probably not make the team out of spring training because the Giants would like him to get more seasoning in AAA.  I expect Belt to be called up in the May or June time frame, much the same way that Buster Posey was brought up to the Majors last year.  Belt should give the Giants’ offense a positive jolt over the second half of the year.

The Giants offense will be better in 2011 and there is no need to trade a pitcher the likes of Cain or Sanchez. I thank Brian Sabean for holding on to these two pitchers when people, including me, were clamoring for a trade to acquire a big bat.

Sometimes the best deals are those that never get completed. In this case, it is 100 percent true. By keeping their pitching staff together, the Giants won the World Series and made a lifelong dream of mine come true!

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