-- Justin D., Concord, Calif.
I get to cheat because I have a Giants media guide, which includes a list of Sabean's top trades. Anybody might agree that a few of his other pre-July 31 deals -- in which he obtained the likes of Kirk Rueter (1996), Ellis Burks (1998) and Jason Schmidt (2001) -- worked out fairly well. Of course Sabean is "brave enough" to engineer a big trade. Remember the Matt Williams deal? This half could influence managing general partner Bill Neukom's decision on whether to retain Sabean, but I doubt that it'll be the conclusive factor. Neukom also will consider Sabean's track record, the talent he has assembled in the Majors and Minors and the Giants' fortunes in drafting and developing players.How is it that a player can focus at all when he knows if he has a slump or a bad start or two, he could get released? Do general managers look at other non-statistical factors before "firing" one of their players?
-- Joe D., San Jose, Calif.
Rarely does a player's job depend on his production in one game. Exceptions include exhibitions in late March when managers might be considering several candidates for the final roster spot or two, or a start for a struggling pitcher whose hold on a spot in the rotation is tenuous. Even the worst managers and GMs know how difficult this game is. So they typically avoid creating make-or-break situations for players. Besides, never underestimate a Major Leaguer's ability to ignore the pressure that surrounds him. In that respect, these guys aren't like most of us. As for the intangibles you mentioned, a player who's facing some personal adversity might receive a break if he endures a lousy game or two. Mostly, though, this is a performance-based business, as all professional sports are.Should the Giants trade Jonathan Sanchez? He's only 3-8, the no-hitter increases his trade value and they could get a solid player for him. Maybe he and a top prospect could land Roy Halladay.
-- Tim R., Worcester, Mass.
Given the current state of the Giants' starting staff -- Ryan Sadowski's mostly unproven and Barry Zito and Sanchez have been erratic -- subtracting pitching is not a good idea, unless what somehow comes in return is a significant pitching upgrade. If you think a package of Sanchez plus name-your-prospect here will land Halladay, somebody has been slipping Jagermeister in your green tea.With Buster Posey now in Triple-A, what are the chances of seeing him behind the plate on Opening Day 2010?
-- Jeremy C., San Luis Obispo, Calif.
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-- Efrain O., San Francisco
I'm writing this as Zito's completing one of those gems you cited. This time it was his solid seven-inning effort at Atlanta that interrupted the Giants' 1-6 skid. Granted, the combination of Zito's performance and his contract will continue to gall fans (and some people within the organization) for a long time. But if he were to pitch a little more consistently while the Giants scored more runs for him, he'd probably have an above-.500 record, which would silence much of the negativity.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.