Basic trade framework: Eric Chavez to the Giants for Angel Villalona.
Issues for negotiation/discussion: a.) How much cash the A's throw in ($10M? I'm just spitballing here, but it's obviously partially dependent on the rest of the package), b.) whether the Giants include lower-level non-40-man roster "C" prospect(s), too, and c.) whether the deal expands to include Dan Johnson, Huston Street, Alan Embree, or Kiko Calero on the A's end.
Why the basic framework makes sense:
There is only one scenario in which Brian Sabean has eternal job security (and, as it turns out, its actually not outside the realm of possibility): Sabean knew almost immediately that Bonds was chemically enhanced, and at one point early on, brought that information to Peter McGowan, and collectively it was suggested or even ordered that as an organization they would look the other way, knowing how much money they stood to make from Bonds. If firing Brian Sabean means a leak of that information...well, maybe Paul DePodesta will never get a chance to prove he's the perfect fit to run the Giants front office.
But if...if Sabean doesn't have eternal job security, then it makes sense that he has to show progress soon. And if Sabean has to show progress soon, Angel Villalona will never contribute to saving Brian Sabean's job...because he's likely to be at least three years away from being major league ready. What Villalona is, however, is a trading chit to net a major leaguer that shores up a major area of weakness right now.
I don't think Brian Sabean wants to enter '08 with Pedro Feliz as his starting third baseman. He wants a name - a name with upside, hope for the fan base, character, clubhouse glue, all that.
From the A's perspective, Chavez gains his 10-and-5 rights after the trading deadline this year, meaning the A's have less than year to deal him before he has complete veto power over all deals. And once he does, why would he waive that right for any team other than his hometown Dodgers or Angels, neither of whom is likely to still have a need at that point?
Point being, this offseason is potentially the A's best chance to deal Chavez. Wait until midseason, and a perfect storm has to come about to extract good value for Chavez: He has to be healthy, performing well, and a playoff-contending team has to suddenly lose it's starting 3b to injury. Oh yeah, and that team has to be one of the eight not on Chavvy's current no-trade list. Now how likely is that perfect storm to happen?
Which is why the Giants, now, makes quite a bit of sense. Their Rowand signing indicates that they aren't punting on '08, and they desperately need a 3b upgrade. The options are more limited than ever: Glaus and Rolen evidently aren't on the market anymore, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Brewers sign Feliz, if nothing else as Ryan Braun/Bill Hall insurance, which is probably all he should be on a playoff team. Crede might stay put since the White Sox are going for it as well; at worst he can caddy for Josh Fields. There aren't too many other third base rocks to look under for SF, and Chavez is the most attractive piece left out there, by far.
Villalona is still a glimmer off in the distance of the Giants future...and he will be coming close to major-league ready just as the A's are re-entering their next contending wheel, so he's exactly the type of player they are looking for in each of their dealings. If he was packaged with Dan Johnson (although I'd rather we didn't give up on DJ, especially if we aren't signing Bonds, which we may not be since we're eating a big contract in this scenario, too), then the Giants save the few million they would've spent on Tony Clark to platoon at first base.
I focused on why the basic framework makes sense because everyone will have a different opinion on how much money changes hands, the tertiary prospects involved, and how large the deal becomes. None of us can know for sure, but I am curious what you guys think, both of the basic framework and what it will take - realistically - in terms of the "issues for negotiation/discussion" to get that deal done.