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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Catcher May Be One of Giants' Many Glaring Needs This Winter

Mike Matheny still hasn't recovered from the multiple concussions he suffered early this season from multiple foul balls off his face mask. There where reports a few weeks ago that he is still having problems with dizziness at certain times and hasn't even begun to think about starting his off-season workouts. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more likely that Mike Matheny (who once took a fastball to the face, and returned to the line-up the next day) will have to end his playing career. I hope I'm wrong, but Matheny isn't young and catcher isn't a position to play around with if your having cognitive problems. Plus, I've never heard of anyone having problems with a concussion almost half a year after it happened. This will leave yet another hole to be filled on a Giants team that has only 2 starting position players from last year under contract. The Giants showed confidence in Elizier Alfonzo, and he did more than anyone expected filling in for Matheny last season coming up with a few big hits in the clutch. However, Alfonzo declined badly in the last 2 months of the season batting only .239 with 3 home runs, 15 RBI and a measly .285 OBP after August 1st. Plus his defense was below average, and it showed late in games. Alfonzo would be a terrific back-up catcher as he has shown the capability to hold the position down for a short period of time with some offensive force, but I'm not sure I'd hand this guy the job and expect him to be productive over the course of 140 games. There are some options out there, albeit very limited options, but one guy the Giants should contact is Bengie Molina. Molina is still relatively young for Giants standards (32) and he has put together 4 very solid seasons in a row. Molina also brings a steady glove and some leadership among the pitching staff to the table. I think a 3 year, 18 million dollar deal would be reasonable but seeing how thin the catching market is this winter, Molina could easily command 7+ million dollars a year.

Barry Bonds and the Giants have begun their contract discussions, and apparently, the Texas Rangers are starting to get in on the free-agent slugger. Right before the season ended, Peter Magowan said that if Bonds did return in 2007, he wouldn't be the central part of the team. Essentially meaning the Giants aren't going to waste 20% of their payroll on a 42 year-old outfielder any longer, and Bonds responded by saying he would accept no hometown discount and that he is seeking a 14 million dollar deal for '07. The two sides hadn't spoken in almost a month until negotiations started up earlier this week. The Giants again are telling the media that if Bonds is going to be back, it will be under the Giants terms. Magowan doesn't want Bonds leaving games early, making himself unavailable in games and deciding when he plays and where he hits. Basically, Magowan is saying to Bonds will have to behave better if he is to return. While Bonds hasn't said anything publically in response to that, it was reported earlier Wednesday that the Texas Rangers have emerged as serious contenders for Barry Bonds. Again, at the beginning of the year, I would have thought there was no chance that Bonds would play anywhere other that San Francisco in 2007, but since the season ended, my doubts have been growing by the day. There also continues to be reports about the Giants sincere interest in Luis Gonzalez and what I thought was a random rumor, may actually be starting to gain some legs. I said in my last post and I'll say it again. Gonzalez wouldn't be a terrible option as a one-year plug in left field. He will cost 1/2 as much as Bonds, and probably be almost as productive. And again, next years free agent outfield class contains the likes of Andruw Jones, Vernon Wells, Jermaine Dye, Ichiro Suzuki, Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn, so if the Giants should wait until next season before they sign an outfielder long term. I hope they don't get feel the need to overpay for Gary Mathews Jr. when they could use that money and position opening next year for a legit, all-star run producer.

Over the course of the Winter, I will compose various "Mock Lineups" in which I will take a my best guess at how the Giants 2007 lineup and pitching staff will look. Much like an NFL mock draft, it will interchanging throughout the winter leading up to spring training, so it should be interesting examining all the possibilities as the "hot stove league" moves along. 2007 Mock Lineup #1 will be posted Monday, November 13, the first day of free agency.
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4 Comments:

  • At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gonzalez would be a terrible option as a one-year plug in left field. He will cost 1/2 as much as Bonds, and probably be almost as productive as Steve Finley.

     
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