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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sabean Has Yet to Address The Root of the Teams' Problem: The Bullpen

After the 2004 season, when the Giants had Matt Herges and Dustin Hermanson closing out games, it was apparant that the Giants needed a bullpen makeover. Sabean went out and signed Armondo Benitez after that season, and hasn't touched the bullpen since. Benitez has obviously been a bust, and the Giants bullpen gradually got worse in '05-'06. Here we are, entering the final month and a half of the offseason, and once again, the Giants bullpen has been untouched. The only move they've made so far has been resigning Steve Kline while most late relief options have already been plucked off the market. With Keith Foulke set to sign with the Cleveland Indians, it leaves nobody on the free agent market with succesful closing experience. It isn't just a coincedence that the Giants have missed the playoffs the last 3 seasons while their bullpen has ranked near the bottom of the league. It's amazing that most Giants' fans can recognize this, and Sabean hasn't. He's so caught up in trying to get another big name in San Francisco (Barry Zito, Marry Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Randy Johnson) but he doesn't understand that even with a Barry Zito or Randy Johnson in the rotation, this bullpen is still terrible, and the team would still struggle to stay around .500. I really think the Manny Ramirez chase set the Giants' back a bit. They wasted valuable time early in the offseason and at the winter meetings trying to swing a deal for Ramirez while all the decent relief help was being picked through. I am not trying to praise Ned Colleti, but I think we now know who the brains where between that pair.

The Giants have been involved in more rumors this winter than any other winter that I can remember, and they were once again brought up this week as a possible destination for Randy Johnson. The Yankees want to get rid of Johnson and pursue Roger Clemens and Barry Zito. Johnson would like to return to the west coast to be closer to his Arizona home. The Giants, Diamondbacks and Padres have been mentioned as the teams most interested in aquiring the Big Unit and the 16 million dollar salary he will earn in 2007. The Giants have publicly denied interest as they are pushing hard for Barry Zito, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more of those rumors if Zito signs with the Mets. As we head into January, it looks like the Giants and the Mets are the two most logical fits for Zito, and it's looking more and more like he will choose one of those 2. The worst situation for the Giants would be if the Yankees can somehow pawn Johnson off on the D-Backs or Padres in the next week which would almost certainly put them in the Yanks in the drivers seat as far as bargaining. Word out of New York says the Mets don't want to give Zito more then 5 years while the Giants are willing to go 7 or 8. Scott Boras wants to wait this thing out as long as possible to try and get the Yankees involved, so a good move by Sabean would be to place a deadline on his offer to Zito. As this process draws on longer, chances of signing Zito get smaller for the Giants.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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