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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Giants' Bring Back Ortiz

The Giants signed Russ Ortiz to a one-year $380,000 contract on Tuesday. The move gives the Giants insurance for their starting rotation, and if all goes as planned, should help the bullpen out as well. Ortiz signed with San Francisco over other suitors because the Giants told him he has a good shot at cracking the starting rotation. If that happens and Ortiz can rebound from 2 horrible seasons, then the Giants have themselves a bargain. Even if he continues to struggle, the Giants are only on the hook for the league minimum in salary. As I said in my last post, there will be questions as to whether or not Ortiz can be effective enough to hold down the 5th spot, but I have no doubt he will be better off in San Francisco than he was in the hitting friendly confines of Arizona and Baltimore. Supposedly he found his release point again with Leo Mazzone in Baltimore late last year, and after checking out his stats, he did actually drop his era 2 points over his final 10 outings. Then there where the reports out of Puerto Rico, where the Giants had plenty of scouts and coaches, that his velocity and movement was up. So, for what it's worth, Ortiz has actually been throwing the ball better lately. Remember, he's only 32, so it's not like he's hit the wall as far as age goes. I expect Ortiz to crack the rotation, and I expect him to be somewhat successful in doing so. If his velocity is indeed back in the 90's and he can keep his control in check enough to be effective, then he will be alright. There is a chance the Giants just signed a 200 inning starter for the league minimum.

As I said, this move should also deepen the bullpen. Now Jonathen Sanchez doesn't have the pressure on him to fill one of the rotation spots. Sanchez was extremely effective out of the bullpen last season. He didn't give up a run through his first 14 games in relief last year, and had an 1.37 era overall in 22 games out of the bullpen before being moved to the rotation. The Giants where actually playing their best baseball in July last year with Sanchez playing the role as their best reliever. Sanchez had two very good starts after being moved to the rotation. He dominated the Reds in Cincinati, then pitched very well in a loss vs. the Diamondbacks in his final appearance of the season. When spring training winds up, I wouldn't be surprised to see Sanchez actually beat Ortiz out for the 5th spot anyway, but I like the situation he is now in. If he does start the year off in the bullpen as expected, he may prove to valuable to move anywhere else. He is now my darkhorse pick to win the closers' job if Armondo Benitez is not on the team come April. With the news of the Ortiz signing along with the announcement of Tim Worrell's retirement, the pitching staff looks to be complete (not counting a Benitez trade). Sanchez, Benitez, Steve Kline, Brian Wilson, Kevin Corriea, Brad Hennessey, Vinny Chulk look to fill out the bullpen with Barry Zito, Matt Morris, Matt Cain, Noah Lowry and Russ Ortiz starting.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Zachary A. said…

    Thanks for visting my blog!

    I'd have to say I'd trust Sanchez with the #5 spot in the rotation, ovr Ortiz. H's terribly inconsistent with his pitches, and walks too many men. Last year with the D'Backs and O's, he went 0-8 with an 8.14 ERA in 63 innings pitched. He sturck out 44, but walked 40!

    But then again, I wouldn't trust him in the bullpen either...

  • At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We'll see how the Ortiz experiment works out. However it does, it's a low risk move with potentially high rewards. I would have liked to see them offer give Shawn Estes the minor league deal than Damian Moss.

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