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Monday, November 17, 2008

Giants Active As Free Agency Begins

The Giants made the first official signing of the MLB offseason which got underway Friday night. The team inked left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt to a 2-year deal, 8 million dollar deal on Monday. The 29 year-old went 1-1 with an impressive 3.33 era (1.77 away from Cincinnati) along with an impressive 80 strikeouts in 78 innings of work. Affeldt has really come into his own over the last 2 years, pitching his home games in 2 of the National Leagues toughest parks to pitch at (Colorado then Cincinnati), and is becoming one of the better left-handed set-up men in baseball. $4 million a year is a little steep for a reliever who isn't closing games but Affeldt has a rubber arm (former starter), is just entering his prime and in my opinion was the top lefty reliever available outside of only Brian Fuentes. The Giants also were in on Joe Beimel who has a combined 2.87 era over the last 3 seasons, but Affeldt is better at stranding runners than the former Dodger and can be used for more than 1 inning at a time.

Adding Affeldt now gives the Giants two solid left-handed relievers along with Alex Hinshaw, and now shifts their focus to adding another righty or two to go along with Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, and, if healthy, Merkin Valdez. They have apparently had talks with representatives for Juan Cruz, who's likely out of the Giants price range now with Affeldt in the mix, as well as David Weathers and Bob Howry. I know Weathers brings a veteran consistency with him and is still effective at age 39, but I would rather see them go with what they have then bring another reliever on the downside of their career as they did with Tyler Walker last season. Same can be said for Howry, although he has more left in the tank than Weathers. Or I would rather see them invest in someone who has some upside like Brandon Lyon or Jorge Julio on incentive laden deals rather than give multi-year deal's away to aging veterans. I also am intrigued at the thought of looking into Mark Prior and convincing him to move to the pen. He's said all along that he's not interested, but since he hasn't been healthy in almost 4 years, and after witnessing Kerry Wood's success last year, he may be more open to it now.

The Giants are also busy going after everyday players as well, and one guy who insiders are starting to think will become an actuality is Rafael Furcal. I've mentioned Furcal here a few times and have brought up my fear of him becoming the next Edgardo Alfonso if he came to San Francisco. He's always been a good, sometimes great shortstop, but he's recently started to battle nagging injuries. I would not give the guy a four-year deal, but if healthy and if they can get him for 2-3 years at 10 million per, then he may be worth the gamble. At this point, and again if healthy, Furcal is still a top 5 NL shortstop and probably will be for the next couple of seasons. A potential top of the order that includes Furcal and Fred Lewis is also intriguing as those two can hit for average and power while causing havoc on the base paths. It looks like Furcal and Orlando Hudson (also has been linked to the Giants) are both commanding nearly the same amount of money and years and between the two, Furcal's upside is a lot higher than Hudson's so if Sabean is dead set on signing a middle infielder, I'd rather it be Furcal. And although it's not likely to happen, the Giants have said that they've approached both C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixera's agent about their services. While neither of those two are coming to SF, that does show me that the Giants new ownership may be a little more inclined to spend than we all thought. They aren't going to get Tex or C.C. but if they don't get either Furcal and/or someone like like Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn or Casey Blake, I'd be surprised. They feel that they are closer to competing in this division than people expect them to be and who knows, in the ever changing NL West, a couple of good add's could end up in a trip to October.
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3 Comments:

  • At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Furcal is pretty good, but why not go hard after dunn? They need power more then a leadoff hitter don't they.

     
  • At 5:31 PM, Anonymous JS said…

    They do need power, but no Burrell please. He strikes out way too much. Adam Dunn can at least hit 40 home runs a summer. If they can't get Tex, they should go for Dunn.

     
  • At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Hannahmontana said…

    Giants need to run away ,last time i attend their gamecoz i'm a biiig fan of the and If you havent been to a game and you plan to, I highly suggest you to get ur ticket from :
    http://www.casatickets.com

     

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