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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Phillies Grab Feliz

The Giants and Pedro Feliz have officially seperated after the 3rd basemen signed a 2 year, 8.5 million dollar deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Obviously, if you've read my posts over the last 3 months, you know how satisfied I am that the Giants will finally have someone other than Pedro Feliz manning 3rd base for them in 2008. With that said, and through all his struggles with the bat (career .288 OBP), Feliz still did some good things for the San Francisco Giants. He played very solid defense at a position that isn't easy, and I still think he has one of the best arms of any 3rd basemen in baseball. However, his bat is one that is better suited for a balanced lineup, one in which he could hit 7th or 8th and isn't counted on being a high average or on-base percentage guy. With the 2008 Giants who are rebuilding and could use 3rd base as a spot to put a young, power hitter, he made absolutely no sense, and I'm glad Sabean realized it. With the Phills, who have Jimmy Rolens, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Geoff Jenkins and Patt Burrell to fill out their lineup, Feliz can sit nicely at the bottom of the order hack away. He should go onto have a decent year with the Phillies and will be more productive and better defensively than what they had there last season. Not a horrible move for Philly, but I'm still surprised Feliz got a multi-year deal from anyone.

Now the question is, who replaces Feliz? I still think the Giants will go outside of the organization to fill the hole. As much as I like Kevin Frandsen and wouldn't mind getting him at-bats at 3rd base, his future is at 2nd and thats where he could be as early as the second half of 2008. The other option, Rich Aurilia, cannot be counted on being anything more than a part time player at this point in his career. He also has the least range of any Giant infielder on their roster. There have been some rumblings about Joe Crede possibly rejoining his buddy Aaron Rowand in SF, but if that is going to happen the Giants are going to wait and see how Crede's back responds this spring before making any kind of deal. It could explain why Sabean hasn't signed anyone to play 3rd yet. Crede is going to be a free agent after the year, so the Giants should not need to part with too much in order to obtain him. The White Sox need a leadoff hitter and the Giants have a few guys who could do that ( Dave Roberts). If a Crede trade is made, the Giants shouldn't have to include any prominent pitching. If the White Sox are demanding an arm like Lowry, Sanchez or Corriea, I'd just as soon see the Giants sign Dallas McPherson or Morgan Ensberg who are both looking for a home 2 weeks prior to spring reporting dates.
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Friday, January 25, 2008

Spring Bargains

Spring training reporting dates are just around the corner, and there are still 86 free agents left on the market. I highly doubt the Giants actually sign someone to a major league contract between now and their reporting date of February 13th, but there are still a hand full of guys that could make some sense with this team. I recently injured my finger so I am going to keep this post pretty short. Here are a list of the fa's who I wouldn't be opposed to taking a shot with on a 1 year deal:

3B Dallas McPherson: One of the most intriguing names still on the market. Has proved absolutely nothing at the big league level, but is a former number 1 pick and is still has some learning time left at age 27. He could go on to be an all-star caliber corner infielder when he gets healthy, or he could end up a total bust. Either way, he makes a lot of sense for this Giants team that needs a third basemen and a young potential power hitter. If some team gets him on a minor league invite while the Giants break camp with Aurilia penciled in at 3rd (Bochy wants Frandsen to stay at second) it will be another missed opportunity for this team.3B Morgan Ensberg: The team still needs a true 3b'men, even if they do end up giving Frandsen some time there. Ensberg could probably be had on a 1 yr. deal for cheap as he is trying to prove the last year and a half have been a fluke. His career .841 OPS would be the best on the team and he if he rebounds from last year, he could fill one of the spots in the middle of the order. He'd probably be the closest thing to a cleanup hitter this team has. More patience and a better hitter than Feliz, but not as good defensively. Still, I think Giants fans are ready for a fresh face at 3rd and would prefer almost anyone over Feliz at this point.

RHP Shawn Chacon: Best available "healthy" free agent reliever left. He can take on a number of roles on a pitching staff. I'd much rather see Chacon in the pen that Chulk or Messenger, but Sabean hasn't signed a reliever from outside the organization since Armando Benitez so I doubt he even has Chacon in his mind. I also like Akinori Otsuka, but I doubt he'll be ready to help any team much in 2008 after surgery. This team is building around their pitching and they need to strengthen the relief core in order to help out their young starters.

1B-OF: Brad Wilkerson: I'm not pushing for the Giants to get this guy because they have other younger players who I'd rather see given a roster spot, but Wilkerson has some special tools. His average and OBP have suffered do to lack of playing time, but he is one of the better all around players still looking for work. He hit 20 home runs in 330 at bats last year and would be a much better alternative/ platoon partner for Dan Ortmeier than Tony Clark. In this weak lineup, Wilkerson would hit somewhere in the middle of the order when he played. He also can play all outfield spots well. Good athlete could be worth a 1 year flier.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One Roster Spot Left

We are officially one month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and it appears as if Brian Sabean and the Giants front office aren't looking to add much to the current roster. Sabean has continued to stay at a stand-still ever since the Aaron Rowand signing a month ago. There have been indications that the Giants may go into spring training without a clear cut 1st or 3rd basemen as they are willing to wait and see if they can't work a deal for a corner infielder during the spring. They only have one spot open on their 40 man roster, so unless they work a trade or cut somebody, they can only go out and sign one more free agent. They also could decide to sign a reliever to fill that spot as there are still a few decent ones on the market (Akinori Otsuka, Jeremy Affeldt, Shawn Chacon and Octavio Dotel) but I would be very surprised if the spot didn't go to Pedro Feliz. For a while last week it looked like Feliz had some suitors and that he may leave San Francisco after all. The Brewers were a team that showed some interest in Feliz, but they just signed Mike Cameron which pushes Bill Hall to 3rd and fills that vacancy. The Cardinals were another possibility after they dealt Rolen, but Rolen ended up getting dealt for Troy Glaus so that killed whatever interest they may have had in Pedro.

Outside of a likely Pedro Feliz, 2 year, 10+ million dollar signing, I wouldn't expect much action as far as roster moves go from here on out. Again, a reliever or utility infielder could be added or brought to camp, but any chance of swinging a trade for a young 3rd or 1st basemen this winter gets smaller as the chances of a Feliz signing grow bigger. If it's between signing Feliz to a 2 year deal, or giving the job to Aurilia and Frandsen, I am all for going with the platoon. No use in tying up money into a guy you don't want or necessarily need. It makes much more sense to invest money in a guy like Otsuka, who could come in and be an impact arm in the bullpen and help this pitching staff grow as a whole when he gets healthy. In my opinion, a healthy Otsuka, Dotel or Chacon would help this team out more than Pedro Feliz and I just hope Brian Sabean can figure that out as well.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Saturday, January 05, 2008

40 Days and Counting.....

The Holiday season has come and gone, which means Spring training is just around the corner. The Giants' official reporting date hasn't been announced, but pitchers and catchers are expected to be in Scottsdale on February 15th with the first full squad workout scheduled for February 20th. Brian Sabean has been MIA since the Aaron Rowand signing and there isn't much off-season left to upgrade the worst team in the division. There still are glaring holes that need to be addressed. They must decide what they are going to do at the corner infield spots and unless they have confidence in Jack Taschner and Randy Messenger miraculously turning into solid relievers, they have work to do with the bullpen as well. They also need another hitter in the middle of the lineup. If the season started right now, Bengie Molina would be the cleanup hitter by default, with Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand surrounding him. Not exactly the most intimidating 3-4-5 hitters out there. Actually, if the Giants decide to stand pat with this current squad, they could end up being the worst offensive team in all of baseball.

There aren't exactly a ton of options out there as far as young, offensively productive corner infielders, which is the Giants' biggest need at the moment. Bochy and Sabean have given a vote of confidence to Dan Ortmeier and it seems like they are willing to give him a shot at first base this year. I don't have a problem with that at all and I'd like them to also consider trying Nate Schierholtz at first base at some point this year. However, they are going to have to go outside the organization for a 3rd basemen. Kevin Frandsen and Rich Aurilia are the current in-house options but Frandsen is way better suited for second base and Aurilia can't be considered a full-time starter at this point in his career. Dallas McPherson, Joe Crede, Scott Rolen, Andy Marte, Edwin Encarnacion and of course Pedro Feliz are a few available 3rd baseman who have been linked to the Giants. I was hoping for some sort of Dave Roberts/Pat Misch for Joe Crede trade all offseason long, but it's doubtful the White Sox are still pursuing outfielders after acquiring Nick Swisher. Encarnacion would be the best of the bunch, but that's a long shot because the Reds are overvaluing him. McPhereson would be an interesting low risk, high reward type player that could fit nicely with this team. He could play first or third and even though he's been injured for much of the past 3 years, he still has upside at 26. I just hope Feliz's time in San Francisco has come to an end, no matter who they decide to replace him with. The team knows what they would get in Feliz, they don't know what they'd get in a healthy McPherson, Crede or Marte which is why I would much rather take a shot on one of them over rolling with Feliz again.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________