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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free Agency Picks Up

Over the last 48 hours, a few of the top remaining free agents have found homes. It looks like Adam Dunn will be playing in D.C. for the next 2 seasons as he signed a two-year $20 million deal with the Nationals. Bobby Abreu also found a home, signing a bargain basement one-year, $5 million deal with the Angels. With those two back-up options off of the market, it would seem that the Dodgers need Manny Ramirez now more than ever. If they loose out on ManRam, they won't have a shot at legitimately replacing him. Whatever small percentage chance the Giants had at signing Manny Ramirez has likely gone out the window now under the current circumstances. The Dodgers are going to go all out for Manny and the Giants aren't going to be ready to compete with what they'll eventually offer. My guess is that Manny returns to LA for 3 years and $65 million within the next week or so. The Giants aren't likely to guarantee Manny anymore than one year, two years tops, but would probably be open to giving 2nd and 3rd year options on a deal. Although they realistically could make a play for him, it would be smarter for the Giants to forget the Manny situation, focus on what they have, and save some of the dough for next winter. If Manny and the Dodgers have another fallout, who knows, maybe he falls onto the Giants lap for 2 years and $40 million, but they shouldn't be focusing on that. They should also be keeping in mind that Matt Holliday is going to be a free agent after the season and he's in his prime (29), is much more of an all-around player, and won't bring the circus that Manny does to ballpark every night. Save the dough and push for Holliday next winter. Holliday is getting familiar with the Bay Area playing in Oakland this season and the Giants will have about 30+ million dollars in salary coming off the books after '09. It could be a perfect match.

The Giants have had their own free agent frenzy going on over the last couple of days as well. However, theirs has been of the minor league variety. After inking Juan Uribe and Rich Aurilia to minor league deals (though Aurilia's will likely become a major league deal) over the previous 2 weeks, the Giants picked up former Angels starter, Ramon Ortiz. Ortiz didn't pitch in the bigs in 2008 and hasn't really been succesful at this level since 2002 (as all Giants fans can painfully remember). The 35-year old right hander did throw in Japan last season but didn't do too well their either. He recently shined in the Caribbean Series for the Dominican team as he threw 6 2/3 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits while striking out 5 batters in his only start in the tournement. That outing likely got him signed. I don't think Ortiz is on board to do much other than be insurance down in Fresno in case the Giants need an emergency starter or somone to make a few fill in appearances. He will have an outside shot at making the opening day roster out of the bullpen but there are about 6 others vying for the 2 open spots and it isn't likely he'll be in one of them.

The Ortiz signing could also be insurance in case the Giants deal away Noah Lowry during or after spring training. Lowry is said to be healthy and ready to go, but Brian Sabean recently made comments suggesting that the fifth starters spot is Jonathan Sanchez's to lose. Sanchez has gotten bigger and stronger this winter and the feeling arund the organization is that he's ready for big things in '09. It got thinking that maybe it will be Noah Lowry who is packing his bags and wearing different colors in 2009. Everyone assumed it would be Jonathon Sanchez who'd be dealt away when everyone got healthy, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Now, even though Lowry has proven himself as one of the better left-handed starters in the National League, his trade value is decimated and he will have to prove himself over a period of time before it's replenished. A few names that came to mind when thinking of trade targets for Lowry are Texas' Travis Metcalf and St. Louis' Chris Duncan. Both are young corner infielders (Duncan can also play the outfield), have no guaranteed role with their respective teams and have power that the Giants could sorely use. Metcalf seems to be the odd man out in Texas as they have shifted Michael Young over to third base while Chris Davis claims first and Hank Blalock DH's. The 26 year-old has been on the doorstep for a few years now, but the Rangers haven't had a spot for him. Texas always needs pitching and may consider a Metcalf for Lowry deal. Duncan could be an option at first for the Giants and give them some solid power from the left-side. He really also has no place with the Cardinals as they already has a stacked outfield and they have some guy by the name of Pujols at first. However, if Lowry shows healthy and starts throwing like he was in 2006 then he's worth more than Duncan or Metcalf, so being patient with Noah may not be a bad idea either.
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12 Comments:

  • At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Terrance said…

    You do good work here. A lot of the local bay area giants writers are hacks and really have no point of view. Ratto is ok but the rest are garbo man. Keep up the good, honest opinions. Great Job!!

     
  • At 11:30 PM, Blogger RussL said…

    ditto to what terrance said above. I love checking this blog because the insight is excellent and its got new posts every couple days all year round. Wish there was more comments per post though. I'm guilty of being a leecher and will try to do my part more. I come here before checking baggs or mccovey chronicles cuz I really do love the analysis here. Keep doing your thing.

     
  • At 11:46 PM, Blogger RussL said…

    I'm over the whole Manny dream. Sounded like an actual option for a min but its really not a good fit. Our five outfielders are pretty set due to no way of ever trading Roberts or Rowands contracts. Flew and Nate deserve the chance to play and Manram would block one or both of them.
    Not sure if trading Noah is a great idea. Dont know enough about Duncan or Metcalf to tell whether they would actually be upgrades over Ishi/Phelps/Bowker. Not only that but RJ is bound to miss a bunch of starts this year and who knows what else happens(knock on wood).
    Is Crede offer dead anyone know? Hes the one guy left I wouldnt mind taking a one year flyer on. Moving Pablo to first and still letting him be backup catcher some would be my preference to him on the hot corner. That said I'm also curious to see how Guzman plays this spring after the great offseason he had.

     
  • At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know if the Crede deal is still on the table, but I thought they'd pass now that Rich Aurilia is coming back. This is just what I read but i'm not positive.

     
  • At 2:05 AM, Anonymous ItalianGiantsFan said…

    I really hope Lowry stays here at the Giants.

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger rxmeister said…

    I haven't heard anything about the Giants' rescinding the Crede offer, so I still think they want him. I think the Aurilia signing is insurance in case Crede signs elsewhere, and also a loud message to Boras that Crede has to sign on the Giants' terms and not Boras'. Considering nobody else except the cheap Twins are interested in Crede, I would expect him to sign with the Giants' soon. As for Trevor's take on the Dodgers now having to sign Manny, I actually took it the other way, although I agree with the conclusion. I think that Dunn really wanted the Dodgers, but was probably told they were close to signing Manny, which is why he decided to accept the offer from the Nationals.

     
  • At 2:13 PM, Blogger jameskong123 said…

    Spring training is coming!
    http://fanzak.com/fzrants/Hope_Springs_Eternal

     
  • At 2:35 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Thanks for the comments Russl and Terrnace. I greatly appreciate the support and please do keep coming back and commenting as much as possible.

    The Crede offer is still on the table I'm sure, but it's still not clear what he will do. I'd give it about a %40 chance of him coming to SF. Apparently the Giants liked his workout more than the Twins who deemed him "%75" healthy. Either way, I would expect the situation to play out by the weekend.

     
  • At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Dan said…

    This expert like the Giants as a sleeeper team

     
  • At 10:10 PM, Anonymous walter guest said…

    First the positive:



    The odds are that two or more players from this year’s rookie crop will make the Hall of Fame. A quick look at the numbers/ages of the contenders would suggest that Pablo Sandoval would have the best chance of all.

    On the other hand:



    There has never been a player similar to his 5’ 11” and 245 Lbs frame at the age of 21 to make the Hall. Strike one.

    The Giants are going to try him at third. There has never been a player with a similar frame to play regularly at third in the history of baseball. Strike two. (Even Harmon Killebrew was 5’ 11” but only 215.)

    By baseball standards, he is a severely handicapped player. He ought to be given the parking spot nearest the clubhouse so he doesn’t get worn out waddling in the lot. Maybe a walker would help.

    There’s a strike three in this. The guy swings at everything. Smart pitchers will learn to never throw him a strike. Some hitters learn right back. Some don’t.



    On the subject of 3rd basemen, Florida has the minor league home run king and they don’t need him. Dallas McPherson might be available cheap and might be ready to finally flower in the bigs at age 28. I love gambles like that.



    Walter Guest

     
  • At 7:39 AM, Blogger rxmeister said…

    McPherson was the HR champ because he played in a bandbox. If they want to hand him over for nothing I would throw him into the mix, but I doubt they're going to do that. The Giants already have a gamble of that type at third base in AA batting champ Jesus Guzman, who broke the Venzuelan RBI record this winter. Crede would be a nice one year placeholder while the Giants take a full year to look at players like Guzman and Gillaspie in the minors.

     
  • At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Walter Guest said…

    "McPherson was the HR champ because he played in a bandbox."

    That's what some "experts" said about Dick Stuart when he hit 70 homers for a minor league team in Colorado. Bill James pointed out that they dismissed ALL the homers because a few might have been cheap. Call a third of McPherson's homers cheap (which is unlikely) and he still hit 28 good ones. That's pretty good.

     

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