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Monday, December 28, 2009

Giants, DeRosa Reach Agreement

It looks like the last guy that I wanted the Giants to sign this winter will actually be coming to San Francisco after all. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants and Mark DeRosa are in the final stages of completing a 2-year deal that would pay him around $6 million per year.

If you've been following us here over the last couple weeks, you know my stance on DeRosa, but since it looks like he really is going to be a Giant, it's time to face reality. Sabean has had his eye on this guy over the last few trade deadlines, so once DeRosa dropped his demand from a 3 year deal to 2, I began to get the feeling that Sabean would grab him. I've pointed out how DeRosa's horrible second half of 2009 shows signs of decline, and outside of his last two seasons, he really hasn't ever been considered a power. He has been a late bloomer, as he didn't get an everyday job until 2006 when he was 31 years old, and in his first two seasons as a starter, he averaged just 11 home runs and 73 RBI. Even though he's upped his power the last two years (44 total hr '08-'09), I don't think he's going to bring the power that the Giants are hoping for. I compare him a lot to Aaron Rowand, as his power numbers before coming to the Giants were due largely in-part to lineups they were in and/or the home ballpark in which they played at. Rowand put up big numbers playing in a stacked Philly lineup and playing his home games at Citizens Bank Ballpark, one of the most hitter friendly yards in the league. DeRosa played the last 2 seasons in Chicago, Cleveland and St. Louis, all of which are considered hitters ballparks. Not saying that DeRosa's power will be completely zapped by playing at AT&T Park, but I would expect closer to 12-15 homers than the 22 he's averaged over the last 2 seasons. He's in his mid-30's and his second half of 2009 was truly hideous. I really hope I'm wrong, but I see this signing falling right into the same category as the Rowand/Renteria deals.

Now, I can't just point out the negatives in DeRosa's game, because he's not a waste of a roster spot and will definitely contribute to the team. I just would have rather seen someone else come in here to play third base/first base. Speaking of which, the one scenario that I'd like to see now that DeRosa is on the verge of signing, is possibly sticking him in left field, leaving one of the corner infield spots still open to add a guy like Adam LaRoche. Sabean's still likely searching for another bat, and if he can get an infielder like LaRoche, on the cheap later on in January, then DeRosa at least has the flexibility to play the outfield. I haven't seen enough of DeRosa in left to judge his defensive abilities there, but he's handled the outfield well in the few games I've seen of him out there.

As far as where he'll hit in the order, I'd like to see him hit lower, rather than higher. He's done his best work hitting in the 6 hole over the last couple of years and that would be an ideal spot for him. However, in this Giants lineup, it looks like he'll be hitting fifth right behind Pablo Sandoval. Also, DeRosa impending deal won't actually handicap the Giants like Rowand's deal, or even like Renteria's has. If DeRosa becomes a utility guy in his second year with the Giants, then it won't be such a horrible thing, he could provide pop off the bench and can play almost anywhere on the diamond.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Giants, Uribe Close on a 1-year Deal

First off, I wanted to wish all our readers here at The Giants Baseball Blog a merry Christmas, and a happy holiday season. I truly appreciate all of you that contribute to the site by adding comments and sending e-mails, and we hope to be even bigger and better here in 2010!

Now, back to baseball, the Giants are nearing a deal that would bring back their utility infielder that did so well for them in 2009, Juan Uribe. The exact terms of the deal haven't been reported yet, but apparently, the deal is a 1-year pact with an option for 2011. Uribe had a big 2009 season for the Giants, and especially thrived in the second half of the year when he worked his way into the everyday lineup. Uribe was among the team leaders in the major offensive categories and didn't even receive 400 at-bats. He hit .289 (2nd) with 16 hr (3rd), 55 RBI (4th) and an .824 OPS (2nd). And he really turned it on down the stretch for the Giants though hitting .347 in September with 7 bombs and 21 RBI. At that time, he had sort of taken over for Edgar Renteria on a daily basis at short as Renteria wasn't %100. That's a big reason why the Giants are intent on bringing him, insurance for the brittle Renteria. Actually, numbers would dictate that Uribe is the better option at short for the Giants anyway, but they're not about to sit Renteria and his $8.5 million salary on the bench, at least at the beginning of the year. However, I do think Uribe needs regular at-bats, and Renteria would be more effective if he received regular rest, like taking a game off per series type rest. A 60-40 PT-split, in favor of Renteria, at short would be a good idea if you ask me. Uribe would still get plenty of time filling in at the other infield spots as well, and just think that set-up, if Uribe's deal is finalized, would be something the Giants should apply.

Uribe's impending deal wasn't the only news regarding the Giants to surface on Christmas eve. According to Buster Olney's twitter page, Mark DeRosa is leaning towards accepting the Giants offer of 2 years and $12 million to come to San Francisco. I'm really hoping this is a negotiating ploy by DeRosa's agent to get the Cards or whoever is interested in DeRosa to up their anty. I have voiced my displeasure towards the Giants pursuit of DeRosa many times here over the last month as he really is the one guy, even more so than Adrian Beltre, that I really don't want to see in a Giants' uni. He struggled horribly for the Cardinals at the end of last season carrying and %OBP below .300 and OPS under .700 in his 2.5 months hitting in the same order as Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick. I just can't imagine what he'd do in San Francisco, in the spacious yard and in a lineup that was one of the worst in baseball last season. DeRosa isn't any upgrade to the offense with the way it is now. If this was 2000-2004, then yes, a guy like DeRosa would make some sense, but this is a much different Giants ballclub now, and these are the types of guys, and contracts that Sabean should be avoiding. DeRosa, on a 1 year, $4-5 million deal filling a role like Juan Uribe's would be just fine, but giving him 2 years to start would be identical to their mistake with Renteria. Don't do it Sabean!
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Monday, December 21, 2009

Giants 2010 Mock Roster #1

With all the rumors flying around, and the Giants still waiting to make their first move the of the 2009-'10 offseason, I wanted to go ahead and take a wild guess at what the Giants 25-man roster could look like come opening day 2010 in Houston. This is more so what I'd like to see than what I think Sabean has in mind, but the moves I'm suggesting here are very possible and realistically could happen if Sabean decided to constuct the team like this.

Signings: LF Kelly Johnson (2-year, $8.5 million + team option for 3rd year at $5.5 million), RF Xavier Nady (1-year, $8 million + mutual option for $9 million), 1B Adam LaRoche (3-year, $28.5 million), C Rod Barajas (1-year, $3 million), UT Jerry Hairston Jr. (1-year, $2 million), P Russ Springer (1-year, $750K)

Lineup-

LF Kelly Johnson (Will return to pre-2009 form and hit .280+ with .800+ OPS)
2B Freddy Sanchez (Full, healthy year should yield .300+ avg, 40+ doubles)
1B Adam LaRoche (Should be Giants #1 target for 1st base; .275, 25 hr, 85 RBI)
3B Pablo Sandoval (If the Giants can protect him, Panda should go .320, 30, 100)
RF Xavier Nady (Really started coming into own, then got injured last year)
CF Aaron Rowand (He'll improve if the Giants lineup does)
C Rod Barajas (Veteran would provide offense, seat-warmer for Posey)
SS Edgar Renteria (Giants need a ut. guy to keep him fresh)

Bench-

C Eli Whiteside (Giants could look at other catchers to invite to spring training)
Ut. Jerry Hairston Jr. (Solid utility guy plays anywhere besides C and 1B)
OF Nate Schierholtz (would spell Nady/Dye? in right and become teams top ph'er)
Ut. Eugenio Velez (Is becoming a valuable asset as a utility guy, but not a starter)
OF Fred Lewis (I'd work him in center field during spring to up his value)

Starting Rotation-

RHP Tim Lincecum (3rd straight Cy Young will be tough, but still top-3 in NL)
RHP Matt Cain (Stepped up a level in '09 and became an all-star, keeps improving)
LHP Jonathan Sanchez (Thrived after no-no, I think 2010 will be huge for him)
LHP Barry Zito (Coming off best year in SF, hopefully will keep improving)
RHP Joe Martinez (This will be Madison Bumgarner's spot before too long)

Bullpen:

CL: Brian Wilson (Quietly becoming one of the best stoppers in the game)
LH: Jeremy Affeldt (Filthy in '09 and should be signed to an extension)
RH: Sergio Romo (Had a rough stretch in '09, but finished the year in solid fashion)
RH: Russ Springer (Could take on Howry's role as bullpen vet, but better)
LH: Dan Runzler (Youngster Looked a lot like Jeremy Affeldt in his brief stint in '09)
RH: Brandon Medders (Had a nice 2009 season, and will be back in mid-relief)
RH: Merkin Valdez (If he can get healthy, he can be dominant)

Tell me this batting order isn't heads and shoulders above anything else they've had since 2004. Now, in order for the Giants to actually pull this roster off, they'd have to increase payroll by about $10 million, but if some of these guys stay available into January (ie. Nady, LaRoche, Hairston), you'd think their prices will drop and the Giants will be in a good position to get a few of them. Chances are that Sabean won't sign 6 guys like I suggested, probably more like 3 or 4. However, the roster I proposed is a very realistic possibility if Giants management wanted to make it happen. The good thing about signing some offensive players like Nady and LaRoche, or maybe even Jermaine Dye if his price drops, is that they wouldn't have to deal any of their pitching away. I think Sabean should target two solid bats that he can hit 3 and 5, and quite possibly a leadoff guy. I'm really hoping those two bats end up being LaRoche and Xavier Nady, but I'm thinking it will likely be Jermaine Dye and either LaRoche or Mark DeRosa. I just really hope they avoid Mark DeRosa. As far as leadoff guys go. They've been linked to Johnny Damon, but with Kelly Johnson now available for 1/4 of the price and identical production, I think he'd make a lot of sense in a Giants uni. If they don't add Johnson, it doesn't appear that a leadoff guy and/or outfielders are too high on Sabean's priority list this off-season. I just wish he'd remember the last time the Giants had a legit leadoff guy (Kenny Lofton in 2002) and what it does for an offense.

I think the Giants are going to roll with what they have as far as their starting rotation goes, and I think they'll be just fine. They may add a 5th starter, but I'd rather see that money spent on offense and see them use and in-house candidate for that slot like Joe Martinez or Kevin Pucetas (until Bumgarner's ready). I'd say the roster I've posted would probably make the Giants division favorites, as they'd finally have some offense to match that pitching. Give them 3 solid hitters (2 middle order guys and 1 for the top) and I believe they can win 95+ ballgames. Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Tim Lincecum are all still getting better, which is scary, and Barry Zito seems to be figuring out the NL, finally. Oh yeah, Madison Bumgarner will probably pitch in 125 innings or so this year as well. The Giants really aren't that far off from being a very good ballclub.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trade Talk For Uggla Heating Up?

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, and MLB Trade Rumors, the Giants and the Marlins appear to be getting more serious in their discussions about Dan Uggla. There have been some names exchanged by each team and things could be getting closer to being completed.

What makes me think that trade talks are actually making progress is that someone from Miami is reporting it, rather then just speculation from baseball writers on the Internet. Still, it doesn't mean that the Giants are going to end up with Dan Uggla, but it does mean that it's becoming more of a possibility. Apparently the Marlins and Giants have discussed Jonathan Sanchez, Clayton Tanner and one other mid-level pitching prospect, but I have a hard time seeing the Giants part with Jonathan Sanchez, who's still under team control for 3 more years and is only getting better each season (4.24 era, 177 k's, 1.37 WHIP, .221 BAA in 163 IP). Sanchez really came into his own last year after throwing his no-hitter in mid-July. After the all-star break, he went 5-4 with a 3.83 era and 98 k's in 84 innings. All signs are pointing towards Sanchez really breaking out in 2010, and I think a 15-win, sub-4 era season is very realistic and I think he'll finally make it to the 200 inning plateau, which would mean big strikeout numbers. Uggla is a very nice, middle of the order presence, but he hit .242 last year and is hitting just .249 over his last 3 seasons. Not to mention, acquiring Uggla would force someone out of position, weakening the offense. As bad as the Giants need the 30 home run potential, I'd hate to see them deal away from their strength for a second basemen right now.

I would, however, be throwing packages at Florida that aren't headlined with Jonathan Sanchez. It looks like the Marlins have some interest in Clayton Tanner, and maybe the Giants could add Kevin Pucetas, who's major league ready now, and a guy like Kevin Frandsen, who could go in and start at second base for the Marlins and be under their control for a while on the cheap. There have been so many reports about the Marlins needing to get out from under Uggla's 7+ million dollar contract for 2010. Everyone knows the Marlins want to get rid of him, and because of it, they aren't going to get top value in return. And if that is indeed the case, I would think the Giants could pry him away from Florida without giving up too much. If they do figure out a reasonable deal for him, I would immediately look into other positional possibilities for Uggla. First base would be one position that might be an option. He has familiarity with the right side of the infield after all, and I think first base would be an easier transition for him than third base or out to left field. It would also allow Pablo Sandoval to stay at third, where he has more value to the Giants. I don't think Uggla is the savior the Giants are looking for on offense though, and although he'd be a big help, they'd still need another bat or two to really complete their offense. If the Giants can't get Uggla for a reasonable deal, then I'd turn my focus to Adam LaRoche, who I've kind of been pulling for Sabean to sign as the teams first basemen. His power and run production numbers are very similar to Uggla's, plus he plays a very good defensive first base and hits for more average than the sought-after second basemen.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Monday, December 14, 2009

Non-Tenders Offer More Options For Giants

Saturday marked the deadline for teams to offer players eligible for arbitration a contract for 2010, and a couple big names became free agents after their clubs declined to do so.

The top two names that immediately jumped out at me when looking at the non-tender list were Kelly Johnson and Garrett Atkins. If I were running the Giants, Kelly Johnson would now become my target for left-field and I'd feel just fine giving him a 2-year deal. He was injured in 2009 and it shortened his season and hurt his production, but prior to 2009, he was quietly becoming one of the better, more consistent leadoff hitters in the NL. In his two full seasons at the big league level in '07 and '08, Johnson hit .282, while averaging 14 bombs, 69 RBI, 10 steals, 88 runs and an OPS of .818. All those numbers, besides maybe the stolen base number, are very good numbers for a leadoff guy. Plus Johnson has played the majority of his games in the spacious Turner Field, which favors pitchers, just like AT&T. Outside of Johnny Damon, who the Giants aren't going to start bidding for, the 27 year old Johnson is probably the brightest leadoff hitter on the market. He'd fit perfectly into the Giants mold of going after young players on the up and they could probably get him at at a decent deal as he's coming off a subpar season. I really hope Sabean is thinking along the same lines and at least puts in a call to Johnson's agent.

As far as the power bats go, career-long Rockies third basemen, Garrett Atkins, was let go by Colorado and former Tampa Bay Ray outfielder Johnny Gomes was non-tendered by the Reds. Atkins is intriguing because of what he did prior to 2009, but his struggles over the last year and a half are a bit of a mystery. He hit just .229 with 9 homers and 47 RBI in 354 at-bats last year and lost his starting job to Ian Stewart. His struggles really started in the second half of '08 though, when he hit just .259 with 7 hr and a measly .717 OPS after hitting .305 with 14 bombs, 54 RBI and a .822 OPS in the first half of the year. He's not the best defensive third basemen out there either. That said, I think he's still got plenty of good baseball left in him, as he's just 30 years old, and maybe a change of scenery may do him some good. Since the Giants let go of Garko and will likely lose Juan Uribe, Atkins could provide a right-handed platoon mate for Travis Ishikawa and fill Uribe's role. I just wouldn't guarantee him a starting spot.

Unlike Atkins, Jonny Gomes had a big 2009, and thrived especially in the second half. Gomes hit .267 with 20 homers and 51 RBI in just 98 games and 281 at-bats. Gomes has always hit for pop and has been able to get on base at a respectable clip, but his low average (career .241) and high strikeout rate (1 k per 3 ab's throughout career) has kept him from being an everyday player, but he seemed to grow last year. It was his first tour in the National League, and he played very well and should only get better. He really reminds me of Adam Dunn, with the power, the ability to draw a walk, and the knack for the strikeout. Sabean has been very clear that the Giants first order of business to get a corner infielder in here, and even though they're in need of a few corner outfielders as well, It doesn't seem like it's as high of priority for Sabean. I mean, he is talking about starting Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez after all. Like Atkins, I wouldn't offer Gomes a starting position, but a fourth outfielder position with a possible platoon.

Other Non-Tenders: Other prominent non-tenders who the Giants may now give a look at are outfielders Ryan Church and Jack Cust and pitchers Chin-Meng Wang, Mike MacDougal, Matt Caps, DJ Carasco and Clay Condrey.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Giants Turn Focus to First

The Giants entered the Winter Meetings in search of a corner infielder, but apparently Brian Sabean has narrowed that search down to just first basemen, leaving two likely candidates.

Those two candidates are former Nationals first basemen and %OBP extraordinaire, Nick Johnson, as well as former Pirate and Brave, Adam LaRoche. I've mentioned both of these guys here in recent days as the top two candidates to play first next year for the Giants, and it looks like that could come to fruition by the end of the meetings Thursday. In fact, Sabean said Wednesday afternoon that he expects things to pick up by Wednesday night, possibly hinting that we could see some movement before the day's done in Indy. Of the two players, I like LaRoche, because of his power numbers, his consistency and his athleticism. Johnson is overweight and injury prone, and I really think his best days are behind him. It's true that age doesn't necessarily effect OBP, but if Johnson can only play in 90 games in 2010 for the Giants because he pulls a hamstring running out a double then his OBP won't be doing them any good. LaRoche, however, has averaged 145 games and 25 home runs per year since becoming an everyday first basemen in 2005. He also sports a career OPS of .834 and although his OBP and average aren't quite where Johnson's are, every other area of his game surpasses Nick Johnson's. LaRoche has also put his numbers up while playing in ballparks that tend to be more pitcher friendly than hitter friendly (Atlanta's Turner Field and Pittsburgh's PNC Park), so he's used to hitting in spacious yards.

The only thing about LaRoche is that he's notoriously been a second half player and that could detour the Giants from him. LaRoche has also tore it up at AT&T Park over the years, sporting a .395 average with 3 homers, 11 RBI and a 1.227 OPS in 13 games here. Either way though, I think both LaRoche or Johnson would be big upgrades to the Giants offense, no question about it. I would much rather take either of those guys on a 2-year contract as opposed to Adrian Beltre on a 3-4 year deal, and I think Brian Sabean is realizing that as well. I don't even want to mention Mark DeRosa, because the Giants don't need another 35 year-old who just isn't that good and isn't a real power hitter. At least the 36 year-old Jermaine Dye would make some since because he'd probably hit 30 homers for the Giants. All that said, I think Nick Johnson is the one who ends up comeing here, as he also has ties to the Bay Area. I think he is the one the Giants are really targeting, as patience on offense is something they sorely lack, and I think LaRoche is probably seeking a 3+ year deal, somewhere the Giants don't want to go with any free agent this year... Stay tuned as we'll likely have an update later on tonight if something actually does transpire.

Extras: I found it interesting in reading that the Giants have contacted Ben Sheets' agent about possibly signing him to a deal to replace Brad Penny. Sheets missed all of last year after having surgery on his throwing arm, and it's not clear whether he'll be at full strength to start 2010. Not sure if the interest was sincere or not or if the Giants plan to pursue him, just wanted to mention that it's a possibility that has been looked at by Sabean and Co... The Giants are also apparently interested in outfielder Scott Podsednik, who could become their leadoff hitter. I say give Fred Lewis a second chance and add a power bat (Nady?) to right field, but that's just me.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Catching Prospectives Aren't Too Exciting

With day two of the MLB winter meetings winding up, there really isn't much new to talk about on the Giants front.

The new name of the day Tuesday was Kevin Kouzmanoff, as apparently the Giants and Padres have discussed a possible deal that could land the third-basemen in San Francisco. The names being discussed on the Giants end have been Fred Lewis and Kevin Frandsen, neither of whom appear to be much in the Giants plans heading into 2010. That said, Bruce Bochy did shoot down the Kouzmanoff rumor during his media session, saying any deal of any kind, not just the Kouzmanoff rumor, is not immanent. Bochy also said Tuesday that he expects both Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez to play big roles with this team in 2010, and adding more outfielders to the mix is not necessarily a sure thing. Since there isn't much new talk to discuss today, I figured I'd take a little bit closer look at the top-4 free agent candidates to be the Giants opening day catcher next April.

Miguel Olivo: Probably the top all-around option on the FA market. Hits for power, with a .250'ish average and . Good defender, solid arm and has a good rep as a receiver (caught AL CY Younger Zack Grienke). Only thing is that he may be seeking a 2+ year contract, and as the second best catcher on the market, he'll likely find some team that will give it to him. Although he's not quite as good as Bengie is, he's probably the closest thing to Molina in this class of catchers.

Yorvit Torrealba: Former Giant has ties here, and is still highly respected by those in the Giants organization. Very good receiver, pretty good defender with a solid arm. Hit .291 as a part-timer last year and shined for the Rockies during their World Series run in 2007 as he had a knack for coming up with the clutch hit when needed. He just wouldn't replace the power that Molina brought like Olivo would and the Giants need that pop in the lineup. He'd be my second choice behind Miguel Olivo.

Rod Barajas
: Barajas has hit some home runs over the past few seasons (has averaged about 15 per year since 2004), and even drove in 71 runs for the Blue Jays last year, but he just doesn't do anything else for you. He's not an especially good defensive catcher, although he's serviceable, and isn't know for his receiving abilities, although he's worked with Roy Halladay over the past few seasons. Torrealba and Olivo are both better all-around players, but as I said, there aren't many catching options this year, and if someone is going Torrealba or Olivo multi-year deals, Barajas might not be a bad fallback as option #3.

Jason Kendall: Much more defensive minded than offensive these days, but still will get on base at a respectable clip and even steal a base here and there. His average has plummeted the last 2 seasons while playing in a hitters yard, which doesn't bode well for his offense going forward, but in this market, this winter, Kendal is still among the top options available and will be starting for somebody next spring. If the Giants can't get any of these 4 guys, I'd rather just see them go with the Steve Holm/Eli Whiteside/Jackson Williams combo until Posey is ready.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Monday, December 07, 2009

MLB Winter Meetings Underway

Baseball's annual winter meetings got started on Monday in Indianapolis, and the Giants have been talked about just as much as any other teams as they search for ways to improve their meager offense.

The Giants enter the meetings in need of a couple corner outfielders, a corner infielder and a catcher who can bridge the gap from Bengie Molina to Buster Posey. Brian Sabean stated before he left for the meetings that the Giants would not get involved in the bidding for the top dogs on the free agent market, Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. Not only would those guys cost the Giants their top pick in next Junes amateur draft, they're also both seeking deals in the neighborhood of the 100 million dollar range. Instead, Sabean is likely focusing on outfielders such as Jermaine Dye, Xavier Nady and Johnny Damon. I was a little surprised at the interest in Damon at first, but after looking at it a little longer, I've begin to see some logic in adding Damon. The Giants need a leadoff hitter, and Damon can do that and do it well, even if his power numbers wouldn't be as good in SF as they were in New York. As it stands now, they're leadoff options would be Edgar Renteria, Freddy Sanchez and possibly Fred Lewis. Eugenio Velez ended the year as the leadoff guy for the Giants and did a respectable job, but I don't think the Giants envision Velez as an everyday guy. So, looking at the free agent market, the best remaining leadoff option now that Chone Figgins has signed (4 yr., $36 million with Seattle) is Johnny Damon. Damon is coming off a solid season in which he hit 24 home runs, drove in 82 runs and scored 107 times at the top of the World Champion Yankee lineup.

If the Giants could get Damon on a reasonable deal, then I then it would make some since, especially if they can still manage to get a power hitter or two to fill out the rest of the lineup. I really like Xavier Nady and the potential numbers he could put up in this park. I'd take him over Jermaine Dye because Nady's younger and better defensively. Nady also could provide Bruce Bochy the flexibility to play him at first base when needed, and his best seasons are still ahead of him. The only question mark I have with Nady is his ability to play a full season. He's only played over 125 games in a year one time, and the one thing the Giants cannot afford to do is add a player to a long-term deal who's going to hit the DL a couple of times per year.

There's a sleeper in the outfield mix that I think could help the Giants out, and that sleeper is Rick Ankiel. He's a left-handed bat which means his power numbers would take a bit of hit playing in SF, but he's a guy who's now entering his third full season as a MLB outfielder, and I think he could be primed for a breakout. He pulled an Aaron Rowand and crashed into the outfield wall at full speed which cost him a portion of his 2009 season. It was apparent that he wasn't quite the same player after coming back from that. His '07 (.285, 11 HR, 39 RBI in 171 AB's) and '08 (.264, 25 HR, 71 RBI, .843 OPS) seasons showed a player on the rise. He's also a sound defensive outfielder with one of the better arms in the game. He could spell, or platoon with Aaron Rowand in center field and can play either corner outfield spot.

As far as the infielders go, there are some options out there for the Giants. I'm sure most Giants fans have heard or read about their teams interest in Dan Uggla, and I apparently Sabean is working night and day to figure out a way to get the second basemen without parting with Madison Bumgarner, who the Marlins apparently covet. Adding Uggla to the mix while also adding a few outfielders could really turn the Giants offense. If the Giants can't swing a trade with Florida, some free agents who they may turn to are Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, Miguel Tejada, Felipe Lopez, Nick Johnson and Adam LaRoche. Tejada, Beltre or DeRosa would play third, moving Sandoval over to first, or Johnson and LaRoche would play first, keeping Sandoval at third. Lopez is an interesting player because he could play both short and second. I don't think the Giants are really looking at him too closely, but he could hit leadoff for them if acquired, and provide insurance for the fragile and aging Edgar Renteria. The only guy I really like out of that bunch besides Uggla though is Adam LaRoche, and I know how left-handed power hitters shy away from coming to SF. Whether they make a move or not, I think we'll have a much clearer perspective on who the new additions could be after the Winter Meetings end on Thursday.

Daily Winter Meetings Postings: With the winter meetings in full-swing and running through December 10th, we'll likely be posting something each day throughout the meetings. We'll be having daily updates, monitoring the the happenings at the meetings. So check back tomorrow for more news and a look at some catchers that could be in the Giants' plans!
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

Thursday, December 03, 2009

No Arbitration Offered to Giants' Free Agents

After a few weeks of silence, their is finally some real Giants news to talk about. Earlier this week, Brian Sabean and the Giants front office decided not to offer arbitration to the teams' free agents, meaning the Giants cannot receive any compensation for their players signing elsewhere.

Now, there aren't many free agents coming off of this team that I would have liked to see offered arbitration anyway. The only guy who did make some sense though, was Bengie Molina. Molina's agent has supposedly been in serious contract talks with the New York Mets, discussing a 2 year contract for the 35 year-old backstop. I think that it's pretty safe to say, that in this free agent market (extremely thin in the catching department) Molina's a commodity, and I think it would have been smart on the Giants' part to have offered it to him. If worse came to worst, then you have Bengie Molina back for another year to help Buster Posey along in his development, and I don't think anyone around the Bay Area would be too upset with that scenario. Best case, he signs with the Mets or someone else and lands the Giants a fat compensation pick at the top of the 2010 amateur draft. The other prominent Giant over the past few years who also didn't receive arbitration is Randy Winn. Winn has been a Giants since the middle of the 2005 season, and although he was a solid Giants throughout his stay, he never did match that ladder half of the '05 season he had with San Francisco (.359, 14 hr, 22 2B, 231 ab's, 1.071 OPS), the half that really got him his big contract that just expired.

One Giants' free agent that I'd like to see return, and really the only one besides Juan Uribe and possibly Molina on a 1 year deal, is Brad Penny. And after seeing his season, and to a lesser extent his career, revived in San Francisco, I'm sure he's got some interest in doing so as well. In his one month stint in San Fran, he was legit, going 4-1 over 6 starts, with a 2.59 era, and a 0.96 WHIP. Granted, it was only 41+ innings pitched, I think he proved that he's a well above average pitcher here in the NL, and especially in the NL West. I'm just really curious as to what kind of deal he and his agent are looking for. I'm not sure the strong finish with the Giants was enough to get him a big multi-year deal, and I don't think many AL teams will come calling, so I really don't know what kind of market there will be for him. Some wealthy NL team with a need in their rotation may be able to offer him a more lucrative deal (Cubs, Mets?), but you gotta like the Giants' chances if they're serious about bringing him back. The Giants interest in Penny will ultimately come down to what they do with Jonathan Sanchez, and whether or not they're planning on using Madison Bumgarner for the majority of the 2010.
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