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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Successfully Quiet Offseason Winds Down

With pitchers and catchers set to report to Scottsdale on Wednesday, followed by their first workout on Thursday, Spring Training is officially upon us. Finally, in our next post, we'll actually have some on-field happenings to discuss!

It was a relatively quiet offseason for baseball this winter, as the free agent market wasn't stocked with big name talent, but there was a big bat (Jason Bay) and a few aces (Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee) who will be in new places in 2010. It seemed like this years' market was flooded with players who either were injured or had sub-par years in 2009. With the market as shallow as it was, the Giants didn't get involved with any of the bigger names on the market, and wisely stuck to the second-tiere of free agents this winter to help upgrade their offense. They didn't trade for an Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder, or get involved in the Matt Holliday or Jason Bay contract talks, but they did bring in a couple of bats in Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa, who should definitely help their offense and won't hurt their budget. They also returned a few guys who were very key to last years success in Bengie Molina and Juan Uribe. With the addition of Huff and DeRosa, it will enable the Giants to move Molina down in the order, where his lack of speed is easier to place. Huff is coming off a down year and DeRosa is coming off of a rough 2nd half of last year, so they will have their doubters and definitely have something to prove in 2010. All that being said, I expect both to be positive additions to the team this year, especially at the salary they're being paid.

Other than Huff and DeRosa, there weren't many changes made by the Giants this winter. They recently added right-handers Guillermo Mota, Byung-Hyun Kim and Todd Wellemeyer on minor league deals and I'm expecting at least one of those guys to break north with the big club to start the season. Wellemeyer will provide insurance in case 20 year-old Madison Bumgarner isn't quite ready for the full-time fifth starters spot. Mota should take Bobby Howry's role from last season and provide an overall young bullpen with a veteran presence. Kim can do a little bit of both and I'd expect him to start off in Fresno's rotation or as their closer. The Giants could still be in search for another reliever or two, to add depth if nothing else, during the spring. There are still some arms that are desperately seeking employment as spring training begins, including relievers Chan Ho Park, Kiko Calero and Joe Beimel as well as starter Jarrod Washburn. Also, there is one position player out there who I'd like to see the Giants take a shot on, and that guy is Rocco Baldelli. He could give the outfield some depth and provide a right-handed option to spell Nate Schierholtz in rightfield. He's a guy who could really make sense for this team and still has time to pan out if he can stay on the field. He did finish up last season healthy, and did homer 7 times with 22 RBI in just 150 at-bats with Boston... Jermaine Dye (bay area native) as a fourth outfielder/first basemen wouldn't be the worst addition either.

So, overall, I can't really complain about the Giants game plan for this offseason. They also capped things off positively, inking Tim Lincecum to a 2 year-deal that allows them to avoid arbitration for the next 2 years with their ace. They didn't spend money that will handicap them in the future, and they managed to get some players in who should help them out if they play up to their career standards. They may not pan out, but if they don't, it won't be an Edgar Renteria/Dave Roberts/Aaron Rowand-type, multi-year mistake. I would have liked to see them bring in Xavier Nady and Adam LaRoche instead of DeRosa and Huff, but LaRoche wouldn't sign here, and Nady's elbow must not be at %100 cause he's a rock solid hitter, and he generated very little interest in a think free agent market... Are DeRosa and Huff enough to get the Giants into the playoffs? Probably not, but they will help, and if guys like Renteria, Rowand and Freddy Sanchez can rebound from last year, things will definitely be looking up for the Giants in 2010!

*Check out The Giants Baseball Blog at HotStove.Com in a discussion about Tim Lincecum here! The Giants Baseball Blog is a regular contributor to Hotstove.com and HotStove TV!
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5 Comments:

  • At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Giants Fanatic said…

    Yeah, I can't wait for the cactus league to begin. Got my tickets for a couple of games in March vs. the Cubs and A's. I'm getting that baseball fever!

     
  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger King of Cali said…

    Baseball is in the air, and Spring is here. Let's hope our pitching dominates like last year, and we score a few more runs. I can't wait till the season starts. F-Sanchez will be taking groundballs soon. Rowand lost some lbs so he should be in better shape! Go Giants!

    ~King of Cali
    All The Latest SF Giants Rumors
    http://www.sfgiantsbaseball.net

     
  • At 2:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sucks to hear about Ishikawa, I was looking forward to a big year from him in 2010.

     
  • At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey, just want to say hi. I'm new here.

     
  • At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Jerry said…

    Ohh Yeah, Spring is in the air indeed.. When does the full squad arrive, next week i'm assuming but when? I know games start March 1 right? I'm excited like a kid at christmas eve!!!

     

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