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Saturday, January 14, 2012

FA's Still Available Who Could Fill Giant Needs

Here we are, about a month to the day until pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale, and though it appears as if the Giants offseason activity is probably over, there are still several players available on the free agent market that I believe could improve the team's 25-man roster.

Now, being that it is well into January, most of the premiere guys have already found homes, and the ones that haven't (Prince Fielder, Carlos Pena, Roy Oswalt) probably won't land in a Giants uniform. However, there are still just a few guys I've kept my eye on over the last few weeks, and if they approach February without homes, would certainly be worth taking a flyer on, especially on a short-term deals. Those players are:

Cody Ross, OF: Ever since the Giants struck out on Beltran, I've made it more than clear that I want Cody Ross back in a Giants uniform. So much to the point where I should put under the heading of the page, "Bring Back the Boss!" In all seriousness though, he's probably the most complete outfielder left out there, not counting the mysterious Yeonis Cespedes (still don't know where he's going to land, sure would be great in SF, but the Giants wouldn't spend on Beltran, so doubt they pursue Cespedes). Whether it's a 4th outfielder, or back as the starting RF, or if it's platooning with Nate Schierholtz, whatever the role may be, but the Giants have a huge need for another player with experience at all outfield spots who can knock the ball out of the ballpark. It also helps that he knows how to play right field here and is great in that clubhouse. I just have that feeling that whoever lands Cody Ross for 2012 will be mighty glad they did as I see a big comeback year for the 31 year-old (especially with the way he ended 2011). What I'd offer? 1 year - $6M, plus a full team option for a 2nd.

Ryan Theriot, IF: He and the next guy I'm going to mention are basically the only two infielders really left worth gambling on with major league deals. There are other guys I wouldn't mind offering an invite to spring training (like Jack Wilson or someone like that) but Theriot, while not terrifically gifted defensively, can handle the bat pretty well and has a ton of experience at shortstop and 2nd base. He's had some injury issues a bit the last couple of seasons, but the last time he was really healthy the whole year in '09, he had a respectable .284/7/54 line with 21 steals and a .343 OBP. He's not a guy who's going to be a game changer one way or the other, but he'd offer a solid veteran influence and insurance for both Freddy Sanchez and Brandon Crawford. What I'd offer: Spring Training invite with $2M guaranteed if makes team out of spring.

Wilson Betemit, IF: Now, this guy is only attractive because of one quality, and that is he can flat out hit right-handed pitching. Unfortunately for the Giants, the one infield spot he's probably least comfortable at is shortstop, where they really need a reliable backup, but he'd be a great guy to have coming off the bench or backing up Freddy Sanchez in case his injuries persist. I'd much rather have Betemit and Fontenot as the two reserve infielders over Fontenot and Burris, especially if you get Wilson at a discounted price for a year. What I'd offer? 1 year - $3M.

Edwin Jackson, SP: He's the one remaining FA not named Fielder who I'd actually give a multi-year deal to, but definitely no more than 3 and only if the price were really good. I mentioned earlier in the offseason about Jackson being a 2-part addition. Insurance in case Matt Cain decides he wants to pitch where he can get some offensive backing after 2012 when he's free. Also, it makes the Giants 2012 rotation stupid good which, in turn, would make their soft offense more palatable. I mean, if your going for the pitching/defense mantra, why not go all out? They'd have a Lincecum-Cain-Bumgarner-Vogelsong-Jackson rotation, all guys who bring it and are extremely tough at-bats. Not to mention Jackson's style is perfectly suited for AT&T, a lot like Matt Cain's (fly ball/strikeout guy). Now, it would certainly come at some cost, as Jackson should get close to $8-10 million per year. But based on age (28) and his last couple of seasons (49-41, 3.79 ERA, 1.29 WHIP since '08), I think he's worth it in this market. What I'd offer? 3 years - $24M, with 4th year team option.

Maglio Ordonez, OF: Now, Ordonez is a guy who I haven't really talked about much here this offseason, but isn't too far removed from being a very efficient hitter in one of the toughest hitters parks in baseball. Magg-Pipes is hit 12 homers with 59 RBI before suffering an injury that limited him to 84 games in 2010 and he never really got right in 2011. He'll be 38 by opening day, but for some reason, I see another year or two of killing left-handed pitching for Maggs, and if the Giants could get him on a dirt cheap deal to help out Nate in right, then why not? Better than having Justin Christian backing up Schierholtz. Rather have Cody though, but since they seem dis-interested in him, I wonder if Sabean would look at Ordonez? What I'd offer? 1 year, $3.5M + Incentives.

If all else fails, and the Giants aren't able to land one or two of the above mentioned five players, a few guys I would look to as last resort options would be outfielder Ryan Ludwick and maybe even infielder Willie Harris as well. As they stand now, the Giants have Justin Christian as their 4th outfielder, with the notoriously injury-prone Nate Scheirholtz penciled in as the starting right fielder. I know Brandon Belt figures to get some at-bats in the outfield, but even so, I think this team needs a cheap, right-handed bat that can hit the ball out of the yard and play the corner spots. Ludwick would give the team right handed option, for right field, though far less of one than Cody Ross and doesn't have camaraderie with this team like Cody does. Fact is though, Ludwick hit pretty well until he moved to Petco then was shipped to and used sparingly in Pittsburgh, plus he's a good RBI guy. Heck, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports!, who I think is one of the better national baseball writers out there, actually ranks Ludwick ahead of Ross in his FA rankings. Harris is like a swiss-army knife, and can do some different things at the plate and in the field. He's got some sneaky power (30 HR's as part timer from '08-'10), during which span he managed a .745 OPS, and gets on base at an above average rate (.351 OBP in 2011). He's a journeyman who's shown that he's a tough out, can run and play anywhere but pitcher, catcher and first base, and is the epitome of a utility guy and 25th man. I'd love to see him and Manny B. battle it out for a roster spot in March!

BTW, being a San Francisco sports fan, how about them Niners!
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maglio ordonez? Ithink hes toast. Like Betemit and Ross the most but Harris and Ludwick wouldn't be bad fall backs.

  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous J-Biill said…

    This 49ers run is much like the Giants run in 2010 was. Kinda out of nowhere. Bring it home Red and Gold!


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