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Friday, November 23, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

The Giants made a few moves since they won the 'Series last month, but since the Affeldt signing and assuring Pence a contract for 2012, things have been pretty quiet.

Well, you can expect that to change in the coming week as MLB's free agency appears to be picking up, and there has been a lot of talk about the Champion San Francisco Giants. Most of the talk, to nobodies surprise, has been of Angel Pagan, and the chances the Giants have of signing the second-half machine. As I've suspected all along though, I just don't see him coming back, as some other team is destined to overpay for him for what he did from August 3rd-on. Friday, it was leaked that the Giants and Pagan's party seem to be a ways apart on a new deal and both will look towards other avenues in the next few days. I don't know the details of what's holding up negotiations for certain, but it's likely coming down to years. Most likely, the Giants won't go more than 3, and won't pay more than $10M per, and there are going to be teams out there that will exceed that. Pagan was said to be seeking 4 years in the neighborhood of $12M/per, but I don't think he'll get quite that. And if you thought he'd be giving his Giants and the city a "hometown discount", his wife showed their true ambitions this week on Twitter. I could very easily see that if he Braves lose Bourn, or the Yankees panic about Jeter's future and don't return Nick Swischer, than he'll that 4 year deal he's coveting. Even Boston and Philly could throw big dollars in Pagan's direction.

Now onto some of the other names besides Pagan, who could be trolling one of the outfield spots at AT&T next season. The Giants have been on record as showing interest in two guys already, B.J. Upton as well as Michael Bourn, but I'm not sure either will end up fitting into San Francisco's plans this winter. Upton, at 28 years of age and a career .757 OPS performer does have outstanding upside still, with 30-30 potential and the ability to carry a .400 on-base, but he also has the ugly side, which are the strikeouts and the low contact rate issue. As per defense, he's second to few, and is gold-glove caliber in center, but at his age and with his raw skill, it'll be interesting to see what he fetches out there in a thin OF market. We already saw Torii Hunter get 2 years and $26 million from Detroit, so a 4 year, $50M deal for Upton wouldn't be out of this world and could very well happen. I like the player, and wouldn't mind him at say, 2 plus an option for $10M plus incentives, but this isn't a perfect world. As per Bourn though, I have a strange feeling the Giants could overpay for him should they lose Pagan, and I sorely hope I'm mistaken. Bourn is younger than Pagan and has a better track record, which means for all intents and purposes, he should be the one looking for Aaron Rowand money this winter, not Pagan. I see Bourn waiting out Pagan's deal and using that as a threshold for him, which again, doesn't bode so well for San Francisco.

Then there's another leadoff hitting, center fielder that I've been pondering over the days, and that is Shane Victorino. I know he's got a a less-than-stellar rep here with San Fran fans, but seems like a terrific clubhouse guy who'd fit in well with this bunch. Much like the 'love 'em if you got 'em, hate 'em if you face 'em' type player. Two things about Victorino though were his steady decline last year and less-than-ideal splits vs. righties. He simply did not hit them well in 2012, and that's been the case for him more than once in his career. In 2011, he managed a .283 average off righties, which is fine, but he'd be a bit of a gamble. On the other side, he's every bit the defender Pagan is and, prior to 2012, would have been every team's choice between the two. He's also Pagan's junior by a year. I haven't heard any numbers thrown out yet as to what Victorino is seeking, but a 3 year/30M deal (they'd love Pagan to take) may be in the ballpark. Victorino is also coming off his worst season as a big leaguer (especially ugly in LA), so take that as you will. There are so many factors to take in with all these free agent outfielders because chances are, you may have to overpay to get one of them and you better pick the right one. Not to mention, the Giants really need two starting-caliber outfielders this winter, but that's a conversation for next time. 

None of these guys are going to sell tickets like a Josh Hamilton signing, but that's just not going to happen. These are the top center fielders out on the market who also hit atop the batting order, although Upton and Victorino have some versatility in that department. There are many other outfielders that should be on the Giants radar though this winter, as they have only Blanco and Pence under control for 2013, which means we're looking at the likely addition of two new starters in the outfield if Pagan bolts (which unfortunately, seems like the logical thinking at this time).
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6 Comments:

  • At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Essex said…

    Funny we're almost in the same boat. I really want the Giatns to keep Pagan and sign Victorino for LF. I think he'd be the perfect post-Melky player with the same style of game. But F*** me, if Pagan wants a 50 million contract, thanks for the year buddy, but no friggen way! I rather have scutaro back anyway.

     
  • At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Giants need either Pagan or Bourn. I dont really trust Victorino as a leadoff. I think he was always best hitting at 2nd with the Phils.

     
  • At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Teddy Hendrick said…

    I'm beginning to get antsy waiting out Sabes? What are they going to do. Almost December and not a signing yet, besides Affeldt. I have a strange feeling you could be right on with Victorino as a replacement for Pagan. Very similar game. If we could sign Upton, Shane V. and get back Scutaro, I'd be OK by losing Pagan. We know the Giants have the money now!

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Teddy-

    I like your thinking, and a Victorino+Upton signing does sound intriguing. However, I don't know if Sabean will roll the dice on two big free agents with the track record he's had in free agency lately. I think they'd really like to get Pagan back, and then maybe take a shot on a left fielder with power, though there aren't many out there.

    We'll be looking at some LF options in our next post.

     
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