A glance at names for depth
I've come across a group of names that would appear, at the least, suitable additions to this team, to provide some depth where they sorely lacked it last year. If these guys came on cheap, one-year deals like they're all expected to, I would love to see the Giants take a dice roll on one or two of them. Especially in the bullpen, where the Giants are set up well but could certainly upgrade. Plus, after witnessing what the Dodgers have done with their pen, Sabean may feel obligated to.
RHP Francisco Rodriguez: We've talked K-Rod here a few times this winter, and he's still dangling out there in free agency waiting for the right fit. I think his fiery competitiveness would play well in the Giants' pen, and he'd give them a legit set-up man for Sergio Romo (as well as fallback option should anything happen to Romo). More importantly though, another late-inning arm like K-Rod would allow Boch to use Santiago Casilla more freely, which in turn would make the bullpen a helluva lot better.
RHP Grant Balfour: Similarly to K-Rod, he'd provide another arm with closing experience on a short-term deal. He's coming off a couple of terrific years as Oakland's closer where he's been one of the best relievers in baseball, and could give the Giants quite a duo with Romo at the end of ballgames. He is 36, but he's been a bit of a late bloomer and still has plenty left in the tank. It's a long-shot, but it's something the Giants have apparently considered, and the longer he goes unsigned, the more of a possibility it becomes. Even though Brian Sabean doesn't want to play "Keeping up with the Joneses", the fact that LA has 4 closers in their pen could persuade the Giants into adding one more.
RHP Jesse Crain: Was the best reliever in baseball last season up until his campaign was abruptly ended on June 29th. Because of injury, he'll be relegated to a one-year prove yourself deal, but if he's healthy and checks out, he would be well worth the gamble. Always has been one of the best right-handed set-up guys in the game, and is just the type of effective late-inning arm the Giants could use. (So much for that, Houston just announced a one-year deal with Crain)
RHP Frank Francisco: Sure, Francisco has his flaws, but when he's on, he's going to strike out over a batter an inning, won't walk many and is one of the tougher relievers to hit in baseball. If the price is right and he passes a physical, I'd have no qualms about him joining Casilla, Romo and Lopez as the main late-inning guys.
UT Jeff Baker: The "Swiss-army knife" can do a little bit of everything, and play every position on the diamond but catcher, center field and pitcher. He's not too shabby with the lumber either. Young would give you more offense, but Baker is the superior defensive infielder and can also play the corner outfield spots as well.
UT Michael Young: The 37 year-old has lost a step on defense, but he's still a threat with the bat. Although he's not a great defender at this point, he's still able to man every infield position, and would give the Giants a solid backup plan at 2nd and 3rd where Sandoval and Scutaro each missed time last season. He'd instantly become the Giants best asset off the pine and could rack-up 400 at-bats in that role.
1B/3B Mark Reynolds: Would be a better version of Brett Pill in the role as right-handed masher off the bench who can fill in at 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Rather would have the more versatile, better hitting Young, but having Reynolds coming off the bench and having to earn his at-bats wouldn't be such a bad thing either.
OF Brennan Boesch: The 28 year-old outfielder faded mightily down the stretch during Detroit's 2012 World Series run and hasn't really been heard from since. He had a handful of at-bats last season with the Yankees and will be looking to rebound somewhere in 2014. As a 5th outfielder who can hit with some power and play the corners, he may be worth a look see and an invite to camp.
Possible Minor League Deals: OF/1B Tyler Colvin, OF Reed Johnson, RHP David Aardsma, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Mitchell Boggs, LHP Clayton Richard