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Friday, November 15, 2013

Giants Should Target Haren, Johnson

Although there hasn't been any notable free agency signings to date, things are certain to pick up before Thanksgiving, and it may be in the Giants' best interest to strike early in their attempt to fill the void in their rotation.

The reason I believe it would be wise for San Francisco to strike early, especially in the starting pitching market is because all it will take is one of the top 6-7 pitchers to sign to set the market, and the numbers I'm hearing for some guys are pretty steep. This thought was validated earlier Friday when reports broke that Ricky Nolasco has multiple 4-year offers on the table at the moment, said to be worth between $13-$15M per year annually (I really hope the Giants are not on that list). Although it could just be posturing by his agent, it's very likely this will be the case. I listed our top-10 free agent starters last post and thought a 3-year, $36 million deal would be about as far as I'd go with Nolasco, but if he ends up getting 4 years and $60M, it's going to hamper what the Giants are able to do with other starting targets. I mean, $15M a year for a guy who's been a career-long number four is pretty ridiculous and if that's what the going rate has become for a slightly above-average pitcher, then the Giants may have tough sledding ahead. It's looking more and more likely there best bet will be to get a couple of guys on short-term, prove yourself deals, which is kind of what I was expecting all along.

The three names that keep popping up under those terms are Tim Hudson, Dan Haren and of course, Bronson Arroyo. I would take Hudson and Haren over Arroyo any day, and Arroyo is the most likely of the 3 to get 2+ years in a deal, so hopefully that prices him out of the Giants range. Huddy, on the other hand, could become a real possibility, and the rumors regarding him leaving Atlanta and possibly heading West have become more rampant over the last week. Haren is the guy I like best of the three though, and wouldn't be opposed to a one-year, $12M deal with some incentives built in and a mutual option on a 2nd. The other guy I still like, although he hasn't really been linked to the Giants at all yet, is Josh Johnson. If the Giants had to take two guys on one-year, incentive laden deals I'd like it to be Johnson and Haren. The reason being is because both are potential 1-2 starters when on and I still think both have plenty left in the tank. Johnson would be highly motivated to bounce back, and AT&T Park could be just the place for him to do it. I mean, if he's  healthy for 32 starts pitching at AT&T for the Giants, I could easily see him posting career-type numbers, which could lead to an epic deal next offseason. He had a horrible year in a switch to a new league in the hitters paradise that is the Rogers Centre, but had he been coming off any other season of his career (even his other injury-shortened ones), he'd be getting $100M+. There's certainly risk there, but the potential reward is well worth it.

Extras: As far as the Giants' own free agents, there hasn't been any more progress to report on with Javier Lopez and Ryan Vogelsong. Of the two, I would expect Lopez to have the better shot at returning. I could see Vogey coming back as well, but only if the Giants landed one of the bigger fish like Matt Garza to really upgrade the rotation the way they should be... Also, the Giants are apparently serious about bringing Brian Wilson back to town, though I was under the impression the two parted on sub-par terms. That aside, he'd be a great addition to the pen, and could possibly put Romo back into his 8th inning role, where I think he was the best in baseball in '11 and '12. Then again, the Giants have more pressing concerns at the moment and Weezy's probably gonna want a guaranteed closers role. Francisco Rodriguez may not be a bad, lower-budget option as insurance for Romo though after an impressive '13.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Count me in on Haren. He's not even really a risk like people are making him out to be. He's always been pretty good, to dominant, and really only was bad for a few months in 2013 and a few starts in 2012. I'm on board for him on a one year deal like your proposing especially if Nolascos gonna get 4 years. I think Haren is better than Nolasco anyway.

  • At 11:20 AM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    I predict Hudson and Vogelsong as the last two starters.

    I guess I wouldn't mind that, but they better upgrade the offense with some power in left.

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    I'm warming more to the idea of Hudson. Kind of hoping they'd go younger with more upside like Johnson or Haren, but there's a lot to like about Huddy.

    He'd be excellent with Cain and Lincecum, and I'd especially like to see him take Lincecum under his wing. Also, looking at his seasons last year, take away 2 starts in May in which he gave up 12 runs in 7 2/3 innings, and his ERA down around 3 over those other 19 starts.

    Only question with him is will he hold up for 180-200 innings, and still be able to provide quality starts in October.


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