12.14.2004

Last Day of the Winter Meetings

The Pierzynski era is over, long live Mike Matheny! The Giants signed and presented at a press conference yesterday their latest free agent signing, Mike Matheny. There was appropriate gushing on Sabean's part.

Oy, nothing against Mike, but he's not much of a hitter, low BA, OBP, SLG. He is, however, a catcher par excellance, setting records for error-less games streaks and such plus is another gold glove addition, along with Vizquel. He is the oft-mentioned good clubhouse presence, leader of the pitching staff, and Tomko loves him.

That's going to be a big drop from Pierzynski to Matheny offensively, but hopefully the runs we give up there, we gain back from his defense. Or at least that's how Sabean is viewing it. I will admit that I wondered how the Cardinals won so many games with that non-descript pitching staff, a question often asked of a Duncan-LaRussa led team, so hopefully some of that has rubbed off on Metheny and he can lead our young staff of pitchers to the promise land, especially since the Giants will now have Metheny catching them for much of their early part of their careers, Williams, Lowry, Hennessey, Correia, Cain, Valdez, Aardsma, Whitaker.

But I will sure miss Pierzynski's LHH bat! But he and his agent made their bed, particularly last year with forcing the Giants into arbitration, a process worse than death in Sabean's eyes, and then with their apparently high demand for a long-term contract. I was hoping that he would be reasonable this year but that hope was dashed. Now hopefully the CF the Giants acquire will be both an offensive as well as defensive improvement.

Most accounts of that call quoted Sabean that the Giants will waive Pierzynski and allow him to go free agent for the good work he did for us, but one account noted that the Giants will try to trade him before the deadline but most likely will waive him. There must be some team desperate enough to get a good LHH catcher who was an All-Star just two seasons ago and who among the leaders of NL catchers in RBI without having to bid over others to acquire him. Just give the Giants a middling reliever and a prospect.

If the Giants end up getting nothing for A.J., his trade will have to currently rank as the worse Sabean trade during his reign as Giants GM. I know there are still those who rankle over Ponson but he pitched well for us in the stretch run and the pitchers we gave up haven't done anything. The next worse would probably be the F-Rod trade for Ledee and then the Ortiz trade, though that could change based on Valdez' progress.

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