12.10.2004

My First Post - Winter Meetings Musings

On the day Winter Meetings begin, some Giants fans hopes were dashed by the reported signing of Steve Finley by the Angel's. At the dollars being reported - $15-20M for 2 years plus an option year - I say no thank you, Mini-George-West can have him at that price. Especially with Finley at 40 next year and 41 the year after. Like I wrote at sfdugout.com, all baseball players before Bonds who played into their 40's had at least one bad season in their 40's before retiring. Just as I fear that might happen with Bonds, that should happen with Finley.

With Finley and Dye gone, the usual suspects list has narrowed to Moises Alou. He's never been a defensive whiz, a requirement that Sabean said he was looking for in the outfield, so I don't think he's going to happen. Also, with the way Boras operates, all his big-name players won't be signing before New Years and when they do it will be for over $10M, so the Giants should not be kicking the tires of any Boras client. That leaves trading for upgrading the outfield.

According to the Chron, the Giants are looking at Dave Roberts and Scott Podsednik. I don't see either as an upgrade over Tucker, who would be replaced by the new player. I am hoping for two possible scenarios: Andruw Jones or Magglio Ordonez.

Andruw is supposedly on the trading blocks and his defense has been compared to Willie Mays plus he's been a pretty good power hitter too. I would not trade Cain for him but how about this package: Alfonzo, Mohr, Valdez, and Tomko? Getting Alfonzo could free them to trade Giles to the A's for Hudson. Mohr could help with an outfield spot, I wouldn't have minded the Giants going with him in a Feliz-like role in the outfield for 2005 or even start, better than Tucker I think. Valdez would give them something for the immediate future starting, Tomko would give them something for today. Plus that evens up the salaries more while filling many positional needs for the Braves. Or they can have Rueter instead if they prefer that, Mazzone has worked many miracles in Atlanta. Or Feliz if they prefer him over Alfonzo.

Magglio supposedly might be looking at a one year make good contract like Garciaparra and that would work for the Giants once they are able to give him a physical and determine he is OK. He was a Vlad-lite statistically previous to his injury last season and my second choice after Vlad when I was hot after Vlad last off-season. The only thing is that I don't know how he is defensively so that might kill the deal in Sabean's eyes, who is looking to upgrade defensively as well as offensively in the outfield.

Sabean usually work under the radar in trades so my guess would that any rumors found in the media is the work of a writer finding outfield trade possibilities from other teams and putting their names out as players Sabean might get. I've seen fans talk about trading some of the Giants young arms and, from my gut, I would rather the Giants keep Williams, Cain, Foppert, Lowry, Hennessey, Aardsma, Whitaker, right now. Valdez I am OK with letting go because he's in as much demand as any of the above and my gut says that he has the biggest potential of this bunch to fail. Don't know why, just a gut feeling.

I would prefer keeping Pierzynski but I have to assume that the Giants and he are far apart in what they think he should get in a multi-year contract else we would have had a happy press conference already. He should be more flexible because if not, the Giants will probably trade him and he might end up with a lousy team, something that I think would kill his spirit over a full season.

There's no way the Giants will non-tender him, as some fans have suggested, he is too valuable (and unfortunately he knows it) and there will be a team who would want to risk arbitration with him, he is on the edge of being an elite catcher in the league. The Giants messed up last time by low-ball offering him $2.25M vs. his $3.5M when all estimates on his worth was $3M in the press. The arbitrator was forced to go with A.J. Had they offered $2.75M, they might have gotten away with it, and $3M definitely should have won.

Giants roster right now I have pegged at $72M with Bonds deferment, $67M without, for existing contracts. Some say the former is right, some say the latter. I have found in the past that my numbers match up with the Giants announced budgets best when his deferment is included. Either way, you win some you lose some, Bonds deferred $5M but Rueter had deferred $2.5M to 2005 and I assume Tomko did his $1M deferral to 2005 as well, so that would put my figure at about $70M moving around the deferments.

With all the arbs and non-arbs, I have $83M including and $81M without. Sabean had said previously that they don't necessarily have to trade A.J. in order to keep the roster and get an outfielder. That would seem to mean that the proper figure is the lower figure. Either way, that is still above the announced $78M that he was targeting. That could mean that there is little budget mid-year to trade for someone unless the magical "Maddux" money appears again.

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