12.29.2004

World Series or bust?!?

"There are very few times when you're humbled by signings," said Sabean. "This signing was momentous to the Giants. To put him in the middle of the lineup -- he's one of the top five most dangerous hitters in the National League. He's a gamer and I think we'll all take great joy [by earning] a World Series ring. " (sfgiants.com)

I guess this means that the rumors are true, the Giants are going for it. Finally, all of us fans voices are being heard. This was not said at the beginning of the off-season. No, in fact, it looked like same-old, same-old "we're not a big budget team, we can't get a bopper, blah blah 2004." But somewhere along the line the Giants owners finally got it - "gee Bonds is 40!" - and realized that they had to go for it now, there's not many more seasons of Bonds left, let alone at historic levels. Perhaps the Red Sox's stirring victory inspired or motivated them (or just plain kicked them in their keister!).

"I'd compare it to our 2000 team and 2003 teams," said Magowan. "This team compares favorably. We have a strong bullpen, a lot of run-scoring ability in the lineup and a good defensive team. I expect to have a great year in 2005." (sfgiants.com)

Oh boy, wouldn't Baker have been crying to the press with this one and the previous quote. I expect them to have a great year in 2005 too. With Alou's signing, now we have the bat behind Bonds to drive him in a zillion times for the zillion times Bonds gets walked.

Alou career 2004
Bases Empty .287/.346/.507/.852 .272/.338/.532/.870
Runners On .313/.388/.520/.908 .319/.389/.589/.978
RISP .312/.397/.518/.915 .303/.363/.566/.929

vs. Left .326/.391/.539/.929 .298/.355/.491/.846
vs. Right .292/.359/.505/.864 .292/.363/.573/.936

Gosh, with these numbers, maybe Bonds can be convinced to bat 3rd with Alou 4th!

"The heavy lifting's done," said Sabean. "We will tweak the team's bullpen and defensively, but we have a good shot at doing good. When these guys sit around the clubhouse they'll see veterans with experience and passion. They're gamers who'll feed off each other." (sfgiants.com)

So the roster is pretty set with the following:

Starting Lineup: Durham, Vizquel, Snow/Feliz, Bonds, Alou, Alfonzo/Feliz, Grissom, Matheny; with Alfonzo batting 3rd sometimes when Feliz is playing 1B in platoon with Snow.

Starting Rotation: Schmidt, Tomko, Williams, Rueter, Lowry

Bench: Tucker, Feliz, Cruz, Torrealba

Bullpen: Benitez, Herges, Brower, Eyre, Christiansen

That leaves three spots open: reserve OF/1B or perhaps another reliever plus two relievers. Torcato looks to be the one to beat right now because he bats LH and has done well hitting in MLB in short stints, however Ellison has to be in the mix because he can play all three OF positions while Torcato really can only play RF and 1B and not even decently. Foppert, Hennessey, Aardsma, Franklin, Fassero, and Correia are probably the main battlers for the final bullpen spots. It will probably depend on how well they all do in spring training, with Fassero getting an edge because he's gone if he don't make the MLB roster.

For all these players I get a total player payroll on a cash basis of $83M, a bit over the $78M that was mentioned as a target but within the "Maddux Money" extra over the budget.

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