Thoughts on Giants 2006 posted on another blog
The Giants have at least $82M allocated already based on current contracts and expected young players but Magowan said that $85M is the budget target: so you can forget about signing any big free agent unless they have a change of heart and do what they said they might do, which is increase the budget, or somehow unload Alfonzo and/or Durham for salary relief.
I think their main needs are another starter and a power hitting 1B. Schmidt, Lowry, and Cain make a good three-some; trading any of them would be suicide for 2006 unless you get a better pitcher back. Lowry has been as erratic if not more so than Schmidt. Cain has proven that he is ready for the spotlight, Lowry got a starting spot at the start of 2005 with less performance highlights in the previous season.
About the last two rotation spots, Hennessey/Correia will battle for the 5th spot, leaving a free agent for the 4 spot in the rotation; I expect Hennessey to get the spot, he has been Dr. Hennessey and Mr. Hyde both this season and last, so he has to be given the shot in case he can harness it consistently because when he is good, he has been dominating. Matt Kinney will probably get a shot as well but unless he's lights out in spring training, I would rather go with Hennessey and give him more experience in the majors.
Positionally, we have players signed (or with options that will be picked up) for every position except 1B. We have enough minor leaguers to take backup positions on the bench plus Feliz as uber-utility guy.
Random comments on things said above:
I don't see the Giants cutting Alfonzo and his $8M contract but he could be traded for some other team's contract mistake.
Durham has been great... when not injured and he's been injured too much, resulting in a poorer offense when his replacement is in. I can see the Giants trading him for salary relief only, the either move Alfonzo to 2B (if he isn't traded) or perhaps let Frandsen get a chance there.
Vizquel's late season fade has hurt their offense since he has batted 2nd all season. But he%