This and That before the Winter Meetings
The Giants are in poor shape right now, having more needs than budget to fill them. It will take an imaginative trade like the Matt Williams trade to net the Giants adequate talent to fill the Giants needs at starting pitching, 1B, OF, and utility MI. Hopefully Sabean can pull the rabbit out of the hat, but right now my hope meter is running low.
Giants Not Place Free Agents Want to Come
At least, that's what John Shea of the Chronicle wonders, using Loaiza and Eyre as examples, then noting Moises Alou's mid-season complaint about camraderie. It just goes to show how some writers get, clutching at straws for something to write about. First, Loaiza is a bad example. The Giants offered 3 years - the A's offered 3 years and an option year. True, it is not at his option but players still consider this a better offer. As a side note, good thing we dodged the bullet, I don't particularly think that Loaiza will be that good a starting pitcher for the A's or Giants.
Second, Eyre is a lousy example, particular after his response to Bruce Jenkins at the same newspaper. The Giants offered only 2 years, don't know how much, whereas the Cubs offered 2 years plus another year AT HIS OPTION. That's a huge swing of money due to that extra year, with the possibility that if he continues to pitch well, he'll go free agent for more money - win/win for him either way. In addition, he told Bruce Jenkins that he loved playing for Felipe Alou - a point he didn't have to make at all but he went out of his way to contact Bruce and share his feelings. He could have just stayed silent or, worse, "tell all" and complain about Felipe - players today have no compunction to hold back, many let it all hang out.
Third, he mentions Moises Alou's comment about camraderie. From what I recall, he has recanted on that. Near the end of the season, he mentioned that he wished he had not spoken up, because things got better. He was just jumping the gun as it took a while for the clubhouse to gel together.
Schmidt as Trade Bait
One interesting thing from the article is that it was mentioned that perhaps Schmidt is on the block, presumably a 1B. He noted that Schmidt is in his final year of his contract and it would be a huge risk if they are serious about 2006, but could net them another starting pitcher and a position player. At McCovey Chronicles, someone mentioned a rumor (unsubstantiated, just radio blather) that perhaps the Giants might trade Schmidt to the Phillies for Bobby Abreu.
Really, at this point, any moves the Giants might make right now carries great risk. The risk of overpaying for a non-producing starting pitcher (Loaiza has no "proven" history for me; Morris is a possible injury risk, plus low strikeout rate and horrible second half of 2005; some call Weaver a headcase; etc.) The risk of picking up a semi-regular left 1B/OF who probably is filled with flaws.
Schmidt is a very valuable commodity and, while I would prefer keeping him, if it nets us a premier hitter like Abreu or a nice, young starting pitcher and 1B tandem, I hope the Giants would at least listen to the deal. I would hope the Giants go to some desperate teams looking for an ace and pick off their 1B prospect who is ready for the show (like Adrian Gonzalez of Texas, though they probably don't have a pitcher we would want) plus a young starting pitcher who is also ready for the show - teams like to jump the process sometimes by going with experience than young (like the Giants, only Sabean said that his moves this year is suppose to reflect more of a future look, than here and now concerns).
There will be huge risks that Schmidt could leave without the Giants getting anything in return after the 2006 season. He has had public clashes with Felipe previously. He sounded none too happy when reporters broached the subject of the Giants not picking up his option when asked in May - admittedly it should be a touchy subject, but his defensive response indicates it hit a nerve, else he would have just laughed it off as reporter speculation and say that he'll deal with things after the season, once the Giants figure out what they are doing and that he's confident things will work out right, or some pablum like that. And he did pitch pretty poorly in 2004 but the A's still got a lot out of the Cardinal's for Mulder, despite his poor second half. I think the Giants need to at least kick the tires and see what the going market price for a Jason Schmidt is, you never know if there's any team crazy enough to offer the moon for him.
I have also seen a number of rumors around the place.
- Matt Morris appears to be the player the team is most targeting right now. Just keep it reasonable please.
- One said that Feliz is on the trading block. This makes some sense, they are promoting him as their starting 3B since the end of the season. He is one of our more tradeable players where we can get something of value for. His contract is not that bad, it is reasonable I think. They can also go back to Alfonzo as their 3B and hope 2005 was an aberration, with the idea of trading for 3B help in May if it turns out to be the end of his career.
- Another mentioned the possibility of the Giants trading Alfonzo to the Mets for Kaz Matsui. Their salaries match, both teams are tired of them, both teams plan to not start the player. Could be a situation for "I give you my problem, you give me yours, maybe it'll be the kick in the butt they need."
- ADDENDUM: Reportedly, the Giants have been inquiring with the Mets about Kris Benson. The Mets reportedly are not happy with Benson and wants to dump his salary. Unless the Giants are getting some cash out of this deal plus not give up much in prospects, they should pass on Benson, whose career record looks eerily like Brett Tomko. If they are that desperate they could resign Tomko to the same contract as Benson had, Tomko claimed he wanted Benson type money last off-season.
- ADDENDUM: David Wells reportedly said that he would be "happy with the San Francisco Giants." I think he would be as good an addition as anyone else right now among the free agents. His contract is a mix of a small base with bonuses for milestones in games started, which escalates up to $9M. He pitched well over the last few seasons, though his road numbers were horrid with Boston, but he pitched very well with San Diego the year before and he wants to be in the NL, where his ERA will go down due to the lack of the DH. Plus, if he's not pitching well, we could dump him mid-year and only be out maybe $4-5M for only 2006, whereas obtaining mediocre pitchers like Loaiza, Tomko, Byrd, looks like it will cost in the $7M+ range per year, 2-3 years, if they should falter.