Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What to do next?

Where, oh where, to begin. So Manny holes. So Manny needs. So Manny years removed from success. It could take forever to rebuild this disaster, at least that's how it's viewed nationally. Or will it? If only we had a very young middle infielder to build around a defense, an equally young power hitter just coming into his own, and a pitching staff (throughout the minors) every team in baseball is salivating over. Where, oh where, might we find that...

Wow, maybe the Giants aren't as bad off as people think. The have "the Franchise" face in reigning Cy Young Tim Lincecum with 4 more seasons to lock him up long term. The Contract in Barry Zito for 5 more. Matt Cain for 3 more. and a whole lot of possibilities. Jonathan Sanchez is very promising but still raw. Noah Lowry is a 2 time team leader in wins but coming off a freak arm injury. No one in the minors can be counted on as a starter this year but many are close and we shouldn't be suprised to see many of them get a start or two this year. Kevin Pucetas is possible. Joseph Martinez as well. Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner both have the Lincecum/Cain upside but there is no need to rush them. I hope we don't see them until september at the earliest, preferably next season. Bottom line: unless we get a knockout offer for Cain, say David Wright or Ryan Zimmerman or Ryan Braun, he is more valuable to keep this year and wait for the other pitchers to develop. Barry Zito is virtually untradeable at this point and so is Noah Lowry, for a different reason. Tim Lincecum cannot...I REPEAT, CANNOT...be traded. That leaves Jonathan Sanchez as trade bait. He should be worth more but the other teams all know the Giants situation as well, and will hold out for a lower price. If sanchez cannot fetch a young, major league ready yet unproven potential star, he is also more valuable to keep around 1 more year. The Giants should try to sign 1 free agent starter this offseason. Who, we'll get to that.

The bullpen is arguably the most glaring need. Obviously another bat or two is needed but 2 bats will have less impact on winning than 2 arms to this team. Fortunately, 1 has already been made. Although Joel Biemel was my first choice for a lefty, Jeremy Affeldt was the right move. It's splitting hairs really so who cares. Now, the Giants can put jack Taschner up for trade, or keep him for early inning work. He still has value. Alex Hinshaw can move to a less prominant role and learn the majors. The next move should be Juan Cruz but he will cost us a draft pick. I go back and forth on the value of that. If the Giants sign another type A then it will be more worth it. Cruz is probably gonna take 3 years and another 10-12 mil. A bullpen of Wilson, Cruz, Affeldt, Valdez, Hinshaw, Romo, and either Threets, Yabu, Taschner, or Sadler could be the difference in 10 games from last year. Thats talking division title in the west and thats without scoring 650 runs.

Offensivly and Defensivly the Giants have Manny needs. In a perfect world, they would sign Mark Texeria to a loooong term deal. But this isn't a perfect world. It takes two sides to tango and nothing says Texeria wants to be in the bay. Then again, Scott Boras may slip a little more of his good stuff to mr. Sabean and get what he wants but I doubt it. Outside of a Texeria signing and/or a Cain trade, the Giants need to look internally. Sure, Manny Burriss didn't hit for power last year, but he did hit. He can play defense and hehas the strongest arm since Matt Williams. He is also only 23 and 2 seasons removed from college. Thats all. Lets give the kid a chance. I'm not saying he's the next Cal Ripkin jr., but I bet he's better than the current free agent options when it's all said and done. The youth movement must go on. Pablo Sandoval. Fred Lewis. Nate Shierholtz. Kevin Frandsen. Travis Ishikawa. They need to be evaluated. They need a chance to prove themselves. Manny needs to play.

Now, they are not the complete answer, not for this year, not yet. The farm isn't deep enough, not yet. The Giants need more offense, they are probably going to have to venture into the free agent market. What to do, whom to get, at what price. Well, the most glaring need is 3B, but they do have internal options to try...key word is try. like I said, in the likely case Wright or Zimmerman don't come our way, or they can't work out a trade for chris Davis AND he can play there, they should look at Beltre from Seattle. He should do well in the NL and should be a type "A" F.A. next winter. As long as the price isn't too steep. If not him, wait until late in the hot stove season and try a low cost, short term deal for Joe Crede. He might be looking for 1 more year to reestablish himself and the LF bleachers at PacBell park could be just the thing. A platoon between him, Sandoval, and Frandsen could work. As for the middle infield, Furcal enamors me. I like his unranked status and potential to rebound. A hitter built for this park. But it's alot of money and time and pushes Burriss into a 2b logjam, not a horrible thing, but if everyone develops like they are supposed to, we could have a bad problem in 2 years. then again, it could be a good problem. I don't like O. Cabrera but the more I think about renteria and O. Hudson, the more I am OK with them at 2 years. No more. They shouldn't hamper our future ability to sign our own players, offer an improved offensive production, and could be great trade bait next season or possibly provide draft picks via free agency in 2 years. The only real problem is they are both type "A" F.A. now and the Giants could lose this years pick. Neither are worth that 2nd round pick but do become worth it if the Giants sign 2-3 other type "A"s like Tex or CC and Juan Cruz. The other option is upgrading 1B......TEX...TEX...TEX...we could try Adam Dunn but he doesn't deserve a 4-5 year deal and would negatively impact our future.

The outfield is set and unless the Giants can unload Dave Roberts and Randy Winn or Aaron Rowand, or both, they don't need to be making any plays for upgrades here. If they do, they should go look into Manny Rameriez.

Bottom Line is: the Giants need to make a few small changes this year with the eye towards 2010. Unless they get Texeria or CC, a major star(Zimmerman) in a trade for Cain or a future star(C. Davis, E. Andrus) in a trade for Sanchez, they should sign 1 more middle reliever(Juan Cruz) and get 1 more infielder(Furcal, Beltre, Crede, Hudson, Renteria), probably a middle infielder. They could field a very competetive team next year.

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