Giants Hot Stove Report #1

The offseason doesn’t necessarily mean the end of baseball news. In many ways, it actually gets more exciting because of all the rumors flying left and right. First of all, let’s go over what the Giants’ goals are for the offseason. Coming off another losing season, the Giants are at least on the right track in terms of rebuilding. After trading Matt Williams in the controversial 1997 trade, Sabean said “I’m not an idiot.” Do I think he’s an idiot now? No, not quite. He might be a bit lucky for not trading Lincecum last winter for Alex Rios (he was pretty close to doing so). If you ever read the McCovey Chronicles, it’s a great Giants blog that paints Sabean as an idiot. It’s a funny read. Here’s one of their hilarious comics from last year’s winter meetings:

With a new managing partner in Bill Neukom, the front office is looking to improve in a number of areas this winter:

(1) Improve the bullpen – Last year, they blew it for Lincecum and cost him at least five wins.
(2) Upgrade one of the middle infield positions – The defense loses 11-time Gold Glove winner and fan favorite, Omar Vizquel.
(3) Add a big bat – The Giants were one of the worst run production teams in the majors last year.

What have they done so far? They made the first splash into the free agent market by signing Jeremy Affeldt to a two year, $8 million dollar contract. It’s a smart move because he’s one of the top arms in the free agent market, strengthens the bullpen, short contract, and he’s also a lefty.

What are some of the rumors? Recently, the Giants have been linked to Edgar Retinera and Bobby Howry. Retinera is one season removed from hitting over .300 but his average dropped to .270 last year and also had lapse defense. Personally, I think the money would be better spent elsewhere and just stick with up and coming Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen, Eugenio Velez, or Ivan Ochoa. Retinera was a Type A free agent, which would have cost the Giants a second round draft pick, but the Tigers declined offering him arbitration yesterday. There was a false rumor last week that the Giants signed him for a two-year, $18 million dollar contract. $9 million per year for a .270 infielder? Seriously? Well, at least it’s a short term deal and prevents the Giants from going after Rafael Furcal. I still think the $9 can be better spent on paying half of the $20+ million for Sabathia or Ramirez. Speaking of which, yesterday an article came out in the Chronicle where Lincecum was campaigning for Sabathia. That kind of rotation would be crazy and would definitely be tops in the majors: Sabathia/Lincecum/Cain/Zito/Sanchez. Howry is another reliever, who I think the Giants can do without. They like him for his control and lack of walks, but I see no point if he still gives up hits. He had an ERA over 5 and it ballooned to over 6 after the All-Star break last season. Rumor has it that the two should be signed by the end of this week or early next week. The Giants still lack the big bat that they sorely need. I say, get Manny Ramirez at any cost. It will also boost ticket sales and he will practically pay for himself.

Speaking of ticket sales, due to the bad economy, the Giants are keeping the prices the same for the most part. Next season, they are trying a new thing called “dynamic ticket prices.” The price of tickets will fluctuate up and down even up until game time based on conditions such as weather, the team played, special occasions, etc. For example, a Dodgers game would cost more than a game versus the Brewers. The price wouldn’t vary significantly, but anywhere form .25-$5.00. Interesting concept.

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