Free Agent Options for Third and First Base

It’s been pointed out before, but Pablo Sandoval and Travis Ishikawa need a right-handed complement who can play first and third. Really, that’s the only move I expect, nay, demand that the Giants make. It isn’t a very exciting demand. It’s kind of like demanding homemade cakey bread with a bunch of crappy nuts and/or dried fruit around the holidays. Doable – likely, even – but unexciting. You can see why other people are clamoring for an Xbox 360 or a Wii (Prince Fielder and Dan Uggla, respectively), but you’re sacrificing excitement for realistic expectations. Good for you.

With that out of the way, it should be noted that I fell asleep five times while writing this. Here’s what’s left:

***

Rich Aurilia

Pro:

Laugh if you must, but he can still hit lefties. He’s a familiar and likable player, and I wouldn’t have to put his bobblehead in storage with Moises Alou.

Con:

His defense at third is abysmal; he’s a third baseman because he was a third baseman, not because he deserves to be now. The biggest con is that Bruce Bochy would keep penciling Aurilia’s name into the lineup. Tough lefty? Aurilia at first. Tough righty? Aurilia at third. Bases loaded in the fourth inning? Sit down, Travis, because Aurilia’s going up to pinch hit.

Holiday gift equivalent:

A DVD of X-Men 3, which isn’t the worst movie in the world. But you just returned a copy to Blockbuster, dang it. You don’t want to watch that thing again.

***

Ty Wigginton

Pro:

He can play every position except for catcher, short, and center. He’s hit 20 home runs or more for three straight years.

Con:

Wigginton isn’t a good defensive player, and he’d probably want a two-year, if not a three-year, deal. Other teams are interested, and in a weak free-agent market for corner infielders, his price might get high enough to affect the 2010 budget. The biggest con is that Bruce Bochy wouldn’t realize that Wigginton shouldn’t hit much against right-handed pitching. He’d get 500 at-bats, easy.

Holiday gift equivalent:

A shiny new mobile phone! It kind of handles your e-mail, it kind of replaces your organizer, and it only drops every other call. You just need to sign up for a two-year contract. Also, the "6" key doesn’t work. And Bochy keeps racking up overage charges.

***

Josh Phelps (1B)/Kevin Frandsen (3B)

Pro:

They’re already here, and they’re cheap. Phelps would be the best power hitter on the roster.

Con:

They’d take up two roster spots, and Frandsen really isn’t much of a third baseman. And if you’re counting on Frandsen starting several games at third, that means the Giants would need to keep Burriss or Velez to start at second. That was probably going to happen anyways, but it is a little constricting to commit to that before spring training.

Holiday gift equivalent:

Not receiving any banana bread, which forces you to make Special K with packets of creamer you found in your car. Hey, it beats going to the store.

***

Joe Crede

Pro:

He might be cheap. Bay City Ball makes a pretty good case for Crede.

Con:

If healthy, he’d be the Starting Third Baseman, which would mean that Sandoval and Ishikawa would split at-bats at first. Sandoval at first is kind of a waste, but Sandoval getting a bulk of his at-bats at first when lefties pitch is a total waste. And even when he was healthy, Crede was never anything special. He’s like Pedro Feliz with five extra walks per season. That isn’t worth the at-bats he’d take from Sandoval.

Holiday gift equivalent:

A Nintendo 64, with a copy of Quake, one controller, and an instruction manual for Super Mario 64 to fuel your dreams.

***

I’m not loving any of those, but if I had to choose, I’d go with Wigginton on a two-year deal for less than $6M per. If that isn’t enough money, I’d stick with Frandsen and Phelps.

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