Of the three players listed above, I find both Johnson and Kouzmanoff appealing to the Giants, but especially Kouzmanoff. Here are a few reasons why:
- He has power. Kouzmanoff actually has more power than some people may realize. Over the last three seasons, he has averaged 19.7 home runs in San Diego. Unlike many other hitters with "power" (Aaron Rowand) whom the Giants have recently pursued, Kouzmanoff has posted his home run totals in one of the two ballparks that is less home run friendly than AT&T Park (Petco Park and Citi Field). Unlike Rowand, whose 27 big flies in the very home run friendly Citizens Bank Park practically get cut in half when he comes to AT&T Park (13 in '08 and 15 in '09), Kouzmanoff's home run totals should not dip at all.
- He is cheap. Unlike big name free agents Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, Kouzmanoff will not break the bank. If he is non tendered by the Padres, the Giants could sign Kouzmanoff for a few million dollars a year (probably about ten million dollars fewer than what Bay or Holliday could command annually). If the Padres chose not to non tender Kouzmanoff, the Giants could likely trade similar value to what the Cardinals gave up for Khalil Greene (which was close to nothing). Either way, Kouzmanoff would definitely be within the Giants budget and woud cost them very little to no talent in return.
- He is a good fielder. In 2009, Kouzmanoff set a Padres franchise record for fewest errors by a third baseman in a season, 3. To go with it, Kouzmanoff owned a gold glove worthy .990 fielding percentage. By acquiring Kouzmanoff, the Giants would move young stud Pablo Sandoval to third base, giving them good fielders at both corner infield positions.
- He is still young. At 28 years old, Kouzmanoff is just now entering his prime and still has many productive years ahead of him.
I don't know about you, but Kouzmanoff sounds like a great option to me. He can hit for power and is a good fielder, all while remaining cheap. Go get 'em Giants!