I am actually a supporter of Brian Sabean and love how he has brought good, young pitchers to the Giants organization and has refused to trade Cain and Sanchez. But when it comes to signing hitters, as you all know, he simply has not been pushing the right buttons. When I heard that the Giants had offered Mark DeRosa a 2-year/12 million dollar contract, let's just say I was not the happiest man in the world. Come on Sabes...DeRosa? He hit 13 doubles and 13 homers in Cleveland in 71 games with a .270 average before being traded to the Cardinals, with whom he hit 10 doubles and10 homers, and sported a whopping .228 average in 68 games. Really, Sabean? This is the man we are going to play six million a season to? Imagine how much his numbers will drop in San Francisco. And I almost forgot to mention that he is 35.
Why not Nick Johnson, who went to New York, of all places, very cheaply. One year for 5.5 million? Sabean could have had him for two years and 11 million.
Why not Justin Duchscherer, who was most recently resigned by the A's? Yes, he was injured all of last season, but that is all the more reason to sign him, as he will come at a bargain price and has great upside if his injuries are truly behind him.
Anyway, here are some of my suggestions as to who Sabean can still sign that may end up being contributors for the Giants in 2010:
1) Russell Branyan: He is 34 years old in 2010. His career was practically reborn in Seattle when he signed with the Mariners last season, as the team's brass recognized his talent just before Branyan headed across the Pacific to play in Japan. And he was quite the catch. This 1st baseman/outfielder was productive far more than was expected of him, as he had 108 hits, 64 runs scored, 21 doubles, 31 homers, 58 walks, and 76 RBI. I know these numbers will not be the same in San Francisco, but he will still be productive and his veteran presence is also good for the young players, as Branyan has tons and tons of playoff experience.
2) Mike Jacobs: I know, I know. You're thinking he is not very good after seeing him fail miserably in Kansas City. Here are his numbers in KC: 99 hits, 46 runs scored, 16 doubles, one triple, 19 homers, 41 walks, 61 RBI and a .228 average in 128 games. But I am still willing to give him a chance. The man is still young at 29 years old in 2010, and the season prior to last, when he was with the Marlins, here are his numbers: 118 hits, 67 runs scored, 27 doubles, two triples, 32 homers 36 walks, 93 RBI, and a .247 average. Yes, he does not hit for average, but he sure as hell does hit for power. And, of course, he will come at a bargain. Sabean has nothing to lose with this signing. Give him an invite to spring training and see what he can do. It's similar to the Juan Uribe signing, and just look at how he turned out. This 1st baseman can be a real game-changer if he gets locked in.
3) Wily Mo Pena: Again, I know what you're thinking. Just hear me out on this one. The guy is 28 years old in 2010. Like Uribe, if the Giants sign him to a minor league contract and give him an invite to spring training, he may, with a fresh start, begin to be productive. If you look at years 2003-2007, you notice that his numbers are respectable and that he has some impressive power. He has seven MLB seasons under his belt and has been playing since he was 20. A 28-year-old with that much experience who will come, again, at such a cheap price, is worth a try for the power-lacking Giants. I know the last season he played in the majors (2008) was not one to remember from his perspective, as he was released by the Nationals only to be released again by the Mets, who signed him some time thereafter. This left fielder may be someone else's trash, but he may be the source of power the Giants are lacking. He deserves a second chance in major league baseball and a minor league contract with a spring training invite wouldn't hurt.
...I'm also thinking about the Giants potentially signing these cheap players:
Xavier Nady (31) - Bay Area product in need of a fresh start
Rick Ankiel (30) - Good power
Jack Cust (31) - Good power but strikes out a lot; was arguably the sole offensive threat on the A's last year