Ok well, I haven't posted here in a really long time (been 2 years as a matter of fact...). Wait now that I look back, they were not the greatest posts in the world (Matt Cain for Chris Davis, sign Troy Glaus). Now two years older and wiser (In baseball knowledge at least... hopefully), I'm gonna take another shot.
At this point in the offseason, the Giants front office has basically said (and shown through their actions) that they won't spend any money this offseason except for relievers and mediocre replacements, I'm going to look at how this offseason could still end up being a great one.
Let's start by talking about the money. First off, naturally it's always easier to talk about spending someone else's money. I just wish we could get a peek into the Giant's checkbook and see just how much profit they're making each year. As everyone on this site has been wondering, even though we had tons of "sellouts" (I put this in quotes because as Baggs noted some of the official sellouts actually don't qualify as such) the management is not raising payroll at all (or maybe a small amount). However, the Giants absolutely need to cash in on this golden window to possibly win more championships. Our pitching is absolutely devastating in spots 1-4 and we have a strong bullpen. Investing a bit in this offense could turn us into a serious contender. Alas, a $120 mil payroll is nothing to scoff at. Here's what I would do in Sabean's place this offseason:
1. Absolutely convince the management to pay for Beltran
We NEED him. Ok so we don't really need him, but he turn our offense from below average to average because he theoretically replaces Schierholtz in our lineup to make it look like this:
Cabrera (CF), Sanchez (2B), Beltran (RF), Posey (C), Sandoval (3B), Huff (1B), Belt (LF), Crawford (SS)
This is of course given that Bochy plays Belt in left consistently (very unlikely). Also I would actually place Posey in the number 2 and move Sanchez down to like 7. I think it's more important to get our best hitters (Posey and Sandoval who would also move up) the most at bats over the full season that have a traditional order with a prototypical number 2 hitter. Plus Posey has a high OBP (granted he shows the patience we all know he has) so he does have some attributes of a number 2 hitter (more so than Sanchez actually). Also, if I were Bochy I would give Huff 2 months to prove he's back or sit his ass on the bench and play Belt at first, Torres in center (given we keep him), and Cabrera in left.
Ok so as for signing Beltran it looks like we might have some stiff competition from the Red Sox and the Marlins among others. Here's my tentative ceiling for the offer and I'm definitely interested in what you guys think:
3 years, $36 million
I think that's a legit figure for him despite his injury history. He is simply the best hitter available who is relatively affordable (vs. Pujols, Fielder, Reyes) who doesn't kill you in the field. We have to take advantage of our amazing pitching by at least putting up an average offensive attack behind it. (Also, though this is less important, I think the Giants owe it to us because we gave up 6 years of Wheeler for Beltran.)
Given we get him signed, I have absolutely no problem with putting Crawford at SS. But I would however prefer that the Giants let him get a full season at AAA to really work on his hitting. The major leagues is not a good place to be adjusting and I think it's better to find an equivalent SS on the market (Barmes, Furcal?) and let him develop but if the money commitment to them takes us too high on payroll, just use Crawford. This priority is way below signing Beltran.
2. Sign Cain to an extension
It is about time. The management has basically said that they're not investing in the FA market as much because they want to keep this pitching together. Well time to put their money where their mouth is and give Cain his money. Ok so next year Cain is making $15 million. Some comparables I can think of:
-CJ Wilson- here's a guy I think is a bit comparable to Cain and it will be interesting to see how much he gets on the open market.
-Beckett is currently making 15mil a year on the extension he signed with the Red Sox
-Lackey got a 5 year/85 mil ($17 mil average) contract on the open market a couple years ago
-Burnett got 5/82
-Verlander signed an extension and got $20 mil per season for his FA years
-Cliff Lee got $24 mil average over 5 years.
(Obviously I didn't get into the nitty gritty details- when during their arbitration they signed, their injury histories, their exact stats) (I'm more interested in just getting feel for average value for pitcher who are known to been about as good as Cain)
So I'm going to put Cain at about $18.5 mil average. Here's my offer to Cain:
13: $17 mil, 14-17: $18.5
Total: 5 year, $91 million
3. Sign Lincecum to an extension
I say knock it out now and avoid arbitration. Waiting through both arbitration years could help us see how well he holds up, make sure he keeps up his performance and how he ages (allow for injuries). The negatives to waiting: we could get a slight discount by signing him to an extension now, save a bit in the arbitration years, if we sign him when he becomes a FA we would be committing to him till a later age (for example is we sign him now to a 6 extension we will have him through his age 33 season vs. if we sign him to a 6 year deal when he hits FA where we'd have him through his age 35 season). I don't believe that Lincecum and his agent really prefer to go year by year and they would definitely listen to what the Giants offer. CC Sabathia got about $23 mil per season. Lee got $24 mil albeit for less seasons. I'm going to peg Lincecum at $22 mil per season, here's my offer:
12: $17 mil, 13: $20 mil 14-17: $22 mil
Total: 6 year, $125 mil
-If I were the Giants I might try to present a 5 year, $103 (shave off 2017 commitment- maybe make it a team option with a buyout) first and see if he accepts. I think both of these deals are fair and am eager to see what you guys think about them.
4. Now I'm going to put up a laundry list of other things I would like done:
-Keep Torres please. A roughly 4.5 million salary really isn't that bad for a great defender who has a good chance to rebound.
-Keep Fontenot and get rid of Keppinger. Fontenot played SS decently last year so I say keep him over Keppinger.
-Keep one of Ramirez and Casilla. Tough call here.
-Radical Idea that Sabean would never even contemplate: Trade Brian Wilson and keep both Ramirez and Casilla and put Romo in as closer. The only thing holding this back is the strong reliever market but Papelbon just got 4 years, 50 mil so maybe some teams will be looking for cheaper closer with less long term commitment. I would probably just deal him for some B+ prospects. Closers just aren't worth tying up payroll for (Giants seem to believe otherwise)... especially ones that cause as much stress as Wilson. However one big negative among others is that Wilson seems to be paying for himself due to the popularity of his beard.
So here's my 2012 roster (without Wilson trade):
Pitchers: Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Zito, Wilson, Romo, Ramirez/Casilla, Lopez, Affeldt, Mota (Oh yeah resign this guy), ? (maybe Joaquin, Runzler, Edlefsen)
Postition players: Posey, Whiteside, Huff, Sanchez, Crawford, Sandoval, Fontenot, another utility man (Burriss, Gillaspie, Pill?), Beltran, Belt, Cabrera, Schierholtz, Torres
Ok so I put this off as long as I could: alternatives to Beltran. Ok so if somebody goes crazy and offers Beltran like 4/60, I have some weak backup plans:
-"Stand pat." The cheapest option and the one the Giants front office will probably take. However, in this case, I want to keep both Ramirez and Casilla. I also want a SS signed like Barmes and want Crawford put in AAA.
[Also I want to make this point also: I, under no circumstances, want the Giants to get Rollins unless we ink him to a deal under 3/30 because I simply don't like where his offensive numbers are going. He's not a good hitter. I think Rollins will be overpaid and I want no part of that.]
-Trade Gary Brown for a good hitter and go all in. NOT one of my favorite options, but one that must be considered. I say keep him untouchable however and look forward to a young core of: Posey, Sandoval, Belt, Brown in the future.
-Sign Reyes. I'm actually not a huge fan of this even if the Giants can afford it. I think he's too injury prone to commit 5+ years to. I'd rather just have Beltran for a shorter time period.
-Go get Oswalt on a 1 year deal and let him rebuild his value. Baggs had this great idea. If Oswalt is down, there's no reason not to (I'd probably give him like 8-9 mil on a 1 year pact). He'd be a huge upgrade over Zito/Surkamp.