Tendy, the Arbitration-Deadline Seagull, did his yearly thing last night. As far as mythical, mystical creatures go, Tendy doesn't get nearly the amount of respect given to the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. It's a shame. Every year, without fail, Tendy quickly flies by and dumps a whole bunch of crap on the ground. I happen to find that exciting. But try to find one greeting card with a picture of Tendy on it, I dare you.
Not one shortstop came on the market as a result of yesterday's deadline. Angel Chavez will not be the team's only contingency plan should the Giants 40-year old starting shortstop miss time. I know it. Brian Sabean knows it. We've finally found common ground, where management and disgruntled fans can hold hands and skip around a campfire, laughing about whatever disagreements came about in the past. There was no shortstop help to be found in the pile of non-tenders, however.
Non-tenders I'd like the Giants to nab:
Both are pitchers who can strike hitters out, and both had off years in the recent past. Diaz was a huge disappointment for the White Sox this year, but it would have been hard to crack that bullpen even if he had a great season in AAA. He's a great emergency starter to stash in Fresno, and young enough to hope for a bit more. Warning: I have no idea if Diaz is injured, or is in jail, or plans to follow Phil Lesh around the country in a VW Bus next summer. It seems odd he would be given up on so quickly.
Meaux is a six year minor-league free agent, not a non-tender, and is destined to be a LOOGY (lefty one-out guy, a phrase coined by John Sickels). An experiment to convert him to a starting pitcher failed, and he's kicking around again. He's a guy who has about a 5% chance of helping a major league team, but there aren't any risks in signing him to a minor-league deal.
More importantly, I want the Giants to sign both because both were traded to the White Sox for Kenny Lofton. There would be a possibility that Diaz and Meaux could both plunk a Dodger blue-wearing Lofton in the same game, which would be just beautifully ironic. Not ironic in the true, literal sense, but ironic in the Alanis Morrisette sense, where any marginal coincidence becomes mistaken for irony. I'd settle for that. Also, it would be a total slap in the face to the White Sox. Hey, we have both those players back, Chicago. What do you think of that? It's a sad commentary on the state of your franchise, but we had no choice to take those players back to help our team, suckers. You'll catch a break someday...if we let you. Ha!
Miguel Olivo (C)
Though he's far too young for Sabean to consider, he's a rare backup catcher with a tick of upside. There are far more important criteria to look for in a backup catcher, but Olivo is a fair fielder as well. He's better in the present, and has shown more for the future, than any of the in-house options the Giants could whip up. He might get offers to start from other teams.
That's just about it, as far as players who might help the Giants. Now for three players who each have a great chance of becoming Giants:
Jason Phillips (C/1B)
His inability to really field behind the plate might make Sabean turn up his nose. I really don't know what Sabean is looking for to slot behind an all-glove catcher like Matheny, so it's unfair to speculate he broke his phone trying to punch in the number for Phillips' agent. But a gut feeling tells me he'll be the one. In the dark, he could pass for lefty power off the bench, and that might give him an advantage. I'd be tempted to stick with Yamid Haad, just for defensive purposes.
Ryan Franklin (RHP)
I blew my earlier guess on Mike Myers, as Sabean instead decided to trade for Steve Kline. I'd put money on Franklin becoming a Giant, though. He's not Wayne Franklin's right-handed brother, but he might as well be. Safeco Field hid his aroma just enough to keep teams wondering. He's 32, so what you see is absolutely what you get, and what you get is a pitcher who doesn't make people swing through anything, and who would have a tough time clawing his way back to average. He's experienced, though, and that's a currency the Giants are accepting.
Ramon Ortiz (RHP)
One of the players who we can't really blame for the 2002 Series loss, his career has been a mess since then. He tried to rebound in Cincinnati, which is a nasty park for pitchers, and things just got worse. His strikeout rate is plummeting, and he can't be too far from an injury. I wouldn't weep if the Giants signed him, as it would allow Hennessey to be a nice fallback option, but there isn't too much chance of him regaining his form of 2002. If he didn't have three birthdays at once a couple of years ago, he might be someone to take a chance on. Not so much anymore.