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Talent By Way of Experience!

Before moving on to the second part of the Todd Greene decalogue, and certainly before we get to Schmidtoberfest, there needs to be some clarification. When asking for additional categories on how to evaluate the potential free agents, a good one that came up was "how does the potential free agent fit in the direction the Giants are heading?" Heckuva question, indeed. The direction the Giants are heading is one of those... the thing about the direction the Giants are heading... where the Giants seem to be going with their rebuilding plans is one of the more...

Yeah, I have no idea what direction are the Giants going in. If this were a George Orwell book, the direction they do take would probably be accompanied with some slogan like, "Rebuilding With Veterans!", or, "Getting Younger With Age!" One thing the Giants aren't going to do is rebuild; they're not just going to hand the keys to Frandsen, Linden, Lewis, and, uh, Cervenak. There are a few Giant partisans who are starting to advocate a strict rebuilding plan. Don't trust anyone over 30, and all that. The appeal is obvious, as it would be liquid excitement to have a team like the `95 Indians. The difference is just as obvious, as the Giants don't have a young Jim Thome, or Manny Ramirez, or Omar Vizquel, or Sandy Alomar Jr., or Albert Belle, or Carlos Baerga, or Kenny Lofton. They have the Lucerne equivalents, and are lucky the club card even got them that far.

A complete dismantling makes zero sense with the state of position players in the organization. But signing veterans to long-term contracts doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense, either. The middle ground would be to follow something like this checklist:

Player X

Plays: 2B

Good player?: Yes

Would require: Two years w/team option

How that affects the Giants' plans: Dude, I think it's "effects"

No it isn't; don't start another grammar thread: Wait, no, you were right the first time

Then answer the damn question: Two years to anyone shouldn't upset the Giants' plans, unless directly blocking a member of the rebuilding class.

That's it. Are they good? Will they be blocking a prospect who could be a part of a young Giants nucleus? Yes to the first, no to the second? Sign them up and don't look back. And I don't care if the player in question is 28, 38, or 48. Are they good? Will they be blocking a prospect who could be a part of a young Giants nucleus? Two-part question. Simple. Also, a player by the name of Player X would be a public relations goldmine. So mysterious, and just a hint of danger about him; he'd really get the jerseys flying off the shelf.

The catch is that there is likely going to be some disagreement as to who constitutes someone worth building around right now, and who is a fringe prospect. Is Frandsen ready now, or could he use at least another year in the minors? I vote for the latter, but wouldn't start sobbing if the Giants went with the former. The same goes with Fred Lewis. Other than Todd Linden, the Giants really don't have a young player that could be considered a favorite to start on the average non-Royal team.

This is all to frame the discussion of free agents that will likely take place for the next few months. There is likely to be a kneejerk reaction to any talk of acquiring a veteran player. That's understandable; we've been hurt before. It's a long road to recovery. But a "no vetz!!!1"-policy is just as limiting as the "no rooks!!!1"-policy the Giants have been dancing in and out of for the past decade.