Quick notes, stealing a lot of the ideas from the diaries....
- I already mourned the end of Kirk Rueter's career as a Giant here, and there really isn't much to add now that he's retired. I still think he could have pitched until he was 43 as a LOOGY, but that's not a role that can get every pitcher out of bed in the morning. At some point, spending time with your family starts to sound better than 50 appearances of 1/3-inning baseball.
This is one of those silly armchair statements that could only come from a know-nothing blogger, but I'll always maintain Rueter should have tried a couple of months only pitching from the stretch. Maybe his success with runners on relative to his success with the bases empty was a fluke, or attributable to some other factor, but in a season like 2001 or 2005 he really didn't have much to lose by trying.
Christina Karhl described Rueter as having only one good year out of the past eight, and that sent me scrambling for Woody's Baseball Reference page for a rebuttal. Unfortunately, it's almost an accurate description (he actually had two years with an ERA+ over 100). Still, almost-average and healthy has value, and we got a heck of a lot of those seasons from Woody. Add in the affable personality with the longevity, and he'll always be one of the more popular Giants.
- Todd Linden or Jason Ellison? No. If it comes down to those two, I'll take Linden. Switch-hitting power tips the scales in this case, as they can both not get on base at the same rate. A speedster off the bench is nice to have, but Linden isn't exactly a slug. With Finley and Winn both able to cover center, a third centerfielder isn't a priority.
Though I'd have to remove someone from the 40-man, maybe with an Ellison trade like Steve discusses here, the ideal fit might be with Abraham Nunez. He's everything you'd expect from Linden - a little switch-hitting power, the potential for fair on-base skills, moderate speed - but it would leave Linden playing everyday. If Linden thinks he's beneath more development time and starts to struggle in AAA, it'd be a pretty clear indication of how much he should be trusted at the major league level.
Is Nunez really worth a 40-man spot? Probably not, but a minor trade or two could open up some room if he has an outstanding spring.
- Jamey Wright should have to look amazing to be considered for a 25-man roster spot. He has had a remarkable lack of any kind of success in his career, even taking his Coors numbers with a 30-pound salt lick, and the Giants don't have that Braves/Cardinals history of turning untreated sewage into fortified wine. This assumed front-runner business is bunk, and is only predicated on the idea he's been in the majors for a while. He hasn't deserved to be, but that's inadmissible evidence, apparently.
Million dollar arm, ten cent results? Sure, take a chance on the guy, and bury him somewhere in the hope he figures things out. But don't hand him a job because of service time. Whatever his problem was in the past, whatever made him unable to miss bats throughout his long career, should be a problem that is noticeably improved by the end of March before he makes the team.