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The Mercury News gives some insight on some possible roster moves here. The highlights:

  • Mark Sweeney is probably not going to be with the team. Neither is Mike Sweeney. I can't remember which one the Giants had, but they're both unlikely to be on the Giants.
  • This will allow the Giants to keep Jason Ellison, a move that makes a ton of sense. A right-handed center fielder is a better fit than another lefty who is limited to playing poorly in the outfield corners or at first.
  • In order to also keep Lance Niekro, the Giants might carry only six relievers. A lot of teams go with only six relievers, so it wouldn't be the oddest move in the world. Even if the Giants have an effective starting staff, though, it's filled with five guys who can regularly reach 100 pitches by the sixth inning. If a few of those starts come in consecutive games, there will be unpleasantness.
The guaranteed spots:

Benitez
Kline

The probables:

Wilson
Chulk
Correia
Hennessey

That's the bullpen? Oof. The Mercury News article intimates that there would be a Fresno/San Francisco shuttle going to keep the arms fresh. Once a player is sent down, he can't be recalled for 10 days, so it isn't a perfect solution. But it would be workable...if Chulk, Correia, and Hennessey weren't out of options.

So if the Giants want to use this plan they would need to start off with a different set of arms than those in the "probables"-column, which would mean exposing one of Chulk, Correia, or Hennessey to waivers. If that isn't realistic, it would mean that Wilson would be the pitcher to go down - regardless of how well he's pitching - whenever the bullpen needed a rest. That doesn't seem plausible either.

It all makes me wonder if Chulk or Hennessey are on the trading block, or if the Giants will try to sneak either of them through waivers. Or maybe I'm an idiot, and I've misunderstood the rules for options. That might be your best bet.

And all of this for Niekro? I just don't get it. Niekro is the best first baseman the Giants have developed in the past twenty years, but that's like saying __ is the best __. (...too easy. You get a shot at that one. I used Ricky Martin and Menudo, but there are still plenty of choices)

Is there anyone out there that still holds any hope for Niekro being more than the definition of "replacement-level?" Other than in the Giants' front office, I mean. My eyes don't see it, and the stats certainly don't see it.