It's only about 100 days until the Winter Meetings, and here we are without a rebuilding plan. What else is there to talk about? An actual winning streak? Bah. Just because they're going to come around with the frequency of a comet for the next few years, doesn't mean winning streaks are automatically newsworthy.
There will be time for about 400 variations on this theme in the offseason, but here's a first crack at a Rebuilding Manifesto:
- Other than Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, anyone can be traded. But in an offseason where Livan Hernandez and a broken Bartolo Colon might be the best free agent starters, the Giants had better get some insane value for Noah Lowry. No matter how wary Lowry's declining K/BB might make you, he's still likely to be one of baseball's better bets for cost certainty for the next couple of seasons, and giving him away for a single position-player prospect would be a mistake, with only a few exceptions.
- The Giants have a glut of interesting young outfielders. Fred Lewis, Nate Schierholtz, and Rajai Davis should all get significant playing time. Dan Ortmeier, Clay Timpner, John Bowker, Brian Horwitz, and Eugenio Velez aren't a horrible batch of fall back plans. Out of those eight players, the Giants wouldn't be nuts to expect two capable players who could be part of a rebuilding team.
- This means the biggest expenditure for the offseason shouldn't be a free agent, it should be to make Dave Roberts and Randy Winn go away. Maybe a mostly-free Roberts or Winn could bring back a young player to throw on the pile, but that would be only a side benefit.
- The free agent market of 2007/2008 is an inbox filled with offers of hidden Nigerian fortune. Stay away. The only players worth any kind of pursuit are outfielders, and they all come with red flags, so refer back to points #2 and 3. This includes guys with needed power, like Andruw Jones and Kosuke Fukudome. Mike Lowell on a two-year deal -- maybe a three-year deal -- is the only plausible upgrade worth pursuing.
- Not only will Barry Bonds be the best available hitter, his two-days-on, two-days-off schedule would be perfect for a rebuilding team looking to break in a gaggle of young outfielders while trying to score runs for a young pitching staff. Plus, he's my roster blankie. I'm just not ready to give up my blankie.
- The presence of Kevin Franchise should not prevent the Giants from acquiring another young second baseman if the opportunity were to arise. If Howie Kendrick is part of a Lowry deal...sorry, Kev. If Howie Long is part of a minor deal, he might also sneak ahead of Frandsen on the depth chart.
- The Giants aren't going to get Alex Rodriguez. Even if they could, it would be insane for a franchise to commit $50M to Barry Zito and Alex Rodriguez for several seasons.
- The preferred order of how infield spots should be filled, if possible: a. Blocked prospects via trade (Asdrubal Cabrera, Steven Pearce), b. Out-of-favor prospects (Andy Marte, Dallas McPherson) c. Unwanted players with unwanted contracts via trade (Pat Burrell, Richie Sexson), d. Busted players young enough to hope for 80% of their past production (Brad Wilkerson, Nick Johnson).