I have three nominations for coveted Annual Gary Matthews, Jr. Do Not Want Award:
The Overpaid, Overcommitted, and Over Here
Jason Bay will get close to $100M, and that just might work for an AL team. Bay’s a remarkably consistent hitter, and he’s been healthy throughout his career. His defense is pretty spotty, but he’s still a net positive as long as he’s hitting. On the Giants, though, he’d be paid like a franchise player. With Zito and Rowand making a combined $100,000,000,000,000 over the next three years, adding Bay would pretty much be the last free agent foray for a while.
As soon as Bay is on the Giants, he’ll remember that he’s over 30 and fall off a cliff offensively. And the Giants will have three years of the most hilarious outfield coverage in baseball, especially if right field is filled by a rangeless goober as well. This is my dream; this is my nightmare.
Pure, uncut, ignorance
"Man, this team needs an RBI man. Saaaay, Jermaine Dye is available. He gets RBIs. This offseason stuff sure is easy. Saaaaay, Newhart reruns are on! Good thing my work is done here."
I’m not wild about using UZR to predict future performance – that’s not really what it was designed for – but Dye’s UZR hints that he’s played the outfield like a thumbless Glenallen Hill for the last three years, and that age is only going to make things worse. You don’t put a clomper like that in the outfield unless his offense is stellar enough to force your hand. A .340 OBP in a hitter’s park is not stellar, and it’s not a given that he’ll produce even that going forward.
I’m not unreasonable. Now that Sabean is back, all I want him to do is honestly evaluate why his offenses have been at the bottom of the league for the past six years. A Dye signing – "35 years young, plenty of homers and RBI, what’s not to like?" – would be an obvious indication that Sabean thinks that he’s just been unlucky with his roster-building philosophies. It wasn’t his fault, for example, that Rowand stopped hitting 30 home runs when he came to San Francisco. Gag.
This category is populated by Bengie Molina. A man who gets paid to evaluate baseball players is right now worried about how the offense is going to make up for Molina’s offensive production. He’s thinking, man, it makes sense to give Posey a shot, but who’s going to drive in the runs? Is it worth it, he wonders, to commit to a second or third year to Molina if it guarantees that all of those runs are driven in next year? That would block Posey, but then the runs would be driven in. And runs need to be driven in, or the offense will be even worse! What a dilemma.
Again, we follow an organization that is convinced that Molina helps an offense, whereas the rest of the civilized world realizes that a sub-.300 on-base percentage coming from the slowest player in baseball is something to avoid. Bringing back Molina is finding your wife in bed with one of her students after you’ve already read the e-mails between the two. I mean, you knew, but seeing it in action just hammers the ungodliness home.
I think Molina scares me more than any of the other free agents. At least we can pretend with Dye and Bay – poor defense is much harder to quantify on a day-to-day basis, especially when they’re improving on the offense from last season. But Molina grounding into double plays, stopping at third on a long double, and weakly flying out to the outfield for another two seasons? Assuming Bochy will know how to transition from a veteran catcher to a rookie catcher? I’ll set a series of small fires if that happens, and I can’t promise that they’ll be on inanimate objects.