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Future Free Agent Mistake Power Rankings, 12/15

The offseason is quickly dividing the fanbase into two camps:

  1. No moves is good moves. The longer we’re not hearing about a four-year deal to Adam LaRoche, the less likely we’re ever going to hear about one.

In the interest of ruining that first sentence before I get a chance to back it up, I’m somewhere in the middle. When I watch the Mariners get a one-year rental to drastically upgrade their team, a part of me secretly envies them, even though I wouldn’t want the Giants to follow suit. They have a shiny new toy. I like shiny new toys. Scott Podsednik would be an itchy sweater made out of possum fur, but you knew that.

The big deals aren’t the only ones that are making me jealous, either. The Blue Jays acquired Michael Taylor from the Phillies for Roy Halladay, and then they turned right around and traded Taylor for Brett Wallace. Hot prospect-for-prospect action! The rarest kind! And while I have my guesses as to who came out ahead (the A’s), we won’t know for a few years. But right now, each team has a shiny new toy. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t trade Madison Bumgarner for Justin Smoak, but it’d be interesting, at least. We’re halfway through December, and we’re without any interesting. I could use some interesting.

You know what else is interesting? Scott Podsednik on a two-year deal. That’s interesting like a kitchen fire. Maybe interesting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m scared of interesting and the Giants.

So with no news directly relating to the Giants, but with plenty of news reducing the options the Giants have in free agency, it’s time for another Future Free Agent Mistake Power Rankings. Who will be the Aaron Rowand of 2011? Well, Aaron Rowand, for one. But maybe he’ll have some overpaid company!

  1. Scott Podsednik -- OF --

Number one with a bullet. A signing that in the best case provides marginal upgrade while swallowing most of a limited budget? Oh, sure, I’ll take two. I think it’s disturbing that a team could seriously think about Eugenio Velez as a leadoff hitter and corner outfielder. More disturbing? That Velez could outproduce the Podsednik from ’07 and ’08 with his thumbs taped together. But don’t worry: when 34-year-olds drastically improve, those gains usually stick. Or is it the other way around? This baseball stuff is confusing!

  1. Adam LaRoche-- 1b --

It’s hard to be this high on the list when you’re a player who would improve the team over the internal options, but LaRoche’s ridiculous contract demands, combined with merely decent production, makes this a great chance to rowand the Giants into a corner by the end of the contract.

  1. Marlon Byrd -- OF --

With Mike Cameron off the market, Byrd is one of the better center fielders, and it’s been almost two years since Sabean has signed a center fielder. His palms are sweaty, his mouth is dry, and his sponsor isn’t returning his calls. Mmmmm. An overpriced center fielder sounds pretty good right about now, especially when you’re still kicking yourself for missing out on Gary Matthews, Jr.

  1. Jermaine Dye -- OF --

Sabean explicitly mentioned Dye as someone the Giants aren’t interested in. But I think that’s like when I tell my wife something like, "No, I don’t even really find Jessica Alba that attractive. Her earlobes aren’t symmetrical, and you know how I am about that." I have trust issues with our intrepid GM.

  1. Mark DeRosa—3B/LF --

At the right price, I’d welcome DeRosa. He’s not going to get the right price. DeRosa’s decline last year might have been age related, but it might have been a BABIP-influenced fluke. I sure as heck wouldn’t commit millions to the latter theory, but if he’s starting in left field instead of Velez, I might be able to ignore the horrible contract for a year. And it will be a horrible contract.

  1. Jason Bay-- OF --

He says he has no interest in the Giants. The Giants say they have no interest in him. There are still rumors floating around that the Giants really are interested. So when I read that Bay said he’s not interested in San Francisco, I’m guessing he said it while doing that money pantomime thing, rubbing his thumb and fingers together while he raises his eyebrows and gives you that look.

  1. Garrett Atkins -- DH --

I’ll admit, the 2006 and 2007 versions are intriguing, but chasing after past glories only makes sense if it’s cheap. That, and Atkins is the worst defensive third baseman in the history of the game. Would it be in poor taste to suggest that Ron Santo has better range, even today? Yes? Okay, then I won’t write that. But Atkins is an abomination. Maybe he’s better at first, but he isn’t that likely to be a good enough hitter to displace Travis Ishikawa. I’d take Atkins over Ishikawa, but only for a few hundred thousand dollars’ difference.

  1. Inconsequential Sub-Mediocre Free Agent Catcher -- C --

It’s going to happen, so the exact one – Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, Mike Sadek – doesn’t really matter. And as long as it isn’t a two-year deal, I can almost accept it, but you know whomever they acquire will play 150 games under Bochy. In GiantsLand, a catcher can make up for a .290 on-base percentage by calling a good game and handling a staff, so there’s no question that SMFAC will be more valuable than Buster Posey next year.

  1. Johnny Damon -- OF -- ↓

He can probably still hit, and he isn’t Scott Podsednik. Heck, I think I might be in favor of a Damon deal at this point. The only problem is that if he’s going to take two years, he’ll probably just take it from the Yankees.

  1. Hank Blalock -- 3B? --

No one is talking about him, and that scares me. I can imagine DeRosa, Nick Johnson, and LaRoche all taking other offers on the same day, leaving the Giants in a Garkoless panic.

I guess these rankings are, by design, doom-and-gloom. Maybe that’s not fair. But the Giants and free agency in the past few years have mixed like diarrhea and first dates. So, please, forgive me and the black cloud over my head.