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Now that Nick Johnson's off the market...

The slow progression of offseason hope-munching continues. The Giants lost out on Nick Johnson because they weren't willing to offer a second year. Remind yourself of this in May, when Johnson is on the DL for psoriasis or something. Or remind yourself in October, when he takes a bases-loaded walk to win a World Series game. I would have given a second year, but I understand why there wasn't a team willing to do so. I'm not going to blame the Giants for not going all in.

Chone Figgins was too expensive, and if he doesn't put up a couple more seasons like his last, he isn't going to be worth it. Matt Holliday is going to get $100M, and Jason Bay is going to get $90M to go with his sketchy defense. I can't complain about a team not wanting to commit to those sorts of luxuries. Those aren't the once-in-a-decade offensive forces the Giants are looking for, but they'll be paid like the are.

I'm not going to blame the Giants for not trading Madison Bumgarner for a pre-arbitration cleanup hitter who doesn't exist. I'm not going to blame them for not wanting to part with Thomas Neal or Jonathan Sanchez for Dan Uggla.

So I'll spend the rest of the offseason gritting my teeth about the Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito contracts, and just hoping that some how, some way, the Giants fall into an average offense next year. If they sign Mark DeRosa for three years, I'll weep a little bit, but then I'll hope he improves the team for next year, and next year only. If they sign Adam LaRoche for a huge contract, even though he's a marginal improvement over Ryan Garko, I'll grumble and spit, and then I'll hope LaRoche makes the Giants a better team in 2010.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm giving up any hope for a good offseason. There isn't a permutation of players that will result in sound short- and long-term planning. There isn't a magical wizard who is going to come down from the sky and bless the Giants with prudent-yet-aggressive decision making. This isn't Seattle. I'm expecting a disaster of a contract -- something that will end as messily as Randy Winn's deal. So now that I've resigned myself to that mess, I'm focused on hoping that there's at least one good season that the team can wring out of the player(s) in question.

I'm hoping for an average offense built on the backs of players likely to decline. Is that too much to ask? The "players likely to decline" part is a given, so I'm trying to find a way to still be slightly optimistic. Heck, it worked for me when I was trying to justify the Rowand deal!

Aaron Rowand is the parsley garnish for a franchise preparing to serve a gourmet meal. The Giants had a paper plate with a shapeless pile of room-temperature raccoon slurry. Now they have a piece of parsley for it. The Giants had just a fantastic offseason.