For years, the Giants ignored every single free agent you cared about. That guy, too. No matter how good of a fit, no matter how many Posey shirseys the Giants sold, no matter how many sellouts, they weren't going to sign a top free agent. According to Henry Schulman, it was something of an unofficial team policy not to spend on players outside the organization.
I figured the Giants were still kicking tires the whole time, engaging with free agents constantly, but not playing the rumors game because they didn't want to elevate fan expectations. This was not the case, it seems. They were really probably out on everyone. I'm revising my hunch because this appears to be the year that the Giants are really in, and they're basically engaging in a door-to-door campaign to tell fans that they're in, so in, on everyone, even that guy. Jon Lester, Yoan Moncada, Yasmany Tomas, Max Scherzer ... everyone.
Everyone. Even that guy.
Schulman mentioned he didn't see the Giants as really being in on Lester because of that unofficial team policy, but someone (I'm guessing from the team, dunno) quickly corrected him.
Now understand #sfgiants will look at all top arms — Lester, Scherzer, Shields, etc.. — w/ uncertainty over Timmy, Cain post-surgery,— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) November 26, 2014
This fits with the massive, rumor-stuffed article from Jon Heyman, who writes that the Panda money is burning a hole in the Giants' pockets. Either the money will fall through the hole, or it will burn the organizational crotch. Neither scenario is appealing, so the Giants have to spend it soon. Heyman mentions 13 different free agents or trade options for the Giants, which is absurd and hilarious and fascinating. Let's take them one by one, in order, for a new feature I like to call the RUMOR LIGHTNING ROUND.
We know about this one. His plate discipline still scares me. He was regularly out-walked in Cuba by Yasiel Puig, who was swinging at rosin bags when he first arrived in the majors. Puig actually walks at a healthy clip now, but I could see the Giants paying $16 million to a .220/.290/.400 project next year. Pedro Feliz without the defense, then.
Oooh. That is interesting. And terrifying. I actually wrote about the idea of Scherzer going to the Giants for the main site.
You know where Scherzer would look good? San Francisco. That's where he could pitch in thick marine air, humiliate pitchers every three innings, face the San Diego Padres four or five times a month, and enjoy one of the only outfields in baseball that can compare to Comerica Park in spaciousness.
It sounds so good. But there's a catch:
Not that I want them to. Unless we're talking about the kind of speculative deal that Bumgarner picked up, long-term deals to 30-year-old pitchers are horrible ideas. The Giants got lucky that Tim Lincecum gambled and turned down nine figures, and the results of the Matt Cain extension have been underwhelming so far. If there's one team that knows the perils of overpaying pitchers, it's the Giants.
I'd be excited about Scherzer for 2015, at least. Very excited. You never know when that supervolcano is going to destroy our crops, weather, and society in general, that's what I say.
Giants: So ... what do you think about Kyle Crick?
Braves: Go away.
Giants: If you don't have a long-term solution at short, Ehire Adrianza is pretty cool.
Braves: Go away.
The Giants don't have the pieces to get Upton, at least not compared to the rest of baseball.
Yes, because Michael Morse's defense just wasn't spotty enough. Cruz would cost a draft pick and require a three- or four-year deal. He's already 34, and he shouldn't be an outfielder. I love dingers as much as the next guy, but I'd honestly rather sign Morse to a shorter, cheaper deal if the Giants are willing to punt defense like this.
I'd rather start Gregor Blanco, and that's not hyperbole. Match up their stats for the last few years, then factor in that Markakis was playing in a hitter's park and can't field as well. Now consider the money and the years to a 31-year-old left-handed hitter. It's not a good fit. It's not even a half-decent fit, like Morse appeared to be before last year.
These rumors are all terrible. I covered this here. Turns out that Hunter is one of the very worst defensive outfielders in baseball now, and he's pushing 40. If this were two years ago, I'd be enamored of the idea. As is, no thanks.
Brian Sabean: Thanks for meeting with us, Chase, we know you're busy. Now, we're trying to ...
Chase Headley: /is wearing an otter hat
Headley: I'm The Otter!
Headley: That's my nickname. You probably don't remember it. I'm The Otter!
Headley: Five years, $95 million. Which you'll make back on otter hats.
Headley: Do we announce the deal now, or wait until the lawyers look at everything?
Headley is very, very okay. He had a Randy Winn second half once, and that makes people think he's better than very, very okay. He's relatively patient, and he plays a swell third base. But I wouldn't want him for longer than three years. The market doesn't agree, so he'll be surprisingly expensive. Of all the rumors so far, I hate this one the least.
The Giants already won a World Series with Jake Peavy, so maybe there's a Moneyball strategy to be had with "the universe loves to troll the Padres" angle.
I like this rumor a lot, except it's the same thing with the Braves and Upton. There are other teams with more to offer. Maybe Walt Jockey has a hankerin' for a specific Giants pitcher, like the Tigers did with Robbie Ray in the stupid Doug Fister deal last offseason, so you never know. But ... you kind of know. Bruce is an extreme buy-low player. Maybe Ben Grieve bit him, sure, but maybe it was just a down year.
I would be okay with a reclamation project like Masterson and a sexy-time slugger like ... I don't know, Justin Upton (for Guillermo Quiroz). If Masterson and Joaquin Arias are the offseason, though, I'll be slightly less than thrilled.
I like Sergio Romo.
I like him too, and he yells a lot, but there's something off about a team hoping their #2 starter can give them five solid innings in the World Series. There's probably a way to make the team better without Peavy, even if the sentimental fool in me wouldn't mind him returning.
They've basically reached out to every available outfield option, from Cruz, who wouldn't seem like a perfect fit as an occasional DH, to Markakis, to even the ex-Giant Cabrera, who had an "awkward departure," one Giants person admitted about the career years that was cut short after a PED suspension in 2012, when the Giants won the World Series without him.
That's the kind of rumor that makes me lean back in my comfy chair and fill my ornate pipe with the sweetest-smelling tobacco, crossing my legs real proper-like as I light it. The pipe, not the chair. Although if the Giants sign Melky, things will burn, baby. Things will burn.
As a generic description, though, Melky fits perfectly. "Switch-hitter, moderate power, wouldn't require a five-year deal, young enough to where he might still be good in three years," is a player who makes a ton of sense. He's not just a player, though. He's the ex who got drunk at a brothel and drove your car through an Old Navy. That's one hard bridge to rebuild.
It sure is one hilarious, burned-out husk of a bridge, though.
There probably isn't a perfect way to blow the money this offseason, but the Giants will sure blow it. Don't forget about that dangerous hole in their pocket. They gotta attend to that, and quickly.