So this is my first post of the offseason to kick off the free agency bonanza that will occur this year.
Fielder, Pujols, Rejes, Beltran.
As much as I'd like to become Yankees West, it doesn't sound much like the Giants are strong players for any of these guys. Basically it comes down to two things: Needs and Money.
The Giants really have 2 glaring needs right now at Center Field and at Shortstop.
With Andres Torres having a down year at 33 years old it doesn't look like the Giants want to commit to much more than a backup defensive role to bring him back. The Giants also tried out Justin Christian at center, but he's basically the same guy as Torres without the speed on the basepaths.
Shortstop was a problem all year long with a disappointing Miguel Tejada and a promising but still raw Brandon Crawford taking the reins mid-season.
As I tried to consult my inner Billy Beane I came up with where I think the Giants' money is tied up and whether we could afford another big name free agent. The amounts I put for the arb-eligible players are my projections for what I think they'll likely get in arbitration.
Giants Under Contract: $72.93 Million
Tim Lincecum - 16 Mil
Jonathan Sanchez - 2 Mil
Andres Torres - 1.5 Mil
Ramon Ramirez - 2 Mil
Santiago Casilla - 2 Mil
Mike Fontenot - 1.5 Mil
Pablo Sandoval - 8.5 Mil
Sergio Romo - 5 Mil
Nate Schierholtz - 2 Mil
Eli Whiteside - 1.5 Mil
Ryan Vogelsong - 3.5 Mil
TOTAL ARB ELIGIBLE: 45.5 Mil
Free Agent Signings
Javier Lopez - 2 year $9 Mil contract
Jeremy Affeldt - picked up $5 Mil option
Total with no new signings: $127.93
As you can see, even with the savings of $19.8 Million from not re-signing Cody Ross, Miguel Tejada, Mark DeRosa and Pat Burrell, the Giants are still going to be well over their $118 million payroll of 2011. Adding Beltran would be at least $15 million a year for another 2 or 3 years and that's when you need to start thinking of paying Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain once they reach free agency.
I have to give it to the Giants that they did end up spending money in the right places to start the offseason. With Javier Lopez's 2 year contract together with the $5 Mil option picked up for Jeremey Affeldt, the Giants have ensured that their bullpen will continue to be strong from the left side. When looking at lefty hitters Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Prince Fielder, the playoffs was rife with examples of why we need good left handed options in the bullpen. Doing so allows the Giants to hold on to their strong pitching and perhaps go for a lower priced hitter.
Rollin towards Rollins?
Reports seem to speculate that the Giants are more apt to contact available center fielders who have speed than to sign an aging shortstop in Jimmy Rollins. Rollins would be a great fit providing stability at the top of the lineup as well as some speed (30 stolen bases in 2011), but will be a bit tough on the payroll as he earned 8.5 Million in 2011. If the Giants can somehow get Rollins for a more reasonable 5-6 million range I think its not a bad idea to get a stop-gap to wait for some of the minor leaguers to get more experience.
Laws of the Day
Rollins > Tejada