The Giants are a popular topic around these parts because they’re so interesting. They have an incredible pitching staff, the likes of which have rarely been seen in baseball history and they have some of your favourite position players. I assume Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt etch a smile into the face of even the most hardened Dodgers fan.
But the Giants are also very frustrating. They are run by a GM in Brian Sabean that often defies logic with his odd moves and terrible decisions. At the same time, he’s been constructing the Giants since 1997 and has built some winning teams; including a pennant-winning club in 2002 and of course, a World Series winner in 2010. The Giants seem to come up with several superstar calibre players through their farm system, which would suggest that they draft and develop fairly well.
But over the next couple years, things are about to get really interesting down by the Bay. With news that ace pitcher Tim Lincecum and the team are a mere $4-million apart on a two-year extension that would carry the righthander through his last two arbitration eligible years, the Giants find themselves in an interesting spot.
This past week, San Fran signed Sandoval to a three-year extension that buys out his arbitration years and in doing so made his the only guaranteed contract on the team’s payroll beyond 2013. Essentially, this means Sabean will have a clean slate with which to carve his team in just two years time.
This could mean one of two things. Either Sabean builds smartly around his young core of Posey, Sandoval, Belt, Madison Bumgarner and Gary Brown and continues to field competitive teams (such a scenario would likely require signing either Matt Cain or Lincecum long-term), or Sabean fails to recognize the opportunity he has and continues his penance for old, overrated and overvalued players, plunging the Giants into mediocrity and obscurity.
I’m honestly not sure which route I have my money on. What say you Blankards?
And the rest:
NL MVP Ryan Braun was present to accept his award at last night’s BBWAA dinner in New York. It was the first time the Brewers’ beleaguered slugger had spoken publicly since it was revealed he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone just before the start of the post-season. Braun is currently in the process of appealing the ruling and is still adamant of his innocence. Wasting more time on this topic seems useless so I’ll just link to what Dustin and myself have said about it in the past.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (HA!), a number of MLB executives believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be in play for free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Despite their current ownership questions, the Dodgers are expected to be purchased from disgraced owner Frank McCourt for more than $1.5-billion. The $150-$200-million likely to be given to Fielder is a mere drop in the bucket. To this point, the Nationals and Rangers appear to be the favourites to land Fielder although both teams have publicly said they aren’t terribly interested in the slugger for his current asking price. The Blue Jays, Mariners and Cubs continue to be mentioned in connection with him, but it’s unlikely he ends up in any of those destinations.
According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, David Eckstein has announced that his playing days are over. With Craig Counsell announcing the same thing last week, it’s unknown how Major League Baseball will recover from the dramatic decrease in hustle, heart and grit.
Cafardo also speculates in that piece that the Rays may be more willing to shop centerfielder B.J. Upton for some help at shortstop now that Carlos Pena has signed with the team. I’m not entirely sure how those two things are connected either, but let’s run with it.
As was speculated earlier today, Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Red Sox plan to “aggressively bid” for free agent righthander Roy Oswalt. As dumb as the Marco Scutaro trade seems from Boston’s perspective, it would seem even dumber if they failed to land Oswalt with the money they’ve saved by moving him to Colorado.
Speaking of questionable moves, the Clevelands have signed infielder Julio Lugo to a minor league deal. Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are that he’s still playing. The 36-year-old was one of the worst position players in the game last season accumulating a -0.4 fWAR in just 48 plate appearances while posting a gag-worthy .136/.208/.136 slash line and a .169 wOBA. That’s probably too many stats for a player you didn’t care about isn’t it?
Finally, courtesy of CSNChicago.com’s Angie Wiatrowski comes Ozzie Guillen tweeting in response to Jake Peavy’s comments about the former White Sox manager quitting on the team late in the year…we think.