|Point-Counterpoint - Debating the Giants Offseason||| Print |||Send|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on January 22, 2009
A Giant Waste of Money
The San Francisco Giants are coming off a 90-loss season, but that wouldn’t be apparent by their offseason so far. They’ve kicked the tires on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Manny Ramirez. They’ve signed Edgar Renteria to a two-year, $18.5 million contract and brought in aged ace Randy Johnson on a one-year deal.
From the looks of it, the Giants think of themselves as contenders in the National League West. General manager Brian Sabean is only deluding himself if he thinks that is the case.
Yes, the NL West is baseball’s weakest division. Yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks got weaker, not stronger, this offseason. Yes, the Giants are loaded with pitching, specifically 2008 Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.
But none of that changes the fact that the Giants lost 90 games last season. To win the division, they would have to improve by 13 to 15 games. And that is not an easy feat to accomplish in one offseason.
Renteria is an offensive upgrade over Omar Vizquel, to be sure, but Renteria’s defense is falling off and his bat will start slowing down. Johnson, at 45, can’t be expected to last forever. He should win his 300th game some time this season, but how many more beyond that will he win?
There are just too many holes to fill for this ballclub to compete.
The Giants’ offense was putrid in 2008, and there is little reason to expect better this season. Randy Winn had the team’s best offensive season with a .306/.363/.426 batting line. Bengie Molina led the Giants with 16 home runs and 95 RBI.
Free agent splurge Aaron Rowand was a bust in his first season, while the remainder of the lineup is filled with past-their-prime journeymen or youngsters bound for the journeyman future. The Giants cannot reach base or hit for power. No position player provided way-above offense at his position.
The bullpen is another gaping hole. Brian Wilson did manage to save 41 games last season, but his ERA and WHIP indicated he wasn’t that good of a pitcher. Keiichi Yabu was the only regular pitcher who kept his ERA below 4.00.
If that isn’t enough evidence as to why the Giants will be terrible in 2009, consider they’ll be handing the ball to Barry Zito every fifth day.
Giant Idea Quite Smart
Last year, the San Francisco Giants were among the worst teams in baseball. However, their actions this offseason, including signing Randy Johnson, suggest that perhaps they think they have a contending team.
They do not. However, none of their recent signings are taking up spots that prospects could fill. Most of the Giants good prospects are in Low A, and none of these signings, barring the Zito albatross two years ago and the drunken signing of Broken Nose Guy (otherwise known as Aaron Rowand), have been totally stupid. Johnson for less than 10 million? Heck yes.
The front of the Giants rotation is nasty. Timmy Lincecum, the most dominant pitcher in baseball, then Matt Cain, another very good young arm, and then Johnson, who can still strike people out? I won't mention Zito; it's not nice to pick on a man when he's down. (His velocity, that is).
I do wonder though if the Giants are actually making good stop-gap decisions or simply cannot give out a gigantic contract because of payroll. They wanted Sabathia; signing a pitcher for that long isn't smart for a team like the Giants. I'm okay with signing older players short-term, but I have to wonder if that's what they are really trying to do. If so, then cool. But if not... then they are in a state of disbelief.