The Giants roster is filled with holes going into this off-season, especially in the outfield.
Aaron Rowand isn’t on the team, Cody Ross and Pat Burrell are free agents, Andres Torres may not be coming back according to some sources, and Carlos Beltran is a big name free agent that will test the market.
The Giants have Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff, Nate Schierholtz (arbitration eligable, will be offered), Darron Ford and other green rookies in the minors that can play in the outfield. What are the Giants options?
Option One- Get Beltran.
Beltran left a good impression with the Giants when he was traded before the deadline last season. The Giants gave up their best pitching prospect for a couple months of a broken hand and some really good hitting.
In 44 games as a Giant, Beltran hit a slash line of .323/.369/.551 with seven home runs and 18 RBI. Along with those impressive numbers, Beltran had a .920 OPS and had an oWAR of 1.3 in less than a third of the season.
Beltran made $18.5 million last season between the Mets and Giants. While he was with the Giants, Beltran was valued a total of $5.6 million for those 44 games. If you average that amount out the entire 162-game season he should have made a total of $20.6 million in 2011.
While maintaining those numbers are going to be hard for the 34-year-old, Beltran should be looking for a 3-5 year contract worth around $13-17 million per year.
With this move, Schierholtz would start in center (which won’t happen because he is not a center fielder) or sit the bench. Then, to fill the center field position, the Giants would have to purchase a cheap free agent (unlikely) or they bring back Torres or Ross.
Hopefully they bring Torres back. I feel like he may have had a rough year, every player has them. He had a great year in the lead-off position in 2010, then suffered injuries and inconsistencies like everyone else in 2011. If he can return to his 2010 form, Torres could be a cheap, reliable option in the future.
Left field will have Brandon Belt roaming like a giraffe. Enough said.
Option Two- Save Up
This is the annoying “We just fired Bill Neukom so we shouldn’t do anything for a year or so,” plan. Re-sign Torres for a couple million, put Belt in left, and then either buy Burrell for a really cheap one year deal, or they just give the spot to Schierholtz.
This strategy saves time and effort from the front office, but Giants fans will be greatly disappointed when none of the World Series profits are used on improving the team. Larry Baer must realize this is a boring, frustrating option.
We are hoping this is not the case.
Option Three- Be Original
Nothing would be better for me to see Brian Sabean and Baer not be Sabean and Baer. I mean these guys have become so predictable with who they put on the Giants, it’s starting to get old.
That’s why they should pursue Josh Willingham from the Oakland A’s on top of splurging on Beltran.
Now, before you slam your keyboard or spit at your screen, let me explain.
Josh Willingham, 32, was an above-average baseball player last year on a struggling team. After Huff/Burrell in 2010, one would think we thrive with used up guys. Willingham is coming off a career year, where he was the main offensive force for his team.
Willingham was so above-average, he was even pretty good. Hitting 29 home runs and 98 RBI with a .246 batting average, he would have been the best Giants hitter last season. He plays center field and he would only cost the Giants a $6-8 million per year.
While that may not solve the lead-off problem, it can help. Willingham has a career 1.677 OPS in the lead-off position…
…in three at-bats…
If Sabean and Baer want to prove something to Giants fans and baseball fans alike, they should make these moves to make the Giants front runners in the NL West.
Option Four- Sabean Loses his mind
This is where this will get bad. If this happens, panic.
Option Five- Dreams
This is a little far fetched, but I cant help but wonder how great this could be.
Giants sign Beltran for 2 years (super safe contract) and Grady Sizemore (hey, look a lead-off guy, neat.).
Hey, even I like to think this type of thing could happen.
In conclusion, I would like to see option three the most, even if it’s not likely. I can see option one happening, and I think it will improve this offense with Pablo Sandoval, Freddy Sanchez and Buster Posey in the heart of the lineup with Beltran.
Coming up next, Shortstop options!