Some After Christmas Shopping for the Giants

Some thoughts on what the Giants are going to do in the rest of the off-season.

Giants fans everywhere are wondering what the Giants brain trust is doing and whether Brian Sabean's first major public statement after becoming GM - "I am not an idiot" - is true or not. While I am not totally satisfied about the composition of the Giants right now, fans need to keep the faith right now because of one important fact: the Giants have the third best record in the major leagues since Sabean took over (9 games over #4 Seattle, 28 games over #5 Boston, 28.5 games over #6 Houston, and 29 games over #7 Oakland) and there has only been 11 games over those seasons where there were no post-season implications for the Giants (in 1999 and 2001). When all is said and done, Sabean has done a great job for the Giants and their fans, bringing our franchise fully back as a powerhouse to be feared in the NL.

Budget Woes Bringing Fans Down

With a budget that's tighter than size small pantyhose on a football offensive lineman, the Giants don't look like they have any room to maneuver. This was true before the off-season began as I showed in May in my article outlining the Giants budget woes for this off-season. It looks even worse now after the Giants signed a number of deals for Alberto Castillo, Dustin Hermanson, Jeffrey Hammonds, Matt Herges, J.T. Snow, Michael Tucker, and Scott Eyre.

Although they are all relatively small contract sizes, the collective fact is that the Giants have already gone over their publicly announced target of $76M based on my numbers, and this was confirmed by the Giants in an interview given after the latest signings, that they were over budget already. In addition, there are future arbitration deals for A.J. Pierzynski, Jim Brower, and Pedro Feliz. Furthermore, there will still be a number of roster spots open that will be filled, at minimum, with non-arbitration eligible players, like Yorvit Torrealba, Jerome Williams, Dustan Mohr, and maybe Kevin Correia and Cody Ransom.

How can they hope to get any other players with budget woes like that? That is why fans are not feeling the magic that Sabean has woven over the years. So what is in store for the Giants?

Anything's Possible

That appears to be the Giant's mantra this off-season: "Anything's Possible." From Brian Sabean's first off-season press conference where he said that "Anything's possible but nothing's probable" to his subsequent interviews on KNBR. Right now Giants fans are thinking "nothing's probable" is all that is possible.

The latest management news to come out was a Larry Baer interview on KNBR on December 26th. With Giants fans hoping for some Christmas cheer to keep their Giants withdrawal symptoms from sucking them into a vortex of self-doubt about the Giants, Larry kept the company line and the Giant's fans' burning embers of hope glowing lowly. When asked by the host to put Giants fans out of their misery by outright saying there's no budget there to acquire a high impact player, Larry said the same thing Sabean said, "anything's possible." It's almost like they all met together and agreed on what they were going to say in public.

Some After Christmas Shopping

So the question turns again to, what's in store for the Giants? Apparently there is a pot o' money somewhere waiting to be sprung when the time comes. How big that pot is, nobody outside of the Giants knows, but it is big up enough that the Giants can still publicly say that "anything's possible, but nothing's probable" in terms of obtaining a high impact player.

Thus the Giants do not think they are done and are willing to do something if the right contract and the right player fell into their laps. And so it looks like as two ESPN Radio hosts speculated on their recent talk show, "The Giants are laying out in the weeds...." And we Giants fans can look forward to some After-Christmas shopping by the Giants, though what we may find at the checkout line is an empty cart.

Come on Down and Play the Price is Right

And what, pray tell, are the Giants shopping for in the MLB version of Nordstrom Rack? The Giants management has held a consistent story throughout this nerve-racking off-season for Giants fans. One is that the Giants are still seeking a starting pitcher to round out the rotation of Schmidt, Rueter, Williams, and Hermanson. While they would be satisfied going to spring training with Correia as the front runner for the the last position, they plan on being on the lookout to upgrade from Correia if the price is right.

Another is that, even after the various outfield acquisitions, leaving the Giants with five MLB outfielders, the Giants have not said that they are done in right field. They said that they are still looking to upgrade their right field position if that "right" situation comes up. And despite having a shortstop with MLB experience and an MLB starting salary in Neifi Perez, Sabean has repeatedly said that the Giants are still looking to upgrade their shortstop position. However, they would, from public comments, be happy with Perez at SS because he has said that Neifi could start for many teams in the league.

And all the while, Sabean will rummage through the bargain bin to find that player who wants to be a Giant at the right contract. Whether he finds that player or players is the million dollar question that Giants fans stomachs are churning over. But it's like the 12 step program, the first step is recognizing that you still need a better right fielder and shortstop. Now Sabean has to take his pot o' money that the Giants have stashed under their mattress somewhere and find him a starting pitcher, starting right fielder and starting shortstop who are willing to play for the Giants at the right contract for the Giants as well as the player. Let the magic begin!

Happy Holidays!



Martin Lee writes 'A Biased Giant's Fanatic's View' for SFDugout.com when the mood and muse strikes him. He wants to teach and share his love of baseball and, in particular, his love for the San Francisco Giants. He will believe to his dying days that Bobby Bonds was robbed of being the first 40-40 player and should be in Cooperstown. Please feel free to e-mail him at BiasedGiantsFanatic@yahoo.com if you have a question or comment.

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