Saturday, November 4, 2006

Giants: Clean House

The Giants have 11 free agents potentially leaving this winter. Here's the list: Barry Bonds, Jason Schmidt, Ray Durham, Moises Alou, Pedro Feliz, Shea Hillenbrand, Mike Stanton, Steve Kline, Todd Greene, Steve Finley, Jamey Wright.

I believe that the Giants' m.o. the last several years is a tad old, pun intended. Old, veteran free agents, signed to fill gaps. It worked okay for a while, but this system has fallen into disrepair. My suggestion is this: Clean house. With the exception of Bonds and Schmidt, I couldn't care less if I never saw any of those other guys play again.

I'm hesitant to say goodbye to Schmidt, mainly because since he's the first ace they've had since Marichal, it seems odd to give up the best of what they really have needed all these years - pitching. The Giants endured one of the longest ace droughts in all of baseball. Almost 30 years. But, he'll command a high price in free agency. It appears that because he wasn't traded in July that the Giants actually thought they had a chance of winning the West.

I could see Bonds returning, chasing the record and all, but only in a limited role. He's been up front ever since he's been here. He wants a ring and he wants it as a Giant. So how much is it worth to him? Slash his salary 65% or so and if he doesn't bite, see ya. Other teams might not want to fork out the cash for a guaranteed contract that might pay him to watch the All-Star game from his prison cell. The other $10M could be used toward securing that ring with some good players.

The Giants need a new direction. A youth movement. The pitching looks promising, but then that's the history of the Giants. They look great on paper, and if they can convince enough other teams to trade talent for prospects, the Giants play well. One reason I like youth movements is that you don't have to pay them anything until they qualify for arbitration, then more when they file for free agency. It might be a few years (like the Tigers) before they can make a push at a title, but that can't be any worse than what we've been subject to the last few years.

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