The San Francisco Giants appear to have shifted all of their focus at this point to bringing a new shortstop aboard, and it looks like it will be either Rafael Furcal or Edgar Renteria. Brian Sabean has apparently exchanged contract proposals with Renteria's, which I hope is not too serious. I have made clear the risks associated with Furcal here in previous posts, but even with those risks, I still think he is clearly a better option than Renteria at this point. Furcal is a few years younger, therefore will likely get another large contract if all goes well during this one, so he will have motivation to continue to be a top shortstop. Renteria is a decent player, but his game is a lot like Randy Winn's (minus the speed) and the Giants don't need another "Winn" type player on this team. Sure, Renteria may hit .300, but his offense has been in decline and his defense is starting to slip a bit too. Furcal is an all-star caliber player when he's healthy, and Renteria isn't anymore. I'm still not advocating signing Furcal to the 4 year, $50 million dollar deal that he wants, but I am saying that I'd rather overpay a bit for Furcal than give Renteria a multi-year deal. Again, if both are equally healthy, Furcal is the superior player and it's not even close.
Another guy who has been mentioned as a target for the Giants is Milwaukee Brewers' shortstop J.J. Hardy. The 26 year-old could possibly fill a few roles for the Giants, as he is a solid defensive shortstop and could also provide them with a potent bat that could hit in the middle of the order. The Brew Crew needs pitching and apparently the Giants and Brewers have had some dialogue regarding Hardy and possibly first basemen Prince Fielder. Any move involving Fielder would cost the Giants Matt Cain and more, so I doubt that they were serious on him, but Hardy could be interesting. The Brewers have young Alcides Escobar ready to take over shortstop for them and if they can get the right arm, they would part with Hardy. The Giants may be able to pry him away from the Brewers if they offer Jonathan Sanchez and one of their young relievers. Hardy has gone from an all-glove, no bat shortstop to one of the premiere offensive shortstops in the league over the last 2 seasons. What's also impressive is that he hit a lot better on the road than he did at home last season, so it appears that his 20+ home run power would not be affected by the move. This is really the type of player that Sabean should be pursuing rather than these 30-something shortstops that want $10 million a year. If there is anyway the Giants could get him without dealing Cain, Tim Alderson, or Madison Bumgarner, they should strike.
*Note: It's not official yet, but the Giants have apparently signed Renteria to a 2 year, $18 million deal. I will have a full post on the move once it is official.
The Giants Baseball Blog-http://giantsbaseballblog.blogspot.com/