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With rumors swirling around the league, and the San Francisco Giants apparently in on everyone from the big names like C.C. Sabathia to relievers like Bob Howry, I figured now would be a good time to throw out a possible lineup projection for next year. Even with the recent reports that the Giants are serious on Sabathia, I would still give that about a 10% chance of transpiring. The Giants have greater needs than pitching and as good as Sabathia is, I would rather put that money into a guy like Mark Teixeira if they insist on spending. The Giants also have apparently stepped up their efforts in pursuing second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson is declining offensively and his defense slipped last year as well. I would rather sign Rafael Furcal (if healthy), who may bring more of a risk and would reap more reward. Here is a look at how I think the 2009 Giants could look heading into Spring Training in February:
- SS Rafael Furcal (Giants have been interested all along. He likely will end up with the Giants, A's, or Braves)
- LF Fred Lewis (They may want him in middle of the order somewhere, but a potential 1-2 punch of him and Furcal would be dynamite)
- 1B/3B Pablo Sandoval (The team has plans of starting "Sandy" somewhere for his bat, likely a better fit at first)
- 1B/3B Hank Blalock (They've always had their eye on Blalock and could part with Jonathan Sanchez to get some power in the lineup)
- CF Aaron Rowand (Should be better in his second go-round in SF, but still only a 15 HR-80 RBI type guy at best in this park)
- C Bengie Molina (Back for the final year as a Giant and he's had a good run here, should be dealt though if the team is out of it at the break)
- RF Randy Winn (Steady all-around player that could be dealt to open space for Schierholtz, but not likely)
- 2B Emmanuel Burriss (Good defender with a ton of speed and an okay bat, should get a full time spot at either second or short)
RH Tim Lincecum ('08 Cy Young Award Winner should be even better in '09 if the team can upgrade the offense and pen) LH [[Barry Zito (He had a decent second half in 2008 after a horrible beginning but there's still hope that he can get back to at least a respectable level) RH Matt Cain (After his 3rd full season here, it's time to separate himself from a high upside pitcher to a steadily dominant one) LH Noah Lowry (His health is still uncertain, but should be back at around full strength in the spring. Only problem is, he hasn't pitched a meaningful inning since August 2007) RH Paul Byrd (Giants may want another vet if they deal away a pitcher and Byrd seems like a cheap, low risk choice)
Bullpen: CL Brian Wilson (For the first time since 2003, the Giants feel confident in their closer situation) LH Jeremy Affeldt (Has come into his own over last 2 years, should be one of the top lefty relievers out there) RH Sergio Romo (Take away one bad outing which he gave up 4 runs, and his era is in the low 1's) RH Merkin Valdez (Like Lowry, his health is an issue as a 2 week injury ended up being a season ender in '08, but if healthy, has closing potential) LH Alex Hinshaw (Came on strong last year, but needs to attack the strike zone with more consistency this year) RH Bob Howry (Former Giant could return to his first team as they are seeking veteran relief help) RH David Weathers (Another one of Sabean's annual targets, but now that he's a free agent, they may be more inclined than ever to strike)
Bench: OF-Nate Schierholtz (nothing left to prove in minors, could start cutting into Winn's playing time) OF-Dave Roberts (In last year of deal, finally, but will be paid over $6 million to sit) 1B-Travis Ishikawa (could see significant at-bats when Sandoval is filling in for Molina) C-Steve Holm (Sandoval will be main backup, but Holm likely will be on the roster too) IF-Kevin Frandsen (supposed to be the second basemen of the future, but interest in Hudson shows Giants are skeptical)
Again, this is just speculation on what could fit into budget based on what's been discussed. The Blalock trade is just speculation and hasn't been discussed at all, but it's a deal that could work out well for both squads. The Giants are all over Furcal but could turn to Orlando Hudson or Edgar Renteria if they cannot land him. I can almost guarantee you that the Giants will sign at least one middle infielder. They have also discussed Juan Cruz as another right handed setup man, but a guy like Howry is a lot more realistic after signing Affeldt.
The Giants Baseball Blog-http://giantsbaseballblog.blogspot.com/