Team Projection #2
Towards the end of November, I gave my first line-up prediction of the off-season and now it's going to be a little bit easier as things look like they are rounding into shape, at least as far as the Giants management is concerned. I still see this team with a major hole at whatever corner position Pablo Sandoval doesn't fill. They also have a hole in their starting staff where it looks like Noah Lowry cannot be counted on to be ready for the season, thus has prompted talks of Randy Johnson joining the squad for a year. I still think the Giants, although they say they are pretty much set, have a few things up their sleeve (for better or worse) and I could now see a Giants' roster lining up like this come April.
Lineup- LF Fred Lewis SS Edgar Renteria RF Randy Winn 3B Joe Crede (Giants have had interest for almost a year now, it will happen) C Bengie Molina 1B Pablo Sandoval CF Aaron Rowand 2B Ty Wigginton (I could see Sabean chomping at the bit over this guy's power: 24 HR in 386 AB's)
Rotation- RH Tim Lincecum LH Randy Johnson (Added as insurace, could end up being the #2, for match-up reasons) RH Matt Cain LH Jonathon Sanchez LH Barry Zito (He should be better in '09, but I said that last year too)
DL (Noah Lowry)
DL (Merkin Valdez)
This roster is taking into the account that Randy Johnson (who could sign at any moment), Joe Crede and Ty Wigginton (both of whom would fit the bill of power hitting infielder in Sabes' mind) were all signed to 1-2 year deals. The actual proposed lineup I put up would have a lot of pop, though they won't run as well as if they had Manny at second but defensively they'd be fine and only Joe Crede has health questions. I almost guarantee Sabean strikes for one of, if not both, Wigginton and Crede though. I wouldn't necessarily blame him either. They both fit needs the Giants have and although they aren't the ideal types of players they should be targeting, it would beat the heck out of trading Jon Sanchez for a Jorge Cantu or something along those lines. Anyhow, after Taschner was tendered, I think their bullpen officialy became set and if The Ugly/Unit comes aboard as insurance for Noah (who is looking more and more likely to need TJ surgery) which seems like more than just a possibilitiy, the whole staff would be set (barring any spring invitees).
Now, If I were running the team, I'd still have my eye on the relief market and even consider bring Mark Prior aboard as a reliever and get him to consider following the path of Kerry Wood. I also would keep any eye on guys like Luis Ayala (who, before being tried at closer last season was rounding into one of the leagues more consistent set-up men). I also really like Jerry Hairston Jr. as a possibly utility guy as he plays everywhere besides first and catcher and he has speed, defense and last year found his bat (.326 last, .871 OPS last season). He'd be ideal insurance for Burris at second in the Giants do indeed start the year with him as their starting second basemen. Juan Rivera is another interesting option I'd consider offering 1 year deal too. He had 9 HR and 34 RBI in 170 AB's after the break. He looks fully recovered and back to his 2006 form (.310, 23 HR, 85 RBI). I really would consider him a potential starting 1st basemen, with Sandoval shifting to third, if he were the only other offensive player added to the team. Also, Michael Barret and Greg Zaun as possible back-up catchers are light years ahead of Steve Holm in all capacities of the game (especially in handling the pitchers and calling games), so if the Giants are going to carry a catcher on the bench in addition to having Sandoval and Molina on the roster (which I don't as necessary, but they do), I'd like it to be a veteran. As far as guys I'd look into sending out a spring training invitee to (no guaranteed contract, basically a tryout), here is a list of a few I wouldn't mind targeting, again, with nothing guaranteed besides the slim chance of making the Opening Day Roster
Ben Broussard 1B/RF (2 years ago, the Giants would have loved him at 1B) Alex Cintron IF (Could provide utility depth) Greg Norton 1B/OF (Could be a power bat off the bench, versatile) Juan Rincon RHP (Still kind of young and looking for career re-birth) Mark Mulder LHP (Looking to get healthy, if he does, could provide pitching depth) Odalis Perez LHP (Just comparing his numbers to Zito's and he's actually better, just saying) Brad Wilkerson 1B/OF (20-20 potential still could provide depth at first and the OF)