Free agents still cannot officially discuss business with potential new suitors for another week, but there is already plenty of speculation going on in the bay area about what the San Francisco Giants will do once the floodgates open. We've seen Mark Teixeira and Adam Dunn's name already thrown out there. Here are a few notes over the past week that have gained some headlines on the Giants front:
Giants showing interest in Rafael Furcal: I did mention Furcal here a while back towards the end of the season discussing him as the type of player Brian Sabean seems to covet in free agency (see Ray Durham, Edgardo Alfonzo, Dave Roberts ect.) as a player who can be dominant at times, but he's on the wrong side of 30 and injuries are starting to take their toll. Furcal would be a nice addition to any lineup, he's likely seeking a 3+ year contract worth 13 million dollars annually. When he's healthy, he's almost worth it, as he showed in the post-season, but the Giants have had limited success in free agency since 2002. If they could get him on a 1-2 year deal to show prove he's healthy, then I'd be all for it, but he's going to get offers elsewhere and I'm not convinced the Giants should get into a bidding war. However, if the next topic I'm going to discuss (Rowand) comes to fruition, then I'd be a lot more open to signing a guy like Furcal. It also would considerably weaken the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is also a good thing.
Giants possibly dangling Aaron Rowand: This one caught me by surprise, and although it is not likely to happen, it does pose an interesting possible turn of events. The Giants have Nate Schierholtz rearing to go full time and prove that he can (or can't) keep an everyday job in the bigs, but he's being blocked right now by Fred Lewis and Randy Winn. If the Giants could deal Rowand, it would allow them to shift Winn to center and give Schierholtz right. Also, the free agent market is thin in regards to outfielders, especially in center where Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark Kotsay are the top names on the market. The New York Yankees were among teams that had interest in him last winter was he was a free agent and they are always willing to add payroll. Although Rowand didn't have the best offensive year in his first go round in SF, he has established himself as a clubhouse leader with the Giants already though as well as a fan favorite in San Francisco with his all-out play. However, if the Giants have a shot to free up some payroll that could be spent in other areas, as well as a spot for Schierholtz, I'd be all for it.
Giants possibly bringing Pat Burrell back to the Bay Area: Pat Burrell has been on the Giants' radar it seems for the past 4 or 5 years. He would fit in well at AT&T Park because he is a right handed pull hitter who's 30 home run a year power would not be affected by the spacious ball-park. But that's about where all the positives end with Burrell. At this point in his career, he's a .250 hitter and he's not particularly clutch. He's also slow and immobile making him a below average outfielder. That said, it would be nice to have a 30 home run a year bat in the lineup somewhere as the Giants were dead last in baseball in the home run department in 2008. If the Giants could get Burrell on a home town discount (3 years, 30 million) and if he can play a halfway decent first base, he may be worth going after. On the positive side, he is pretty much a shoe in for 30 bombs, he does get on base a lot for such a low average, and he has stayed healthy throughout his career.
Again, these guys are just names that have been written or talked about over the last couple days, so it's all speculation, but Brian Sabean said earlier in the week after the General Manager meetings that he will not trade Matt Cain (unless he's blow away by an offer) and may be more willing to dip into the free agent market than he had originally thought. So keep an eye on the guys above if that becomes the case.
The Giants Baseball Blog-http://giantsbaseballblog.blogspot.com/