Where will the best free agent this year end up?
The San Francisco Giants are going to get Josh Hamilton! Seven years? Do it! One-hundred and seventy-five million? If that's what he wants, that's what he'll get from us! Why not?
No, that isn't going to happen. The Giants aren't going to sign the top free agent in this year's class to a seven-year deal they'd most likely regret. They've learned from Barry Zito, although Josh Hamilton is not Zito (Zito has two rings).
The chances that the Giants actually sign Hamilton are rather small, but hey, there is a chance.
In a survey of 22 general managers, assistant GMs, advisers, scouting directors and talent evaluators in the field by ESPN, there was one who believed the Giants would be dark-horse contenders for the great talent that is Josh Hamilton.
So naturally we, as amateur general managers, have to extrapolate that minuscule speck of speculation and turn it into an article.
While it may be unlikely, there are several reasons why the Giants would pursue the slugger, and why Hamilton himself would sign with San Francisco.
What Angel Pagan does in free agency will dictate how the Giants go about their business.
In 2010, the outfield consisted of: Aaron Rowand, Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Nate Schierholtz and Pat Burrell.
Two years later, the outfield is a combination of: Melky Cabrera, Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence.
Of course there were games played by Jose Guillen and Xavier Nady, but we'll pretend that never happened.
Bottom line: Two World Series teams with two different outfields.
So to keep with the revolving door of outfielders, the Giants may be in for another wholesale change this offseason.
Angel Pagan will be entering free agency coming off a career year and may be asking for too much from the Giants, who will be wary of his age and past injury concerns.
While a one-year deal would make sense for Melky Cabrera, he may not be worth the subsequent backlash from the media.
Hunter Pence is owed $13 million in arbitration, and after a very poor second half and postseason—not counting speeches and team-bonding exercises—the Giants may just let him go. Pence's swings in the second half may cause flashbacks of Aaron Rowand flailing at sliders 50 feet off the plate.
Never a pretty sight.
If they chose to re-sign Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence, and that appears likelier than Melky, they'll still need to fill a void in left field.
While Gregor Blanco played an excellent outfield in the postseason, he simply isn't an everyday player. Neither Francisco Peguero nor Brett Pill should be considered an alternative.
This is where Josh Hamilton comes in. Since his defense has fallen due to age and injury, he is well equipped to play left field at AT&T Park.
Hamilton also would provide a powerful bat behind Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.
It'd be tough to sign all three in Pagan, Pence and Hamilton; but two out of three wouldn't be out of the question.
Thanks to merchandise like Panda hats, the Giants have made tons of money.
All those Panda Hats you've bought? Giraffe hats, Romo bobbleheads, $10.00 garlic fries and break-your-wallet playoff tickets–that may end up being good news if you're a Giants fan. No, the price won't be dropping anytime soon.
The extra revenue the Giants have gotten from the postseason and their 162-game regular-season sellout streak has provided them with plenty of ammunition for the offseason.
Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs wrote about each team's revenue during the postseason and noted how much the Giants made.
With Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff's contracts off the books, there is a little more spending money for Brian Sabean and Larry Baer.
It also doesn't hurt that Barry Zito's enormous contract also ends next year.
The payroll for the Giants have gone up steadily in the past couple years, according to BaseballProspectus.
Say they were to sign Angel Pagan to a four-year, $44 million contract and pay Pence's $13 million in arbitration. They'd still have to look to sign Marco Scutaro (probably to a lesser three-year contract) and maybe let go of Jeremy Affeldt.
Accounting for yearly arbitration to players like Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Buster Posey, would put their payroll up above last year's worth of $131 million.
However, with the money that they've made this season, why the hell not take a chance on a three-to-four year contract on one of the best hitters in all of baseball?
Keep in mind that Josh Hamilton is actually looking for a seven-year deal, but there are other factors that may persuade him to join San Francisco.
Josh Hamilton has gone through everything. Now all he needs is a ring.
This is more speculation and wishful thinking than it is actual fact, but Josh Hamilton may be more inclined to join a World Series-winning team than to play for a losing team for the next half-decade.
Let's be clear, no sane team will actually pay Hamilton $175 million or hand him a seven-year contract when his off-field and injury issues will likely linger.
However, a losing team looking to pull in extra revenue and a shot in the arm may throw Hamilton the obscene amount of cash. As the ESPN article stated, the Milwaukee Brewers are favorites to be that crazy team.
The Texas Rangers seem like a long shot after the very odd divorce last season. What started out to be an MVP campaign for Josh Hamilton turned into a mixture of boos as Hamilton swung and missed, and swung and missed some more as the Rangers collapsed out of the playoffs in one game.
There also isn't as much media scrutiny in San Francisco. Fans and media are just nicer here. I mean, there was a reason why the Tim Lincecum-Buster Posey disconnect didn't really generate any headlines.
Josh Hamilton would be able to do his thing in a carefree clubhouse led by Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey.
After losing the World Series in back-to-back years to San Francisco and St. Louis, Hamilton may want to join a winning team that will pay him a large fraction of what he wants.
With a solid pitching staff, shutdown bullpen and a much-improved offense (thanks to Hamilton himself) what's to stop the Giants from winning their third World Series in four years?
Hey, this is a very unlikely scenario. As a matter of fact, this won't even happen.
I have no idea why you just read this.
Don't come crying to me when they trade for a subpar journeyman outfielder. He'll probably end up being the World Series MVP.
That's just how the San Francisco Giants roll now.