Grading the San Francisco Giants' Offseason Moves so Far
Unless Brian Sabean has designs on shocking the world, the San Francisco Giants are essentially done with their offseason shopping list. Along the way they re-inked Angel Pagan, Santiago Casilla, Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt. They also brought former Giant Andres Torres back into the fold.
The only true question mark hovering over the Giants ahead of spring training is whether former closer Brian Wilson will return to the City by the Bay. The jury is out on how likely that is to happen, but we are fully equipped to pass judgement on the rest of the deals brokered by San Francisco.
Here's a report card on the Giants' moves this offseason.
Contract: Four years, $40 million
Analysis: With center fielders at a premium, Brian Sabean made the most of a difficult situation by slightly overpaying for Angel Pagan. Pagan for his part had a superb 2012, hitting .288 with 95 runs and 29 stolen bases. His defense also played a big part in helping San Francisco reach the postseason.
With top-shelf names like Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn on the open market, Sabean went all out to ensure he landed the more reasonably priced Pagan to be his leadoff batter and center fielder for the next several seasons.
$10 million per season may be more than Pagan is worth, but it's a far better situation than Hamilton's albatross contract or calling up an unproven talent.
Contract: Three years, $20 million
Analysis: While, in Angel Pagan's case, the excess of his contract comes in the dollar column, for Marco Scutaro, it's the third year. Marco Scutaro will turn 40 by the time his contract expires.
In some positions, you can get away with being a major leaguer at that age (especially DH). Second baseman isn't one of them.
What Scutaro did for the San Francisco Giants cannot be overstated, and in some ways, his new deal reflects the respect management has for his accomplishments. On the other hand, Scutaro looked good on the diamond, and assuming he'll sharply decline just because logic dictates it isn't entirely fair.
Certainly, we hope Scutaro produces at similar levels in 2013 and 2014. We'll leave the dark clouds on the horizon of 2015 for later.
Contract: Three years, $15 million
Analysis: I've taken heat for my distaste over Casilla's contract already, but my opinion hasn't changed. I like Casilla, and I appreciate what he adds to the Giant's bullpen. What worries me is the amount of money locked up in reliever arms on our roster.
With Javier Lopez already slated to make $4.2 million, the double whammy of Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt means San Francisco will pay three bullpen arms a total of $14.7 million in 2013. We'll address Affeldt in a moment, but as far as Casilla goes, is he truly irreplaceable enough to be worth $5 million a season for the next three years?
Maybe so, but with the ever-present black hole of a left-field power bat perennially unfilled, I for one would've preferred a cheaper deal (or a less expensive arm) and a bit of seed money for a run at someone who can add some pop from the outfield.
Contract: One year, $2 million
Analysis: This is one of those deals that just makes sense. Gregor Blanco did what he could in the wake of Melky Cabrera's unexpected departure in August, but having Blanco as the starting left fielder was never the plan.
Now the Giants have a familiar face to platoon with Blanco in Andres Torres, fresh from a one-year stint with the Mets. What Torres can provide is some solid defense, a few timely hits and a trusted bat off the bench late in games.
No one should expect a miracle from Andres the Giant, but it buys Blanco some breaks throughout the season and gives Giants fans a welcome reunion with a much beloved player.
Contract: Three years, $18 million
Analysis: Jeremy Affeldt did not come cheap, but you know what? He shouldn't. Affeldt is an elite reliever with proven poise in the postseason and would be a welcome addition to almost any team. San Francisco was wise to do what was necessary to retain his services for the next three seasons.
Affeldt sported a 1-2 record with a 2.70 ERA over 67 appearances in 2012. Then he dropped a perfect 0.00 ERA across 9.4 innings in the postseason. Yes, $18 million over three years is a hefty contract for a lefty reliever, but sometimes hefty can be justified. In the case of Affeldt, you're talking about a key player in both of San Francisco's World Series championships.
I like to think of it this way: Can you imagine watching Affeldt in another team's colors, facing down on our guys from the mound? It wouldn't be right. Brian Sabean clearly agreed, and we have to be happy with the outcome.