Although it's making headlines, Freddy Sanchez' new two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants doesn't really qualify as news. Most close observers of the team expected the second baseman to ink a deal in the wake of his disappointing stretch with the club.
When I wrote the longtime Pittsburgh Pirate would re-up with San Francisco, it was no revolutionary proclamation. In fact, you could argue I was flying the Captain Obvious flag. The organization simply gave up too much for an almost negligible return on the investment.
It's been said elsewhere and I'll echo it here—the Giants' brass parted with a potential gem.
Tim Alderson, the right-handed starting pitcher used to pry Sanchez away from the Buccos, could make that deal one of Brian Sabean's all-time blunders depending on how he develops. Based on what the faithful were told as the kid was tearing through the farm system, he may have the kind of talent that just shouldn't be traded. He's hit a bit of a rough patch in his learning curve, but the youngster's not even 21 yet.
In other words, there was basically ZERO chance the San Francisco Giants' management team could let Freddy Sanchez go given the totality of circumstances. Nevertheless, the deal is still fascinating .
One thing is an absolute, ironclad lock—Freddy Sanchez is good people. Really good people.
Forget those grumblings about being "open" to a return and the rest of the jazz. Who knows what it meant, but Sanchez was clearly far more than "open" to donning the Giant uniform for another year or two.
You can take the man at his own words or you can read between the lines of the contract.
The former National League batting champion secured a two-year deal worth a total of $12 million. If I've got this right, that means he signed a two-year deal worth about 50 percent more than the $8.1 million option los Gigantes held on him for 2010. Not only that, he did it quickly—the World Series isn't even over yet and there hasn't been much offseason movement, period.
Think about that.
It would've been a miserable thing to do to a franchise that just leveraged a significant piece of its future to get you, especially after tanking on it during a playoff drive, but Sanchez and his agent could've presumably held out for a larger contract.
Professional athletes pay handsomely for (some) intelligent people to focus on contract leverage and it didn't take a genius to figure out San Francisco needed to retain its key 2009 trade deadline acquisition. With that comforting tidbit tucked away, the player/agent could've forced the price tag higher all the while knowing if they pushed too high, the worst-case scenario was another year by the Bay at $8.1 mil.
Followed by an unrestrained foray into the 2011 free agent market.
By swapping the two-year extension for the one-year option, Sanchez is indicating one of two things.
Either Freddy Sanchez doesn't think he can get more than a one-year deal worth $3.9 million on the 2011 market, or he's more concerned about clearing his name in a Giant uniform than he is about maximizing his compensation.
Obviously, I'm going with the latter and not purely for a refreshing change-of-pace.
The renewed Giant second baseman won't turn 32 until the end of December and isn't a power or speed guy anyway. He makes his living playing slick defense at second and spraying the ball for average, both attributes that tend to age well. With his resume and tenure in Major League Baseball against his age and profile, $6 million per year has to be considered a value-purchase, if not cheap, for a healthy All-Star.
Certainly a confident professional athlete and his adviser must think so, even if they didn't let it stop the ink.
To me, that says Freddy Sanchez is more about pride and loyalty than his is about the money.
Considering his talents, that seems to be very good for the San Francisco Giants.