Splash Hits: Who's Next for the San Francisco Giants?
Pending Monday's physical, Juan Uribe will rejoin his Giant pals in what one can only hope to be an encore as the super utility man that he was last year. With Juan back in the mix, as well as recent acquisition Mark DeRosa, the Giants have two quality ballplayers known to be great locker room presences for a very young team.
The question remains, however, if they have done enough to build a lineup to support Pablo Sandoval and one of the strongest staffs in the majors.
One can only assume, or hope as the case may be, that the DeRosa signing was only the first in a series of moves to improve the anemic San Francisco offense. DeRosa's flexibility allows the Giants to go after a number of different position players.
The options that remain (sans Matt Holliday) include free agents Adam LaRoche, Adrian Beltre, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, and Jermaine Dye, or trading for defensively challenged Dan Uggla. Given that Tejada, Damon and Dye all sit on the wrong side of 35, let's take a closer look at the three that remain.
Adrian Beltre has been widely regarded as the best defensive third basemen in the majors. While his offensive numbers may never reach those he enjoyed in his Dodger days, Beltre still offers the pop that the Giants desire. Even with his injury riddled 2009 season, Beltre averaged over 20 home runs a season in his time at cavernous Safeco Field.
The bad news is that Beltre is represented by Scott Boras. The last time Brian Sabean ran into him, Boras fleeced him to the tune of seven years and $126 million. Given the stated financial limitations imposed on the Giants payroll and the fact that the Boston Red Sox are reportedly in the mix, Beltre may be slightly beyond what ownership is willing to spend.
Dan Uggla's name has been linked for months to the Giants, as the cash strapped Florida Marlins look to unload the expensive second baseman. Uggla is a proven young slugger who has averaged 30 home runs a year in the heart of the Florida lineup.
If the Marlins demands of Jonathan Sanchez are true, the Giants may be right to pursue other avenues. It makes no sense for them to commit both dollars and players on someone who will make a team looking to add defense, considerably worse off. Given that the Giants should hold the leverage in this negotiation, they should hold out for a deal built around a few solid B prospects at most.
Adam LaRoche may serve as the best remaining hope as an addition to the lineup. LaRoche has averaged 25 home runs over the last five years and plays a solid, if unspectacular 1B. He also has the required pop to get it out of the national park that resides in right field at AT&T.
Laroche's contract demands seem to be on the way down as no team has shown a willingness to meet the three years and $30 million he is looking for. If the Giants can get his demands down to an average annual salary of around $7 million, LaRoche may make too much sense to pass up. Seattle, if they choose not to re-sign Russell Branyan, may be San Francisco's lone hurdle.
What Brian Sabean and the front office will do remains to be seen. All that is known now to anyone who watches the Giants is that what is here now is not enough. If they truly wish to compete now, and the DeRosa signing would signal that they do, the Giants need to make a rare off-season splash in McCovey Cove.
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