MLB Rumors: Power Ranking the SF Giants’ 10 Biggest Offseason Targets
As the Giants remain in the hangover stages of a World Series championship campaign, the questions are beginning to swirl in the Bay Area over who will replace the World Series' most valuable player, shortstop Edgar Renteria, in the upcoming 2011 season.
With Juan Uribe as a high candidate for moving teams, one thing is for certain. The Giants are going with the young guns: There is always room for improvement.
Will the Giants try to reel in Derek Jeter, or will they make a trade for another big name infielder?
Only time will tell.
Let's look at some players around the league that the Giants have their eyes on.
The Giants have acquired SS Miguel Tejada from the San Diego Padres. This puts a stop to the shortstop frenzy, and certainly rearranges the order of players on the radar.
10. Jayson Werth, Outfielder
With Scott Boras as his agent, Jayson Werth is rumored to be gunning for $120 million.
Which team is the front runner?
Rumor has it Boston is leading the pack of teams trying to reel in Jayson.
The Giants are a viable team for Jayson Werth considering their uncertainty over who will play in the outfield.
Pat Burrell and Cody Ross are both rumored to depart, leaving two holes to fill. It's possible that because of the emergence of Brandon Belt, who can play a host of positions, Aubrey Huff might move to left field, sealing the deal for Pat Burrell's fate as a Giant.
Cody Ross or not, the Giants could use Werth as a replacement for Burrell, although a move like this would likely be the only one the Giants would be able to pull off.
Werth is a free agent, and he ranks so low on the Giants' radar because of the viscous east coast powerhouse markets and their tenacity in working a contract in his favor.
9. Stephen Drew, Shortstop
If it wasn't for D-Back GM Kevin Towers, Stephen Drew would be wearing black and orange next season.
As it stands, the D-Backs are refusing to talk trade regarding their shortstop.
Giants GM Brian Sabean has made it clear. He wants a shortstop, even if it means signing and trading Juan Uribe. The Giants are in a smooth position as Pablo Sandoval reportedly has been working hard at getting back into shape at a complex in Arizona.
If that's the case, Uribe leaving the Giants makes sense financially, freeing up the checkbook to bring in a big name guy.
Stephen Drew, however unlikely he is to join the Giants, is constantly on their radar. If the D-Backs change their minds, look for Stephen Drew to be a Giant almost immediately.
8. Jason Varitek, Catcher
With Buster Posey and Eli Whiteside making the catcher position seem like a last thought, don't count out the leadership that Jason Varitek could add.
He's nearing the end of his career, as his .232 average in only 39 games played proved last season. He is 39 years old, and has accepted his role as a back-up catcher from here on out.
The Red Sox denied offering him arbitration because it didn't make sense: Not many teams are in need of a backup catcher and Boston will most likely be able to get him at a deal should no other team offer up the cash for him.
The reason he's on the Giants' radar is because he could really relish the role of player/coach. He's battle tested, he knows the playoffs like the back of his hand, and he is a great clubhouse addition.
San Francisco also wouldn't have to give up any coveted draft picks to acquire his services. That's a kicker in the direction of bringing in the vet.
Let's be real about this, however. The Giants are ditching all the older players in order to pave the way for the future. Varitek is another Molina, and the Giants shipped him out last season. Actually, Molina is better at this point and the Giants still had no need for him.
However unlikely it is, I think it'd be a smart move to bring in a veteran, and Jason Varitek just wants a place to call home. If the Red Sox low-ball him, Varitek will sign somewhere else for any amount just to appease his self worth thoughts.
7. Bill Hall, Outfielder
Another Red Sox misfit, Bill Hall is a free agent and looks to add depth to any team willing to take a gamble on him.
With incoming prospect Drew Sutton receiving support in the Red Sox organization, Bill Hall is the odd man out. Boston declined their option to offer arbitration to the young outfielder, allowing him to sign with anyone for literally no compensation.
That sounds great for the Giants.
With a consistent outfielder on the roster, the Giants would be able to become flexible this off-season. Bill Hall didn't put up great numbers, batting .247 with 18 homers and 46 runs batted in during the 2010 season. Keep in mind, Hall played in only 120 games as a temporary replacement throughout the season.
He's also made mention of his desire to be an everyday starter.
As the Giants evolve their farm systems, Brian Sabean has a soft spot for young players who are willing to work hard.
This is why Buster Posey was called up so quick: It's also why Brandon Belt will soon be a household name should he keep up at the pace he's at now.
How likely is it Bill Hall likely becomes a Giant for the 2011 season?
Not very, considering the Yankees' interest. It's very possible that Hall turns down the money and opts to go somewhere where he can play more innings. If that's the case, the Giants might be on his list, especially when/if Cody Ross and Pat Burrell skip town.
6. Derek Jeter, Shortstop
Derek Jeter in San Francisco is certainly a long shot, but with the veteran shortstop shopping around the league for a better offer, the Giants have certainly thought about employing his services.
Former Giant utility man F.P Santangelo recently told a local radio station that there is word internally that points to the Giants tossing around a number to offer up to Jeter.
However exciting this is, or may not be to some Giants fans, it's merely business for Derek.
Unhappy with the offered three-year, $45 mil deal that the Yanks threw out there, Jeter is allegedly seeking somewhere between 22 to 25 million a year.
That's a figure San Francisco can match.
How likely is that Derek Jeter winds up in the bay area?
Not very, but the Giants are big market. It's no secret they want to replace the departing Edgar Renteria.
Is Derek Jeter the right guy for the job?
He's 36 years old and coming off one of his least productive seasons after batting .270 with 10 homers and 67 runs batted in.
The stat that Brian Sabean likes the most regarding Jeter?
He scored 111 times last season.
That's some run production that the Giants could roll with, featuring new threats Buster Posey and possible breakthrough upcoming rookie Brandon Belt in the lineup next season.
5. Jose Reyes, Shortstop
Jose Reyes is certainly an intriguing option for the Giants. He's exactly what they want in a shortstop: He's versatile, speedy, and can start a rally.
The Mets are trying to cut back on payroll and trading Reyes has certainly been mentioned. The Giants aren't currently very high in the mix, but that could all change with a move or two.
As mentioned by the San Francisco Chronicle and Sporting News, Jose Reyes is likely to be dealt in July, considering he will be a free agent after next season. Here is a snippet of what the experts are saying:
"New York's other star shortstop isn't guaranteed a return to the Big Apple, either. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Mets have made SS Jose Reyes available for trades, although they are asking for a package of "three or four" major leaguers and/or prospects in return. The report adds that the Mets might wait until the July 31 nonwaiver deadline to deal Reyes. The Mets picked up Reyes' $11 million option for next season, after which Reyes can become a free agent. New general manager Sandy Alderson has avoided saying that Reyes is untouchable. The Giants are among the teams searching for an everyday shortstop this offseason. Reyes, 27, has provided plenty of offensive spark when healthy but is coming off two injury-shortened seasons."
This was mentioned by Chris Bahr and Tom Gatto of Sporting News.
The Giants would be exponentially better with the addition of Reyes, but do they want to wait until mid-season to make the deal?
4. Marco Scutaro, Shortstop
Marco Scutaro is the latest shortstop in Boston who might be headed out. Over the past several years, Nomar Garciaparra, Edgar Renteria, and Julio Lugo have been a trial and effort method that just doesn't seem to net them a solid guy for the foreseeable future.
Scutaro has one year left on his $12.5 million dollar deal and is on pace to make $5 million next year. Considering his durability (he played almost the whole season even while injured last season), Scutaro has been contacted by six or more teams, the Giants being one of them.
The Red Sox want some bullpen help, and the Giants certainly have a strong bullpen.
But do the Giants want to part with any of their brilliant relievers?
Brian Sabean has made mention that the first priority, now that Aubrey Huff has signed an extension, is to find a shortstop. Scutaro would be a valid option, but the question is really if the Giants want to give up pitchers to fill the vacancy in the infield.
There are other shortstops on the market that could fill Renteria's shoes, possibly at more of a bargain. If the Giants have some prospect ideas in the pen, they could be willing to ship Sergio Romo or someone similar for the likes of Scutaro, however I wouldn't agree with a move of that caliber.
Scutaro is being strongly considered by the Giants, and that's why he is ranked so high within the organization's power ranking of possible targets.
We will see if Sabean wants to break up a championship bullpen to replace the world series MVP. Seems like a tough call.
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Outfielder
Ellsbury would be a perfect fit in San Francisco. However, his contract is far from perfect.
Ellsbury has been in hot water with the Red Sox organization, mostly over the fact that he only played in 18 games last season, suffering a rib injury early in the season.
I say hot water because of all the swirling discussions involving Jayson Werth.
The Red Sox are the top contenders in landing Werth, as mentioned before. If that acquisition goes through, Ellsbury could be available—but at a hefty price.
Ellsbury is young and the market is chomping at the bit for a potential franchise outfielder, meaning that he could step in somewhere and solidify a center field role for five or more years.
When you consider the Red Sox backup option as Mike Cameron, it seems unlikely that they would part ways with Ellsbury.
Stranger things have happened.
Stay tuned on this development, as Jayson Werth may sign with the Sox soon.
When/if that happens, the trade talks will intensify regarding Jacoby.
2. Johnny Damon, Outfielder
Damon is a free agent this off-season, something the Giants like the sound of.
As mentioned several times before, the Giants will most likely have two spots to fill in the outfield should Pat Burrell and Cody Ross sign elsewhere for more dough. What better player to fill in then Johnny Damon?
It's funny, now that the Giants are the team to beat, the need for other players who have been there and know how to play in clutch games becomes more important. Johnny Damon certainly knows how to pull off miracles in big games; just ask the Yankees.
He batted a decent .271 last season with eight homers and 41 runs batted in. Most intriguingly, Damon gets on base more then a third of the time (OBP .355).
Damon made $8 million last season, and unless a team gets crazy and offers him a ridiculous figure, Damon could be a relative bargain.
The Giants remain high on his list because of the way their outfield looks on paper. Damon could see a starting role should he come to San Francisco.
Rumor has it he's made mention of returning to Boston, but if the Red Sox sign Werth or trade for Upton, then Damon will be no more then a bug on Boston's windshield.
I say take a chance on him, Frisco. He's a bargain bin player. Well, relatively, if compared with John Buck's insane 18 million dollar deal by the Blue Jays.
1. Jason Bartlett, Shortstop
After acquiring Miguel Tejada and losing Juan Uribe, Jason Barlett is still the main guy the Giants would like to attain. Miguel can play 3B, possibly keeping alive the inquiry rumors of Jason Bartlett.
After an all-star caliber year in 2009, Bartlett fell on hard times last season, batting just .254, adding four home runs, and 47 runs batted in. On the plus side, his fielding percentage got better.
Bartlett is such a great option for the Giants in a couple ways: He's 31, and his trade stock is relatively low, meaning the Giants could get him for some minor leaguers and cash considerations.
The only problem is that several other teams would love to make him their everyday shortstop. The Giants will have to compete, but maybe their recent title campaign will help in the decision for Bartlett.
That's just it, however. It's not Bartlett's decision. The Rays and Bartlett are in the last year of his arbitration eligibility. If another team wants to lock up the shortstop, they will have to simply offer up some draft picks and prospects.
Bartlett is itching to get back into 2009 form, and the Giants could be the perfect grounds for a resurgence.
Several teams have pondered adding him, but the Giants and Orioles are the headliners in teams who need him the most.
Bartlett on the Giants makes a lot of sense, hence the No.1 ranking in moves the Giants should make.