San Francisco Giants: 10 Affordable Players Who Could Be 2011’s Miracle Heroes
So far this off-season, the headlines have revolved around big name targets. As the Giants have showed us, it may not be entirely about the big shots in relation to bringing home the rings.
Cody Ross was responsible for countless game-saving hits, and Edgar Renteria led the World Series charge. Both players were picked up with no intention of season altering implications.
Who will be 2011's Cody Ross?
Let us take a look at 10 free agents who could be next in line to follow suit.
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Damon is a free agent, and with big name teams constantly filling the voids for position players, Damon is quickly becoming a possible option for a winning team that could use a solid back-up or mid-season replacement.
What better team then the Giants.
With Aaron Rowand rumored to be on the trading block, it's not a stretch to consider Damon heading to the Bay Area. In fact, it'd be a perfect fit. He may not be an immediate impact kind of guy, but he certainly knows how to deal in the playoffs, batting .326 in the World Series during 46 at-bats.
He's been to the playoffs six times, and with the pitching gems featured in SF, he could find himself making his seventh appearance.
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What an addition Okajima would be.
He's been solid for Boston out of the bullpen, and joining the Giants pitching staff would be a blessing in disguise. His pitching style is hard to pick up on, and he brings some real velocity to the plate with his head-diving approach.
Okajima is a free agent, and the Giants could shoulder a paycheck for the guy.
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I realize that this addition wouldn't be overly popular in the bay area, but Thames brings some serious pop.
He averages a home-run in every 15 plate appearances. It'd be nice to have him in a pinch hitting situation.
Thames could be a discount player with every day he's still on the market.
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Aybar is a utility player, and can play any position in the infield. He also has batted for a decent .263 average over his five year career.
He's not exactly a must-have for the Gigantes, but a beneficial addition?
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Bonderman doesn't have much left in the tank, but the same could be said about Edgar Renteria.
Bonderman can bring the heat, and in a last ditch effort to make it to the playoffs again, Bonderman might gladly take a role in the Giants illustrious pitching staff.
It never hurts to have another strong arm in the pen for an injury situation.
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Branyan is another utility guy, but primarily plays at first base or DH. Since his possible coming to SF would mean a non-factor on his DH ability, his ability to play first and third could be a big help to the Giants infield rotation.
His career average lacks where his long ball potential is intriguing. He's a .234 career hitter, but has launched 184 dongs.
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As an Oakland Athletics fan, Chavez always has a place in my heart. However, his productivity has been unbearable for the A's to deal with any longer. That doesn't mean his will to end a great career on a bang won't take precedence in 2011.
The Giants would allow him to stay in the area, and for a guy like Chavez, that may mean a one-year deal for the league minimum, or something close to it.
Who knows, Chavez could be great in the clubhouse for all the young talent the Giants bolster. He's also not a bad option should something happen to Sandoval.
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A one time Giant, Fred Lewis is a solid player.
His impact could be in the form of pinch-running, but with a career average of .272, Lewis could be a viable option in the outfield should Burrell not perform as expected.
Jon Rauch/Grant Balfour
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Why would you not want to bring in the tallest player in MLB history.
Rauch is a presence on the mound. He has been in the role of closer, set-up man, and long reliever. He definitely knows his role, and is happy to be any part of the solution during the mid to late innings.
Update: Word on the street is that Rauch has signed with the Diamondbacks.
Let us consider Grant Balfour.
One of the most highly clouted releivers, Balfour is a no brainer in the sense that he could be a solid late inning guy. Well, that's not exactly a bold prediction: He's been solid so far throughout his career.
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A grizzled vet, Cabrera has been in the league since '97. If we are talking about the next Edgar Renteria of last season, there is not better player to fit the characteristics.
Cabrera is hit or miss: He made a key play in allowing the Twins to advance to the post-season in 2009, but also led his position in errors with 25.
He knows his limits, and with the Reds hoping to attain his services for a figure under $4 million, his price tag is certainly do-able for the Giants.