Over the past week, there has been a lot of speculation and discussion surrounding the Giants and their interest in free agent shortstop Edgar Renteria. Most people think that the team needs a veteran infielder, but disagree about which apple the G-men should pick from the tree that includes other infielders like Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal, and Orlando Hudson.
There has been a development, though, and it's not a potentially false rumor about a signing. On Monday the Tigers declined to offer Renteria arbitration. This means a couple things, most importantly the fact that IF a team like the Giants decides to move in on Renteria, it will no longer cost them a draft pick. This also puts him on basically the same playing field as Furcal.
This is where the Giants have to be smart. Furcal is probably going to demand a four-year deal for around $10 million a year. Renteria's rumored contract was two years for $18 million, but we now know that those are false. Back when we thought that Renteria would be offered arbitration, it would cost that $9 million a year AND a second round draft pick.
The blogs are saying that Renteria probably wants around that much, $8 or $9 million a year for two years with a third-year option. This should prove very attractive for the Giants, who still stress the newfound vigor for building from within.
Locking up Furcal for four years would take up a big chunk of salary until the injury-prone infielder was 35. Renteria would be a great clubhouse addition and has the skill set to stay productive into his later years.
Choosing Renteria would also be a good idea for the development of Emmanuel Burriss. As much as the debate has raged back and forth about where he really fits in, it comes down to the fact that he has to fit somewhere. The Giants are not in hot pursuit of Orlando Hudson, but he still remains on their radar.
Traditional Giants logic, as well as the best situation, would be to sign Renteria sooner rather than later, getting their man and setting the infield for next year.
Burriss plays both sides of second base very well. He also hits fairly well and is very fast and smart on the bases. He will not do any worse at either of the positions, and I don't think he's the kind of player to hold a grudge against management as long he's on the field.
With Burriss and Renteria on the infield, along with Pablo Sandoval and probably Kevin Frandsen, the Giants will have a very solid defensive infield.
It will also provide flexibility in the lineup. The Giants can make Burriss and Renteria basically interchangeable at the No. 2 spot in the order. They will still be without a big power hitter, but there will be a lot of speed and contact up and down the lineup.
All this, combined with Bruce Bochy, should result in a lot of small-ball games that the upgraded bullpen can hopefully close out this year.
I'm thinking that the opening day lineup, with today's roster plus Renteria, would be: Burriss (2B), Renteria (SS), Fred Lewis (LF), Randy Winn (RF), Bengie Molina (C), Aaron Rowand (CF), Pablo Sandoval (1B), Frandsen (3B), Lincecum (P). The bench would mainly be Dave Roberts, if he's not traded, Nate Schierholtz, Travis Ishikawa, and (I hope) Rich Aurilia.
In conclusion, I would actually prefer Renteria to Furcal. His contract would eat up less money and years and his durability is markedly better. Emmanuel Burriss can play both sides of second base, and he will be solid at either one.
All the Giants need is to sign their one infielder that solidifies everything else. Edgar Renteria, now not costing a draft pick, currently looks like a very logical choice.