Thursday, December 4, 2008

Five Free Agent Signings That Make Sense (at least in my head)

1. Jason Giambi to the Giants
-I know, I know, he cannot play defense. The obvious downside of this deal is that the Giants would be stuck playing the Giambino at first base 120-130 times a season, which is ugly at best. But think about it this way: the Giants just went out and spent roughly $30 million dollars on three players, SS Edgar Renteria, RP Bobby Howry, and RP Jeremy Affeldt. The Giants obviously think that they can compete in 2009, especially with their starting pitching and revamped bullpen. But the one thing that the Giants are sorely lacking is an impact, power hitter. Giambi fits the mold perfectly: walks alot, gets on base, lots of power, and is left handed. Last season, the Giants anemic offense ranked last in home runs, 14th in OBP, and 15th in runs scored. Yikes...those are terrible numbers. Furthermore, Giambi would probably only command a one year contract in this market, which makes him all the more appealing to Sabean and the Giants.

2. Adam Dunn to the Athletics
-Dunn is exactly the kind of player that GM Billy Beane craves: walks alot, hits tons of home runs, and has a high OBP. In most years, Dunn would have been one of the most coveted free agents out there, but because of the economy, teams are shying away from Dunn and refusing to hand him the long term contract he seeks. This would be a great time for the Athletics to dive in and sign Dunn. First of all, after trading for Matt Holliday, the Athletics are clearly going for it this season and a lineup with both Adam Dunn and Matt Holliday would be potent and powerful. Second, it is likely that the Atheltics would not have to give Dunn the long term contract that he was seeking. He would actually be better off signing with a team like Oakland for a season and then testing the free agent market again in 2009. Once again, this is the perfect scenario for the normally frugal Atheltics to make a big splash.

And selfishly I want to see this deal happen because having Adam Dunn and Jack Cust on the same team would be amazing. Think about it, they are both slow, power hitting, walk machines, who strikeout alot and cannot hit for average. There is no doubt that the Athletics would lead the league in walks, strikeouts, and maybe even OBP and HR. How cool would that be?

3. Jon Garland to the Cardinals
-The Cardinals struck gold last season when they signed SP Kyle Lohse during spring training to a modest 1 year/$4 million deal. The move shored up the Cardinals rotation and allowed the Cardinals to compete for a playoff spot into September. I think that signing Jon Garland would be a shrewd move for the Cardinals, alot like signing Lohse was a year ago. You what your going to get with Garland: very few K, lots of innings, lots of hits, very few walks, and lots of ground balls. He will never be confused for an ace, but then again, he will cost alot less than Javier Vazquez. His style would fit very well with the Cardinals, who shored up their already stellar defense by acquiring Khalil Greene yesterday. In addition, Garland would offer more stability to a rotation that has many questions: Will Chris Carpenter be healthy? Will Todd Wellemeyer repeat his break though 2008 season? What will they get out of Joel Pineiro in 2009?

4. Ben Sheets to the Rangers
There is no team in baseball that needs starting pitching more than the Rangers do. It's not like they have not tried before to bring in quality arms (cough...Chan Ho Park, Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla), but with each big contract comes another big failure. Sheets is a whole different animal though. He has absolutely filthy stuff and has the potential to be a bonafide ace, but his health has always been up in the air. When healthy, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball...and for the pitching impaired Rangers, that kind of talent isn't available every day.

So here's a little tip for GM Jon Daniels: go after Sheets hard, but do NOT under any circumstances give Sheets a 4-5 year contract. Stick to a 1-2 year deal that would protect the Rangers if Sheets were to get hurt. That would mitigate the risk out of this contract and give the Rangers the ace that they have not had in roughly a decade. Plus, I think Sheets would prefer a shorter contract right now so that he can prove that he can stay healthy and be in line for a huge pay day down the road.

5. Trevor Hoffman to the Indians
-I know that Hoffman might not like the idea of going to Cleveland too much, but if he wants a shot to win, the Indians might be his best bet. The Indians are only a year removed from the ALCS and still have a solid core group of guys. Their 2008 season was ravished by injuries and dominated by the CC Sabathia trade talks, but I look for the Indians to rebound in a big way in 2009.

And that's where Hoffman comes in. It's true that Hoffman is no longer a dominant closer and will probably only play for another season or two. But what Hoffman offers the Indians (experience, stability) is much better than anything else they have currently in their bullpen. Sure Jensen Lewis is a good pitcher and could wind up one day as a great closer, but for right now, he would be better suited as a set up man. The Indians currently lack depth in the bullpen and they need to find a way to build a bridge to the ninth inning. Signing Hoffman would enable them to begin building an effective bridge that could lead the Indians back to the playoffs.

And look on the bright side, Hoffman is much better than Joe Borowski!

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