Giants Discussing Uggla, Konerko And Lee?

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers mentions some names that the offensively-challenged San Francisco Giants are considering acquiring this off-season, specifically, Dan Uggla, Paul Konerko, and Derrek Lee. He writes:

San Francisco, desperate for a proven bat, is expected to pursue one-dimensional second baseman Dan Uggla. The Giants also may kick the tires on first baseman Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Derrek Lee of the Cubs, both of whom have full no-trade clauses. They probably would have to deal a young pitcher—Jonathan Sanchez or Matt Cain.

I understand why the Giants would want to add some bats. They averaged 3.95 runs per game in 2008, just barely ahead of San Diego who had an MLB-worst 3.93 runs/game. But I do not understand why they’d want these three guys specifically.

  • Uggla is arbitration-eligible this year and you’d have to assume he’s due for a pretty big raise from his current $417K salary. Despite this, Uggla will probably cost around $6MM in 2009, which is a steal in today’s market. He’s certainly no defensive asset, but second basemen with 30+ HR power are not exactly plentiful. But here’s the issue – Uggla’s going to be 29 in March, which is rather old for a first-year arbitration player. If the Giants somehow manage to get him on the cheap, then good for them. If they need to give up one of their young pitchers to do so, that would be a mistake.
  • If the White Sox trade away Konerko, they’d be doing so at what could be a bargain price. The first baseman will be 33 on Opening Day and is a 10-and-5 player and as such has a full no-trade clause, not to mention the $24MM due to him over the next two years. I’m not sure how you’re going to convince him to waive that no-trade without tacking on another two years to the end of that deal. And while I expect Konerko to have a decent bounce-back year in 2009, he’s never going to be a 40+HR bat again. The Giants are not going to be competitive in 2009 and Paul Konerko is not going to change that.
  • A similar argument can be made against the idea of getting Derrek Lee to the Bay. Also signed for two more seasons (at $13MM per), Lee’s a bit older than Konerko and his power numbers have dropped quite a bit. And as Rogers mentions, the Cubs will not let Lee go without getting compensated with a Cain or Sanchez in return. Lee may have two more above-average years left in him. Cain and Sanchez is worth far more than that to a rebuilding team like the Giants.

Paul Moro writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: Paul *at* umpbump *dot* com.


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