Offseason Outlook: San Francisco Giants

Next up in our Offseason Outlook series, the Giants.  Their likely commitments for 2010:

C – Buster Posey – $400K
C – Eli Whiteside – $400K
1B – Travis Ishikawa – $401K
2B – Freddy Sanchez – $6MM
SS – Edgar Renteria – $9MM
3B – Pablo Sandoval – $402K
IF – Kevin Frandsen – $410K
IF – Emmanuel Burriss – $404K
IF/OF – Eugenio Velez – $404K
LF – Fred Lewis – $440K
CF – Aaron Rowand – $12MM
RF – Nate Schierholtz -$401K
OF – Andres Torres – $400K

SP – Tim Lincecum – $650K+
SP – Matt Cain – $4.25MM
SP – Jonathan Sanchez – $455K+
SP – Barry Zito – $18.5MM
SP – Joe Martinez – $400K

Other candidates: Ryan Sadowski, Madison Bumgarner

RP – Jeremy Affeldt – $4MM
RP – Brian Wilson – $480K+
RP – Brandon Medders – $475K+
RP – Merkin Valdez – $401K
RP – Sergio Romo – $402K
RP – Dan Runzler – $400K
RP – Waldis Joaquin – $400K

Non-tender candidates: Ryan Garko

The Giants have about $62MM committed before arbitration raises to Lincecum, Sanchez, Wilson, and Medders.  I'm assuming Garko is non-tendered.  The pitchers' raises won't be cheap – they'll push the Giants up to the $80MM range.  The Giants entered the 2009 season with an $82.6MM payroll, and it's not expected to change drastically.  Nonetheless Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggested last month that the Giants have enough money to afford "one free agent starting pitcher and one modestly-priced free agent hitter."

Baggarly makes a good point, that the Giants really don't have the payroll space to dabble in the $15MM+ range of Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.  GM Brian Sabean at least has positional flexibility with possible acquisitions – the infield and outfield corners are all fair game.  Dan Uggla, Johnny Damon, and Mark DeRosa have already been named in various rumors.  The Giants are pretty weak at the corners aside from Sandoval, so importing two bats would be ideal.

With payroll looking tight, it doesn't make sense to bring catcher Bengie Molina back.  Instead, that money should be applied toward a starting pitcher to round out the rotation.  Rumor has it, the Giants hope to re-sign Brad Penny.  If he gets too pricey, there are plenty of similar free agents in the $5-8MM price range.  It appears that the Giants would like to give Bumgarner some Triple A seasoning.

Sabean has had his troubles at the top end of the free agent market, but last offseason he made shrewd minor league signings with Juan Uribe and Medders.  I didn't mind the Affeldt, Randy Johnson and Bob Howry signings either, so maybe the payroll limitations will work in the Giants' favor and give us the best of Sabean.

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