Marcus Giles Rumors
MLB.com reports that the Atlanta Braves have decided to not tender contracts to Marcus Giles and Chris Reitsma. Giles and Reitsma can now be offered contracts by any team in the MLB.
The second base market now consists of Giles, Mark Loretta, and Ron Belliard. As for Reitsma, I think he's worth a million on the gamble that he can return as a useful starter or reliever.
There are still some second basemen on the free agent market, but Giles should intrigue several clubs. He'll turn 29 in May and aside from 2006 hits well above average for a second baseman. The Devil Rays, Red Sox, and Mets would be smart to consider him.
Reitsma turns 29 in December. The former Braves closer had Tommy John surgery in July, so he could still recover in time to help a team during the 2007 season. He had three fairly respectable seasons prior to 2006 and even made 21 starts in '02. For a few million bucks he'd be a good play in either role. I'd try him as a fifth starter option; he has strong groundball tendencies. Overall, the free agent market is up 47% this winter.
It's old news, but I missed it a few days ago. Ken Rosenthal reported that the Padres are talking to the Braves about Marcus Giles. San Diego would use Giles as a third baseman, a position at which Giles has played nine games in his Major League career. But hey, it's creative. Rumor has it the Braves might pursue a good reliever in return.
From the Fielding Bible, I learned that Giles has good range and hands but is much better on plays to his right than his left. Not good for third base, I would think.
Baseball Prospectus's Marc Normandin did a player profile on Giles in September. Normandin concluded:
"If the Braves do indeed move Giles this winter, as has been whispered, then some new team might have themselves a second baseman who is still within his peak productivity, and may even get him at bargain-basement pricing, considering his 'off' year. Considering this winter's weak free agent class, adding a player of Giles' caliber would be a serious upgrade in a market that doesn't offer very many of those."
Just got word from a reputable, well-connected source out of Atlanta. Excellent timing, as Braves fans have been clamoring for any indication of a deal.
According to my source, the Braves are serious about trading Marcus Giles and using Wilson Betemit at second base. The club loves Betemit's bat and he's earned a chance as a regular. The Braves have gotten a paltry .235/.328/.349 line out of Giles in 238 ABs this year.
Fantasy players often ask me what happened to the 28 year-old Giles, and I don't have a good answer. His PECOTA projection of .284/.363/.449 seemed about right given his last three seasons. Giles is not blaming April's strained finger ligament, but you have to wonder if he's completely healthy. He's making $3.85MM this year and isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2007 season.
Betemit has only played three games in his career at second base, but the team thinks he's capable. He's always shown decent power, slugging .425 in the minor leagues. But this year's .524 mark in 103 ABs is beyond even his highest expectations.
There was no word on which teams are interested in Giles, but the Cardinals are a possible fit.