3 Thoughts on the Winter Meetings #SFGiants

1. I meant to write about this during the playoffs, but didn’t get around to it. But, the Dodgers are scary. And we just saw why. They now have smart and savvy people calling the shots, along with boatloads of money. Imagine if the Yankees hired Billy Beane. That’s who the Dodgers are now. It’s the most special of all the sauces.

This is not to say that NL West race is over, or that the Giants are screwed. The Giants seem to have their own special sauce, and it takes great, thank you very much. And, as always, it’s important to remember that no one wins the World Series just because they made some moves in December.

But the Dodgers just got a lot better.

A lot.

2. On finishing second. It is frustrating that the Giants seem to be making a habit of being everyone’s second choice (see Lester, Jon, and Tomas, Yasmany, and Abreu, Jose). Every rumored name we keep hearing about (Brandon McCarthy, Ervin Santana, you name it) is getting snapped up by some other team.

Two points to make here: First, the Giants are thinking about the Jon Lester’s of the world, which means the team has resources and a willingness to spend. They didn’t lose out because they’ve had poor offers, they’ve lost because someone else was more appealing for whatever reason. Second, the Giants are very disciplined in this process, which is a really good thing. $120 million would have brought back Pablo and been a very stupid thing to do. They didn’t do it. Sometimes that no compromise attitude means losing the bid, but it also means staying within the game plan, and if I had one fear this off-season it is that the Giants would stray from the game plan.

3. What now? At the beginning of the offseason I wanted Pablo back and a couple of pitchers, primarily Ervin Santana. Both are gone. The hot rumors of the day seem to indicate that the Giants are pursuing James Shields. Also, Chase Headley is still available. If they get both of those guys for a combined total less than Lester’s money, that would be a huge win and represent an upgrade over my original hopes.



Bon Iver

So, the Grammy nominations came out last night and it was hilarious to drive around this morning and listen to the top 40 station DJ’s here in Boston trying to figure out Bon Iver. Is that like Bon Jovi. How do you pronounce it? Good stuff.

Bon Iver is a band and the name of the band is play on the French for Good Winter. Which leads us to the question: what will it look like for the Giants to have a good winter?

I keep waffling between two extremes:

Extreme 1

Go all in and sign Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Beltran. Sure there are some risks involved…both guys are older and on the down side of their careers. The Giants will probably have to overpay in some way (dollars or years) to get them to come here. They have injury baggage. We will probably hate their contracts during the last year or two.

But, here’s the deal: The Giants have Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and the pumpkin carriage Ryan Vogelson rode in on, for one more year. Now, they may have those guys for several more years if they do indeed get their contracts extended. But they might not. Cain could be pitching for the Red Sox in 2013. But for 2012 at least, spend the money to put a top-notch lineup out there. Rollins and Beltran will be good (enough) next year. Any maybe even a year or two after that. But all you know is 2012 if you are living on this extreme. So go for it.

Extreme 2

DO NOTHING. By as early as 2013 the Giants could have a completely home-grown, cost controlled everyday starting lineup with the “gold standard” pitching staff locked up for several years. Do not block or impede this vision with foolish contracts. By the end of 2012 all the veteran/bad contracts are gone (save Zito), so don’t mess this up.

What Giants-phile doesn’t want to see what could happen with a lineup like this:

  • Gary Brown CF
  • Joe Panick 2B (or Charlie Culberson)
  • Brandon Belt 1B/LF
  • Buster Posey C/1B
  • Pablo Sandoval 3B
  • Francisco Peguero RF (or Melky Cabrera if he sticks)
  • Tommy Joseph C/1B
  • Brandon Crawford SS (or Ehire Adrianza)
  • Don’t forget about the great mystery that is Angel Villalona

It could work/happen and the Giants could always supplement this with a shrewd FA signing next offseason. But don’t jack with this now by committing to some old guys for too long and for too much money.

What Should/Will Happen

What I think will probably happen (and, for that matter what should happen) is that the Giants will extend Cain, come to some short-term agreement with Lincecum (and we’ll have to do this all over again next year), and fortify themselves at shortstop (which is the ONE must, in my opinion, for the rest of the off-season). No idea who the SS stop-gap will be, but I am pretty sure whoever it is will have some warts (age, injuries, decline, etc). Can’t be as bad as last year, though.

I just don’t think the Giants can go in to 2012 with Brandon Crawford (as much as I love the kid) as the everyday shortstop.

So, what you think: what does a good winter look like for the Giants?