I know that this is old news, but I wanted tLo write about it anyway. The Giants signed Randy Johnson the day after Christmas for 1 year, 8 million. There are incentives that could bring the final total of the deal to 13 million. This is a fantastic signing by the Giants.
The Big Unit came at a very cheap price. Only 8 million per year is a huge steal in my opinion, and I think that a number of teams should’ve matched this offer. I thought that the Dodgers were the best fit for Johnson because they had a lot of money to spend and could get him on a 1 year deal. LA has 34 million left to spend with only 2 holes – the rotation and the outfield. Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn or whomever could come in for at the most 22 million per year. That would leave at least 12 million to spend. That is the offer I would’ve made if I was Ned Colletti, the GM of the Dodgers. He got beat by Brian Sebean on this one, and it could cost them big time.
Randy enters an already good rotation to solidify it. The Giants can now boast a rotation of Tim Lincecum – Matt Cain – Randy Johnson – Jonathan Sanchez – Barry Zito. In my opinion, that is the best starting rotation in the NL West. This team could be in some major competition for the division. I think they have already pasted up the Diamond Backs in terms of talent. San Francisco has much more depth in the rotation, and one could make a case that they have a better offense as well. Right now, they are still a step behind the Dodgers. If because of nothing else, the Dodgers still have the much better offense and bullpen. There is only one thing that could make the Giants favorites to win the NL West…
Manny Ramirez. They are said to be aggressively pursuing him, but I don’t know how true that is. There has been zero competition with the Dodgers for his services. Because of this, he should come pretty cheap. Of course, Manny will still probably get at least 2 years, 40 million. I don’t know if the Giants could fit that into their payroll. They have about 88 million committed for ’09. Their highest payroll since 2000 has been 90 million. I don’t know if they will be able to go any higher, but if they have permission to go all the way up to 100 million, a signing could occur.
First, they would have to trade Randy Winn, both to clear salary and to open up a spot for Manny to play. One suitor that I think makes a lot of sense is the White Sox. They need a center fielder, and Winn would be the best available via trade or free agency. The ChiSox would probably be willing to take on the entire 8.25 million he has coming. So, if a trade like this does go through to dump Winn’s contract, the Giants would have 80 million committed. Give Manny 20 million in his first year and call it an offseason. They can then head into the season with a lineup of Fred Lewis – Edgar Renteria – Aaron Rowand – Manny Ramirez – Bengie Molina – Pablo Sandoval – Greg Bowker – Kevin Frandsen / Emmanuel Burris. Very good. If they make this move, they are the favorites to win the NL West in my opinion.
All of it is possible if they get approval to raise payroll all the way up to 100 million. If not, they’ll be in a dog fight for second place with the D’Backs.
There have been rumors going around that the Cubs will consider trading Derrek Lee this offseason. Their reasoning is that it would open up more money to spend on a left handed bat. For example: The Cubs trade Lee to the Giants for Randy Winn and salary. Then they sign Adam Dunn to a big deal and tell him to play first base. They’d add power with Dunn and Winn, but would lose a lot of defense by subtracting Lee and moving Kosuke Fukudome to the bench. I think it would be an expensive way to get maybe an extra 1-2 wins. When you win your division by 8 games and the team 8 games behind you is losing their top two pitchers, 1-2 games doesn’t mean much. Plus the’re ruining the club house chemistry that was so good all year long by trading one of the leaders, Lee. If I was Jim Hendry, I would just try to resign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood. Use the money on those guys, while backloading contracts. Trade Jason Marquis and all of the salary possible. Move Jeff Samardzija to the rotation, sign a middle reliever to replace him in the ‘pen, and then explore a trade for Randy Winn or Brian Giles. I would definatly not trade Derrek Lee.
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The San Fran. Giants need to rebuild! They have been a bad team for a while now, but their bad GM Brian Sebean continues to try to fix this team in free agency. That is not going to work. I think he will sign Joe Crede. I don’t think he should, but he will. This team has a great nucleus of young pitching with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez. That part of this team is done. What they need is offense. They have several holes in that department. They have no on at shortstop or third base. The outfield is good, though. They have the young Fred Lewis and the last year’s free agent signee Aaron Rowand. They also have a pretty good right field prospect in Nate Shierholtz, and should trade Randy Winn in the offseason to make room for him. Also, they could trade catcher Bengie Molina to fill a need. The Winn trade would be more of a salary dump. This team’s plan is a lot like the Mariners plan. They have to not sign any major free agents, and trade away part of its team to open up room for the younger players.