Thursday, October 6, 2011

Looking at Free Agent Shortstops Because I have Nothing Better to Do


Let’s take a look at short stops because nothing takes your mind off your team not being in the playoffs like playing pretend GM.

We can break them into 3 different categories: Ain’t Happening, People I would like, People I don’t want to ever see.

First up the guys that the Giants have no chance to sign, the Ain’t Happenings:

Jose Reyes and Marco Scutaro

These guys have put up the best numbers of any of the potential free agent short stops over the last 3 years with Reyes putting up 9.9 fWAR and Scutaro nearly matching that with 9.8 fWAR.

Reyes is a pipe dream because I would be incredibly shocked if the Giants were players in signing him. The money is just too large with their budget and honestly the risk that will come with his long term deal kind of scares me with his injury history. He may be the catnip of sports radio callers but he isn’t going to be a Giant. Them just the facts.

Scutaro has both a club option and a player option and I have a feeling barring a drastic change in philosophy in Boston with a new GM that he is coming back. At one year $6 million the Red Sox have a nice bargain here that is too good to let go for nothing.

So before we get into who I would like to see in a uniform next year here are the guys I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot poll.

Alex Gonzalez: He is on the boarder line between something I could deal with but the allergy to walks .281 OBP the last 3 years! Plus the reliance on defense for value while pushing into the mid 30’s isn’t all that appetizing. I mean if he were to work for cheap sure but not for the going rate for free agents.

Edgar Renteria: There is no need to ruin the last image of Renteria but signing him again. Just not worth it even if he could be a passable backup option but that isn’t what the Giants are in the market for.

Ronny Cedeno: A career 67 wRC+! Career .286 OBP! Only averageish defense but hey he is only 29. I think I will pass.

Jack Wilson: He had the same wRC+ of Orlando Cabrera last season (at least his defense is average to maybe a little bit better. If the team is going to go with a glove first guy who can’t hit might as well go with the cheap in house option.

Orlando Cabrera: Ha ha ha.

John McDonald: He is a backup who will get a job as a defensive sub because the guy really can’t hit much at all.

Cesar Izturis: Pros he is a good fielder, cons he is one of the worst hitters in baseball with a career -185.6 batting runs below average. Again if the team goes with a glove only guy cheap out with the in house option.

Yuniesky Betancourt: I have nothing good to say so I will just say that he isn’t horrible at base running everything else not so much.

Finally we come to the guys that I would be okay with wearing a Giant uniform next season.

Jimmy Rollins: Rollins is the most Sabean type player of all the guys available. He is a former MVP with a track record of success. He has some nice RBI and Runs scored numbers. He doesn’t strikeout much (but he actually takes a decent amount of walks) and he is a good contact guy. He certainly comes with his risks seeing as that he is approaching his mid 30’s where defense starts to slip and he has a history of injuries.

On top of everything it has been reported that he wants a 5 year deal which I really don’t think would be prudent. 2 years $20-25 million would be perfect, 3 years $30-35 million would be acceptable anything more and I am nervous.

Rafael Furcal: When healthy he is a very good player except for this season where he has had some unfortunate luck (his batted ball data is very similar to his career norms but his BABIP is 70 points below his career average) the problem is staying healthy. His injury outlook is not great but he would be a high risk, high reward signing and there is the possibility his somewhat poor 2011 could mean he could be had at a discount.

A 1 year deal with incentives for playing time would be excellent because if healthy he can be a 2-3 WAR player pretty easily (he accumulated 0.9 fWAR in just 50 games with the Cardinals this season over 150 games).

Nick Punto: Average to above average defense. Average to slightly below average hitting. Above average walk rate. When you add all of that up you get a decent role player. He won’t get people excited but he shouldn’t kill a team either. Taking all that into account he is the perfect third choice for guys I would like.

If he gets a short term 2 year say $12 million deal I would be pretty happy with the stop gap measure until the farm system produces someone who can take over for the future (I am not going to hold my breath but I am going to hope).

Jamey Carroll: Pros: the guy can take a walk, he plays adequate defense, he puts the ball in play, he is a “gamer”. Cons: he is 37, he has almost no power, he is more of a utility type player than a true short stop.

Carroll would be a perfect guy to have as a backup/roving infielder that gave guys days off while playing 3 times a week or so. I am not sure you would want him to be an everyday player but he is probably a better option in giving overall value than the Giants in house options and he shouldn’t command a big paycheck.

Clint Barmes: I should just copy and paste what I wrote above for Jamey Carroll except he is a five years younger.

Carroll Barmes would be a perfect guy to have as a backup/roving infielder that gave guys days off while playing 3 times a week or so. I am not sure you would want him to be an everyday player but he is probably a better option in giving overall value than the Giants in house options and he shouldn’t command a big paycheck.
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