Friday, December 23, 2011

3 ways the Giants could have signed Carlos Beltran

The big bat on just about every Giants fan Christmas list just signed with the Cardinals for a very reasonable 2 year $26 million deal. When the news of the years and money involved broke over twitter, a justified freak out session broke out among Giants fans, why couldn't the Giants swing this deal?

It would have been understandable if the Giants didn't want to go three or even four years with the aging slugger but two years was right in the Giants sweet spot. The Giants have window to compete with their pitching and getting Beltran on a two year deal would have opened that up a little bit further without hurting the long term out look.

Alas that was not the case, to torture my self a little more here are a few ways that the Giants could have done things to get Beltran (assuming he signs the same deal to play in San Francisco).

1. Break open the rainy day fund

This is the thing that probably makes Giants fans madder than anything else that has happened this off-season. With the money flowing in from 100+ consecutive sell outs, panda hats flying off the shelves and every house in Northern California coming equipped with a World Series fleece throw blanket and a snuggie wearable blanket, hearing the Giants claim poverty (whether it is true or not is beside the point now) makes people upset.

I understand $13 million is quite a bit of money, not exactly something you find in your couch cushions but the perception with Giants ownership is that they have the money available and would rather pocket it than put it back into the team.

Breaking open the rainy day fund would have gone a long way toward changing that, it would also signal that ownership doesn't just want to compete for the playoffs if everything breaks right but that they are willing to spend the money to try to increase those odds.

2. Cheap out on left handed relief pitching

The Giants are spending a combined $9.25 million on Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez this season, going with say a George Sherrill and Dan Runzler combo instead would have freed up enough money when combined with their current $5 million cushion the Giants have the money to sign Beltran.

The Sherrill + Runzler combo is not as good as Affledt + Lopez but I don't think that the drop off is nearly as big as you would think and to me not nearly enough to justify spending nearly 9 times more. In addition the loss of the relievers is more than made up with the additional offense that Beltran could have provided.

3. Don't trade for Melky Cabrera and don't pick up Affeldt's option

Cabrera is projected to make around $4.5 million in arbitration, Affeldt is going to make $5 million, having Beltran makes Cabrera redundent and is a much better bet to be an above average hitter. Affeldt and Runzler are not that different as pitchers but Runzler is going to cost about $4.5 million less.

Going this route means that the Giants improve their outfield while not losing much in the very good bullpen. If the first choice wasn't an option going this route would have been the way that I would have liked the team to go.

Hindsight is 20-20 and I bet if the Giants knew where things were going to go with Beltran they would have stayed in the hunt longer but it is still frustrating that they didn't even try to get creative to make a deal work instead pulling their names out of contention after just exploratory talks with his agent.

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