* If you haven't seen the Across the Seams summary of the Sabean-Magowan chalk talk held recently for season ticket holders, please read it. It sheds some light on off-season strategy and the often infuriating personalities in the Giants' front office. My favorite bit: Sabean admitted he screwed up last year by 1) expecting Robb Nen to be healthy and 2) misjudging Joe Nathan's potential.

* Rumors: Thanks in part to a goofy ESPN chart that predicted where the top 50 free agents would land, there's lots of chatter about Jermaine Dye moving across the Bay. You have to wonder if Dye's great numbers in KC -- two years of .880 and .951 OPS -- were his high-water mark because of hitting-friendly Kaufmann Stadium and good health, which he hasn't really had for a while. Last year he posted serviceable numbers with Oakland, but really not much better than Marquis Grissom.

* The Hermanator: The Giants are apparently working on a deal to bring Hermanson back. Probably a good idea if it's not expensive. (Duh.) If the opportunity arises to get a better closer, Hermanson could move back to the starting rotation. This flexibility would allow the Giants to trade a starting pitcher for a closer (Noah Lowry for Eddie Guardado? Jerome Williams for Octavio Dotel?) and not have a gaping hole in the rotation. Or simply let Hermanson be closer. His worst moment, in the final series at L.A., came after working in every game for a week. With better rest and more experience in the role -- and a team that had stronger starting pitching -- he could be more than good enough. It's a small sample size, but his numbers as a reliever last year were encouraging: more than 1 K/IP, only 2 HR/27 IP. Take away the L.A. meltdown of 2/3 IP and 4 ER, and his relief numbers look quite good.

* Reviewing the assorted punditry re. the Vizquel signing, one would think Omar had changed his name to Oscar and grown a giant, man-eating 'fro, because everyone's saying what a gamble he is.


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