Elbo: Optimist Club 

Buster Olney says the Giants are fit for a championship run. (He also mistakes one of their young pitchers for longtime Kansas City Chiefs kicker Nick Lowery.)

Olney says the NL West will be weak enough to be a toss-up in 2005. (I think he's right, though the division is really no worse than the AL Central or the NL East.) But when he speculates that the Dodgers could really stink "if Drew goes down and the Dodgers' thin starting pitching crumbles," it makes me wonder why he didn't write an article about how someone else could win it all "if the Giants' old lineup shows its age and its young starters don't come through." That seems equally likely to me, quite honestly. Either way, both assertions involve substantial speculation.

I'm a little surprised to see anyone in the national press calling the Giants championship material, but it gives me hope for their chances in 2005.



Elbo: "Looked like some kind of family reunion" 

The inexplicable non-tendering of Dustan Mohr now seems a preface to the Giants' signing of Moises Alou, which seems imminent tonight. The putative 2005 regulars, and their ages on Opening Day:

1B Snow 37
2B Durham 33
SS Vizquel 37*
3B Alfonzo 31**
LF Bonds 40
CF Grissom 37*
RF Alou 38
C Matheny 34

*Will celebrate a birthday during April 2005.
**Plays like he's 41.

I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for Pedro Feliz, who doesn't turn 30 until April 27.

It's possible that Moises will put up some decent numbers -- and equally possible that he'll get hurt or lay an egg here. That isn't the point. It's pretty unfathomable that the Giants' front office has cried poverty on signing really good players in their primes, but has committed this much money to aging vets who may or may not produce. Disappointing to say the least. Very discouraging.

[Greetings from Back East, by the way. Apologies if blog updates are a little spotty until next week; I'm doing my best to cover for El Lefty while he's away. - Elbo]



Elbo: Not any Mohr 

The Giants have taken another giant step in this offseason's quest to get as old as possible by non-tendering Dustan Mohr. Though he remains free to re-sign with the team, Henry Schulman's story makes it fairly clear that both he and the Giants expect him to play elsewhere next year. (They've also non-tendered Wayne the Train Franklin and Cody "Don't Pay The" Ransom, though Franklin is apparently expected to ink a minor-league deal with the Giants today.)

Mohr was the one outfielder besides Bonds who I was actually looking forward to watching in 2005. After his horrifying 1-for-24 start, Mohr hit .297 with an OBP around .400 the rest of the way. I'd hoped he would steal playing time from Grissom and Tucker throughout 2005, and perhaps would win one of their jobs outright by year's end. I can't really imagine why the Giants would pass on an inexpensive outfielder who turns 29 in June, or why they'd even allow other bidders to drive up his price. (Could it be Tony Torcato's winter ball numbers?) Let's hope there's another signing around the corner that makes this action seem sensible.



Elbo: Scrap heap 

The Giants have extended non-roster Spring Training invitations to 12 players. Most notable among them is washed-up lefthander Jeff Fassero, who could at best serve as a LOOGY and emergency starter, I suppose, if he somehow made the club.

Also invited were 660 victim Matt Kinney, failed Padres closer Brandon Villafuerte, 30-year-old 2004 Giants spot-starter Brian Cooper, briefly interesting Padres and A's reliever Jeremy Fikac, unremarkable Marlins lefty Armando Almanza, and forgettable Astros RP Brandon Puffer. Kinney, the youngest, turns 28 tomorrow.

Among position players, the Giants invited catcher Yamid Haad, infielders Julio Cordido and Donaldo Mendez and outfielders Doug Clark and Julio Ramirez to their Arizona camp. Mendez hit .183 in two seasons as the Padres' backup shortstop; Ramirez has hit .163 as an outfielder for three teams; and Haad went 0-for-1 in one game for the Pirates five years ago.

It doesn't look like any of our trouble spots will be filled by any of these people, although I'd guess that at least one of the pitchers as a pretty decent shot at being the new Wayne Franklin.



Elbo: What if he hits like Pat Metheny? 

As El Lefty notes below, the last time he traveled during wintertime the Giants added A.J. Pierzynski as their new catcher. Now that El Lefty is gone again, MLB.com is reporting that the Giants have signed Mike Matheny to a three-year deal worth $9 million. [UPDATE: ESPN.com reports that it's $10.5m.] I'm assuming he'll be the Opening Day catcher, and Yorvit will continue to catch about twice a week.

This move certainly spells the end of A.J.'s tumultuous tenure with the Giants, and replaces the youngest player in the everyday lineup with another player on the wrong side of 33. Matheny can't really be counted on for much more than a thoroughly unexciting .320 OBP and .350 SLG. That said, he will play superior defense, will ground into half as many double plays as A.J., and presumably will be a helpful mentor to Yorvit Torrealba rather than an antagonist to the pitching staff as A.J. was. It's not hard to imagine Torrealba eclipsing Matheny and taking over the starting role sometime during the course of the three-year contract, though I have my doubts about Yorvit ever cutting it as an "A" catcher in the National League.

I see that Matheny spent time on the 15-day disabled list this year. What are the chances of a 34, 35 and 36-year-old catcher staying off it for a whole season?

The Cards could get away with keeping Matheny around because their lineup was so potent; they simply gave away the eighth and ninth place hitters, and dominated with one through seven. We can't do that, I'm afraid. Defense may be the new OBP, but Matheny could easily produce Neifi Perez-like numbers, and we all know what happened to him.



2005 Giants Pre-Preview: The Outfield 

I'm packing my bags for a long trip to a far-away place, but while I'm gone Elbo will run the Malo show. Last time I went on vacation during Hot Stove season, the Giants traded for A.J. Pierzynski.

This time, I don't think I can wait 'til I get home to catch up on hot stove news. With the signings of Finley (Angels) and Dye (White Sox), the Giants' pursuit of a power bat in the outfield is getting more tense. So tense, in fact, that Giants' management was a little snippier than usual when discussing Finley's snub:

"When you have as many people go out and tell a player how important he is to the franchise -- the owner, the manager, Sabes (Brian Sabean, the general manager) and myself, and you find out from a reporter that he's going to Anaheim ... Steve Finley has a right to make his own decisions and choose where to play, but this could have been handled in a more professional manner, " said assistant GM Ned Colletti in today's Chron.

And a snip more snippiness from the Nedster: "At least when Greg Maddux decided to go to the Cubs (instead of the Giants) last spring, (agent Scott) Boras had the decency to call you and talk to you and Greg Maddux did, too."

As I often like to sing, "Llorando...por tu amor."

There, there, Ned. Time will heal a broken heart, dearie. Come sit next to your Auntie Malo. It turned out for the best, I think. Nearly $20 million over two years for a 40-year-old guy not named Bonds? Better to spend $40 million over 4 years for J.D. Drew, if you're going to open the checkbook like that. I always knew that guy Finley was bad news for the Giants.

So, where does that leave the Giants in the outfield?

The incumbents

Barry Bonds
Age: Turns 41 on July 24
relevant stats
2004 innings played: 1130 (147 games)
career OPS: 1.054
2004 OPS: 1.452 (45 HRs, 27 doubles, 232 BBs)
2005 salary: $15 million (not incl. deferred payments)

Marquis Grissom
Age: Turns 38 on April 17
relevant stats
2004 innings played: 1219 (145 games)
career OPS: .736
2004 OPS: .773 (22 HRs, 26 doubles, 37 BBs)
2005 salary: $2.75 million

Michael Tucker
Age: Turns 34 on June 25
relevant stats
2004 innings played: 1006 (140 games)
career OPS: .769
2004 OPS: .765 (13 HRs, 21 doubles, 3 triples, 70 BBs)
2005 salary: $1.75 million

Dustan Mohr
Age: Turns 29 on June 19
relevant stats
2004 innings played: 628 (117 games)
career OPS: .754
2004 OPS: .831 (7 HRs, 20 doubles, 46 BBs)
2005 salary: $500,000 estimated

Free agent outfielders (partial list)
M. Ordonez, J. Gonzalez, Dellucci, Bautista, Drew, Alou, Beltran, Hidalgo.

In the minors
Ellison, Torcato, Linden, Valderrama


El Lefty

So much for Dye and Finley. At the reported prices, why bother? I maintain that younger, less risky options are out there if Sabean is willing to trade creatively. The Giants have the chips: Pierzynski. Torrealba. Feliz. Young pitchers. Even Marquis Grissom. (If the Yankees can get Felix Rodriguez for Kenny Lofton, the Giants could get value back for Grip, don't you think?)

If Sabean insists on the free agent route, my vote is to get Magglio Ordonez for a prove-you're-healthy deal with a relatively low base salary in 2005 and loaded with yummy incentives for playing time, all-star berths, and awards. Perhaps add a 2006 option that kicks in when he passes a certain # of at-bats or other yes-I'm-healthy milestones. Of course, that's in an ideal world. There's likely enough interest in Mags that a short deal won't hold water with him and his agent Scott Boras.

As Elbo notes below, the Giants still need a big bat and a good glove in the outfield, preferably owned by the same person. Beltran is the ultimate; J.D. Drew is close behind (when healthy). At the other end of the spectrum, there are rumors swirling about Dave Roberts or Scott Podsednik, neither of whom is very valuable as an everyday leadoff centerfielder. Podsednik was dreadful last year after a promising 2003. Roberts was a great pinch-runner for the Red Sox in the playoffs, but if he's not getting on base nearly 40% of the time, he's not worth playing every day, either. Both guys also have weak arms. If those guys are Plan B, I'd rather see Dustan Mohr get more playing time.


The Giants wanted Finley so badly because he covers a lot of ground in center field, he has aged very well, and he managed to hit 36 homers, including 21 by the All-Star Break. Remember, the Giants have special outfield needs because of Barry’s age and tendency to take days off.

That’s why Dustan Mohr has emerged as a useful fourth outfielder, especially against lefties. Mohr came cheap this year, and won’t make seven figures in '05. He also outhit Tucker and Grissom and posted an OBP of .394, though he was used primarily in favorable situations. He showed plenty of ability in the outfield, though he made some equally memorable gaffes (a baserunning brainfart, an iron glove at an inopportune moment, etc.). I wonder about his clutch abilities (1 for 14 with the bases loaded, .692 OPS in close & late situations, .208 with RISP and 2 out), but overall Mohr has turned out to be a bargain.

If the Giants sign an outfield free agent, Tucker could conceivably be on the move. He’s due to make less than $2 million, which isn’t a dealbreaker. Then again, he’s not likely to produce any more than his usual fair-to-middling numbers, certainly below average for a big-league outfielder.

I’m not expecting much from Grip this year, and I never expected much from Tucker, but I’m somewhat resigned to seeing them roam Pac Bell’s green grass in 2005. I’m assuming that Beltran and Ordonez are impossible to get; I’d enjoy seeing David Dellucci’s lefty bat and often dazzling glove paired with Mohr in right; and I wouldn’t mind seeing some of our kids fight it out for the fifth-outfielder gig.

As for Barry, I’m pretty sure I wrongly predicted last year that he’d hit less than 40 homers and play less than 140 games. Lesson learned: don’t ever, ever underestimate that guy.



Arms' Worth 

* Just a thought: with starting pitchers commanding premium salaries this winter (Kris Benson, 3 yrs, $22 M; Jaret Wright, 3 yrs, $21 M; Jon Lieber, the same; Paul Wilson, fer chrissakes, 2 yrs, $8 M), what would Jerome Williams or Noah Lowry be worth in a trade?

Trading Lowry or Williams would create a hole in the rotation that would need to be filled with a more expensive pitcher or someone like Brad Hennessey or Kevin Correia (unless Merkin Valdez or Matt Cain shows up this spring ready for the bigs).

For that reason, a young cheap pitcher is probably worth more as a keeper than as trade bait. But if the Giants want to get a good, young position player, someone like Jason Bay of one year ago, someone who's on the verge of making an instant impact in the bigs, I would argue that there's no better time to trade good young pitching. (For what I think is a contrary opinion -- kinda hard to tell with all them fancy numbers and graphs! -- see this article by Studes-Studes-Studio.)

Someone's not going to want to pay $8-10 M a year for Carl Pavano, or $6-8 M a year for Matt Clement. And that someone will likely listen hard to offers of Williams and Lowry, who could jump right in as #3 or 4 starters, or even Correia and Hennessey, both of whom could become solid major league starters.

And now, with Kris Benson now earning $7 M a year, Kirk Rueter's 2005 salary of $7 million doesn't look so egregious anymore. I could even see the Giants packaging him with another pitcher.

* I'm curious to see what Odalis Perez will pull down. He's a much better pitcher than any of the mediocrities and one-year wonders that have signed so far. And he's lefthanded.

* Bye, Dye: Jermaine has signed with the White Sox for 2 yrs, $10.5 M, with a $6 M option for 2007. Seems that the reported 2yrs, $16 M the Tigers offered Steve Finley will be the numbers to beat. Gold Glove center fielder and left-handed power bat: If Finley weren't 39 years old, the guy could probably ask for 4 years, $40 million.

* Fun topic of the day: Bill James is comparing the recent media coverage of Bonds/BALCO to a racist lynching (is there any other kind?). And while we're asking questions, who put this pubic hair in my Coke?



Gracias, Dustin 

Will Clark got a standing O when he was spotted in the stands at Pac Bell this summer. Rich Aurilia got a nice hand when he returned this year in a Padre uniform. Even in a D-Backs uniform, Matt Williams always got a cheer from the S.F. crowd. It's unlikely Dustin Hermanson will be remembered as fondly, seeing how he only wore the charcoal and pumpkin for a year and a half.

But when he comes back to Pac Bell, be it as the Pirates set-up man, or the Royals' closer in interleague play, or the Diamondbacks' spot starter, I'll give him a nice round of applause. He came off the scrap heap last year and twirled some fine ball, then this year made a huge switch to become the team's closer when the G's had no other options. He also took the ball six of the last seven games without complaint and did a yeoman's job (until the Saturday debacle against the Dodgers). Thanks, D-Herm. Thou swell.

UPDATE: The White Sox just signed Hermanson. Two years, $5 M, a club option for 2007 at $3.5 million or a buyout of $500,000. Here's what the AP wrote:

General manager Ken Williams said Hermanson could be used in a variety of roles, but will start as a setup reliever. Shingo Takatsu became Chicago's closer last year and Damaso Marte also handled the role on occasion.

"One of our offseason goals was to get another guy in the back of the bullpen who could close, but would initially serve as a backup to Shingo. Shingo has done a heck of a job," Williams said.

"Dustin was looking for a closing job, but was also looking for a team he could win with," he said.



Oral Mountain High 

The Rockies have terminated Denny Neagle's contract after the pitcher was busted with a hooker in his car. He apparently paid her $40 for oral sex.

"This decision is about an organization and the fans that support it," Rockies chairman Charles Monfort said. "Denny's pattern of behavior has not been consistent with what our organization represents."

I couldn't agree more. If Neagle had been more representative of the Rockies, he would have paid $14 million over four years for the oral sex with a $2 million option for a hand job, plus easily attainable performance bonuses.


Ratto Takes Us To Task 

Columnist Ray Ratto of the Chron and ESPN takes a broad swipe at owners and fans -- and Giants' fans in particular:

"...you were warned, and you didn't care. Especially you Giant fans. Drug rumors have surrounded Bonds since 1998, and 16,000,000 of you walked into the new ballpark in five years just to watch him be him. You knew, and mostly you were fine with it, because you kept coming."

Ratto's column is worth reading for the larger arc of it -- a reminder that after they finish beating their chests about cheaters and betrayal and anti-heroes, the sportswriters need to dig into what the owners knew, how much, and when. The hypocrisy and head-in-the-sand approach of Bud & Co. needs to be flushed out into the light, unflinchingly.

But to say that baseball fans should have stopped coming to the park once Bonds was under suspicion is silly. (Ray, I've suspected for years that you have a drinking problem and you recycle your jokes, yet I still read your columns.)

Sure, a lot of casual fans come for the marquee superstar, be it Barry or Sammy or Giambi or Clemens. These fans leave after the superstar's final at-bat, or when he pitches his final inning, no matter what the score.

But plenty of baseball fans come for the game, the history, their favorite team, or perhaps just the ambience of a full ballpark on a warm weekend afternoon.

When Gaylord Perry was twirling greaseballs on his way to the Hall of Fame, it was an open secret -- even an acknowledged joke -- that he was a cheater, but no one chastised the fans for coming out to see him pitch. No one took the fans to task for supporting the Giants, even though their star pitcher (and perhaps a few more) had K-Y jelly behind the ears.

Ratto's criticism might be more valid if we knew for sure that the Giants' organization was complicit in Greg Anderson's little side gig. We sure can harbor suspicions (and I do). But I'm not about to trade in my season tickets and take a moral stand based upon suspicions.

Nor do I base my ticket purchases on one player. Barry is not the Giants. If he came out and confessed that he's been doping for years but refused to retire, I'd still go to the games. I would sit on my hands when he came to bat; I would have nothing to say to the people in my section who heckled him; I might even feel a little queasy when he did well. But I would still root for the Giants, for Noah Lowry, Yorvit Torrealba, Dustan Mohr, yeah, even Russ Davis, whoever's wearing the french vanilla with black and orange trim. And of course, I'd root for a good ballgame.

Here's a question that Jefferson and I were batting around in the Malo comments the other day: if your favorite team that you've loved since childhood is caught aiding and abetting a drug peddler -- even welcoming him into the players' clubhouse -- would you still root for the team? Would the Giants' organization forever be tainted? If this worst-case scenario resulted in the Giants' front office being gutted -- even the team being sold -- would the taint carry over? Or would you give the new ownership team your renewed faith and allegiance?



The Flaxseeds of Discontent 

I said I wouldn't write about the BALCO situation until Victor Conte's interview aired on TV tonight, but I just can't stop myself. As Elbo, The Laz and I settled into the Haven last night for a post-launch party round of thee billyardes, we mused upon Giambi's leaked testimony to the BALCO grand jury. "Barry can't be far behind," I said.


If I were twelve years old with Barry Bonds posters on my bedroom wall, I probably would feel devastated. My innocence would be shattered. As a fellow blogger wrote this morning, "Hey Johnnie, there is no Santa Claus."

But I'm 35, not 12. I have known for many years that Barry Bonds is not my friend, my hero, or my role model. He is not "Superman." He is not even a nice guy much of the time, although a lot of athletes and sportswriters aren't, so big deal. (At least he's not a hypocrite about it, a la Sammy Sosa.)

He plays my favorite sport extremely well and often carries on his back the team I spend far too much time rooting for. If he has used performance-enhancing drugs to make himself better, shame on him, shame on the other players who've done the same, and shame on the players' union and the management for looking the other way for so long.

As Marty points out, it's not the end of the world. But it's also very important. Illegal performance-enhancer use is not good for the sport, and it's not good for the athletes (despite some protests that their harmful effects haven't been proven; hey, neither have the dangers of global warming, if you ask the right people). There are also calls for steroids and the like to be just as legal as sophisticated surgeries or vitamin/mineral/diet regimes. To be honest, I'm not sure where I stand on that. But until the law changes, I agree that steroid use is illegal, and it is cheating. If you don't like those rules, practice civil disobedience. But don't say those who break them shouldn't be held accountable.

Some people still twist themselves into pretzels trying to defend Bonds or construct elaborate scenarios in which he was duped. Please. Of course there's always a chance that he was -- just like there's always a chance that dinosaurs didn't exist and men didn't walk on the moon, but at a certain point you have to be logical about this. A man who is obsessive about his diet, his exercise, his sleep, who tells us his body is a temple and who has been taught from an early age never to trust anyone outside of family, he lets some childhood friend who re-enters his life many years later tell him which pills to pop and oils to rub on his chest, then tells a grand jury he didn't know it was illegal? "Why would Barry be so stupid?" is one common question you'll see out there today.

Why is Barry any different than the rest of us? Have you not looked inside your own soul and found at least the possibility of misguided, even dastardly things? How could the president of the United States lie about a blow job?

Complicated people -- and Bonds is a strange, complicated, fascinating man -- do things they ought not to. Ezra Pound wrote exquisite poetry and ended up in a cage ranting about Jews. Bill Clinton had a great mind, a connection with people, and both houses of Congress, but he couldn't keep his pecker in his pants.

Saying "I can't believe Bonds would do this" is like saying "I don't understand why Al-Qaeda hates us so much."

Now, asking if Bonds is "guilty" means many things. Is he guilty of lying to the public? Looks like it. Is he guilty of a federal or state crime? That's to be determined, but it's unlikely to come to that. Is he guilty in the eyes of every bleacher bum in every city in America the Giants will visit next year? Oh, you betcha.

Whoever is leaking these documents to the Chronicle is also cheating. These players were granted privacy and immunity for their testimony, and that promise has been broken. Everyone assumes the prosecutor's office is leaking, but I've also seen comment that the leaked testimony will discourage other athletes from testifying or cutting deals, which works *against* the prosecution. Hmm.

If (see, I'm still saying "if") Bonds finally admits to knowingly taking steroids, HGH, or "whatever," or if it is proven through some other means, he will have his honor stripped from him and perhaps his numerous awards. I will not argue.

Now, what does all this mean for the Giants, the team I will continue to root for well past the Tainted Age of Bonds? Here are a few open-ended questions:

* How complicit were the Giants' brass in allowing Greg Anderson to use the clubhouse as his personal dispensary?

* Will the news of Bonds' grand jury testimony affect the Giants ability to attract free agents this winter? Will, say, a Steve Finley or Jermaine Dye weigh his options and think, "Best not to get involved this year"?

* Why did the Giants guarantee Bonds's 2006 option in September? Didn't they have any clue this shitstorm was coming? The corollary to that question: will they try to squelch out of his contract?

* Will the legal, social or media pressure break down Bonds in 2005? If so, how do the Giants compensate for the missing offense?

This sounds cold, but part of me wishes Bonds would simply retire. I've loved watching him for the past 12 years in a Giants uniform, I feel privileged to have watched one of the best ballplayers in history (or should we now say "one of the better ballplayers in history"?), but I also don't want every accomplishment of my favorite team to appended with a big fat asterisk.

I would be thrilled if Bonds is somehow vindicated in all this, but you won't find me staying up Christmas Eve listening for the clip-clop of reindeer hooves on the roof.



Tower of Balco Power 

One day before Victor Conte goes on national TV, someone leaks Jason Giambi's damning testimony to the Chron. Hmm. I won't post anything until Conte speaks, but meanwhile, this thread has some lively discussion about the Giambi news, including an extremely hopeful scenario about how Barry Bonds has been played for a sucker by Greg Anderson.



"Screwing Tomorrow" 

That chewy little phrase is from the brain of a regular reader, Peter Baum, who commented over on OBM that with the backloaded contracts of Vizquel and Benitez, the Giants were doing well for 2005 but frigging the future, shagging mañana, tupping the time to come. You get the picture.

(Note to Giants' marketing team: perhaps the team slogan should change from "The Place to Be!" to "Back-Loaded by the Bay!")

Seeing what a rotten shambles the Arizona Diamondbacks have become, thanks in part to a lot of deferred salary paid to big stars such as Randy Johnson, any mention of deferred money or backloaded contracts should give long-term fans pause. Unless you're a long-term fan locked into a long-term seat license, in which case it should give you ulcers. Today's World Series winner could be tomorrow's half-eaten Sandwich Cubano on Calle Ocho, ¿entiendes?

But is it really so strange, I mean, bad? Are the Giants mortgaging the pooch?

According to the figures we've heard regarding the Vizquel and Benitez contracts, here's what the Giants have committed for the first few years of the post-Barry Bonds era, i.e., 2007, 2008 and 2009. Keep in mind that the Giants are paying Barry $5 million a year in deferred money through 2011 (according to this site):

2007: $16.6 M ($7.6 for Benitez, $4 for Vizquel, $5 for Bonds)
2008: $7.6 M ($1.6 for Benitez, $1 for Vizquel, $5 for Bonds)
2009: $7.35 M ($1.6 for Benitez, $.75 for Vizquel, $5 for Bonds)

I think it's safe to say the 2008/2009 numbers aren't a big deal, especially if revenues rise and payroll rises.

The 2007 figure could be more of a problem, but let's assume by then the Giants payroll will rise 10%, putting it around $90 million. (Is this assuming too much?) That would mean about one-sixth is tied up in three players: one retired to Beverly Hills, one over 40 and way past his prime, and one...who knows? Benitez might still be throwing smoke at the age of 35, or, like Nen, he might be on the shelf.

With Sabean's penchant for trading young talent for proven veterans, it's impossible to know who else will be around in 2007. But let's run through one possible scenario:

In 2007, Jerome Williams, Noah Lowry and one or two other youngsters (Cain? Valdez? Foppert? Hennessey?) will be in the starting rotation and earning relatively low wages. Aardsma will be in the bullpen, learning how to close, along with another low-wage homegrown kid (Foppert? Valdez? Correia?) and a cheap veteran long man/emergency starter. Let's estimate four starters and three bullpenners will be earning $10 million. (That's assuming Jerome Williams continues to improve and gets a few million in arbitration that year.) Let's also say, just for fun, that Jason Schmidt continues his dominant run, the Giants extend his contract, and he earns $10 million in '07.

Now we're up to $36.6 M for five starters, four relievers, and a 40-yr-old shortstop who may or may not be starting. (Or healthy.) So we have $55 M for 15 more players. If the Giants sign another superstar to anchor the team and sell tickets in the post-Barry era, there goes another $10 million.

$40-45 M for 14 players. That's a little tight, unless they find several Dustan Mohr/Yorvit Torrealba types -- i.e., cheap, solid performers -- to fill the bench and a couple starting spots. But more likely in this scenario, either the Giants' payroll goes higher than $90 M or they don't splurge on a post-Barry superstar. I'll guess the latter.

Thoughts? Is this scenario totally unrealistic? Are the Giants screwed in '07 and beyond?


The Cream, The Clear and the Close-up 

Victor Conte of BALCO is going on ABC's 20/20 Friday night to explain himself. The Merc has a preview.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com