Eyre Out 

As expected, Scott Eyre has signed with not-the-Giants. In this case, the Cubs. There was nothing the Giants could do -- Eyre wanted to be closer to his Bradenton, Florida home in the suburbs of Tampa/St. Pete: "This is a situation where I can fly home after a day game and be home in two hours, and my wife can fly up on weekends."

Three and a half hours, actually, if you count the time change. But we get the point.

Some stories this morning are calling it a two-year contract, but the third year is a player option at $4 million. Unless Eyre becomes Randy Johnson or Billy Wagner in his late 30s, consider that third year a given.

So that makes a total of three years, $11 million base, with incentives that could add $2.4 million more. As I wrote here, the Giants are right not to cough up $4 mil a year for a middle reliever.

Ah! but according to the salary list on this very blog, you say, that's what they're doing with LaTroy Hawkins! Yes, but the Cubs spotted most of Hawkins' '05 salary, so one could argue that the Giants are only paying Hawkins roughly $2.5 mil per year....yeaaaah, but then you counter that Hawkins was an active Giant for only half of '05. That makes the Giants' outlay about $3.3 m a year, which...OK, OK, I get the point. It's too much for a middle reliever. But why make the same mistake twice?

Sure, it would have been nice to extend Eyre for a reasonable amount in June instead of making the panic move for Hawkins, but hindsight, etc.



The Giants added six minor-league players to the 40-man roster. In short, this means other teams can't steal them in the Rule 5 Draft. I'm not a prospect nerd, but here's my two cents: I don't know much about the pitchers Coutlangus, Reina and Acosta. Nate Schierholtz has been a highly touted prospect for a couple years, but he seems to have run into a couple problems: 1) originally a third baseman, his infield defense wasn't good enough, so he was moved to the outfield. That sets the bar higher for his offensive production. Which leads to 2) He doesn't have very good plate discipline. 132 Ks and only 32 walks in 502 at-bats this year at class-A San Jose. Ugly. He hit 15 homers and 37 doubles. Not bad. But he'll likely get eaten up by good pitchers at higher levels if he doesn't learn better plate discipline.

The good news is he's only 21 and has time to improve. He'll probably start 2006 in AA, so keep an eye on his BB/K rate and his extra-base hit totals. If he's going to be a major league starting outfielder, he'll need more power, or else we're talking Tony Torcato Two.

Travis Ishikawa is more intriguing. About half a year older than his 2005 teammate Schierholtz, Ishikawa is strictly a first baseman. I don't know about his defensive skills. Like Schierholtz, he strikes out a lot -- 129 Ks in 432 ABs at San Jose last year -- but has more power and a better eye, with 70 BBs. Better yet, he's shown a good eye at every level and seems to be improving. His power is certainly improving. Lots of Ks are forgivable if they also come with lots of power and walks. (See: Adam Dunn and Jim Thome.)

Elezier Alfonzo, a 26-year-old catcher, is remarkable for his name -- no word whether he's related, but he hails from Venezuela, as does 21-year-old Mets prospect Edgar Alfonzo. He had a career year last year, rocketing up to Fresno from San Jose after bouncing around the minors for nine years. He's likely a potential backup to Matheny if the Giants don't trade for one, or if Justin Knoedler doesn't pan out.

For a deeper discussion of the players, check here and live among those who follow every minor-league twitch.


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