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12.20.2005

Non-Tender Is the Night (Update) 

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE:

The morning after, the non-tendered name that may best fit the Giants' needs is
Miguel Olivo: Once a top catching prospect, Olivo has bounced from the White Sox to the Mariners to the Padres because he can't hit, although he put up a decent .270/.316/.496 in 141 at bats before being traded from Chitown to Seaville in mid-'04. Then, last year, after a mid-season trade to San Diego, he hit .304/.341/.487 in 115 at bats. If only the season were three months long, the guy would be a star.

With the Giants' current internal candidates for backup catcher being Justin Knoedler, Yamid Haad and Elizier Alfonzo, Olivo, if signed to a minor-league deal that becomes, say, $750,000 upon making the team, would be a fine idea.

Eric Byrnes is an intriguing 4th OF, though he isn't much use against right-handed pitching. He would certainly be an across-the-board upgrade over Jason Ellison (who also can't hit RHP): more power, better arm, similar defense, much better base stealer. Byrnes would also allow Felipe to keep Mark Sweeney on the bench when either Bonds or Alou were out against a left-handed pitcher.

The starting pitchers let go were Josh Fogg, Wes Obermuller, Ramon Ortiz, and Wade Miller. Miller is the only one with real upside, a lad on his way to stardom before he hit the injury wall in full-stop, Wile E. Coyote fashion. Splat. If (if, if, if, if) he can come back to form, he'll be a huge scrap-heap gem, but it's looking more and more like his hamburger is cooked.

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Some curious news from tonight's deadline for clubs to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. (The Giants don't have any.)

* The Dodgers have re-signed Hee Seop Choi to a $750,000 contract after much speculation he'd be non-tendered. That doesn't mean they won't trade him, but for now he's a Dodger. Interesting move by the Nedster.

* The Cubs have offered Corey Patterson a contract. A bit of a surprise after they traded for Juan Pierre to be their center fielder and signed Jacque Jones.

* The Yankees offered Shawn Chacon a contract, as expected. It's a big turnaround for Chacon, who before joining the Yankees last summer was watching his career spiral down the drain in Coors Field. I admit I ridiculed the idea of trading for him -- and all he did was win seven games with an ERA under 3 for los Yanquis.

* The Padres did not offer a contract to Dewon Brazelton, whom they received recently in the trade for Sean Burroughs. That basically means the Pods dumped Burroughs, once thought to be a future star, for zippo.

So far, no diamond in the rough has been cut loose, a la David Ortiz a few years ago. But there's still an hour and a half until the deadline.

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