Friday Notes: Pattus Battus 

* UPDATE: Here's a fascinating quote from a piece by ESPN.com's Sean McAdam on the waning importance of free agency: "It changes the whole way you look at payroll flexibility," asserted another club executive. "A few years ago, if you walked away from, say, a guy like Cliff Floyd, you could spread that money around. Now, payroll flexibility is much less valuable because there's no one to spend it on. You have to plan for the ability to afford talent, but also for the access to that talent. I keep hearing that Houston and San Francisco are going to have a lot of money to spend this offseason. Well, who are they going to spend it on?"

The Giants have partially answered that question by giving Tim Lincecum and Angel Villalona big signing bonuses, and by hiring a scout for Japan and the Far East.

* After months of my flogging the idea of Pat Burrell as a Giant, the big lug has added S.F. to his yes-trade list. He's expensive, with $27 million due the next two years, but it's fairly short-term and he's a reliable power source. If the Giants can dump Benitez's contract in the process (unlikely), even better.

* Aramis Ramirez told the Associated Press the Cubs are still his first choice. Translation: the fat offers from other teams aren't rolling in fast enough and he wants to light a little fire. Quoth Aramis: "I don't know for how much I'm going to sign [for] because I don't like to discuss figures, but it would have to be more than the $11 million."

* Speaking of numbers, Moises Alou busted out the advanced math with this quote: "I'm almost sure, more than 99.9 percent sure, that I won't return with the San Francisco Giants," Alou told The Associated Press on Thursday. Note how Alou puts great emphasis on the power of small fractions: more than 99.9% sure is still just "almost" sure. There is great uncertainty in the thousandths of a percentile; the slightest difference holds a universe of possibility. I've got one thing to say, Mo: Whoa.

* Jon Heyman of SI.com has this interesting observation: "If multiple teams are ready to trade pieces to take Sheffield for $13 million, Bonds should top that figure." In other words, Gary Sheffield carries nearly as much off-field baggage and is just as deficient on defense as Bonds. Equally healthy, Bonds is a better hitter. No doubt Bonds's agent will keep a close eye on the Sheff situation as a reference point.

* SMALL PRINT UPDATE: I've removed the free agents from the 40-man roster to the right. Currently posted are players under contract, their '07 salaries, and young players under the Giants control.


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