Singing Songs About the Southland 

This could be my last post for a while -- I'm off to certain down under parts for a couple weeks and don't expect to spend much time blogging in Internet cafes. As usual while I'm gone, I expect big things to happen. Or in the Giants' case, not to happen, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

As I wrote yesterday, Brian Sabean's best move when it comes to some of the free agents out there could be simply sitting on his hands. The best news for the Giants so far: the Dodgers have signed native Alabamian Juan Pierre to a 5-year, $45 million contract. That is fall-off-your-bar-stool laughable. Pierre can be good when he's getting on base, but otherwise he has no skills. No power (who cares, you say, he's a leadoff hitter; but if outfielders play closer in because he has no power, they take away some of his line-drive hits to the outfield); no arm; even though he steals a lot of bases he's right at the 3/4 threshold of success. No matter how good a base-stealer he is, the skill is marginalized by his diminishing on-base percentage (.326 and .330 the last two years). No on-base, no stolen base. Capische?

And a five-year contract? Maybe he'll be perfectly healthy until he's 35, but if he suffers leg injuries in his 30s, his one and only skill is curtailed. What's more, if he has to move to a corner OF spot, the Dodgers would be forced to find power in less traditional places.

The Dodgers have also signed Nomar Garciaparra to a two-year extension. Before you gripe that the Giants should have gone after Nomar, remember that last year was his big comeback, his best and healthiest year since 2003, and it was indeed a nice year, but he only played in 122 games and could barely get on the field in the playoffs. He could continue to get healthier, what with all that fresh L.A. air and Mia's home cooking, but what are the chances? No doubt the Dodgers will be happy with 120 games and 450 at-bats again.

The Pierre signing increases the chance that the Giants lunge for Dave Roberts, who is very Juan Pierre-ish plus five years older and more injury prone. Last year he posted a career high in at-bats with 499. With Roberts over Pierre, there are two brighter sides: Roberts seems to have improved his on-base skills in his thirties, tallying OBPs of .340, .356 and .360 the last three years. And he likely won't require a five-year contract. Reports this morning say he rejected the White Sox because they only offered two years. Perhaps the Bochy factor will persuade Roberts to sign for two years plus an option.

My wish list for the next two weeks:

* Pass on Carlos Lee. Hope the Phillies sign him, which compels them to trade Pat Burrell to the Giants for a fringe minor leaguer.

* Pedro Feliz signs with the Dodgers: 5 years, $40 million.

* The Giants sign Rich Aurilia to a modest two-year deal to be their super-utility guy. (But not as a starter.)

I don't think starting pitchers will sign until the Red Sox/Matsuzaka scenario plays itself out and defines the market. So I don't expect Zito, Schmidt, or even many of the second-tier guys to be signed until I get back.


Small print update: The Giants have added two minor leaguers, Osiris Matos and Eugenio Velez, to the 40-man roster. (Thanks to this guy for pointing it out.)


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