Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…you go and to something like this! It’s sad to say, but the San Francisco Giants won’t be fielding their starting shortstop come opening day. Omar Vizquel tore the medial meniscus in his left knee and won’t be able to return to the field for 4-6 weeks.
He was flown back to San Francisco and operated on today. Team doctors said the surgery went exactly as planned and he’ll be on schedule to return sometime the first week of the season barring any setbacks. However, the 41-year-old shortstop may not heal as quickly as we need him to. With age comes longer healing times and it could be the end of April before we truly see him take the field and playing at 100%.
What this means for the Giants, is that Kevin Frandsen will get the opening day starting job at short, ending his competition with Ray Durham for the job at second. This also means that we will see Rich Aurilia as the starting third baseman, unless the Joe Crede deal goes through before the end of spring training. I just hope that this doesn’t put more pressure on the front office to bring someone on that we don’t need. I’d hate to see us lose a great prospect just to put on a bandaid.
Spring Training games officially begin tomorrow with the Giants facing the Cubs at home in Scottsdale. Stay tuned!
The San Francisco Giants have announced that they have signed relief pitcher Vinnie Chulk to a one-year, $837,500 deal for next season. Chulk, 29, finished 5-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 57 games last year. He was tied for the team lead in appearances when a circulatory ailment caused numbness in his right middle finger and forced him to miss the season’s final month.
Vinnie was definitely one of our better relievers last year and we desperately needed to sign him to get some bodies in the pen. I’m still not convinced however, that the guys we have from last year are the answer to our relief problems. As you all know, our bullpen was one of the worst in the majors last season. It was a glaring need, staring us in the face when the season closed. Yet we have done nothing to improve it.
It is clear that the Giants want to give their youngsters a chance to prove themselves. We will see how the season pans out, but my guess is that we will be changing our tune a bit in the off season next year. We need to bring some big names to this club or people will lose interest.
Late last night, rumors were flying around the league that Pedro Feliz had agreed in principal to a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $8.5 million. The contract also includes a club option for 2010. With principal and performance-based incentives, the deal could be worth up to $15 million after all is said and done if the club exercises their option.
Feliz had reportedly been asking for a three-year deal worth close to $21 million as he hit the free agent market at the end of the season. Apparently, his price has come down considerably as the season approaches. Brian Sabean, GM of the San Francisco Giants has repeatedly stated that he would not offer the sure-handed third baseman a three year contract and that his price was too high. If he were willing to sign a one-year agreement, then the Giants would consider it, but not three years.
Feliz joins a solid lineup with the Phillies who have been assembled to score a lot of runs. He will more than likely bat in the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup, a place that should better suit him. He had previously batted behind Barry Bonds for a good portion of his stay with the Giants. I believe his productivity will go up as he hits with less pressure, and he’ll get more power from the HR happy Citizens Bank Park in Philly.
For the Giants, I am so glad we will never see him in the Orange and Black ever again! I’ve had too many years of watching him miss an off-speed pitch for strike three and walk himself back to the dugout. Good riddens Feliz! Bring on Kevin Frandsen!
Barry Bonds asked the federal judge in charge of his perjury case to dismiss it today, arguing the indictment is “scattershot” and noted for its “striking inartfulness.” This gives us an inside look at how his lawyers are beginning to outline and defend their client. The attorneys said that the questions asked by prosecutors during Bonds’ December 2003 grand jury appearance were vague, ambiguous and confusing. The lawyers asked that the case be thrown out on the grounds that he couldn’t have been lying when the questions asked of him did not allow a concise response.
It should be noted that motions such as these are frequently filed but rarely granted. The lawyers are definitely trying what they can when they can to get the process streamlined as possible. Bonds has been accused of lying on nineteen different accounts of which he has been indicted on four separate charges of perjury and one obstruction of justice charge. Bonds’ attorneys argue that the instances should be detailed and charges should be filed separately, instead of being lumped together. This way, the charges can be dismissed and approached on an individual basis.
An interesting development indeed for Mr. Bonds as the season begins to get closer by the day. He is still a free agent with no potential suitors that we know about. Many teams I’m sure are waiting to find out more about his legal troubles before beginning negotiations with the all-time home runs leader. It is to be seen whether he will sign a contract for another year or if this will be the end of the slugger’s career. If it is, he’ll go away under suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs. If he gets signed for another season, the story continues and more and more records will undoubtedly fall from the pages of history.
In anticipation of pitchers having to report to Arizona for spring training here in a few weeks, the San Francisco Giants are trying to take care of the three pitchers they still have in the salary arbitration process. Today, they inked potential closer Brad Hennessey to a one year, $1.6 million contract. He will compete with Brian Wilson for the full-time closer role next season. The competition should get pretty heated as the two of them are pretty evenly matched. Hennessey has a little more experience, and Wilson, though younger, has a little better stuff. Hennessey spent the majority of last season as the closer for the Giants saving 19 of 24 save opportunities for them. Wilson, closed out the season as the regular closer for the last two weeks of the year, and did an extremely good job! I can’t wait to see them in spring ball when I go down for my annual trip to Giants Spring Training in Scottsdale.
Yesterday, Vinnie Chulk and Kevin Correia each negotiated salaries with the Giants organization. Vinnie Chulk is asking for $975,000 while the team has offered $725,000. Chulk went 5-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 57 appearances before being placed on the disabled list August 24th. He will compete for the setup role next season and will definitely come out of the bullpen.
Kevin Correia has asked for $1.3 million while the team has offered $850,000 for next season. Correia was 4-7 with a 3.45 ERA in 59 appearances in 2007, including a 3-1 mark and 2.54 ERA in eight starts. He will be competing for the 5th starting pitcher spot in spring training.
Stay tuned, as the two of these guys will be signed in the coming days, I presume.
All-star center-fielder Aaron Rowand signed a 5 year, $60 million deal with the San Francisco Giants last night. Sources close to the event say that Bruce Bochy and Ron Schueler, Rowand’s former manager while he was with the White Sox, visited Aaron in his Las Vegas home last weekend to discuss his future. Apparently that conversation weighed heavy on his decision to join forces with San Francisco.
This move for the Giants bolsters the middle of the lineup. Bochy has said that he plans on batting Rowand 5th in the lineup behind Winn and Molina. Rowand will play center-field moving Dave Roberts over to left and keeping Randy Winn in right. Bochy also emphasized the fact that Rajai Davis, Fred Lewis and Nate Schierholtz will all be contending for starting jobs in the spring. They will be a great help out there to provide some competition, if they’re still around come spring training. Brian Sabean has opened up the possibility of trading any of those players if the Giants could get something positive in return.
The biggest part of this free agent signing, is the fact that it closes the door on the Alex Rios for Tim Lincecum trade. We don’t have to give up either of our two young aces in Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum. I am very happy that we get to see those two again next season in a Giants uniform. I think I would have cried myself to sleep if we had done that deal.
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed an agreement with free agent Andruw Jones late this evening on a two year contract worth $36.2 million. The arrangement allows Jones the freedom of giving it a go for two years hoping to get his swing back, and then test the free agent market again while still in his prime.
Sources close to Andruw have said that he has been anxious to get a deal signed. The Kansas City Royals have been known to be interested in signing the 10 time gold glove center fielder, but it seems that Andruw had plans to stay in the National League. The Dodgers tried to initiate talks to get him last season, but he wouldn’t opt out of his strict no trade clause while in his last year with the Braves organization.
This takes another big bat off the free agent market. Although somewhat of a risk, I would have liked to see him in a San Francisco Giants uniform…not for the price that Colletti got him, but I would have liked to see it. I think it’s a good move for the Dodgers. It’s a gamble, that I hope DOES NOT pan out for them. I hate those guys!
In a blockbuster deal at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee today, the Detroit Tigers sent six prospects to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Sources close to the agreement were stunned to see them both go in the same trade, let alone in the same off season. In exchange, the Marlins received stud prospects Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, and four others not worth mentioning. Maybin and Miller are awesome prospects and most scouts expect them to be all-stars in a few years.
To sum it up, the Marlins basically dumped the last remaining members of the 2003 world series team and the bulk of their payroll all in one trade. The highest paid player on their team next season will probably be Kevin Gregg, their closer, who made $575,000 this year. In fact, their projected payroll for this coming season now sits around $7-$8 million. Yeah, crazy I know.
However strange the trade may have been for the Marlins, they have been known to make amazing trades that really end up working out for them in the long run. They have a great evaluation staff that knows what they are after and usually get it. I’m not sure they’ll be able to put a lot of butts in the seats next year though with their only real pull now going to be Hanley Ramirez. But, you never know what they might be able to pull off.
As for the Tigers, they look more like the Yankees and Red Sox than ever now with their acquisitions of Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis this off season. With a solid lineup top to bottom and five great starters that can all go 200+ innings they sure look like a team to be reckoned with next season. Their payroll will sit at about $120 million for next year too, placing them among the top tier now.
The San Jose Mercury News this morning is reporting that the San Francisco Giants are close to signing Omar Vizquel for one more season. The terms of the agreement are rumored to be a one year deal worth $5.5 million. That’s a $1.5 million raise over his salary last season. The contract does include an option for a second season, something that Vizquel was originally looking for when negotiations began after the season. If he plays in at least 140 games, then the club will automatically pick up his option for 2009 at $5.2 million.
Let it be known that I am a HUGE Vizquel fan. So, needless to say, I am very excited to have him back. I’m also glad that they are only signing him to a one year deal. This gives us the opportunity to look for a new quality shortstop in free agency if he doesn’t produce this season, and continue to groom our minor league sensations. I think it was the appropriate move for the Giants given our options. It sounds like Vizquel is also a good voice in the clubhouse and a good teamate. So, I like what he brings to the table. Don’t expect his fielding to drop off next season. He’s over 40, but can still work the leather!
Vizquel didn’t win the gold glove award this year even though he should have. It was announced the other day that Jimmy Rollins won the gold glove at shortstop for the National League. He held a .985 fielding percentage, while Omar had a .986 fielding percentage. Omar had just nine errors all season, the fewest among full-time shortstops in the NL. But, he got shafted, and it looks like he won’t surpass Ozzie Smith who holds the all-time record with 13 gold gloves at short.
Overall, I like this move. Congratulations Omar on your new contract. Welcome back to the Giants!
Yesterday, ESPN and SFGiants.com reported that Carney Lansford has been hired by the San Francisco Giants to be the new hitting coach for the 2008-2009 seasons. Lansford, better known as the third bash brother in Oakland, was a five-time all-star in his fifteen year career. He spent 10 of those years with Oakland, but was the 1981 batting champion while playing with Boston. Bruce Bochy is excited to get Carney into a Giants uniform. He claimed that he’s been on his radar for quite some time now and will bring a flare to the clubhouse and a winning attitude.
I am very excited to see Carney Lansford come to the Giants organization. He was born and raised in my hometown, San Jose, and grew up in Santa Clara. When I was a little boy, I played an all-star game at a field in Santa Clara that was named after Carney Lansford. The legend is that when he was a little leaguer he played on that same field, and hit a homerun over 450 feet as a 12 year old. I don’t know if it’s true, but it had me wanting to be like him when I was that age. I remember his unique stance and hitch before he took a swing. It seemed like he was always building momentum for his swing as he dropped his hands up and down repeatedly before taking a hack. He was quite fun to watch when he was a player, that’s for sure!
One of the things he mentioned when while being interviewed, was that he is interested in teaching players how to take pitches to allow runners to advance. With the Giants speed of the youngsters coming up next year, that is going to be key for us. He’s taken more pitches for Rickey Henderson than probably anyone! Look for the Giants to play a little more small ball next year with speed and aggressiveness on the base paths. They’ll be trying to hit doubles, hit for power, move runners along, and play team baseball. I can’t wait to see it all in action.
So, congratulations Carney! Welcome to the Giants organization. We need you!