Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 6, 2009 5:00 am
Reader Ryan wondered…
Jeff, in response to (the Giants) not obtaining any sort of hitting threat they have indicated they will try to trade for a hitter mid season from a non-contending teams looking to shed payroll. What do you think about posting something that evaluates who these potential hitters may be? There does not seem to be a long list of good hitters from teams that are not likely to contend.
OK, let’s do that. I have combed the rosters and came up with a few possibilities that make sense to me. Before you look at this, remember that the Giants premise here is that they have money to pay salaries that other teams don’t, so in most of these cases they would probably be overpaying. But if you win, no one cares what it costs, right?
Non-rentals (signed beyond ’09):
- Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals. We know the Nats aren’t going anywhere. Yes, Zimmerman is sort of their franchise player, but he’s got two more years of arbitration to go, so he’s going to start getting expensive. He’ll make $3.325 million this year, and probably around $5 mil next year and $7-8 mil in ’11, if he’s still going year-to-year. The Nats need a lot of help, so perhaps they’d part with him for a few prospects. (While we’re on the Nationals, they also have Adam Dunn for two years and $20 million. The Giants didn’t want him because he’s a terrible outfielder, but he’s going to play first in Washington, so maybe between now and July he’ll look like a reasonable first baseman.)
- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. If the Tigers go in the tank again, as they did last year, I can certainly see them wanting to unload this guy. He is signed through this year, with team options for $15 million in 2010 and 2011. That’s a lot of coin. The Giants would probably be overpaying if they got him and picked up those options, but that’s sort of their deal anyway. Ordonez, who just turned 35, can still hit. He’s also right-handed, which is nice at AT&T Park.
- Jose Guillen, Royals: Not a huge upside here. He’s a 20-25 homer guy who doesn’t walk. In fact, he may be another Aaron Rowand. He’ll make $12 million this year and next. I wouldn’t recommend Guillen, but he’ll certainly be available.
- Prince Fielder, Brewers: Nothwithstanding their playoff appearance last year, the Brewers are facing some serious issues with the pitching, so it’s no stretch to think they could be out of it. Fielder is signed for $6.5 million in ’09, $10.5M in ’10 and then he’s got another arbitration-eligible year in 2011.
- Lance Berkman, Astros: I love this guy. He just hits. He’s a switch hitter and he can play outfield and first. If the Astros really tank, perhaps they’d move him. He’s signed through ’10 ($14.5M this year and next) with an option for $15M in 2011. He’s got a full no-trade clause, though, so I hope he likes San Francisco.
- Carlos Lee, Astros: Hey, the Giants tried to get him last time, and he actually turned down more money. So they’d get him for a discount now! Lee is signed for $18.5 million each of the next three years. That’s a lot of dough, so you can see why the Astros might want to dump him if it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere.
- Adrian Gonzalez, Padres: Now I’m just fishing. Hey, if the Padres would trade Jake Peavy, they’d trade anyone. Gonzalez is a great first baseman and he’s got a lot of power. He’s signed for $4.75M in ’10 and has a team option for $5.5 million (with no buyout!) in 2011. That’s one of the most team-friendly contracts you’re going to find. Bernie Madoff must have been Gonzalez’s agent, because he got screwed. Anyway, I can’t see the Padres trading him, but hey, this is a blog, so we are supposed to suspend reality.
- Scott Rolen, Blue Jays: His career has fallen off the cliff, but if he has a good first half, the Blue Jays might think it’s the perfect time to unload him. He’s got $11M coming to him in ’09 and ’10. (Less than Aaron Rowand is making.)
Rentals (free agents at end of ’09, if the Giants are really in serious contention)
- Matt Holliday, A’s: He’s obviously going to be at the top of the list for every team that needs a big bat and doesn’t mind borrowing one for two months. The only reason he wouldn’t be available is if the A’s do something crazy like contend.
- Adrian Beltre, Mariners: He’d certainly fit for the Giants in a lot of ways. He’s a right-handed hitter with some power (he did hit 25 homers last year at Safeco) and he plays third base, which is the ideal spot for the Giants to find a big bat. They could get over his contract ($12 million this year) if they only had to play for two months of it.
- Miguel Tejada, Astros: He could play third or short, if the Giants believe he’s better than Renteria. Tejada is making $13 million this year.
Well, that’s it. I’m sure I could come up with more if I kept going, but I think that’s a pretty decent list for debate. Some of these guys (Zimmerman, Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez) would cost a high price in talent, but others (Ordonez, Beltre, Guillen) could probably be had for any team that would take the contract.