Friday, September 2, 2011

Saltzman Says...Rowand and Tejada just the beginning

Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada were the 1st two casualties of a record setting offense being released by the San Francisco Giants.  Of course, by record setting, I mean one of the worst offenses in league history, who have set records for consecutive solo home runs and will be establishing records for lack of run support by the team the season is over.  Rowand and Tejada's departure sends a clear and seismic pulse throughout the locker room that each and every veteran felt.

Aubrey Huff, the team's offensive leader in 2010, has been below average the entire year of 2011.  If he continues to struggle into 2012, Brandon Belt will be given the keys at first base, and another 8 figure salary will be chopped.  Cody Ross and Andres Torres, the NLCS MVP and Willie Mac Award winner in 2010, will both be looking for job in another outfield if they do not improve before next season.  Ross is a free agent after the year and Torres is eligible to be offered salary arbitration.  The Giants might not even offer Torres arbitration. Carlos Beltran, who has had a terrible time calling AT&T Park home, will want big money (4 years, $60 million, according to Scott Boras) to stay, so he can play as bad a Rowand and still be happy in San Francisco.

Mark DeRosa, Orlando Cabrera, Pat Burrell and Mike Fontenot will all be free agents as well, and while all four would be low cost returns in 2012, none of the four are guaranteed even a contract offer.  They all might have to be invited to Spring Training.

Guillermo Mota, who was offered an invite to Spring Training each of the last two years, might be more likely to get a contract after his consistency out of the bullpen and his versatility on top of that. Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt are not sure returns either, but the talented bullpen should stay in tact in 2012.
Will Zito be the next massive contract to go?

All of that talk pales in comparison to the biggest elephant in the room, Barry Zito and his bloated, oversized, unnecessary, franchise altering contract.  Zito may be staying for no other reason than the team's reluctance to pay him and watch him pitch for someone else.  Jonathan Sanchez, who started 2011 as the team's #2 starter over Matt Cain, might not make the rotation if the team can bring back Ryan Vogelsong.  Sanchez will certainly be an option to trade.  Eric Surkamp, Craig Westcott and others can certainly challenge for a 5th spot in the rotation if the team decides to trade Sanchez or dump Zito.

The only certainty is that Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo, and Brian Wilson will pitch for the Giants in 2012.  Buster Posey, Belt, Freddy Sanchez, Pablo Sandoval, and Nate Schierholtz will hit in 2012.  And, a lot of veterans will be spared to keep the pitching staff performances count for something.

Bullet Point look at next year by position:

Starting Pitching signed through next year
  • Madison Bumgarner
  • Matt Cain 
  • Barry Zito
Relief Pitching signed through next year
  • Brian Wilson
Lineup signed through next year
  • C Buster Posey
  • 1B Aubrey Huff
  • 2B Freddy Sanchez
Pending Arbitration Eligible Pitchers
  • Santiago Casilla
  • Tim Lincecum
  • Ramon Ramirez
  • Jonathan Sanchez
Pending Free Agent Pitchers
  • Jeremy Affeldt
  • Javier Lopez
  • Guillermo Mota
  • Sergio Romo
  • Ryan Vogelsong
Pending Arbitration Eligible Hitters
  • Jeff Keppinger 
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Nate Schierholtz
  • Andres Torres
 Pending Free Agent Hitters
  • Carlos Beltran
  • Pat Burrell
  • Orlando Cabrera
  • Mark DeRosa
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Cody Ross

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