Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Baseball Post

Steven Rubio is concerned that the Giants will foolishly sign Ivan Rodriguez, and makes the case that Rodriguez isn't very good any more. Fair enough; I don't think it'll hurt to sign him as a backup to Buster Posey, but there's always the chance that Sabean could decide that Posey needs another full year in the minors, and that would be too bad.

That's not what worries me. As I look at the free agent lists, the guy who stands out for me is Johnny Damon. 2010 will be Damon's 36 year old season. He was quite good last year -- even for a LF, an OPS+ at 126 is solid. He used to be fast. He's famous. In all, he's exactly the kind of guy Brian Sabean would give a three-year contract to.

And it would be just as much of a mistake, and likely as much of a disaster, as previous Sabean blunders like Randy Winn, Reggie Sanders, and Jose Cruz. Damon's not really as good as he seemed in '09; his OPS+ numbers, going back, are 126, 118, 96, 115, 110. That's a real nice late-career surge, but remember, we're talking about a weak-armed LF here; if he just slips back to 115 (which seems pretty likely) he's nothing special, and if he slips below that he's hurting his team compared to the league.

Now, granted, the Giants currently don't have any guys at LF, RF, or 1B who are likely to do that well. But then again it would hardly be surprising if Damon collapsed quickly, and at any rate paying top dollar for old guys who figure to be league average if they don't suddenly collapse is a loser strategy. Now, if Damon was available for one year, at $10M? Sure. My guess, however, is that someone is going to go to at least three years, $30M, and then regret it. I've seen at least one rumor that the Giants are interested, and I'm definitely worried.

By the way, the guy who I think Sabean should be looking at, among the Sabean-type free agents, is Carlos Delgado. I suspect he'll be available at a discount price for a one-year or two-year deal, and while he's well past his peak, I think he'll solidly outhit Damon for a lot less money.

1 comment:

  1. Spent some time thinking about this after your astute comments. Posey presents an interesting problem ... he's the catcher of the future, and he's probably the catcher for 2010, so there is no sense bringing in any veterans, good or bad, on a long term basis. That leaves guys who will take a one-year deal and accept backup status. And the guys who fit that profile (and are free agents) pretty much suck. If they were any good, they'd want longer contracts and/or more money and/or higher roster status. So I can worry about I-Rod, but really, there's no good answer here, just lessers-of-evil. And in that context, a cheap Pudge is no worse than his alternatives.


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