Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BD Hot Stove: Giants Among Men | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: Giants Among Men | Baseball Digest

Fans of the NY/SF Giants waited 56 years to celebrate their first World Series championship this past season. The Giants hadn’t won since Willie Mays was making over the shoulder catches against the likes of Vic Wertz. Things look bright for the team by the bay this year too with their core intact.

I left my pine tar in San Francisco: The Giants did lose a veteran on the left side of the infield- Juan Uribe, who departed for the Dodgers, and could lose a second in Edgar Renteria. GM Brian Sabean went low price/veteran shopping as a replacement and signed Miguel Tejada, who split last season between Baltimore and San Diego. Sabean’s biggest move was re-signing 1st baseman Aubrey Huff, who helped energize the team on and off the field. The Giants also re-signed outfielder Pat Burrell and took a risk by signing Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal. Now if they can get Brian Wilson to lose that beard.

Welcome to Divorce Court: On this week’s episode the McCourts continue their battle over ownership of this long storied franchise while first year manager Don Mattingly waits to see who gets custody. In addition to Uribe, GM Ned Colletti made a shrewd move in signing veteran starter Jon Garland to a one year, $5M deal. Another good signing was steady set up man Matt Guerrier. With Russell Martin departing for the Yankees, the Dodgers kept Rod Barajas and brought back former Dodger Dioner Navarro. The team also re-signed starters Vincente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda, and outfielder Jay Gibbons. Colletti also inked Tony Gwynn Jr. for some outfield depth.

Won’t you take me to Friar town: The Padres spent 131 days in first place last season, but September 25th was the final time as the team swooned down the stretch. The Padres made one of the biggest splashes at the winter meetings, dealing stud 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for four prospects. Time will tell if the move was a good one, but the Padres did know they wouldn’t be able to re-sign Gonzalez when he became a free agent after the 2011 season. The Padres have been one of the busiest teams this off-season. They re-made their infield with a trade for shortsop Jason Barlett , and inked 2nd baseman Orlando Hudson and outfielder/1B Brad Hawpe to free agent deals. They also dealt for centerfield prospect Cameron Maybin who may be getting his final chance to prove himself at the major league level. The Pads added starter Aaron Harang and swingman Dustin Moseley through free agency. In addition to Gonzalez, gone are Garland, Gwynn, catcher Yorvit Torrealba (TEX), relievers Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb (Maybin deal), starters Kevin Correia (PIT) and Chris Young (team declined option), and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs.

Like a Rock: Colorado made a late surge under replacement manager Jim Tracey to make the playoffs in 2009 and for a time it looked like they would repeat that feat in 2010. The club brought back starter Jorge de la Rosa with a two year deal, but parted ways with long time Rockie Jeff Francis. The team also got younger by saying good bye to 3rd baseman Melvin Mora, 2nd baseman Kaz Matsui, who returned to Japan, and reliever Octavio Dotel. 1st baseman Jason Giambi will most likely also join the list. To replace Mora the team acquired Jose Lopez from Seattle and also signed versatile infielder Ty Wiggington via free agency.

Last and Least: The Diamondbacks have fallen a long way since their World Series title in 2001. The team won just 70 games in 2009, firing manager Bob Melvin in the process. They followed that up with a 65 win season in 2010, which cost Melvin’s replacement, A.J. Hinch, his job as well. Interim manager Kirk Gibson didn’t have a much better record than Hinch in the 83 games he had to work with, but he’ll get to start from scratch this year. The Dbacks dealt away home run hitting/baseball whiffing 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds to the Orioles and got a good prospect in starter David Hernandez in return (along with pitcher Kam Mickolio). AZ also made a low risk deal in acquiring one time prospect Zach Duke from the Pirates for a PTBNL. Reliever J.J. Putz was given a two year deal to be the new closer and Mora and Geoff Blum were signed to take over Reynolds’ spot. Xavier Nady was also inked to play 1st base. Veteran catcher Henry Blanco was signed to work with the young pitching staff. Gone are pitcher D.J. Carassco (NYM) and 1st baseman Adam LaRoche.

Rumors, News, and Transactions

SI’s Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are looking to strengthen their bullpen even further and are considering a run at Brian Fuentes.

The Orioles are talking contract with Kevin Gregg to become their new closer.

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