*Note* As reported by Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish in a completely shocking turn of events, the Giants have NOT reached an agreement with Ted Lilly, as the two sides could not agree on a call up date, as well as the Giants concerns over Lilly’s medical history. Stay tuned, as Cotillo is the only person I have seen reporting this at the moment. Again, I don’t see this being over things could change again. So stay tuned.
The San Francisco Giants have signed lefty Starting Pitcher, and notorious Giant killer Ted Lilly to a minor league deal, hammering the final nail in Barry Zito’s coffin as a Giant. As it is a minor league deal, Lilly will report to Fresno, but make no mistake about it, you WILL see Ted Lilly start a few games in a Giants uniform this season. This signing is not only for the short term however. This may be a test to see if Lilly has any gas left in the tank as a cheaper option to replace Ryan Vogelsong as well, and make more room for the Giants to sign one, two or even three moderately high priced free agents such as Hunter Pence, Shin Soo Choo, and possibly Justin Morneau to replace the ever so inconsistent Brandon Belt.
The Giants will have about 25-30 Million dollars to spend next season depending on how much ownership wants to raise the payroll (which they have done every year since 2009 mind you, so don’t try and tell me ownership doesn’t want to win). With Zito’s enormous contract coming off the books, and Tim Lincecum surely to take a pay cut, also most likely losing Torres, Mijares, Vogey, and possibly even Blanco, the Giants are in a decent position to bring higher priced position players in. They need a replacement in Left Field, and First Base and may have the money to bring a Morneau and Choo type guys. Don’t look for the Giants to go after Cano or Ellsbury however, as they are not fits for this team, and are too highly priced. The Giants have mentioned resigning reliever turned starting pitcher Chad Gaudin as a starting pitcher for next year and years beyond, as he has done well as Vogelsong’s replacement during his DL stint. This could be a test for Lilly as well, as Vogelsong has a 6.75 Million dollar team option for next season, that the Giants won’t pick up if Lilly can be had for cheaper. This way, they can patch up their starting staff, and monitor Kyle Crick and Ty Blach next year in Spring Training and beyond, as they could possibly be major league ready too.
Ted Lilly is one of those Jamie Moyer type guys, who just always hang around. He’s been around forever, and has always produced decently. He is no ace, but he’s nice to have as a back of the rotation starter, if the Giants decide to keep him. This signing is both to shore up the rotation in the short term, and possible posturing for next offseason, as they have a lot of work to do to replace the anemic Gregor Blanco/Andres Torres/Jeff Francouer platoon in Left Field, and Brandon Belt, whose proved not to be the guy we all thought he would be.