*Here is Part 2 of the Top Ten Guys the Giants should sign in the offseason. Again, the whole article was really long, so I had to break it up. I apologize again for the inconvenience. Enjoy.
4. Ben Zobrist – IF/OF- I’ll be honest here. The only reason why Ben Zobrist is ranked higher than Justin Morneau, is because he’s cheaper, and more versatile, and the Giants love them some cheap and versatile. That being said, Ben Zobrist is not a bad baseball player by any means. PRO’S: Zobrist is a professional hitter. He’s hitting .276 this year with a .358 OBP, 7 HR and 54 RBI. While his HR numbers are low, he is always consistent at the plate, he will always hit around .280 with a high OBP. Consistency at the plate is something the Giants desperately need, and he provides that. Zobrist is also versatile. He can play both corner OF spots, as well as 2B and 1B.
CON’S: He’s Ben Zobrist. He is a role player, and not a guy who you say “YES! We signed Ben Zobrist, we’re going to win the World Series!” He doesn’t drive in a lot of runs, and he’s certainly not a middle of the order guy.
Chances he signs with the Giants: Decent. This will be a good signing if the Giants also sign a significant bat to go along with this. Zobrist is good, he will get his extra base hits, as he posted 27 doubles this season, 39, last season and 46 two years ago. He’s also a gap to gap hitter, and will utilize the Giants big outfield to his advantage. He will come cheaper than Morneau, and Choo, and Ellsbury, but he isn’t a middle of the order guy. If the Giants sign him and rely on him to drive in runs, then they are in trouble.
3. Bronson Arroyo – SP – He is ranked so high on this list not because of how good he is, but because of the likelihood that he signs in San Francisco, and I think that likelihood is high. He seems like the perfect back end of the rotation starting pitcher for the Giants. Experienced vet, cheap, will take a 2 or 3 year deal, can utilize the ballpark that he pitches in, AND, they don’t have to face him anymore, because Arroyo kills us every time. PRO’S: Consistent 200 IP guy, he’s durable, has good mechanics (albeit a bit funky), never goes on the DL, has playoff experience and will come cheap, and won’t demand a large multi year deal. You know who Bronson Arroyo is, he won’t win any Cy Young awards, but you know what you’re getting from him every time he goes out on the mound. That’s important for a pitcher, and a team with a need at the back end of the rotation. Arroyo has a 3.56 ERA this year with 88 Strike outs and a 1.14 whip and has averaged around that for the majority of his career, maybe a little higher ERA. The thing with Arroyo is that the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He doesn’t throw hard, but he has nasty stuff. Every pitch he throws moves every which way, and he fools hitters by varying his arm angles, speed, and locations.
CON’S: He’s certainly no ace, and could possibly command a three year deal, which the Giants won’t give him, but, nor will any other team including his current one in Cincinnati. He gives up quite a few homeruns, but that could be due to the fact that he pitches in Cincinnati, a notorious hitters park.
Chances he signs with the Giants: High. If they Giants are going to do, what I think they’re going to do, which is re-sign, Timmy and Gaudin, then Arroyo is going to be the pitcher they sign to come in and be the back end of the rotation guy, and stop gap for the youngsters in a few years. He’s the prototypical Bruce Bochy pitcher, durable vet who will get you 6 innings of quality ball every game. That’s all you can ask for with this guy.
2. Curtis Granderson – OF – PRO’S: For the past two seasons, Curtis Granderson has hit 40 Homeruns and drove in 100. He is a bona fide power threat. He was even hitting for power when he played in Detroit, which is no Yankee Stadium. He’s scored over 100 runs the past two seasons (not including this one, as he’s only recently come back from injury). The Giants need a guy who can do just what he does, score runs. He’s fallen off a bit defensively over the years, but he will still throw the occasional guy out at the plate.
CON’S: Other than the power numbers, and the runs, that’s pretty much it when it comes to Granderson. He’s a career .262 hitter, and even though he hit 43 homeruns and drove in 103, he only hit .232 last season with a .319 OBP. He DOES get on base in other ways than hitting, because he will have some good AB’s, but those 43 homeruns are a bit of an anomaly, as he plays in a band box stadium with a short porch in right field, and he being a lefty exploits that. He won’t do that in San Francisco, and he strikes out WAY too much with 195 last season. He’s always made up for his poor batting average with homeruns and RBI’s, but he won’t do that in San Francisco, as it’s a much bigger field to right, but, that means more XBH’s and he did lead the AL in triples in 07 and 08. He will command a large multi year deal as he is only 32, and is getting 15 Million from the Yankees right now.
Chances he signs in San Francisco: I am going to go on a limb here and say Decent. I don’t think Granderson will get the contract he’s going to ask for, and I can see the Giants coming in with the best offer for him. He’s risky, but the reward is high if he hits 30 homeruns and has 100 RBI’s. I do think the Giants will take a long look at Granderson this offseason.
1. Shin Soo Choo – OF – Finally, the number one guy on this list. After six pages, and ten other decent players, THIS is the guy the Giants should target in the offseason. He is exactly what the Giants are looking for in a player for their style of play. PRO’S: Shin Soo Choo GETS ON BASE, doesn’t matter how he does, he just does. His OBP is a whopping .410 this season, and that’s with a .276 Batting Average. He’s scored 77 runs this year at the top of Cincinnati’s order, and has 116 hits including 26 doubles and he had 46 of those last season with Cleveland. He’s a left handed hitter who can hit the opposite way, and will get a lot of XBH’s in San Francisco. He can hit anywhere in the lineup, except cleanup, as he doesn’t hit many homeruns, or drive in many runs, but that is due to him leading off this season in Cinci. His career high is 90 RBI’s with Cleveland in 2010, and I would take that in a second from him on this team. He’s the type of player who fits the system and the ballpark and is the number one guy the Giants should target this offseason.
CONS: Doesn’t hit many homeruns, and will hit less of the not so many here in this ballpark. Low RBI total for this season, but that was due to him hitting leadoff in Cinci.
Chances he signs with the Giants. Possible. Choo is going to be a hot commodity this offseason, and is going to get a pretty decent contract. He’ll ask for around 18 Million, and I can see him getting somewhere within the 16 Million dollar for 4 years range. SOMEONE will give that to him, someone will overpay to get him if they have to. The Giants could be one of those teams, but if they chose to re-sign Pence at almost the same amount, it will be tough for them to offer Choo that contract, but I think they can still do it. They’ll spend a lot of time with Choo this offseason, and he should be the guy they sign to play left field in San Francisco for years to come.
That rounds out the top ten guys who the Giants should consider, but I keep thinking back to the ace in the whole option that Bob Fitzgerald suggested today on his show. Why not ask the Marlins GM to go for a drive to a storage facility filled with cash a la Skyler White from Breaking Bad, and ask him how much he wants for Giancarlo Stanton and do an old school, cash for player trade with Miami, or cash plus Martin Agosta or Edwin Escobar and Joe Panik. Why not make a Bondsian move, and tell the Dodgers that we aren’t going to let you win the division every year. With Stanton or Cano and Posey hitting 3 and 4 they certainly won’t. If the Giants don’t re-sign anybody, they have 50 Million Dollars coming off the books, and if they want to make the huge splash, they have the means. Now again, I don’t think that is what the Giants WILL do, but if they wanted to do something crazy, they have the option of doing it. What I think they will do is re-sign Lincecum, Pence and Gaudin (and maybe Lopez) and still have some money to play with to bring in one or two of these guys whom I just mentioned.