A quick blurb from GM Brian Sabean in a recent MLB.com article detailing the Omar Vizquel signing:
“Third base is what we’re presently going to work on,” Sabean said. “I think that definitely has to be the first thing we try to address.”
Sabean said that Feliz, who has averaged 21 home runs and 84 RBIs in the past four seasons, and is widely considered to have developed into a Gold Glove-caliber defender, has received “quite a bit of action” from teams seeking a third baseman. Sabean indicated that the Giants are reluctant to fulfill Feliz’s hopes for a multiyear contract — a request that could extend “closer to three years,” the GM noted.
“If that’s the case,” Sabean said, “it’s not going to be something that we’ll pursue, at least at this time.”
My initial reaction to this is one of joy and happiness. The fact that Omar Vizquel is getting (potentially) a multi-year deal from the Giants is enough, but to imagine the Giants signing the 32-year-old Feliz to a 2-3 year deal is enough to make the strongest fan question his personal religious beliefs. It’s a classic question that’s irked mankind for sometime now, if God truly exists, how can he let such terrible things happen to good people? Floods, Famine, Pedro Feliz. You’ll find weird pockets of Giants fans who absolutely love Feliz and his annual 20 HR power with excellent defense but in my estimation, Feliz just isn’t very good. He’s Tony Batista with a better glove and no one has ever clamored for Tony Batista.
Options to replace Feliz aren’t very exciting but even with the weak options, I think the Giants should end their relationship with Feliz, unless it was on another 1-year deal. Rotoworld speculated that if the Giants don’t sign Feliz, they could turn to such options of Mike Lamb or Mark Loretta. Either player wouldn’t realy be an upgrade when compared to Feliz. Both Lamb and Loretta are poor defenders and their hitting isn’t good enough to make up for the difference. Both have been worth about 1-3 wins over the past three years, while Feliz has been about a 3 win player on the strength of his defense.
Between the two, Lamb would probably be the best option but I wouldn’t want to spend more than a year on him and he’ll probably get a few multi-year offers. His defense at third base isn’t nearly as strong as Feliz’s but it’s near replacement-level. I was hoping the Giants might consider Fresno AAA’er Justin Leone this past year to work at third base but he never made it out of the minors. Leone showed both good pop and patience in the minors, hitting 20 HR’s, 30 2B’s, and posting an OBP of .383. He also stole 26 bags to only 1 caught-stealing. Sadly, the Giants most likely have a poor view of Leone – who throughout his minor league career has been a decent player, career line of (.260/.363/.480) – because he was never once called up to the big team. He’s now a minor league free agent and it’s very possible that he’ll join on with another team to get a crack at major league playing time.
The Giants could enter the trade market to try and find a third baseman. Sabean has recently calmed some fears and stated that Lincecum isn’t actively being shopped but they’ve had a lot of requests for him from opposing teams. They’ve listened but that doesn’t mean they’re going to trade him. If the team is looking for established star third basemen, then they will be very interested in Miguel Cabrera. In interacting with a lot of Giants fans, I’ve found that the average Giants fan seems to be wary of Cabrera because of his “weight and personality issues” which to me, seem grossly overblown.
What Cabrera has done in his first 5 seasons before the age of 24 is historic.
Cnt Player **HR** +----+-----------------+--- 1 Eddie Mathews 190 2 Frank Robinson 165 3 Albert Pujols 160 4 Orlando Cepeda 157 5 Hank Aaron 140 6 Miguel Cabrera 138 7 Bob Horner 138 8 Joe DiMaggio 137 9 Vladimir Guerrero 136 10 Hal Trosky 136
How many people can say that they’ve hit more HR’s before the age of 24 than DiMaggio did? The Giants might not have the prospects to trade for Cabrera (I think they should hold onto Cain and Lincecum but everyone else could be expendable) but he’s one of the few players in the MLB that comes close to being able to replace the production of Bonds. He’s not that good yet, about 3-4 wins from replacing Bonds in his prime, but he’s a fantastic talent who’s weight issues in my opinion, have been way overblown.
I liked the way Bill James described Cabrera in a recent article he penned for SI.com:
He’s fat and he looks lazy, but he hits .320 and drives in 115 runs every year. As a hitter, he’s in a class with Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle, just crushes the ball about 200 times a year. As a third baseman he’s in a class with guys who really need to work on playing third base.
Cabrera isn’t a strong fielding third baseman, but he was almost in the middle of the pack last year. He was 8th out of 12 qualifying NL 3B’s in 2007 when ranking by revised zone rating. The Fielding Bible liked him even less, only Garret Atkins and Ryan Bruan were worse at defending third base last year. He’s eventually destined for LF or 1B but the Giants could probably squeeze a couple of years out of him from third base if they needed to. Thankfully, they’ve got major openings at both positions, so if they didn’t feel comfortable with Cabrera at third, they could push him to first instantly. If Angel Villalona could stick at third base (that’s still up for debate but at least the Giants aren’t moving him off the position just yet) a infield that contained both would look awfully nice.
The biggest hurdle to getting Cabrera might be his contract. He’ll be a free agent in 2010 and any team that trades for him would prefer that he’d sign a contract extension with them. If the Giants could bowl Cabrera over with a contract extension and not give up the big two (Cain and Lincecum) in the process, I would love to see Cabrera in San Francisco. It all fits together like a best case scenario but it’s my best case scenario, dang it!
Comment Starter: What’s your best case scenario for the Giants this off-season? Try to keep it a little realistic.
Not being able to sleep can have it’s advantages. I just noticed an SI.com article by Jon Heyman on the subject of Miguel Cabrera and the Marlins’ asking price:
The price is so prohibitive and includes multiple top-tier prospects — the kind of young players that are hardly ever traded anymore — that executives believe the Marlins will have to drop their price significantly to deal Cabrera. Because the requests have been jaw-dropping, teams say they don’t see anything happening until the winter meetings next month.
For Cabrera, 24, the Marlins are requesting a package of four top young players,
The Marlins are officially asking for a “buttload” of talent. Yes thats a word. That’s a huge amount of talent to give up, even for Miguel Cabrera. 4 top-tiered prospects? That’s madness. That would be like sending Cain, Lincecum, Henry Sosa, and whoever else the Giants could lump in as a top-tiered prospect to Florida. That’s just way too much talent to give up. I guess it does make sense for the Marlins and as a negotiating tactic, it’s a good one. Ask for the world because someone might give it to you, but if they don’t you can always adjust the conversations. Better to start too high than too low.