Friday, October 9, 2009

A little light on the Giants' Free Agent possibilities (Hint: don't discount Nick Johnson)

Was browsing on the Giants blogosphere last night and came over an interesting post on Raising Matt Cain that explored the Giants possible free agent options. According to RMC moderator M.C. O'Connor, he was able to check out Cot's Baseball Contracts and get a guise of what this 2009-2010 offseason could be like for recently re-signed general manager Brian Sabean.

Right now, the Giants number one priority seems to be offense (preferably in the form of a corner outfielder), and in terms of what's available on the market, that wish probably will go unfulfilled judging by the lack of options that will be available. Here's O'Connor's take on the Giants' free agency ordeal on RMC.
Matt Holliday and Jason Bay look like the prizes in this group, but they will be courted by a lot of teams, and their cost as Type-A free agents (compensatory draft picks) may not be in the Giants best interest. Drafting seems to be what we do well. Please, please don't let Brian Sabean trade away our prospects for mediocre players anymore, mmm-kay? Both of these guys, sadly, would be good fits and provide some real hitting, but shiny baubles are not as important as a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum. Neukom & The Suits are in a cost-control mode, so don't expect much.

I can't say I disagree with him on that one. Look, I love Holliday and Bay as much as the next guy, but considering the thin market, as well as the extraordinary buying power teams with big payrolls such as Boston, both New York and Los Angeles teams have, the chances of the Giants outbidding everybody for those either one of two guys in my mind is not a possibility.

Thus, to make matters worse, it seems in order to upgrade significantly on the offensive end, the Giants will need to make a trade, and after relying on their farm system for the past couple of years, it would be a shame if the Giants blew it up now just for some big-name.

However, I think one name on the free agent list that the Giants should consider is Nick Johnson. I know, Johnson isn't going to bring much more pop than current first baseman Travis Ishikawa (I leave out Ryan Garko because he stinks). That being said, Johnson does provide one thing that this Giants team desperately needs: plate patience.

Look at the stats. He has had a plus .400 OBP the last four seasons. That's freaking insane. This is a Giants team where they had only one guy on the roster with an OBP over .350 (Pablo Sandoval). To have a guy like that would not only help the Giants' woeful walk and OBP numbers (which they ranked last in the league in this season), but Johnson would be a shining example to what a lot of these hitters should aspire to (rather than the free-hacking model we saw way too much of last year).

I'm not saying let's hand over a multi-year deal for Johnson. But a one or two year deal? I think Sabes and Giants fans should consider that one a little more. Johnson could be the kind of player that could be a cheap, effective option that could improve the Giants' offensive futility.

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