Friday, November 21, 2008

San Francisco Giants Continue to Play Musical Chairs, Now It's O-Dog's Turn

The front page story on noted the San Francisco Giants' interest in Orlando Hudson has gone from casual to serious. All I can say is, thank heavens.

If I were a religious man, I'd get on my knees and thank whichever flavor of God I preferred.

But I'm not, my family moved to the suburbs of San Francisco when I was eight. Those are some long odds for church, temple, or whatever the collective term for mosques is.

But back to Hudson. I'd be ecstatic if the Giants signed him. Consider it great news.

And not necessarily because Orlando Hudson is that great. Based on his numbers since the move from the American League, he'd contribute an on-base percentage north of .350, give you over 150 hits, max out between 10 and 15 homeruns, and flash elite leather at second base. Those aren't Hall of Fame credentials, but it's certainly an upgrade from what we've seen recently.

Obviously, there's no guarantee his performance continues on that arc. But it's not totally unreasonable to bet it will.

If you consider management was paying Ray Durham $7.5 million for less value unless it was a contract year, Hudson looks even better. That money is about what you'd expect to give O-Dog (it'd represent a modest raise from his 2008 salary) and he's only 31. The Gents might even be wise to go a little higher than $7.5 mil depending on what else they have in the works.

So, SF would be getting a very good player for decent money in Major League Baseball terms.

But I'd be far more excited about what it would hopefully represent - no Manny Ramirez, no C.C. Sabathia, no Adam Dunn, no Pat Burrell, no Bobby Abreu, no Ben Sheets, and no other crazy-expensive moves.

Admittedly, I'm being paranoid. None of those guys is rumored to be on SF's radar except for Sabathia. But who knows what can happen once the market begins to move? That moment should be rapidly approaching so the sooner the Giants spend themselves out of the running, the better. I think it would be a catastrophe if management panicked and pulled the trigger on one of the above players.

Just look at the price tags attached to those names and then look at the ages.

Those are all some big numbers and, with the exception of Sabathia's, Father Time ain't in their corner. The kind of money they all will demand and probably receive is pretty risky to hand to someone who's closer to retirement than high school.

Particularly ominous is the rumored interest the Giants have expressed in C.C. Sabathia.

I've got nothing against the guy, but c'mon. The contract required to sign him would be expensive and long. Do we really want SF locked into two pitchers for the next decade to the tune of over $35 million?

What the hell does Brian Sabean and ownership do when Tim Lincecum's contract comes up?

Let him walk? Sign him to an equally humongous contract? And then how can you possibly put any offensive talent on the field if you have so much money locked up in the rotation? And what about Matt Cain?

Sabathia's obviously a supreme talent, but he's a supreme talent who can demand full value for it on the open market. Considering the Giants' many frailties, that's just not a price they should pay. Especially considering that C.C. doesn't fill a glaring need (to be brutally honest, he doesn't fill any need).

Furthermore, he's a young horse and a total stud. But he is not invulnerable.

The guy is 6'7" and listed at 290 pounds. That's probably generous, which means he's carrying around even more excess weight. Additionally, he's thrown almost 500 innings in the last two years. Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks there is a standard workload for a pro pitcher. Each guy is different - his mechanics, his genealogy, his injury history, etc.

But that's a lot of innings. For anyone. And a lot of them on the back-end were under the duress of short rest. That's a whole field of red flags, right there.

I would actually bet on C.C. to continue to be an almost super-human workforce. To prove all the doubters wrong.

I'm just not so confident that I want to watch him do it in orange and black. That contract will break any team except the biggest spenders if Sabathia goes down. It would be exponentially more debilitating to the Giants since the organization already has the Zito/Boras noose around its neck.

Signing and then losing Sabathia to injury would open the trap door.

Thankfully, if this latest rumor about the Giants and Orlando Hudson is true, it looks like we in the battered fanbase will be spared that fate.

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