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By Wesley Yee
Five weeks after ending their season the San Francisco Giants began their offseason by informing noodle swinging rightfielder Randy Winn that he wouldn’t be brought back. Winn was a solid regular for the Giants, playing strong defense while hitting for providing reasonable power and speed for a .280 type hitter. The depth chart includes Nate Schierholtz, Andres Torres, Fred Lewis and John Bowker. Eugenio Velez is also an option. The Giants haven’t said much about pursuing either of the top two free agent hitters, Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. Neither appears to have the type of defense needed to play left field at AT&T Park, but that hasn’t been a problem for the team in the past, as they have run out Barry Bonds and Lewis in the past. Most likely the Gigantes will look to the second tier, guys like Jermaine Dye, Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, Rick Ankiel and Lou Brock. Okay, not Brock, but certainly the Giants haven’t shied away from older outfielders in the past and this year’s crop has their best years behind them.
2010 Free Agent Outfielders
Ken Griffey Jr.
Of those listed, only Ankiel, Crisp and perhaps Nady would be solid fits defensively for the club. The four left fielders would bring the most offense, but none will come cheaply. Nady would be a great option, as he has some background playing the infield and might be capable of filling in at first base if the Giants can’t come up with a Nick Johnson or Lyle Overbay. Speaking of Giants first baseman, top prospect Angel Villalona is out of jail, but only after some bizzare financial posturing.
Bengie Molina was given type-A status meaning that the Giants would receive two first round picks as compensation if he signs elsewhere. They would be wise to let this happen, as Molina’s skills deteriorated noticably last year. The heftiest of the Molina brothers had a strong first half offensively only to see minor injuries hamper his overall game by the end of the season. Prospect Buster Posey is poised to make a push for the role. Posey put up big numbers in the minors last year but struggled in sporadic major league appearances in September. Posey is seen as being offensively ready, having been called “at least the Giants’ second best hitter” by Baseball America. His defense is still a work in progress, as he’s only three years removed from being an everyday shortstop. Expect the Giants to pickup a veteran mentor type backstop – perhaps a Pudge Rodriguez. It wouldn’t be surprising to see whoever the team signs start off the season as a regular and be moved quickly – much like the Baltimore Orioles did with the Matt Wieters situation last season. Interestingly, the man the Orioles moved to free up a spot for Wieters, Gregg Zaun, is also a free agent, and could serve the same role for San Francisco.
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