Giants offseason off to decent start, but what’s next?

Javier Lopez signed a two-year $8.5 million deal to remain with the Giants.

The Giants have opened the offseason with three significant moves. They exercised the $5 million option of reliever Jeremy Affeldt, signed reliever Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million deal, and traded pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals for outfielder Melky Cabrera.

All solid moves, at least in this blogger’s opinion. But what do they mean going forward?

For one, it basically settles the bullpen for 2011. The seven pen pitchers would be right-handers Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Ramon Ramirez and lefties Affeldt, Lopez and Dan Runzler. Romo, Casilla and Ramirez are arbitration-eligible. So it’s possible that the Giants could consider packaging Casilla or Ramirez in a trade that could bring more offense, and then give someone like Waldis Joaquin a shot. But we’d consider that unlikely.

It also settles the rotation of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito. And with the availability of solid candidates within in the system to step into the rotation right now, it also seriously reduces the odds of the Giants considering a trade of Lincecum or Cain this offseason.

Another non-move by the Giants was the re-signing of infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist with Arizona. Word has it that the Giants offered Bloomquist more than the $3.8 million, two-year deal he got to stay in Arizona. Word has the deal the Giants offered was $4.6 million.

The Giants are still looking to upgrade their offseason by either adding a starter either in the outfield or shortstop (filling both holes unlikely).

I don’t know that the Giants’ attempt at Bloomquist really indicates a particular intent of the Giants in their offseason plan. I think with Bloomquist’s versatility, it just would have given them options. If they go out and sign an outfielder (Carlos Beltran), they could plug Bloomquist in at shortstop. If they sign a shortstop, Bloomquist could play the outfielder, as well as provide insurance behind Freddy Sanchez at second. It’s unforunate Bloomquist opted to stay in Arizona.

Both Ken Rosenthal and John Heyman have surmised that the acquisition of Cabrera makes Beltran no longer a fit for the Giants.

MoreSplashHits disagrees. Even if the Giants sign Beltran, they were still going to need someone to play center field and potentially leadoff. The Giants had made the decision that they didn’t want to go forward with Andres Torres filling those roles. Rosenthal went on to describe the Giants’ budget issue with so much 2012 money dedicated to pitchers. Well, the acquisition of Cabrera actually could end up saving the Giants money. So I don’t see how the Cabrera deal takes them out of the pursuit of Beltran.

The Giants need add one more, if not top shelf, higher-shelf free agent bat. We see that being Beltran or SS Jimmy Rollins. Jose Reyes will get too many years, too much money for the Giants to be a serious bidder. With Beltran or Rollins, you’re looking at a two-year or three-year deal for less money (even though Rollins is seeking a five-year deal. Good luck with that, J-Roll).


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