Wednesday, November 11, 2009


You Go, Randy

The Giants have politely told Randy Winn that his services won't be needed for 2010, making Winn a free agent and sending him to the scary waters of the unemployment line. Winn is surely going to get a pay cut from the $8 million he was getting yearly from the Giants, but it'd be nice to see him land on a playoff contender. Winn is the longest tenured player in MLB never to have made a playoff appearance, and it'd be a shame if he turns into the baseball equivalent of Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Winn is lumped in a lot with Brian Sabean's other bad contracts, but was his really an egg? Over the life of the deal, from 2006-2009, Winn put up two plus years with the bat and two stinkers, but he always played terrific defense, very important for a pitching staff that relied so much on fly ball outs (Don't believe me? Go here and check out those fly ball rates). Winn's defensive brilliance most likely explains why Bruce Bochy kept pencilling him in the lineup every day when most of us were clamoring for a good benching. Don't think the Giant front office didn't take Winn's glove into consideration when they were looking for an offensive upgrade at the trade deadline.

According to Fangraphs' "WAR Dollars" (sigh...just go here), Winn was worth roughly $44 million in the four seasons of the contract extension given to him after his insane second act of 2005. He got paid $25 mil. Even if you don't follow the fancy-schmancy dollar numbers religiously, I don't see how anyone can argue that Winn wasn't worth his salary. Even when he wasn't hitting, his fielding was so good that he was still a valuable player. Obviously letting him go here is the right move, but it's worth pointing out that Winn was a pretty damn good player for the Giants when all is said and done.

As far as a replacement goes, look for more of Nate Schierholtz or Andres Torres as opposed to a substantial offensive upgrade. I'm guessing Sabean and co. realize just how important a good outfield defense (in the Giants' case, perhaps the league's best) is to this pitching staff and are loathe to mess around too much. Schierholtz and Torres are both very good fielders, so we're probably headed for some sort of platoon for those guys, or maybe a low cost, good glove free agent signing. Anyone hoping to bring in Jermaine Dye or Adam Dunn is going to be very disappointed. (Speaking of Dye, read this and then tell me if you want him anywhere near right field.)

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