Monday, December 21, 2009


Giants Can't Find Their Johnson

So Nick Johnson won't be a Giant after all. This weekend the brittle first baseman took a one-year deal to stage a heartwarming reunion with the Yankees, where he'll DH and add to a ridiculous Bronx lineup. Johnson apparently spurned a larger offer from the Giants, and when a man takes a deal like this in lieu of more money and more security, it's clear that he just plain wants to be a Yankee. There's really not a whole lot the Giants could have done here, other than try to convince NJ that they were moving back to the Polo Grounds or something.

Johnson was seen as the sort of Holy Grail of this offseason, the relatively cheap option that would provide a quick and dirty upgrade to the team's offense. Now it's back to square one. Options like overpaying crappy Adam Laroche or giving up something of value for Dan Uggla seem unappetizing. Jason Bay, who probably wouldn't have been a good fit anyway, turned up his nose at a five-year offer. No other free agent options are both cheap and appealing. The team still refuses to give Buster Posey the time of day. What to do?

Of course, the Giants can always go down the Matt Holliday road, swallowing their pride and shoveling oodles of money at the still-unsigned free agent. If all it takes is a five-year deal, it just might make sense. The team is serious about contending now, Holliday would be relatively young and still useful over the course of the contract, and he'd be a monumental upgrade to what is now looking like a lifeless outfield situation.

Of course, the Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand albatross contracts make that difficult, and that's where we always end up, anyway, isn't it? If Holliday really is demanding an eight-year contract (as rumored), then yes, the Giants should look elsewhere, but they've got to do something. Relying on what was tantamount to an historic performance by the pitching staff to repeat itself is a fool's errand. If just one of the pitchers slips or gets hurt, this is an offense that can't make up for it. I'm sure Sabean knows this, but it's not clear where any palatable upgrade will come from (not Jack Cust...please). There's only so much more Ish we can take.

Doing something is what led to Zito, Rowand, and trading away prospects for Sanchez and Garko.

Just sayin'.

Their FA planning hasn't really worked out and an unwillingness to trade any of the 'name value' pitching is going to prevent getting any kind of useful quality hitting.

Maybe signing a handful of middle-aged players generates enough offense to make the playoffs. Maybe that would be enough to string together a post-season victory lap. Then three or four years later the team cycles back to exactly where it is now. Only probably without the talented young arms on the mound.
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