Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: San Francisco Giants: 10 Available Players Who Could Guarantee Playoff Return

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

San Francisco Giants: 10 Available Players Who Could Guarantee Playoff Return

Spring Training is nearly two months away, and the Giants have been relatively inactive on the hot stove during the offseason. With the exception of the Miguel Tejada signing, their other signings have involved bringing back components from the 2010 World Series championship season, such as Pat Burrrell and Aubrey Huff.

Although the free agent market thinned, now that Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth joined other clubs, the Giants still have some viable options on available players, both in the free agent and trade market.

Here are 10 potential available players that could guarantee October baseball on the shores of McCovey Cove again in 2011.

Option #1: Edgar Renteria

Although the Giants' $1 million dollar offer to Edgar Renteria made him feel disrespected, the latest news is that the two sides are once again talking, according to Mychael Urban of However, the Giants are not optimistic about resigning the veteran shortstop, since he has drawn interest from other clubs, such as the Reds.

A team is only as strong as its weakest link, so the Giants would be wise to solidify their bench. With backup left-handed first baseman Travis Ishikawa emerging as a quality pinch-hitter, Edgar Renteria is a professional right-handed bat off the bench who still has a flare for the dramatic.

In the 2010 postseason, Renteria batted .286 with two home runs and six RBIs, although three of them came on his game-winning home run in Game 5 of the World Series. Renteria is not an impact player anymore, but he can grind out an at-bat or fill in a hole if an injury were to occur to say Miguel Tejada.

Option #2: Eric Chavez

In recent years, Eric Chavez has been plagued with injuries for the Oakland Athletics. Once a potential super-star third baseman for the A's, Chavez is now looking for a change of scenery.

With the Giants' third base position in limbo, if Pablo Sandoval doesn't come into camp more fit, Chavez might be a cheap, reasonable option who could provide some left-handed pop off the bench, granted he is healthy. He owns a career OBP of .343, a stat the Giants surely would like to improve upon.

If the Giants can sign Chavez to a major-league or minor-league contract at or near the minimum, this would be a low-risk solution to improve the offense, especially the bench. At 33, he might have something left in the gas tank, so why not take the chance on this rag-tag misfit if the philosophy worked in 2010.

Option #3: Gregg Zaun

It is no secret that the Giants' backup catcher Eli Whiteside struggles against major league pitching. In 2010, he batted just .238 with a .299 on-base percentage. A low average, little power, and a low OBP is a recipe for disaster at the plate.

Buster Posey, the Giants' regular catcher, cannot play every game, so a decent backup will be key in getting the Giants through 162 games. 

Gregg Zaun might just be that decent backup catcher. For the Brewers in 2010, Zaun hit .265, with two home runs and 11 RBIs, in 28 games. He also gets on base more than Whiteside, owning a career .344 OBP.

While Zaun is not a significant upgrade to Whiteside, there was a reason Posey played every game in both September and the playoffs.

Option #4: Jamey Wright

The one dimension that the Giants' bullpen is missing is that mop-up role long reliever. The Giants' starting pitching is excellent, but if one of their starters has an early exit at least once in awhile, who do the Giants have in their bullpen that could eat up three or four innings?

While Wright is not the flashiest name out there, he is serviceable and could even spot start. For the Mariners in 2010, he posted a 1-3 record with a 4.17 ERA.

The Giants would be best to offer Wright a minor-league contract for 2011. If he does well in the spring, put him on the roster. If he gets lit up, then it might be a good idea to explore other options.

Option #5: Manny Ramirez

The Dodgers tried to punch the Giants by taking Juan Uribe, so why not punch the Dodgers right back by taking one of their former players?

Manny Ramirez may be best suited for the DH role, but he still has a quick bat that the Giants can use off the bench. In 2010, Ramirez hit .298, with just nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 90 games, but had a .409 OBP. On-base percentage is something the Giants need to improve on, as they only had a team OBP of .297 in the 2010 postseason.

If Burrell were to struggle, Ramirez would just be another option in LF, assuming the Giants don't sign another outfielder. With a gazelle in the outfield, Andres Torres, and Cody Ross, one water buffalo in the outfield will not hurt that much.

The rest coming on the next post...

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