- Ray Durham: 2 years, $14.5M ($7M/$7.5M plus $25K if reach 450 PA)
- Dave Roberts: 3 years, $18M ($5M/$6.5M/$6.5M)
- Rich Aurilia: 2 years, $8M ($3.5M/$4.5M plus $250K at 300, 350, 400, 450, 500 PA)
- Pedro Feliz: 1 year, $5.1M ($5.1M plus up to $500K performance bonuses)
- Bengie Molina: 3 years, $14.5M (not confirmed, backloaded, maybe $4M/$5M/$5.5M)
About Feliz, to quote Herman Munster: Darn! Darn! Darn! Darn! Darn! Darn! Darn!
There is not much more than I can say but that. I was hoping that Richie was the new 3B and view this signing much in line with how I felt when the Giants signed Neifi Perez after I thought we had dodged a bullet by releasing him. I assume that the Giants will go with Aurilia if Felilz starts stalling out like he did last season, because he was going pretty well early on, but then had this really bad streak, which one article attributed to him coming into the season with more weight than he should have. Hence all the talk this off-season about him working on his fitness - to last longer and stronger into the season - and, to give us a laugh, he is working on his hitting as well.
All I can say is what the heck took him so long to figure that one out? He's been hitting like this ALL his career! He should have been working on this the moment he became a major leaguer, if he really appreciates his career and his salary. My only hope right now is that he hits so well early on that we can trade him mid-season for prospects and install Aurilia at 3B (assuming he starts as utility guy) and Frandsen as utility guy.
I like the other deals, though. As much as people carp on Aurilia as a 1B, clearly the Giants are not settling for him at 1B, he has been told that he will be playing all around the infield, though probably getting a lot at 1B (implying a platoon situation there where he hits against LHP there). In addition, the Giants are still looking at deals for 1B, whether Sexson, Burrell, or others.
Clearly, though, his hitting has been boosted the past couple of years by hitting in Cincinnati. Last year his big boost was his stellar hitting on the road, which he had not done in previous years, so that would be an area of concern in terms of falling back to the mean. But if he is not the full-time starter at 1B, he probably will be more than OK, taking starts from Durham, perhaps giving Vizquel some extra rest, probably giving Feliz 20-30 games rest there, since he clearly tired out, and perhaps getting 40 starts at 1B in a platoon with lefty there or less if a big trade is made for Burrell or Sexson, for example.
Roberts is still a good contract even after taking into account that he normally do not hit against LHP, as he has been platooned before. I like him at the top of the order, probably our best leadoff hitter since Brett Butler. I like his high number of SB and I especially like his high success rate, so he is not only aggressive but effective. He might be able to give some tips to Winn to bring up his success rate, so he could help out there for us.
Durham is a great salary given all the rumors of him getting $20M over 2 years or getting 3 year contracts, plus all the crazy salaries going to other players. Of course, what probably happened, probably much like Roberts with his platoon and injury problems, Durham also has been having injury problems as well, so his salary reflects the number of games per year one can expect from him, based on the past 3-4 years of experience. Which is he misses about 40 starts per season (he boosts his games played by PHing the past couple of years). Thus, his $7M is essentially a $10M contract if he were playing 150+ games per year; same with Roberts.
Adding up the first year salaries above, they work out to $24.6M. Based on the $45M figure that was mentioned in one newspaper, that leaves $20.4M left to spend on Bonds for LF, 1B upgrade over Aurilia, starting pitcher, and relief pitcher. That really only works if Bonds gets under $10M, as $10.4M seems a bit too low to get a 1B, SP, and RP, especially since there is talk that the Giants are pursuing Ted Lilly (ugh!) who is looking to get 4 years at $10M per season.
Besides the Ted Lilly rumor, there are a few running the rounds whereby the Giants either get Manny Ramirez or Richie Sexson and lose Noah Lowry, plus probably prospects, to Boston and either Seattle or Washington. They seem too ludicrous to even repeat - I think I am not too blind about Lowry's value, I'm not that much of a homer, I don't think, and to give up a cheap but young and good player like Lowry to take on an overpaid, old and declining hitter is not the right move.
If we trade Lowry, we should get a young player, like Baldelli, Crawford, even Vernon Wells, not old and expensive players. The trades that have been mentioned have been highway robbery type of situations where we give up young and cheap and they are being kind to give us a good hitter. If those deals are done without either cash or young prospects leaving their hands and into ours, we are being robbed blind unless there is something wrong with Lowry that we don't know about.
Another rumor I saw mentioned that the Giants were inquiring about Vernon Wells. I think I can live with that trade if the Giants are pretty damn sure that they can sign Wells to a contract and that he would be happy coming to SF, I don't want another A.J. Pierzitski situation happening. Wells would not be the greatest to get, there are players I would prefer more, but those players are generally untouchables, and he might be the best young player available in trade at the moment.
The Giants have also been saying that any and all of the trade rumors does not mean that the Giants don't want Bonds back. However, I don't see how they can do the trade and still get Bonds, as Manny only plays LF and they don't have enough money to cover Bonds and Sexson unless another team is giving up a lot of money to us in the trade, which would make losing Lowry more palatable for me, as that would even things up in my opinion.