Still, this is probably up there with Johnny Damon going from the Red Sox to the Yankees, though worse because of the long history of the Uribe name in Giants history (Jose Uribe will always be THE Uribe for the Giants, unlike what AJ Pierzitski thought, that SF stole that from Chicago, what a historian he is; ironically, Jose is truly the player to be named later, as his name was Jose Gonzalez when we got him in trade for Jack Clark, the only player to have any eventual significance for us from the trade, but he decided to go with his mother's maiden name because there were so many Jose Gonzalezs already in pro baseball. So it is only befitting because Jose Uribe is so unique, a one of a kind guy).
The good news it that the Giants did not match the offer. That's just too much for him for what the Giants need. Juan's OK as a shortstop, but 2 years at $6M per at best, as reward for the 2010 season. The extra year is just too rich for my blood and then you top it off by going to $7M. No thank you, but thanks for a great 2010 season. And I think D-ger fans will start "Boo"-ribaying him at some point because right-handed hitters do poorer HR-wise in D-ger Stadium, it is just harder for them to hit homers there (while easier for lefties).
I think the Giants offense will be fine without Uribe in 2010. The "Someone new everyday" offense will continue to function fine, in fact, it should even be better because 1) Bumgarner pitches full season (meaning even less offense needed to win), 2) Posey plays full season, 3) Ross here all season (meaning less Rowand), 4) Torres starts full season (meaning less Rowand), 5) Sandoval should return to Panda-mojo status, and 6) we already signed Huff back. Torres, Franchez, Huff, Posey, Ross, Sandoval, plus OF and SS is a pretty good top of lineup, better if Burrell comes back as starting LF and hit as well, outstanding if Sandoval can reach 2010 levels of production.
And the pitching, which was basically MLB best (I think we ended up 2nd by barest of margins), should duplicate its 2010 season (or better). Cain and Sanchez had great seasons, but any downside for them are balanced by Lincecum looking so dominant with his new slider and having Bumgarner instead of Wellemeyer for half a season; Zito has pitched about the same the past two seasons, probably do about as well again.
Plus, the bullpen should be even better, the Giants spent the first half of the season trying to find relievers who could deliver and only Casilla delivered outside of regulars Wilson and Romo, plus Affeldt was struggling. Then Moto did OK, then Ray, and lastly Lopez and Ramirez were acquired, before Affeldt finally returned to 2009 goodness, and now the bullpen looks stellar with Wilson, Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, Casilla, and presumably Ray (former closer getting over surgery; could finally be healthy in 2011) and Ramirez (some speculate that one or the other might be non-tendered but I don't see that happening).
For SS, I've seen many names mentioned as possibilities, either signing or trading for, most noted in Baggerly: Derek Jeter, Orlando Hudson, Miguel Tejada, Cesar Izturiz, JJ Hardy, Jason Barlett, others I've seen include Marco Scutaro and Jose Reyes. Not that I think Crawford will ever be that great a shortstop, but I would rather not get anyone with big money attached, particularly in trade, because that would probably require the Giants giving up some talent, particularly pitching talent.
The Giants are nicely loaded in pitching but it takes only one or two injuries or poor performances, particularly after pitching more innings than ever before in 2010 by going deep into the playoffs, to make the Giants scramble to replace pieces. A trade of significant prospects would steal our depth, which is shallow right now (only Runzler is a possible backup starter for 2011 season right now) and would only get worse. If we can get away with lesser prospects, though, I would be OK with that.
Therefore, I would prefer to sign a free agent SS (and some might be non-tendered, like Hardy and Barlett, and become free agents) on the low side, who can play good defense (like Barlett or Izturiz). Hardy would be OK since he's like Uribe providing power from SS. Luckily, in the lineup I described above, we don't need to get offense from the SS position as he would probably bat 8th and for most 8th place hitters, any offense is a plus, just not expected.
And that is particularly so if Sandoval delivers as I expect him to, meaning a return to 2009 levels, and force his way up to the middle of the lineup (probably 5th), or if Belt delivers as I expect him to eventually, meaning something along the lines of Sandoval's 2008 or, dare we dream, 2009, which I think he's capable of, and which would push him also into consideration for middle of lineup duties. Our lineup can be monster if Sandoval and Belt hits as I expect along with Huff and Posey in the middle, plus Torres up top.
Side Note: Posey Awarded Again
Also today, Buster Posey was named to the 52nd Annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team, after being named NL Rookie of the Year two weeks ago (which I forgot to note with a post). He beat out Atlanta's Jason Heyward easily for the ROY award, gaining 20 first place votes to only 9 for Heyward, despite "only" playing for about 4 months of the season. Buster was "humbled" by the recognition, befitting his modest and humble manner. Makes you want to just give him a big hug and say "you big lug!"
He was on every ballot (each voters only gets to vote 1-2-3) except for one, who left him off because he did not play the full season (the guy actually voted for Gaby Sanchez for 1st; he even shafted Jason Heyward too). Even if he weren't a Giants rookie, I don't see how one could do that, that's like saying quantity matters more than quality. Luckily, that was just his personal code of conduct, the rules are actually quite vague about what to consider when awarding ROY.
Posey joins a list of Giants greats and very goods: Willie Mays (1951), Orlando Cepeda (1958), Willie McCovey (1959), Juan Marichial (1962), John "the Count" Montefusco (1975), and Gary Mathews (1976). He also became the first catcher to win a ROY award and a World Series championship in the same season.
I loved this column by Gary Peterson of the Mercury (his column has been a welcome addition in the past year, I like his writing and this thoughts), here is an excerpt:
Now, with the advantage of hindsight voters didn't have, it seems a no-brainer. Start with this: Posey became just the fifth National League Rookie of the Year to help his team win the World Series. And by help we mean:I couldn't agree more. Congrats to Buster Posey for his awards, clearly there will be many more in future seasons. Amazing what leadership he's already providing, he said this at the SF Giants 2010 World Series Championship Celebration Parade and he repeated it when he spoke on winning the ROY: “Let’s try to do it again next year.” We Giants fans are truly blessed to have him on our team, leading our team.
Leading the Giants in hits in the first-round win over Atlanta; tying for second on the team with three RBIs in the NLCS dethroning of Philadelphia; batting .300 with a homer in the World Series; blocking balls in the dirt; throwing out would-be base stealers; acting as a reassuring, mature-beyond-his-years presence for Giants pitchers.
Unprecedented contributions from a rookie? You could make that argument. Fernando Valenzuela won three postseason games (one in the World Series) for the Dodgers in 1981. Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter and Chuck Knoblauch were in the thick of championship postseasons for the Red Sox, Yankees and Twins in 2007, 1996 and 1991.
But none of the above consistently batted third or cleanup. None was so intimately involved with every pitch of every game. Posey played every inning of the postseason. If you don't believe us, ask backup catcher Eli Whiteside. The only time he made it off the bench was for the end-of-series pig pile at the pitcher's mound.
There's a reason there are only nine catchers among the 128 players who have been honored as Rookie of the Year since 1947. Catching is tough stuff. To ask a young player to catch at an elite level for a championship team is just begging for trouble.
It got the Giants a shiny gold trophy.