December 2011

A breakdown of where Giants payroll will be spent in 2012

Barry Zito is set to make $19 million for the Giants in 2012. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By our count, Giants have $5 million available to spend in 2012.

That’s based on the number of a $130 million budget that GM Brian Sabean said the Giants will operate at in 2012.

So we took a look a players currently under contract (source: Baseball reference), players eligible for arbitration (projected arbitration money is from mlbtraderumors.com) and non-arbitration eligible players (most of whom we just set at $500K for simplicity).

By doing that, we set the Giants’ current payroll at about $124.7 million. This figure also includes the $12 million the Giants will pay Aaron Rowand NOT to be on the roster in 2012.

There is some give-and-take in these numbers. The arbitration projections could be off. The Giants could sign arbitration-eligible players to multi-year deals that are back-loaded, which would save them some money in 2012.

But here’s how we broke it down:

STARTING PITCHERS

Barry Zito $19 million

Tim Lincecum $19.2 million (projected via arbitration)

Matt Cain $15 million

Madison Bumgarner $500,000

Ryan Vogelsong $2.5 million (projected via arbitration)

Total: $56.2 million

BULLPEN

Brian Wilson $8.5 million

Jeremy Affeldt $5 million

Javier Lopez $4.25 million

Sergio Romo $1.3 million (projected via arbitration)

Santiago Casilla $1.9 million (projected via arbitration)

Dan Runzler $500,000

Guillermo Mota $1 million (estimated)

Total: $22.7 million

STARTING 8

1B Aubrey Huff $10 million

2B Freddy Sanchez $6 million

SS Brandon Crawford $500,000

3B Pablo Sandoval $3.2 million (projected via arbitration)

C Buster Posey $650,000

OF Melky Cabrera $4.4 million (projected via arbitration)

OF Angel Pagan $4.7 million (projected via arbitration)

OF Nate Schierholtz $1.2 million (projected via arbitration)

Total: $30.65 million

BENCH

1B/OF Brandon Belt $500,000

C Chris Stewart $500,000

IF Mike Fontenot $1.3 million (projected via arbitration)

IF/OF Emmanuel Burriss $600,000 (projected via arbitration)

1B Brett Pill $500,000

Total: $3.4 million

NON-TENDERS: Jeff Keppinger, Eli Whiteside

MONEY NOT ON ROSTER: Aaron Rowand $12 million

Angel in the outfield: Giants get Pagan for Torres, Ramirez

The Giants acquired center fielder Angel Pagan for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

The Giants made their second significant move of the offseason Tuesday, acquiring outfielder Angel Pagan for outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.

When comparing Pagan to Torres, the Giants got a clear upgrade offensively. Both players had breakout years in 2010.

Pagan had .290 AVG/.340 OBP/.425 SLG, 37-46 on SBs, 15.3 K pct.
Torres had .268/.343/.479, 26-33 on SBs; 22.5 K pct.

And both suffered drop-offs in 2011.

Pagan .262/.322/.372, 32-39 SBs, 11.7 K pct.
Torres .221/.312/.330, 19-25 SBs, 23.9 K pct.

Torres was clearly the better defender, but Pagan had an outstanding defensive season in 2010, when he ranked in the top 5 in Defensive WAR, Total Zone Runs, Range Factor, putouts and outfield assists. His defensive numbers took a big drop in 2011, most notably because he committed a whopping 10 errors. But has he had committed nine total error in his previous five major league seasons, we have to consider last season an anomaly.

In 2011, Pagan never seemed to get on track and battled through a series of ailments. Most notably, Pagan missed five weeks of the season with a stress fracture in his rib cage after opening the season batting .159. He hit .279 after coming off the DL. So even with his drop-off, Pagan’s season was far superior than Torres’ 2011 campaign. And Pagan is more than three years younger.

Pagan, Torres and Ramirez were all arbitration eligible. With Pagan set to make $5 in 2012, the salary exchange is basically a push.

Torres had essentially worked himself into a role as a reserve outfielder for the Giants in 2012. Pagan can step into a starting role. And with Pagan is a far better option as a leadoff hitter and center fielder than Melky Cabrera, who now moves over left field.

In order to get that upgrade, the Giants had to give something up. And that was Ramirez, who was coming off a season in which he had a 2.62 ERa in 68.2 IP. It was his fourth consecutive season with an ERA of 2.99 or lower. But with one of deepest bullpens in the majors, the Giants dealt from strength. And with organizational depth of relievers (notably Heath Hembree), the Giants felt Ramirez was expendable.

With Pagan, the Giants lineup next season could look like this:

CF Angel Pagan
2B Freddy Sanchez
LF Melky Cabrera
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Aubrey Huff
RF Nate Schierholtz
SS Brandon Crawford

One missing name that was quickly pounced upon by Giants fans was Brandon Belt.

We expect Belt will get at-bats. If he hits and if Huff (or any of the outfielders) struggles, Belt will get starts.

A couple of other potential moves: The Giants were reported to be working on a trade to send 2B Jeff Keppinger (another arbitration eligible player) to an unnamed AL team. Given the team’s financial constraints, it appears the next offseason splash won’t cause much of a ripple. The Giants want a right-handed infielder to support Crawford. They may have luck after next week’s non-tender date.

With the vacancy left by Ramirez, the Giants are talking about bringing Guillermo Mota back.

Giants’ Hot Stove set at simmer as Winter Meetings begin

The Giants consider it a "long shot" to re-sign outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Giants fans can be a fickle bunch.

They’ll cry out over a lack of activity in offseason moves, then will whine about bad contracts that the team has signed.

The Giants’ recent track record on free-agent hitters signed prior to New Year’s Day has not been good — Aaron Rowand (Dec. 12, 2007), Edgar Renteria (Dec. 4, 2008), Mark DeRosa (Dec. 28, 2009), Miguel Tejada (Dec. 2, 2010) and Aubrey Huff (Nov. 23, 2010).

But when the Giants have waited and signed players to one-year deals in January, they have had better success: Juan Uribe (Jan. 29, 2009 and Jan. 4, 2010) and Aubrey Huff (Jan. 10, 2010).

So the Giants clearly are seeking offensive help, but they are not going to outbid teams for players in their 30s or with injury issues. That’s why they lost out on players like Grady Sizemore (re-signed with Indians), Willie Bloomquist (re-signed with Diamondbacks) and Jerry Hairston Jr. (signed with Dodgers), three players that Giants have been linked to this offseason.

So here’s what we’ve heard about players linked to the Giants:

Carlos Beltran, of: Giants GM Brian Sabaen classified it as a “long shot” for the Giants to re-sign Beltran. The reason? Sabean says an AL team may be in a better situation to give Beltran a longer deal he seeks, because he could moved to a DH at the end of that contract. But the market has been quiet on Beltran so far. And it’s interesting to see if Beltran will accept the possibility of being a DH in exchange for a longer deal. He did limit his trade options to NL teams last summer.

Alex Gonzalez, ss: Ugh, these reports are discouraging on many levels. Gonzalez has been described as a SS with some pop. But what I see is a guy with .241 AVG, .270 OBP and a .642 OPS with a whopping 126 strikeouts. Miguel Tejada, who the Giants cut last season, went .239/.270/.596. Gonzalez is just Tejada-plus (better fielder, more pop, younger). He’ll be 35 on opening day. The Giants need more hitters who can get on base more, make more contact and have speed. Gonzalez is not a fit. Also, the Giants have said they’d be willing to give Brandon Crawford a shot at shortstop if they can improve the offense elsewhere. If they are in on a player like Gonzalez, it indicates they aren’t confident of improving the team elsewhere.

Ryan Ludwick, of: There was a report that the Giants were talking to Ludwick, who has been on steady decline since the Cardinals traded him to the Padres during the 2010 season. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News labeled it more “tire kicking.” Let’s hope so. Ludwick went .237/.310/.674 with 124 whiffs last season between San Diego and Pittsburgh. Yuck.

Jeff Keppinger, inf., and Andres Torres, of: The Giants are rumored to be seeking a trade for both this week. Next Monday is the date for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. It’s a signal that the Giants are considering non-tendering both players. It’s because of salary. Both would be backups for the Giants, and made $2.3 million and $2.2 million respectively last season. There’s nothing that precludes the Giants from non-tendering a player, then re-signing them at a cheaper rate as a free agent. There’s more reason to keep Torres with his speed and glove. Keppinger is not an option at SS. He hasn’t played for than 12 games at SS in a season since 2008.

Ramon Ramirez, rp: Ramirez also has been mentioned in trade rumors, like Keppinger and Torres. But unlike those players, there would actually be a market for Ramirez, who made $1.65 million in 2010 and is arbitration-eligible. We can actually see the Giants tender Ramirez next week, then still seek a trade before his case goes to arbitration.

Cody Ross, of: Ross opened the offseason looking for a three-year deal. Yeah, right. Now he’s looking for a two-year deal. Good luck with that. The Giants would be interested in bringing him back for a cheap, one-year deal. But Ross has said if he has to settle for a one-year deal, he wants to go to a hitter-friendly environment (i.e. not AT&T Park). Note to Cody: You hit .242/.336/.735 at home last season, .237/.315/.726 on the road.

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