With the Diamondbacks cutting costs, the Dodgers in free agent flux, the Rockies trading away their stars, and the Padres being crippled by their owner's divorce, the National League West is ripe for the taking. And San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean noticed! He's made the two biggest splashes in the free agent reliever market, inking Jeremy Affeldt to a contract before the arbitration deadline and snagging Bobby Howry just after the deadline. That's not a bad bullpen upgrade for $7 million. With righty Keiichi Yabu and lefty Alex Hinshaw already doing God's work setting up closer Brian Wilson, the Giants may now have the best bullpen west of the Mississip'.
Toss in the rumor that the Giants are pursuing free agent shortstop Edgar Renteria, and it looks like Sabean is actually going to see if the Giants can contend next season. Some folks are saying that maybe, perhaps, just possibly, the Giants are also trying to collect the big prize of the market, free agent lefty CC Sabathia. CC is said to prefer the left coast and is even (allegedly) building a house in the Land of Milk and Honey. If Sabean throws $100 million over five years at Sabathia, crosses his fingers, and clicks his heels together three times, this all might go down. Imagine then a rotation that is anchored by Sabathia and NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, with Matt Cain in the middle, and what's left of Barry Zito and the hardthrowing lefty Jonathan Sanchez bringing up the rear. Okay, now stop imagining that because there's a 98% chance it won't happen.
Also, stop listening to me when I say the Giants might contend in 2009. Their offense is simply in shambles. Only a few regular hitters had decent OBP's last season and not a single one of 'em could top 16 tater tots. They'll have to rely on young hitters like OF Travis Ishikawa, OF Nate Schierholtz, and C/3B/1B Pablo Sandoval to all make a significant leap and build on late success they had in '08. Perhaps the only real way the Giants can be a competitive, winning team would be to add a big bat in the free agent market. If only they could find that kind of player with a good eye and a prowess for power-hitting out there!