So this was pretty much inevitable. Alex Gonzalez seems to carry the traits that are typical of recent Giants shortstops, namely that he’s old and can’t hit. He’s a veteran, a guy that’s been there before, but he’s also not a particularly good player. With the Giants out on Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, and a few shortstop options already off the market, there isn’t much left out there. Eventually, it gets to the point where it’s not worth it for the Giants to pursue any of these guys because they just aren’t any better than the internal option, Brandon Crawford. Gonzalez might be that point.
– The defense: As old as Gonzalez is, his defense is still top-notch. If you go by DRS, he’s saved over +30 runs with his glove in the last two seasons; if you go by FRAA, he’s still +20 since 2010. This is really the only thing that makes him a useful player. He was worth 1.3 rWAR in 2011, and 85% of that value came from his glove.
– He’s cheap: Well, presumably he is. Maybe I’m wrong here. This offseason’s been a little crazy, but I still can’t imagine any teams are willing to throw much money at him. Even his last contract only had an average annual value of ~$2.5MM.
– He can’t hit: And that’s pretty much all there is to it. On Twitter, Scott Willis (@BAStatsGuy) spells it out pretty simply in two tweets: Gonzalez has never posted a wRC+ above 100; in other words, he’s never even been a league-average hitter. And Crawford, as ugly as his bat may seem, isn’t projected to hit much worse than Gonzalez.
– He’s old: He’ll turn 35 years old in February. He doesn’t seem like the type to age gracefully, either.
…at least it’s not Yuniesky Betancourt?
I don’t even know what to say. The Giants are spending little money this offseason, but decided to commit ~$10MM to two lefty relievers. When they re-signed Javier Lopez and exercised Jeremy Affeldt‘s option, I thought it was a bit excessive and unnecessary. Apparently the Giants took a month to realize that, and are now trying to clear up some of the money they have invested in their bullpen. Wow.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants remain involved in Clint Barmes — who will likely sign a two-year deal. Barmes, 32, has been connected to the Giants a lot lately, and for good reason — he’s a solid defensive shortstop, he’s coming off a good season, he’s much cheaper than Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes (who have long been off the Giants’ radar), and he’s a right-handed hitter (so he would evidently complement Brandon Crawford well).
On the other hand, Barmes is getting a little old, and he’s never been much of a hitter (.252/.302/.401, 74 wRC+). In particular, his plate discipline is awful: 163 BB/485 K. As I’ve said before, I’d like Barmes, but at the right price. What that means, essentially, is that if he’s generating a lot of interest (and he sure seems to be), he’s not worth pursuing.
Just a few days ago, Josh looked at Ryan Theriot as a potential platoon shortstop for the Giants. The middle infield market is going insane, and if the Giants don’t want to end up overpaying for a shortstop (as they’ve done in recent years), they’re probably best off pursuing buy-low stopgaps.