Giants looking to trade Jeremy Affeldt or Ramon Ramirez

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.

Clint Barmes remains on Giants’ radar

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.

Update: Barmes is expected to sign with the Pirates for two years at $11MM. Eh.

Giants Rumors: Priority is Extending Tim Lincecum

Jon Heyman: Giants eyeing shortstops, first basemen, outfielders

According to Jon Heyman, there’s no belief that San Francisco will pursue Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins. They are, however, focused on the market for shortstop, first base, and outfield:

No belief #sfgiants will make play for reyes or rollins. They are eyeing ss as well as 1b and OF. but pitching still the focus

We’ve heard this again and again: the Giants, due to budgetary constraints, are not in on Reyes or Rollins. They’ve really embraced the pitching-first philosophy (although it’s almost like a pitching-first and pitching-second and pitching-third philosophy).

Anyway, they seem focused on finding a backup option for Brandon Crawford, and Clint Barmes seems like the obvious target (at the right price, that’s not such a bad thing). The market for middle infielders is shaping up to be pretty ugly though; bad ones, the likes of Willie Bloomquist, are making more money than they should. Hopefully the Giants don’t fall down this trap.

It’s a little odd that they’re looking at first basemen — as they have both Brandon Belt and Aubrey Huff – but they could definitely stand to add an outfielder. I’m guessing they’ll re-sign Cody Ross, who would like to return in 2012. He’ll be cheap, and seems like a good fit (if he can still play a serviceable centerfield).

Giants interested in Grady Sizemore

Hot stove season is…heating up. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Giants are among several teams interested in Grady Sizemore:

Grady Sizemore’s market is expanding rapidly. Add the #Rangers, #Cubs, #SFGiants & #Yankees to the list of teams with interest

Several weeks back, I looked at Grady Sizemore as a free agent target, concluding that he’s a solid medium-risk/high-reward guy:

In any event, the Giants should definitely consider targeting Sizemore on a reasonably-priced one-year deal. They could capitalize on the recent injury-warped portion of his career, taking a gamble on his ability to stay healthy. This is exactly the kind of move that could pay huge dividends for the Giants (if all goes well), while keeping within payroll restrictions. More often than not, these deals don’t reap big rewards. But it’s certainly worth a shot in this case.

I’m no longer as sold on the idea, though. The Giants have limited funds, and I don’t know that Sizemore represents a wise allocation of said funds. Sizemore could go for something in the range of $6-8MM (with incentives), and that’s a lot of money for a guy with a recent history of injuries and poor performance. As Lookout Landing noted a couple weeks ago, Sizemore’s contact rate has dropped in the past couple years. It’s not just a matter of whether he can stay healthy — it’s a matter of whether he can stay healthy and recapture the Sizemore of a few years ago — the one that was a very productive hitter.

Anyway, I doubt the Giants actually will end up signing Sizemore. He’s generating a lot of interest, and it doesn’t seem like the Giants would be willing (and/or able) to spend a lot of money on a guy like Sizemore.

Chone Figgins on the trade market, Mariners hope to engage San Francisco

According to Jon Morosi, the Seattle Mariners are looking to trade Chone Figgins and are willing to include cash. This, of course, comes as no surprise. The Giants, apparently, are a target of interest for the Mariners, as a team that’s “in need of a leadoff guy”:

Mariners officials are hopeful that teams in need of a leadoff man will engage them in trade talks over the next few weeks. Sources say Seattle officials view Cincinnati, Detroit, and San Francisco as possible fits for Figgins.

Figgins, 33, is signed through 2013 on a four-year $36MM deal, and he has a vesting option worth $9MM for 2014 (it vests if he gets 600+ PAs in 2013). He’s a career .280/.352/.368 hitter but in the past couple years, those numbers have dropped significantly. He posted a .302 wOBA (88 wRC+) in 2010, and hit just .188/.241/.243 (.218 wOBA, 34 wRC+) last year.

He’s somewhat of a utility player, having played around the diamond throughout his career, but he’s mostly spent time at third base, second base, and centerfield. In addition to the dropoff in performance at the plate, his defensive skills seem to have eroded over the past few seasons.

Needless to say, Figgins isn’t a very attractive target (the guy was worth -1.2 wins above replacement last year). He doesn’t seem to be a great fit even if he rebounds. Bill James, who’s notoriously optimistic when it comes to projections, projects Figgins to post a .305 wOBA next season.

Even assuming that Seattle throws in a significant sum of money, it would make little sense for the Giants to acquire Figgins.

MLB Players and Owners Could Soon Reach Agreement on New Labor Deal

Players and owners are close to finalizing a new labor deal that would bring significant changes to MLB, particularly when it comes to the draft. The deal is expected to have “significant restraints” on draft spending, as well as significant changes to the current system of draft pick compensation. The general reaction is not positive, and for good reason.

In other news…