The Yankees were never in on Jonathan Sanchez

Yesterday, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees were disappointed that Jonathan Sanchez went to the Royals.

Apparently (with a tip of the cap to Giants Win), that’s not the case:

The Yankees’ prime directive this winter is adding pitching, but they were never in on trade talks for lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who the Giants traded to the Kansas City earlier this week for Melky Cabrera, Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman said.

The Giants offered more for Willie Bloomquist than Arizona

Per Nick Piecoro:

Sources say utility man Willie Bloomquist had a two-year offer from the Giants worth more than the $3.8M he took to stay in Arizona.

Absolutely ridiculous. This is a guy that’s been worth $4MM over his entire ten-year career, according to Fangraphs’ estimates. What were they thinking?!

Update: $4.6 million over two years. That was the Giants’ offer.

Willie Bloomquist has an offer from the Giants

Via Jon Heyman:

Willie Bloomquist has offers from #dbacks, #sfgiants. ties to AZ may give dbacks edge

Bloomquist, 33, is a career .264/.317/.337 hitter, and beyond the ability to play nearly ever position, he has little to offer. Even though he is pretty versatile — a classic utility player — he’s not much of a defensive asset anywhere. He’s racked up a grand total of 1.6 rWAR (and 1.3 fWAR) in his career.

It also appears that the Giants will in fact go with Brandon Crawford as the starting shortstop, and simply shop for a backup this offseason. That would make a lot of sense for the team, particularly if they can find a bat that complements Crawford. I think they should consider Clint Barmes: he can hit lefties (career .793 OPS v. LHPs), and he’s a solid defensive shortstop. If he can be had at a relatively cheap price, he’s definitely worth pursuing.That’d certainly be a better solution than overpaying Jimmy Rollins with a five-year deal.

Update: Bloomquist has signed with the DBacks. On a two-year deal! You can’t make this stuff up.

Giants Rumors: Carlos Beltran, Willie Bloomquist, Hiroyuki Nakajima

- Yesterday, Schulman tweeted that Ryan Verdugo was key to the Cabrera/Sanchez trade. As Dan Szymborski speculated yesterday, Verdugo could quite possibly have the best future of anybody in the trade.

- Via @HangingSliders, Bruce Bochy went on KNBR this morning and basically said that Melky will play LF or CF, and that Barry Zito is the de facto fifth starter.

- This morning, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees felt they had better pieces to offer for Jonathan Sanchez than the Royals.

- As Danny Knobler wrote yesterday, the Giants might not be able to afford Carlos Beltran. Ken Rosenthal confirmed that today, as did Jon Heyman. According to Hank Schulman, the Giants have not yet made an offer to Beltran.

- According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, the Giants might pursue free agent Willie Bloomquist.

- The Giants have been linked to Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.

Danny Knobler: Carlos Beltran could be a “stretch” to fit in Giants’ budget

With the acquisition of Melky Cabrera (reaction here), the Giants don’t have much left on their offseason checklist. Perhaps find a back-end starter — if they’re not entirely comfortable with the current options (Barry Zito, Eric Surkamp). Maybe go out and get a shortstop — though it’s looking increasingly likely that the organization will just go with Brandon Crawford as the starting shortstop. In fact, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reiterated today that it’s very unlikely that San Francisco pursues Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins (but again, this is old news).

The biggest remaining question is Carlos Beltran. The Giants’ offense was bad in 2011 — unbelievably bad, and retaining Beltran would certainly improve their outlook. He’ll be somewhat expensive — but we’re not talking Albert Pujols/Prince Fielder money. Extra Baggs wrote today that the Giants are still pondering Beltran:

“We’ll see and that’s one of the things we need to do to: Reconvene on where else we’ll spread our money.”

Unfortunately, according to Knobler, Beltran could be a ‘stretch to fit’ in the Giants’ 2012 budget. If this is the case — that the Giants do end up backing out of Beltran talks due to financial concerns, this makes the Javier Lopez/Jeremy Affeldt moves all the more questionable. Not exactly a prudent allocation of money, considering the Giants’ dire need for offensive help.

The Giants are willing to trade Jonathan Sanchez

According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Giants are willing to trade Jonathan Sanchez “in an effort to free up money so they can pursue offensive upgrade.” Sanchez, 28, projects to make around $6MM in arbitration; with Barry Zito under contract through 2013 and Eric Surkamp under team control, Sanchez is somewhat expendable — that is, if the Giants are content with putting Zito or Surkamp at the back end of the rotation.

2011 was a down year for Sanchez, and he only managed to make 19 starts (due to injuries); In 101.1 innings, he posted a 4.26 ERA/4.30 FIP/4.36 xFIP. Few starters in baseball can strike out hitters at the rate that Sanchez has maintained over his career — his 9.36 K/9 is tied with Clayton Kershaw for second-highest among active starters (min. 500 IP). Though he incurred a couple injuries and lost complete control of the strikezone this season (14.9% BB%), his trade value is helped by the fact that this year’s free agent market for starting pitchers is pretty thin.

Back in September, it seemed as though the Giants were all but prepared to slide Sanchez into the fifth slot of the rotation:

Zito will be in camp this spring to compete for the No.5 starter job. It’s looking like Sanchez will be the guy, though.

Zito, then, would presumably become the fifth starter. In his nine starts this year, the results were not pretty: 5.87 ERA/5.60 FIP/4.65 xFIP. He lost a couple MPH off of his fastball, and his strikeout rate dipped accordingly (5.37 per nine innings, the lowest of his career). He’s more-or-less been a league-average pitcher during his time in San Francisco, but it’s hard to believe he’ll continue to pitch like that in 2012 and beyond, as he continues to age.

Eric Surkamp, too, had an underwhelming 2011 (in the majors, that is), and is an even more unattractive option than Zito at the back of the rotation.

Anyway, for the right return, this could be a good move for the Giants. But only if they trust that they won’t trouble finding a replacement for Sanchez in the rotation.

Giants unlikely to pursue Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins

Jose Reyes has been out of the offseason picture for quite some time now, as he simply doesn’t fit within the Giants’ budget, but it looks like Jimmy Rollins is unofficially off the table as well (h/t MLB Trade Rumors):

The Giants are another team where Reyes would seem to be a perfect fit, but the word in baseball is that at this point, they are unlikely to pursue him (or to pursue free-agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, either).

When I wrote about Rollins a month ago, he was looking for a five-year deal (and, well, probably still is). He’ll turn 33 this month, and simply isn’t good enough to justify such a long-term commitment — especially considering his injury history. In the short-term, he’d provide some much-needed stability at shortstop. A few years from now though, a (somewhat)-lucrative contract would likely end up a mess…even the three-year $40MM deal I suggested seems quite generous in retrospect. So it’s not such a bad thing that he’s off the Giants’ radar, especially if he actually happens to command the kind of money he’s looking for.

The other interesting thing Knobler notes — or rather, confirms — is that the Giants have some serious interest in Coco Crisp:

After committing money to keep the pitching staff together for another year, it’s believed that the Giants have just about $10 million to spend for 2012, and that they intend to spend the bulk of it on a center fielder (very possibly Coco Crisp).

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote today about how Crisp could fit in well with the Giants’ plans:

Crisp, who tied for the league lead in stolen bases, could be a good fit for the Giants, who need a center fielder and leadoff hitter. “Covelli has made it clear that he would like to play for a team that is determined to compete, and he’d also like to stay on the West Coast,” Comte said, using Crisp’s first name. “I think the Giants would be a viable option for him and vice versa.”

Like Rollins, Crisp’s injury history is a bit concerning (as he enters his mid-30s), but he’s attractive for a few reasons: he can still handle centerfield, he’s quite a prolific basestealer, and he’s good for average-ish production at the plate — which is nice to have from an up-the-middle position. A weak CF market could drive up his price, but at a reasonable cost, Crisp would be a solid addition — and hopefully help the Giants transition smoothly into the Gary Brown era.