NASHVILLE – From several angles, Cody Ross would appear to be a perfect fit to rejoin the Giants.
He remains hugely popular from his magical postseason in 2010. He’s a right-handed hitting outfielder. And the Giants would like to acquire a platoon partner for Gregor Blanco in left field.
But it wouldn’t be a perfect fit for Ross, who wants a multiyear contract with an everyday role. And obviously, in a platoon, the right-handed hitter always gets the short end.
So don’t expect Ross the Boss to return.
“Many of these guys aren’t going to sign for a platoon,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans said. “If you’re going to make a multiyear commitment, are you really going to platoon him?
“I wouldn’t rule it out, but we’re looking at one-year deals.”
That likely will preclude them from signing Scott Hairston, who is attracting a lot of interest as he holds out for a deal similar to the two-year, $10 million contract the Red Sox gave to Jonny Gomes.
And although the Giants made a strong two-year offer for Ryan Ludwick, it was contingent on talks falling apart with second baseman Marco Scutaro. Once Scutaro agreed to his three-year, $20 million deal, the Ludwick dollars disappeared.
Nick Swisher? He expects to be in a whole other bracket.
With the Giants already bumping up against their payroll ceiling in the $140 million range, they expect to start the season with Blanco as the starting left fielder – a stance they feel able to make because of the defensive value he brings to their pitching staff.
Barring an abrupt change, the Giants’ key personnel are set for 2013.
“You’re never really done, but certainly, the starting lineup and rotation and top end of our bullpen has been set and that’s very satisfying,” said Evans, who was able to re-sign center fielder Angel Pagan and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt in addition to Scutaro. “Brian (Sabean) and Bruce (Bochy) had a clear vision of what they wanted to happen, and didn’t take for granted that it would. Those players had options and perhaps even options beyond where we were.”
The Giants fell in love with Scutaro’s attitude and clubhouse presence as much as his unbelievable run as the No.2 hitter.
They appreciate him even more now. From what I’ve been told, Scutaro’s agents came to the Giants early in the offseason and told them that a three-year, $20 million contract would get it done.
The Giants preferred a two-year structure. Meanwhile, Scutaro’s agents fielded other offers and the money went up and up. He had a two-year offer for close to $18 million from the Cardinals, who went as far as to arrange Matt Holliday to give Scutaro a call in case there were any lingering hard feelings from his takeout slide in the NLCS. I’m not sure that call was ever made, though, as the Giants sweetened their offer to three years and $20 million.
That’s a far lower average annual value, obviously, and there was some doubt whether Scutaro would accept it. But just as Scutaro’s agents promised, three and twenty got it done.
Scutaro was good to his word.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle flagged down the year-by-year on Scutaro’s contract: He gets a $2 million signing bonus and $6 million in each of the next three seasons.
You’ll recall that Angel Pagan received a $5 million signing bonus as part of his four-year, $40 million deal. That money is not deferred and payable immediately.
Expect more players and agents to request front-loaded contracts with a signing bonus, and the reason is simple: The fiscal cliff is looming, President Obama has vowed to increase taxes on the wealthy, and most of these players are very much among the 1 percent.
All indications are that the Giants will not seek to re-sign right-hander Guillermo Mota. They would like to add more relief depth, though.
A lot of people ask me which Giants minor leaguers could make the opening-day roster or make an impact early in the season. I think you’d have to look in the outfield, where the Giants’ depth is likely to be tested. Roger Kieschnick showed that his shoulder is healthy in the Dominican winter league, and Francisco Peguero, while not a finished product, is a right-handed hitter with all the tools to be a plus defender with surprising power. Peguero still has the best bat speed of anyone in the Giants farm system.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, asked about the Giants on CSN Bay Area: “It’s part of our mission to not let them keep winning.”
There is a dearth of catching in the league, as illustrated by the fact that Eli Whiteside has been claimed on waivers twice this offseason (by the Yankees and then the Blue Jays).
So it stands to reason that Jackson Williams and Johnny Monell could be the Giants minor leaguers most liable to be snagged in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Monell, a left-handed hitter whose bat is much more valuable than his defense, is having a terrific season in the Puerto Rican winter league, too.
A week ago, the Giants signed 31-year-old catcher Guillermo Quiroz to a minor league contract. He has played in 103 games over parts of eight major league seasons with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles and Red Sox.
Sounds like a modern-day Yamid Haad.
On Tuesday, A's insider Casey Pratt and I both accepted the challenge and worked in an "I reckon" into our TV appearances from Nashville. Casey outdid me by getting in two of 'em. He would've been tough to beat in "Name That Tune."
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Bay Area and California sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.