Tag:Mike Fontenot
Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:38 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Spring position battles: National League West



By Matt Snyder


We are finally just a few short weeks away from spring training beginning, so let's continue looking at some positional battles that will unfold through February and March. Monday, we looked at the AL West and now it's time to look at the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks
None: None yet.

I understand this probably comes off as a bit lame, but look at the D-Backs depth chart and tell me where there are any legitimate battles. From the starting lineup to the rotation to the bullpen, it would appear the defending NL West champs have very few question marks heading into the 2012 season. I would keep an eye on last year's first-round pick, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (maybe pushing Josh Collmenter to the long relief role at some point in June or July?), but it's very doubtful he fits in the rotation out of spring. He got knocked around (7.56 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) in four Double-A starts last season. So I've got nothing here. They are already set.

San Francisco Giants
First Base: Aubrey Huff vs. Brandon Belt

Is it time to pass the torch yet? The Giants had no patience with Belt last season, as the 23-year-old prospect was shipped back to the minors in April after just 60 plate appearances. He came back to stay in the middle of July, hitting .231/.296/.469 the rest of the way, but that was only in 142 plate appearances. And he did show good power, hitting eight homers in that stretch. In 111 career Triple-A games, Belt has a .441 on-base percentage and 20 home runs. Meanwhile, Huff is 35 and coming off a season where he hit .246/.306/.370 with just 12 homers in 579 plate appearances. With the additions of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, it's unlikely the Giants shove Belt back in the outfield initially, so they must make a decision here. Do they leave Belt in Triple-A again, where he's proven he's a stud, have him ride pine in the bigs, or just move on past Huff and let Belt have the job?

Shorstop: Ryan Theriot vs. Brandon Crawford vs. Mike Fontenot

The 25-year-old Crawford is easily the best defender of this group, but at some point the Giants will need some offense. Crawford is a career .234/.291/.327 hitter in Triple-A. In 220 big-league plate appearances, Crawford hit .204/.288/.296 last season, so he's a complete offensive liability. Ryan Theriot hit .271 with a .321 OBP last year, and he also has no power. He does, however, have a career .282 average and .344 OBP. Fontenot hit only .227/.304/.377 last season, but he certainly has the most power of the trio here. Basically, there isn't really a good choice, but there's still one to be made. Of note: Fontenot and Crawford hit left handed, so maybe Theriot ends up platooning with one of them.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Left Field: Jerry Sands vs. Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Juan Rivera

Did Sands' month of September give the Dodgers confidence he's ready to take over in left right away? It's possible. After hitting pretty poorly in his stint earlier in the season, Sands hit .342/.415/.493 with two homers, nine RBI and five doubles in 83 plate appearances in the last month. He's only 24, but he's also hit for great power in Triple-A (29 home runs in 418 plate appearances in Albuquerque last year). This one is all about him, with Gwynn being the backup option and Rivera being the desperation option.

Closer: Javy Guerra vs. Kenley Jansen

Guerra is the incumbent and successfully converted 21 of 23 save chances last season. He's only 26 and posted a 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in his 46 2/3 innings last season, too. So he's the obvious closer, right? I'm not so sure. The 6-foot-5 Jansen is only 24 and has elite closer written all over him. He had a rough start, but from June on, Jansen posted a 0.55 ERA, 0.67 WHIP with four saves, seven holds and zero blown saves. His stuff is nasty, as he struck out 96 hitters in 53 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like the sky is the limit, so would the Dodgers really leave him in the eighth inning due to Guerra's 2011 performance?

Colorado Rockies
No. 3-5 starting pitchers: Alex White vs. Drew Pomeranz vs. Juan Nicasio vs. Guillermo Moscoso vs. Tyler Chatwood vs. Josh Outman vs. Jamie Moyer

After stockpiling pitchers the entire offseason, it wasn't too surprising to see the Rockies trade away both Kevin Slowey and Jason Hammel. Of course, they got back Jeremy Guthrie and still have an absurd logjam behind Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin. And Jorge De La Rosa will be back at some point later in the season (he had Tommy John surgery last June). White and Pomeranz are both young and inexperienced enough to justify more time in Triple-A, but they probably have the best stuff of anyone on the list. Chatwood got plenty of MLB experience last season, but he's still only 22 and his numbers weren't good. It's hard not to root for Nicasio, as he's coming back from a broken neck. He made some good starts for Colorado last summer, too. Outman's never really shown more than mediocrity and Moyer is 49. I very much like Moscoso's chances,  for one, as he's 28 and had a 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season for Oakland. The ballpark difference in home games will be bad, but the NL West has fewer fearful hitters than the AL West and some spacious parks. So I'll officially predict Moscoso gets in, but beyond him, it's a complete toss up.

San Diego Padres
Catcher: Nick Hundley vs. John Baker vs. Yasmani Grandal

Hundley has had parts of four seasons to prove himself. Last season, he did hit well, with a .288/.347/.477 line, but injuries limited him to just 82 games. His career high, due to many different circumstances, is 85. The 31-year-old Baker has had the past couple seasons ruined due to an arm injury (Tommy John surgery and rehab took out nearly all of last season), but back in 2008-09 he hit .281/.364/.423 for the Marlins. The two could actually platoon, because Baker hits lefty while Hundley hits righty. Grandal, though, has loads of talent. He was the Reds' first rounder in 2010, is a switch hitter and has a career minor-league line of .303/.401/.488. He's only played four games in Triple-A, though, so he'd probably have to go nuts with his bat in the spring to get a shot out of the gate. The smart money is on the Padres going with Hundley as the primary starter, Baker as a backup who sees a good amount of playing time and Grandal spending most of the season in Triple-A. Maybe even a platoon with Hundley and Baker. Still, there's enough here for a potentially good three-way battle this spring. And you never know on Grandal. He jumped from High-A to Triple-A in 2011 and his experience before that was just eight Rookie League games in 2010. Maybe he's one of those guys that doesn't need much minor-league seasoning.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:35 am
 

Homegrown Team: Baltimore Orioles

Erik Bedard

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997, and part of that has been the team's inability to draft, sign and cultivate its own players. Even the teams with the biggest payrolls, like the Yankees and Red Sox, have learned the lesson that you need to have a steady crop of homegrown players, not only to keep costs down, but also to have the commodities to trade if needed. The Orioles' Matt Wieters emerged as an All-Star in 2011 and Brian Roberts has had a solid career, but the team has still struggled to produce a consistent pipeline to the majors, and when those players have gotten there, they've often disappointed.

Lineup

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Mike Fontenot, SS
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Jayson Werth, 1B
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Nolan Reimold, LF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
8. Willie Harris, DH
9. Darnell McDonald, CF

Starting Rotation

1. Erik Bedard
2. Zach Britton
3. Jake Arrieta
4. Brad Bergesen
5. Brian Matusz

Bullpen

Closer - David Hernandez
Set up - Arthur Rhodes, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara, Jason Berken, Pedro Beato, D.J. Carrasco

Notable Bench Players

Eli Whiteside is the backup catcher, and a pretty good one. But other than that, the Orioles' bench is thin. Brandon Snyder? Ryan Adams? That's about all the team has to offer.

What's Good?

The middle of the lineup -- Markakis, Werth and Wieters is solid and the bullpen is deep. Other than that? Not much.

What's Not?

Take your pick -- the rest of the team's lineup isn't up to snuff. The rotation, minus Bedard, is similar to the real team's rotation in 2011. And then there's not much depth, either in the rotation or the lineup.

Comparison to real 2011

Only the Astros, Twins and Mariners had a worse record than Baltimore's 67-95 mark in 2011, and this team could be even worse. The rotation is about the same and the offense isn't as good without J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds. The Orioles once were known for throwing money at free agents and not developing their own players, now they just don't develop their own players. A team of homegrown Orioles could challenge the 100 loss mark and maybe even the worst record in baseball.

Next: Washington Nationals

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Giants' Hall may need DL trip after being spiked

Bill Hall

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Bill HallBill Hall may be headed for the disabled list after getting spiked by San Diego shortstop Jason Bartlett in Thursday's 2-1 Giants victory at AT&T Park, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes.

Hall needed seven stitches to close a gash and Hall said the cut went to the bone in his leg.

Bartlett was caught stealing in the fourth, but didn't appear to go high with his spikes, Hall was blocking the bag and got caught by Bartlett's spikes. You can see the play here.

"There's not a lot of skin left to over the wound," Hall told Baggarly. "I knew as soon as it happened. This is the second time in my career I had one. The other time, my kneecap was showing."

The Giants have already used five different second basemen this season, Hall, Freddy Sanchez, Miguel Tejada, Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss.

Fontenot is currently not he disabled list with strained groin, while Sanchez is likely out for the rest of the season after suffering a dislocated shoulder. Fontenot will not be activated until after the All-Star break, but manager Bruce Bochy told Baggarly "there's no sense of urgency." 

Tejada made his first start at the position on Tuesday.

Hall is hitting just .158/.220/.211 in 16 games and 41 plate appearances for the Giants this season. Baggarly writes that Hall is expected to be jettisoned when Fontenot returns. Hall was released by the Astros in June.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 1:18 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 7:05 pm
 

Giants ink Bill Hall

HallBy Evan Brunell

The San Francisco Giants signed infielder Bill Hall to a contract and Hall is available off the bench on Saturday. The deal comes in light of second baseman Freddy Sanchez's dislocated shoulder suffered Friday night. Hitting .289/.332/.397 on the year, Sanchez is expected to miss significant time which will open up second for regular playing time for Hall, although Mike Fontenot will also play liberally at the position once he comes off the DL, which should be in a matter of days, unless his setback Friday knocks him out for a longer period of time.

The Giants are scraping to improve their offense and while Hall's .224/.272/.340 mark this year for the Astros is hardly offense, he did bang out 18 home runs for the Red Sox as a super-utility player over 382 plate appearances. Hall has a chance to stick with the Giants the rest of the year, as the club is nearing an outright release of Opening Day shortstop Miguel Tejada, who has offered nothing with the bat. Once Fontenot and third baseman Pablo Sandoval return shortly, Tejada could get the boot. If he stays on, Tejada will have to outproduce Hall to remain with the club once Sanchez returns.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 2:16 am
 

Giants' Sanchez suffers shoulder injury

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Freddy SanchezMore bad injury news for the Giants, as second baseman Freddy Sanchez suffered a dislocated right shoulder after diving for a ground ball in the fifth inning of Friday's 3-2 victory over the Reds.

"I can't tell you how sever or how long," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters fate the game, including the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman (via Twitter). "Obviously this is not good news."

It's really not. The Giants have struggled offensively and Sanchez led the team's regulars in batting average (.289) and had a hit before leaving the game on Friday. Sanchez had been hitting third for the Giants since Buster Posey's injury.

Another second baseman, Mike Fontenot, left his game with Triple-A Fresno on Friday with tightness in his groin, the same injury that caused him to go on the disabled list. Bochy told Schulman (via Twitter) that it's doubtful that either Fontenot or Pablo Sandoval would be ready to be activated by Saturday's game with the Reds.

With Sanchez out and Fontenot unavailable, Miguel Tejada could get some time at second.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Posey

By Evan Brunell


Buster Posey's collision with Scott Cousins on Wednesday fractured a bone in his lower left leg, delivering a devastating blow to the Giants.

In addition to a broken leg, Posey is thought to have torn ligaments as well,  as CSN Bay Area reports. The Giants later announced that Chris Stewart has been recalled to take Posey's place, with Brandon Belt also joining the roster along with Brandon Crawford.

Posey's broken leg could heal in one-to-two months, a time span common for a broken leg. However, broken legs can mean a wide range of severity, and the complication of torn ligaments makes a possible ETA for a return that much more murky. Some players return from a broken leg inside two months. Others miss almost two full seasons, as Kendrys Morales of the Angels can attest. It would surprise no one if Posey was done for the season, but let's exercise some restraint and wait for further clarification. He will undergo a MRI Thursday that should clarify the issue, although in Pablo Sandoval's mind, the issue's already been clarified.

"Good morning I feel so bad because we lost buster for rest of the season it's gonna be hard with out him," Sandoval tweeted on Thursday.

Posey's agent, Jeff Berry, said he was planning on calling Joe Torre, the new leader of on-field operations, in the hopes of changing the rules that allow runners to barrel into catchers.

"You leave players way too vulnerable," Berry said. "I can tell you Major League Baseball is less than it was before [Posey's injury]. It's stupid. I don't know if this ends up leading to a rule change, but it should. The guy [at the plate] is too exposed.

"If you go helmet to helmet in the NFL, it's a $100,000 fine, but in baseball, you have a situation in which runners are [slamming into] fielders. It's brutal. It's borderline shocking. It just stinks for baseball. I'm going to call Major League Baseball and put this on the radar. Because it's just wrong."

"It's part of baseball. I understand that," Bochy said in a news conference on Thursday according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "Guys run into catchers. Being a catcher, I've been in a few of them. You're in harm's way there. I do think we need to consider changing the rules a little bit because the catcher's so vulnerable -- and there are so many who've gotten hurt, and just a little bit. I mean, they've had their careers or shortened. And here's a guy that's very popular in baseball. Fans want to see him play. Now, he's out for a while. I'd like to see maybe something considered here where we can protect these guys a little bit more. They just don't have the protection to take a guy coming in full speed, with that kind of force."

Bochy said he had previously spoken to Posey about not getting out in front and blocking the plate -- and to an extent, Posey tried to honor that.

"He was not completely in front of the plate. He was in a position where he could make a tag without being hit, too," Bochy said. "He just got himself in a tough position there because [the way] his leg was situated. He was down on one knee, and ideally, you'd like to have the foot pointed that way to protect you a little bit. But, again, you're trying to handle a throw. You don't have time to get set up perfectly. That's what hurt him was his leg was tucked underneath him when he got hit."

This is a sticky situation. On one hand, Bochy clearly feels that Cousins didn't need to take out Posey. On the other, it was a game in extra innings with a potential scoring play. Cousins and the ball both arrived to Posey at virtually the same time, and if Cousins had chosen to attempt to slide to the plate, there's no guarantee he would have made it. It's just an unfortunate end result, but that's baseball.

Cousins tried to reach out to Posey, leaving two voicemails and told reporters Monday he did not sleep Wednesday night. "The last thing I wanted to do was break the guy's leg," he told the Palm Beach Post.

Belt takes the place of outfielder and pinch-runner Darren Ford, who hit the DL with an ankle sprain. The Giants were originally going to resist calling Belt up to replace Ford, but the loss of Posey has changed matters as the Giants need to find a way to inject offense into the club, and fast. The Giants won't have any trouble fitting Belt into the lineup, as first baseman Aubrey Huff is struggling with the bat while left field can also accommodate Belt's production.

Even though Huff hasn't played third base since a 33-game stint in 2008, it's possible the Giants could slide him to third temporarily to get Belt's bat in at first base, which would allow the team to continue playing Pat Burrell and Nate Schierholz in the outfield. In this scenario, Miguel Tejada would move back to shortstop, a position he vacated to fill Pablo Sandoval's absence at third. Now that the Giants have also lost Mike Fontenot to the DL due to a groin strain, the options to fill the shortstop position are weak enough to the point the club would likely benefit from Tejada moving back to short all in the name of getting Belt's bat into the lineup.

Stewart has been with four different teams in the last five years, playing mostly at Triple-A. He received eight at-bats in 2006 for his career debut with the White Sox before collecting 43 plate appearances for the Rangers in '07. The 29-year-old moved onto the Yankees, snagging just one game's worth of playing time in '08, playing for New York's Triple-A team the entirety of 2009 before returning to the bigs with San Diego last season. At San Diego he appeared in two games as a defensive replacement. Now, Stewart could easily match his career 54 plate appearances as the new tandem in San Francisco. Eli Whiteside is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in the early going, but he doesn't exactly command being slotted in the lineup every day.

Crawford, meanwhile, was playing at high-Class A, hitting .322/.412/.593 in 69 plate appearances. He spent the bulk of 2010 with Double-A, hitting .241/.337/.375 and started the 2011 season with a broken finger. The corresponding move for Crawford is not yet known, but it is likely Fontenot to the DL. He'll be the infield backup, with Emmanuel Burriss likely slotting in at shortstop if they don't move Tejada back to short.

Assuming Posey is out for a long time, if not the rest of the season, the Giants may want to call up ex-Giant Bengie Molina, who was with San Francisco from 2007 until partway through last season, when he was moved to the Rangers and faced the Giants in the World Series. Molina, a free agent, has been waiting for both the right fit and price before playing again. He may have just found it.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:43 am
 

Pepper: Assessing chances of a K-Rod trade



By Evan Brunell

K-ROD TRADEABLE? For a while now, Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option has been seen as a major roadblock to any trade.

Rodriguez is a fine closer, but a $17.5 million figure for a closer is rather exorbitant, especially in recent years as the market for closers has appeared to plateau. K-Rod needs to finish at least 55 games for that option to vest, and he's at 18 through almost two full months. That puts him on pace to clear the threshold by the end of the year for New York, unless the Mets trade him first.

While Rodriguez could be traded to a setup role which would take care of that pesky games-finished requirement, reporter Andy Martino writes that his value as a closer may not be half-bad after all. He cites Rodriguez's dominant on-field play with his new personality off it, with Rodriguez demonstrating remorse for previous actions. It could be a good move for a team comfortable with trading for K-Rod to head up the ninth. It also helps that Rodriguez has expressed a willingness to tear up his current option and renegotiate a new deal.

Lost in this article is the bottom line: Rodriguez won't negotiate away his vesting option unless he stands to benefit by getting an extended contract from the team dealing for him. Helping matters is that K-Rod is willing to consider any team, even one of the 10 teams that are currently blocked thanks to a no-trade clause. But the bottom line remains: there's no reason for Rodriguez to tear up his 2012 option if he doesn't get something out of it. That kind of money over one season is well worth it to Rodriguez, who could then go get another big-money deal after 2012.

But working in favor of the Mets is Rodriguez's $3.5 million buyout. If New York agrees to fund the buyout -- which it must pay regardless of the option vesting -- other teams may change their perception of Rodriguez's value. Instead of digging into their pockets in free agency to sign the likes of Heath Bell and Jonathan Papebon, a team could address the K-Rod issue by having the Mets pick up $3.5 million at the trade deadline, giving the acquiring team one-and-a-half years of Rodriguez at a 2012 price of $14 million. Still hefty, but not outlandish and worth the price of doing business on a short deal. And as we've learned, short deals for closers is a smart route to go. (New York Daily News)

BOBBLEHEAD CURSE
: Sure, Omar Minaya was a pretty bad GM in New York and now Fred Wilpon is on a media blitz designed to tell his side of the story but is only complicating things more. And yet, what might be to blame are bobbleheads, part of a yearly giveaway. Previous bobblehead players have ended up injured or ineffective after garnering the honor. This year's recipient? Ike Davis, currently on the DL. (New York Times)

NO TROUT
: How tired do you think manager Mike Scioscia is of answering questions about 19-year-old prodigy Mike Trout? He continued to deflect any speculation that Trout would be called to the majors despite tearing up the minors and seeing L.A. limp along in left field with Alexi Amarista and Reggie Willits, although he did crack the door open for a promotion in a month. "I think that's a huge risk to take with a player with his upside," Scioscia said. "We see the growth in Mike. He's made an incredible amount of progress from last year to now. He's bridging that gap. Maybe in a month, this would be a different conversation, but right now, there's some growth he needs to be ready for that challenge of the major leagues." (Los Angeles Times)

WELLS ON MEND
: Angels left fielder Vernon Wells made progress in his return from a groin strain. He's not ahead of schedule, but underwent light agility drills and came away without complaint. (Los Angeles Times)

MY TURN: Mike Fontenot knows what groin strains feel like -- he just suffered one Thursday night that will probably get him on the 15-day DL. That's bad news for S.F., which already had a tattered left side of the infield. (San Francisco Chronicle)

RUNNER'S LUCK: The Giants also saw Darren Ford hobbled by a lateral sprain on his left ankle that will likely see the pinch-runner hit the DL. Bruce Bochy said there it would be "a longshot" for Brandon Belt to replace Ford on the roster. More likely is Ryan Rohlinger or Travis Ishikawa. (San Jose Mercury News)

STANTON'S BOMBS: Florida Marlins sluggger Mike Stanton is an attraction during batting practice these days. In San Francisco he drew applause from Giants fans as he launched home runs, including a standing ovation for a batting practice moonshot that went more than 500 feet. The applause quickly dissipated when he carried his home-run swing over into the game. (Palm Beach Post)

CASH IN THE BULLPEN
: When Andrew Cashner returns from his injury, bet on him moving into the bullpen. "When you miss a few months with an arm injury you cannot just go right back to pitching six innings or more when you return so I would think that he would be in the pen when he does come back this season," Cubs manager Jim Hendry said. If true, the Cubs are going to have to find another starting pitcher somewhere. They're so close in getting Casey Coleman out of the rotation, but still have Doug Davis to contend with, with only Coleman as depth. (CSNChicago.com)

SIZEMORE NEAR: Grady Sizemore has come through his rehab work so nicely that he may actually be activated the first game he is eligible for, which is Friday. His replacement on the major-league roster, Ezequiel Carrera, was seen shaking hands with teammates. Sizemore ran the bases prior to Wednesday's game and came through with no issues, putting him on track to be activated for the weekend series. (MLB.com)

BAD STEW: Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart pulled his hamstring in a game in Triple-A on Wednesday, so it looks like he will be out of action for a couple of weeks. Just another bad day in a line of bad days for Stewart this season. (Denver Post)

NO. 2: With the Mariners a surprising game under .500 and a weekend series with the Yankees coming up, Seattle needs to find a way to boost its offense if they hope to come away with a series win. How about batting Brendan Ryan, in the midst of a hot month, second in the order? (Seattle Times)

THOLE DIVE: In this day and age, if you mess up, you can bet everyone will soon be giggling at a .GIF of it. Josh Thole is no exception. (SB Nation)

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Who could Giants go after for shortstop?

Reyes

By Evan Brunell

The Giants' shortstop crisis has taken another turn toward utter disaster.

With the injuries to Mark DeRosa and Pablo Sandoval, S.F. has thankfully moved a slumping Miguel Tejada to third base, which improves the defense at shortstop even if his bat remains a complete zero. In lieu of Tejada, Mike Fontenot has stepped into the breach, but Fontenot remains a bench infielder with 20 career games experience at short -- seven this year.

Even when DeRosa and Sandoval return, allowing Tejada to slide back to short, the Giants need to find a better replacement, which will have to come via trade. But who?

Jose Reyes: The Mets' Reyes has been a popular link given the shortstop's perceived availability. An impending free agent, Reyes is showing how he can impact a game when healthy, but can the Giants afford both what it would cost in a deal for Reyes, plus what it will cost to retain him? CSNBayArea.com reports that while Reyes' name has been kicked around internally, that's as far as it's gotten so far. Helping matters is that the Mets wouldn't ask for any of the Giants' current starting pitchers, which has constantly eroded trade talks elsewhere. New York would focus on San Francisco's better prospects, like pitcher Zack Wheeler, outfielder Gary Brown or shortstop Ehire Adrianza. 

Problem: The Giants already have a franchise-record payroll in the $120 million range, and Reyes' pro-rated $11 million salary would have to be absorbed with no guarantee of retention after the year. And retention could be a problem, as reports surface that Reyes will ask for a deal similar to Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million pact. Without Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand on the team, maybe S.F. could foot the bill, but a deal of that magnitude is likely not feasible. Compounding matters is that GM Brian Sabean will not trade top prospects for a "loaner," as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. Makes sense, and is the right idea.

ESPN's Buster Olney counters this, saying Reyes could be convinced to stay with a solid multi-year offer. If Reyes agrees to a deal that pays him $15 million, the Giants could find the funds for 2012 by the expiring deals of Tejada, De Rosa and Cody Ross. The team could then start Brandon Belt in right or left-field, with Pat Burrell returning for another year in the outfield or a similar low-cost solution found. Both Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff's deals expire after 2012, which would then really free up cash for San Fran, so it's still entirely possible the Giants go after Reyes. Still, it's a big enough stretch financially and what type of talent would have to be surrendered that one has to question if it's the right call.

Marco Scutaro: That could cause the Giants to explore alternatives, and Scutaro is one known to have come up in Giants circles. Scoot is making just $5 million on the year and the Giants would hold a $6 million club option if it wished to keep the infielder around another year. With Jed Lowrie's emergence in Boston, Scutaro is certainly available despite his ability to function as utility infielder. The Red Sox have depth down in Triple-A for that role, so if they can find a fit, would not hesitate to move their 2010 starting shortstop.

The Red Sox wouldn't require a top prospect in return for Scutaro, so a fit could be easier reached. The Red Sox could pursue bullpen options or settle for acquiring a blue-chip prospect. This is the most likely outcome: Scutaro fits the Giants' budget, holds potential 2012 value and has a motivated seller.

Maicer Izturis / Erick Aybar / Alberto Callaspo: The Angels love their infield depth, and it's been a major help so far. Still, if and when Kendrys Morales returns to first base, someone has to hit the bench. That won't be Howie Kendrick, who is currently batting No. 3 in the order and in the process of breaking out. That leaves one of the three mentioned as bench candidates. At that point, the Giants would be interested in one of the three. Aybar is the one whose job appears most secure, although he's the worst hitter to date. Callaspo is in the midst of a hot streak but is falling back to earth and has only 32 games played at short in his career. That leaves Izturis, who is in the middle of his own hot streak and the one who has consistently been the bench player of the group, although it could be Callaspo this season.

But a fit is less clear. The club can't justify asking for one of San Francisco's best starting pitchers and there's no obvious fit on offense. It's tough to imagine the Angels agreeing to trade for a prospect to sacrifice that quality infield depth.

Jack Wilson / Brendan Ryan: When the Mariners finally promote Dustin Ackley to man second, it will relegate a good fielding, no-hit shortstop to the bench. Take your pick in Jack Wilson or Brendan Ryan. Either can easily go, and Seattle wouldn't put up too much of a fuss in the return price. While Marco Scutaro would represent the best investment both from a financial and production perspective, acquiring one of Wilson or Ryan remains the most likely outcome simply because the price would be lower for one of the two. Plus we need the humor of the sad-sack Pirates' double-play combo in Wilson and Sanchez being reunited on the World Series-defending club.

There are other options too, but they're hardly anything to get excited about. Ronny Cedeno, Cesar Izturis, Angel Sanchez, or even a return engagement by Edgar Renteria would fill a gap, but nothing more.

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