The San Francisco Giants enter their first offseason as San Francisco-based World Series champions, and they will be looking to bring back several key parts to their amazing World Series run. There has been one change to the free agency process that eases the work for players and their agents. Beginning this season, players will no longer be required to officially file papers to become free agents. Instead, free agents will now be able to negotiate with any team five days after the end of the World Series, rather than 15 days after; and clubs must tender player contracts by December 2, nine days earlier than the previous deadline.
The Giants have several big issues they face in free agency. Aside from whether to add any parts, they have to decide on several players that were key to their World Series run. Their 2010 free agent class includes:
1B Aubrey Huff
OF Pat Burrell
SS Juan Uribe
SS Edgar Renteria
OF Jose Guillen
RP Guillermo Mota
Each one of those players (Mota less than the others) made immense contributions to the Giants at some point in 2010. Aubrey Huff carried the offense throughout the first half of the season and had some key hits in the postseason. When Huff was slowing down later in the regular season, Pat the Bat hit some monster bombs for the team and brought an essential veteran presence as a former World Series champion.
Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe each provided unique contributions that were priceless. Uribe had some huge hits throughout the postseason, while Edgar Renteria found the way-back machine and put together an MVP performance in the World Series. Jose Guillen did not take part in the postseason, but he had a strong September after the Giants acquired him.
It will be interesting to see which players the Giants elect to bring back. The team declined a $10.5 million option on Renteria’s contract, which was expected by the entire free world. Renteria has indicated he’d like to play another year and would move to second base to make that happen. The Giants currently have Freddy Sanchez at second so it remains to be seen whether the team will bring back Renteria. My money is on no.
Burrell and Huff are tough decisions. Huff was as important to this team as just about anybody over the course of the entire season. He’s not a big name and his numbers tumbled a bit at the end of the season, but he practically carried this offense in the first half of the season. Of course, he also has never been able to consistently put together multiple consecutive seasons of strong play, so I can’t imagine spending a ton of money on him.
As for Burrell, he was a no-show in the playoffs. He put together some solid hits in the regular season, but one could argue he was good for a quick shot of adrenaline and not much else. He brings a necessary confidence, but if he’s not hitting his value goes down tremendously.