As I said before, it was unlikely to begin with, but now it's strayed into the region of Well-Nigh Impossible. The Giants aren't going to see post-season play in 2006, and more's the shame, because the NL playoffs could've benefitted from the Giants special brand of mediocrity. Now they'll have to settle for the mediocre mediocrity of every other team that's going to make it, with the exception of the New York Mets, who have the gall to actually be good.
Onto other, more prevalent things...
I've decided that though it doesn't make a whole lot of economic sense, I want to see Ray Durham return on a two-year contract. Should the Giants re-sign him? More to the point, should the Giants sign him to a multi-year contract?
Probably not, and definitely not, but I still want to see Durham hit one more season, while realizing that Durham won't want to sign a one-year contract at this stage of his career -- especially with the numbers he'll have behind him coming out of this season. I don't see any team signing him for more than three years tops, regardless, but the two-year is a feasible thing, and may not even hurt too badly -- depending on the total payout, of course. I'm thinking his current salary level sounds about right (7 million per), but I can see him getting some team to pay him eight or nine million per, because there's always a team or two that will overpay.
But neither here nor there. It makes the most sense for the Giants to let Durham go, given that they've never really gotten full value out of him due to the games he's missed due to injury while with the Giants. It's a nasty coincidence that the best offensive year he's ever had comes in the final year of his contract, but that's the way the cookie crumbles...as he'll be 35 years old by the time next season rolls around, it's unreasonable to expect him to repeat this production.
Still want him back...on a one-year contract...but since that won't happen, a two-year contract. One more good season of 130 games played, very good offense for his position, and barely acceptable defense at 2nd base (I think Durham's double play savvy makes up a bit for his otherwise mediocre play defensively). Meanwhile, Kevin Frandsen backs him up, gets some significant playing time filling in for Durham whenever he's injured and playing a bit more around the infield and pinch-hitting, and hopefully is ready by 2008 to take over full-time --at which point the Giants trade Durham over the winter of 2007/2008.
Yep, got it all figured out, I do.
I also don't want to see Shea Hillenbrand back. The little home run tear he went on a bit ago was nice, but he's been here for 50 games now and still hasn't done squadoosh overall. I'm going to beat the Craig Wilson drum over the winter again, and hope that this time Brian Sabean dances to the rhythm. This is assuming that the Giants aren't going to spend big money at 1st base -- which they actually shouldn't be able to, because the free agent market for 1st baseman in 2007 is thin.
The only palatable free agents at the position over this winter, to my mind, are Wilson, Wilson, and Wilson. Every single other player is in their 30's, and many in their mid and upper 30's, and either declining, or no good to begin with. The only problem is that Wilson could be in high demand...but given that the Pirates took Shawn Chacon in exchange for him perhaps bodes well. Wilson isn't really good enough to get into a bidding war over -- I'm thinking something in the five million-per range would probably be both palatable for the Giants and a realistic price tag.
While I'm at it, I also wonder if Pedro Feliz will be brought back. I think it likely for five reasons: 1) although his offense still stinks for a 3rd baseman, he's basically the same offensive player the Giants have been smitten with these past couple of years, so there isn't really any reason the Giants will think differently of him now, 2) his glove and durability are both good, 3) the free-agent market for 3rd base looks just as bad as the 1st base market, 4) meaningless milestones like this year has seen Feliz hit career highs in both HR's and RBI, and he may top 100 RBI total for the year, and finally 5) the Giants really ain't got jack-shit behind Feliz in the minors.
He'll probably be back, and they'll probably sign him for another couple of years -- I'll throw up in my mouth a little, and attempt to fortify my psyche against another couple of years of watching Feliz flail away at the dish.
In any case, enough aimless rambling for now. I got some sleeping to do.