We might find out today where Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome will sign. San Francisco has an outside shot, though I’ve seen no concrete reports that Brian Sabean has made a strong play for him.
The Giants are also contemplating a trade for Hideki Matsui, who still has a potent bat. If Matsui comes to S.F. for Noah Lowry or other non-Lincainum pitchers, perhaps he’d be willing to try first base because of his aching knees. Then the Giants keep their ace pitchers, and their lineup is something like this:
And against lefties:
Ortmeier could play 1B on Matsui’s days off. He could also play some outfield, perhaps subbing for Fukudome in RF against tough LH starters. Aurilia would remain the utility infield guy.
Advantages with this scenario:
1) If both players like S.F., it could pave the way for more Japanese leaguers to come here.
2) Matsui is a real hitter. The Giants don’t have many of those. His professionalism and attitude would rub off on Fukudome and drive him to be as good as his countrymate.
3) Nice marketing opportunity.
4) No need to trade Lincainum.
Problems with this scenario:
1) Matsui and Fukudome are left-handed hitters. The Giants and everyone else knows left-handed non-Bondsian power dies a cruel death at Mays Field.
2) Matsui might not want to play first base. (I haven’t had a chance to ask him.) He’s got a no-trade clause and might hold out for a trade to an A.L. team and make the transition to DH. Then again, perhaps he prefers to be on the field, no matter what the position.
3) What if Fukudome is a $40 million disaster? He and Matsui would add about $25 million a year to payroll and take time away from players in their 20s.
4) What to do with the outfielder surplus? Ideal: Trade Dave Roberts. Send Schierholtz to AAA to work on his on-base skills. Keep Lewis and Davis as 4th/5th OFs.
The 25–man would now look like this:
G-Rod or E-Alf
Or keep Schierholtz on the roster and carry 12 pitchers.