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If You Squint You Can See Scottsdale

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I'm back from hibernation. Yawn. Stretch. Scratch. Scratch some more. Feels good. Niners! My metabolic rate slowed drastically over the holidays, making it nearly impossible for me to put fingers to keyboard in an extra-curricular way, but I'm back. Ain't no young tattooed blogger gonna Kaepernick me.

Since my last post, I've listened to a lot of music, so get ready in coming days for the first Rotation of the year. I've also kept an eye on the baseball-ish proceedings. Justin Upton vetoed a trade. The Giants signed all kinds of whosis and whatsis to shore up the depths of the depth charts. Brian Wilson threw off a mound to a private audience. Timmah got his hairs cut. Barry Bonds didn't make the Hall of Fame and the writers pissed on everyone's campfire for good measure. Strong work, baseball writers. You really showed 'em!

Now, it's gathering steam time. A time of steam-gathering. There's Sabeanesque work to do. The offseason has until now consisted of two big jobs: Re-signing the important free agents -- check -- and signing some interesting and not-so-interesting non-roster guys -- check. Wait, a third: maneuvering Andres Torres under the mistletoe for Giants' fans to smooch. Mwah!

Up next between now and March: the arbitration guys. Only Santiago Casilla's case has been settled, with a three-year $15 M contract. Buster Posey, Sergio Romo, Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias will all get raises. Some more than others. Posey might get an extension, but one for Pence is less likely after his frustrating post-trade bat work. If there are any more trades to be made, which I'm not betting on, my guess is something would center around Pence. No one's going to take on Pence's salary, estimated to be something like $14 M in his final arb year, but if the Giants figure out a way to upgrade their outfield from another direction -- say, a trade for Mike Morse to play left field, or something even more out of the blue -- I could see them releasing Pence, saving that cash, and shifting Blanco to right field, which defensively would make a lot of sense.

but like I said, I don't expect it to happen. More likely they figure Pence will settle in, settle down, and produce something more like the Bill James' projection (.277 / .338 /.464) or his career line (.285 / .339 / .475). Those would be nice. Anything better than his miserable line as a Giant would be nice. After all, he's not going to Huffplode on us...

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