Throughout January and February (and probably March), we're reviewing offseason MLB transactions that have fantasy implications, and we're going team-by-team. This isn't quite Hot Stove Daily. The focus here is limited. We're only looking at ownable fantasy players who've found new employers.Timmy Lincecum is only the starting point) and one of the sweetest ballparks in all the land (whatever they're calling it this week); it's almost enough to make you forget that this is probably the worst offensive club in the majors right now. General Manager Brian Sabean wasn't afraid to spend some money during the offseason, and typical of this organization, the new players fell into an expected demographic. Let's have a look at their two signature moves.
Signed SP Randy Johnson to a one-year contract
The Big Unit's comeback from back surgery was one of the under-reported stories of the year; just making 30 starts at age 44 is pretty darn impressive, and he gave the Diamondbacks plenty of quality in those innings (3.91 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.46 K/9). A mild touch of gopheritis at home had a notable effect on Johnson's ERA; he should find the play in San Francisco much more to his liking. We shouldn't bid on a full season, of course, but I'm figuring Johnson can get to the hill about 20-25 times and be an asset even in shallow mixed leagues.
Signed SS Edgar Renteria to a two-year contractJust about anyone who watched Renteria in the American League last year saw a player in decline; diminished range, compromised speed, reduced plate coverage. Alas, the Giants had a different feel for the veteran – as they so often do when it comes to 30-something players – and they came running with an $18.5 million package when Renteria hit the market. The Renteria sympathizers will quickly point out that he was unlucky on balls in play (the .294 mark was his lowest in seven seasons) despite a stable line-drive rate, but it's hard to lose 88 slugging-percentage points by accident and I'm not betting on a speed bounce-back from an aging middle infielder. In a mixed-league context, you need to shoot a lot higher, amigos.
They Might Be Giants: San Francisco was supposedly in the middle of the Manny Ramirez chase for much of the winter, but Sabean conceded this week that it's now on the "back burner." If anyone has a strong case for how Ramirez winds up anywhere but Los Angeles, I'd love to hear it. … Noah Lowry is making deliberate progress from his arm and shoulder issues, and he's a longshot at best to be in the rotation to start the year. Jonathan Sanchez has the inside track to the No. 5 position. … The Giants also danced with free-agent 3B Joe Crede for a while before he picked the Twins. With Crede out of the mix, intriguing Pablo Sandoval sticks at the top of the hot-corner depth chart. … Kevin Frandsen, Emmanuel Burriss and Eugenio Velez are set to battle it out for the second-base job. Burriss and Velez offer more fantasy upside because of their speed, but no one in this group is particularly exciting with the bat. … Cheer up, at least it's not you on the hook for Barry Zito's $18.5 million this season. … Fred Lewis (ADP: 262.7) looks like a nifty sleeper for the end of your mixed-league draft, assuming the Giants let him start and leave him alone. Give Lewis a full season and we might see 12-15 homers and 30 steals, the same type of sneaky line Randy Winn has given us many times before.