Big League Stew - MLB

Hours before their division rivals went on an ex-White Sox shopping spree, the Giants picked up a Red Sox castaway, signing Brad Penny(notes) to a minor league deal in hopes he can take a couple of fifth starter turns. 

But to say that Giants fans are non-plussed over the Penny pickup would be an understatement. Says one SFGate commenter: "If Brad Penny is the answer, the Giants need better questions." 

And as John Perricone of Only Baseball Matters expounds, the G-Men are a team in desperate need of extra offense generated by its offense, not its starting pitcher. Why not trade for Jermaine Dye(notes), who was earlier made available by Kenny Williams?

That Penny apparently also hates the Dodgers even after pitching for is of little comfort.

At least not when the ever-expanding righty went 1-5 with a 6.98 ERA over his last 10 starts with Boston, hasn't pitched a full seven innings this year and looks to be the complete opposite of his All-Star self from '07. 

The disappointment emanating from the AT&T Park stands is certainly understandable. After an invigorating weekend sweep of the Rockies, the Giants could have picked up even more momentum in the NL wild card race with the acquisition of someone like Dye.

Strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines, etc., etc. 

But looking at this signing in a vacuum and from an objective perspective, I can't say that I'm completely insulted by it. The Giants' previous fifth starter was Joe Martinez(notes), who was torched in his previous two starts and it's not as if the Giants are asking Penny to be Tim Lincecum(notes) or Matt Cain(notes). Throw in the fact that Penny is fighting for the right to be considered for a big league contract in 2010 and he's worth a few rolls of the dice.

Finally, consider that the Dodgers added Jon Garland(notes) and the Rockies picked up Jose Contreras(notes). The acquisition of Penny is right in line with those two — veteran pitching insurance in a NL West race that's going down to the wire

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