Brian Sabean

Sabathia predicts Rollins to the Giants in 2012

Jon Heyman created a minor stir this morning when he brought up something CC Sabathia told him about Jimmy Rollins’ future. By no means does this mean what Sabathia’s predicting is going to happen, although considering the Giants’ history it seems quite likely:

Like I said after Heyman’s tweet made the rounds, it almost makes too much sense. Rollins has World Series experience, he’s over 30 and Brian Sabean has seen him in action several times both in person and on television. Sprinkle in the fact that Rollins sometimes sports a goatee, and he’s a perfect fit.

I’ve had the feeling the Giants would look to Rollins in the off-season for months now, especially considering the relative failures of shortstops Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera and Brandon Crawford (at the plate), along with Andres Torres’ struggles to carry over his success as a leadoff hitter from 2010 to 2011.

I’ve mentioned it a couple times in this space, too. I wrote this on Sept. 6:

What do the Giants need to do this off-season? Hard to say if they’ll go after a star like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder (I’m guessing they’ll try with Pujols, but won’t offer more money than anyone else so he’ll sign elsewhere), but I think Jimmy Rollins is definitely in play.

And brought it up again for good measure yesterday:

The Giants aren’t going to sign a big free agent during the off-season. Just rid yourselves of that notion right now, because it’ll make you feel that much better when Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran all sign with other teams. It’s probably going to be Jimmy Rollins, Michael Cuddyer or nothing for the Giants.

The purpose of this post isn’t to write an “I told you so” monologue in 500 words. That’s just an added bonus. The key thing to note here is that besides Sabathia’s current team, the Giants may be the most predictable franchise in baseball. Everyone knows who the Yankees will target every off-season: the most expensive free agents at positions of need.

The Giants are predictable in a different way. They go after players who have name value, have done some damage against the Giants in the past, and who’ve been there before. Especially at shortstop, where the Giants have been on a mission to collect every above average guy who played the position in 2004 — other than Derek Jeter (who I thought the Giants might go after before this season until it was clear Jeter’s only marriage, his relationship with the Yankees, is a dysfunctional bond that could never be broken).

Rollins is next on the list, and he fills two needs in a delightfully veteran way. Is he a good enough leadoff hitter to keep Carlos Beltran from leaving the chilly confines of AT&T Park and signing with another team? Perhaps.

However, like I said last night, I could see Beltran going to the Phillies and Sabean getting revenge by signing Rollins and his current Phillies teammate Raul Ibanez. Remember, Ibanez is going to be 40 next year (seasoned!) and he’s an RBI machine who’s played on the biggest stage. Sounds like a gamer.

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