Giants and Twins Make Offseason's First Splash

The Giants enjoy a small windfall as a result Twins' salary purge

As confirmed by the team, the San Francisco Giants have acquired 26-year-old catcher, A.J. Pierzynksi for pitchers Joe Nathan, minor leaguer Boof Bonser and a minor league player to be named player later.

The move was necessary for each team in order to attempt to fill what could be huge holes in the batting order and on the field. The Giants' 38-year-old catcher Benito Santiago is a free agent and saw his power numbers diminish in 2003 (not to mention his postseason magic). In addition to his 2003 .312 avg., 11 homers and 74 RBI, Pierzynski's exuberance is what GM Brian Sabean looks to catapult the team back into the Fall Classic.

Despite a 12-4 record with a 2.96 ERA in 78 relief appearances, Joe Nathan lost the confidence of his manager for all eyes to see in Games 2 and 3 of the NLDS. With today's trade, he was obviously the expendable carrot that Sabean dangled in front the eyes of Twins' GM, Terry Ryan. With free agent departures possibly looming - such as left fielder Shannon Stewart, closer Eddie Guardado and middle reliever LaTroy Hawkins - Ryan relieved some of the team's budgetary restraints by trading the arbitration-eligible Pierzynksi (hoping the extra cash would help ensure their signatures on new contracts). Should one of them depart, Manager Ron Gardenhire can either insert Nathan into the starting rotation or assume the role of either Guardado/Hawkins should they depart. Bonser gives the Twins an eye toward the future, if not an immediate impact in either the rotation or bullpen



Keith Larson writes for SFDugout.com because he's lived and died with the Giants since 1972. He welcomes all words of praise and insult at keith49ers@yahoo.com, but mentioning anything having to do with Game 6 is to be done with extreme caution.

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