San Francisco Giants need to rid themselves of dead weight in 2012 

click to enlarge Cody Ross may have homered Monday night, but it would be wise for the Giants to let him and his $6.5 million salary walk at the end of the season. (Jeff Chiu/AP) - CODY ROSS MAY HAVE HOMERED MONDAY NIGHT, BUT IT WOULD BE WISE FOR THE GIANTS TO LET HIM AND HIS $6.5 MILLION SALARY WALK AT THE END OF THE SEASON. (JEFF CHIU/AP)
  • Cody Ross may have homered Monday night, but it would be wise for the Giants to let him and his $6.5 million salary walk at the end of the season. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
  • Cody Ross may have homered Monday night, but it would be wise for the Giants to let him and his $6.5 million salary walk at the end of the season. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

There was little change in the Giants’ team that finished 2010 as world champions and the team that started the 2011 season, but there should be a wholesale shuffling of the roster in the offseason.

Those who should go:

- Cody Ross. A late-season acquisition last season, Ross hit some important home runs in critical moments. But he has never been a high-average hitter nor a big power hitter, with a high of 24 homers one season. He’s a good fielder at the corner outfield positions, but not a center fielder. He made $6.5 million this year and will probably try for more in free agency. Let him go.

- Pat Burrell. He’d come cheap, at $1 million a year, but his foot injury seems to be chronic. As much as he enjoys playing, he should retire before he injures himself further.

- Mark DeRosa. His signing two years ago was a mistake. No reason to compound it after he’s spent most of the two seasons on the DL.

- Orlando Cabrera. Signed when Miguel Tejada proved he couldn’t play shortstop, Cabrera is past his prime. Brandon Crawford should be the shortstop.

- Mike Fontenot. Emmanuel Burriss is younger, faster and a better fielder at second, third or short. Fontenot was supposed to be a better hitter, but he hasn’t shown it with the Giants. No point in keeping him.

- Eli Whiteside. Chris Stewart is better defensively and the Giants want to take a look at prospect Hector Sanchez, too.

Carlos Beltran presents a different problem. Beltran will be 35 next season and he’s injury prone. He’s still a good player and he won’t get another $18.5 million a year contract, but he’s probably still going to get more than the Giants can afford.

Andres Torres is an interesting story. He had a very disappointing season, at least partially because of injuries, but the Giants have to wonder if his 2010 season was a fluke. I think they should re-sign him — it won’t be a huge contract — until Gary Brown is ready. Brown, their top pick in the 2010 draft, is hitting .336 at Fresno with some power, 14 home runs, so he may be close.

Then, there’s Jonathan Sanchez. I think the Giants should re-sign him and then work very hard to trade him. Let his inconsistency and injuries be somebody else’s problem.

For sure, they have to re-sign Jeff Keppinger, because there’s no telling when Freddy Sanchez will return.

And then, there’s the big elephant in the room: Barry Zito. Having already dumped Aaron Rowand and Tejada — you’ve no doubt noticed the big rush by other clubs to sign them — the Giants will have to swallow very hard to absorb the last two years of Zito’s contract; no other club will be foolish enough to take him unless the Giants pay almost all of that contract. But they’re going to lose the money, anyway. Why keep him around to screw up the team?

The good news for the Giants is that, with their core of good young pitchers, they can continue to contend. But they have to get rid of the deadwood first.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at glenndickey36@gmail.com.

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Glenn Dickey

Glenn Dickey

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