I'll explain this as if my readers don't know much about baseball.
The Giants picked up a player last summer, Randy Winn, who did well for them. They had an option to extend his contract into this season, which they happily did. So far so good ... Winn isn't a great player, maybe a bit above average at best, but he doesn't stink yet, and he'll be useful in 2006.
Winn turns 32 this year. Most baseball hitters are in decline by the time they reach their 30s ... a hitter's prime, in general, is from about the age of 27 through the age of 30. So while Winn should be a decent player this season, the odds are he'll fall below average soon afterwards. Which is no big deal ... the Giants can use him for 2006 and then let someone else worry about him, right?
Today, Brian Sabean, the general manager of the Giants and the man who got my name in the Chronicle recently as the one voice claiming that the emperor has no clothes, just extended Randy Winn's contract another three years, to 2009, for more than $23 million. That's $23 million for the time when Winn is aged 33-35 and is liable to be a below-average player.
If you don't follow baseball, you'll have to take my word for it: what Randy Winn is likely to produce during those three added years will be worth a lot less than $23 million. But there he'll be, another albatross around the financial neck of the Giants, and Brian Sabean will say "I wish we had more money to spend, but we don't," never realizing that the primary reason there is no money is because he spends $23 million for mediocrity.