Giants extend Winn through 2009

Giants extend Winn through 2009

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have signed outfielder Randy Winn to a three-year, $23.25 million contract extension, keeping him with the club through 2009.

"I thought the ballclub was really energized and had a different look when we acquired him," said Giants general manager Brian Sabean. "To get a switch-hitter [who is] a leadoff hitter with a lot of dimensions -- power, speed -- [and] the ability to play the outfield as he does is really a godsend to the organization.

"The opportunity was great, the timing wonderful," added Sabean.

For "wow" factor, few ballplayers could match Winn's accomplishments after being traded from Seattle on July 30 for catcher Yorvit Torrealba and pitcher Jesse Foppert.

Winn, 31, had a phenomenal half-season with San Francisco in 2005, batting .359 overall with 14 homers and 26 RBIs in only 58 games, but he was especially hot in September, earning National League Player of the Month honors.

During that stretch, Winn batted .447 with 51 hits -- most by any Giants player in a single month in at least 30 years -- and had an .877 slugging percentage.

With sluggers Barry Bonds and Moises Alou perhaps perparing for their final season with the Giants, the team wanted to lock up Winn with a multi-year deal. Winn, who grew up in the Bay Area, had already been signed through 2006.

This season, Winn will be the starting center fielder and hit at the top of the order, where he excelled in 2005. When outfielder Steve Finley starts, Winn can play the corners.

His versatility and talent makes him a perfect fit for San Francisco.

"Winn is a heck of a player and heck of a man," said Giants manager Felipe Alou. "He might be entering the peak of his career right now. The extension is well deserved. He made a tremendous impact on our fans last year and also his teammates."

Winn admitted that he was excited to return to his Bay Area roots -- he grew up across from San Francisco in Danville -- but he could have hardly anticipated how his presence would lift the organization's spirits.

"It was fun to come home and play after being around the league a little bit -- my wife [Blessings] and I are from the area, and our families are still there -- and it's real exciting to sign an extension, because we know we'll be here for a while."

Winn laughed that it would have sounded "almost too good to be true" to be in San Francisco and hit spectacularly after spending six seasons in the American League.

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"Growing up as a kid, you always dream of what might be, if you make it to the big leagues what team you'd like to play for," said Winn. "Now, to come back home and play for an outstanding organization, we have a good chance to at least win the division."

Adding to his zest, Winn has also been named to the USA's World Baseball Classic squad, which will play an exhibition game this Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium.

Consistency has long been a staple throughout Winn's career. The 2002 All-Star has played four consecutive seasons with at least 175 hits, 80 runs, 25 doubles, 10 homers, 60 RBIs and 19 stolen bases.

Defensively, Winn has good speed, posting a lifetime .991 fielding percentage.

Winn is the club's lone player signed through 2009, and he becomes the first piece of the "new" outfield contingent as the Giants prepare for the post-Bonds era.

Sabean said that Winn's all-around ability, character and maturity were factors in extending his pact.

"There are certainly more sides to him than the average player," said the GM. "The fact [that] he plays center, switch-hits, leads off and [has] a run-producing dimension is a rarity."

Rich Draper is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.