First thing is, you gotta understand that at least one SFist writer obsesses over the Giants to a damned near unhealthy point and scours the internet on a fairly regular (constant?) basis looking for Giants orts. So it's pretty rare when significant San Francisco baseball news reaches him through the papers first. Today, though, the Chron had a pretty sweet scoop when it reported that the Giants have all but signed Florida closer Armando Benitez to a three-year $21 million deal. Once he passes a physical, which could happen as soon as today, Thunderbirds are Go and the Giants look like the team to beat in the NL West, especially if they sign a legit bat to hit behind Barry Bonds.

Inconsistency in the Giants' bullpen, you may recall, was probably the main reason the team didn't make the playoffs this season. By signing Benitez, the premier reliever on the free agent market, they've given themselves the bullpen stability they missed so badly this year and are looking pretty formidable looking ahead to the coming season. Mad props to Brian Sabean.

For in-depth analysis from the Lunatic Fringe, as always in these matters, visit Across the Seams, El Lefty Malo, Only Baseball Matters, Westwood Blues, or another of your favorite Giants blogs.