Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Foppert is back

The Giants signed Jesse Foppert to minor league deal yesterday. If you don't remember, Foppert was originally drafted by the Giants in the second round in the 2001 draft as a Shortstop. The Giants converted him to a starter due in part to his ability to hit the high 90's on the radar gun.

Foppert worked his way up through the Giants system as a starter and in 2002 was a Texas league allstar. That season he was considered the Giants minor league player of the year. Entering the 2003 season, Foppert was Baseball America's #5 prospect overall and #1 pitching prospect. Foppert had won a spot in the Giants rotation by the spring of 2004.

2004 proved to be Foppert's only full season in the majors. He had 21 starts and went 8-9 in 111 innings with 101 K's. He ended up with a WHIP-1.55, an ERA-5.03, and K/9-8.19. The next 2 seasons Foppert bounced between the majors and minors as he nursed injuries and recovered from Tommy John surgery.

Foppert was traded to Seattle with Yorvit Torrealba in 2005 and pitched in their minors for 2 seasons before being released. Foppert signed back with the Giants in early 2007 and spent last seasons at AAA Fresno where he struggled mightly with his control and had an ERA-7.63 and WHIP-2.13.

While Foppert still looks like he has a long way to go to get back to the promising young kid the Giants drafted 8+ years ago and is most likely a long shot at this point, at 29, he is a low risk/high reward type that is good to see in the system. The Giants want to see him succeed as much as he does and have invested alot over the years in his development. At the least, Foppert will fail in his comeback and the Giants are out minor league money. At the best, Foppert could regain his form and become a quality set up man for the likes of Brian Wilson.

Why Not? Joe Crede

Much has been made this offseason about the Third Base situation. Who should it be? Are their internal options? Can Pablo Sandoval handle the job full time? Can Jesus Guzman make the jump to the major league level? Can the Giants find an adequate trading partner? Should they fill the spot via free agency with guys like Ty Wiggington? How about Joe Crede?

Joe Crede is an interesting name out there and many fans seem to want to take a flyer on him. There are valid reasons to want him on the Giants, at least based on past performance. Crede has shown good power, the ability to hit in the clutch, and a great glove. But is he really the answer, long term or short?

Crede is coming off serious back surgery after the 2006 season and played in only 47 and 97 games the next two seasons, while bouncing around the disabled list. he hasn't been able to stay healthy or in a lineup consistantly, and his bat hasn't come back all the way. His normally supurb defense took a major hit last season as well. His career average of 11 Errors in approx 1200 innings at third went up to 20 Errors in 834 innings. That's nearly double the Errors in 3/4 the total innings or a dip from .970 to .930 fielding percentage, not even an average fielder.

While no one thinks he can't get healthy or have a rebound season, the question remains, will he ever get back to his old form?

At 30, Crede should be in his prime, but only for maybe a few more seasons. With the injury history, it is easy to argue he may have played his best already. In the past, Crede put up 4 consecutive seasons (2003-2006)of 19, 21, 22, and 30 HRs, last year 17. With a better lineup around him than the Giants are expected to have, he only produced 75, 69, 62, and 94 RBIs, last season 55. Crede's batting lines were .261/.308/.433/92 OPS, .239/.299/.418/83 OPS, .252/.303/.454/96 OPS, and .283/.323/.506/107 OPS. Last season he hit .248/.314/.460/98 OPS.

Those aren't exactly numbers that jump out as threatening. Compareable 3B on the trading block or in F.A. like Ty Wiggington- 34 2B, 23 HR, 79 RBI, .270/.330/.460/105, Jorge Cantu-40 2B, 23 HR, 96 RBI, .275/.317/.460/102, and Edwin Encarnacion- 35 2B, 23 HR, 85 RBI, .266/.346/.455/103. Other third base options possibly include JJ Hardy, Hank Blaylock, Rich Aurilia, Ryan Zimmerman (highly unlikely at this point but is possible), and Garrett Atkins. All of which have a higher career OPS, BA, and OB%. Only Rich Aurilia lags behind in Slugging, with a career average of only 4 less HR, 6 less RBI, and SL% differencial of .010.

The Giants really only need 1 corner infielder, and if they expand to the First base market, guys like Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Nick Swisher, Chris Davis, and Jason Giambi could be had. Everyone of those is much more potent on offense and the defense Swisher and Davis would provide is at least the same caliber that Crede would provide. With the exception of Davis, all could be had relatively cheaply.

One of the strongly used arguements for signing Joe Crede is the ability to get him on a short term deal. Crede could probably be signed for 1 year and between 6 and 8 million. If the Giants wait long enough, maybe even 5 million. Of the others mentioned above, only Aurilia can more than likely be had on a 1 year deal, but the way the free market is setting up I would not be suprised to see guys like Dunn, Giambi, Burrell, and Wigginton be had on 2 year deals. The reasoning behind the 1 year deal is based around when the Giants young pitching is major league ready and the surplus can be used as trade bait to acquire a young power hitting third baseman.

While I agree this is what eventually will need to be done, nothing points to the Giants being able to count on that surplus next offseason.

While Joe Crede would provide some added boost to the offense, he still wouldn't even be the best bat in the lineup. Bill James Handbook for 2009 shows these projections:

Joe Crede- 96 G, 16 2B, 14 HR, 47 RBI, .255/.312/.447/.759
Bengie Molina- 140 G, 25 2B, 17 HR, 83 RBI, .277/.311/.421/.732
Randy Winn- 155 G, 37 2B, 11 HR, 63 RBI, .287/.347/.416/.763
Pablo Sandoval- 150 G, 42 2B, 17 HR, 103 RBI, .320/.346/.500/.846
Fred Lewis- 140 G, 25 2B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, .277/.353/.416/.769
Travis Ishikawa- 50 G, 12 2B, 7 HR, 30 RBI, .271/.340/.476/.816
Edgar Renteria- 146 G, 33 2B, 11 HR, 69 RBI, .286/.345/.406/.751
Nate Schierholtz-140 G, 36 2B, 17 HR, 74 RBI, .299/.331/.491/.822
Aaron Rowand- 154 G, 38 2B, 18 HR, 74 RBI, .276/.339/.438/.777
Kevin Frandsen- 144 G, 33 2B, 8 HR, 54 RBI, .280/.322/.402/.724

As you can see, everyone currently expected to see the majority of playing time for the Giants is projected to have a better offensive season than Crede, with the onlt exception being in Kevin frandsen's power. The 2 guys most affected by a Crede arrival, Sandoval and Ishikawa, have higher pojections then all the veterens. Now, Crede is only projected for slightly over half the games and could end up staying healthy, but there in lies the biggest problem with him...

Joe Crede can't be counted on to stay healthy! Joe Crede can't be counted on to provide an offensive upgrade over anyone on the team, especially the guy he would bumb, Pablo Sandoval. The other problem is Crede would force Sandoval over to first, which is probably his better position, but more likely than not would force Sandoval back and forth throughout the year as Crede is hurt. That would not help the development of Pablo Sandoval nor Travis Ishikawa.

Joe Crede shouldn't be signed at any costs, he just isn't right, this is why not...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sanchez on the block? Who do you want for him...

In a conference call today, Giants GM Brian Sabean stated now that they have Randy Johnson under contract, he would start "listening to offers" on lefty stud Jonathan Sanchez.

Many names have been thrown out already this offseason as potential targets and many have been shot down already...Hank Blaylock...Edwin Encarnacion...Jorge Cantu...Dan Uggla...Garrett Atkins...Nick Swisher...Xavier Nady...JJ Hardy...Kelly Johnson

Since this is our time to play GM, lets assume the Giants trade him, who do you want for him? What trade would you make? Realistically, who should the Giants target?

Lets start a comment thread...Who should the Giants trade Sanchez for????

Just for the record, I think they should hold onto him for one more season and see what he can do, but for fun, i'll start the thread...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Johnson contract details

Randy Johnson recieved a 1 year contract for $8 million dollars and incentives that can reach $5 million more.

It sounds like he has a $2.5 million incentive for performance and another $2.5 million in award bonus. I'm guessing the performance are tied mostly to innings pitched and wins and the Award bonuses are tied to reaching 300 wins, 500 K's, post season, allstar game, and Cy Young. Therefore, $2.5 million should be relatively easy to acchieve and the other $2.5 a little harder.

All in all, even if he maxes out, this is a win/win situation for the Giants. I'm certain they would be more than happy to pay $13 million to a pitcher who more or less dominates. Giants: Great sign

Welcome Randy Johnson, now our Cy Youngs out number the others

Randy Johnson is a Giant!

I can honestly say, until this off season, I never thought that would happen. And, he's still good. This is a great move by Brian Sabean in what has been an overall good and productive off season. Johnson brings #2-3 starter quality to fill out the #5 spot on the roster. Combined with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants starting rotation can be as good as anyone's in the league.

This is definately a move that brings more wins to the team and provides the ability to need less run support.. Not that the Giants want to score less runs but this closes the gap between the run differential.

...And think about the K's we will see next year...

We'll have more details on the contracts when they get released.

Ask not what you can do for Teixeria, but what Teixeria can do for you...

In the aftermath of Mark Teixeria signing one of the largest professional athlete contracts in the history of sports, with the N.Y. Yankees, people all across the country are standing up and crying foul. "The system is broken", "baseball needs a cap", "the Yankee's are evil", "baseball is ruined"! You name it, it's probably been said. But really, is the system detrimentally flawed? (thats going to be for another post) And more importantly, what does this signing mean to the Giants? Because really, thats what we care the most about...

So the Yankees just commited nearly half a BILLION dollars to three players over the next 6-8 years. The Giants couldn't do it. Most people wanted the Giants to go hard after Teixeria and Sabathia (myself included, although I wouldn't call it hard, but more off an attempt), now we know the price we would have had to pay. Sabathia could have probably been had for $140-150 mil because he reportedly wanted to play here. Teixeria wanted to be back there, so the Giants would have probably had to go in excess of $200 mil to lure him, and then, the Yankees still may have countered. So here we are, No CC, No Tex. What now?

Well, the Giants still have their money. They still have all their trading pieces. They just signed Randy Johnson to complete a very good starting 5 on paper. The bulpen has been significantly upgraded. The offense has been improved, however slightly. The young guys all have another season under their belt. The outfield is set barring a trade. Really, all the Giants need is just a little more hitting to get them through one more season and then they should be set up good. So how then, do you ask, can the Teixeria signing help? With the Yankee's?

Earlier this off season, the Yankees traded for Nick Swisher. Presumably, at the time, it was to play 1B. Thats not happening now. Now the Yankee's have 4 outfielders making a decent salary and they might be trying to add Manny Ramirez. That means that 1, or even 2 of them are available via trade. They have:

-Johnny Damon- OF only, getting old, 1/$13 mil left, the Giants aren't looking for a 1 year rental and already have Aaron Rowand. Also has a partial NTC.
-Hideki Matsui- Exact same as above, OF only, full NTC, 1/$13 left, Giants have Randy Winn already, not looking for a 1 year rental. And his power at AT&T wouldn't be any better than Molina, probably equal to what Lewis will provide next year.
-Xavier Nady- Another 1 year conract although for about $7 mil. He could potentially play 1B but is not proven their and is a renatl. He also has more value so the Giants would have to give up something they may not want to.
-Nick Swisher- Now here is the intruiging one. he just signed a deal last year and has 3/$21+ left on his current deal plus a club option for $10.25 mil a fourth year. He is coming off a bad year at the plate, Has proven he can play an effective 1B, and has shown a lot of power with 108 career homeruns. Swisher is still only 28, so he should have his best 5 years ahead of him. The Yankee's didn't have to give up much to get him and don't need much now to complete their roster.

This is not to say the Yankee's will just let him go easily but in the end, he may be the most valuable trade chip in other teams can find similar players still on the FA market.

The Yankee's few remaining needs are a bulpen upgrade, backup IF help, a starting pitcher, and restocking the minor leagues. Jack Taschner, Eugenio Velez, Noah Lowry (if healthy), Jose Martinez, Kevin Pucetas (not sure i'd be happy giving him up yet in this deal), and Billy Sadler fit this. I'm sure some lower level minor leaguers would be included but I think a deal could be made.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why? Fred Lewis

Much has been said about the Giants lack of offense of the Giants need for a power bat in the middle. Most like to say, just go out an sign a FA and take care of it. There are, after all, a few good ones on the market. The problem is, they are all outfielders, at least the ones who want to come here or whom the Giants can afford and the outfield is the Giants most set position. Now, I'm not saying the Giants can't upgrade at any of the three positions, but is it really the right move? I don't think so, what do you think? Let's take a closer look.

Aaron Rowand is starting the second year of a 5 year/$60 mil contract, that leave around $49 mil to go. While he is not completely untradable, he is close based off last years performance and his existing contract. Put it this way, he means more to the Giants having him vs. dealing with the return they would get for him. In a better lineup, different spot in the lineup, or just less pressure, it is safe to presume he can return to his career .800+ OPS.

Randy Winn is the Giants most consistent hitter and a leader in the clubhouse. He is in the final year of his 3 year/$23.25 mil deal that pays him $8.25 mil this season. The Giants need the offense he can provide and being it's his walk year, we should be able to expect bigger things than last year. Rumors are he wants to be extended here (http://hotstove.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/12/giants_to_wait_on_extension_fo.html). The Giants may be able to get a decent return for him but it would probably be better in July when the trade deadline approaches. Keeping Winn for the first few months would also help better gauge whether or not Nate Schierholtz is ready for more than just 4th outfielder instead of throwing him in there and having him fail.

That leaves Fred Lewis. If an outfielder has to give this offseason, it more than likely would be him. So, should he be moved out for a power hitting outfielder?

Lewis just turned 28 Dec. 9th. Last season was his first full season as a starter. Considered a late bloomer in the baseball world as most good ballplayers make a name for themselves by 23-24, not 26. His season ended slightly prematurely as he had surgery to remove a bunion on his foot that he had been dealing with most of his life. Even still, the Giants received ample opportunity to evaluate him as me took over Barry's Yard. The bunion surgery isn't supposed to alter his performance in the future as he should make a full recovery but it is a fairly rare thing for baseball players so whether or not he is ready for opening day is yet to be seen. We'll see come spring training.

Last season, Lewis played in 133 games, most while batting leadoff. Lewis had to concentrate on getting on base so his 2008 stats are more likely to be scued some. Even still, he showed alot of promise that he could be a solid #3 hitter in the future. In 2008, In 468 AB's Lewis had 25 2B's, 11 3B's, and 9 HR's. He also had 81 R to 40 RBI, swiped 21/28 bases, had 51 BB's to 124 K's, and a batting line of .282/.351/.440 with a .791 OPS. Given a full season batting in a more appropriate spot in the order, Lewis should post some pretty nice numbers.

Earlier this offseason, Bill James posted his projections for Lewis next season. They are not nearly as accurate as I believe. What he didn't factor in is a move in the order nor an improved offense, which even with the sole addition being Edgar Renteria and an entire year of Pablo Sandoval, the offense is better. Even still, James shows Lewis hitting, in 498 AB's, 25 2B, 7 3B, 10 HR, 84 R, 49 RBI, 57 BB, 115K, 21/29 SB, and a .277/.353/.416/ with a .769 OPS.

For the simple fact that he should receive more AB's, likely 60+ more, his pure numbers should be higher. With the move to the #3, hitting behind Randy Winn and Edgar Renteria vs. the flavor of the month number 8 hitter and the pitcher, Lewis should see many more run production opportunities. Last season Lewis had to learn to be patient as a leadoff hitter and took a lot of good pitches early in the count. Because of this, Lewis' walk total was up but so were his K's. a move down in the order would decrease his K's slightly but I think it would actually increase his BB's. Lewis learned to be patient and his intentional passes would probably go up due to increased runners on in front of him, especially without a true cleanup hitter. There is no reason, with his speed and power, to think the triples last season were an aberration, nor a more aggressive approach won't produce more extra base hits. His BA may dip some as he figures out his approach but most likely rebound by the end of the season and his OPS should be much higher. His projected totals should be much closer to:
557 AB, 156 H 31 2B, 12 3B, 19 HR, 79 R, 81 RBI, 62 BB, 106K, 24/32 SB, and a .280/.359/.481, with an .840 OPS.

This is an extremely conservative evaluation in my mind and I wouldn't be surprised to see the totals exceed 35 doubles, 15 triples, 23 homeruns, and 30 steals. The Bill James model appears to be flawed and is probably the far low end of what Lewis may produce.

One other thing, most baseball people believe a player has his best years between the ages of 28-32 . If so, hat would mean Fred Lewis is just about to enter that and the Giants still control him for another 4 years with Lewis being a late bloomer.

So I ask you, Why Fred Lewis? Why Not? Do you really want Adam Dunn? Pat Burrell? Bobby Abreu? Milton Bradley? Jermaine Dye? At the expense of Fred Lewis? Or wait one more year...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Furcal vs. Renteria, did we really lose?

By now you may have heard, Rafeal Furcal is headed back to LA. What a saga he has turned out to be. I've waited as long as I have to comment on this in an effort to try to gain more facts on the case. I can wait no longer!

To make a long story short, Furcal signed with the Dodgers after spurning the Braves...No, I must go into it more...Furcal, spurned the A's to go with the Braves...No...Furcal spurned the Giants to Go with the A's...No...I'm getting dizzy thinking about this, lets start from the beginning.

Rafeal Furcal received no FA type status this winter, making him much more attractable when he OPTED out of his contract with the Dodgers, eve though he has a bad back and only played in 36 games in 2008. Immediately many teams were interested, mostly the Giants, A's, and the Cubs and Braves considered long shots since they would have to clear payroll. The Giants went in hot and heavy for Furcal, who reportedly was seeking a 4/$48 mil and offered as much as 3/$39 mil possibly with an option. Apparently, at the same time, the A's wined and dined him to the point that Brian Sabean felt confident he wasn't going to take the Giants offer so Sabean pulled it from the table(turned out to be a great move but we'll get to that) and nabbed Renteria for 2/$18.5 mil (widely criticized as overpaying but did they?). The A's, believed to be the front runner, were forced to wait to see if the winter meetings produced a higher bidder while other chips fell, thought their 3/$30 with an option was good. The Braves never cleared payroll or opened up a position, neither did the Cubs. The Dodgers reentered the discussion but were still outsiders. But that mystery team was there. Furcal's agent said a 4th year would get it done so reportedly, the A's offered one at around 4/$35-40, then more. Still, no deal. Other teams came and went and then all in the same day, Ken Rosenthal reported the A's as the front runners and then Furcals agent said he really didn't want to play of Oakland. Now the focus shifted to the Braves where Furcal reportedly wanted to play. So the Braves offered him more and more, until they came to a deal. But that mystery team was still there(Dodgers). Furcals agent, Paul Kinzer, and Rafeal Furcal himself, agreed to a deal with the Braves over the phone, a "gentleman's agreement" and KINZER ASKED Braves GM Frank Wren to fax over a term sheet (the last step in finalizing a deal). Then Kinzer did the unthinkable, and took that offer (3/$30 with an option) to the Dodgers and GM Ned Colletti as a bargaining chip. Colletti then matched that offer and thought he had a deal. Kinzer then took that offer back to Frank Wren and tried to use it as a bargaining chip against the Braves. Wren was outraged (as he should be) because they already had a deal, or so he thought, and told Kinzer he won't be playing this game. It was either the deal they agreed to or no deal. So here we are, Rafeal Furcal is a Dodger again!

What a mess! What a problem! Neither have much character, Furcal nor Kinzer! And to think, the Giants were in on him pretty heavy early on. What may have been? It's nice to see Brian Sabean has learned a thing or two since being used by both Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano. This guy knows he's got a bad back and knows he's on his last big payday, and he didn't care who he took down to get it. I am so glad that he's a Dodger again so we can show him the proper respect at the ballpark.

In years past, Sabean may have bid his contract up and up, and either signed him for an exorbitant amount of money, or missed out on every other decent guy in trying. Would you rather see Ceaser Izturas or Juan Uribe in the middle infield? I think the Edgar Renteria signing was a bit much, but maybe only a few million too high. Yes, it would be nice to see 2/$15-16 attached to his name but it is much better than the alternative. Truly, the more this has played out, the better off I think the Giants made out. Renteria will not block Manny Burriss for long, and will in fact help more than anything. If the Giants signed Furcal, we're talking 2012-2013 to see Burriss. He probably wouldn't even be here by then.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Atkins and Greene

2 quick hits on the Giants today. Not much to note, but could be important in the long run.

First, Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle says the Giants could have Garrett Atkins from the Rockies for Jonathan Sanchez right now if they wanted. It would be a good trade if not for Atkins upcoming free agency next winter. I hope this is not the fall back plan for next season if nothing else works first regarding getting a first or third baseman. That is unless the Giants feel very good that they can sign him long term, but even then, I don't see Atkins being a very successful hitter at AT&T.

Second, and more importantly, Tom Krasovic, of the San Diego union tribune, says the Giants made a run at Khalil Greene before he was dealt to the Cardinals. I think this is of note because the Giants should be not even in the slightest, be entertaining Greene for this team. He is expensive and can't hit. For all his promise, he has been a disappointment and isn't worth his salary. It worries me about Brian Sabean's idea on what the team should look like when you hear stuff like this. Thank you Cardinals for taking him on.

The third base solution

Third base. The Giants. Not exactly a match made in heaven these days. The so called plan is to give the job to Pablo Sandoval next year. Just like the plan was to give Shortstop to Emmanuel Burriss next year, only to change when Edgar Renteria was signed. So, is Pablo Sandoval the answer? I would like to dream yes, but I'm afraid it may only be a dream. Sandoval was a catcher until the end of last season, not that he can't make the move but that's a lot to plan on in only a few short months. I'm certain Brian Sabean has examined all options over the last few years and come up short. That was until yesterday, when the Astros cut ties with Ty Wiggington. So where are we and what are all our options?

-Ryan Zimmerman- #1 choice. Could be had for Matt Cain. Would be long term solution.I think worth the price. If Teixeria signs there, they need to clear cap space. Would Sabean do it?
-Adrian Beltre- 1 year left, would cost Sanchez+, possibly bring back 2 draft picks. Good offense and defense. Not long term solution. Doesn't fit the plan.
-Rich Aurilia-Adequate backup and platoon. Most likely to happen. Not much power anymore.
-Joe Crede-Ailing back still, probably a 1 year incentive laden deal. Not worth it. Not long term solution. Offense seems to have deteriorated
-Edwin Encarnacion- Nicknamed E5 for a reason.No defense.Not worth the price in trade even though some pop in bat. Will eventually be moved to outfield or 1B. Not long term solution.
-Hank Blaylock-No longer a adequate at 3B, needs immediate move to 1B. Not long term solution. Not worth any price in trade.
-Jorge Cantu-Decent pop but his career is very inconsistent. Will he regress. Steep price. Stay away unless the price drastically drops. Probably not a long term guy but could buy 2-3 years.
-Dallas McPherson- Could have had for money last season, probably going to cost a bit now in trade. Untested at MLB level still.
-Chris Davis-Good long term option. Would be worth a Sanchez + deal but not Cain. Question is, can he be had? Rangers undoubtedly aren't excited at giving him up so deal could be very costly
-Juan Uribe- Not really a third baseman, kinda reminds me of Castillo last year.
-Nomar Garciapara- No, sorry Nomar
-Garrett Atkins- His road splits are horrendous. Colorado is asking for a lot,especially intradivision.
-Mike Lowell- To much money and time on his deal to even consider, unless the Red Sox throw in a lot of cash AND take Dave Roberts off our hands. Not going to happen.

So where does this leave us?

Ty Wiggington- can probably be had on a 1-2 year deal for 6-8 million. Not bad. Decent but not great defense. OK, but can he hit? Lets compare his 2008 lines to those 3B above who are realistic options. We'll start with age, Games,2B, HR, RBI, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS+
Wiggington- 31/111/22/23/58/.285/.350/.526/128
Zimmerman- 24/106/24/14/51/.283/.333/.442/101
Beltre- 29/143/29/25/77/.266/.327/.457/109
Crede- 30/97/18/17/55/.248/.314/.460/98
Aurilia- 37/140/21/10/52/.283/.332/.413/93
Encarnacion- 25/146/29/26/68/.251/.340/.466/106
Blaylock- 28/65/19/12/38/.287/.338/.508/121
Cantu- 26/155/41/29/95/.277/.327/.481/110
Career-162 game average
Wiggington- 34/23/79/.270/.330/.460.105
Zimmerman- 45/21/94/.282/.341/.462/110
Beltre- 33/25/89/.271/.327/.459/107
Crede- 29/25/86/.257/.306/.447/93
Aurilia- 30/19/75/.277/.330/.437/100
Encarnacion- 35/23/85/.266/.346/.455/103
Blaylock- 36/26/97/.274/.337/.465/104
Cantu- 40/23/96/.275/.317/.460/102

In a game where statistics are everything, the ones above don't lie. Ty Wiggington had the best 2008, although it was close. Outside of trading for Ryan Zimmerman, who in my estimation is worth Matt Cain, Wiggington would be the best pickup we could make. It would only cost money, probably a short contract to help build his value back up, and we could keep all our trading chips for later on. Career wise, if you look closely, they are better than everyone currently on the Giants roster (Bengie Molina 2008-145/33/16/95/.292/.322/.445/98) The addition of Wiggington would allow the move of Sandoval to first base and drastically improve the offense.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jake Peavy to the Giants?

Here's a new one, a tidbit from Jake Peavy's agent last night. The Giants "I think they have the money but I don't know if they have the prospects." What? Are the Giants engaging actively in Jake Peavy? I would venture to guess that Brian Sabean may have kicked a few Kevin Towers shins on this one but I'm not sure he has done more than that yet. Jake Peavy in a Giants uniformwould be awesome, but at what cost. For his pay scale increase over the next 5 years in millions, $8, $15, $16, $17, (club option $22 with $4 buyout so essentially) $18, he is very expesive, almost Barry Zito money with the exception of this upcoming season, what would it take to get him? Matt Cain- No Freakin Way. Peavy may be better but is 4 years older. Cain's under team control for 3 more season at a total cost $13 million. How about Tim Alderson, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, or Angel Villalona. Again, No way. 3 of them are close to the majors and Villalona may end up with the highest upside out of all of them. Do we really want to trade these guys just before realizing how much the Giants could have done with them? Surely Peavy could not be had without one of them.

If the Padres were willing to go with some sort of deal made out of Jonathen Sanchez, Eugenio Velez, Nate Schierholtz, Jack Taschner, Kevin Pucetas, Henry Sosa, Dave Roberts (clear his contract for the season for us and he is off the Pads books next year) and/or Jose Martinez, then the Giants should entertain it more. I don't know if they would bite on that. Maybe if they get desperate but then again, if they get desperate, every team might be in on him AND the Padres would still be trading inter division. I geuss it would be up to Peavy and his No-Trade clause at that point

One other thing, Peavy started to show signs of arm trouble last season. It may never happen, but as everyone like to point out, his mechanics are flawed. Can the Giants really afford to pay 2 guys 15-18 million to struggle to regain their form. No Way.

Maybe the Giants shouldn't do this deal either.

The Big Unit in Orange and Black?

The Giants appear to be interested in Randy Johnson and he appears to be interested in the Giants. Both Brain Sabean and Johnson's agent have confirmed the mutual interest. Wow, this may be really good. Johnson can still pitch as evident last years 11-10 record with a 3.91 ERA last season in hitter friendly Arizona. Yes Johnson can still pitchand he wants a 1 year contract. Better yet. The Giants need to sign him. It will allow a slower progession of the talent in the minors (Pucetas, Alderson, Bumgarner) and not financially tie up the franchises recourses for Lincecum or hitters next season. Plus, at only 5 wins from 300, Johnson is a marketing dream. Oh yeah, and the Giants wouldn't lose to him next year. Between him pitching for them and Greg Maddux retiring, that's gotta mean 6-8 more wins for the Giants! Go get him Sabean.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kickin' tires...Throwin' hubcaps...Body slammin' lugnuts

What is going through Brian Sabean's mind now? I wonder, as he gets ready to lay his head on the pillow tonight, what he might be thinking? I wonder, in the wake of his now very public boil over to 4 reporters in the Giants Las Vegas suite, what the phone conversations with management were like? Better question...I wonder if management even asked him about it?

For those who have yet to see, Brian Sabean basically tossed 4 reporters (http://blogs.mercurynews.com/extrabaggs/2008/12/10/angry-sabean-rails-against-media-questions-sabathias-interest/#more-677) out of his suite mid interview. It might be a first for him. Sabean seemingly imploded on questions surrounding CC Sabathia and the search for a big hitter, more specifically Mark Teixeria. Sabean then went on to blame the media and internet rumors for causing the perception he didn't create. Maybe...

For Brian Sabean's part, I actually agree with him (I can't believe I just said that), kind of. Then again, I think he needs a wake up call too! He is right, the media did HELP to create this perception. But so did he. He probably never had any intentions of signing Sabathia, nor Teixeria, but he certainly didn't give much reason for people to think otherwise. Back in the late part of theseason, in an interview with the Razor & Mr. T on KNBR 680, he said under hypothetical scenario's, that yes indeed the Giants would be willing to sign another pitcher to a $100+ million contract. The media did run with every little snippit of info they could, alot of it false, but is it really their fault, our fault? Ours? How could it be ours?

What Brian Sabean doesn't seem toget, who he seems to want to blame, is not just the so called media, it's all of us. Every one of us, writing a blog, reading what others write and then commenting back, listen to every interview. We are all to blame then. I think, in todays age of technology, we are esentially all the media. If you think about it, never before have we had so much at our fingertips. At any moment, we can turn on youtube, listen online to a radio interview (live or podcast), read a newspaper article or an authors own blog on what his article may be, or browse through websites built completely about trade rumors. We can comment ourselves. We all have our opinions and that's why we do it. Every one of us can choose to start a blog, answer someone elses opinion, try to sway public perception to what we think needs to be done. At the same time, we can have direct communication with those credentialed reporters. How does it differ between myself litening to a radio interview given by Brian Sabean, then blogging about the details and linking the site to my blog and reading a Baggerly report on his rant which included exerpts from the same interview associated with the rant interview. Other than Andrew Baggerly being a credentialed and respected journalist, nothing really. Both were reported in the same fasion, a blog. My point is this: esentially, we are all the media.

In the Internet rumor era, (because face it, we are there) we as fans, have crossed over from the audience to the media. We are both. We request and require all the knowledge we can and we also provide it. We share it amonst ourselves and with our beloved journalists. Most of us will never attend a press confernce, talk to a baseball executive on their private cell phone, or sit in the press box at a game. It doesn't mean we don't have the ability to share, learn, and report. We are doing it. This is what Brian Sabean is not getting. This is what he needs to understand. We are not going away. We want more. We will get more. As long as we are the audience, the journalists, editors, and most importantly the advertisors will see us for what we are: Profit and Success. And that will assist us to continue to crossover into the world of reporting.

As long as Brian Sabean is pointing fingers at us, he is missing the big picture. If Sabean cannot figure out a way to use us to his advantage, he is doomed in todays changed world and we WILL eat him alive. This is our Giants team, not his. We buy all the tickets, hotdogs, and Jersey's, we pay all the salary's. He needs to figure it out or get out.

CC you every three years

CC Sabathia has signed with the Yankees!!! A lot of emotions have traversed my little brain today. When I woke up at 0530 this morning and that was the first thing I saw at www.mlbtraderumors.com I was deflated. I realized I had bit into the apple, drank the kool-aid! I wasn't sure until this morning that I thought Sabathia should sign with the Giants. Then suddnely I was dissapointed. Who knew. Visions of Licecum's and Cain's dancing through october with CC, gone in the flash of a Cashman. I had convinced myself that a second $100 mil contact for a pitcher wouldn't hamper the team. Then I took the day to think it over and cam up with this...

Thank god they didn't commit another monsterous contact to a free agent pitcher. The Giants system is built to contend in 2010, not 2009. With 2 stud pitchers in high A ball, and 3-5 more potential good starters along side them, the Giants can field thier own pitching staff for the next 7-10 years from within. Next year, Carl Crawford could be available in the free agency world and he would be a PERFECT fit for AT&T park and the Giants lineup. At that point Randy Winn, Bengie Molina, Noah Lowry, and Dave Roberts will clear payroll. Between the Rowand, Cain, and Licecum bumps in payroll, and the savings from those already named, the Giants could be major players in the free agent market, still have money for their own players, and have surplus players to make significant trades.

In the end, although it could have been fun, CC to the Yankee's is a good thing for the Giants

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Due Diligence!!! thats all folks

Just finished listening to S.F. Giants GM Brian Sabean giving an interview on KNBR 680 with "the Razor & Mr. T". A few tidbits of useful info were passed along. Most surprisingly to me are my current thoughts about the state of Sabean's mind and the direction I think he is on with the team. I actually think I like it.Well,lets not get carried away just yet, I might need to ponder a little farther. Just a side note, it was very fun listening to the banter between Ralph Barbieri and Brian Sabean as Ralph grilled him about Mark Texeria,CC Sabathia, Barry Zito, and every other free agent/trade rumor floated out there. To listen: http://www.knbr.com/razorMrT/index.html

Some Sabean tidbits:
-Mark Texeria- "No, None!" on offer to him: Not going offer him a contract. Period. Doesn't believe in the process they are presenting. Setting a market that's never been set. To lay the Gauntlet at 10 years. Wouldn't want to be involved in a 10 year contract. Would cripple us in every other area for 5 years.
-CC Sabathia- Will not go 6 years. Possibly 5 years, "it would be less than 6". As to the reported weekend meeting with him, Sabean said he "doesn't know where that came from. the only reason to meet the player would be to give a legitimate offer and at this point he doesn't have one nor doesn't know if he has plans to make one." (Sabean was very definitive with no to 6 years, stuttered and bounced around the question to 5 years) If we were planning on making an offer to Sabathia, we would have done so. Weare doing due diligence. If it was about the money, I think he would have already taken New York's money or even Milwaukee's money. At this point,I don't even know if any west coast team has made him an offer. Just doing due process with him.
-Trading Jonathen Sanchez- No chance. "I would not give up Sanchez" We don't know what we have with Sanchez yet, don't know about Lowry, and don't even have a 5th starter yet. If we give up Sanchez, we still don't know about Lowry.
-Andrew Baggerly's projected Bochy lineup- "probably close", trying to get a consistent lineup on the field, doesn't think he will getting a hitter in here of any note without giving up something significant.We are not giving up pitching.
-This years winter meetings-Very little concrete conversation or even offers as compared to normal years. Probably be less done here this year than ever before, across all teams
-On improving team- If you can't improve your offense, you need to improve in other ways, pitching. Lower the run differential per game. Can't make a move just to make a move. looking for infield options, not outfield options. If someone has a year left on their contracts, we are not going to do that. "Most of the players available have warts"
-Outfield Power options available- "on the power basis, are so inept defensively, they would be counterproductive" (referring to a move to the infield as well)
-Tim Alderson & Madison Bumgarner- They are on Matt Cain's path, doesn't expect either to make it to the big leagues this year at all but will be in camp as prospect minicamp this spring.
-Randy Johnson-"name we have talked about but at this point we haven't made an offer."
-On (Hank)Blaylock, (JJ) Hardy, Bill Hall, Brian Roberts, (Dan) Uggla, Delmon Young- "you tell me Ralph, would you have any interest. They are on someone else's team, I probably shouldn't talk about them"
-Jorge Cantu & Edwin Encarnacion- Said "They are with other people's teams"then "one is a 3B that should be a 1B and the other is known as E5."
-Travis Ishikawa- could be 1B but could be supplemented by Richie (Arulia).
-Buster Posey-on a very fast track, from what we've seen so far, including Hawaii, he won't be long.
-Kickin Tires- "we're done. Throwing hubcaps now!"

My thoughts: First off, to bad about Texeria but did anyone actuallythink we had a chance? Funny though, that Brian Sabean takes a stand, or as Damon Bruce just said, "a moral stand" against long term contracts. Anyone else think it might be 2 years too late? Second, maybe just maybe they are going after CC, for 5 years. That wouldn't be bad at all...If he would actually take it. And finally, it's good to see he isn't interested in all those old vets/short contracts/no defense 3B we've been linked to. Randy Johnson might actually be on the christmas list after all.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Brian Sabean, WHAT ARE YOU DOING???

As we enter the busiest few weeks of the Hot Stove season, the Giants off season and future path, is becoming more and more clear. We are at a crossroads of sorts as the next move WILL tell us in which direction Brian Sabean, Larry Baer, and Bill Neukom are taking us. Do we sign a dominant CC Sabathia or Mark Texeria? Do we trade for a young and talented 1B/3B like Ryan Zimmerman or Prince Fielder? Or heavens forbid, do we sign Joe Crede, Casey Blake, or trade for Jorge Cantu? What?

That the latest buzz surrounding the Giants.

Normally, I wouldn't be too scared because Brian Sabean never lets his secrets out, not that his past secrets have exactly been great. No, the common thread this offseason is everything you hear comes true with this team. Their was the slight inkling that the Giants preferred Jeremy Affedlt early on, Bobby Howry and the Giants openly clamored for a possible reunion if the contract details were right. Edgar Renteria was reported to have signed suddenly when the Giants were supposedly in on Rafeal Furcal, and the details of the contract were right on, except it really didn't happen for over another week. Not that having rumors come true is a bad thing, except when your an organization that made a public pledge to its fans to go young and build from within, you kind of expect that to happen. We all need free agency but how much.

When the rumors currently the hottest out right now have the Giants eyeing Joe Crede, Casey Blake, Jorge Cantu, Pat Burrell, and Adam Dunn, I worry. No, I FREAK OUT. None of these guys are the answer. Maybe if..... well, possibly..... Nope, still not the answer. All of them mark a return to building a veteran team and forgoing the youngsters. Absolutely not what we need. Not one of them. The Giants would be better off trading Jonathen Sanchez for Adrian Beltre (I know, he's aging as well but at least his contract expires next year and will be a type A so we get picks instead of giving them away) then signing any one or 2 of these guys.

I don't buy tickets to go to a game to see these people and I can guarantee I won't be going to any this year with them, nor will I go to spring training. I haven't bought my tickets yet on purpose because, as I said, we are at a crossroads to see the organizational path and I choose to wait.

If you aggree. please use the link on this page to the SF Giants team contact page and let them know your feelings.

Upcoming offseason plans...

The winter meetings start tomorrow at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. They really start today, as all the teams executives begin filing in. The Giants and Brian Sabean file in with a laundry list of possibilities and, having been by far the busiest team during the early stages of free agency this hot stove season. Going into this off season, the Giants needed to address either a 1B or 3B, possibly a starting pitcher, at least 2 relief arms, and a middle of the order hitter. As winter ball progressed, it became more evident they needed a middle infielder to bridge the gap between Omar Vizquel and Manny Burriss. Also this offseason, the Giants need to try and clear one or two more contracts off their books, like Dave Roberts. So far, the Giants have filled some needs, inking Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry for the pen, and Edgar Renteria for SS.

Next on the agenda, listen carefully at the winter meetings, and hopefully make some of the right moves. Some possible things over the next week:

Trades: Possible matchups: the Cubs for Randy Winn, maybe even part of the Jake Peavy deal. In that case, I can see Tim Alderson or Jonathen Sanchez involved. What they get back had better be Josh Vitters but I think he would be destined for the Padres in that deal. the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion or Joey Votto, as Winn, Bengie Molina, Jonathen Sanchez would be the most likely pieces dealt. the Rangers for Chris Davis or Elvis Andrus, as Jonathen Sanchez or Tim Alderson would probably have to be included for the latter. the Mariners for Adrian Beltre, hard to tell what to give up, but he makes sense even though he is a free agent after this season. Mariners probably want at least Sanchez. the Nationals for Ryan Zimmermann, Matt Cain is the only way this happens. the Marlins for Jorge Cantu, or mayyyybe Dan Uggla, Sanchez (please don't trade for Cantu) again would be involved. the Red Sox for Mike Lowell or Salary relief, could dump Dave Roberts back their as part of a deal but would have to eat money if that's the case.

Free Agents: Joe Crede (as I Shutter), Casey Blake (this seems like a trend but I can't put my finger on it), Randy Johnson (actually, not bad if we either keep Cain and/or sign Sabathia), CC Sabathia (beginning to look more of a long shot but is definitely possible and would form maybe the most potent rotation in the league), Pat Burrell (I feel the trend coming on again, can he really play a decent first?), Adam Dunn (I figured it out, what year is it, these guys are all aging vets. I thought we moved away from them?), Juan Cruz (even though he is a type A and we already saw Howry, another RHP and Affeldt sign, Cruz is a much better setup man and very young still), and last but not least, Mark Texeria (a very, very long shot. Nothing has even remotely tied him here, other than the fact that he is the only available free agent that meets the Giants biggest need, a middle of the order, power hitting, great defensive, corner infielder. But you do have to want to play here)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Busy week

It has been a busy week, a busy one indeed. In the span of 2 days, the Giants have shored up to of their needs, at least lets hope they needed them.

First, they announced the signing of RHP Bobby Howry. Howry, originally was drafted by the Giants and traded in the infamous white flag trade, has had a good career between the 2 Chicago clubs. The past year has seen a significant decline in his performance, but it could have been attributed to his possible overuse by Lou Pinnella. Pinnella may not have overused him based on his past years but the fact that he tired throughout the season is more indicative of less work needed. If the Giants can cut his games down to around 60-65 from 72-77 he average the last few seasons, Howry possibly could get that effectiveness back. His fastball is also down a few MPH and considering he is a fastball pitcher, that may be more indicative of a future with a lesser role. On the upside, Howry still gets a lot of K's and more importantly, he has incredible control, something the Giants have not had in the pen. Howry also has closed in the past so he can be a fallback plan if wilson is overworked. Bottom line is at 1/2.5, Howry is a very good signing. Even if he is the same as last year, he'll be better overall versus having Tyler Walker. If they had gone for more years, it wouldn't look so good. Giants: Good Sign

Second, the Giants signed SS Edgar Renteria to a 2/18.5 contract. So much for the youth movement? Maybe, we'll have to reserve judgement till after the winter meetings this week. Renteria has been a very good player over his career but is now 33 and showed some signs of decline last year. He did not perform like the Tigers had wanted but Giants fans have to hope some of it was related to his never being able to perform in the AL. Actually, his career stats show he has always been a good NL hitter. Just 2 seasons ago, he hit .342 for the Braves. The Giants need to hope he can regain some of his form to not only justify his contract, but help this tea. As a defensive SS, he has always been very good with 4 gold gloves, but has also lost a step. I can see a move to 2B in a few years, but not necessarily over the life of this contract. The good, Renteria can provide some stability to an otherwise, current, Giants infield, it allows Burriss to slide over to second, where he is better suited at the moment, and let Frandsen battle with Burriss. For Burriss's development at SS, this hampers it significantly unless he is sent to AAA this season. What I don't like is the dollar value. The giants are paying about 1.5 million over the top value on him. Essentially, they are paying him for his 2006/2007 seasons and probably had to commit more money to get a deal done before Rafeal Furcal sets the market price. Unfortunately, the Giants have overpaid again, continuing a trend that has haunted Brian Sabeans tenure. Lets hope he is more right this time. As a side note, the deal does have a team option for 1/9 with a 500K buyout or vested buyout if he gets traded. Giants: OK sign

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tyler Walker meet Bobby Howry

The Giants need to shore up the bullpen, they still need a RHP. Bobby Howry seems to want to come here. He's been really good over the years. Sounds to good to be true. It might be...

Bobby Howry's season wasn't like his years of past. Yeah, he still didn't walk guys,but he started to get hit more. His second half was borderline awful. It could have been an aberration, maybe he was out of shape and ran out of gas late. I don't know, it was a contract year. Maybe it was the first sign age is catching up to him. He's 35 now. What is it going to take to get him? Anything more than a 2 year deal is a bad idea. Anything more than 5 million with incentives is a bad idea. He may not cost us a draft pick now, but he could end up costing us some games. Look at the McCovey Chronicles take on it, then look closer. You'll see in roughly the same amount of innings pitched, In the last few years his Earned Runs have nearly doubled, Hits are up 30%,and ERA has jumped from 3.32 to 5.35. Most of it in the second half.

It's not a totally fair comparison considering the arm injuries, but Bobby Howry is starting to sound more and more like Tyler Walker. At this point, a good signing would be Juan Cruz for the Draft pick , or Joe Biemel.

The Save Manny Burriss campaign

Twice now, in the last 2 days, have I read a disturbing report that the Giants might be inclined to offer up Manny Burriss at the winter meetings as trade bait....Stop, Wait, what did I just say? Manny Burriss? This can't be. Surely they must have meant Jonathan Sanchez or Randy Winn, or maybe even Bengie Molina. Nope, none of them can play the middle infield. Lets take another look...

Yep, both Andrew Baggerly yesterday and an AP report today stated it was Emmanuel Burriss. Here's Baggerleys excerpt: (Especially if he’s thinking of including Emmanuel Burriss in trade proposals.) and here's the AP report: If the Giants sign Renteria they might look to make a winter-meetings trade of Emmanuel Burriss, the promising shortstop selected by San Francisco in the first round of the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old Burriss played 95 games last season as a rookie.

Now, what good does this do. The Giants have a very promising young middle infielder, who still needs another season or more to fully develop into his own and can be around for another 10-15 years. The Giants sign a previously good middle infielder and hope he can continue his play, except he's going on 34 and they are only going tohave him for 2-3 years. OK, maybe not so bad at 2 years, but then what...Hand the reigns over to Manny Burriss? You can't, he's staring on another team right now. I guess we sign another veteren stopgap. NOOOOOO!!!!!! It ends here and now. We can't stand for it.

Manny Burriss, Pablo Sandoval, Travis Ishikawa, Nate Scheirholtz, Fred Lewis. Look at that, 5 names going into this year, from our own farm system. 1 is proven (lewis), 2 are promising (burriss, sandoval), and 2 are untested (Ishikawa, Schierholtz). But they are ours. All have potential. We need to be playing for 2010 and hope these guys can lead us to a weak division crown.

It's OK to suppliment Manny Burriss at second with a Kevin Frandsen platoon and an Edgar Renteria at SS, but by god, don't think that Renteria can allow you to trade Manny. This must be stopped. Everyone, please send your thoughts into the Giants team contact email. if they don't get inundated, we can't stop it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The art of a title...the making of a blog...

So, after thinking about the Giants all my life, getting continuously heart broken and hurt by losses and decisions made, and never wavering in my faith in them, I decide to start a blog. I never thought I would blog about anything, hell, I didn't even know what a blog was until a year ago, even though i've been reading them for alot longer. It took me a long time to decide to start this. I have put a ton of thought into it and hope you all like it. I do believe we can make a difference! So then I have to decide on a name...not so easy right? Except one just came to me and made so much sense.

The Giants need a heart! They have had a heart in the past and they need one again. Who else to rally around except Will Clark. It was so easy. They have a good young nucleus to build around now, It is simple. Should I use "Return of the Thrill" no, how about "Bringing back the Thrill". Perfect, and a blog was born...

Then 4 days into I mistakenly google search my blog by typing "Bring back the Thrill" and find something interesting. It looks like my site: it talks about the Giants, it refers to Will Clark, it's almost the same color. What is this? Did someone already hack my site? No, can people leave comments in the form of a blog? No...wait, this isn't my site. These blogs are from Jan of this year, 10 months ago. Only 3 total...This isn't my site! Someone already has this site. The name is just 3 letters different! I was shocked. I thought I had this original idea but...wait, this site isn't quite the same. It doesn't talk about change, I can't find a goal, there hasn't been a blog in over 10 months, only three total. Is is abandoned? Should I change my name? I'm not sure what to do

So I take my Thanksgiving holiday and think it over. What should I do? Well, I still don't know everything but I do know this. I'mkeeping the site. Maybe change the name. Open to suggestions. I was thinking "Timmy's Army" or "Nuschler's news" (so far my favorite) or "Nuschler's return" or maybe "The daily Nuschler". Either way, I'm looking for suggestions and will make a few minor changes but the heart of this, the meaning behind it will stay.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful to be giving thanks!

As I sit here, late at night in the firehouse, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I find myself so lucky to be as blessed as I am. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, a time to appreciate what we have. I know what I have. A beautiful wife who is understanding and encouraging, 4 great dogs, and family and friends who care for me no matter what. Then I see reality hit home.

Tomorrow morning, a friend of mine is running the Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento, from his wheel chair. The reason, he is dying of cancer. This year for Thanksgiving, he gets to enjoy his family, for the last time, and they all know it. I try to put myself in all of their places and I can't fathom what it would be like. Peet may not live until Christmas. Then again he may. Either way, I can't help the feeling I get thinking about the what if's.

It reminds me of when my brother died, May 3rd, 2003. Suddenly, tragically, unexpectedly. Jeff was 23. I didn't know it was coming, didn't get to say goodbye. In a way it was worse, in a way it was better. Everyday I wish to have 1 more conversation with him, but to know the end was coming is an unbearable thought.

So for this Thanksgiving, I hope all of you take in everything that's important and give thanks for what you have. Tell your loved ones how much they mean. And please, if you start fighting, just think how lucky you are to have someone you care so much about to fight with. Because not everyone is so lucky and not everyone will be around the next time. That's what I'm going to do.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, we'll talk Giants ball again in a few days.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What to do next?

Where, oh where, to begin. So Manny holes. So Manny needs. So Manny years removed from success. It could take forever to rebuild this disaster, at least that's how it's viewed nationally. Or will it? If only we had a very young middle infielder to build around a defense, an equally young power hitter just coming into his own, and a pitching staff (throughout the minors) every team in baseball is salivating over. Where, oh where, might we find that...

Wow, maybe the Giants aren't as bad off as people think. The have "the Franchise" face in reigning Cy Young Tim Lincecum with 4 more seasons to lock him up long term. The Contract in Barry Zito for 5 more. Matt Cain for 3 more. and a whole lot of possibilities. Jonathan Sanchez is very promising but still raw. Noah Lowry is a 2 time team leader in wins but coming off a freak arm injury. No one in the minors can be counted on as a starter this year but many are close and we shouldn't be suprised to see many of them get a start or two this year. Kevin Pucetas is possible. Joseph Martinez as well. Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner both have the Lincecum/Cain upside but there is no need to rush them. I hope we don't see them until september at the earliest, preferably next season. Bottom line: unless we get a knockout offer for Cain, say David Wright or Ryan Zimmerman or Ryan Braun, he is more valuable to keep this year and wait for the other pitchers to develop. Barry Zito is virtually untradeable at this point and so is Noah Lowry, for a different reason. Tim Lincecum cannot...I REPEAT, CANNOT...be traded. That leaves Jonathan Sanchez as trade bait. He should be worth more but the other teams all know the Giants situation as well, and will hold out for a lower price. If sanchez cannot fetch a young, major league ready yet unproven potential star, he is also more valuable to keep around 1 more year. The Giants should try to sign 1 free agent starter this offseason. Who, we'll get to that.

The bullpen is arguably the most glaring need. Obviously another bat or two is needed but 2 bats will have less impact on winning than 2 arms to this team. Fortunately, 1 has already been made. Although Joel Biemel was my first choice for a lefty, Jeremy Affeldt was the right move. It's splitting hairs really so who cares. Now, the Giants can put jack Taschner up for trade, or keep him for early inning work. He still has value. Alex Hinshaw can move to a less prominant role and learn the majors. The next move should be Juan Cruz but he will cost us a draft pick. I go back and forth on the value of that. If the Giants sign another type A then it will be more worth it. Cruz is probably gonna take 3 years and another 10-12 mil. A bullpen of Wilson, Cruz, Affeldt, Valdez, Hinshaw, Romo, and either Threets, Yabu, Taschner, or Sadler could be the difference in 10 games from last year. Thats talking division title in the west and thats without scoring 650 runs.

Offensivly and Defensivly the Giants have Manny needs. In a perfect world, they would sign Mark Texeria to a loooong term deal. But this isn't a perfect world. It takes two sides to tango and nothing says Texeria wants to be in the bay. Then again, Scott Boras may slip a little more of his good stuff to mr. Sabean and get what he wants but I doubt it. Outside of a Texeria signing and/or a Cain trade, the Giants need to look internally. Sure, Manny Burriss didn't hit for power last year, but he did hit. He can play defense and hehas the strongest arm since Matt Williams. He is also only 23 and 2 seasons removed from college. Thats all. Lets give the kid a chance. I'm not saying he's the next Cal Ripkin jr., but I bet he's better than the current free agent options when it's all said and done. The youth movement must go on. Pablo Sandoval. Fred Lewis. Nate Shierholtz. Kevin Frandsen. Travis Ishikawa. They need to be evaluated. They need a chance to prove themselves. Manny needs to play.

Now, they are not the complete answer, not for this year, not yet. The farm isn't deep enough, not yet. The Giants need more offense, they are probably going to have to venture into the free agent market. What to do, whom to get, at what price. Well, the most glaring need is 3B, but they do have internal options to try...key word is try. like I said, in the likely case Wright or Zimmerman don't come our way, or they can't work out a trade for chris Davis AND he can play there, they should look at Beltre from Seattle. He should do well in the NL and should be a type "A" F.A. next winter. As long as the price isn't too steep. If not him, wait until late in the hot stove season and try a low cost, short term deal for Joe Crede. He might be looking for 1 more year to reestablish himself and the LF bleachers at PacBell park could be just the thing. A platoon between him, Sandoval, and Frandsen could work. As for the middle infield, Furcal enamors me. I like his unranked status and potential to rebound. A hitter built for this park. But it's alot of money and time and pushes Burriss into a 2b logjam, not a horrible thing, but if everyone develops like they are supposed to, we could have a bad problem in 2 years. then again, it could be a good problem. I don't like O. Cabrera but the more I think about renteria and O. Hudson, the more I am OK with them at 2 years. No more. They shouldn't hamper our future ability to sign our own players, offer an improved offensive production, and could be great trade bait next season or possibly provide draft picks via free agency in 2 years. The only real problem is they are both type "A" F.A. now and the Giants could lose this years pick. Neither are worth that 2nd round pick but do become worth it if the Giants sign 2-3 other type "A"s like Tex or CC and Juan Cruz. The other option is upgrading 1B......TEX...TEX...TEX...we could try Adam Dunn but he doesn't deserve a 4-5 year deal and would negatively impact our future.

The outfield is set and unless the Giants can unload Dave Roberts and Randy Winn or Aaron Rowand, or both, they don't need to be making any plays for upgrades here. If they do, they should go look into Manny Rameriez.

Bottom Line is: the Giants need to make a few small changes this year with the eye towards 2010. Unless they get Texeria or CC, a major star(Zimmerman) in a trade for Cain or a future star(C. Davis, E. Andrus) in a trade for Sanchez, they should sign 1 more middle reliever(Juan Cruz) and get 1 more infielder(Furcal, Beltre, Crede, Hudson, Renteria), probably a middle infielder. They could field a very competetive team next year.

Where are we?

As the San Francisco Giants are transitioning from the Barry Bonds era to the next era, wholesale changes are obviously in order. No longer can the team be built around aging veterans, signed via free agency at the cost of mortgaging the teams future through the loss of draft picks. Gerneral Manager Brian Sabean and former managing general partner Peter Magowan were put on notice last off season by us, the fans, and now it's time to collect.

Brian Sabean has said all the right things over the last year, but his heart just doesn't appear in it. The Giants are in major need of an organizational overhaul. Brian Sabean thinks he might be done. i think otherwise. Lets take a look.

Lets travel back to 2006. 2 years ago. Barry Bonds was getting ready play one more year to take the homerun crown, the team had no succession plan in place, and only a handful of minor league talent worth anything...all pitchers. The team had been spurred in free agency by Alfonso Soriano the previous year and would have the same thing happen again the next off season by Carlos Lee with no offensive weapons to look forward to for the future. A bright spot or two were the emergence of Matt Cain, Noah Lowry, Kevin Correia, and Brad Henessey, all to varying degrees. Also, the rumored talented pitchers buried in the minors with names like Brian Wilson, Brian Anderso-n, and Jonathan Sanchez. A glimmer of hope indeed. So what to do next?

The Giants hadn't produced a star from within their own system for over 2 decades, let alone a position player worth remembering. (Pedro Feliz was the closest and we ran him out of town becasue he couldn't hit...hindsight is 20/20 but...well...looks like we showed him this year. I'm certain he regrets that world series title right about now, and is wondering how he is not better than Jose Castillo or Ryan Rohlinger.) Then they draft this kidout of Washington no one else wanted to take a chance on. A star was born and the Giants had found the face of the franchise. A fan base so desperate to love again, even with the immortal Barry Bonds still around. They didn't know quite yet what they had, even if they thought they did. Proof that the scouts could locate pitching talent poured in and as they further evaluated talent over the next 2 years, they realized they may just have the deepest pitching talent organization in the minors...Or did they realize it yet?

The offseason produced maybe the next closest thing to a defining moment in Brian Sabeans tenure...Barry Zito...loved by the A's nation accross the bay...A desperate measure to create a face of the franchise after BB exit. But the Giants didn't know about Lincecum yet. Or did they?
a roster still full of aging veterans and the inability to move any ina trade, Sabean was forced to wait another year to rebuld. Or was he? The Giants finally ventured into the foreign market and found themselves a 16 year old future star, and a couple of nationally recognized draft picks as potential offensive players. Had they found their way? Not yet, but on the right track. After suffering through BB's last year and clearing the Matt Morris contract, the Giants made one of their best desicions yet. Hiring Ron Schueler. For the first time in a very long time, the Giants focused real time into offensive prospects and it started to pay off. Nick Noonan. Wendel Fairley. Buster Posey. Conor Gillespie. Rafeal Rodriguez. Angel Villalona. Emmanuel Burriss. Pablo Sandoval. Matt Downs. Not to Mention the other pitchers not yet named. Kevin Pucetas. Madison Bumgarner. Tim Alderson. Henry Sosa. Dan Otero. Jessie english. Clayton Tanner. Joseph Martinez. The Giants farm system is well on its way. As a matter of fact, it's past respectability andknocking on the door of top 10 in baseball. They are on the right track. Or are they???

You see, it has to start at the top, and the top for all intensive purposes is Brian Sabean. Now William Neukom is the real top, but he's not a baseball guy. Thats what GM's are for. And that GM is mr. Sabean. Now, is Brian sabean really on board with this youth movement. I think the answer is NO! I hope it is yes, but I don't believe so. You see, he would have to have an entiree change in the way he does buisness. He's been doing this for 11 years now, as GM, and with some early success. That is a recipe for knowing how to do it, or at least think you know how to do it. Why would he want to change. It looks to me like he has already bought out on this new path. Orlando Hudson? Rafeal Furcal? Orlando Cabrera? Edgar Renteria? They sound an awful lot like Ray Durham! Shawon Dunston! David Bell! Jose Vizciano! Edgardo Alfonso! Neffi Perez! Omar Vizquel! Now, I'm not saying these are all bad, just the obvious. They had no choice because the Giants invested virtually nothing into the farm, then lost draft picks by signing players like this, making it more difficult to invest anything into the farm. But 11 years is enough to figure out how to get out of the cycle. I'm also not saying we shouldn't sign one of these 4 players, of even Juan Uribe, or trade for someone else. I've looked at the lack of depth in next years free agent market and realize the potential pitfalls to giving Manny Burriss the nod at the most important infield position. But the focus needs to be on an all around organization, not just a throw money at em and trade away our talent.

What the Giants need to do is allow the off spring to develop while keeping an eye on the future at all times, invest heavily in scouting, minor league instruction, all while filling out a competitive major league roster. It sounds easy enough right. We have the pitching depth now to compete with anyone. Next year we will have the pitching depth to trade for a hitter. Not this year. But thats for another post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where it all went wrong

I can't pinpoint when or where it started. I just know it started. I also know it needs to end. How can it end, ther's only one way: A World Series championship! How did it start? Lets take a closer look, it can't be that hard to figure out.
Was it the Aaron Rowand "gritty" signing, or maybe mortgaging the team on Barry Zito's left arm
. Maybe it was Brian Sabean and Peter Magowen getting called out in the Mitchell report (at least they weren't the only GM/team president combo to get called out...oh wait...nevermind). How about the Barry Bonds Fiasco of 2007...2006...2005...2004...2003...does it end? I'm certain that "The Trade" has something to do with it. Maybe it was something to do with steroids to guys we can't even remember. Surely it has to be the the decision to start Livan hernandez in 2002 in the biggest game in the entire era of S.F. Giants baseball when everyone outside of Dusty baker's mind knew it was the wrong move. Worse yet, it might be the indecision the night before in the 7th inning with a 5-0 lead. Maybe it was the failure to attempt to sign Vald, or anyone of significance to surround Barry Bonds, or how about the mix match philosophy to surround mr. Bonds with aging talent, well on it's downswing.
I think though, it goes much farther back than this. Could it be the new hire GM that was to bring us too the promise land. I'll admit, that early on, Brian Sabean got it right more times than not, but it's looking more and more like he got lucky. Barry Bonds wanted to be here, that was an easy one. Jeff Kent, he got lucky on. He still traded away the last link to how things need to be, a player raised from within.
Even before Mr. Sabean began his decade-plus tenure, it had started. The mid 90's were just brutal, the 103 win team that didn't make the playoffs hurt bad. "The Earthquake", another World Series loss and to the A's even, the Candy Maldonado missed fly, pretty much the entire 80's and 70's for those of you who remember.
Like I said, I can't pinpoint it, but I do know what it is:

It is everything wrong with the San Francisco Giants!

The Giants are a flawed organization right now, lost in their own round-a-bout, problem is, they can't see the way out. On the surface, they can see the road heading in the direction they want to travel, they just can't find the opening to get there. This is where we come in.
For me, I never thought I could influence them team I care so much about. But I was wrong. We are in the age of the internet. We have the ability to get information within minutes of it happening. We can react to rumors, trades, and free agent signings. We can inundate the public relations office with our reactions. We can influence change!!!
It has never been so apparent as last winter, when the Tim Lincecum for Alex Rios trade was rumored. It was real. It was happening. The Freak, the Franchise, the CY YOUNG winner was a gonner! And then we stopped it. The Giants were flooded with hate mail, scolding them for even considering such a move. The radio stations were hounded with callers berating Brian Sabean. The Blogsites and websites were filled with with anti trade propaganda. And the trade never happened. The Giants have admitted the negative publicity influenced their decision.
Tim Lincecum means more than winning a few games, more than any power hitter he could fetch in a trade, and more than Brian Sabean's job. He means they might be headed down the right path. The Giants haven't developed players of their own for 20+ years...20+ years. Thats a generation. Matt Williams and Will Clark. That Era! Think about it, it's along time ago. Some of you were just starting a family, now your grandparents. i was in elementry school, now I'm starting a family.
What the Giants need is to get back to this, bring back the passion in the organization. Bring back the hatred for the Dodgers. Teach the kids in the minors the Giants way, then develop them into Giants and not trade them away. Bring back that firey youngster to hop on his shoulders and have the entire fan base get lost in his wake. We had that before. Will Clark did that for us. Many others have as well. We, as fans, have to make sure of this. We buy the beer, we buy the hot dogs, we buy the jerseys, we buy the tickets. We are not buying the philosophy. We need to Bring back the Thrill.

I have been debating starting this for a while now. Thanks to my lovely wife Cortleigh for pushing me to do it. I decided to make today the day after reading what turned out to be a false rumor on WWW.mlbtraderumors.com regarding the signing of Edgar Renteria. that in itself is a whole other issue but on the surface, it tells me Brian Sabean has to go. As bad as this would be inmy eyes, it makes sense because it's what we shouldn't do, which is the only way Mr. Sabean knows how to operate.
The Giants need to be building their farm system but apparently 2 offseasons and 1 regular season is all the impatient man can muster. Lets hope this rumor continues to be false, but I'm not taking any chances, it's time to take a stand. Lets all bring the noise to the team, let them know how we feel, and lets Bring back the Thrill to this organization.