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, 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 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.