Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Adios, Tim Flannery

Lost in all the Pablo Sandoval news -- third base coach Tim Flannery is retiring to spend time at home. Nice work by the SF chron's Henry Schulman -- 

Tim Flannery, the old soul who can sing a perfect three-part harmony one night then chase a baserunner from third to home the next, is calling it a career.
A day after the Giants lost third baseman Pablo Sandoval, their third-base coach phoned general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy to say he was stepping down after eight seasons in San Francisco and 33 years in professional baseball.
Flannery, 57, told The Chronicle by phone he is physically and emotionally spent, has done all he wants to do on the baseball field, wants to spend more time with his wife and family and devote his energies to raising money for all manner of causes through his music.
In short, the all-encompasing parade of baseball seasons finally got to him.
“I call it the god-damned blessed road,” Flannery said. “I’ve buried friends. I’ve put friends in rehab. I’ve watched marriages dissolve. There’s a lot of collateral damage in this lifestyle I’ve had for 33 years. I’m going to send myself home safely.”
Flannery said he had thought about this all year.
“Physically, the grind of the season, and the way I demand how I work and what I expect of myself, I just didn’t feel I was capable in a quick turnaround to do it again.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sandoval gone?

CBS Sports is reporting that he's signed a deal with the Bosox. I would imagine that the chance to DH as he gets into his mid-30s is attractive but I'm a little surprised. According to what the Merc-News is reporting,  the Giants were willing to give him more money than they gave Hunter Pence last year (5 years, $90 mil)....

Here's part of the report, which indicates that the Giants won't settle for starting Joaquin Arias and/or Matt Duffy at third  --

"We don't have a solution in house," general manager Brian Sabean said earlier this month. "It would have to come from the outside."
Sandoval was signed out of Venezuela in 2003, starting an up-and-down decade with the Giants. He broke into the big leagues in 2008 and was an MVP candidate as a 22-year-old, hitting .330 with 25 homers and 90 RBIs in 2009. He would never reach those heights again, and in 2010 Sandoval was benched in the postseason because he was overweight and slumping.
Sandoval went through a well-publicized offseason conditioning program that winter and regained his job in 2011, hitting .315 with 23 homers and making his first All-Star team. His regular season numbers dropped off in his final three seasons with the Giants. He hit 12, 14 and 16 homers and his average never again hit .300. His OPS dropped to .789 in 2012, and then to .758 and .739 in his final two seasons with the Giants as he battled weight issues off and on. Sandoval was up around 280 pounds at points of the 2013 season but checked in at 250 this spring and was noticeably quicker at third base.
Despite the declining regular season numbers, Sandoval brought his best when the lights were brightest. He hit three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series and was the MVP as the Giants won a second title. Last month, Sandoval was a consistent threat in the middle of a banged-up lineup. In the midst of the run, Sandoval said he wasn't thinking about the offseason possibilities.
"I want to be a Giant and win a World Series again," he said in late October.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Panik to Crawford to Belt

Lefty Malo has a great analysis of the key DP in Game 7 of the World Series --

You can click through for the video. Here's the post....

This was the best defensive play the Giants made in 2014, and not just because it likely saved a run or more in the seventh game of the World Series. And not just because it was probably the difference between winning and losing the World Series.

It wasn't just the best play of the year contextually. It was the best defensive play because it required two players, not just one, each doing more than one spectacular thing. (You can watch the video above for the advanced-technology breakdown. You can also watch an animated GIF of it over and over and over, and read a great explanation of the Giants' underrated defense, here.)

Joe Panik starts it all with a flat-out dive to snare a ground ball on a hard, fast infield. Diving on hard dirt on one's belly with a glove extended to catch a ball is something we see major leaguers do every day, but it's difficult -- and it hurts!

Panik then boosted himself up with the bare right hand enough to flip the ball out of his glove to Crawford, just in time to get the bullet-train Lorenzo Cain at second.

That's two spectacular things from Joe Panik, and if we stopped right there, it would be good enough to be the play of the night, the Series, perhaps still of the year. One out, man on first, a much more manageable situation.

But wait. There's more. Panik's flip was good, but it wasn't perfectly accurate. Crawford had to jerk his glove up and to the left to receive the flip. Just that alone: great reflexes, great catch. Because Craw had to shift his weight toward center field to catch the ball, he was in terrible position to make a throw to first.

But, as you might have noticed, he did make a throw to first. Watch the footwork. He doesn't really get momentum toward first, but he makes a mini-crow hop to at least get in better position and perhaps avoid taking Cain's helmet in his kneecap. Still, it's a throw that middle infielders will often plant in the dirt or throw wide in either direction or simply get nothing on. Not Brandon Crawford. You might call his work on that play one spectacular thing, but I like to think of it as three: the catch, the pivot, and the throw.

That's five great athletic, reflexive, instinctive feats action-packed into one play. The greatest play of the year.

And note to all players out there: The Statcast technology shows that Hosmer slowed down by more than 2 MPH by diving into first base. If he had stayed upright, he would have been safe.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

RIP Ray Sadecki

If there's a trade that epitomizes the 1960s Giants, this is it -- the Giants had a surplus of Hall of Fame first basemen (Stretch and Cepeda) and not enough pitching.

So they traded Cepeda to the Cards for Sadecki and finished just behind the Cards for the next two seasons.

Ray had a 2.6 and a 2.8 WAR in 1967 and 1968

He stunk up the joint in 1969 so the Giants traded him and Dave Marshall for Bob Heise and some other guy

Friday, November 21, 2014

Romo not in the Orange and Black?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RIP Alvin Dark

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Really, Barry?

One of the toughest parts of being a Giants fan between 2007 and 2013 was enduring Barry Zito's awful pitching and watching him burn through $126 million -- keeping the Giants hamstrung from getting any other free agents.

Now CSN Bay Area is reporting that he's going to try to come back next season.

I'm still stunned that he won two postseason games in 2012. Game 1 of the World Series had to be demoralizing for Detroit -- not just because of the 3 Sandoval homers but because it was Zito who was actually effective that night. 

I'm sure someone will give him a shot in spring training.

Here's how WAR over his Giants career, per Baseball Reference:

2007: 2.0
2008: -0.1 
2009: 2.6
2010: 1.5
2011: -0.6
2012: 0.2
2013: -2.6

So in seven seasons, he had a cumulative 2.6 WAR

It was pretty horrible most of the time.