Saturday, December 30, 2006

A fun Zito stat

This is from Daniel Brown's story for Inside the Bay Area on the Zito news conference --

In 108 career starts with at least four runs of support, Zito is 85-4.

That's a fairly strange stat that I've not seen before (perhaps Zito's agent came up with it?). I am guessing that it's meant to show he's a top-of-the-rotation guy, which is a role that Jason Schmidt wasn't completely filling in the last few years. As I've said previously, it became increasingly clear in 2005 and 2006 that Schmidt was sometimes having real problems in those rare games when the offense was actually productive. The most frustrating was on May 7, 2005 when he got given a 4-run lead in the 3rd (thanks to a Moises granny) and got bombed for 7 in the top of the 4th against the Nats. The Giants went on to score 8 runs and it still wasn't enough.

The story also noted his reaction to the intro at the news conference by Magowan: "It gave me chills," Zito said. "It's great to be mentioned in the same sentence as Barry Bonds. I just hope to help the club the way Barry has over all these years."

My two favorite stories from The Onion in 2006

Terrell Owens Blames Poor Game On Drew Bledsoe, Offensive Line, Hamid Karzai, NASA, Samsung
October 12, 2006
Onion Sports
DALLAS—Troubled, underperforming Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens lashed out in a press conference at the Cowboys practice facility Tuesday, blaming a combination of teammates, world leaders, scientific organizations, and multinational electronics companies for his three-reception, 45-yard performance against Philadelphia Sunday. "I can't catch the ball if the quarterback can't pull the trigger on those passes, and he can't get the pass off if no one's blocking—and who can maintain concentration when [Afghan president] Hamid Karzai is criticizing [Pakistani leader Pervez] Musharraf for not doing enough to stop extremists in his country?" Owens said in response to reporters' questions regarding how he was feeling. "And now NASA says the shuttle came back from its last mission with damage to the protective foam? And I got to watch that news on a Samsung HP-S5053 that makes everything look all oversaturated. Is anyone out there besides me doing their damn job?" Bledsoe, the Cowboys' linemen, NASA, and the Samsung corporation have not commented on Owens' remarks, though Karzai took time yesterday to call Owens a "pass-dropping bitch asshole" on the floor of the United Nations.

Brett Myers Atones For Punching Wife With Solid Seven-Inning Outing
July 20, 2006 Issue 42•29
SAN FRANCISCO—Three weeks after hitting his wife on a Boston street, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers made up for the costly miscue by coming back strong and tossing seven quality innings en route to a 6-2 victory over the Giants Sunday. "When you let your emotions get the best of you and make a silly error like Brett did when he repeatedly struck his wife in the face, the only way to atone for it is to get right back on the baseball field, put that past performance behind you, and pitch deep into an important game while maintaining consistent velocity and pinpoint control," manager Charlie Manuel said. "This outing is exactly what Bretty needed to get the fans to stop thinking about him as someone who physically abuses his spouse." Philadelphia fans and media, who had earlier called for a public apology from Myers, have dropped this demand in light of Myers' impressive total of seven strikeouts.

Giant deals -- a 7-5 record

Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee has a nice run-down of the 12 biggest deals the Giants have made since they came West in 1958. I would have been tempted to single out the Alfonzo signing and his 2006 trade for Steve Finley as part of the screwed-up post-2002 moves. Since registration's required to access the Bee site, I'll simply post the entire piece --
The Giants have been involved in some controversial transactions since moving to San Francisco, including the recent splurge for Barry Zito. Here's how 12 of the biggest turned out:
• BILLY PIERCE ACQUIRED FROM WHITE SOX: During the 1961 winter meetings, pitchers Pierce and Don Larsen were obtained from the White Sox. Pierce went 16-6 for the pennant winners in 1962. Verdict: A big winner.
• ORLANDO CEPEDA TRADED FOR RAY SADECKI: Early in the 1966 season, the Giants cleared a logjam at first base and sent Cepeda to St. Louis, where he was the MVP for the world champion Cardinals in 1967. Verdict: A big loser.
• PROSPECT GEORGE FOSTER DEEMED EXPENDABLE: With abundant outfield talent in their system, the Giants guessed wrong and practically gave Foster to Cincinnati, where he blossomed as an MVP and home run champ. Verdict: A big loser.
• GAYLORD PERRY TRADED FOR SAM McDOWELL: Compounding the Foster fiasco, the Giants sent Perry to Cleveland, and he went on to add 180 wins to his résumé. McDowell won 19 more games, 11 with San Francisco. Verdict: A mammoth loser.
• VIDA BLUE ACQUIRED FROM A'S FOR SEVEN PLAYERS: In their biggest trade at the time, the Giants sent seven players across the bridge for Blue, who won 18 games and turned the club into a surprise contender in 1978. Verdict: A huge winner.
• JACK CLARK TRADED TO ST.LOUIS: Clark went on to several more productive seasons after the 1984 swap, but the Giants acquired shortstop Jose Uribe in the deal and got rid of a constant attitude problem in the process. Verdict: A big winner.
• GIANTS LAND MITCHELL, DRAVECKY, LEFFERTS FROM PADRES: Mark Davis and Chris Brown went in a July 1987 package for Mitchell, who spurred a division title that year and a pennant with an MVP season in 1989. Verdict: A huge winner.
• GIANTS SIGN BONDS TO USHER IN NEW ERA: The new ownership group made a big splash by signing the free-agent slugger in December 1992. He responded with an MVP season and still is filling the stands with his exploits afield. Verdict: A big winner.
• MATT WILLIAMS TRADED FOR JEFF KENT, THREE OTHERS: In perhaps the biggest blockbuster in San Francisco history, the popular Williams and Kent were the principals of the deal. Kent posted six consecutive 100-RBI seasons. Verdict: A huge winner.
• GIANTS ACQUIRE JASON SCHMIDT FROM PITTSBURGH: The deadline deal in 2001 also brought John Vander Wal and solidified the rotation. Schmidt became an elite pitcher, going 78-37 with San Francisco despite physical setbacks. Verdict: A huge winner.
• OWNER BREAKS UP 2002 WORLD SERIES TEAM: There was fool's gold in 2003, but allowing Kent, Russ Ortiz, Reggie Sanders, Dusty Baker and others to slip away after the World Series set the stage for recent mediocrity. Verdict: A big loser.
• A.J. PIERZYNSKI ACQUIRED FOR THREE PITCHERS: In what might go down as the worst deal in San Francisco history, the Giants sent Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano to Minnesota for a catcher who wore out his welcome. Verdict: A huge loser.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The SF Chronicle's Zito coverage gets it right

Readers of this blog might have noticed that I have been pretty critical of the San Francisco Chronicle's lame sports coverage, particularly John Shea. And I still regard Shea's listing Nomar Garciaparra as one of the "feel-good" stories of the year as unforgiveable. So I must admit that the stories by Shea and Henry Schulman/Susan Slusser in today's edition are solidly done and pretty informative.

The latter story makes a good point as to what drove the signing -- The Giants were enticed by Zito's durability. He is 28 -- the same age Bonds was when the Giants first signed him in 1992 -- and has not missed a start in seven major-league seasons. Over the past six seasons, the left-hander with the rainbow curveball has thrown more innings (1,337 2/3) than any major-league pitcher except for Livan Hernandez (1,393 1/3) and Mark Buehrle (1,376 2/3) and ranks ninth in strikeouts, with 1,018.
Giants scouts also believe Zito, a flyball pitcher, will prosper in the large National League West parks and that his taut, over-the-top delivery will keep his arm strong into his mid-30s. They compare him to Tom Glavine, who pitched 219 innings and won 16 games for Atlanta in 2001 when he was 35, the same age Zito will be in the final guaranteed year of his contract.

As for Shea's story, here's the key part -- But the Giants needed someone to replace Bonds as the franchise's go-to guy, and Zito was the chosen one. The Giants like his durability and willingness to be a staff leader, traits he displayed in Oakland, and it doesn't hurt that they swiped an ace from the rival A's, whose biggest offseason announcement was their plan to leave Oakland for Fremont.
Zito will average $18 million a year, but the contract is backloaded so he'll make about $10 million next season. With Bonds' contract, which hasn't been finalized yet -- his base is $15.8 million with much of it deferred -- the payroll will approach a record $95 million, making it tougher for cynics to accuse the Giants of not spending enough money.
Some of those cynics are charter-seat holders whose ticket prices rose substantially after seven years of tiny increases. Without Zito, it might have been difficult for the Giants to do damage in the National League West or draw 3 million fans again. With Zito, both seem possible.

The new Barry

photo of Barry Zito by j_bomb_7

Now that I've had a few hours to ponder the Giants' taking on a $126 million commitment for the next 7 years, I must say -- I like this deal in the short term. It's probably best not to think about what it may mean in 2012 and 2013.
It gives the Giants the best starting rotation in the NL, which is the way to go when you play half your games at a pitcher-friendly park. Nick Cannata-Bowman at Giants Cove, who saw this coming, makes some great points --
-- Zito moves from the AL to the NL, meaning he’ll be pitching to a league that hasn’t seen him before
-- Facing pitchers now will up his K/BB rate
-- He’s still fairly young, eats innings, and hasn’t visibly declined physically
-- Removes pressure from guys like Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Noah Lowry
-- The longterm addition of Zito makes the Giants rotation set in many years to come, with Cain, Lowry, Sanchez, and Lincecum already on board.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The new face of the Giants

That's how Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle describes the impact of Barry Zito signing with the Giants in a story posted this morning.

It looks like all that money I spent on garlic fries at Mays Field is finally getting put to use. And I won't be surprised if the price goes up.


RIP Chris Brown

The LA Times is reporting that former Giants third-baseman Chris Brown's death is shrouded in uncertainty. All is can say is that when you have Darryl Strawberry (something of an authority on weirdness, in my opinion) saying something doesn't make any sense, it's probably going to be difficult to figure out what happened.

It's all pretty sad. Here's the top of the story --

HOUSTON -- A life marked by unfulfilled promise on the baseball field and three dangerous tours as a truck driver in Iraq ended in mystery this week when Chris Brown, a former southern California high school star whose major league career was cut short by injuries, died from burns suffered nearly a month ago in a house fire.
Brown, 45, died early Tuesday at Memorial Hermann Hospital. Though gravely ill during a 25-day stay in the intensive care unit, Brown communicated to relatives that he had been detained by robbers in Houston, brought to his home in nearby suburban Sugar Land, tied up and abandoned while robbers set his home ablaze.
But authorities in Sugar Land said they were investigating the circumstances that resulted in Brown's death as an arson case, not a kidnapping or attempted murder.They refused to discuss whether Brown was the primary suspect in the arson investigation, but made clear that the version of events they culled together from interviewing neighbors and firefighters at the scene was different from the one Brown shared with family members.
"It's just crazy; it doesn't make any sense," said Darryl Strawberry, an eight-time big-league All-Star who played with Brown at Crenshaw High. "Nobody really knows what happened. It doesn't sound right. He was not a violent person. He didn't have a history of trouble."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Zito in the Orange & Black?

Nick Cannata-Bowman at Giants Cove believes the prospects are growing stronger that there may be two Barrys on the Giants next year.

A starting staff of Zito, Cain, Lowry, Morris, Sanchez and Lincecum? That sounds pretty good to me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

So long, Shea

Shea Hillenbrand's made it official and signed a one-year $6.5 million deal with the Angels, who are apparently desperate for hitting after Juan Rivera broke his leg. The only conclusion is that this must be a serious injury and that the Angels have given up on Robb Quinlan, Casey Kotchman and Kendry Morales.

As for Shea, he's in the right place at the right time. Given his abrupt departure in Toronto and his mostly useless performance for the Orange and Black (.415 SLG for a first baseman), I must say that the only person who's earning his money in this deal is Shea's agent.

Shea managed a .275 OBP as a Giant in his search for the perfect fastball and thus became the answer to the trivia question -- what Giants starter had a lower OBP than Pedro Feliz in 2006? Hard to believe that Shea walked just 7 times in 234 ABs as a Giant.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Giants fans dissed again by SI

My sis was nice enough to give me the Sports Illustrated Baseball Book, a truly fine book full of great photos. But it took me only a short time to find two unfair putdowns for Giants fans. One, of course, is the Tom Verducci story about Bonds' HR No. 715 -- full of disdain and written as if it was vaguely boring and certainly no big deal -- obviously written someone who didn't listen to or decided to not mention the extremely enthusiastic fan reaction.

The other is more subtle but just as dismissive of Giants fans. In a listing of milestone games of the 1950s, it lists the 1958 Opening Day game at Seals Stadium and says "only" 23,000 people attended -- implying that Giants fans didn't support the team, when the opposite was true. What's unwritten is that Seals' capacity was only 23,000, so the place was nearly full for many games that year. More to the point, anyone who was around that year can still remember how much of a frenzy the Giants created in those early years.

It's typical of what people on the West Coast have come to expect from those lording over the scene from New York.

No Christmas present for Giants fans, and that's a good thing

The Giants didn't sign Jeff Suppan, who opted for a 4-year $42 million deal with the Brewers. The always-astute Lefty Malo had already posted that Baseball Prospectus PECOTA rating on Suppan showed that he was being highly over-valued and actually worth about $3.7 million a year -- not the $11 mil that Milwaukee's paying. Zito's also being severly over-valued.

It doesn't sound as if the Giants' offer to Suppan -- rumored to be on the same magnitude as the Brewers -- was actual.

Here's the key parts of Lefty's post --

PECOTA on Zito: He'll post 4.2 WARP in '07 and decline to 2.9 WARP in '10. That's worth annual paychecks in the $4-6M range (or, to parallel the decline, in the $6-4M range), not $15-20M.

PECOTA thinks even worse of Suppan's near future: he'll contribute 2.9 wins above replacement (WARP) in '07 and fall steadily from there. In dollar terms, he'll be worth $3.7 M next year, not $11 M. In non-geek terms, for the rest of the decade he'll post ERAs in the mid-4s or worse and see his K/BB rate fall to Rueter-esque levels.[As a point of comparison, Jason Schmidt posted ace-like WARP scores of 8.7 and 7.9 in '03 and '04, then 3.5 in his injury-plagued '05.]

One thing Suppan has been the past four years is consistent, with IP ranging from 188 to 204, HR allowed from 21 to 25, walks from 51 to 69, and Ks from 104 to 114. In that time his OPS against has ranged from .754 to .781.Zito has also been consistent, just up a couple notches: IP from 213 to 231, HRs from 19 to 28, BBs from 81 to 99, and Ks from 146 to 171. He's been more inconsistent in how hard he's been hit.With the payroll escalation this winter, perhaps Zito's good (but declining) K rates and past stretches of brilliance are worth $15M-plus annually. Perhaps Suppan's workmanlike consistency will continue for three or four years and provide a 190-inning certainty for his employers.With either guy, you're paying big bucks essentially for innings. Let's not pooh-pooh innings too much: injuries can force replacement level pitchers into the rotation, or force young guys up too soon. But when an organization's strength is its young pitching, and the gameplan is to rebuild (even though the brass won't use that word) around that strength, why sink megabucks for megayears into guys who will simply block the door in a year or two?The Giants would be much better served either signing a cheap veteran (for those sick of that strategy, sorry, but in this case it makes sense), or giving a homegrown kid the job (Hennessey, Misch, even giving Correia another chance to start).

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

SF Giants spent unwisely

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cabrera not coming to SF

The South Florida Sentinel has an interesting speculative piece that Miguel Cabrera will be the second $200 million player when he's a free agent in 2009.

At that price, I'd say it's a pretty good bet that he's probably not going to sign that deal with the Giants.

Silly speculation by Fox Sports

Dayn Perry of Fox gives a long explanation of why he thinks Bonds won't break Aaron's record in 2007. I'll save you the time and say he thinks that without Moises Alou, it's going to be lots of intentional walks for Barry.

I think it's a bit premature to arrive at this conclusion. But Fox has always been willing to be premature.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Feel the hate

Inspired by the Klesko deal, Grant at the always-entertaining McCovey Chronicles has come up with a great post about the most annoying/hated players. At last check, there were 103 responses.

I've decided it's such a fine idea that I've posted a new poll. Here's my list --

C - A.J. Pierzitsky
1B - Steve Garvey
2B - Jeff Kent
SS - Neifi Perez & Bill Russell
3B - Chipper Jones & Scott Spezio
LF - Ricky Ledee & Kirk Gibson
CF - Brett Butler
RF - Raul Mondesi & Jose Canseco
SP - Don Drysdale
SP - Brad Penny
SP - Randy Johnson
SP - Derek Lowe
SP - Jeff Weaver
SP - Kevin Brown
RP - Julian Tavarez
RP - Eric Gagne
RP - John Rocker
RP - Jose Mesa
Player/Manager - Pete Rose
Manager -- Tommy Lasorda

What about Suppan?

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is hinting that the Giants have made a 4-year $44 million offer for Jeff Suppan.

The guy isn't anything special but his record seems consistent. The price doesn't sound unreasonable, given the inflation that's taken place over the last month. And there's something to be said for getting a pitcher from the team that's just won a World Series -- mostly that he's going to get a nice premium for a decent post-season performance.

The deal probably won't happen since the Mets are still going wacky chasing after free agents. It may be just as well. I still want to see Jonathan Sanchez get another shot.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Klesko in the Orange and Black

Henry Schulman of the Chronicle reports the Giants have signed Ryan Klesko, who was so banged up that he only got into 6 games in 2006 (he went 3 for 4) then went 2 for 3 in the NLDS.

He's 35 so the Giants aren't getting any younger except on the pitching mound. It sounds like they want to have an inexpensive alternative to playing Feliz and Aurilia every day. Plus, he'll be another ex-Padre for Bochy along with Aurilia, Sweeney and Roberts. Does this mean the Giants still have a shot at David Wells?

Once he got to San Diego in 2000, he began showing decent strike zone judgment as you can see through his walk totals. For you trivia buffs, he had indentical totals of 290 total bases in 2001 and 2002. He also hit 3 HRs in the 1995 World Series.

Wait until spring

It isn't any real surprise, but Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle is reporting that no one's really interested in taking Blownitez off the Giants hands until he pitches in spring training due to concerns about his knee.

Translated -- They want to see if he's up to 300 pounds in March. This also shows how worthless Blownitez has become amid an over-heated market that's paying second-tier guys like Gil Meche over $10 million a year for five years.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The LA Times doesn't get it

One of the more trying aspects of living in Southern California and being a Giants fan is the often abysmal sports coverage provided by the Los Angeles Times. I've often said one of the reasons why Dodger fans are so ill-informed stems from the dreadful coverage provided by the paper. When J.D. Drew decided to leave the team, the paper's Dodger shill Bill Plaschke was front and center with lies about how Drew wasn't productive (he was actually the best player on the team by far) and how he missed lots of games (he played in 146 in 2006, the second highest total on the team).

What was obvious was that Drew had concluded during his time in LA that Plaschke was an idiot and had stopped giving him cliche-quotes. How a paper that aspires to be the West Coast version of the New York Times can employ a no-talent hack like Plaschke is a thorough embarrassment and a good explanation as to why the paper keeps losing subscribers.

Today the Times hit a different low. The editors decided that a boring story about how the NHL Mighty Ducks of Anaheim aren't as popular as the Lakers or Dodgers somehow merited being placed on THE FRONT PAGE OF THE PAPER. The headline -- "The high-flying Ducks just aren't on our radar." What a scoop -- people don't care much about hockey in a city built on the edge of a desert.

I'll spare you the details other than saying this -- anyone who was in any way surprised by this story probably doesn't live in Southern California. The Times is a truly maddening paper. It occasionally does great reporting but all too often dwells endlessly on the obvious.

More to look forward to

Here's a rendering of the Mets' new park, Citi Field, being built as I write this in the Shea Stadium parking lot. My Mets fan friends assure me that Shea will not be missed.

What a surprise

The Sun Sentinel is reporting that the Blownitez deal with the Marlins has hit a snag -- the teams can't agree on the other player.

I would gladly accept Dan Uggla. Or Dontrelle Willis.

Doesn't this feel just like last summer -- a sense of impending doom for the Orange and Black, thanks to one of the most overpaid and over-rated closers in MLB history?

Unloading the Fat One was never going to be easy, given his inability to act like anything other than a spoiled brat -- particularly in a transaction involving the penny-pinching owners of the Marlins.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Something to look forward to

photo to shaomai

Nothing like a July game at Mays Field and a rendering of the Washington Nationals new park (due to open in 2008) to shake off the cold weather.

Giants holiday party

In the aftermath of the Knicks-Nuggets brawl, it seems appropriate to post the Giants official recap of the team's Christmas party for the less fortunate to show that some pro athletes are decent guys.

"This is the kind of stuff I missed when I left," said Aurilia, the Giants' starting shortstop from 1998-2003, who recently signed a two-year deal to return to the club. "The Giants are the one organization I've been with that's really immensely involved in the community and gives back to the community, especially to kids, so it's nice that my first day back up here, I can do something like this and get to enjoy it."

Holiday office parties

This is a mostly baseball-free post about office parties. My office didn't have one this year, which is apparently just as well.

As usual, there was no news about the Giants in the SF Chronicle. However, C.W. Nevius of the Chron has written a highly entertaining column about holiday office parties. Years of experience have taught me that the safest bet at these events is to stick to baseball if you're fortunate enough to have friends at the workplace who can talk about the sport intelligently. Here are the highlights of the Nevius column --

"The Christmas party is the workplace affair on steroids,'' warns Peggy Vaughan, author of "The Monogamy Myth'' and a former corporate consultant who founded "It is playing with dynamite is what it is.''
Really? Just the old office gang, getting together for a few adult beverages and a laugh? What could possibly go wrong?
Well, there's the obvious stuff. A Canon Copiers survey last year of its technicians in the United Kingdom found that 32 percent of service calls over the holidays were "to repair copier glass that had been sat on'' or "to fix paper jams that revealed evidence of embarrassing images.''
Ah yes, copier high jinks, a staple of holiday parties. But that's not where the unfortunate behavior ends. An independent survey of 1,000 office workers in the United Kingdom last year, cited by Canon, found that one-third of respondents have "kissed or gone home with a colleague.''

And if you suspect your spouse is having an affair, you should definitely go to the Christmas party, says author Ruth Houston. She wrote "Is He Cheating on You? 829 Telltale Signs.''
Seriously? 829 signs?
"Well, they are divided into 21 categories,'' Houston says.
Oh, good. Because otherwise it was starting to sound a little obsessive.
Houston is a holiday party militant. If you suspect your spouse, she says, you can't afford not to attend.
"If anything is going on, it will be evident,'' says Houston. "Someone may be overly friendly, excessively curious, or even hostile.''
Houston also shared her special office party "hot tip'' -- go to the restroom as often as possible.
"Make a couple of trips,'' Houston says. "You never know what you might hear. Go into a stall and hang out. Somebody might say something they aren't supposed to say, like, 'Did you see her face when his wife walked in?' ''

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Anyone but Blownitez

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ichiro in the Orange and Black?

Fox Sports has a sharp bit of speculative reporting/analysis about the strong possibility of Ichiro coming to the Giants in the 2008 season, given the serious spending the Mariners have been doing in the off-season.

I like the idea, partly because it reminds me the Giants haven't blown part of their money like the Dodgers have by taking Juan Pierre off the market and preventing the Giants from doing something stupid like committing $45 million over 5 years.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Please let it be true

The South Florida Sentinel is reporting that the Marlins are exploring the idea of Fatmando Blownitez returning to Miami -- the last place he pitched decently back in 2004.

Needless to say, so I'll say it -- none of the Bay Area papers seem interested in purusing this story even though it got published on Tuesday. Why write anything that's actually of interest to your audience?

For those of you who have forgotten, it's worth remembering that the Giants season went down the drain during the last week of July, thanks to Fatmando. They were in first place on July 23, then lost seven straight games including a trifecta of blown saves by Blownitez including the famous "I did my job" game in Washington, D.C. What's particularly stupid about the Henry Schulman story from July 31 is that it actually says it's not really Armando's fault after he had blown his 7th save in 20 chances.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What about this other Barry guy?

I guess it's asking too much for the SF Chronicle reporters who cover the SF Giants to look into whether the team has a snowball's chance in hell of signing Barry Zito rather than finding a newer and stupider way to slam Barry Bonds. I just read this report that indicates he's probably going to be a Met if not a Ranger. There's no mention of him coming to the Orange and Black.

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc-News indicates that maybe the deferral of salary by Bonds could help in the pursuit of other free agents like Zito and says the Giants are still pursuing Barry Z.

But Martin Lee at Obsessive Giants Compulsive feels strongly that Zito's recent numbers show he's badly over-valued at the current market price.

The SF Chronicle runs out of ideas

Gwenn Knapp of the SF Chronicle has just filed a truly stupid column, postulating that Barry Bonds is going to try to fall a bit short of getting HR No. 756 in 2007 so he can shake down the Giants for more money in 2008.

And what's the basis in fact for this? I couldn't find one. There was some vague reference to Bonds sitting out day games after night games in 2004 but couldn't it possibly be argued that sitting Barry down once a week or so actually increased his effectiveness? It's not an issue that Knapp addresses -- just more of the "Bonds Is Satan" mantra for the Chronicle. The article is completely unsourced.

I suppose we're just going to have to put up with this Bonds Hatefest for the time being as the Chronicle continues to spiral into irrelevancy and loses what little credibility it still has. It's clear that the Chronicle doesn't have the nerve to point the finger at the Bush Administration as the real culprit for the incessant persecution of newspaper reporters (and squandering of taxpayer dollars). The cluelessness of the Current Occupant of the White House as to what's truly important and Bush's vivid hostility towards the Fourth Estate via Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzalez are the real reasons why the Chronicle's own Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada are facing jail time. Does the Chron have the nerve to say this? No, it wimps out and just blames Barry.

So I guess it's understandable why manufactured garbage like Gwenn Knapp's column will continue to appear. It's still inexcusable that a newspaper that has shown a demonstrable ongoing bias against Bonds would not make every effort to be fair in its coverage.

The new Jamey Wright?

The SF Chronicle is reporting that the Giants have signed Damian Moss, even though he got hammered in the minors last year. I guess the excuses are -- 1. he's looked good in winter ball and 2. he won't cost much.

This strikes me as the equivalent of doing your Christmas shopping at the 99 Cents Only store.

This is the guy the Giants got for Ross Ortiz and then gave up to get Sidney Ponson for half a season in 2003. He got lit up in 2004 and hasn't been in the bigs since.

I'm dubious that Moss will amount to much so it may be alarming if he winds up on the staff, much as it was when Jamey Wright started all those games (21) this season for the Orange and Black.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Echoes of Darren Dreifort

Eric Gagne, AKA The Fat Frenchie, has signed a one-year deal for $6 million with the Rangers. That's an awful lot for a reliever with serious injury issues, so I'm just as glad the Giants didn't go after him at that price. And any show of competence in 2007 will equal pain and suffering for Dodger fans -- always a good thing.

Maybe the $55 million Darren Dreifort ripoff -- still one of the worst contracts ever -- is lingering in the minds of the McCourts. The Dodgers decided not to take any more chances after Gagne acted like an idiot and changed his mechanics while coming back from an injury, leading to a worse injury. He pitched 13 innings in 2005 and two last year at a cost of something like $9 million a year.

Boomer and Barry together?

The Merc-News is reporting that the Giants are interested in signing David Wells, who will be 44 next season, and he's interested, too. Let me join in with hack sportswriters everywhere and say, "So much for the youth movement."

That said, Wells is intriguing. I attended a game at PacBell on Sept. 18, 2004, in which the Giants needed a win badly to remain in the hunt. Schmidt was the starter and Bonds homered off Wells in the 2nd, but Wells stayed in pretty much total command for the rest of the game, baffling the Giants on a series of offspeed and off-the-plate pitches even though he was under 85 mph for much of the game. Unfortunately, Schmidt gave up a 3-run shot to Jay Payton in the 7th, leading to a depressing 5-1 loss.

Wells actually wrote a book in 2003 called "Perfect I'm Not" about 1. what a bad ass he is 2. his perfect game and 3. how much he loves baseball. If he's signed, perhaps he'll show Cain, Lowry and Sanchez a thing or two and take some of the media heat off Barry Bonds. Or maybe he'll get into a fight with Barry, who he's accused of being "juiced." Or maybe it will be a lovefest if Boomer gets the hang of pitching in SF. In any case, Boomer will make it interesting.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Tigers go insane

ESPN reports that Detroit has signed the sociopathic Jose Mesa to a deal.

That's good news for the Giants, in that they no longer have to worry Omar Vizquel getting beaned by this maniac.

It's amazing how sportswriters can fulminate how Bonds should be banned "for the good of the game" while ignoring someone who promises he'll try to kill a specific player on the field -- then carries out that threat.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lofton goes to the Rangers -- trivia time!

Fox Sports is reporting Kenny Lofton will sign with Texas -- his 11th team.

Even when he was on the Dodgers, I could never regard him as totally evil. I always remembered his 2 months in the Orange and Black in 2002, particularly his winning hit in Game 5 of the NLCS.

Assuming he doesn't get injured, Lofton's only one team behind the record holders Mike Morgan (1977-2001) and Deacon McGuire (1884-1912). How come no one names their kids "Deacon" any more?

I don't know how many other MLB players have been on 11 teams but there's one who was a Giant 3 times -- Terry Mulholland. Here are his teams --

San Francisco Giants (1986-1989, 1995, 1997)
Philadelphia Phillies (1989-1993, 1996)
New York Yankees (1994)
Seattle Mariners (1996)
Chicago Cubs (1998-1999)
Atlanta Braves (1999-2000)
Pittsburgh Pirates (2001)
Los Angeles Dodgers (2001-2002)
Cleveland Indians (2002-2003)
Minnesota Twins (2004-2005)
Arizona Diamondbacks (2006)

Walker heading back to SF

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc-News reports that the Giants have signed the "affable" Tyler Walker to a minor-league deal. He'll be back around the All-Star break while he rehabs from an elbow surgery.

Nothing to dislike here -- still another alternative to Blownitez.

Still more weirdness from the SF Chronicle

Bruce Jenkins has written a column that's just about as irrational and stupid as anything you can find in a big city paper these days -- laden with insults to Bonds, Sabean and any Giants fan who has the temerity to cheer for the team -- and declaring the 2007 season is over a full two months before pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale.

Let's get to the point, which is -- Bruce Jenkins HATES Barry Bonds. He asserts that the Bonds signing "makes no baseball sense" and "will stifle the more pressing needs" even though Bonds had the top onbase percentage in MLB last year. I guess that Bruce is a big Todd Linden fan but it's impossible to tell what's actually going on in Bruce's fevered brain other than pure rage. Oddly enough, it's not the steroid issue -- Jenkins believes that McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame.

If you knew nothing about the 2006 season and then read this column, you'd be excused for thinking that it was Bonds who was the chief culprit for the team's lousy performance. But was it really Bonds who blew save after save last year? Was it Bonds who batted leadoff with a .325 OBP? Was it Bonds who played a whole season at 3B with a .281 OBP? Was it Bonds who got $9 million last year to get bombed as a starter over and over?

Frankly, I'm going to stop analyzing Jenkins other than simply saying he's a pathetic excuse for a journalist and that the Chronicle -- given its aggressive reporting on the Bonds legal front -- has badly abused its readers by not even bothering to give the appearance of rational, unbiased coverage of the Giants.

I've said repeatedly, it's no wonder that Chronicle is losing circulation as its shreds its reputation as a reliable source for news and analysis.

Still more insanity from the Cubs

Which team would the most likely to give a three-year deal to pitcher who had an ERA over 6 last year -- a guy who went 3-10 after the break?

The Cubs have just signed Jason Marquis to a three-year deal worth $21 million, ESPN reports.

This is the same organization that just gave an 8-year deal to Soriano. I think this deal is far more insane.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

More relief -- Kline coming back

Kline in St. Louis during the disastrous September series. photo by herkie
The Giants have signed Steve Kline to a two-year deal. As I keep saying, anyone but Blownitez.

I will always have a warm spot for Steve for giving up the last hit in the 2002 NLCS to Kenny Lofton. It seems like that was a lot longer ago than just 4 years.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A smart take on signing Bonds

Chris at the excellent Bay City Ball has a very sharp analysis he posted last night. Here's most of it under the headline "Pedro Gomez Can Feed His Family Again" --

After failed attempts to land Soriano, Lee, and maybe Manny, Bonds was almost a lock to return to San Fran. The Giants desperately needed a power bat in the lineup and Bonds can still fill that role quite nicely. Heres what I like about the deal and what I don’t like
The Good
--The deal is for only one year. If age finally catches up to Bonds and he can’t produce anymore it’s not that big of a deal as his contract will be off the books for the next season
--Bonds is still a very valuable offensive player. Even though Barry struggled before the All Star break he still got on base at a amazing clip. Post All Star break his numbers looked pretty good (.292/.430/.596 1.026 OPS)
--Fans will come out to the ballpark to see Bonds. When Bonds is playing AT&T sells out.

The Bad
--So much for getting younger huh? Bringing back Bonds further delays any rebuilding period for the Giants but the Giants weren’t exactly headed in the youth direction anyways before the Bonds signing. Maybe next year.
--Can you say ‘media frenzy’? If and when Bonds closes in on Aaron’s record things are going to be nuts. The media will have a field day with steroids and the homerun record. I can already feel it coming and its one of those topics that the sports media just can’t get enough of.
--Somewhat connected to the point above, how much of a distraction will the media circus be on the team overall? After 2006 their were rumors from within the Giants clubhouse that Bonds constant draw of media attention was bugging teammates.

I am glad the Giants brought back Bonds because they needed the bat but 2007 is going to be very annoying for the Giants fan. The talking heads on ESPN, Pedro Gomez I am looking in your direction, are going to beat this horse to death. As long as ‘Bonds on Bonds’ isn’t resurrected I’ll be fine.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Get ready for the SF Chronicle's whining

Here's Barry Bloom's story from on the Bonds deal. He filed a little after 8 p.m. PST.

Here's John Shea's fairly lame effort for the Chron, filed two hours later, starting with this -- Roll in the leather recliner. Dust off the row of lockers. Alert the entourage. Barry Bonds is ready to sign with the Giants for next season.

So Shea gets beaten badly on a key story on his beat and responds like a crybaby with the usual "Barry Bonds is Satan" insults, going so far as to make the tortured point that the Cardinals weren't really interested because their owner is a friend of George Bush and the team is embarrassed by its association with Mark McGwire. There's no sourcing on that. It's just some pretzel logic.

The story is instructive in terms of giving a strong sense of how the Chron plans to cover the Giants in 2007 -- by whining about Bonds. Is there anything actually new in the Chron's story? A little --

There was substantial give-and-take on both ends. Bonds wanted a vested option, hoping he could secure a second year by staying healthy, but the Giants insisted on only a one-year deal. They agreed to a higher base salary if Bonds took his eye off a second year, and it took weeks of hard negotiating to reach the compromise.
The deal reportedly includes performance bonuses that could push the deal to $20 million.
The sides had a series of phone conversations Thursday, one day after a 3-hour meeting involving Borris and general manager Brian Sabean and a follow-up phone call.
Further dialogue was necessary to resolve some non-monetary issues, and it's possible the Giants will regulate Bonds differently - for example, limit his number of assistants and their access.

ESPN -- Bonds deal done

Barry on the verge of a deal

Sports Illustrated Jon Heyman is reporting that Bonds may sign a deal as early as Friday. His best line -- It was almost inevitable from the start. Like a marriage with ups and downs, Bonds and the Giants seem stuck with each other.

Why am I not surprised that an outlet other than the SF Chronicle has this story? The paper spent the money to have the incompetent John Shea provide vapid and nearly news-free coverage of Bonds appearance at the Florida meetings. Should you want to waste a few minutes and get bored out of your mind, look at Shea's coverage that appeared in today's paper.

If not -- here's the bit of news: While the Bonds camp has softened its proposal -- a one-year deal with a vesting option, based on easily reachable incentives that would be worth about $40 million over two years -- it became evident the Giants' one-year offer tops $10 million.

Anyone but Armando

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Giants are one of 5 teams seeking Eric Gagne.

It's hard to say if Gagne has anything left after pitching a grand total of 2 innings this season. And it's always bugged me that the lame LA sports media -- which hinted strongly at Adrian Beltre having used steroids to achieve his 48 homeruns in 2004 before he departed for Seattle -- hasn't ever questioned how it is that "Game Over" Gagne managed to suddenly start throwing over 100 mph, followed by a series of physical breakdowns.

Still, I'm all for signing Gagne -- anything that gets the Giants in a position to STOP USING BLOWNITEZ.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This just in!!!!!

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed the entire starting lineup of the 1996 San Francisco Giants except for Barry Bonds.

"I don't like Barry's attitude and I'm pretty sure the feeling's mutual," said Dodger GM Ned Colletti, who was briefly hospitalized after being stabbed with a spaghetti fork by Tommy Lasorda.

Though most of the players are retired, Colletti said they would provide vital guidance to younger Dodgers such as Jeff Kent.

The 1996 Opening Day lineup for the Giants, who went on to lose 94 games --
1. Stan Javier CF
2. Robby Thompson 2B
3. Barry Bonds LF
4. Matt Williams 3B
5. Mark Carreon 1B
6. Glenallen Hill RF
7. Shawon Dunston SS
8. Kirt Manwaring C
9. Mark Leiter P

(This story is copyrighted by Big D Sports Services. Re-use of this story without permission will result in a massive lawsuit that we will win.)

No place but San Francisco for Barry

Mike Piazza has just taken away a bit of leverage from Barry Bonds by signing an $8.5 million deal with Oakland, eliminating the most likely alternative destination for Barry.

I know there was some speculation that the Giants were interested in Piazza, perhaps based on the fact that he'll be 38 next season. I think the 32-year-old Molina is a better choice even though Piazza hit 22 HRs last year in less than 400 ABs. He also hasn't stolen a base in six years. Piazza is at an age where his skills could fall off very sharply.

Strange how Oakland has wound up being one of the final stops for many Dodgers -- Eric Karros, Davey Lopes, Milton Bradley, Bob Welch, Dave Stewart, Ron Cey, Dusty Baker, Don Sutton.

UPDATE -- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports just filed a story that Barry and the Giants are "making progress" toward a deal.

Benjie's signed

No surprise here -- the Giants officially signed Benjie Molina.

The $17 million price tag for a three-year deal seems a little high but I suppose we all have toadjust our thinking upwards. My guess is also that Mike Matheny's not going to play again.

Let me be the first to say -- "I hope you break your arm"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Please let it be true

photo of Richie Sexson by kylemcmanus73

Corey Brock, who covers the Seattle Mariners for, reports that Mariners, Braves and Giants may be working on a 3-way trade --

A source indicated late Tuesday that Seattle might have interest in sending slugger Richie Sexson to the Giants and reliever Rafael Soriano to the Braves. In return, the Mariners would receive a starting pitcher (Tim Hudson) and a first baseman (Adam LaRoche).
The Braves -- who are shopping for relief help -- would then also receive relief pitcher Armando Benitez from the Giants.
Hudson, 31, was 13-12 last season with a 4.86 ERA for the Braves and has a career record of 119-60. LaRoche is a left-handed bat with power. He hit 32 home runs and drove in 90 runs last season.
By adding a pitcher like Hudson, the Mariners would avoid spending more money than they want on starting pitching in the free-agent market, which continues to escalate with the recent signings of Vicente Padilla by the Rangers (three years, $33.75 million) and the three-year, $24 million deal 35-year-old Miguel Batista might be getting from the Royals or Cardinals.
"I think Seattle may be a little gun-shy because of the way the market as turned," said an agent who has talked with the Mariners this week but wished to remain anonymous. "... I think what they thought you could get for four years is now going for three years."

I've always disliked the Braves. Let's start with 1993 and add in the arrogance of Chipper, the stupid Tomahawk Chop, the inability of the "fans" to sell out the stadium during playoff games and the idiocy of letting Mazzone go to Baltimore last year. It serves them right that they finally got humiliated this year.

So it can't be anything but poetic justice that the Braves take on Blownitez -- one of MLB's biggest head cases this side of Jose Mesa, John Rocker and Ugueth Urbina (who's currently currently in custody facing attempted murder charges in Venezuela).
As for Sexson, he's hit over 270 HRs and he's only 32 so the team would actually get younger if they can make this trade happen. He strikes out a lot but he still had over 60 walks last year -- not bad considering his massive strike zone. Perhaps he can teach Feliz a thing or two about plate discipline.

Sounds good to me!

The SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman is reporting that the Giants are talking with Scott Boras about signing Barry Zito.

I realize it's a long shot but perhaps Peter Magowan is coming to the painful realization that the economics of the game are going to require a significantly higher payroll.

To my mind, Zito has always been the premiere free agent available. And he's only 28. So to quote the Rolling Stones, "I like it, like it, yes I do."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dodger fans not the only idiots in LA

People often don't believe me when I tell them how truly stupid Dodger fans are. This video -- which could be appropriately called "Rubbing it in" following UCLA's stunning upset of SC -- shows how there are a lot of dummies in this part of the world.

Check out this video of the brainiac USC cheerleader at the glorious UCLA game --

Another new Giants site

I just came across Intentional Balk, which combines astute numbers crunching on the Orange and Black with fine writing. Here's a nice sample from today's posting about the Feliz signing --

Rather than dwell further on that misery, I thought we’d finish our look at the Giants outfield, by taking a gander at the prospects and lesser lights. First up, Jason Ellison. Ellison had a tremendous time in the PCL last year, hitting .406/.452/.536, but that was fueled by an extraordinary BABIP, and anyway you really should have mastered AAA by your age-28 season. Ellison has been bouncing from Fresno to San Francisco since 2002, and he’s pretty much the definition of a slapping swifty - a hacking singles hitter who neither strikes out nor walks much. He needs to hit .300 to be a useful player - which he can’t, at least not in the majors (although his career minor league average is .305). When you add in his terrible fielding and lunatic baserunning, you have a guy who’s AAA filler at this point. I guess it’s possible that he could see some time with the big club in 2007, but there are definitely better players to give development time.

The only next step for the Orange and Black

"I detest cheap sentiment" -- Bette Davis as Margo Channing in "All About Eve."

Me too. I don't really care if Barry Bonds breaks Aaron's record. I don't care if he gets indicted. I do care if he can help the Giants win, even at the advanced age of 42 and 43. Anyone who takes a cold hard look at why the Giants didn't win last year knows that the failures weren't from the guy who plays left field but rather guys named Blownitez, Finley, Winn, Morris, Wright, Feliz. Niekro and Vizcaino.

Let's be clear. Here are my biggest desires in life:

1. My wife and family's happiness
2. World peace
3. Giants wins
4. Dodger losses

Given the reluctance of the Giants owner to spend more than $90 million on payroll, the best way to get No. 3 to happen is to sign Bonds. Grant at the truly fine McCovey Chronicles site has said what needs to be said about what the Giants need to do next, given the Aurilia-Feliz-Durham-Roberts signings. I could not have said it better --

Please sign Bonds. Pretty, pretty please. Trading a chunk of the future and present for Manny Ramirez is idiotic. Pretending any other player could fill the offensive void is ludicrous. This has nothing to do with memories or watching a record. For a myriad of reasons, I'm not really juiced for 756. This has everything to do with performance and run scoring. With Bonds the Giants might -- might -- score enough runs to contend. It would take a lot more than that, like some fluke performances from other lineup spots or a first baseman gift from the heavens, but a fella could dream. At least let me enter March with the same amount of optimism I had before the 1997 season; there wasn't much, but it was there and it was validated.

I'm not with the The Season is Over Brigade right now. I'm not optimistic, but anything can happen. Fred Lewis could hit .300/.400/.500 as an injury replacement. Feliz could hit .270/.310/.480. Tim Lincecum could go Verlander on the league. It isn't that any of those things are likely in the slightest, but baseball has a way of shutting up prognosticators every single season. Without Bonds, though, the happy thoughts go away.

And that's not all. The New York Times weighed in this weekend with an analysis of the free agent market and concluded Bonds is a bargain. Dan Rosenheck writes:

"If Bonds meets the predictions of Silver (of Baseball Prospectus), he will improve any team without a starting-caliber left fielder by about five wins (or four and a half if he is squandered as a full-time designated hitter).
By contrast, none of this year's top free-agent corner outfielders (Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and J. D. Drew) are likely to exceed a four-win contribution next year.
And since Bonds will be gone after one or two seasons, teams won't have to worry about signing him to a long-term contract and paying him top dollar while his skills decline."
This, combined with the added revune his home run chase will bring in makes signing him a no-brainer.
I say give the guy $14 mill and be done with it.

Giants vote for Pedro

I couldn't help myself with the title reference to "Napoleon Dynamite."

The Giants just made it official that Feliz is signed.

They also signed Aurilia to a two-year deal.

As much as the SF Chronicle will undoubtedly whine in its un-ending series of "Barry Bonds IS Satan And That's Because We Said So" pieces, I can only interpret the signings as increasing the chance that the Giants will sign Bonds to a one-year deal. Why? Because they still need some power but have less to spend than before.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It could be much worse

We here at Giants Win realize that the off-season has been underwhelming so far. The Durham and Roberts signings are decent but we're concerned about re-signing Feliz, who simply hasn't learned any plate discipline, and Aurilia, given that his numbers were on a significant decline during the last two years he played in San Francisco.

Still, the Giants didn't sign Juan Pierre. The stupid Dodgers did. Here's what a recent report in the Portsmouth Herald News, NH, said about him -- Pierre also led the league with 20 caught-stealings, the fifth time in six years he has been at the top of that category. The most troubling stat was just 32 walks in 740 plate appearances. Pitchers have realized there's no reason not to challenge him.

Bonds unloved outside the Bay Area

No duh, but it's still interesting.

Much to my surprise, the ususally incompetent John Shea of the SF Chronicle has done a fairly comprehensive look at the interest in Barry Bonds among all 30 MLB teams and come to the less-than-startling conclusion that it looks like No. 25 will be in left field for the Orange and Black in 2007.

Shea also reports that the only real option left for Bonds might be Oakland.

Shea mentions, of course, that Bonds remains under investigation by a grand jury for possible tax fraud and perjury and that Greg Anderson is in jail for refusing to testify. What he doesn't mention is that Bonds has been under investigation for the past three years and that didn't stop him from playing for the Giants.

The SF Chronicle's death spiral

Gwenn Knapp of the SF Chronicle has written a truly idiotic column about how Ken Caminiti should be in the Hall of Fame for his "honesty" about revealing his steroid use.

Let's see -- a guy inflates his stats with steroids, then goes crazy with drug abuse, so much so that he dies. So based on the fact that he spilled his guts to reporters before passing on, he deserves a place in Cooperstown?

In my humble opinion, the Chronicle sports staff has gone completely bananas in a pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement amid frightening circulation declines. The paper has reaped the benefits of a possibly insane federal prosecutor wasting taxpayer dollars on an endless perjury investigation while all kinds of other crime goes unprosecuted. Now, its two reporters face jail time for disrespecting a court order. If they go to jail, it serves little purpose except to demonstrate how the federal prosecutors have totally abused their authority.

However, that's no reason why Caminiti should join Don Drysdale, Freddie Lindstrom, Tony Lazzeri and George Kell as undeserving members of the Hall of Fame.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Roberts deal done


(For any other bloggers out there, simply hit F5)

Here's Rich Draper's updated story. Highlights from Saturday's press release --

-- it's a three-year contract; Per club policy, financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

-- Roberts, who played for new Giants manager Bruce Bochy over the past two seasons in San Diego, batted .293 and ranked fourth in the National League with a career-high 49 steals (in 55 attempts) for the Padres in 2006. The 34-year-old tied the Friars' franchise single-season record with a career-best 13 triples, while also establishing career standards in games played (129), at-bats (499), batting average, hits (146), runs (80), RBI (44) and on-base percentage (.360). He also hit at an impressive .327 clip (34-for-104) with runners in scoring position.

-- Renowned for his baserunning acumen, Roberts is fourth in the majors with 195 stolen bases since 2002 -- his first full big league season. He has posted a trio of 40-theft campaigns during that five-year span, while his 81.3 percent success rate (195-for-240) since 2002 is second only to Carl Crawford's 82.8% mark among Major Leaguers with at least 175 steals.

-- Roberts has compiled a lifetime .270 batting average with 207 stolen bases in 666 Major League games with the Cleveland Indians (1999-2001), Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-04), Boston Red Sox (2004) and San Diego Padres (2005-06). The left-handed batter has spent a majority of his eight-year career in the National League, batting .272 in 546 senior circuit contests.

-- Roberts ranked seventh among National League leadoff hitters in 2006 with a .359 on-base percentage in that role. While winning consecutive National League West titles in 2005 and '06, the Padres logged a 121-101(.545) ledger with Roberts occupying the leadoff spot. In addition to his offensive tools, Roberts boasts a lifetime .991 fielding percentage and experience at all three outfield positions. Primarily a left fielder this past season, he handled 270 chances without committing an error to become one of just four qualifying Major Leaguers (minimum of 108 games played) to post a perfect fielding percentage in 2006. For his career, the 5-10, 180-pounder has logged 422 career games in center field, 207 contests in left field and 17 in right.

-- He will be forever remembered in Red Sox lore for his ninth inning steal of second base in Game Four of the 2004 American League Championship Series. He subsequently came around to score the game-tying run off the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, and Boston defeated New York in extra innings for the first of four-straight victories that resulted in an epic comeback and historic pennant.

-- Born in Okinawa, Japan, Roberts joins Masanori Murakami (1964-65) and Tsuyoshi Shinjo (2002) as the only three Japan-born players in Giants franchise history.

Schmidt offered arbitration

The dingbats who run Blogger have disabled the editing functions, so I'll simply post highlights from Rich Draper's story. I saved the best for last --

-- Schmidt was the only player offered arbitration by San Francisco. He's a Type-A free agent, meaning the Giants will receive two compensatory picks if another club signs him.

-- Along with Bonds, those not offered arbitration were catcher Todd Greene, first baseman Shea Hillenbrand, outfielder Steve Finley, reliever Steve Kline, pitcher Jamey Wright and third baseman Pedro Feliz. The Giants, however, are still negotiating with Bonds' and Feliz's agents.

-- With Greene out of the picture and Gold Glove backstop Mike Matheny still suffering from post-concussion syndrome, the club's newest target is Blue Jays free agent Bengie Molina, 32, who formerly starred for the Angels and is a solid .275 hitter with good power.

-- Hillenbrand, who made $5.8 million last season, could be replaced at first by Rich Aurilia, expected to ink a two-year pact on Saturday.

-- The Giants bought out Finley's 2007 option for $1 million and Wright's for $300,000.

Pedro's back in the Orange and Black

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc-News is reporting that Feliz -- he of the dismal .281 OBP -- is signing with the Giants. Baggerly is also saying that Pedro's in the midst of working this winter to improve his approach.

On a side note -- this guy Baggerly seems to be hustling pretty impressively. He broke the Durham story late Thursday. I bring it up because the Merc-News is owned by the insane media miscreant Dean Singleton, who has a classy way of firing employees: staffers at the San Jose Mercury have been told to stay home Dec. 5 between 8 am and 10 am to wait for a phone call that will tell them they either have a job or they don't.

The idiots who run Blogger have disabled the editing functions so I'm posting Chris's take at Bay City Ball on the Durham signing (I think he's right) -- On the surface I like this deal and think that Sabean has done an adequate job. The length and price seem just about right. The only thing that worries me is that Durham is getting older and his hamstrings are more similar to brittle rubber bands these days than anything else. My other hope is that this is a sign that Pedro Feliz isn’t coming back. Though I haven’t completely ruled that thought out because we still need a first basemen and Pedro has played first before.

Anyhow, here's Giants Win's projected opening day lineup --

Roberts CF
Vizquel SS
Durham 2B
Bonds LF
Aurilia 1B
Feliz 3B
Molina C
Winn RF
Cain P

Friday, December 01, 2006

More insanity from the Cubs

This is an excellent post from Dave Davis at the LA Observed blog, triggered by the Cubs astronomical $45 million offer to Jason Schmidt --

The Tribune, er, Chicago Cubs just keep on spending. So far this off-season, the Cubs have dropped a staggering $239 million on free agents (including $10 million on Lou Pinella, their new manager), according to published reports.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Cubs have bid about $45 million (over three years) for San Francisco Giants pitcher Jason Schmidt. The Cubs have confirmed that they're interested in Schmidt, but they deny that they've offered him that amount. (The Dodgers are also reportedly interested in Schmidt.)
Still, if the published reports are true –- and if Schmidt indeed signs for that amount with the Cubs -- we're talking about a $285 million spending spree by Tribune.
It's as if Tribune has chosen home runs and stolen bases over reporters and editors. And, it makes you wonder: just how many bureau chiefs and staff writers/editors/photographers could the L.A. Times hire/retain for $285 million?
Just to rub it in, the
Associated Press reports that the $136 million contract that Alfonso Soriano signed with the Cubs includes a clause that guarantees Soriano a hotel suite on all road trips and six premium tickets for all home games during spring training, the regular season, and the post-season. As if he couldn't afford to buy the damn tickets himself….

Durham's coming back

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc-News is reporting that Ray Ray is coming back to the Orange and Black. Given the fact that 2006 was his best offensive season by far (26 HRs, 93 RBIs, .538 slg), it seems like a sensible move. He's also reporting that the Aurilia and Roberts signings should be announced this weekend and that this probably means that Feliz won't be re-signed and that the pursuit of Mark Loretta is over.

Benjie in the Orange & Black?

The SF Chron's Henry Schulman is reporting that the Giants may sign Benjie Molina, which means two things -- 1. Matheny's career is over and 2. The very likeable Eliezer Alfonzo is only going to be a backup, given his marginal performance last year -- a Feliz-like 9 walks in 286 ABs. Schulman's doesn't mention that Benjie's by far the best hitter of the Molina Bros. even though Yadier's HR in Game 7 of the NLCS was probably the single most clutch hit of the year.