Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I could live with this trade

Trevor at Giants Baseball Blog has a pretty decent suggestion about what to do if the Giants are determined to get Joe Crede, which is being rumored right now even though he's coming off back surgery. Rather than giving up Noah Lowry or Jonathan Sanchez, why not Dave Roberts? The Giants already have a pair of speedy outfielders (Rajai Davis and Fred Lewis) with a lot more upside than Roberts. Here's the pertinent part of the post --

Crede is going to be a free agent after the year, so the Giants should not need to part with too much in order to obtain him. The White Sox need a leadoff hitter and the Giants have a few guys who could do that ( Dave Roberts). If a Crede trade is made, the Giants shouldn't have to include any prominent pitching. If the White Sox are demanding an arm like Lowry, Sanchez or Corriea, I'd just as soon see the Giants sign Dallas McPherson or Morgan Ensberg who are both looking for a home 2 weeks prior to spring reporting dates.

Pedro Feliz is like my 1965 Mustang

In the wake of Pedro Feliz signing with the Phils, Grant at McCovey Chronicles decided to compare Feliz with his 1984 Volvo and then asked for analogies. It was an inspired idea. Susbequent posters compared Pedro to a bunch of green bananas, a 1985 Celica, a 1982 BMW, a chicken caesar sandwich, an annoying friend, a loveless relationship, a dumb brother in law, a crappy job, Dorothy Zbornak from the "Golden Girls," smoking American Spirits, watching a terrible romantic comedy in back of an annoying guy who's 6-foot-8, a 1990 Ford Aerostar, hitting on every single woman you meet and a 1969 VW bug. But I immediately thought Pedro was like my 1965 Mustang.

I bought the car for $300 in 1976 to replace my Rambler, which was dead. The car looked OK, though it had dents all over it and a straight six engine. It was also a putrid light yellow -- but it was a Mustang. I felt like I had stepped up after the Rambler -- it was a Mustang, dammit! -- but over the next year, it became obvious why I had been able to buy the car for only $300. It broke down ALL THE TIME and stranded me all over Northern California -- the transmission, clutch, radiator, generator, fan belts all busted at one time or another. For New Year's Eve 1976, I asked out a fairly cute woman named Debbie, who was a school teacher and fairly open-minded. I had high hopes, even though the driver's side car door was no longer working and had to be tied shut with a rope. Unfortunately, a few hours before the date, the passenger side car door also had stopped working and I also had to tie it shut with rope. Can you imagine how that impacted my "game," so to speak? Debbie was fairly horrified and that was our last date. I sold the car for $100 and a 10-speed bike to a 16-year-old kid, then paid $800 for a 1966 Mustang that ran OK for about six years before someone crashed into while it was parked.

So Pedro Feliz is like a $300 1965 Mustang, where you have to tie the doors shut. In other words, it can kind of do the job. But its defects are pretty embarrassing and, ultimately, very unsatisfying.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pheliz now a Phillie

The Pedro Feliz Era in San Francisco is finally over. The Phils were so desperate that they've signed him to a two-year deal.

I guess when you have Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins in your lineup, they cover up a variety of other offensive sins like a sub .300 OBP.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sabean thinks Giants fans are stupid

Here's another reason to add to the long list of reasons why Brian Sabean should be sent packing -- he's just sent an insulting letter to season ticket holders asking them to renew and telling them that the team will be better because it's now focused on pitching and defense. The letter is posted at McCovey Chronicles.

Why would I say that this is insulting? Because a normal logical person would conclude that the reason for focusing on pitching and defense stems from trying to correct the shortcomings of the 2007 Giants -- that they went 71-91 because they were lacking in those areas. So I checked to see how the 2007 Giants fared and it turns out that the team had sixth lowest number of runs allowed in MLB last year at 720; they were 10th lowest in earned runs at 673.

Unfortunately, the Giants also had the second-lowest number of runs scored at 683 (only the Nats were lower). Sabean's response was to re-sign Omar Vizquel and replace Barry Bonds with Aaron Rowand. The bottom line is that the club was and is fundamentally flawed offensively. To pretend that it's going win more games than it did last year without an improved offense is nonsensical, even if Sabean says he might make some moves before March 31. We can hope it's for someone like Brad Wilkerson, who can actually hit, but it will probably be for an over-rated, over-the-hill guy like Tony Clark, Mark Sweeney or Steve Finley.

In addition to lying about where the club needs to improve, Sabean could not be bothered to get a decent proofreader for the letter -- Not only are we taking a new tact on the field, but we also made three major new additions to the front office to help supplement our baseball operations staff.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stay on the sunny side, always on the sunny side...

Giants Win has been pretty negative lately so I started looking for something positive to post. It took awhile and I was considering simply posting another photo of Mays Field but I finally found something pretty interesting at the invaluable McCovey Chronicles -- a post that details the good things that happened this off-season if you're a Giants fan. This is how bad things are with the team -- many are derived from the sort of of thinking of "It could always be worse," but it may also be a sign that the front office is finally acting with some intelligence, for a change. I've shortened them, except for the 8th point, which is the best of the lot. In any case, here are Ten Positives Of This Offseason:

By onlxnPosted on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:20:39 PM EDT
There's no spinning this into a good offseason for Giant fans. We're no closer to having young hitting talent, and we can't be a credible franchise until we have that again... moreover, the offensive roster is still misaligned, and things have just been plain boring, to boot.
But I think one could argue that it really hasn't been all that bad, either. And since it's almost February, and it'd be good if we could get some positivity going, here are ten good things about the Giants' winter.

1. Lincecum and Cain are still here.
2. Feliz is gone-ish.
3. Almost all our free agent money went towards good talent.
4. Our outfield defense will be excellent, which is a good thing for a young pitching staff.
5. None of our promising young pitchers are blocked, except by each other. We haven't wasted any time with Livans or Lohses...
6. We haven't traded Lowry for cents on the dollar. Nobody's quite sure what he is or what he's worth, but he's not worth nothing.
7. We haven't traded Durham for cents on the dollar. Durham may very possibly be worth nothing, but given that he was an asset just a year ago, it makes sense to gamble on a bounceback.
8. We haven't splurged on our bullpen. Sounds ridiculous, but again, that's a thing that some bad teams do. The White Sox were only a game better than us last year -- far worse in Pythagorean record, five games farther behind in the standings than us. They just spent $11 million on Octavio Dotel. The Reds also lost 90 games, and they went $46 million deep on a closer. Sabean hasn't done that.
9. There are still two lineup slots available for young guys.
10. There are no long-term blocks at any position where we have a real prospect. Sort of academic, since we don't really have any real prospects... still, the only guy signed past '09 is Rowand.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reality check for the SF Chronicle

Readers of this blog know that I've hammered the San Francisco Chronicle again and again on a number of fronts -- their irrational obsession with hating Barry Bonds; their refusal to report the incompetence of Brian Sabean; the incredibly shoddy "work" of hack weasels and Sabean apologists like John Shea (I'm still offended over his telling Giant fans that Nomar Garciaparra's comeback on the Dodgers was a "feel-good" story), Ray Ratto, Bruce Jenkins and Gwen Knapp.

Worst of all is the paper's utter lack of ethics in allowing their reporters (Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams) to participate in a perversion of the justice system by allowing the reporters to knowingly publish grand-jury documents, leaked by a defense attorney who then used the publication of the leaked documents to claim his client could not get a fair trial. The paper's response was to allow the reporters to go on covering the story despite the obvious legal malfeasance.

Now it turns out that people aren't as stupid as the Chronicle editors seem to think they are. With the economy falling apart, people are not interested in paying for a garbage paper, if the New York Times is to be believed. The NYT, in its story on the promotion of Phil Bronstein, says the paper is now losing $1 million a week.

I admit that the poor quality of the sports reporting is certainly not the only reason why the paper's losing money and it gives me no joy to see the paper -- which does have some good reporters -- on the skids. But the Chronicle only has itself to blame.

Is Morgan Ensberg an option?

Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury-News recently mentioned free agent Morgan Ensberg as an option for the Orange and Black along with Joe Crede, who seems like a pretty dumb idea, given that he's coming off back surgery. Last year's Baseball Prospectus noted that Ensberg had made better use of the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid than any other player. I noted with interest that this is a guy who also took 101 walks back in 2006 and hit 36 HRs in 2005.

He damaged his shoulder in 2006 so he's not attracting much interest. So he might be a low-risk, high-reward investment -- particularly if the Giants get rid of Durham.

That said, I'm mostly of the mind that 2008 should be dedicated to giving young players a shot.

Dave Roberts = the essence of an over-rated player

Chris Haft of has posted his evaluation of the Giants outfielders and notes that after Rowand and Winn, it's basically 4 guys going for the remaining spot -- Roberts, Davis, Schierholtz and Lewis. He makes the good point that Schierholtz is at a bit of a disadvantage because he has minor league options left.

But what's annoying about the reporting is that it assumes that Roberts is going to start because he's got the better track record: Bone spurs in Roberts' left elbow, which required surgery last May 11, prevented him from being the offensive dynamo at the top of the order that the Giants hoped for. Roberts' .260 average represented a 33-point decline from the previous season, but his 31 steals in 36 tries and the .296 average he posted in the final three months indicated that he could still contribute.

So what does this so-called potential "offensive dynamo" bring? A very ordinary career line of .268/.342/.370 while the NL average last year was .266/.334/.423. Roberts has managed to develop a reputation -- burnished by a steal in game 4 of 2004 ALCS -- that far exceeds his actual talent. So incompetents like Haft don't realize or won't write that Roberts is badly overpaid at $13 million for the next two seasons. He'll be 36 in May and is clearly 1. not going to get any better and 2. will probably get worse and 3. is at an age where he's going to keep getting injured.

Haft implies that it's up to Lewis to force the Giants to dump Roberts -- Should Lewis harness his considerable talent, he'd force the Giants to think hard about what to do with Roberts, since they possess similar attributes.

My snarky comment -- Let's say that happens: Lewis plays great and the Giants finally realize what everyone else knows -- that Roberts is no damn good any more. A well-run team would have admitted its mistake and found a way by now to get rid of this guy before now. When you're looking at losing between 90 and 100 games, what's the point of hanging to a declining vet like Dave Roberts?

Friday, January 25, 2008

"I don't know Joe Crede from Joe Bonano"

PEFA Commish at Sour Grapes has posted about the Giants possibly going after Joe Crede after the long-overdue ditching of Pedro Feliz; hence the very funny headline which I expropriated from his post, which was titled "Pedro, Nice To See You (Leave)." Here's the pertinent part of what the Commish wrote about Crede, which reflects just how little confidence Giants fans have in Brainiac Sabean's ability to make sensible deals --

The Giants are talking about Joe Crede. Now I don’t know Joe Crede from Joe Bonano, Crede being a career American Leaguer. I do know he hit 30 homers in 2006, but he had back surgery last year.
Actually his major league career is almost exactly the same at Pedro’s. They both came up for a few games in 2000 - Crede's career is 7 seasons plus 14 at bats. His numbers include 108 homers, 367 RBI’s, 4 steals and a .259 BA. His on base percentage is consistently slightly over .300. He has struck out 14.7% of the time compared to 17.6% for Pedro. I assume he doesn’t field as well.
He will be only 30 in April. On the other hand…HE’S COMING OFF BACK SURGERY.He sounds like the perfect downgrade. $50 million, 5 years. Don’t worry – you’re gonna love him! Like Rowand, he’s a gamer! Oh yeah - he'll only cost us Noah Lowry.

Someone's actually reading this

Many thanks to Frank for gently pointing out that I got it wrong in the recent post about Pedro Feliz. It's now obvious that when I posted, I had read that part of the SF Chronicle article too quickly. But rather than say something like, "You're an idiot," this is what showed up in my email --

Frank has left a new comment on your post "Adios, Pedro, and good luck in Japan": I think you misread the article - or I did. Schulman says that the presence of Aurilia "precludes" the signing of a Tony Clark type player.

I'm going to revise that part of the post.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pitchers and catchers report in 23 days

Tim Lincecum's first MLB pitch last May 6. photo by mtmont

A shout out to Cat for pointing out this important fact at the newly discovered (for me), well written and nicely designed Front Row Johnson

Adios, Pedro, and good luck in Japan

Finally, even Brian "Brainiac" Sabean can see what everyone else has known for years -- Pedro Feliz is a utility player at best and not a very good one at that.

What other team would keep on giving over 500 at bats a year to a corner infielder with only moderate power who can't even manage a .300 OBP? So thanks for wasting the last five years acting as if he were the second coming of Mike Schmidt instead of the second coming of Steve Ontiveros -- who was a pretty crappy corner infielder for the Orange and Black in the early 1970s who wound up his career with six years as a Seibu Lion in Japan.

Thanks for the all-too-infrequent thrill, Pedro. If you're going to insist on a three-year deal, I'd be practicing my Japanese.

Unfortunately, Stupid Sabean is also telling the SF Chron's Henry Schulman -- after asserting that Daniel Ortmeier and Kevin Fransden are going to get real shots -- that he still wants to waste money and at bats on the worthless Tony Clark.

UPDATE on Jan. 25 -- A poster named Frank pointed out that I missed the word "precludes" in Schulman's copy and that Sabean is actually saying something intelligent -- that the presence of Aurilia precludes the signing of a Tony Clark-type player.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Amazingly stupid speculation about Sabean

Some blogger named Tom Swidorski at Dugout Central -- clearly still unhinged over the Mets collapse during the last 17 games of the 2007 season -- has proposed that if the Mets stumble again, Omar Minaya would be replaced as the GM, and then listed Brian Sabean as one of the four possible candidates.

I wish it were true but Swidorski is obviously on another planet. The Sabean part of the post is truly delusional and logic-defying -- Born and bred on the east coast, would Sabean be open to moving “back home’? He worked for years in the Yankees organization and had a role in the drafting and signing of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. Yes, the shadows of Barry Bonds, steroids, the Balco situation and his horrible trade with sending Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano to the Twins for A.J. Pierzysnki loom large, but perhaps a fresh start back in familiar surroundings would be acceptable to Mr. Sabean. However, I am not sure the Mets would want a GM with his type of baggage, but it is food for thought, and certainly a subject for debate.

My snarky response -- When I'm trying to impress people about my skills and why I should be hired, I always tell them about things I did 15 to 20 years ago. Also, I'm your new President, the new leftfielder for the Giants and I'll be time-traveling to meet Cleopatra later this evening.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Terror at 6'8"

Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye has said it better than I did -- the Tony Clark idea is truly brainless. He also came up with a much better headline than mine, which I have expropriated. And he makes the excellent point that Clark's numbers are severely inflated by playing at Chase Field:

2007 Home: .291/.331/.684
2007 Road: .202/.288/.317

Paulie also makes these points:

-- if the Giants are going to bring a veteran in, why not go with Brad Wilkerson, who is still young enough to regain his past greatness? Plus, Wilkerson is a good defensive player who can play the outfield when needed. I've made a case for him already.

-- I'd rather just let Dan Ortmeier play, to see if his .497 slugging percentage can stand up for a whole season. I'm not too bullish on the Ort, but I'd wager he'd be just as good as Clark, and what reason do the Giants have to not give him a try? So they can squash another young player's career beneath a crappy veteran some more? That's worked out soooo well for them already, don'tcha know.

Go for it, Roger

ESPN is reporting that Astros have invited Roger Clemens to their early spring training and he's considering going. I hope he goes.

Nothing would send a clearer message to the sanctimonious among us -- you know who you are -- as to just how idiotic the current steroid obsession is.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tony Clark in the Orange and Black?

Eli at the MLB Rumors blog has convinced himself that the Giants are going to sign Tony Clark -- who's had the good fortune to play in Arizona and dupe people into thinking he's a quality player.

I am kind of baffled by his reasoning that Clark will do well by going to a pitchers' park and guessing that Eli's referring to the Giants already having signed Vizquel and Rowand during this offseason. So I am hoping that Eli doesn't know what he's talking about but I have to admit that Tony Clark is exactly the kind of nonsensical signing that the Giants have been making in recent years --

Not only do they need a first baseman, but Clark is a leader in the clubhouse, and should do well there. However, the Giants have a lot of veterans and might not be interested in adding another one, but that hasn't stopped them this off season.

At any rate, signing Clark is a terrible idea but not a surprising one either, given the caliber of recent Sabean signings like Klesko, Aurilia, Durham, Finley and Roberts. Just like those guys, Tony Clark is no damn good any more -- he's had one good year since 2001 -- and he'll be 36 in June. Why is Sabean so obsessed with signing guys who are on the downside of their careers and are clearly going to spend a lot of time on the DL? (The answer is that he's stupid). How is Tony Clark going to make fans fork over $50 a ticket? During the last 2 years, fans could say, "Well, the team's not very good but at least they have Bonds; he's worth a visit."

I predict the scalpers around Mays Field are in for a tough stretch.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bomko's back in the bigs

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dodgers say no Feliz

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's not just me who thinks Bud Selig's a bad joke

An eagle-eyed poster at McCovey Chronicles named Lincecum Cain and Pray for Rain noted that Bud Selig's sense of humor is a little dysfunctional --

During a recent news conference, Commissioner-For-Life Bud Selig's cell phone started ringing (I can imagine that Selig doesn't know how to adjust the volume on his phone), he went to answer the phone, saw that it was his wife calling, and then sent the call to voicemail and joked "It's only my wife, I'll punch her out." The video awfulness is here: Now maybe (hopefully), he meant it in some sort of baseball umpire way, calling her out on three strikes and then motioning "you're outta here." Maybe. Or maybe he's shades of Bobby Cox and Brett Myers. Either way, baseball is a sport with a not-so-great public image right now and having your commissioner make a joke about spousal abuse is probably not going to win over fans.
Four more years!!

MY COMMENT -- He's a no-class stupid dingbat who can go to hell.

An upbeat post about the Giants -- for a change....

...And how could it be about anyone but Tim Lincecum, if you're a Giants fan?

In this case, ESPN's Rob Neyer holds an open chat in which he concludes that Tim the Enchanter is about the best young pitcher in the game, even compared with the Brewers' young stud Yovani Gallardo. Here's his case for Lincecum --

Lincecum struck out 9.2 hitters per nine innings. Among those 76 National Leaguers with at least 100 innings pitched, only Cy Young winner Jake Peavy did better. Lincecum showed little sign of wear: between his time in the minors and his five months with the Giants, he totaled 177 innings last season. The Giants did shut him down after his Sept. 16 start, but that was purely precautionary. Though slight of build, Lincecum can throw his heat in the high 90s and his curveball, at its best, is simply unhittable.

I could have made a snarky post about the depressing fact that Bud "Dingbat" Selig will be commissioner for the next three years. Once again -- thanks for ruining the 1994 season and bringing to life the worthless Miami and Tampa franchises, screwing up the All-Star Game, treating Barry Bonds like Satan and carrying a long-term conflict of interest in owning the Brewers while serving as commissioner. Now your latest accomplishment is to smear the MLBPA in front of Congress, obsessing over what happened five to 10 years ago. Go to hell, Bud.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More embarrassment over Feliz

The SF Chronicle reports that Stupid Sabean still wants to sign Feliz, just not to a 3-year deal.

Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal reports the Dodgers, Brewers and Phils want him, too. GMs don't seem to realize that this guy is never going to get an OBP over .300 and that the 20 HRs come from batting in a lineup near Barry Bonds. Here's the evaluation from CBS Sportsline for fantasy league owners (who appear to have more baseball smarts than the Giants front office) --

Feliz is a very good defensive third baseman, which gets him at-bats, but he makes far too many outs at the plate. He is an annual contender for the lowest OBP among baseball regulars, mainly because he is a free swinger who is not interested in walking. There is some pop in his bat -- four consecutive seasons of 20-plus homers -- but his inconsistency makes him a low-end, and frankly risky, Fantasy option on Draft Day. Consider him a last-resort third baseman in most leagues.

"Second base is up for grabs"

So says Chris Haft of, who won't admit that the Giants are stuck with an awful contract on Ray Durham -- which means Stupid Sabean will insist that he play every day despite being the worst everyday player in the bigs last year.

Who would want Durham's horrific contract? Here are the gory details, thanks the Cot's Contract page --

Ray Durham 2b 2 years/$14.5M (2007-08)
re-signed as a free agent 12/06
07:$7M, 08:$7.5M
$25,000 for 450 plate appearances in a season
$0.2M assignment bonus each time traded
award bonuses: $0.1M for MVP, $75,000 for WS MVP, $50,000 for LCS MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove or All Star ($25,000 for selection)
no-trade protection
3 years/$20.1M (2003-05), plus $7M 2006 player option
Durham exercised $7M 2006 player option 10/05
$3.6M signing bonus
03:$4M, 04:$6M, 05:$6.5M, 06:$7M player option
signed as a free agent 12/02

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Get rid of this guy

Sorry, but I've had it with defenders of Dave Roberts. Chris Haft, who writes for Giants official site, just issued a truly idiotic response in the Giants Mailbag to a sensible question about why the Giants won't give the young guys a chance. Haft, it seems, is buying into the notion that crappy vets with no upside are better than young guys with an upside -- even though the team has racked up three straight losing seasons and has now ditched its best player.

Here's the question --
It seems that a lot of teams are searching for center field help. With the Giants looking to go younger, why have they not tried to trade Dave Roberts to open a spot for one of the young players to start?-- Angel T., Walnut Creek, Calif.

Here's Haft's response -- Atlanta's deal with the A's for Mark Kotsay made me wonder about Roberts' marketability, too. The Giants surely would trade Roberts in the right deal. But Roberts' contract (he's owed $6.5 million in each of the next two seasons) could be a hindrance. Besides, the Giants need him in left field, since the other leading outfield candidates -- Rajai Davis, Fred Lewis and Nate Schierholtz -- are virtually rookies and lack a track record. The Giants hope that Roberts can stay healthy and perform as he did after recovering from left elbow surgery last season, when he hit .296 in the final three months.

EARTH TO CHRIS -- Roberts is at an age where 1. He's going to keep getting hurt and 2. He's not going to get any better. The notion that Davis, Lewis and Schierholtz can't play in LF because they don't have MLB experience is idiotic. How are they supposed to get that experience? Here are the real reasons why Roberts will get to play -- because they've already paid $13 million for him; they can't get rid of him; and Stupid Sabean won't admit that he made a mistake with this terrible signing, which is what benching him would mean. It's not because Roberts is a better player than the other candidates. Sheesh!

Monday, January 14, 2008

What the Giants need

According to Nick Kapur at his site ("In Your Face Commentary"), the answer is EVERYTHING. Here's the specifics, as part of a rundown of the five NL West teams --

Here is a short list of the things the Giants need: a first baseman, a second baseman, a third baseman, a starting pitcher, a closer, and three other relievers of any ability. Outside of the outfield (Rowand, Roberts, Randy Winn), and the young guns in the rotation (Cain, Lowry, Lincecum), this team is going to be absolutely terrible, and they have no promising prospects of any real note on the way either. The Giants are well nigh a stone cold lock to have the worst offense in the National League this year.

MY SNARKY COMMENT -- The outfield will veer towards terrible if Roberts plays every day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Dominican Dandy

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A vote for McClain

That's Scott McClain -- one of the 15 spring training invitees announced by the Giants. Here's what the Giants say -- McClain, 35, returns to San Francisco after leading the organization with 31 home runs and 100 RBIs at Fresno in 2007. A prolific Minor League power hitter, he's hit 262 home runs with 1,001 RBIs in 1,636 career Minor League games; he also hit 71 homers in 320 games for Seibu in Japan. Entering his 19th professional season, he has played in 30 Major League games with the Rays (1998), Cubs (2005) and Giants (2007).

I'm a bit baffled as to why this guy's gotten a total of only 45 ABs in the bigs and he wasn't given more than 11 ABs in SF last year when the offense was just plain awful pretty much whenever Bonds wasn't playing. But then I remember that Stupid Sabean is running the team, which meant that offense-free vets like Roberts, Durham, Sweeney, Klesko and Aurilia were still getting lots of at bats even late in the year. Now, when Rowand and Molina are your top power hitters, you'd better be looking for another big bat, even if it is a career minor leaguer. I hope he gets a long look.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Are you listening, Choker?

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle -- who always does a decent job -- has a pretty good write-up about Aaron Rowand spending the day talking with reporters. Like Zito, Roberts, Aurilia and Vizquel, Rowand comes off as articulate and witty, leaving him well-equipped to deal with the demands of the news media. It would also be nice if he can duplicate the kind of numbers he put up last year in Philly, but that's probably not going to happen.

At any rate, one of the better part of Schulman's write-up is a snarky reference to Jeff "Choker" Kent lying to news media about his motorcycle injury in 2002 -- insisting that it was a car-wash injury despite clear video evidence that he was lying. It never surprises me when the self-centered Kent is at the center of a team melting down. It's happened twice with the Dodgers, first with Milton Bradley in 2006 and then with Matt Kemp and James Loney last year. Those situations got so out of control that even the Los Angeles Times had to depart from its usual pathetic coverage of the team to report how bad things had gotten in the clubhouse.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gwen Knapp is a dingbat

She's written a column for the SF Chronicle that's full of wishful thinking (even though it's couched as a longshot) that maybe the Giants can somehow be a .500 team next year. The basis for her conclusions -- improvement from Zito, Pedro Feliz, Randy Winn and Benjie Molina, even though there's no evidence that any of them will suddenly get better. Gwen just thinks it would be nice if it did happen.

This is what is known as magical thinking -- believing that guys who have a clear track record and are at an age where they're highly unlikely to begin improving (Zito will be 30 this season and both Winn and Molina are turning 34) are somehow suddenly going to revert to their career years. Or, in the case of Feliz, suddenly learn to take a pitch that's a foot out of the strike zone. (Hasn't anyone told her that Feliz isn't actually on the roster? Doesn't the Chron have copy editors?)

Her case would be a lot more convincing if she had bothered to put forward plausible scenarios such as improvement by the younger players such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Kevin Frandsen, Nate Schierholtz, Rajai Davis, Brian Wilson and Daniel Ortmeier. If those seven guys all improve -- and that's a huge "if" -- then the team might actually contend.

It's clear once again that the SF Chronicle is written by lazy dingbats and edited by shovel.

The countdown continues

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An update on One Flap Down aka Hackman aka Penitentiary Face

It turns out the Jeffrey Leonard -- who had a knack for acquiring nicknames -- has carved out a second career as a baseball manager. Leonard has been hired as manager of the Reno Silver Sox. This write-up mentions that he was the MVP of 1987 NLCS even though the Giants lost in 7 games.

The Giants got him and Dave Bergman in 1981 from Houston for Mike Ivie, then traded him in 1988 for Ernest Riles. So he was there for some of the great seasons (1982, 1986, 1987) and some of the worst (1984 and 1985). He led the 1985 team -- which went 62-100 -- with 62 RBIs. He also led the team in strikeouts with 102 and walked only 21 times (hence the name Hackman). Rob Deer was second on that team in strikeouts with 71 times in a mere 162 ABs in his search for the perfect fastball.

The 1985 team scored only 556 runs. The pitching was actually decent with an overall 3.61 ERA and the pitchers included Krukow, Hammaker, Blue, Minton and Garrelts. Unfortunately, the team was outscored by 118 runs. I'm afraid that 2008 may be reminiscent of 1985.

Just for fun, I looked up Hackman's total strikeouts. He had exactly 1,000 in a career with over 5,000 ABs; he also hit 95 of his 144 HRs as a Giant. Deer has an astounding 1,409 in 3,881 ABs -- good enough for 62nd on the all-time list.

Deer actually became a pretty good power hitter after getting traded to Milwaukee for two minor leaguers named Freedland and Erik Pilkington. He wound up with 230 career HRs, mostly from pounding the ball as a Brewer.

The good old days at Mays Field

It's amazing to think how the first of the new ballpark saw some of the greatest performance of all time.

ESPN's Rob Neyer has a nice piece about the 10 greatest individual seasons in MLB history. Bonds' 2001 tops the list, followed by Babe Ruth's 1921 season. Bonds' 2002 season is third.

Barry and the Babe have five of the top 10 seasons with Ruth's 1922 and 1923 seasons also on the list. Others on Neyer's list -- Mantle (1956), Honus Wagner (1908), Lefty Grove (1931), Ted Williams (1941) and Pedro Martinez (1999).

Was Goose a Giant?

Dave Henderson in 1983, another guy you probably don't think was a Giant

Yes, it's true. New Hall of Famer Goose Gossage pitched 43 innings for them in 1989 until August when he was picked up on waivers by the Yankees.

Here are some of the other well-known players who have done brief stints in the Orange and Black -- Duke Snider, Warren Spahn, Doyle Alexander, Darryl Strawberry, Cory Snyder, Gary Carter, Dick Groat, Joe Garagiola, Ivan de Jesus, Tony Lazzeri, Joe Medwick, Bill Monbouquette, Dave Henderson, Rogers Hornsby, Ken Reitz, Ken Oberkfell, Al Oliver, Eric Davis.

Dave Henderson was one that surprised me. It turns out that he played in 15 games with 21 at bats, eight walks and five hits late in the magical 1987 season. But he was not on the post-season roster. It was the only year between 1986 and 1990 that he didn't go to the World Series. He had a very respectable Series record of 23 hits in 71 at bats, including 4 HRs -- two in Game 3 of the 1989 Series.

SF got him in a Sept. 1 trade from the Bosox for a player to be named later, who turned out to be the marginally talented Randy Kutcher. "Hendu" signed as a free agent with Oakland during the off-season.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Not Gonzo

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a story about how Luis Gonzalez is still unemployed. It's somewhat alarming to note that the Giants were among the teams that his agent spoke with after the season ended. And it's not surprising -- the agent probably thought, "Of course I should call. Brian Sabean's is a sucker for washed-up old players like Rich Aurilia, Dave Roberts, Jose Vizcaino, Ryan Klesko and Steve Finley."

Even though the Giants would seem to have plenty of outfielders, it would not surprise me if Stupid Sabean decided to sign Gonzo -- just because he LOVES to sign old guys who are on the decline and because he has ridiculously low standards for acceptable offensive performance. How else is it that Ray Durham is still on the team?

How bad were the Giants last year? So bad that they probably would have won a few more games had the 39-year-old Gonzo started in right field and Winn had played center. Let's say the Giants had outbid the Dodgers last year for Gonzo and spent $8 million for him, rather than signing Dave Roberts. Gonzo would have had a higher OBP at .359 than anyone on the Giants except for Bonds, although Fred Lewis and Rajai Davis were slightly better in about 150 ABs each. In slugging, with .433, he was tied with Benjie and better than anyone on the Giants except Bonds, Winn and Daniel Ortmeier.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The forgotten pioneer

Friday, January 04, 2008

Because Iraq, global warming and the economy aren't really that important....

Congress is continuing to waste my tax dollars by holding hearings on steroids and HGH. Now they're inviting Clemens and McNamee to testify.

My stomach churns when I think about the mess in Iraq and how it's not getting better and how these grandstanding losers are responding to it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"I've been bad, worse than you could know"

I thought of that line, delivered by Mary Astor in "The Maltese Falcon," after reading Martin Lee's long but interesting take on the 2008 Giants at Obsessive Giants Compulsive. Martin's point is that the team's so bad right now on offense that the only way to get better eventually is 1. resign oneself to being very bad for several years, leading to getting decent draft picks; 2. play prospects like Fransden, Ortmeier and Schierholz in hopes that one will break through; 3. wait a few years until the team's a contender to get a premier free agent.

In any case, Martin's ready for the team to be pretty awful this year. Here's part of his post --

In order to rebuild efficiently and effectively, you need to shift quickly from contending to sucking, pick up some Top 5 draft picks for at least 2 seasons, then start trying to contend again by signing premiere free agents to fill positions of need. That means jettisoning useful major leaguers, like Barry Bonds, and playing more of your prospects in important starting roles.And that means not signing middling talent via free agency, only signing above average talent at a reasonable price. Acquiring middling talent via free agency doesn't do anything for you other than use up your payroll. We've seen this with the Giants since they passed up on trying to sign top players like Vlad or Carlos Beltran. As I wrote the season they could have pursued Vlad, with limited payroll, the Giants could either spend a little here and there on mediocrity to fill out the roster, or they could swing for the fences and sign a Vlad. Or fill in the appropriate name after that, like Beltran, Ordonez, etc.There's no way the Giants can compete effectively in 2008 and win it all unless the players all reach their potentials together in one year, very unlikely.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Chris Haft of does a fairly decent review of the Giants off-season so far. I hadn't realized how badly the bullpen sucked this past year. Here's a stunning line --

And the Giants lost 24 games when leading or tied after seven innings and posted a 14-27 record in games decided in the final at-bat, reflecting the bullpen's overall ineffectiveness.

Unfortunately, the article's also a bit lame since it doesn't really talk about how ineffective the offense was. Gee, Chris, don't you think that not having any hitters except Bonds was a problem -- particularly since Bonds was often out of games by the 8th inning?

I'm also appalled that -- given how badly the team performed offensively -- that Sabean is still considering signing Pedro Feliz. Geez, Brian, if you're charging $55 for a decent seat, how about getting some corner infielders and outfielders who can actually hit?