Sunday, November 30, 2008

76 days until pitchers and catchers report

A great shot of Mays Field by Peter576

Arbitration deadline looms

Chris Haft of does a nice explainer piece on why the Giants will wait until 9 p.m. Monday to make offers to Type A free agents who are eligible for arbitration. The key names so far -- reliever Juan Cruz, shortstop Edgar Renteria and second baseman Orlando Hudson. Sign one before the deadline (like Sabean did with Michael Tucker) and you have to give up a draft pick if they're offered arbitration.

Haft also reports that Rich Aurilia's agent indicates he probably won't sign with anyone until next month.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Rios-for-Lincecum rumor

Winnie posted this shot of Rios, a young Jays fan and Lou Seal

Tim Kawakami of the Merc-News blogs an apology for suggesting a year ago that the Giants get Alexis Rios for Tim Lincecum.

Rios turned in a pretty ordinary year for the Jays. As for which game this photo came from, the presence of Lou Seal makes me guess that it could be one from the three-game set on June 11-13, 2007. The final game saw Lincecum get his first loss after two wins. Or it could be a month later during the All-Star Game festivities in SF.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The President-elect and his family participated this morning in a Thanksgiving food give-away in Chicago. He told reporters that he wants the girls "to learn the importance of how fortunate they are, and to make sure they're giving back."

Speaking of Thanksgiving turkeys, Bill Plaschke of the LA Times has written a bizarre column (even by his standards) about a remark by the wife of Dodger owner Frank McCourt wondering aloud if more money that's earmarked for free agents ought to be allocated to community baseball fields. (To their eternal credit, the Dodgers announced this week plans this week to build 42 Dreamfields in the LA Area.) I suppose that it's good to hold the owners accountable but this seems a tad silly -- at a time when the economy's in free fall -- to take the ownership to task after making a nice gesture to the community and then reflecting that they may not be able to afford CC Sabathia's contract. Here's Plaschke on his high horse--

Do you really expect Dodgers fans to accept a lesser team for the greater community good?"Of course not," she said. "Building a team and helping the city is not an either-or thing. We want to do both."

Then why did you say it?"It was a philosophical discussion, not a literal decision-making process," she said.

So, philosophically, you think it's wiser to invest in charity than championships? If you really believe this, should you even be owning a baseball team?"What? We love owning the Dodgers more than ever, that has nothing to do with it," she said. "I was just talking about how buying players for high salaries seems insensitive when you contrast it with buying these dream fields. The difference is so stark, so vivid."

Dodgers fans can understand the contrast. What they will not understand is if the Dodgers use that contrast as an excuse to not spend the money needed for this team to improve."We would never do that, that's just silly," McCourt said. "We are going to do whatever it takes to win, that's our No. 1 mission, whatever it takes to get a world championship."

Anyhow, my 2 cents in all this: I feel fortunate to have a job right now and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Aurilia wants to keep going

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports mentions Rich at the end of a long round-up post. -- Rich Aurilia intends to continue his career. The Giants and Dodgers have shown interest in him as a super utility-type guy, though both are looking at other parts first. Aurilia’s main competition in that role could come from Mark Loretta.

It would be a bit strange to see Rich in Dodger blue but he's also been a Red, Padre and Mariner. My guess would be that the Giants might sign him if it's late in the off-season and they haven't signed anyone else. He didn't exactly set the world on fire last year but he wasn't as bad as Jose Castillo or Mark Sweeney or Jose Vizcaino -- some of the other Giants corner infielders of recent vintage. He probably got far more at bats (407) than he should have.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yet another reason to like Tim

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters accidentally got to meet The Franchise at a San Francisco watering hole and reports that the encounter was nothing but pleasant. Here's how he sums it up: He was genuinely friendly, and I felt pretty great getting to meet him in person. Thanks for being such an approachable star, Tim.

Giants are in shopping mode

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron reports that Rafael Furcal is "strongly" considering joining the Orange and Black. He also says the Giants will continue to be active in seeking to upgrade the offense and mentions that a deal for Edgar Renteria won't go through until next week. He also dumps some cold water on the idea of acquiring Adam Dunn: Still unclear is whether the Giants will look into a second-tier hitter such as Adam Dunn, who would provide much-needed pop to the lineup at the expense of defense.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles likes the idea of a 2-year deal for Renteria...but not a 4-year deal for Furcal.

But Paul Rice at Bugs and Cranks argues that Renteria is older and appears on the decline, so it would make more sense to sign the younger Furcal, who's a better player and younger, in hopes that his back's OK. That way, he argues, when the Giants contend in 2011, Furcal will be able to make a big contribution.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Here comes Renteria?????

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hennessey stays in the Orange and Black

photo by Chrispaul_3

Brad Hennessey's signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. Man, he was often terrible last year. He's classic 4A pitcher, who occasionally pitches decently enough to stick around. In this case, he lasted for 5 seasons. Here's one game I remember -- the first Saturday home game of 2008. Matt Cain pitched into the 7th and left with a 5-2 lead but Tyler Walker coughed up 3 in the 8th. Here's how the top of 9th went:

Top of the 9th, Cardinals Batting, Tied 5-5
Brad Hennessey replaces Tyler Walker pitching
B Barton Groundout: 3B-1B
C Izturis Walk
R Ludwick Home Run (Line Drive to Deep LF); Izturis Scores
C Duncan Double to RF (Line Drive to Deep RF Line)
A Pujols Intentional Walk

Brian Wilson came in and got 2 more outs and the Giants scored 2 in the bottom of the 9th but Erik Threets gave up a run in 10th and there went the game. Hennessey logged enough crappy outings like this one to be exiled to Fresno for most of the year, then came back for the last month. The Orioles probably saw this game on Sept. 15 when he pitched respectably in a 3-1 loss and said "what the heck."

The surprising Sandoval

Baseball Think Factory's Dan Szymborksi has posted the 2009 ZiPS projections for the Giants and has concluded that Pablo Sandoval is "very good" as an offensive player on the team if he plays catcher -- as are Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand if they play center. He says Sabean's done a decent job over the last year. Here's his summary --

Although I still think the Rowand signing is a bad idea and the offense is still terrible, the team has a lot of interesting arms and a few offensive prospects that are pretty promising. As I see it, Sabean's main challenges are:

- Sorting out the positional logjams. Sandoval's got a strong arm and is a much better athlete than he looks like - he can do a little more than fake 3B, though he's raw and unlikely to ever be strong there. He can handle the tools of ignorance too, but Posey's coming up behind him. 1B is likely where Villalona will end up, too. I'd probably give Sandoval first shot at 3B until he proves he can't handle it. The Giants also need to see what they can do with the Lewis/Rowand/Winn outfield - all 3 could be playing center for other teams and it's one of the few organizational surpluses at the MLB level. I'd certainly try to trade Winn at least.

- The Giants have about a million positional players in the 4th OF/5th IF variety and they need to spend time sorting out who they want as a part of the team going forward. They need to know about players like Schierholtz, Bowker, Frandsen, and Ishikawa, because if there's no serious attempt to figure out just what they can do, they're wasting space on the 40-man roster. All of them are old enough that just hanging around on the fringes of the majors will enhance their trade value.

- Resisting the temptation to short-circuit rebuilding. The rotation looks solid, even if ZiPS yearly too-optimistic look at Barry Zito fails to pan out, and a few lucky seasons from the offense and the Giants are competing in a very bad division. Getting, say, Brian Roberts for Sandoval/Tanner/Romo is a bad idea if it's just to charge for 83 wins and get into the playoffs.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Bonds hate train rolls on

photo by leeset703

This time, a no-talent hack named Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times decides to perpetrate the myth that Barry Bonds is the Worst. Teammate. Ever. and pin the blame on Bonds for why the Giants have been among the worst teams in the MLB for the past four years.

His column is ostensibly about why the Giants shouldn't sign Manny after he cry-babied his way of Boston. That's an interesting point, but the column soon devolves into a useless BONDS IS EVIL rant -- The Giants, you may recall, have experience with game-changing, payroll-bloating, team-wrecking, power-hitting diva left fielders. Barry Bonds made plenty of pretty numbers during his 15 seasons in San Francisco. But he created a toxic culture, the clouds from which are only now fully dissipating. The Giants, successfully transitioning into a post-Bonds existence, would be fools to repeat that experience.

Yeah, it's all Barry's fault that the Giants had the worst offense in MLB last year and became the first team since 1993 to hit less than 100 HRs. Peterson's column is yet another pathetic attempt to rewrite history by shifting blame away from Brian Sabean and Peter Magowan for a series of moves (Zito, Blownitez, Roberts, Klesko, Finley, Alfonzo, Rowand) that have left the Giants with a losing record for four straight years.

The one and only Kong

Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods has a nice post about Dave Kingman's memorable career, which began with the Orange and Black. Josh notes he was certainly noticed but hardly beloved when he was often one of the very tallest players in the game, particularly as compared to a short guy like Fred Patek -- In some ways he makes a perfect mirror image of Freddie Patek. While Patek is associated with one major league franchise for whom he provided all-around skill and team play and guts and fire, Kingman is known as a disliked ill-tempered one-dimensional journeyman, loyal to no one and with no one loyal to him.

Josh also posted this 1976 Topps card of Kingman in the Mets dugout. He also noted that Kingman played for four teams (the Mets, Angels, Padres and Yanks) during 1977 and then signed with a fifth (the Cubs) during the offseason. One of the comments included a link to this impressively surreal 1978 Topps card with this note -- The 1978 Topps set, perhaps not wanting to choose one of the 4 teams from the previous year, or not having a photo of Kingman as a Yankee, decided to place Kingman on the Cubs (this was in the period during which there was no "Topps Traded" set). The card is classic:
I love the green background!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Renteria gets an Orange and Black offer

photo by dcxfactorLF24

Chris Haft of reports that the two sides are exchanging proposals. He says Edgar's being sought by at least five other teams and speculates that the deal won't close until Rafael Furcal gets signed.

Fox's Ken Rosenthal says the Giants and the A's are "leading" the pursuit of Furcal. reports that Oakland asked for his medical records.

Chris at Bay City Ball posted an excellent analysis of Furcal a few days ago, concluding that paying him $40 million for 4 years would be a sound investment. Here's how the article started: In 2008, the Giants had the worst team production for the shortstop position in the National League. The collective of Giants’ shortstops combined for an OPS of .576. That made them the only team in the NL that failed to surpass the .600 OPS mark for team shortstop production. Omar Vizquel, Ivan Ochoa, Brian Bocock, and Emmanuel Burriss all logged 200+ innings at the position. Despite strong defense from Vizquel, Bocock, and Ochoa, their combined futility with the bat washed out any positive gains with the glove. If you expanded the selection to both the AL and NL, only the Baltimore Orioles had less production for their shortstop position than the Giants. O’s shortstops had an OPS of .535.

The Giants are also interested in Orlando Cabrera. It's a bit ironic that the Giants appear most serious about getting some offense out of shortstop, which has often been a highly unproductive slot for them throughout the history of the franchise, with the exception of Chris Speier and Rich Aurilia in their primes. Other than those two, most of the games at the shortstop position have gone to these six players -- Jose Pagan, Hal Lanier, Johnny Lemaster, Jose Uribe, Royce Clayton and Omar Vizquel. For those of you too young to recall, Lanier and Lemaster were legendarily bad offensive players and Clayton appears to have had a far longer career than he should have, given his offensive limitations.

Getting high on Hudson

photo of Mila Kunis by SpiderJohn07

Chris Haft of reports the Giants are "serious" about pursuing Orlando Hudson. Jon Heyman of SI reports that the Indians, Yanks, Mets and Dodgers are also interested. Heyman also says Hudson would like 5 years and $50 million.

And as long as I'm talking about things people would like -- I'd like to hang out with Mila Kunis too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A bright outlook for Tim

photo by skotizman

Take heart, Giants fans. Josh Kalk at Hardball Times has written a thorough evaluation of Lincecum's pitching style and concludes that this year was no fluke. Here's his conclusion -- Tim Lincecum is far more than just his 95 mph fastball. While speed is great, Lincecum's movement on his pitches is also excellent. Lincecum's off-speed pitches mesh incredibly well with his fastball and this year he threw the right pitch for the situation time and time again. Not only is Lincecum blessed with great stuff, but clearly knows how to pitch and that is a deadly combination. Expect him to be one of the best pitchers in the league for many years to come.

Pitching for CC?

The Milwaukee Journal's reporting that the Giants are prepping to make an offer for CC. So's the Newark Star Ledger. SI's Jon Heyman says the Giants would probably only do a CC deal if they can get someone to take Zito off their hands.

Aneel at Trapped in LA is concerned that the Giants aren't addressing the problem of a lousy offense.

The Bill Neukom Era started with the Jeremy Affeldt signing for 2 years at $8 million. This one would probably take at least 5 years for $100 million, since that's what the Brewers already offered.

Lowe = Zito?

Man, Scott Boras certainly doesn't believe in understatement. He's told Fox's Ken Rosenthal that Derek Lowe deserves a Zito-like contract (7 years, $126 million) which should make all right-thinking Giants fans cringe.

One poster on Baseball Think Factory contended that Boras is trying to make potential buyers arrive at the conclusion that Lowe's much better than Zito. But another poster named Snapper astutely disagreed -- Every GM who thinks about Zito thinks "What a f-ing horrendous contract. Thank God I didn't sign him. I'm suprised it didn't cost Sabean his job." Boras shouldn't want the GM thinking those thoughts when contemplating giving his 36-year old SP a multi-year, big money deal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No big deals soon for the Orange and Black

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron blogs that the Giants don't appear to be revving up for a big free agent signing or trade any time soon. He cites several reasons why Furcal may not be signed, says there's little interest by the Brewers in making a deal for JJ Hardy or Prince Fielder and says Keichi Yabu will probably be back on the roster if he looks good in spring training.

Not a Dunn deal

photo by psychosem17

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News blogs a farewell to Fire Joe Morgan and links to a Philly columnist embarrassing himself by whining about how unfair it is that new stats have gained enough traction so that a useful performance measure like Value Over Replacement Player actually helped voters to make the correct decision that Albert Pujols should win the MVP over Ryan Howard. (What a sore winner -- isn't winning the Series good enough?)

What's of interest to Giants fans is Baggarly's opinion that Adam Dunn won't be in the Orange and Black any time soon: On an unrelated note, Adam Dunn is a .157 hitter with four home runs in 89 career at-bats at AT&T Park. (Over the past three seasons, it’s .103 — 4-for-39 — with nary an RBI or extra-base hit.) Perhaps that explains why I haven’t heard his name floated in any Giants-related rumors.

As someone who was there at Mays Field on Sept. 10, I can tell you that he's also really lousy as an outfielder. He badly misplayed a catchable Velez flyball in the 3rd, which scored 2 runs in what turned out to be a glorious 4-3 vic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brian Sabean's Successor

That's the very catchy name of a brand new Giants blog operated by a guy who, appropriately enough, calls himself Caincecum.

His real name is Henry and he describes himself as a huge 18-year-old Giants fan. Here's part of his take on the Affeldt signing -- I also must admit this signing whomps my "wishlist" signee Joe Beimel whom I like but I put up there because if they Giants had signed him it would have made me look very intelligent. I must say followers, fans and close friends our garlic fry money was put to good use.

He's also already proposed this intriguing trade -- Randy Winn and Kevin Frandsen to the Mets for David Murphy, noting the following about Murphy: Murphy is 23 and put up an impressive line of .317/.397./473 albeit in 131 ab. But would be able to be an above average 2b. With good range and a stong arm for 2b (currently plays lf played 2b and 3b in past)

Cabrera in the Orange and Black?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Affeldt in the Orange and Black

photo by trav1105

And Lefty Malo likes the signing and notes that it may indicate that free agent dollars are not going to be as plentiful this year: Affeldt was the first free agent to sign this year, and fellow lefty reliever Damaso Marte didn’t even test the waters, which makes you wonder: Are free agent dollars going to be in short supply this winter? Are agents telling clients to pounce on the first decent offer? Did the Giants really blow away the competition… or was there any to begin with? You’d think he could wait another week or two and see if a three-year deal materialized.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Raising Matt Cain walks the walk

photo by beemac82

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is -- M.C. O'Connor at the always-interesting Raising Matt Cain blog is sponsoring Matt's Baseball Reference page, which now contains the site's motto -- "We are all Giants."

RIP Fire Joe Morgan

FJM -- "where bad sports journalism comes to die" -- has decided to pull the plug after years of matchless commentary.

FJM was particularly great at puncturing the logic-defying "analysis" and bad reporting by the LA Times Bill Plaschke, who's now arguing that the Dodgers should not sign Manny because they're just fine with the guys they have (although he also suggests signing The Big Unit, CC, Furcal or Beltre). He actually contends Manny won't make a difference -- even though the Dodgers were 54-54 when they got him and went 30-24 the rest of the way when Manny and Ryan Howard were arguably the top offensive players in the NL. So if you want to go 90-72 next year, ManRam would certainly be someone you'd want to keep on the team.

Here's part of his argument -- Last season, Andre Ethier improved his on-base percentage by 25 points. Matt Kemp hit .299 after the All-Star break. James Loney is on a pace to eventually become an 100-RBI guy.

What Plaschke conveniently ignores is that perhaps having a legitimate bat in the lineup for a change helped the young Dodgers. And his central notion is that getting Manny's production -- to say nothing of goosing the attendance and making the postseason -- for $25 million a year isn't a productive use of money. Sorry, Bill, but that kind of production IS probably worth something like $25 million. You're a fool to pretend it isn't. If you want to argue that he's disruptive -- to the point that the Bosox apparently wanted to suspend him prior to the trade -- that's an interesting point of debate. But don't say you can easily replace this line: 183 ABs, 17 HRs, 53 RBIs., .396 BA, .489 OBP and .743 SLG.

I feel obligated to point out that the Giants made the same kind of argument that they would make better use of the $20 million they paid Bonds in 2007, then went out and signed the very ordinary Aaron Rowand for $12 million a year and continued paying Dave Roberts $6 million a year. The only reason why the 2008 Giants improved (by one game) is mostly to do with the guy who just won the Cy Young.

It's fine with me if the Dodgers want to keep batting guys like Andre Ethier, James Loney and Jeff Kent in the 3 and 4 slots. But I'm a Giants fan, so I'd be delighted to see Manny leave the Dodgers where that's what they're forced to do.

Beimel in the Orange and Black?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Renteria in the Orange and Black?

photo by enn528

One of Edgar Renteria's agents tells that he believes the Giants and Cards would be a good fit. I haven't heard if the Giants feel the same way, however.

Edgar seemed to hit better in the NL than the 2 seasons he's played in the AL. He's only 32. Best year was 2003 for the Cards with 100 RBIs and a .480 SLG. He's made five All-Star teams, three as a starter.

Howry in the Orange and Black?

photo by mckiernan

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron's reporting -- deep in a story that focuses mainly on the perfunctory moves to inquire about Manny, Teixeira and CC -- that the Giants are interested in Bobby Howry, a Giants draft pick from 1994. Howry's agent confirms that there's interest.

He's now a 35-year-old guy who was just one for five in save opportunities for the Cubbies, gave up 13 HRs in 70 innings and had a 5.34 ERA. It looks as if he was adequate in previous years but nothing special. One poster named Bread of Corn had this to say -- "...What, are you kidding me? Can you say Tyler Walker? This guy is 36 years old and was 1 for 5 in save opportunities. He gave up 13 bombs, as a freakin' reliever. Why the hell would you even be entertaining that? At very best, make him a non-roster invitee to spring training."

My questions are these:
-- Why is Brian Sabean obsessed with on-the-fade veterans?
-- Is Howry going to pay the Giants to sign him?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hudson in the Orange and Black?

Memories of Bill North

photo by campy1965

The Giants were coming off their best season in years, one of those improbable near-success stories that fans of a team will cling to as if it were a brilliant ephemeral detour from the usual predictable down-sloping narrative of their lives. Hopes for 1979 must have been high, and the acquisition of champion speedster Billy North perhaps seemed as if it would be the one thing to push them over the top.
It didn’t. The Giants returned to their familiar Padre-haunted irrelevancy near the bottom of the National League West standings. It wasn’t Billy North’s fault, however. After a subpar 1978 season he bounced back with his customary good leadoff man numbers, posting a .386 on-base percentage, a team-high 87 runs, and more stolen bases, 54, than any San Francisco Giant has ever had. In fact, this last element of his 1979 season made him the single-season record-holder for the teams on both sides of the bay (other players had stolen more in a season when the franchises were located in other cities). Though this record still stands for the San Francisco Giants, North was soon wiped off the top of the Oakland A’s record book by Rickey Henderson. Perhaps this began the slow erosion of Billy North in the collective memory of baseball fans. When one now thinks of stolen bases and the Oakland A’s, there’s not much room for anyone but Rickey.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Higher expectations for Tim

photo posted by Dave Nelson

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron does a nice second-day story pointing out that Lincecum's future will be judged much more harshly -- even if he's pitching in the same rotation with Barry Zito.

There's a nice anecdote from Dave Righetti: Asked when he first thought Lincecum might be Cy Young timber, Righetti recalled the June 22 game at Kansas City, the worst day of Giants' season. Lincecum carried an 8-1 record into the game and the Giants built a 10-3 lead, but Lincecum and the bullpen could not hold it and the Giants lost 11-10. Moreover, a home-plate collision with David DeJesus flipped Lincecum into the air. He landed on his back. "His next start after that, he pitched well," Righetti said in a grand understatement, as Lincecum fired seven shutout innings at Oakland. "I said right then, this guy is as tough as nails."

The Giants won that game, 1-0.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Zito's 2002 Cy Young

Has there ever been a player who leveraged a single award as well as Zito did six years ago? Just like Lincecum, Zito won his award when he was 24. He went 23-5 with an ERA of 2.75, 182 Ks and had a WHIP of 1.13. He's been dining out off that season ever since.

Here's one interesting conclusion -- Pedro Martinez, who got 11 first-place votes to Zito's 17, should have won the AL Cy Young in 2002 instead of Zito. He went 20-4, led the league in Ks with 239 and had a much better ERA with 2.26 and a WHIP of 0.923. In short, he should have won his 4th Cy that year; but voters were swayed because Zito had 3 more wins.

No Cy Young bonus for Tim

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Salomon (as in stench) Torres retires

Anyone who followed the Giants in 1993 reserves some serious bitterness for Salomon Torres. With the season on the line, Torres completely disintegrated in Dodger Stadium the last day of the season, leaving the Giants with 103 wins -- one behind the Braves -- while the Rox rolled over and played dead for the Braves with a lineup full of garbage players like Danny Scheaffer, David Neid, Roberto Mejia, Chris Jones, Nelson Liriano and Jerald Clark.

The Milwaukee paper says that Torres has announced that he's retiring. Good riddance.

Torres is a painful reminder of 1993; he was the only member of that team still active in 2008. It turns out that the Giants had been trying to trade for Dennis Martinez in August 1993 but were prevented from doing so because he could not get through waivers as the Braves had put in a waiver claim. So they were stuck with Salomon in the rotation.

I've always despised the Padres for several reasons: Ted Leitner, retiring Steve Garvey's number and gifting the Braves the NL West in mid-July of 1993 by trading Fred McGriff for three non-prospects -- Melvin Nieves, Donnie Elliott, and Vince Moore

And the Padres weren't done screwing over the Giants that year. I offer this game on Sept. 24, 1993, when Trevor Hoffman beaned Robbie Thompson so badly that he was out of the lineup for the rest of the year until that last game in Los Angeles. Thompson was never the same player after that beaning. There's a nice sponsor note on his Baseball Reference page -- Robby Thompson was my favorite Giant as a kid. I liked to call him Tobby Romson.

One odd note about that last game of 1993 -- it was the final time in the Orange and Black as active players for both Will the Thrill and Dave Righetti. Rags also got bombed that day.


He just won the Cy Young. "You can pick gem after gem," Randy Winn says.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle offers some nice coverage and calls the voting a landslide, with Tim getting first place votes from 23 of the 32 writers.

Here's Andrew Baggarly's coverage of the conference call. Mike McCormick tells AP that he agrees that Tim's a freak.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stat of the year

Q: How many runs did Aaron Rowand, the Giants' best-paid offensive player, drive in during the month of September in 86 ABs?
A: One

He had a .286 OBP and a .253 SLG for the month. What a lousy signing this has turned out to be -- yet another reason for Sabean to be fired. Initially, I didn't have anything against Rowand, but he's become like Dave Roberts: yet another overpaid veteran (with four years left on his deal) who's on the decline. I was baffled as to why Bochy kept running him out every day during the last month of the season.

I discovered Rowand's non-performance thanks to a link to one of the earliest sites in the Giants' blogosphere -- Gregg Pearlman's recently revived Almost EEEEEE!, which had this to say -- What went wrong, I think, is that he was billed as practically the savior of the Giants, the guy who’d get them out of the sewage Barry Bonds had put them into by being such a cheating slacker. That’s an awful lot to ask of any player, especially a guy who’s not the type of player that you could ever call “The Man.” He’s a number-six hitter whom the Giants tried to plug into the five, three, and even two holes. In some ways it’s Tsuyoshi Shinjo all over again, except that Rowand isn’t a joke.

Lowe in the Orange and Black?

Lefty Malo thinks going (Derek) Lowe is a good idea and not just because he looks like Owen Wilson. And I agree that you can never have too much pitching, even though Kevin Pucetas continues to impress in the Arizona Fall League.

The big news today is a probable trade that make the Mike Jacobs deal look small. Billy Beane's working on trading Carlos Gonzalez, Houston Street and Greg Smith to the Rox for Matt Holliday.

Hi ho (Nate) Silver

Sunday, November 09, 2008

McCormick weighs in on Lincecum

photo by cjedmonton

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc-News has a nice story about Mike McCormick -- the only Giants pitcher to ever win the Cy Young -- wishing that Tim Lincecum wins the award. He mentions that in 1967, he was spot starting and had a 4-3 record in early June, then got into the rotation after Bob Bolin got hurt. Here's the key game that year in which he got his 5th win for four innings of relief, then got on a roll. Mike was always a pretty good pitcher but everything went his way in 1967 and the team went 91-71. Unfortunately, the Cards were even better that year and won 101 games.

149 days until the 2009 opener

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The next big election is Tuesday

That's when the NL Cy Young award winner is announced. Chris Haft of does a nice job of recapping the top candidates -- Tim Lincecum, Johann Santana, Brandon Webb, CC Sabbathia and Brad Lidge. That's a pretty strong field but Haft indicates the overall sentiment is for Tim.

Gammons' World Series delusion

Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods weighs in with his usual astute take on the disappointing move by Peter Gammons to endorse playing the World Series at a neutral site, noting that Gammons had pounded out some pretty impressive copy 33 years ago about Carlton Fisk's homer in Game 6--

And all of a sudden the ball was there, like the Mystic River Bridge, suspended out in the black of the morning. When it finally crashed off the mesh attached to the left field foul pole, the reaction unfurled one step after another—from Carlton Fisk’s convulsive leap to John Kiley’s booming of the "Hallelujah Chorus" to the wearing off of the numbness to the outcry that echoed across the cold New England morning. At 12:34 A.M., in the 12th inning, Fisk’s histrionic home run brought a 7-6 end to a game that will be the pride of historians in the year 2525, a game won and lost what seemed like a dozen times, and a game that brings back summertime one more day. For the seventh game of the World Series. (from Impossible Dreams, p. 280)

Wilker notes that while a young Gammons wrote this, the old Gammons wants nothing of the sort to happen again -- It breaks my heart that Peter Gammons, author of my favorite paragraphs ever written about my favorite sport, seems to have lost not only his memory but his awareness of the singular, irreplaceable power of place.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Bengie to Boston?

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe mentions in a long roundup story that the Bosox are interested in catchers -- since Jason Varitek's agent is asking for four years and $52 million even though he can no longer hit at anything close to an acceptable level. About halfway through the story, Cafardo listed Bengie Molina as one of several possibilites including Pudge, Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamachia.

With Buster Posey waiting in the wings, I say the Giants should pull the trigger instead of keeping the slowest man in MLB for one more year. A big caveat -- since the Bosox GM Theo Epstein is pretty smart and Giants GM Brian Sabean isn't, I'm worried that the Orange and Black will get fleeced.

Romo = Muy magnifico

This guy is looking like he may be here to stay. Chris Haft of reports that Sergio Romo has been lights out in the Mexican Winter League.

Romo had a very decent rookie year after breaking in on June 8 -- one of the lesser known success stories of the past season. His WHIP was 0.76.

I ought to sponsor a page at Baseball Reference. Juan, who IDs himself as a Giants fan, says of Romo -- I've got a mancrush on your stats.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Adios, Jonathan Sanchez?

Brian Sabean tells John Shea of the SF Chronicle that Matt Cain won't be traded. Shea, who's reporting from the winter meetings in Dana Point, concludes that Jonathan Sanchez is the most likely trading chip during the off-season.

Shea also reports that Sabean's looking for more offense from the infield and wants to shore up middle relief in the bullpen. I remain dubious that Sabean has the chops to make trades and sign the right players, given his awful record over the last 5 years.

Sanchez fell apart after the All-Star break. It's possible that he simply got worn out -- seeing as the Giants could never figure out what role to give him until 2008 -- or that hitters figured out how to lay off his out pitches.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Furcal in the Orange and Black?

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc-News -- who hasn't filed much since the season ended -- has a bunch of interesting Giants developments, including the possibility of signing free agent Rafael Furcal. He thinks it would make sense and set up a platoon at second between Frandsen and Burriss. The LA Times says that the Giants, Cubs, Jays and 4 other teams are interested and that Furcal's agent is saying he wants a 4-year deal (yes, and I want to take Reese Witherspoon to dinner). Here's a recap of the other developments in Baggarly's post --

–The Giants have been linked to White Sox free-agent infielder Juan Uribe but Andrew thinks that's a longshot.
–Don’t bet on Pat Burrell or Jimmy Rollins coming to the Bay Area, where both grew up.
– Scott Eyre will probably stay with the Phils
– Bengie Molina trade rumors will emerge and probably lead to nothing
--Aaron Rowand might be moved, but the Giants will only explore that route with "the utmost secrecy" since they's anointed Rowand a clubhouse leader
– He hasn't heard any good Matt Cain rumors and guesses that 75-25 that he remains a Giant.

Happy Days Are Here Again

Music and Lyrics by J. Yellen and M. Ager

So long sad times
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Altogether shout it now
There's no one
Who can doubt it now
So let's tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

Your cares and troubles are gone
There'll be no more from now on
From now on

...Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So, Let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy times
Happy nights
Happy days
Are here again!

David Pinto at the superb Baseball Musings site offers well-deserved credit to Nate Silver's excellent site for his sabermaetric-based forecasting of this election. Nate nailed the popular vote at 52.3% for Obama and 46.2% for McCain with the electoral vote count at Obama 348.6 and McCain at 189.4.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Adios, Omar

Omar has filed for free agency. During his 4 seasons in the Orange and Black, it was pure pleasure to watch him field and mostly painful to watch him bat. So since we're trying to focus on the positive today, let's note that he made only 2 errors in 2008 and took part in 43 DPs.

It sounds as if Omar very much wants to keep playing. My guess is that if he gets signed, it will be by a contending team that has plenty of offense or has their SS go down during spring training.

Here's my fave Omar game -- a rainy Sunday in May 2005. Game got delayed an hour so perhaps there were 15,000 people in the park; Omar knocked in the first two runs in the 3rd and 5th, scored the tie run in the 8th and hit the game-winning walk off single over the head of the Nats rightfielder Jose Guillen in the 13th for the 4-3 vic. Those few of us who were still there were elated. And the sun came out as we walked out. What a day!

It left the Giants 15-15; they beat the Pirates the next day, 2-1, and were still one game over .500 two weeks later when Jason Schmidt beat the Dodgers, 5-3. It was the last time that season that they were over .500. They finished the season at 75-87 -- the start of the current four-year streak of losing records. Brian Sabean must go.

Josh Phelps in the Orange and Black

The Giants have signed 30-year-old minor leaguer Josh Phelps to a deal just in case they can't get Mark Teixeira to sign a contract for less than they paid Barry Zito. I'm being sarcastic now. This guy has played for five teams -- the Indians, Rays, Pirates, Yanks and Cards -- since the Jays traded him in 2004.

Grant over at McCovey Chronicles points out astutely that signing Teixeira doesn't make much sense since the Giants are not a hitter away from contending. He contends that the team would need to also sign an established second baseman like Orlando Hudson if it plans to contend in 2009.

I think the chances of the Giants signing Teixeira and Hudson are about as good as Sarah Palin becoming vice president. Which leads me to say this -- VOTE TODAY, DAMMIT

Monday, November 03, 2008

Frandsen's comeback

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Whining about the World Series

Hard to believe there are well-paid sportswriters who are as whiney and stupid as ESPN's Peter Gammons and the LA Times Bill Plaschke -- both who have delivered a big F bomb to baseball fans in pushing for the truly idiotic idea of a neutral site World Series. Hey guys, sorry that covering the Series in Philly was inconvenient. Can you please stop whining? We're tired of hearing about what a bummer it all was. Has it ever occurred to you that your audience consists of people who have jobs that are much less interesting than yours?

What's appalling is that these guys clearly think it's OK to treat fans like a bunch of saps and adapt a smug "we know better" attitude. I detest smugness -- which is why I'm so often offended by the Republican Party, which needs to be smacked down big time on Tuesday after 8 years of using the "anarchy for billionaires" credo as an excuse for driving the country into a ditch.

Even a total dingbat like the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins can see what a dumb idea a neutral site World Series is. Bruce at least still has the common sense to realize that there's no quicker way to alienate fans than to shift games like this to Phoenix, where the fans can't even sell out a Dback playoff game. Though I've hammered Bruce often in the past, I must admit that he makes several excellent points. And it sounds as if he may have grown up a Dodger fan, which may explain why he's often delusional --
If you remember the euphoria around the Giants' ballpark after they won the 2002 pennant, bringing a World Series to San Francisco, you're probably repulsed by the neutral-site idea. I was in the stands at Dodger Stadium for all of the Series games in '63 and '65, and thanks to The Chronicle, I've known the deeply satisfying experience of walking city streets toward Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, the old Tiger Stadium and countless others in October. It's a feeling you can't replace, and it puts me on the side of traditional, home-and-home World Series sites into eternity.

Another dingbat named Bill Livingston at the Cleveland Plain Dealer is proposing that the Series games go 7 innings. What an idiot.

Another relief pitcher named Miller joins the Giants

Teixeira in the Orange and Black?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dropping the F bomb