Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sheffield in the Orange and Black?

Shef has been let go after a lousy spring. Seeing as Detroit is on the hook for his entire $14 million salary, someone's sure to sign him even though he was pretty lousy last year and will be 41 in November.

ESPN's reporting that the Phils are interested -- though you can never count the Giants out, given Brian Sabean's affection for guys on the fade. Sabean would probably convince himself that this is the same guy who went yard 25 times in 2007. He's never won an MVP but came close in 2004 when he was second to Vladimir Guerrero.

My favorite Sheffield memory is him clobbering a line drive off the left field wall against a strangely ineffective Eric Gagne in the 9th inning at Dodger Stadium in May 2003 as the Braves put up 7 in the 9th to break open a 4-4 tie.

RIP Herman Franks

Monday, March 30, 2009

Selig on the prowl

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"I'm not Nostradamus"

That's the Big Unit talking after throwing seven innings today and being asked if he'd experienced any arm problems similar to those earlier in the spring. Talk about veteran poise in dispensing decent quotes! Here's part of the report from Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News -- Johnson said he didn’t feel any of the biceps tightness that held him back earlier this spring, but he couldn’t guarantee he was free and clear of the issue. He’s 45 years old, after all.
“I’m not Nostradamus,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if I’ll have it again this year. But I feel good today.”

Once more with the Paulino trade

I realize this is my third post about Ronnie Paulino, but it's remarkable to think how there are occasionally players who are property of the Giants but never play for them. Best example I can think of is Willie Crawford, a moderately talented outfielder who was in the employ of the Orange and Black for five months without ever logging a single at bat due to the circumstances of these two trades:

October 20, 1976: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with John Curtis and Vic Harris to the San Francisco Giants for John D'Acquisto, Mike Caldwell, and Dave Rader.
March 26, 1977: Traded by the
San Francisco Giants with Rob Sperring to the Houston Astros for Rob Andrews and cash.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Paulino not in the Orange and Black

Friday, March 27, 2009

Paulino in the Orange and Black

The Giants front office has finally done something about its pitching surplus and traded Jack Taschner -- who wasn't real effective -- to the Phils for catcher Ronnie Paulino, who actually hit MLB pitching adequately in 2007 for the Pirates. My guess is that this probably means that Steve Holm won't make the opening day roster.

Paulino managed to put together back to back seasons of 55 RBIs for the Pirates before getting demoted and injured last year as Ryan Doumit took over. Baseball Prospectus says he moped last year after losing his job. Isn't that nice? He does have a bit of power.

Anyhow -- here's how obscure Paulino is: the usually reliable Baseball Reference doesn't even include the December trade between the Phils and Pirates for another catcher named Jason Jaramillo.

Battling for the final spots

Andres Torres, Juan Uribe and Eugenio Velez all had fine days in the 10-3 win today over the Tribe, according to Henry Schulman of the SF Chron. Jonathan Sanchez and Brian Wilson also looked good -- Sanchez was the first Giant to reach seven innings and held Cleveland's A lineup to two runs. He did not walk a batter and struck out six. One could make the argument that Sanchez is the best fifth starter in the majors.

MY COMMENT -- One could also make the argument that Barry Zito is the actual 5th starter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Giants starting rotation -- No. 3 of 30

JFro at FanNation says the Giants starting five is the third best in the MLB, right behind the Bosox and the Yanks. Here's his commentary about the Orange and Black:

Lincecum's right up there with Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, and C.C. Sabathia in the "best pitcher in baseball" discussions. I'd have no problem with someone who said Lincecum was the premier pitcher in the game.
Cain had a nice bounce back season in '08, after a strange campaign in '07. I think he'll continue to develop this year, and he's certainly one of the top No. 2's out there. Still has plenty of upside, too.
Then there's the three lefties. Make it four, if we include finesse pitcher Noah Lowry.
This is an unusual end to a rotation. "The Big Unit" seemed to have something left in his tank last year, so he should be OK at San Francisco's friendly home park. Sanchez has nasty stuff, reminiscent of the Mets' Oliver Perez, but he may also mirror Perez in results. Very up-and-down and generally erratic. Still, he's definitely one of the most talented No. 5 starters.
I keep thinking Zito will find a way to be decent in this park. I know he's lost a ton of velocity on his fastball, but his curve and change-up are still pretty solid. I think with Johnson around to take some of the pressure off him, Zito will avoid atrocious results in '09. I'd say 11-12 with a 4.40 ERA. Not great, but not terrible for a No. 4.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What youth movement?

Let me be clear -- I've got nothing but affection for the young Rich Aurilia. That's the kind of player the Giants should be trying to develop. Instead, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News reports that Bruce Bochy's said he wants Rich -- who turns 38 this season -- to be on the roster on April 7. And then he said that Richie will get some starts against right-handers. Given that Richie can't really hit righties with any authority and isn't much of a defender, this is just flat-out stupid. It also means that Jesus Guzman or Andres Torres won't make it.

The lingering Livan

photo by antderosa

Livan Hernandez -- one of the more frustrating Giants of recent vintage -- has apparently caught on as the Mets fifth starter with a show of adequacy in spring training. Here's what Baseball Prospectus had to say -- His overall rate of hits allowed, 12.9 per nine innings, was somethings special, representing a level of hittability not exceeded in the major leagues since Jim Walkup of the Browns (whose name should have perhaps been Jim Hitup) was pounded for 13.1 hits per nine back in 1937 (150 innings and up division).

He was awful in the last two games he pitched for the Giants -- Games 3 and 7 of the 2002 World Series.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The return of Cody Ransom

Man, was that painful to write. It looks like this guy -- one of the major villains in that awful 2004 end of the season game at Dodger Stadium for booting a routine DP in the bottom of the 9th -- is going to be the Yankees starting third baseman. He hit 4 homers in 43 ABs last season so the Yanks have decided that this 33-year-old guy has finally learned how to hit MLB pitching, despite little previous indication of any aptitude prior to last season.

A big Giants Win hat tip to Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye for a superb post about Cody. Here are some excerpts --

-- Now, in one of those inexplicable events that makes you seriously question whether there is any tangent meaning in the universe, Ransom is the talk of Gotham, as he'll be taking over for ARod for the duration of the latter's DL stay. Those of us who remember Ransom as the Fresno whiff-master extraordinaire and perennial hopeless September call-up are speechless, to say the least.Yes, the ARod hating has reached such a fever pitch in New York that there's now an intense sense of excitement for our old friend Cody, a journeyman cast-off with a career minor league OBP of .322.

-- After a few years toiling as an all-or-nothing hitter in the Giants' farm system (look at that 2002 line...eeeaagh), Ransom was brought up in 2004 as a late-inning caddy for the not-so-rangy Deivi Cruz. The only problem was that Ransom developed a horrible habit of flubbing ground balls in crucial late-inning situations, and it's hard to get much more worthless than a defensive replacement who can't, well, play defense.

-- While still displaying the all-power, no-average minor league bat that he always had, he landed in New York, then seduced Yankee brass with a ridiculously small-sample-sized hot streak last season.Since then, ARod got hurt, was outed as a steroid user (and an indiscriminating one, at that) and everybody has a completely irrational hatred of him anyway, so here we are.

-- With a gaping hole at third base, the Yankees were content to go the Bocockian route instead of trading someone promising for a stopgap. Ransom happened to be standing there, and with the memories of his .621 slugging percentage in 82 major league at bats still fresh in the minds of Yankee brass, he was handed the everyday job.Ransom now has the opportunity to become a sort of Yankee folk hero, like Shane Spencer or Scott Brosius, a player who isn't that good but has a stretch of unexpected competence under the spotlight that draws attention away from his flaws. Yankee fans are chomping at the bit to prove once and for all that the team doesn't need their overpaid choke artist of a third baseman. I can imagine Ransom coming in, hitting some home runs, and the Yanks treading water for a month with a weak schedule. Then ARod comes back, the Yanks play well, but miss the playoffs in a tough division, ARod is dismissed some more as a self-centered loser, and Ransom is turned into the Man Called Jayne due to his early not-so-horrid performance.

Pablo, the free swinger

Jeff Fletcher has a solid post at AOL Fanhouse about Pablo Sandoval, noting that he swung at 64.6% of the pitches thrown to him last season that were strikes and another 53.8% of pitches outside the strike zone -- the highest percentages of any player in MLB last year with at least 100 ABs. Here's what one scout said --

"By people knowing he's very aggressive and he'll swing at almost anything, they are going to pitch him even more off the plate. Some balls you are going to put in play, but you are going to put in play right at somebody."

Monday, March 23, 2009

RIP Whitey Lockman

The guy who got the last hit (a double) before Bobby Thomson's homer in 1951 passed away last week. The NY Daily News has a nice obit. Lockman recalls that on his hit, Don Mueller broke his ankle sliding into third base. Here's what followed -- They wind up taking him off on a stretcher because he couldn't walk. So I'm standing there at second and Freddie Fitzsimmons comes over from first base and says, 'Whitey, we need a big one now.' I said, 'Well, why don't we ask for it?' So we both looked upstairs and said, 'We need some help here if there's anything you can do.'

Some other highlights: he finished second in singles twice; he made the 1952 All-Star team as the starting first baseman and was 14th in MVP voting; he was part of a 10-player deal in 1956 between the Giants and the Cards. He was with the Giants when they moved to San Francisco in 1958 and mostly used as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement (92 games, 122 ABs). He played two more years, then joined former teammate Alvin Dark as the third base coach on Dark's Giant teams -- all which could really hit -- between 1961 and 1964.

Three more hits for Sandoval

It sure sounds like last season wasn't a fluke. Pablo hit his third homer of the spring today in a 5-1 loss to the Mariners. The Big Unit pitched three innings but wasn't overpowering. Sandoval is now 23 for 52, with a .463 average, 3 HRs and 8 RBIs; he's only walked twice. It sounds like he could use a little plate discipline -- Henry Schulman of the SF Chron reports that one of the hits came off a pitch THAT BOUNCED IN THE DIRT -- but who's to argue with this kind of success?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dave Roberts still wants to play

He's hoping to catch on with someone like San Diego but he may have to call it a career, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News. It's clear that Roberts has a knack for getting along with people, even when he wasn't performing well on the field. If you've been following the Giants, you know that the beat writers had a lot of affection for Roberts. Baggarly explains why:

In the Bonds era, by the way, Roberts was absolutely huge in one respect. During the slow march to 756, Roberts patiently answered every controversy-charged question from every national reporter as they searched for something to write every day. There was tangible value in this. He did it because he knew it’d allow his teammates some peace.
A baseball clubhouse is like an office. Some people are team players. Ask anyone who’s played with Roberts and they’ll tell you he’s one of the best.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lasorda's nap time interrupted

Bugs and Cranks has a pretty funny post (and link) about Tommy Lasorda not being fully awake for a TV interview. Here's how Mark Townsend puts it -- The usually spry, energetic, effervescent former Dodger manager appeared sleepy, disoriented, and at various points, unconscious.
Boy, we’ve all been there a time or two, haven’t we?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Adios, Yabu

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More clutch hitting = more wins?

MLB.com has a forecast of how the Giants will perform and managed to elicit this nugget of magical thinking from Randy Winn -- Giants right fielder Randy Winn compared this year's Giants to the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks, who allowed 20 more runs than they scored yet won the West with a 90-72 record. "What they did was get a lot of clutch hits," Winn said. "I think that's what we're going to have to do."

I'm glad that Winn is feeling optimistic against the evidence. But the '07 Dbacks were a bit of a mathematical anomaly. Baseball Prospectus noted that the 2007 Dbacks wre the 13th best at ourperforming their projection by 10.9 games due to a strong bullpen, a good starting rotation, strong pinch-hitting and strong baserunning. The best team at outperforming its projection -- the 2005 Dbacks, who finished at 77-85, 14.5 games ahead of their projection.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Kids Are All Right (but the vets aren't)

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News points out that while some of the kids -- Jesus Guzman, Ryan Rohlinger and Andres Torres -- are mashing, the everyday players aren't. So while Guzman went yard again today, the guys who will be in the lineup on April 7 have been unimpressive so far --

It can't be overlooked that the Giants' projected starters have failed to produce all spring against quality pitchers. A probable Opening Day lineup barely touched Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, who threw five shutout innings. A day earlier, a lineup of regulars managed one hit in five innings against Jeff Suppan, who is expected to start for the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener at AT&T Park.Leadoff man Randy Winn has a .150 average and hasn't scored all spring. Aaron Rowand is hitting .211. Edgar Renteria has a .244 average and hasn't made much solid contact.

Your San Francisco Giants -- 19th of 30

That's what Fan Graphs projects for this season with Brian Sabean getting hammered. A big Giants Win hat tip to M.C. O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain for pointing it out. Some excerpts --

Ownership: B
Other MLB owners might not be very happy with Peter Magowan, as he stands as the blueprint of how a privately financed stadium can work just fine.

Front Office: D
Brian Sabean’s history of transactions while running the Giants is a series of astounding moves. On one hand, he made one of the worst trades in recent history (
Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski), gave out the worst free agent contract ever (Barry Zito), has consistently overpaid for declining veterans (Matt Morris, Dave Roberts, and Aaron Rowand), and has overseen a roster that that hasn’t finished at .500 in four years.

Major League Talent: C+
The Giants look to be gearing up to be this year’s Blue Jays, with a terrific pitching staff, a very good defense, and an extreme lack of major league hitters.
Randy Winn and Fred Lewis are nice pieces, but when they are your best hitters, you better plan on winning a lot of 3-2 games.

Minor League Talent: B+
If every team could only retain four minor leaguers every year, the Giants might have the best in the game. Their system is remarkably top heavy, with three of the best prospects in the game in
Madison Bumgarner, Angel Villalona, and Buster Posey, and a nifty sidekick in Tim Alderson.

Overall: C+
The Giants have strong ownership, a fantastic ballpark in a high earning market, a major league team with legitimate playoff hopes, and a farm system that has several premium talents on the way to the Bay Area. With a less manic front office, they’d probably be one of the premier organizations in the game. The unpredictability of Sabean’s moves, along with the organizational plan of acquiring only 30+ players in free agency, has left them as an underachiever

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jesus, that guy can hit

I left my arm in San Francisco

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mid-season form for Zito?

Giantsfan9 continues to offer outstanding commentary at Giants Jottings, noting that Zito got hammered on Sunday by the Royals -- After a couple of good outings and a couple of mediocre outings, Zito was in mid-season form today. He was horrible. He did go 5 full innings, throwing 85 pitches, but too often those pitches had "hit me" written all over them........and they were coming in sooooo slow, that the batters had no problem reading them. He was tatooed for 10 hits, including 2 HR's and 2 doubles, and gave away another 3 walks. That was good for 6 earned runs and it probably should have been more. As I said before, there is no speed posting at the stadium, but the game was being repeated on the MLB channel and I saw a little bit of it while getting ready to go out for dinner. The gun on the replay showed Zito at a blistering 84 MPH. High School speed......High School results.

How Jesus (Guzman) got signed

No. 24 does his part to help No. 33

photo by Joe Butler

The Greatest Giant of Them All gives Aaron Rowand some fielding tips. Nice story by Henry Schulman of the SF Chron. One of the reasons why sportswriters like Rowand is he gives quotes like this: "Talking to him about playing center field, talking to him about playing balls off the wall, grips, stuff like that, you're not going to find a better source of information on this planet than the man who did it the best."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pudge in the Orange and Black?

Bumgarner -- a preview of coming attractions

Giantsfan9 has this shot and this report at Giants Jottings about yesterday's performance by Madison Bumgarner the team's No. 1 pick from 2007 -- It's hard to evaluate a pitcher based on 1 inning, but this kid throws hard. Physically, he does not look like someone who won't be 20 until August 1st. Look at the lower body on this kid. Those big thighs give him good drive off the mound. Today he threw 1 inning of no hit, 1 walk 1 strikeout ball. His control was OK as he threw 13 of 22 pitches for strikes. Both of his outs that weren't via strikeout were on groundballs.Madison had the best ERA in the minors last year while pitching in Augusta (single A). He had a minuscule ERA of 1.46 while going 15-3. Not bad for a 18/19 year old in his first year as a pro.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No job for Barry

"They can play a spoiler role"

The Arizona Snakepit blog has a nice post by Jim McLennan -- amusingly titled "Know Your Enemy" -- that analyzes the Giants chances with a 79-83 prediction and says the Big Unit could be a real difference maker. Here's how he ends:

They over-achieved a bit last year - Pythagoras had them at 68-94 - but outside of the mis-step signing Renteria, their off-season moves look solid enough. I doubt they'll challenge, but if Johnson stays healthy, they can play a spoiler role. Record: 79-83, third place.

The Big Old Unit

Randy Johnson looked sharp Friday in a game against the Giants minor leaguers, according to the SF Chron's John Shea, who notes that he was already pitching before some of guys he faced were born.

The Big Unit will be 46 in September. Just because he's that age, it doesn't mean he can't still be effective. He's 10th on the list of pitchers winning games when they started a season at age 43 or older -- Here's a list of wins and innings pitched:

1. Phil Niekro 78 1220.7
2. Jack Quinn 61 830.7
3. Jamie Moyer 41 607.0
4. Nolan Ryan 35 600.7
5. Charlie Hough 30 693.7
Hoyt Wilhelm 30 469.3
7. Tommy John 29 498.3
8. Satchel Paige 18 320.3
9. Gaylord Perry 17 403.0
10. Randy Johnson 15 240.7

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Your offense-free San Francisco Giants

Another great shot by Giantsfan9 at Giants Jottings. Tim Lincecum deals during Wednesday's game.
Paul Rice, one of my favorite Giants bloggers, projects at Bugs and Cranks that the Giants will have a difficult time scoring runs this year. Here are the leaders, assuming Winn's not traded --

AVG: Randy Winn, .300
R: Winn, 95
2B: Pablo Sandoval, 38
3B: Fred Lewis, 13
HR: Sandoval, 15
RBI: Sandoval, 80
SB: Winn, 20
BB: Fred Lewis, 70
OPS: Sandoval, .840
W: Tim Lincecum, 15
K: Lincecum, 247
IP: Lincecum, 212
ERA: Lincecum, 2.90
SV: Brian Wilson, 25

Also, Paul's finished posting on Bugs and Cranks after 6 months because that site won't be doing team by team coverage. Their loss is our gain -- he's reviving Give 'Em Some Stankeye.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A reason to be a Giants fan

The next time someone asks you why you're a Giants fan, you can answer by saying, "Tim Lincecum." The Franchise dominated Japan's WBC team today even though he didn't have his best stuff.

Eugenio Velez is fast, fast, fast

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Re-writing Dodger history

When did Sports Illustrated become a home for Ayn Rand worshippers?

Sports Illustrated has a fairly disgraceful article out in the March 9 issue by Michael D'Antonio that is a bunch of condescending nonsense. It's not online on the mag's web site. It's excerpted from D'Antonio's upcoming book "Forever Blue." I strongly suggest you not buy the book.
The reportage in the SI article is adequate, I suppose, although it only serves as a means to the end -- an attempt to whitewash the reputation of Walter O'Malley for having stuck it to Brooklyn by leaving for Los Angeles at the end of the 1957 season. It attempts to portray O'Malley as a poor victim of the evil Robert Moses, who would not allow O'Malley to proceed with plans for a new stadium. It asserts that New Yorkers are wrong to villify O'Malley for reacting to the villainous behavior of Moses, an appointed New York city official. According to D'Anotnio, Moses had the temerity to want the Dodgers to move to Long Island. (I guess that's the ultimate crime)

"It's plain to see that O'Malley was right," he declares. "And the sons and daughters of Brooklyn have reason to let go of their old grudge. Truth is good for the soul. Forgive, and forget."

Give me a freaking break, Michael D'Antonio. Can you hear me? You must come off that mountain top.

In the first place, the Dodgers were still making plenty of money in Brooklyn so it's not like they were forced out. O'Malley just wanted to make more money. D'Anotonio fails to mention that O'Malley could have sold the team or renovated Ebbets Field. No, instead, according to his re-write of history, the move out of Brooklyn is ALL the fault of Robert Moses.

D'Antonio also fails to mention that the move by the Dodgers is unique in the annals of professional sports in that the Dodgers were drawing well. Most other franchise moves -- such as the St. Louis Browns moving to Baltimore after drawing less than 300,000 in 1953 -- were made by teams that were struggling. In 1955, the Dodgers won the World Series and drew 1 million people, followed by 1.2 million in in 1956 and 1.02 million in 1957, even though people knew the team was leaving. And by comparison, the Giants drew an NL-low 653,000 that year before they came to San Francisco.

But what really insulting about this stretching of the truth is the notion that people in Brooklyn are somehow wrong to dislike O'Malley. It even blames announcer Red Barber and New York writers like Roger Kahn, Arthur Daley and Dick Young for fanning the flames of hatred toward poor little Walter O'Malley, saying that the "Boys of Summer" portrayed O'Malley as a "cheerless, money-obsessed old man."

EARTH TO D'ANTONIO -- First off, you couldn't carry Roger Kahn's typewriter, so it would serve you well to think twice about criticizing him. Let me explain something to you in language you can perhaps understand -- O'Malley owned the Dodgers and he moved them to Los Angeles to get more money. And it wasn't Robert Moses who moved the team. It was Walter O'Malley. Got it? Probably not.

I can only guess that Sports Illustrated is pandering to Dodger fans in Los Angeles to somehow help them feel better about themselves for rooting for the Dodgers by publishing this revisionist claptrap. The magazine ought to be ashamed of itself. At a time when the world's economy has been tanking and everyone is worried about their job, why is it that the SI editors feel compelled to print this impassioned apology and justification of a very rich man's quest for still even more money? Why would they have the nerve to tell people who mourn the loss of the Brooklyn Dodgers that they're wrong to feel how they feel about the man who took away their team?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Who is Andres Torres?

According to both Henry Schulman of the SF Chron and Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News, he's the only non-roster invitee still in camp. He has mega-speed and appears to have at least an outside shot at making the team. In case you're wondering, he's logged parts of four seasons in the bigs, although he hasn't been in the show since 2006. It reminds me a little of Randy Elliott, who absolutely killed spring training pitching in 1977, to the point where he made the opening day roster as an outfielder but logged only 167 ABs that season with decent power (7 HRs and27 RBIs) as the Giants gave most of the outfield playing time to Darrell Evans, Gary Thomasson, Derrel Thomas, Terry Whitfield and a 21-year-old Jack Clark. That team went 75-87 -- the fourth straight losing season for the Orange and Black. And Elliott went back to being obscure. He got 39 ABs in Oakland three years later.

Schulman says Torres has a shot because he's so fast. Baggarly reports that the Giants are hoping Eugenio Velez can spell Aaron Rowand but that if that doesn't work out, Torres looks like a decent alternative.

The minor league numbers for Torres, who's 29, are pretty decent. He put up a .392 OBP and a .501 SLG last year in over 400 ABs for the Cubs Triple A affiliate in Iowa City.

Mays lends a hand to Lewis

If you're going to lie, lie big

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle is at it again -- rather than actually reporting, he simply tells big lies. He's posted a column talking about how Billy Beane is taking the Oakland A's in a different direction by disavowing "Moneyball." He also continues in his role as chief apologist for Brian Sabean's pathetic performance in the Giants' front office, to wit: You can't get too upset about the Giants' overly generous pursuit of Edgar Renteria, Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry. They targeted some needs and addressed them with haste.

Bruce utterly fails to acknowledge that the Renteria signing is widely viewed as the single worst of the off-season -- two years and $18 million for a guy on the decline -- and one that's not going to improve the Giants' performance this year. Baseball Prospectus calculates that his 2009 projection is 8 HRs and 51 RBIs. But Bruce's implication is that Renteria is going to start to play like Rich Aurilia in 2001, which shows that Bruce is simply sucking up to his buddy Brian and telling fans that they shouldn't be bothered that the Giants probably won't contend because there was no money left (after Howry, Affeldt, Renteria and the Big Unit) to address the team's biggest problem and get a real batter because Bruce somehow knows better.

But that's not the worst by far. Bruce also gets off this whopper -- Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi are two guys who go up there hacking, not looking to run a 3-1 count.

EARTH TO BRUCE JENKINS -- What planet are you on, you dingbat? Giambi has gotten over 100 walks seven times. When he won his MVP in 2000, he led the AL with 137 walks. As for Holliday, he got 74 walks last year, trailing Brad Hawpe for the Rox team lead by two. So we're not exactly talking about Bengie Molina here when describing guys who "go up there hacking." But telling lies obviously doesn't bother a time-wasting hack like Bruce, who's probably too lazy to check this stuff out.

Bengie has walked 171 times in 11 seasons. He's that guy who is "up there hacking."

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cactus League attendance off 14%

That's the word from Jim McLennan at the AZ Snakepit, anyhow. He notes that Friday's Giants vs. Angels game drew 7,364, while last year's game between the Giants and the A's drew 10,293.

In a somewhat recession-related story, the SF Chronicle wonders whether the Oakland Coliseum might be converted (as Anaheim Stadium was) to being baseball-only. That assumes, of course, that the Raiders and Niners could find a new home. Sounds pretty long-shot to me.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cain tunes up

Mark Sweeny retires

He's going to work for the Dodgers after he had an average pinch hit year (9 for 32, 3 rbi) in 2008 for them. He's been in the bigs since 1995 and played two seasons for the Orange and Black before being traded to LA for Travis Denker. He followed Bochy to SF after getting a career at bats in 2005 and then got 259 ABs in 2006. This was his contract --

2 years/$1.8M (2006-07)
signed as a free agent 12/05
06:$0.85M, 07:$0.95M
$0.275M in performance bonuses

Nine up, nine down again

Friday, March 06, 2009

How is Sabean still employed?

Amid brutal job losses every else, Brian Sabean stays golden despite the fact that he manifestly incompetent through his practice of signing ovepriced players who are on the decline. Tyler Hissey at Dugout Central analyzes the stupidity of the Dave Roberts signing and reaches the same conclusion:
GMs need to leave sentiment out of decisions and know that, when a player’s value is at the highest level, it is best to stay away....Sabean, it seems, did not learn his lesson, though, and then made the same mistake with Aaron Rowand, a should-be fourth outfielder masquerading around as a middle-of-the-order bat. Rowand, whose offensive numbers were enhanced by his home ballpark during his time with the Philadelphia Phillies, is due $48M over the next four years and is already on a downward spiral....When the dollars tied into the albatross Rowand and Barry Zito contracts are factored in, the amount of money wasted by Sabean makes one wonder how he is still employed in the baseball industry.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Giants eat Dave Roberts contract

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Giants 10, Dodgers 8

I loved writing that.

Eat it, Dodger fans. How did that taste -- getting hammered by the crappiest offense in MLB?

The Bonds bandwagon starts to roll

Columnist Cam Inman of Inside Bay Area Sports says the Giants should bring back Barry. Here's the key part --

Stop for a minute and resist all the common sense that says Bonds' return is a horrible idea, that he would tear apart clubhouse chemistry built in his 2008 absence, that this would stunt the development of young outfielders Fred Lewis and Nate Schierholtz (both of whom have health issues in Scottsdale, Ariz).
Now imagine yourself unemployed this spring and summer, yeah just like Bonds was in 2008. At some point you need to get out of the house. You see that the Giants are at AT&T Park. Their talented pitching staff and pudgy Pablo Sandoval aren't enough to entice you. Then you realize Bonds might bat for the home team. You are so there.

Barry's back

Now that his perjury trial's been delayed until the summer at the earliest, Barry Bonds is reminding the 30 MLB teams that he's available. Bob Nightengale of USA Today has the story.

UPDATE -- Steve Hulkower at Bugs and Cranks has a nice post about this. He admits that he's no longer a Bonds-hater. Here's how he ends: I used to be ignorant. I used to hate Bonds for more than the fact that he played for the Dodgers’ arch rival. Then I read more about drugs and I read more about baseball and I really thought about why I felt the way I did about Bonds. I still don’t like him, but I don’t hate him either and at the very least, the man deserves the chance to play the game he loves.
So… do you want to remain ignorant?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Big Unit's revenge

Brain shortage for the Orange and Black

John Shea of the SF Chronicle writes a particuarly brutal recap of how badly the Giants' offseason moves look, compared with Oakland's -- particularly given that the team failed to address its offensive shortcomings (I'll repeat it again -- this is the first MLB team in 15 years to finish the season with fewer than 100 HRs). A Giants Win hat tip to the astute John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters for pointing out Shea's piece as part of delivering this spot-on assessment:

Orlando Cabrera just landed with the Oakland A’s, signing a one-year deal worth $4 million, which could hardly be more illustrative of the difference between Billy Beane and Brian Sabean. Sabean makes moves out of desperation, acting hastily, and either ends up getting fleeced or overpaying for mediocrity; while Beane cannily outmaneuvers whoever he’s dealing with, and waits for the exact moment when he can maximize his efforts and the team’s success.

Monday, March 02, 2009

96 mph on March 2

Giantsfan9 reports from today's game at Giants Jottings -- Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless/hitless inning in the 5th. As is typical with Brian, he had some control problems, walking 2 batters. He was not wild to a specific location......outside, low, high, etc. He was hitting 96 on the radar with regularity. Not bad for March 2nd. If he threw his changeup....I didn't see it.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Nine up, nine down

Fred Lewis in the spotlight

Giantsfan9 at Giants Jottings has posted this photo of Fred Lewis homering in Saturday's 6-4 loss to Seattle. I still think he'll be starting leftfielder, mainly because the Giants don't have the funds to make a run at Manny after having signed Affeldt, Howry Renteria and the Big Unit. It's hard not to like Fred as a homegrown starter and a guy who has exceptional speed, but it does seem unrealistic to bat him third in the hope that he'll suddenly show a lot more power (9 HRs, 40 RBIs) than he did last year.