Saturday, February 28, 2009

A whiff of hope for the Orange and Black

Baseball Prospectus, which provides the best pre-season analysis for my money, doesn't have much good to say about the 2009 Giants -- hammering Brian Sabean in particular for assembling an outfield of Dave Roberts, Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand at an annual cost of $26 million and noting that the Giants avoided a 100-loss season in 2008 by clobbering the two NL teams that were actually worse than they were -- the Nats and the Padres. Against everyone else, they were 51-85 or a .385 team that should have lost 100 games. Here's how the analysis concludes:

A rotation with Lincecum, Cain, Randy Johnson and Sanchez is awfully hard to write off and if the club can actually add an impact bat at one of the infield corners, they might actually have enough stuff in the lineup to exploit their pitching assets. It won't be enough to contend with but it also won't be a repeat of last year's scavenger-like survival via massacre of that handful of teams even weaker than they were.

One of the more interesting analyses is on Winn, with the note that he's doing his best to earn his $8 million, leading the team's hitters in VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) even though he's really a prototypical fourth outfielder. Here's how it ends (boldface is mine) --

Entering the final year of his contract, Winn may actually find his way to a contender by the trading deadline, in which case he could become an important pennant-race patch or fourth outfield. In the meantime, don't blame Winn for the fact that the Giants are one of the worst-run organizations in baseball.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"That's a stupid move"

Believe it or not, this post isn't about Brian Sabean. Instead, the quote is from a law professor in reaction to federal prosecutors' deciding to appeal the judge's exclusion of evidence in the Barry Bonds trial. Here's the full quote, courtesy of ESPN.com -- "That's a stupid move that they're appealing," said Peter Keane, a professor at Golden Gate law school who has been following the case closely. "There is absolutely no chance that an appellate court prior to trial is going to overrule a trial court's evidentiary rulings."

Who knows if he's right? ESPN.com also has a separate column on the same page from a lawyer named Lester Munson, who says it's a smart move since the prosecution couldn't have done this once the trial started. He also noted that it means the Obama Administration is OK with wasting even more money on this.

Also, Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson told the judge that he won't testify, meaning that he's willing to go back to jail. What a waste of the taxpayer dime this has become.



It's all good news from Arizona....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The lowdown on Lowry

It's not good, according to Henry Schulman of the SF Chron. The optimistic speculation was that he'd dazzle everyone in Scottsdale and get traded for a decent bat. That's looking pretty unlikely.

Playboy's latest on Bonds

Playboy is out with Jonathan Littman's long online recap of slimeball IRS agent Jeff Novitzky's egregious misconduct in the Bonds case. No registration required. Here's a particularly telling portion --
Novitzky became a world unto himself. He rebuffed attempts by the San Mateo Drug Task Force to bring in another undercover agent. Requests to bring in the FBI or DEA to do phone wiretaps or recruit new undercover agents were rejected. What had begun as a joint federal, state and local investigation was fast becoming one controlled by a single man. The undercover operation, wiretaps and Dumpster diving were about to give way to something never before seen in sports: a parade of high-profile athletes forced to speak about their drug use under penalty of perjury before the watchful eye of an IRS man—Novitzky.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here's how spring training started for the Giants

Barry Bonds and Ernest Hemingway

Dave Zirin of The Nation does a nice job of recapping the shredding of the U.S. Constitution by slimeball IRS agent Jeff Novistky in his pursuit of convicting Barry Bonds, comparing the Justice Department's obsession with Bonds to that of the fisherman in Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea." Here's how he concludes --

It's way past time to say enough is enough.
Whether or not you are a Barry Bonds fan, or consider him to be just a step above a seal-clubbing, pitbull-fighting bank executive, every person of good conscience should be aghast at the way the Justice Department has gone about its business. Barry Bonds, Greg Anderson and maybe thousands of others have had their rights trampled on, all for the glory of a perjury case that looks to be going absolutely nowhere. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama have strongly indicated that the government is getting out of the steroid monitoring business. That is welcome, but after so many years, so many tax dollars and so many reputations destroyed, it all feels positively Pyrrhic.
At the end of The Old Man and the Sea, when Santiago finally returns to shore, his 18-foot catch has been reduced to a skeleton. A crowd gathers to gawk and imagine what the magnificent marlin once was. Santiago completed his journey with nothing, but he felt purified for the battle and slept deeply and proudly. As we pick through the bones of Barry Bonds, I can't imagine Jeff Novitzky feels the same.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beam me up to Scottsdale, Captain



Nice photo of Buster Posey by Giantsfan9. Buster hit a long double of the Big Unit at Tuesday's intrasquad game. He then called it "an unbelievable experience."

What Giants fan wouldn't want to magically transport themselves (like they do in "Star Trek") to Scottsdale from whatever crappy job they're fortunate enough to have?

Hearst tells San Francisco to go to hell

The Hearst Corp. has threatened to close down the SF Chronicle unless the union votes to shoot itself in the foot and agree to massive pay and jobs cuts.

Very depressing. Despite all my whining about the Chron's coverage, it's hard to imagine following the Giants without the paper.

A's officially kiss off Fremont

Owner Lewis Woolf made it official today -- the Oakland A's won't move to Fremont. This is vaguely reminiscent of the Giants' failed efforts starting in the mid 70s to leave the Stick for Toronto, San Jose and Tampa Bay.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Barry Bonds probably won't play again....

....at least, it certainly feels that way once you're gone through John Brattain's solid analysis at Hardball Times of how disgracefully and cynically Bud Selig's handled the steroids issue. It's a lenghty piece but well worth the read. Here are the key points:

-- Bear in mind that Bonds is a symbol to Selig and think of precisely what that particular emblem represents: his failure to address steroids, his friend losing the home run record, having probably never imagined that his lack of diligence and lust for profits and his “renaissance” would cost “The Hammer” the crown. He desperately wishes to be remembered as the commissioner who rid the sport of steroids and not the one that allowed it to flourish unchecked. Bonds was a living, breathing indictment of Selig’s failure and true legacy; watching the commissioner's reaction after home run 755 cleared the fence said it all.

-- It is personal for Selig and he has accumulated enough clout, political capital and chits owed to indulge his feelings and attempt to create a fictitious heritage of his commissionership. On a more practical level, it also allows him to posture for Congress; I mean, how would it look if the poster boy for steroids and Public Enemy No. 1 in baseball was allowed to put the record further out of reach for a clean slugger to top?

-- Selig knows the fourth estate will fall in step because of its dislike of BLB and the public mindset: Get rid of Bonds and you’ve rid the sport of steroids. Just check out the feedback section on articles dealing with Bonds and various message boards. Up to the point when Sports Illustrated broke the Rodriguez story, Bonds “was” steroids and as such needed to be exorcised with extreme prejudice. The media provided necessary “cover fire” for any collusion to take place, assuring one and all that “common sense” was simply prevailing as it had in the 1980s conspiracy against free agents. This is why it’s not crazy for clubs that might have been interested in employing him to understand where their financial best interests lie: one year of Bonds vs. staying on Selig’s good side for years to come—and all the more so when they know how strong his feelings are on the matter.

Rememberances of The Bird

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Matt Cain's ready!


That's the word from Giantsfan9 from today's workouts -- Matt Cain was the first of the pitchers to perform today. Matt was throwing VERY hard and looked to be in the zone on almost every pitch. Most of the batters preferred to just watch his pitches go by and I could count on one hand the number of times contact of any kind was made. Matt mixed in a few off-speed pitches, including a 12-6 curveball that just about caused poor Eli Whiteside to screw himself into the ground. I think Matt is ready to go......He was probably throwing closer to 100% of strength than any other pitcher I have seen so far.
MY COMMENT -- What Giants fan doesn't believe that Matt deserves to have a big year after all his poor run support during his time in the bigs?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Big Unit in Orange and Black


Giantsfan9 continues to post on Giants Jottings from Scottsdale. Here's his report on Randy Johnson -- Randy Johnson threw his first "live" batting practice today. He was throwing hard and was right around the strike zone at all times. Other than Rich Aurilia's HR, no one hit him very hard.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hasta la vista, Fremont

The Oakland A's look as if they're staying in Oakland and blowing off their plans to move to Fremont. It always seemed like a silly idea to move the team to a site with virtually no public transit.

So while the Giants continue to draw well despite offering inferior teams, the A's have few remaining options if they don't want to play before crowds of 10,000 people like they did in this 6-1 loss to the Ranger last September -- about the time that the economy really began going into the tank. Clearly, owner Lewis Woolf is hoping that he can find another city but that's going to be difficult in these tougher economic times. As it is, the team's only going to attract hardcore fans since the Network Associates Coliseum is a third-rate place to watch a game. When I've driven past, the surroundings and the tarped top deck are really off-putting. I managed to attend six World Series games there but haven't been back to the Coliseum since the A's got swept by the Reds in the 1990 World Series. I'm a Giants guy all the way, if you hadn't guessed. My guess is Woolf will keep looking for a place like Las Vegas or Portland, Oregon. Whether he gets any traction depends a lot on whether the economy gets better.

The Franchise's 138-pitch game

Paul Rice at Bugs and Cranks has an astute post about the danger of over-working young pitchers as part of recollecting the nerve-wracking 138-pitch game that Bruce Bochy allowed Tim Lincecum to throw in a MEANINGLESS game last September.

Why in the world does this happen? Why would the Giants risk the career of their most valuable asset? Part of the problem is that there are dangerous dingbats like the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins who bow at the alter of the Complete Game; in his latest stupefying screed, after apologizing for Brian Sabean's incompetence in the Aaron Rowand fiasco, Jenkins uses Nolan Ryan to hammer away at current pitchers. Apparently, Bruce won't be satisfied until the entire starting rotation of the Giants is on the DL.

Now playing third for your San Francisco Giants



Sandoval's sure come a long way quickly. Here's yesterday's report on him from Giants Jottings -- Pablo Sandoval participates in baserunning drills. He is surprisingly quick for a big man. Defensively he has quick soft hands and seems to get a good jump on the ball. During the second round of BP, he continued to impress. Hard hit balls on almost every swing. I really expected him to do a little better against live pitching because of his recent Venezuelan Winter League experience, but he struggled just like the rest of the hitters.

The sanctimonious steroid frenzy

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters continues to do an outstanding job of deconstructing the self-appointed guardians of morality who have crucified Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and now A-Rod. He's linked to a Joe Posnaski column that says McGwire probably did the right thing to refuse to answer questions in Congress: looking back you have to wonder if McGwire is the one guy in this whole absurd steroid mess who actually got it, the one guy who has come out of this thing with his dignity reasonably intact. McGwire refused to lie to make himself look better. He refused to turn over any of his friends. He also refused to make any admissions, which is looking like the wisest move of all.

OBM also links to an ESPN column by Jon Pessah detailing how Jeff Novitzky has shredded the Constitution in his self-aggrandizing pursuit of Barry Bonds on the taxpayer dime. Here's how it ends -- Keeping sports clean was once a confidential matter, overseen by scientists with test tubes. Novitzky has ushered in an era of stiffer laws in which the feds run point; in which suspect athletes now face armed raids and tapped phone lines; in which Congress pours millions of dollars into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a quasi-governmental outfit that uses aggressive tactics to go after amateurs it suspects of using steroids.
Now the Novitzky era reaches a climax with the March 2 trial. Whatever the verdict, Bonds' reputation has been ruined. And since U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and President Obama have said leagues—not governments—should police steroids, Novitzky's crusade will likely end. And that leaves a question for the rest of us to ask: Was it really worth it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The wisdom of Willie Mays


photo by Luckykatt


A fascinating story on the Seattle Mariners site says Mays advised Ken Griffey Jr. to go back to Seattle rather than taking the Atlanta Braves deal, citing the satisfaction he derived from his two final years back in New York with the Mets. Griffey put up stunning numbers in Seattle -- so it's probably good for the Giants that he won't be hammering them in a Braves uni this year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The new guy at shortstop


Giants Jottings offers a bonanza of coverage from Scottsdale, including this take on Edgar Renteria -- I am not so sure about this signing, but Edgar Renteria looks pretty good in a Giant uniform. It looks to me like he has shed most if not all of the extra baggage he was carrying last year. During batting practice, he was hitting the ball pretty well for the first day of practice. Towards the later part of his BP session he started spraying the ball around pretty good with a good number of line drives. I like the way he fields balls, using the almost extinct two-handed method. It was only practice, but I thought he showed pretty good range and a strong arm. He didn't look like Omar Visquel, but he didn't look like Eugenio Velez either.

Rating the Giants offseason

I'm skeptical about Jon Heyman's rating the Giants offseason at No. 7 in MLB, along with giving the Dodgers the worst rating. I'd be stunned if Manny doesn't sign with the Dodgers -- he's just doing the Manny thing right now. Anyhow, here's what Heyman said --

7. Giants: They filled a lot of holes early, before the market tightened. But while they didn't get bargains, they surely improved their chances. I still can't help but think the money might have been better spent on Manny alone, rather than Edgar Renteria, Randy Johnson, Bobby Howry, Jeremy Affeldt, Rich Aurilia, Juan Uribe and Co. If they beat the rival Dodgers and get Manny, they move to No. 1.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My favorite time of year

Some days like today are a fan's paradise:

-- The very annoying Eric Gagne has signed a minor league deal with the Brewers.

-- Oil Can Boyd wants to make a comeback at age 49.

-- Willie Taveras says he can steal 100 bases this year for the Reds.

The Taveras story was filed by the veteran sportswriter Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News. McCoy, who's been doing this for 36 yars, writes clearly and simply. So just as I'm feeling good after a semi-lousy day at work, here's Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chron with a true buzzkill. He's filed yet another idiotic column, a mash note to Aaron Rowand (and Brian Sabean) about what a fabulous clubhouse guy he is despite being massively overpaid and clearly on the decline. After 51 years of reading the sports pages, I say to sportswriters everywhere -- can we please pull the plug on the "he's a gamer and a great guy in the clubhouse" story about a guy who's on the fade or a guy of limited skills such as the David Ecksteins of the world? It's nonsense and gets employed only by hack sportswriters like Jenkins. It's an insulting way of condescending to readers that dingbats like Jenkins somehow know better than the rest of us.

The mystery of Noah Lowry

The Giants could conceivably have six viable starting pitcher on their roster -- assuming that Noah Lowry, Randy Johnson and Jonathan Sanchez don't get injured and that Zito doesn't revert to being the worst starter in the majors. But if everything breaks right, Lowry will become decent trade bait for a bat. That's how Paul Rice at Bugs and Cranks sees it. Here's the end of his very astute post --

I doubt Lowry’s future with the team is going to be either long or bright. The Giants have four rotation slots more or less set for the next year or two, with Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson moving quickly up the chain. Even if Lowry is fully healthy, it’s questionable that he’ll even be any good. His 3.92 ERA in 2007 belied a miserable 87:87 K:BB ratio, and the only thing keeping his ERA from ballooning into the stratosphere was an artificially low home run rate.
The best-case scenario here is that Lowry performs well enough to earn a trade out of the organization, the Giants get a good player back, and Lowry rejuvenates his career with another team. That way it’s good for everybody. If Lowry pitches a lot of innings this year, effectively or no, it means that someone got hurt and/or sucked horribly. Since the Giants are loathe to admit their Zito mistake by pulling him from the rotation for any stretch, that would likely mean one of the other four, who are all better than Lowry when fully healthy, and that’s not good.

The reality of Brian Sabean

Armando Blownitez. Edgardo Alfonzo. Barry Zito. Joe Nathan. Dave Roberts. Jeffrey Hammonds. Shae Hillenbrand. Steve Finley. Four straight losing seasons despite having one of the top 10 payrolls in the MLB.

These are all good reasons why Brian Sabean should have been fired long ago. I'm going to respectfully disagree with those who contend that Sabean was hamstrung by Peter Magowan. I was inspired to write this upon reading Lefty Malo's "maybe the recession will save his job" post. Here's the bottom line -- the Giants are stuck with a guy who CANNOT evaluate talent, who overpays for experience. The sooner he's gone, the sooner the Giants can go back to contending.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh, to be in Scottsdale


Giantsfan9 has begun filing daily dispatches at Giants Jottings. I find his reports give me a wonderful sense of what's going on. Here's what he posted about Buster Posey, for example --

Buster Posey had another good day today. During batting practice he had another 4 HRs. One into the RF bullpen, one into the LF bullpen, one over the LF bullpen and one that disappeared over the grass berm behind the LF bullpen. I know it's only BP......but seeing as how Posey has the only 6 HRs this spring......it's hard not to be just a little excited.Here he tracks down a pop up behind the plate.

The cool side of Manny

For everyone (like me), who's dismissed Manny as a flake who whined his way out of Boston, here's a reminder that things are often not as cut and dried as they appear at first glance. MLB.com's Chris Haft has an interesting spring training story about Billy Sadler's friendship with Manny, who was nice enough to pay for Sadler's workouts during the offseason.

Billy struck out Manny the only time they faced each other last year. It was in the 7th inning of this glorious 3-2 victory that the Dodgers gagged away.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

RIP Ted Uhlaender

The Giants scout was 68 and had racked up seven years in the bigs. Amazing bit of trading trivia about him -- he was one of three players traded to the Indians by the Twins in 1969 along with Graig Nettles and Dean Chance for Luis Tiant. Tiant had gone from 20-9 in 1968 to 9-21 in 1969.

Amazingly, El Tiante pitched one season in Minnesota and went 7-3 and then got released:

March 31, 1971: Released by the Minnesota Twins.
April 16, 1971: Signed as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves.
May 15, 1971: Released by the Atlanta Braves.
May 17, 1971: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

He went 1-7 with the Bosox in 1971 before becoming the team's dominant pitcher for the next five years.

UPDATE -- Andrew Baggarly offers an affectionate rememberance of Uhlaender.

No long-term deal yet for The Franchise

That appears to be the big story from the first day of spring training -- no immediate plans to sign Tim Lincecum to a multi-year deal as was done with the 4-year signings of Matt Cain and Noah Lowry. Tim wouldn't be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season. Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle notes that the Giants continue to pursue Joe Crede.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Giants open camp!

Plenty of optimism emanating from Scottsdale today. I'm always impressed when postion players report early. This year, the list includes Aaron Rowand, Fred Lewis, Nate Schierholtz, Scott McClain, Kevin Frandsen and Brian Bocock -- who obviously enjoyed his unexpected one-month stay in the bigs last year. Position players aren't required to be in camp til Tuesday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Madison Bumgarner -- third best MLB prospect

Manny deal close?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Dodgers eat it raw in Arizona


Yes, the team that decided it was too good for Vero Beach has seen its expectations of a financial windfall in Arizona go through the floor, according to the LA Times. This is the same brainiac front office thatpaid $80 million Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones. Eat it, Dodgers. Eat it raw.
Of course, the LA Times doesn't bother to make the rather obvious point that not having Manny Ramirez signed has probably cut into ticket sales. I'd still be stunned if Manny doesn't sign with the Dodgers.

Here's the real news today

A plea for common sense

The SF Chron's Gwen Knapp, who I've hammered in the past over her irrational hatred of Barry Bonds, has posted a common-sense take about the ridiculousness of penalties for marijuana use in the wake of Michael Phelps' punishment.

As usual, John Perricone offers a fine analysis at Only Baseball Matters. Here's a particularly cogent portion -- We have lost our way when police and government officials think it’s OK to spend taxpayers money threatening, arresting and harassing kids who smoke pot. We have lost our way when Congress thinks it needs to worry about whether baseball players use PED’s to be better at a game. We have lost our way, and the voices of reason are being drowned out by the belligerent and the righteous. We have lost our way when the Commissioner of Baseball thinks his anger is enough to change the record book, as if he wasn’t there when all this happened, as if being mad at the facts counts for something.

Bleeding Black and Orange has a great post simply titled "Fuck Bud."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

78-84 for the Orange and Black

That's the record that Baseball Prospectus (where polling expert Nate Silver of 538.com got his start) is projecting for the Giants this year. BP says the Dbacks will win the division with 92 wins, followed by the Dodgers with 84, the Giants, the Rox with 77 and the Padres with 73.

No trade for Sanchez

Jeff Fletcher at Bay Bridge Baseball reports that Brian Sabean is bullish on Jonathan Sanchez and skeptical that the Giants will trade him. He also says general partner Bill Neukom said the diplomatic thing (though if he really believes it, we're in for a long stretch of losing seasons) when asked about Sabean and Bochy -- “We think we have the best general manager and field manager in baseball… We’ll make decisions on what happens after the season after the season.”

The five questions for the Giants

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron does the usual story about the big questions facing the Orange and Black. I already have an answer for Number 5 -- BRIAN SABEAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED LONG AGO.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bay Bridge Baseball

That's the name of a sharp month-old blog started by Jeff Fletcher, who was working not so long ago for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. He's not disclosing how recently he parted ways with the Press-Democrat but he was one of the writers who voted for Tim Lincecum for Cy Young.

Another Ortiz in the Orange and Black

Ramon Ortiz is coming back from a season in Japan to compete for a bullpen job this spring. The is a somewhat painful signing because he's the guy who won Game 3 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels while Livan Hernandez got bombed. Despite that awful performance, Dusty decided to start Livan in Game 7. Thanks, Dusty, you dingbat.

Bengie Molina has plenty of experience catching this guy. They were together from 1999 through 2004 on the Angels.

Richie's back in the Orange and Black

Aurilia signs a deal that will pay him $1 million if he makes the team. And Henry Schulman of the SF Chron says it's unlikely that Joe Crede will be signed.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Giants get serious about Crede

The CBS affiliate in San Francisco reports that the Giants have made an offer to the Chisox third sacker. And Lefty Malo has an interesting analysis of what signing Crede would mean --

If the doctors sign off, Crede makes sense. The chance to get a right-handed hitter with a good shot at 25 home runs and excellent defense without trading top prospects or giving up draft picks? And he's not really blocking anyone? What's not to like? That would set off a cascade of events. First, it would push Sandoval to first base, with Travis Ishikawa either off the roster -- and possibly out of the organization, because he's out of options -- or a late-inning defensive sub for Sandoval, plus the occasional start against RHP when Sandoval slides to third to give Crede a day off or behind the plate to spell Molina. That seems thin gruel to use for a coveted roster spot, especially when Sandoval's strong side is also hitting lefty. But Sandoval's not locked in at 1B -- for example, a trade of Molina mid-year could make him the full-time catcher -- so dumping Ishikawa now might seem short-sighted later. With Crede on board, it's hard to imagine both Phelps and Aurilia making the team. Crede also makes Uribe less necessary, since Sandoval could handle the backup 3B work.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Not as bad as the Zito deal


That would be the Dodgers' $36 million two-year deal for Andruw Jones. He's just signed a minor league deal with the Rangers.

The Zito deal still has five years to run at $18 million annually. There were flashes of competence last season after the 0-8 opening but I remain extremely skeptical.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Still no Manny for the Orange and Black

Speaking at FanFest today, Brian Sabean says the Giants aren't interested in Manny. Here's the report for Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc-News --

--He said he wasn’t interested in a Manny Ramirez as a “silver bullet to save the day” and made it clear he’d rather reload at the All-Star break. He expects an improved roster to stay close in the NL West long enough to warrant some significant reinforcements before the July 31 trade deadline, and the Giants would have the financial flexibility to bargain with distressed teams looking to shed payroll at that point.

Here's the other key info --

-- the Giants have a minor league contract on the table for Rich Aurilia. According to CBS 5, the Giants also have made a one-year offer to Joe Crede.

–The Giants aren’t interested in Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu, even though the price has dropped. Neither are defensive fits, and Sabean said signing Abreu would just create another problem by forcing an outfield logjam.

–Sabean said he discussed trades with a couple clubs this week, but the same names were being discussed – guys entering their final year before free agency.

–Sabean identified these as the club’s prime questions as camp begins: Identifying a set lineup, acquiring another right-handed hitter (like Aurilia), monitoring the second base competition (pitting Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen and Eugenio Velez) and figuring out Sandoval’s ability to play third.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dealing with Bonds-speak

Jon Steiner has a good post (and headline) at Bugs and Cranks, in which he asserts that he's really lost interest in the BARRY IS EVIL AND THE WORST TEAMMATE EVER debate -- (boldface is mine)

There are two camps: the Barry-Bonds-is-being-unfairly-”witch hunted” people; and the Bonds-is-the-personification-of-all-that-is-wrong-on-planet-Earth (BITPOATIWOPE™) people. These camps are entrenched, and they’re not going to be losing a lot of members to the other side anytime soon.
But there is a third kind of Bonds-observer. The guy that doesn’t care anymore. The guy that knows Bonds cheated, but so did a lot of people, so what can you do? The guy who thinks Bonds isn’t a great man, but he’s probably not torturing kittens in his spare time either. The guy who wishes the government would try addressing some of the more compelling crises taking place in this country. The guy who’s just tired of this, and wants it to go away, not because Bonds deserves to be let off the hook, but because he’s becoming a sort of tragic hero rather than the cheater he so obviously is.
I like that guy. I am that guy.
But the two diametrically opposed camps won’t let this story recede into its deserved obscurity.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Franchise visits the Shark Tank

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc-News has a long interview tonight with Tim Lincecum, who was part of meet- your-Giants promo at a Sharks game. The final question and answer is the kind of thing that makes me feel like this guy's not a flash in the pan --

Q: You’ve said you were motivated in the past to prove people wrong when they called you too small or criticized your mechanics. Now that you’ve won a Cy Young, what’s going to motivate you?
A: I’ve felt that way my whole life. I’m still doing it for myself. But I’m also doing it for the guys out there who never got that chance because of the same problems I ran into. I just found a way out. I got lucky. So I’m doing it for them, for my dad, for my family, for myself and for my teammates. That’s a lot of people counting on me. I’ve got a lot of people, too, to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke, that I’m not a one-hit wonder.

Why baseball is better than football

Richard Justice nails it at Sports Justice. A Giants Win hat tip to Aneel at Trapped in LA. The first commenter at Sports Justice had this to say --

Opening day should be a federal holiday. When I'm voted into power, that will be my first executive order.
The game is so great that it has managed to thrive in spite of the idiocy of Bud Selig. That's the strongest argument in favor of the greatness of baseball.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Serious fun for Giants fans

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The feds keep acting disgracefully

At a time when the economy just keeps cascading downward, it's obscene that the federal government keeps wasting our tax dollars on its Barry Bonds witch hunt. John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has his usual intelligent take --

Make no mistake, standing by and watching our government do this without a word of protest will haunt us. This is a targeted witch hunt, a black man who is being taken down because a government employee –a man whose salary is paid for by you and me– IRS Agent Jeff Novitzky, decided he wanted to take him down because he was an, “arrogant asshole.”
Not to mention, this investigation, costing between $30 and $50 million while our economy is crashing like the Hindenburg, is the height of absurdity. Twenty federal agents raiding the home of a 60-year old woman, in an effort to pressure Greg Anderson to testify? Really?
Obama, you need to step in here, and shut this horror-show down.

More optimism about the Orange and Black

It's that time of year for baseball fans, when everything seems possible with average guys like Edgar Renteria heading for a rebound -- maybe even the All-Star Game? That's my takeaway from reading the latest blog by the SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman, who gushes over Bobby Evans getting promoted in the Giants front office.

I beg to differ. Renteria looks as average as they come and I still say Brian Sabean's a dope.

It's now or never for Zito

Trevor at Giants Baseball Blog has a good post about Zito making an effort to amp up his offseason conditioning. Here's part of his premise -- I also believe that with the addition of Randy Johnson along with the rapid rise of Tim Lincecum, the spotlight will drift from Zito a bit and he can enter the season without feeling like the success of the starting staff rests directly on his shoulders. If a pumped up, determined Zito can't get back to .500 this season, I don't think he ever will (at least with this team).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Crede in the Orange and Black?

Despite signing White Sox third baseman Juan Uribe, the Giants may still be interested in the better White Sox third baseman Joe Crede. Jon Heyman of SI reports that reps of the Giants and Twins attended an impressive Crede workout on Thursday.

Crede and Uribe combined to produce 24 HRs and 95 RBIs in about 660 ABs last year while manning the hot corner for the Pale Hose.

Yahoo's list of the 50 worst announcers

Jay Busbee compiles a pretty amusing list -- among baseball announcers, Joe Morgan at No. 3, Tim McCarver at 8 and Joe Buck at No. 9 all make the top 10. And no SF Giants announcers to be found. I can only conclude that Jay's never heard Ted Leitner of the Padres, who certainly deserves a place on such a list. Here's the Joe Morgan take --

3. Joe Morgan: Stubbornly refuses to admit that there's anything to the game of baseball more important than "heart." Laughs off statistics as irrelevant. Still carries grudges from his playing days. Like Bill Walton and other ex-jocks, views every player in comparison to his era -- and strangely enough, nobody ever comes close. Inspired one of the great sports blogs of this decade, but has unfortunately outlasted it.

Still, Giants fans will always retain a soft spot for Joe's Dodger-killing homer at the end of 1982.

Hasta la vista, Richie?