Sunday, January 31, 2010

"There was no doubt I was going to catch the ball"

The New York Times has interviewed Willie Mays in advance of the Feb. 9 publication of his authorized biography, "Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend" by James S. Hirsch. So No. 24 is on the promotional trail and Bruce Weber has a fine interview with The Greatest Giant Ever. His story concludes this way --

For Mays, though, the Catch was no big deal. The throw was.
“As I’m running, I’m thinking I’ve got to get this ball back to the infield because I’d scored many times from second base on balls like that,” Mays said.
The instant the ball settled in his glove, he planted his foot and propelled himself into a whirl, flinging the ball on a line to second base. He held the runner at third, and the Indians never scored. The Giants won in 10 innings.
“There was no doubt I was going to catch the ball,” Mays said, with a defiantly youthful smile nearly 60 years after the fact. “I already knew that.”

The top 20 Orange and Black prospects

Trevor Cole at Giants Baseball Blog is prepping for spring training by posting a long but interesting recap of the top 20 prospects, led by Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. He thinks Bumgarner will open this season as the No. 5 starter --

#2 Madison Bumgarner, SP: BA's #10 overall prospect got his feet wet in the bigs last season as well, and fared much better than Posey during his September showing. In fact, his 4 game stint that yielded a 1.80 era and 10 K's in just 10 innings of work has given the Giants the confidence to consider the 20 year-old the favorite for the open fifth starters spot. The 6'4" lefty went 12-2 with a 1.66 era, a 0.95 WHIP and 92 K's in 131 innings of work split between A and AA ball in '09. The drop off in K's were mostly due to his diminished velocity (down from 95-97 mph to 91-92 mph). However, the Giants are confident that the drop off in velocity was because of mechanical issues like throwing across the body rather than anything health wise or permanent. I'm expecting Bumgarner to win the Giants 5th starters spot out of spring and make a strong push for NL Rookie of the Year as he follows in the footsteps of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.

Wilson closes deal

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Game 7 in Venezuela

Friday, January 29, 2010

50-game suspension for a 16-year-old

I'll be the second to admit it -- I was at my strangest when I was in my mid-teenage years, veering from total self-confidence to the depths of insecurity. Teenagers are often the strangest inhabitants of the planet.

So it's not a surprise that ESPN's reporting that one-time Giants prospect Duanel Jones, at the tender age of 16, has already racked up a 50-game drug-related suspension -- if any team decides to sign him, that is, after the Giants voided his $1.3 million contract.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Brian Sabean is out of his mind

Chris Haft of MLB.com posts about how Buster Posey and Madison Baumgarner are both top 10 prospects, according to the MLB's rankings. Posey's ranked as 4th and Madison is 10th. Nonetheless, Brian Sabean's insisting that Posey's not ready for the bigs and that it's better to spend $4.5 million for more mediocrity from Bengie Molina. Yet another reason why he should be fired.

The Dodgers only have two prospects in the top 50 at No. 36 and 49.

The Garv stiffs everyone

The Detroit News has posted a story about Sanctimonious Steve Garvey, AKA Mr. Clean, owing nearly half a million bucks in back taxes.

This kind of story gives me a bit of satisfaction from knowing that I was right to sense that the Garv was a big phoney three decades ago.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend


photo by Ron Cogswell

I am happy to report that the new authorized biography of the Greatest Giant Ever will be out on Feb. 9. A Giants Win hat tip to Jaybird's Jottings, which pointed out that pre-sales alone have vaulted his book to number three in Baseball History at Amazon. Here's the first few paragraphs of James Hirsch's prologue -- On May 24, 1951, a young center fielder who had dazzled crowds in the minor leagues left Sioux City, Iowa, traveling light: a change of clothes and some toiletries, his glove, his spikes, and his two favorite 34-ounce Adirondack bats. The twenty-year-old Alabaman was driven to the airport in Omaha, Nebraska, where he bought a ticket from United Airlines for an all-night journey, landing in New York early the following day. He had been there once before – three years earlier, to play in the Polo Grounds with the Birmingham Black Barons. On that team, the veterans had protected him, instructing the youngster on how to dress, act, and play ball; on how to represent his team, his city, and his race. But now, on a sunny morning at La Guardia Airport, Willie Mays slid into the back seat of a taxi and pressed his face against the window, alone. He had never seen so many people walk so fast in his life.
Mays was driven to the midtown offices of his employer, the New York Giants, and promptly escorted inside. At 5 feet 11 and 160 pounds, he did not yet have the sculpted body that would later evoke comparisons to Michelangelo’s finest work. He was taut and fluid, but not physically imposing. Only his rippling forearms and massive hands, each one large enough to grip four baseballs, hinted at his crushing strength.

Winn in pinstripes

It looks like the Yanks have officially kissed off Johnny Damon and Randy Winn has officially ended his five seasons in the Orange and Black. MLB.com reports that he's signed a one-year deal worth $2 million -- a huge comedown for a guy coming off a three-year $23 million deal. Cot's contracts says he was paid $8.25 million last year.

He'll be 36 in June and is coming off a garbage season in 2009, where Bochy continued to start him despite the fact that he had a terrible .262/.318/.353 line -- well below his career norms and a sign that he may no longer be able to hit at a respectable level. He still can field, though.

As we all know, Winn's August and September of 2005 were off the charts. I saw him go for 4 for 4 on Sept. 16, including a leadoff homer against Brad Penny -- a glorious 5-4 vic over the Dodgers that also marked Barry Bonds' first homer of 2005.

Adios, Fred Lewis?

That's what Chris Haft of MLB.com believes. In a "mailbag" column, he says that Fred's "fallen out of favor" with the front office and will probably be traded if he puts up decent numbers in the Cactus League. Haft admits that the Giants really won't have a good leadoff hitter if Fred gets dumped -- Lewis' 2009 performance hardly inspired confidence, but he fits the profile of a leadoff hitter better than any other Giants player, despite his lack of enthusiasm for that role. He probably needs a change of scenery -- too bad, because ideally he should be helping the Giants.

Fred's OBP of .348 last season was the second best on the team but he doesn't have much power. It was consistent with his career norms -- which raises the question of why the front office has become so disappointed with Fred.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jim Dwyer in the Orange and Black


It's amazing at first glance that Dwyer got over 200 plate appearances for the Giants that year until you consider how punchless the starting left fielder (Terry Whitfield) and center fielder (Larry Herndon) were with a total of 32 RBIs each. Herndon hit one homer all year. The Giants were also starting the offense-free Marc Hill at catcher and Johnny LeMaster at short. The team scored only 613 runs -- the 7th lowest of the 26 MLB teams that year, despite having a lineup with Jack Clark, Darrell Evans, Bill Madlock and first base platoon of Mike Ivie and the 40-year-old Stretch . The team went 89-73, thanks to a much improved pitching staff that included Vida, Montefusco, Ed Halicki and Bob Knepper and allowed only 594 runs. The Giants were in first for much of the year and were only 3 games out with three weeks left before falling out of the race with a seven-game losing streak.

Jones not in the Orange and Black

Sunday, January 24, 2010

$24 million for Tim for two years?

This sound good to me -- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated suggests that the Giants and The Franchise compromise with a 2-year deal rather than going to arbitration -- $10 million for 2010 and $14 million for 2011.

After reading this, I believe that Tim would win in arbitration. Heyman makes a good point --
The Giants could claim Lincecum's second Cy was a "fluke'' (a word I heard yesterday to describe it by a management type) in that it was basically a crapshoot between him, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter and aided by two stat guys thinking Javier Vazquez should be in the top three. That may be so. But there wasn't anything fluky about Lincecum's 2.48 ERA and 261 strikeouts. If anything, he can say winning only 15 games was fluky. He could sue the weak-hitting Giants for non-support. And if the Giants beat him in arbitration after costing him victories, he might start wondering whether his own team is with him or against him.

Two months and counting to Opening Day


This is the guy who will probably open the season on April 5 in Houston this year. Here's a nice shot by artolog of The Franchise during the 2008 season. It's shot during an 8-2 whipping of the Phils, who would go on to win the World Series. Tim struck out eight and improved to 5-1.
First home game is April 9 against the Braves.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another BIG reason to fire Brian Sabean

Adios, Jesus Guzman

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can DeRose play second?

"Pitchers and catchers report in 23 days"

On a rainy winter day, any baseball fan worth their salt can't help but perk up upon noticing that spring training is just around the corner. For me, it was reading this upbeat post by Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle about the 22 non-roster invitees coming to Scottsdale. Schulman has a pretty decent analysis of why these guys are so important. Here's the key verbiage --
Yes, the Giants have Mark DeRosa and Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria and Aubrey Huff and Bengie Molina, but they are placeholders.
In this era, no team can buy its way into perennial dominance through free agency unless it has unlimited resources, such as the Yanks and Red Sox. Teams rarely let their best hitters get to free agency, so you MUST develop your own. Teams have to be smart with the money they do spend -- and there the Giants have made some mistakes -- but I don't see the Giants returning to the playoffs year in and year out until they develop three or four Pablo Sandovals and stick them on the field at the same time.
The Giants have taken the first step with some good position-playing drafts. For that, they have gained praise from publications like Baseball America (which the Giants' front office believed was ill-informed when it criticized their system before). Now, they have to take the next step.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Valdez heads to Toronto

Lord, this guy could throw smoke but he never lived up to his promise. He got DFAd last week to make room for Aubrey Huff, so now the Giants will get some cash (it doesn't say how much) from the Jays. Chris Haft of MLB.com describes his tenure in the Orange and Black as "injury-marred" -- which is an under-statement. He made it to the bigs in 2004 and didn't make it back until 2008.

I was actually there on Aug. 1, 2004 when Merkin debuted and gave up a double to Albert Pujols and then got Rolen to line out to right and then came out. The Giants were down 2-1 in the 8th and went on to lose 6-1 as Scott Eyre, Tyler Walker and Kevin Correia combined to put the game out of reach.

No Damon in the Orange and Black

That's what Bob Klapisch says in the North Jersey Record, noting that Damon hasn't found any takers at his asking price of $13 million per. Klapisch says Damon turned down the Yanks' offer of a two-year deal for $14 million last month and notes that the Giants have "officially exhausted" their offseason treasury with the Bengie Molina signing:

With only a month to go until spring training, Damon has two options: He can call the Yankees and admit he has nowhere to go. The Yankees, who will listen politely, will tell Damon he can play for $2 million for one season, not a penny or a day more.
Option 2, practically unthinkable after the World Series, would be retirement. A friend of Damon’s recently said, “Johnny is completely in the family mode right now” and has considered that option. It’s still hard to believe that, in the wake of a 24-home run campaign in 2009, and hitting .364 against the Phillies in the Series, Damon actually would quit.


Given Brian Sabean's love -- and that is exactly the right word -- for older players, it's kind of surprising that Damon doesn't seem to have generated much interest in San Francisco, given his solid performance last year with 24 HRs, 107 runs scored and a .365 OBP. Damon certainly was not the most valuable Yankee but he was a key contributot toward their 27th World Championship. I know that people say Damon has a lousy arm. But I bet that Sabean really does hate Scott Boras because of the Zito deal and doesn't want to ever do business with him if he can avoid it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bengie's back!

What is this obsession that Brian Sabean has with fading veterans? I'm a bit stunned by this one. I guess that the Mets came to their senses and realized what a mistake it would be to give the slowest player in the league a multi-year deal. And what a vote of no confidence in Buster Posey.
Bengie got a one-year deal for $4.5 million. Molina racked up a .285 OBP and he's a 35 year old overweight catcher. He's a prime candidate to get worse. He also showed last year that he's not lacks the class and maturity to behave gracefully if Posey plays well. Meanwhile, Posey has raked at every class he's played in.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle contends that the signing several upsides -- Giants pitchers like Molina; Posey will get more seasoning (a bogus argument in my opinion; what in the world is the front office waiting for?) and Molina will add pop to the No. 6 hole in the lineup (ignoring the fact that he'll still make a ton of rally-killing outs).

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury-News makes the same point -- Giant pitchers "love" throwing to Bengie.

So the Giants have just spent $24 million for this upcoming year on Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, Freddy Sanchez and Molina -- all of whom may be below average offensively in 2010. Wouldn't it have made more sense to go play the kids who have an upside (like Posey) and go out and sign someone who's actually a good hitter like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Long-term deal for The Franchise?

That's what JC at Sabernomics.com is predicting will happen, rather than seeing this go to arbitration: I suspect that the parties will reach agreement before a hearing, possibly on a long-term deal. The difference between arbitration awards (say $15–$20 million) is small compared the potential gains that Lincecum will expect to receive over the long haul, as his value escalates with baseball revenue and player salaries. He is likely to give up a few million a year as insurance to guarantee him $100 million over the next few years of his career. I look for the Giants to offer a long-run deal that Lincecum might find attractive rather than risk going year-to-year with him.

Baseball Prospectus is running a contest to guess the figure that Tim submits on Tuesday with the winner receiving a gift subscription.

Hasta la vista, Fred Lewis?

Nick Cannata-Bowman at Croix de Candlestick is predicting that the Giants are going to designate Fred Lewis for assignment. I should point out that Nick made the case that the Giants should sign Aubrey Huff, nearly a month before they signed Aubrey Huff.

Nick believes that Fred is so far into Bruce Bochy's doghouse that he's done as a Giant, as was the case with Ryan Garko -Odds are he’ll catch on with another team looking for a fourth outfielder. This could be a product of simply not having a place for Lewis. Or it could be a the second case this offseason of a player who Bruce Bochy doesn’t like getting the heave-ho. Either way, you’ll be missed Freddy. Even if technically you haven’t been cut…yet.-

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Baseball cards that never were


Last year, Topps created a set of cards based on the design of its 1959 series, including this mind-blowing rendition of Jackie Robinson in a New York Giants uni.
“I assure you that my retirement has nothing to do with my trade to your organization,” Robinson wrote Stoneham in a letter making it clear he wouldn’t be reporting to Spring Training in 1957. “From all I have heard from people who have worked with you it would have been a pleasure to have been in your organization. Again my thanks and continued success for you and the New York Giants.”
.

Byrnes in the Orange and Black?

Friday, January 15, 2010

LaRoche: go to hell, San Francisco

In a seemingly confusing developement, Adam LaRoche has agreed to a one-year deal with the Dbacks for $4.5 million plus an option year at $8 million with a $1.5 million buyout, according to Steve Gilbert of mlb.com -- though the report doesn't mention that the Giants offered a 2-year deal worth $17 million and got rejected a few weeks ago.

Lefty Malo thinks it's not about the money, though -- So unless LaRoche has in his employ the thickest agent in all of Baseball Land, I suspect other reasons. To wit: LaRoche didn't want to play in San Francisco. It's already happened this winter. Peter Gammons reported before the new year that Jason Bay unequivocally wouldn't come to S.F. Perhaps LaRoche hates S.F. for its weather, its location, its culture, its ballpark, whatever, so much that he was willing to risk losing a big chunk of change.
His ultimate landing in Arizona at the low guaranteed price around $5 million also shows that Brian Sabean either misjudged the market or knew he had to overspend to get his man. I can imagine Sabean making his first offer somewhere around $12 to $14 million, which is what LaRoche could end up making in Arizona if
his reported $7.5 million option kicks in. LaRoche said, ha, you have to pay me a lot more to get me to come to your left-handed power suck of a bayside fog machine. So Sabes went to his max, and when LaRoche said no again, the Giants leaked it to let everyone know what LaRoche could have made.
This is pure speculation on my part, but it makes more sense than a massive bungle by LaRoche's agent. Who gets the last laugh? He still has to play here nine times a year.


MY COMMENT -- This one is still a litle mind-boggling. To give up $5 million or just because you don't like the idea of playing in San Francisco is hard to believe. OK, the park takes away some power but the fans really do support the Giants and the team nearly made the postseason last year. For all my complaining about the front office, the team seems to treat its players pretty well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yorvit back in the Orange and Black?

Chris Haft of mlb.com thinks so. The Giants put the story on their official web site so I'd say it looks like it's coming to pass. He killed the Giants last year with a 14 for 34 mark. Brian Sabean's been giving mixed signals to reporters as to whether Buster Posey will start the season in the minors: "At this time, we are prepared to go to Posey," Sabean said. "But we'll keep an open mind."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Hey, we could be worse"

Nick Cannata-Bowman, who endorsed signing Aubrey Huff a month ago at Croix De Candlestick, says he likes the moves that the Giants have made --

Think of what didn’t happen this offseason (at least so far). We didn’t sign an aging catcher in the mold of Brad Ausmus who would have blocked Posey. We didn’t overpay for Johnny Damon. We didn’t send Jonathan Sanchez to the Marlins for Dan Uggla, preserving our first-rate pitching staff. And finally, we didn’t succumb to the temptation of doling out a monstrous contract to Matt Holliday. Overall, I have to give credit where it’s due and say that Brian Sabean has done a good job so far given the resources available on the free agent market.
My bold prediction for the 2010 season? The Giants will be a better hitting team thanks to these signings. It may not be pretty, but I dream of a world where my team can put forth a league average offense with a stellar pitching staff to complement it, and this collection of ballplayers we have now may just be the ones to accomplish this. The 2010 San Francisco Giants: Hey, We Could Be Worse.

Mike Lupica = dingbat

The disgraceful Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News is back on the Barry Bonds Hate Train, taking the opportunity to declare his disdain for two of the greatest players ever and portray them instead as the GREATEST CRIMINALS EVER. In a thoroughly ridiculous column, he says McGwire is as big a villain as Bonds. Fortunately, John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters fully explains what worthless self-righteous losers Lupica and his like (Tom Verducci, George Vecsey, Anne Killion) are --

Here’s an idea. Since you seem to think it’s completely acceptable to walk around all day telling everyone what they’re supposed to, let me tell you what to do:
Stick to writing about the game. Stop acting like your job is to break these athletes down, make them accountable, hold their feet to the fire, or whatever version of saving the children you happen to posturing about on any given day. You’re not David Halbestram, writing about Vietnam. You’re not
Woodward and Bernstein, breaking the Watergate scandal. You’re a sportswriter. If it wasn’t for your ridiculous, gas-bag television show, no one in the world would even know what you look like.
It’s the players that matter to fans. It’s the teams that we root for. Not the sportswriters. And, honestly, if you didn’t write about A-Rod’s girlfriend, or McGwire’s steroids supplier, we’d never notice. Really. We don’t care. You, and Tom Verducci and the rest of you Great Defenders think you are the story. You’re not. And, quite honestly, we’re all tired of hearing about it. Let it go. Your heroes let you down? Please. Get over it. Let it go.
Pete Rose. Jason Giambi. Marion Jones. A-Rod. Manny Ramirez. David Ortiz. Andy Pettitte. And you made damn sure that Mark McGwire knew he was never ever gonna get in the Hall of Fame if he didn’t apologize. On and on, you sat there, and called for their heads, like some King of all that’s Right. Except that the only way you show up like a King is when you’re being a royal pain in the ass. Not one time did any of these athletes satisfy your demands. Not one mea culpa was good enough. That’s the real story. Why did McGwire bother? We all have seen how you treated every other athlete who capitulated your demands. Why would anyone even consider coming clean, when this is what you get?
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are still in your sights. They haven’t asked for your forgiveness yet, have they? And given the shameless way you and the rest of you Great Defenders are acting, why would they ever even consider it? I sure as hell wouldn’t.
Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

A few more runs for the Orange and Black

Posey to the minors?

Is Brian Sabean insane -- or just obsessed with using fading veterans? How can he ask fans to shell out $50 per seat, $20 for parking and $8 for a brew and leave the franchise's best player -- Buster Posey -- in the minors?

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle says the current lineup will have Rowand leading off, Madison Baumgarner as the fifth starter and some nondescript guy like Rod Barajas catching while Buster opens the season in the minors.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another old Orange and Black signing

Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye isn't impressed with the Aubrey Huff signing. He explains why:

Huff, is an iron glove who has had exactly one above-average year since 2004, and his big 2008 screams inexplicable, late-career fluke (think J.T. Snow's 2004). Huff has old player skills (no speed, poor glove, limited athleticism), which means a sudden decline into uselessness is a distinct possibility, if it hasn't started already. In fact, that probably explains why he stopped being an All-Star-caliber hitter after he turned 28. So, the Giants sign a mediocre, 30-something slugger whose best days were five years ago? Yeah, that sounds about right.

Huff just turned 33.
UPDATE -- Jack Moore at Fangraphs believes that Huff becomes the starting first baseman, Sandoval goes back to third, DeRosa starts in left and Uribe and Fred Lewis are on the bench. He calls it a "waste of resources" and says the Giants should be trying to find a fifth starting pitcher instead.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Huff in the Orange and Black

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Russ Ortiz in Dodger Blue

"Baseball's version of the PGA Senior Tour"

That's a very apt description of what the Giants' franchise has become due to how the Giants sign free agents, notes John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters. John points out that Scott Pesednick got a one-year deal for $1.75 million and Vlad Guerrero just signed a one-year deal for $5 million with TExas, whereas the Giants signed Mark Derosa for two years for $12 million. Here's the key verbiage --

But what I am pointing out is that injured, 30-something-year old players sign these kind of one-year, incentive-driven contracts all the time.
Just not with the Giants. With the Giants, they get traded for. With the Giants, they get two and three-year deals, for $12, and $14 and $18 million dollars.
(Not to mention, the Giants needed an outfielder this off-season, not another infielder)
Who do you think will create more bang for the buck over the life of their contracts, Posednik, Guererro or DeRosa? The three players are almost exactly the same age. Last season, Vlad had one of his worst seasons ever, and in every phase of offense was more productive than DeRosa, posting a .295/.334/.460 .794 OPS. Podsednik was supposedly on Sabean’s radar, but somehow managed to slip through his fingers and sign for the paltry sum of $1.75 million somewhere else.
One of these guys got a two-year deal worth $12 million, one got a one-year deal worth $5 million dollars, and one of them got a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. And the Giants can never afford to make a run at a real player.


....On and on, over and over again, Brian Sabean doles out millions of dollars to players who are sitting at home staring at the telephone, praying that it will ring –players who go from starting for the Giants to yakking it up in the broadcast booth– and the rest of the baseball world laughs.
Again and again, players tell us how happy they are to be in San Francisco, a destination that has become baseball’s version of the PGA Seniors Tour; while our estimable GM tells us his hands are tied, the team can only afford so much.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

"The Giants should be competitive"

So says Chris Haft of MLB.com, who also believes that the Giants are fortunate to be in the NL West: The Giants should be competitive in the NL West, and with a little luck they could win the division. But they're fortunate to be playing in the West, where the other four teams have done little to improve themselves. I doubt that the division will produce the league's Wild Card winner again.Obviously, the Giants' pitching will keep them in most games. It's reasonable to expect sustained excellence from Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, more consistency from Barry Zito and improvement from Jonathan Sanchez. But if any of them -- particularly Lincecum or Cain -- is sidelined by injury for an appreciable period, the Giants will be in trouble. Look at how Arizona unraveled in Brandon Webb's absence last year.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Rating the remaining free agents

Grant at McCovey Chronicles isn't impressed with the remaining free agent crop, unless they can be gotten on the cheap. How did the Angels figure out last winter that Bobby Abreu would be such a good deal at $5 million? Grant's top choice is LaRoche --

I don’t mind the idea of Adam LaRoche on the team. He’d improve the lineup without question, so maybe it’s unfair to put him at the top spot. But the Giants already had Adam LaRoche. His name was Ryan Garko, and he would have been at least $10M cheaper. And every time LaRoche swings a bat, I’ll be reminded that the Giants are run by people who really think that 100 at-bats is a definitive sample size.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Bocock claimed by Jays

I'm not quite sure why anyone wants a guy who hits like the second coming of Hal Lanier, but the Blue Jays just claimed Brian Bocock after the Giants DFAd him.

Even as a teenager with little grasp of statistics, I knew that Lanier was a terrible hitter for a decade. Lanier had no power and no plate discipline but he supposedly made up for it by having a decent glove at a time when the Giants had two Hall of Fame pitchers (Marichal and Perry) starting nearly half their games. But with near misses at the pennants in every year from 1964 through 1969, I often wondered if there was some way to get more offense out of the shortstop. As it turned out, Lanier was the precursor for any number of Giant shortstops (Johnny Lemaster, Tim Foli, Jose Uribe and Neifi Perez) who couldn't hit water if they fell out of an airplane. But Hal Lanier was really the worst of them all.

Bocock's MLB stats (11 for 77) are just as awful.

Mark Belanger is the guy that I always think of in any consideration of good-field no-hit shortstops. He was such a good fielder that he actually got MVP votes in three different years during the 1970s.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Rowand in the leadoff spot?

LaRoche says no to the Giants

Buster Olney of ESPN is reporting that Adam LaRoche turned down a two-year $17 million offer from the Orange and Black.

UPDATE -- Chris Moore at Fangraphs thinks LaRoche is out of his mind to reject the deal and that Sabean is insane to have offered it -- Brian Sabean is so desperate to add offense that he’s willing to pay $8.5M per year for a minimal upgrade, and Adam LaRoche and his agent are so vain that they declined it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hasta la vista, Big Unit

One of the better stories of the 2009 season for Giants fans was to see Randy Johnson show that he still had it. He was tough, tough, tough but he made his retirement official today at the age of 46. Chris Haft of MLB.com notes that he endured four knee operations, three back surgeries and last year's shoulder injury. "I never would have thought I would have played this long, and I feel very blessed that I did," Johnson said.

Uribe signs, Bocock DFAd

Monday, January 04, 2010

Thanks, Jay

A belated thanks to Jaybird's Jottings for mentioning this blog as a favorite in his year-end round-up. Jay, a longtime Giants fan who began his site in 1999, does a terrific job blogging about life as a resident of Washington D.C.

Pitchers and catchers report in 41 days


That includes the two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. A great shot by Artolog, taken last June 12 when Tim improved to 6-1 with a 3-0 vic. He only threw 110 pitches as he went all the way. He had four complete games, including two shutouts, in 2009. Two weeks later, he threw a 95-pitch 2-hitter at the Cards.

Uribe coming back to the Orange and Black

Comcast Sports Net says he passed his physical and the official announcement will take place tomorrow.

Chris Haft of MLB.com asserts that it's a done deal. Here's a nice bit of reportage - With Sanchez and Renteria either struggling or sidelined, Uribe started 40 of San Francisco's final 43 games and hit .317 with 11 home runs and 26 RBIs.

That projects to 40 HRs and 100 RBIs over a full season. As of August 17, Uribe had 5 homers and 26 RBIs. On August 18, he hit his 6th homer and drove in two in an 8-5 win in extras at The Great American Ballpark. It looks to me that he drove in 30 runs over the last 44 games, but that probably includes a few games he didn't start.

Miller up for the Frick Award

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Calero in the Orange and Black?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Two 20-game winners for the Orange and Black?

David Pinto at Baseball Musings says if the Giants had a decent offense, they could have two 20-game winners in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

Pinto believes Cain is the real deal. He's offering an analysis of every MLB player in this offseason and noted that Cain has an overall record of 44-51 despite a very good 3.53 ERA, then adds this -- Based on his game scores, Cain’s record should be 59-43. The Giants simply have not scored enough runs for him to win.
Cain cut his ERA nearly a run in 2009 to 2.89, which was enough to win with the Giants offense. He did it despite striking out fewer batters and allowing more home runs than the previous season. He did give up fewer hits, indicating that the Giants played better defense behind him. He also cut down on his walks allowed.
Cain does everything well a pitcher should do well, limiting walks and home runs while collecting lots of strikeouts. On top of that,
he’s equally effective against both right and left-handed batters. For some reason, 21 of the 28 triples against him came with the bases empty.

LaRoche in the Orange and Black?

John Stall at Bleacher Report opines that Adam LaRoche is the most attractive option left for the Giants -- if his salary demands drop to $7 million a year. Here's the key verbiage -- Adam LaRoche may serve as the best remaining hope as an addition to the lineup. LaRoche has averaged 25 home runs over the last five years and plays a solid, if unspectacular 1B. He also has the required pop to get it out of the national park that resides in right field at AT&T.
Laroche's contract demands seem to be on the way down as no team has shown a willingness to meet the three years and $30 million he is looking for. If the Giants can get his demands down to an average annual salary of around $7 million, LaRoche may make too much sense to pass up. Seattle, if they choose not to re-sign Russell Branyan, may be San Francisco's lone hurdle.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Sorting out the DeRosa signing

The Jorge Says No site says the DeRosa deal won't be a difference maker for the Giants but contends that Mark's an upgrade over Bengie Molina: The Giants should expect a .270-20-80-.350 line from DeRosa; anything more is gravy.

Happy New Year, everyone!