Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day torture

The disgusting Dodgers have a first-rate starter in Clayton Kershaw, who closed the Orange and Black down but good and underlined why the it's obvious that Brandon Belt should be in the MLB. John Shea of the SF Chron tweeted that the Dodgers had to make 29 of their 135 pitches to Belt. Fat Broxton showed again that he's not anywhere near an elite closer as he gave up a homer to Pat the Bat in the 9th.

It was a game that they could have won, had Tejada and Posey not made errors. Bochy -- who has a real gift for saying the right thing after a tough loss -- told Henry Schulman of the Chron that he thought Posey did the right thing in trying to nail a runner at 3rd base:
"I want these guys to be aggressive," he said. "I don't want guys afraid to make mistakes. That's how you play the game. I'll never have a problem with guys getting after it."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Belt belts one!"

I'm hoping we hear that often this year from Jon Miller, Kuip, Kruk and Flemming. MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain likes the move a lot and notes that we should have seen it coming --

I love that the Giants are going all-in. This is for the title defense, man! The organization must think Belt can deliver the goods. I love their willingness to take a chance with this kid--he must really be that impressive. I'm sure a lot of it is demeanor, maturity, and work ethic, all the stuff you can't see on TV. His spring batting line (.282/.338/.479) isn't as interesting as the fact that he played in the most games (28), had the second-most at bats (71), and saw the most pitches (172). They were clearly fast-tracking him and he responded.

Why the Bonds trial feels wrong

Well, I was going to post something like "Let's Pulverize the Dodgers," so I went to the Dodgerhater blog for inspiration. Surprisingly, Dan Pera had just posted a fine essay titled "The Bonds Trial Is Asinine And You Know It" on his exasperation over the federal government's blatant abuse of power in attempting to blame Barry Bonds for every perceived wrong in pro sports. Here are some excerpts -- -- There are a lot of people that flat out DO NOT like the guy... and I get that. But the Bonds perjury trial has reached a pinnacle of asininity.The Federal government doesn't enjoy being made a fool of... and I get that. The basis of our legal system is people telling the truth. The fear of God is enough for most people to tell it the way it really happened, but for the select few that are able to lie to entire courtrooms, punishment should come.Look I get it. Barry probably lied. But you know what? I don't give a shit.

-- This isn't about Bonds lying. This is about the government and IRS agent Jeff Novitzky not looking like idiots.

-- And lest we forget, as Giants fans, what Barry Bonds did for us: He with Peter Magowan saved this franchise from moving to St. Petersburg, Florida and becoming the Devil Rays. He always gave us hope when he came up to bat, even when we were down by a seemingly insurmountable lead -- His presence on the roster made us relevant every year -- He, with Willie Mays, were two of the 3 greatest baseball players of all time, and were both Giants, through and through. Not even the Yankees can say they that. -- He always put people in the seats, even when the team sucked -- Even when opposing teams took the bat out of his hands, he started rallies from first base

His biggest contribution however, was that he had a huge part in our stadium known as AT&T Park being financed and built.

Without Bonds, would the Giants have been able to secure the massive financing needed to privately build our jewel of a ballpark? Probably not. Without Bonds, would the right field wall be as close as it is? Would there be a "Splash Hit" counter? Would people be floating in McCovey Cove? Would there even be a McCovey Cove?

Belt in the Orange and Black; adios Travis

The Schierholtz dilemma

Rory Paap at Bay City Ball makes the case for keeping Nate Schierholtz once Cody Ross is back from the DL. He believes that everyone knows that Aaron Rowand is done but notes that the Giants front office can't admit that --

But first, we have to raze the notion that Aaron Rowand should pick up the at-bats. Sabean has already gone on record that “everyone is pulling for Rowand.” This is troubling to me. I see a player that is very clearly on a rapid decline, a speed-of-light trajectory heading straight out of the league, a la Gary Matthews Jr. Maybe that’s harsh – it probably is – but given the money he’s made in the game, the two World Series’ he’s won, I have a hard time feeling remorse for the guy. By all accounts, he’s a great guy and a genuinely good person; it’s just that his baseball days are numbered.

There is no part of me that believes Rowand can get back to his complete and utter averageness. He was a good-but-not-great centerfielder, but he’s probably average at best now. He hasn’t hit in a really long time, and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. And the real deal breaker, for me, is his unwillingness to play the corner (left or right) without sulking. And moving Andres Torres – a plus, plus centerfielder – to right field to make room for an average centerfielder would be mind-bogglingly stupid. By doing so, the Giants would just be defensively downgrading an up-the-middle position, one of the most important positions on the diamond.

I understand where Sabean is coming from, throwing him a bone by mentioning him as a possibility. I do. Sabean has a staking interest in presenting Rowand as a non-zero-value commodity. He can convince someone, anyone, that Rowand has something left, he might fetch a few schillings in return for him. Otherwise, he’s going to have to swallow every bit of that $24 million remaining salary. That’s a large plate of unpleasantness.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Decision day on Belt

Welcome home, guys!

The SF Chronicle keeps embarrassing itself

Today's coverage of the Bonds trial focused on testimony by Kimberly Bell, Bonds mistress, which mentions a 2005 interview that Bell gave to Lance Williams, a Chronicle reporter in the case.

Excuse me for being old-fashioned, but it strikes me as highly inappropriate that someone like Williams -- who's behaved egregiously in this case -- is still covering the trial for the paper.

In 2007, it came to light that Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada had decided to stay silent about leaked grand jury testimony. Here's how Tim Rutten of the LA Times put it back then (boldface is mine) --

On Thursday, we learned just who they were protecting when Troy L. Ellerman, a defense lawyer for one of BALCO's vice presidents, pleaded guilty to contempt of court, obstruction of justice and filing a false declaration with a federal court. Ellerman leaked the testimony to the Chronicle reporters, then went out and argued that the ensuing publicity would deny his client a fair trial. Worse, he actually filed motions with the court alleging that prosecutors had leaked the testimony and that charges against the BALCO official should be dismissed.The two reporters maintained their silence while all this occurred. Worse, Fainaru-Wada returned to the defense attorney's office to obtain still more leaked testimony after their source had lied in public and to the court.

To assert any form of journalistic privilege in a situation like that is something far worse than moral obtuseness. Conspiring with somebody you know is actively perverting the administration of justice to your mutual advantage is a betrayal of the public interest whose protection is the only basis on which journalistic privilege of any sort has a right to assert itself.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Free advice for Bruce Bochy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring training doesn't mean much

Belt belting again

Saturday, March 26, 2011

These games don't count (KC 15, SF 3)

Friday, March 25, 2011

"He doesn't meet my definition of a criminal"

Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post has a sensible column about the insanity of the federal government hounding Barry Bonds. Here's how she starts out --

Barry Bonds is a lot of things, leading off with obnoxious, but he doesn’t meet my definition of a criminal. There is a growing school of legal thought that says we have a dangerous tendency to “overcriminalize,” using criminal law to try to solve every single social problem in America. Some things are mistakes and not crimes. And some people are jerks, but not jail-worthy.

Jenkins quotes someone on behalf of the Heritage Foundation -- one of the proponents of the "Anarchy for Billionaires" approach to government -- and I must admit that he makes a ton of sense. I'm boldfacing her intro to quote --

If Bonds were anybody but a home run king, the case would have been disposed of long ago, so San Francisco’s U.S. attorneys could devote their attention to more important matters, like crack.Bonds is simply being made an example of — and whether that’s a proper use of federal power is a question that should make us all queasy.

“That may be the consequence of a just federal prosecution, but it shouldn’t be the major motivation,” says Brian Walsh, senior legal research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “When government officials devote inordinate resources to making someone’s life miserable because they don’t like him or he’s high-profile, it doesn’t serve an important societal interest.”

The simple solution to the Cody Ross problem

Now that Cody Ross is out for a month, here's what the Giants should do -- Put Brandon Belt on first base, move Aubrey Huff to right field and DFA Aaron Rowand. Or tell Rowand to spend some time in Fresno and figure out how to hit, rather than creating a black hole in the Giants' lineup.

Chris Haft's story doesn't offer that as a scenario but what I've just posted is actually the move that would make the most sense.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The big Orange and Black flaw

Orange and Black ticket demand soaring

File this under Dept. of Bandwagon and Improving Economy...Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News just tweeted this --

extrabaggs Wow. The Giants exhausted their season-ticket inventory of 27,700 and announced they have now started a waiting list for season tickets.

Leprechauns in 2010

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"You heard it. Mark it down -- repeat"

The return of Fire Sabean

Well, not really. Hits One High began posting a week ago. I'm impressed with what I've seen so far... particularly since the author's admitted that he was in charge of the extremely entertaining Fire Sabean blog in this post --

In October, I told Matt Kawahara from the Sacramento Bee something. This was two days before Game 1 of the N.L.D.S,

If we do win the World Series I’m the biggest idiot in the world. And I’d love to be the biggest idiot in the world.”

Well, the biggest idiot in the world just got a new website.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tejada wants to play in 173 games

Nice piece by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Miguel Tejada says he wants to play all 173 games this year -- 162 for the regular season plus the 11 playoff games you'd need to win the World Series. He's played 162 games six times.

Actually, the number of playoff games could be more like 19, assuming each series went to the max number of games.

Here's who played the most for the Giants in 2010:
1. Huff, 157
2. Sandoval, 152
3. Uribe, 148
4. Torres, 139
5. Schierholtz, 137

Huff played in all 15 postseason games too, so he wound up in 172 games last year.

I had to look up to see if anyone had played in more games than Huff last year. It turns out that Michael Young of the Rangers played in 157 regular season games and 16 postseason games to give him Miguel Tejada's goal of playing 173 games total.

Huff in left field?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stuck with Aaron Rowand

In a story about Brandon Belt, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants are finding no takers for Rowand, even though they're apparently willing to take on the $24 million he's owed in 2011 and 2012 --

Trading Rowand is not likely even if the Giants are willing to eat his contract. The Giants are drawing little or no interest in the center fielder, so it seems the team would have to release him if it decides he is not one of the 25 players they want.

Outside interest in Ishikawa is thought to be tepid as well. More teams are looking at Schierholtz because of his left-handed bat, arm and outfield defense, but the Giants might want to keep him for all the same reason.

Bullish on Belt

Ken Rosenthal of Fox believes that Brandon Belt will be on the Giants roster soon. He suggests that Belt is so good that he'll force the hand of the front office soon and the options will probably be to dump either Travis Ishikawa or Aaron Rowand -- A trade of Rowand is all but out of the question, but the Giants might not want to rush into releasing him, even though he seemingly has little left to offer. One day soon, the team might face a similar decision on left-hander Barry Zito, who has $64.5 million remaining on his contract, including a buyout on his club option for 2014.
Then again, such obligations are sunk costs.The Giants aren’t getting their money back, so they might as well do the right thing. In the afterglow of the team’s World Series triumph, few would even bother to remind Sabean of a past mistake.
Rowand, 33, is 6-for-29 this spring.
Andres Torres took his job in center last June, and Cody Ross also can play the position. Pat Burrell offers more as right-handed bat off the bench. Mark DeRosa, healthy again, brings more versatility.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zito nails down his spot

Yes, it looks like he'll be the No. 5 starter rather than Jeff Suppan -- with a nice power display, three solo shots: Cody Ross homered in the second inning, Buster Posey went deep in the fourth and Aubrey Huff cleared the barrier in the sixth.

ESPN embarrasses itself

Here we are, three years removed from Barry Bonds being blackballed out of the major leagues, and no-talent insight-free hacks like Gene Wojciechowski are still making the stupid argument that Barry Bonds was the main reason why the Giants didn't win games back when Barry Bonds was on the club .... because he was the Worst. Teammate. Ever.

It's still astounding to me when big-name sportswriters write condescending crap like this -- with the implication that they somehow understand how "clubhouse chemistry" translates into wins on the field. No mention in the article of the horrific lineup construction and awful roster choices that dominated in 2006 and 2007.

For those of you Giants fans who can stand it, get a load of some of the regulars and highest-salaried Giants who played in 2007 -- Dave Roberts, Ryan Klesko, Matt Morris and Armando Blownitez. Note that there are two guys with a Wins Above Replacement Value over 3.0 -- Matt Cain and Barry Bonds.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The World Champion San Francisco Giants

Damn, that feels good to write. I was inspired by this fine photo of Aubrey Huff and Tim Lincecum, taken last March 26 in Scottsdale by MBT Photography. At that point, no one thought the Giants would come out on top.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

17-5 in spring training

The slimmer Pablo Sandoval keeping hitting -- an RBI double tonight.
I don't expect the Giants to win tomorrow against the Dodgers, since Jeff Suppan is starting and has been hammered recently.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Giants now 16-5 in spring training; Tim bulks up

Let's hope this fine play carries over to March 31!

The Orange and Black beat the Pale Hose today, 5-3. Lincecum struck out seven and Brandon Belt had three hits.

John Schlegel of has a pretty decent game story that notes Tim's managed to get his weight up to 168 pounds (except that I think opening day is March 31) --

His pitching line from Wednesday's outing against the White Sox: one run allowed on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, a fine next step toward his Opening Day start for the Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 1.

His anticipated eating line after the game: Three double-doubles, two orders of fries and a half-chocolate, half-strawberry shake -- or what would feed a small family at In-N-Out Burger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giants now 15-5 in spring training

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mighty Matt's back

A great Photo by rocor taken in Game 2 of the 2010 World Series, completing a postseason run of 21 and a third innnings with a 0.00 ERA.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Replay of Game 1 of the World Series

I saw today's final score -- Giants 11, Rangers 8 -- and that's the first thing I thought. Except that a much lighter Pablo Sandoval is now pounding the ball.

Key game tomorrow with Matt Cain seeing if his elbow's OK.

Lincecum's awesome evolution

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle has a nicely detailed story about Tim Lincecum adding a slider and change into his arsenal during his time in the Orange and Black.

In the comments section, there's a link to a You Tube video that got posted several months ago that shows the 27 outs of Game 5 of the World Series -- 24 by Tim and 3 by Wilson. Truly impressive how out of synch the Ranger batters were that night.

A Big Giants Win hat tip to a poster named Gridlore, who gave the You Tube link and commented -- Watch and see just how badly Timmy fools people. They were swinging at pitches at around their ankles, six inches outside the strike zone.. amazing. This includes Molina, who spent two+ seasons calling pitches for Lincecum and should have known his grips and relases by heart.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giants 8, choking dodgers 7

The pain of Hal Lanier

Julian Levine at Splashing Pumpkins has a fascinating post about the offensive awfulness of Hal Lanier -- who's a major reason why the 1964-1970 Giants never made it into the postseason -- and concludes that he was the worst hitter in Giants history.

Following the team back then, it was always kind of stunning when he got on base. He was supposedly in the lineup for his glove, the way that Mark Belanger was for the Orioles later on. He had seven straight seasons of more than 400 plate appearances before Chris Speier finally arrived in 1971. Ponder this -- in nearly 4,000 plate appearances, he got 136 walks. In eight seasons in the Orange and Black, his offensive WAR was -7.3 and his defensive WAR was 2.4.

"This is just another game. Pitch your game"

Friday, March 11, 2011

The quick Panda

Here's what John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle just twittered --
Panda fielding like it's 2009. Quick hands and quick body (yes, quick body) allow him to rob Jorge Cantu of a double down the line

How did that taste, Cincinnati?

"La vengeance se mange très-bien froide" ("Revenge is very good eaten cold") — Marie Joseph Eugène Sue in "Mathilde" circa 1846.

OK, it was just an exhibition game but Madison Bumgarner got a measure of payback for the beatdown he suffered last August from the Reds. Andrew Baggarly's story in the San Jose Mercury News details how the Giants staff has is leading the majors in pitching at this point.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brian Wilson's levels

It's not just the beard.
David Pinto has a short but very interesting post at Baseball Analytics about why Brian Wilson's pitches are difficult to hit. Here's the opening -- Brian Wilson provides a great example of how pitchers keep hitters off balance by changing the level of their pitches.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Zito looking like the $126 million man

Wouldn't you know that he looked great today? It should have been a meaningless game -- were it not for the strange Bruce Jenkins piece a week ago saying that the Giants were willing to eat most of the $64 million they still owe on the egregious deal they made four years ago.

Jeff Suppan, supposedly the guy who might replace Zito, didn't so well, according to Chris Haft of -- Dunn broke up the Giants' shutout with a mammoth home run in the ninth inning off Jeff Suppan, who immediately gave up another homer to Stefan Gartrell.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Props to Rags

A Giants Win hat tip to Lefty Malo for noting that Fangraphs has a story contending that Dave Righetti's been a key longtime contributor to the Orange and Black success because batters are hitting far fewer homers off Giant pitching than what would be expected.

I'm decent at math but it's nearly midnight and my already limited powers of concentration are pretty feeble. Here's a key paragraph in Jesse Wolfersberger's story (boldface is mine) --

The Giants have faced 55,874 batters from 2002-2010. Subtracting strikeouts, walks, intentional walks, hit batters and errors results in about 39,000 balls in play. Over that time frame, the Giants had a 37.7 FB%, meaning there were about 14,700 fly balls hit. If the model’s 10.1 HR/FB rate for San Francisco was correct, then Giants’ opponents would have hit about 1,500 home runs, but opponents hit only 1,271 home runs. The difference is over 200 home runs, or about 25 per year.Considering an average home run is worth 1.42 runs and every 10 runs is roughly equivalent to a win, the team’s home run prevention has contributed about 30 wins to the Giants since 2002, or about three per season. If we were to give Righetti all of the credit for that difference based on an assumed ability to coach HR/FB alone, much less any effect from improving his pitchers’ traditional skills such as strikeout, walk, or ground ball rates, than Righetti would have created about $110 million in value for the Giants over the last nine years.

It’s unlikely that the difference is all Righetti. We may be underestimating the park factor, or the Giants may target pitchers who can succeed specifically in their park. There is room for a lot of good luck in there as well. But, given that Righetti is one constant in a sea of ever changing variables, and the results continue to stay the same year in and year out, it’s likely that he is part of the answer. We probably need to start including him in discussions about the best pitching coaches in baseball.

My snarky comment -- Maybe that's why the front office thought that Rags could even straighten out Armando Blownitez

Remember Nick Johnson?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tim's back as his Terrific self

Welcome back, Brian Wilson

Here's what Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc just tweeted at!/extrabaggs --

Brian Wilson's first pitch was a 94 mph fastball. His first batter since Nelson Cruz, Dustin Ackley, strikes out on a called cutter.
Here's the next tweet -- Wilson's first inning: looking, looking, lineout to 3B. Pablo Sandoval robs Milton Bradley while showing much improved first-step quickness.

"It jumps naturally off his bat"

photo taken of Brandon Belt in November in the Arizona Fall League by Dulamae

That's Will The Thrill Clark talking about Brandon Belt. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has an encouraging story about how Brandon Belt has improved since the Giants drafted him at No. 147 just two years ago.

Why do I say "encouraging"? Simple. Giants fans have become accustomed to the farm system delivering replacement level guys in recent years (except for the pitchers, obviously). We were used to someone like John Bowker arriving instead. Hard to believe, but John was the starting rightfielder on opening day last year in Houston. He drove in the second run of the year for the Orange and Black but it was kind of downhill after that. John only logged 90 plate appearances for the Giants over the next four months as Nate Schierholtz began starting and Andres Torres was in rightfield in 43 games. The big highlight for Bowker came on July 31, when he and Joe Martinez were swapped to the Pirates for Javier Lopez.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

For those Giants fans who want more

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News is now filing a video update ("The Rundown") on the Extra Baggs blog site of himself talking about the day's spring training activities, including a pretty upbeat report following the two wins on Friday.

He notes that Brandon Belt's first homer came off a changeup and says there's a lot of competition for the long relief/emergency starter spot among Jeff Suppan (who's thrown six shutout innings), Ryan Vogelsong, Dan Runzler and Guillermo Mota.

He also notes that when there's a split squad game, standard practice is to go cover the game that the manager's attending. Since Bochy went to both, so did Baggarly.

The connection between 1954 and 2010

Very nice shot by Scott and Allison
So you win a World Series in 1954 with this guy, the MVP of the NL. Forty-six years later, the team has the good sense to build a fine stadium with a fine statue of that guy. Though it takes another decade, you do win another World Series.
The statue is great and I'm not saying that it was what won the Series. But I'm sure it didn't hurt.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Letting go of 2010? Not yet

Not doing it yet. The World Series feels like it just happened, frankly. I can tell you exactly where I was when Renteria's homer went out (mid-town LA) and when Nelson Cruz struck out (Ventura Freeway). It hasn't been four months, has it?

Just read a nice post by Ranting On about this --
I half expected the World Series trophy to be guarded like the golden idol in the opening sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Try to take it, and the cave comes crashing down around you like a 401-K filled with Enron stock. Heck, even at the end of that movie the ultimate prize gets snatched away from our hero (I could have warned him, if only I spoke Hovitos).

But this time the Giants got the prize, the girl, her sister, and the phone number of the hottie next door. It just doesn't get any better than this.

So now we go into uncharted territory: a title defense for the San Francisco Giants. A year ago that phrase would have been cause for psychiatric evaluation. Today, Giants fans can go into the campaign knowing that winning the World Series has gone from pipe dream to possibility.

Giants 5, Dodgers 3

Mark Kroon's debut in the Orange and Black

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"That's the longest homerun in my career"

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Zito story officially denied

Bruce Bochy tells Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News that Bruce Jenkins' story -- which had no on-the-record sources -- is nonsense.

I'm a little annoyed that Bochy's insisting on referring to Zito as the fourth starter when he's obviously anything but. Does that mean that if he had to choose between Zito and Bumgarner to start a game, Bruce would go with Zito? Of course not. Bochy's smart enough to realize that Zito's an overpaid headcase who GOT LEFT OFF THE POSTSEASON ROSTER FOR VERY GOOD REASONS. Bochy knows that he's not going to respond well to even more criticism.

Barry Zito = flank steak

Paapfly has posted an insightful column that makes the case that Barry Zito's not really that bad for a fifth starter. He posted in reaction to Bruce Jenkins' recent story -- which asserted that the front office is threatening to ditch the final 3 years of Zito's awful deal (boldface is mine).

He notes that Jenkins relies on Zito’s win-loss record in describing his abilities -- The implication is that he’s plainly terrible. In truth, though, he’s much closer to a league-average starter. Overpaid? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Worthless? No. Since 2007, in order, Zito has been worth 1.7, 1.4, 2.2 and 2.1 wins above replacement (WAR) according to FanGraphs. Thus, he’s been worth nearly two wins (above replacement) per season (1.85).

Paapfly caculates he’s worth about $23 million over the next four seasons, compared to the $64.5 million he’s owed (the 2014 season has a $7 million buyout) -- Unless the Giants can get some team to bite into this hook for somewhere between $23 million to $37 million over the next 3-4 seasons, they should simply keep running him out there every fifth day and signing his checks until his value has vanished completely. Frankly, I don’t think there are any takers who are willing to pull over even close to that much of his contract.

As to the notion that the Giants are entertaining the idea of making Jeff Suppan the fifth starter, I say… wow.

Suppan has been a below replacement starter over the past two seasons. He was worth -0.7 wins in 2009 and 0.0 wins in 2010. Over the past two seasons, he’s performed exactly as you might expect a non-roster invitee to perform. He’s not getting a major league deal because he’s not a major leaguer anymore. He’s someone you stuff in Triple-A in case one of your five starters goes down, or your fifth starter becomes unbearable which is often the case two months into the season. The Giants have close to zero organizational depth in terms of starting pitching right about now. It’s not that they don’t have intriguing pieces on the farm, they do. Eric Surkamp, for example, may well someday be a serviceable starter in the rotation. Zack Wheeler could be another No.1 type starter. That being said, these two aren’t close to contributing in San Francisco. Neither is Clayton Tanner, who Jenkins mentions. He’s likely a replacement starter at this point, at best.

Should the Giants cut Zito loose, they’ll be out 1-2 wins and will be further depleting their starting pitching depth, something they already sorely lack.

The Giants have every right to be frustrated, they really do. But they should be frustrated with themselves, not Zito. They signed the guy when the industry-wide consensus was that he simply wasn’t the top-tier starter he was being paid to be. Once upon a time, Zito was a very good pitcher when throwing for the green and gold. He was never great, despite the Cy Young award in 2002.

“Motivating” Zito by threatening to cut him loose at this point makes little sense to me. I truly believe his inability to meet expectations is due to one thing: He can’t. It’s the same reason he doesn’t throw 90 miles per hour: He can’t. The expectations that his contract placed upon him were ridiculous. They were in the winter of 2006, they remain so today.

Give it a rest.

The Giants bought a flank steak and paid for a filet. It’s now chewy and they are outraged. They can blame the server as long and as loudly as they’d like, but they ought to have spent a little longer reading the menu.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The end of the line for Zito?