Friday, November 30, 2012

Reed Johnson in the Orange and Black?

Adios, Brian?

Chris Quick at Bay City Ball thinks that the Giants are right not to offer Brian Wilson a $7 million deal following his second Tommy John surgery 

Sorry that I can't seem to post anything these days except questions! Here's some good analysis -- 


In Wilson’s case, his 2011 was full of warning signs that he was probably hurting: these graphs do a pretty good job of telling that story. Lower strikeouts. Rising walk-rate. Decline in velocity. Those are the classic red flags of arm injuries. In hindsight, the Giants clearly knew something was up. The team often hid Wilson this past Spring Training, making him throw on back fields and keeping his appearances away from reporters.

The $7M question is which Brian Wilson will the Giants get in 2013? The version that was struggling to crack 90 mph in 2012 or some amalgamation of his past self. Wilson’s rise to success isn’t lost on me. He was the first legitimate closer the Giants had since Robb Nen and he closed the books on names like Herges, Walker, and Benitez. His dominant run from 2009-2010 is one of the best among franchise history. He’s been a really, really successful pitcher. But, as we know, pitchers are fragile things, held together by tape and string and bits of Velcro.
The Giants are right to not pursue Wilson at $7M in 2012. And, likewise, his agent is right to test the market if the Giants non-tender Wilson. To me, this seems like one of those rare occurrences where both sides have just reason to do what they need to do. Wilson has been a huge icon to the team and fans since he arrived, and the Giants will lose money on beard sales, but Wilson is clearly a huge risk. I love the guy; I’ve loved to watch him pitch, but he’s just too risky. If Wilson can’t agree on a lower base salary with performance incentives, it’s probably time for the Giants to move on.

The return of Ross?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"I should be one of the instructors"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marvin Miller deserves to be in the Hall of Fame

That's the title of a just-posted column by Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer.Here's a good passage -- 

For all its pretentious reverence, the Hall is home to scoundrels of every stripe - racists, drunks, misanthropes, wife-beaters, gamblers, syphilitics - and more than a few whose baseball resumés don't warrant their inclusion.
Morgan Bulkeley, whose career in the game spanned two years as a team owner and one as National League president, is in the Hall. Miller is not.
Bowie Kuhn, a bumbling commissioner who was KO'd by Miller every time they shared the same ring, is in the Hall. Miller is not.
Phil Rizzuto, who had 1,588 hits, 38 homers, and 563 RBIs in a so-so 13-year career, is in the Hall. Miller is not.
Holy cow!
All Miller did was forever change the game - all of sports, really. Until he came along, baseball was a plantation. Players had no rights and no opportunity to change the status quo.
He looked at baseball, stripped away its sentimental veneer, and saw it for what it was: a moneymaking enterprise. He convinced the cowed players they had the same rights as any other American worker. And that included the right to organize.

It was Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts who, with the aid of Penn professor George Taylor, found Miller and in 1966 gave the labor economist the job of molding the powerless players into a bargaining force.
That was quite a challenge. Historically, the owners had ruthlessly crushed any organizing effort. The average major-league salary in 1965 was $19,000. The minimum was $6,000, $900 below what a typical American family earned that year. The reserve clause, as odious a judicial construct as the Dred Scott decision, bound them to one team for perpetuity.

John D'Acquisto's farewell to Marvin Miller

The former Giants rookie of the year has written a fond farewell to Marvin Miller, who passed away today.Here's a memory from the 1972 spring training -- 

I walked across the diamond and this older gentleman in rolled-up shirt sleeves and loosened tie lectured my teammates right on the edge of the infield behind second base. Mays, Marichal, McCovey, they were all there. Some guys were standing, other sat on the grass, arms over knees like high school freshmen at basketball practice. First time I had ever seen my idols, my heroes looking up at another man, listening obediently. Marvin Miller gave the speech. Right beside him was his assistant, Bob Moss – they were the Players Union’s version of the M&M boys. Marvin spoke about why the work stoppage was necessary, why we needed to be concerned about our future and the future for the players that come after us. If not, then why even have a union, Marvin reasoned. He asked for questions. I raised my hand.

“How is this going to affect our families and insurance later on,” I asked.
“How old are you, John,” were the first words Marvin Miller ever said to me. I was in shock.
“20,” I chuckled nervously. Still stunned. “You know my name?” Remember, this was also before last names on the backs of uniforms were an accepted practice.
“I know everyone’s name,” he smiled, a smile you needed to take seriously as his eyes met every player one by one. “You’re all important to me.”

Scutaro back in the Orange and Black?

Chris Haft of mlb.com thinks so and the story is on the Giants web site. Here's how he puts it --

It's widely believed that Scutaro, whose production on the field matched his popularity in the clubhouse, ultimately will stay with the Giants, probably on a two-year deal. The Giants have few options if he doesn't return. Free-agent second basemen available include Kelly Johnson (.225 batting average, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs with Toronto in 2012) and Placido Polanco (.299 career average in 15 seasons; .257 this year in 90 games with Philadelphia). Bringing back Ryan Theriot, the regular second baseman until Scutaro arrived, is a long-shot possibility.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bye bye Brian?

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a sobering analysis about whether the Giants will be able to retain Brian Wilson, what with a Friday deadline to decide whether or not to tender him at $6.8 million -- the minimum that can be offered. 

Schulman, who seems to be pretty well-sourced as a rule, believes that the Giants don't want to pay that much and that Wilson won't accept anything less. 

Wilson was astoundingly good in 2010 -- he racked up a 2.7 WAR (wins above replacement), which is quite high for a guy who only pitched in 70 of the team's games. It's also nearly half of the 5.6 WAR he's racked up so far.  

Relievers are important for sure. But there are more than 500 player seasons in which a player has totalled at least an 8.0 WAR -- and not ONE of them is a reliever. Not one, according to Baseball Reference. 

Naturally, that includes Willie Hernandez, who won the Cy and MVP in 1984 with a 4.6 WAR. Because of saves, relievers tend to be overvalued. Cal Ripken had a WAR of 9.8 that year.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ichiro staying in the pinstripes?

That's what it sounds like, to read the New York Post from a few days ago. It sounds as if Post reporter George King thinks it's a swell idea, based on his .322 batting average as a Yank and the fact that Derek Jeter thinks Ichiro is a great guy. 


According to Baseball Reference, though, Ichiro put up a 0.1 WAR (wins above replacement) in his 72 games as a Yank after his 1.5 WAR as a Mariner last year.Apparently, his defense has fallen off.


He was quite a player in his prime. In 2004, he had the highest WAR in the AL at 9.0, yet finished 7th in the MVP voting to Vlad, who had the 8th best WAR in the league at 5.2. Johan Santana was at 8.5, followed bby curt Schilling and A-Rod at over 7.0. 

There was a time not that long ago -- think of guys like Steve Finley, Ryan Klesko, Jose Vizcaino and Dave Roberts -- when the Giants appeared to have cornered the market on players who were way past their primes. I'd like to think those days have passed.

Burriss in Cincy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Counting my blessings on Thanksgiving

Chris Haft of mlb.com has written a touching story about Bryan Stow's recovery from his injuries and his attending the second game of the World Series. Nice job of reporting! Here's some of it -- 

His mother, Ann Stow, said that he can maintain conversations and is learning to walk again.


"We just take one day at a time," she said. "When somebody asks me, 'What does the future hold for Bryan?' I say, 'Ask me tomorrow.' He progresses and then he has a setback."
The Stow family is nevertheless excited about Thanksgiving. About 10 relatives and friends will share the day with Bryan at a rehabilitation facility in Bakersfield, Calif., where he has stayed for the past nine months.
"That's something that we weren't too hopeful about in 2011, how many holidays would we be able to celebrate with him again," Ann Stow said. "We're just going to be so blessed to have Bryan there. He's going to be the man of the hour."


Here's hoping you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Lefties in the Orange and Black pen

In the wake of Jeremy Affeldt signing a 3-year deal for $18 mil, it's worth noting that the Giants don't spending for bullpen depth. They have Javier Lopez signed through next year; Raising (Matt) Cain predicts that mid-season pickup Jose Mijares will be back. Oddly enough, Lopez wasn't used in the World Series after being very effective in the NLDS and NLCS.

And Affeldt was quite good in the postseason, the site notes. 

Jeremy Affeldt faced 40 batters in his 10 appearances and struck out ten of them. He gave up a mere five hits and did not allow a single run. He pitched the 6th and the 7th in relief of Ryan Vogelsong in the pivotal marathon Game Three of the LDS, pitched in back-to-back games twice in the LCS (Games One/Two and Six/Seven), and struck out four in his crucial 1-2/3 in Game Four of the Series. It was a dominating performance by the big lefty. Remember all the whining about how much the Giants "wasted" on relief pitching that could have been spent signing Carlos Beltran? A guy like Affeldt, who can hammer 94 mph fastballs in on the hands to all hitters and them freeze them with unhittable curveballs is not a "fungible" commodity. The Giants recognized his skill set, paid him handsomely for it, and used it to great effect to win another title.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Five added to the 40-man roster

Chris Haft of mlb.com explains who the team had decided to protect --

right-handers Jake Dunning and Chris Heston, infielder Nick Noonan, outfielder Juan Perez and left-hander Edwin Escobar.

Dunning, 24, finished 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA in 44 relief apppearances for Double-A Richmond this year. A 33rd-round selection by the Giants in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Dunning continued his ascent through the organization, having pitched for Class A San Jose in 2011 and Short-Season Class A Salem-Keizer in 2010.
Heston, 24, was named an Eastern League midseason and end-of-season All-Star while posting a 9-8 record with a 2.24 ERA in 25 starts for Richmond. Rated the organization's 17th-best prospect by MLB.com, Heston struck out 135 and walked only 40 in 148 2/3 innings.
Noonan, 23, had perhaps his strongest season in six years in the Giants' system. Formerly a second baseman, the left-handed-batting Noonan played primarily shortstop for Triple-A Fresno and hit .296 with nine homers and 62 RBIs in 129 games.
Perez, 26, led Richmond with a career-high .302 average in 126 games, to go with 10 home runs, 53 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 33 attempts.
Escobar, 20, improved dramatically this year while going 7-8 with a 2.96 ERA in 22 starts for Class A Augusta. Opponents batted .241 against him, compared with .319 in 2011 when he pitched in the Arizona League and Augusta. Escobar recorded an enviable strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 122 and walking 32 in 130 2/3 innings with Augusta.

Here's a link to the current list of players on the 40-man. These five bring the total to 35. 

Pagan back in the Orange and Black?

Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area thinks so.

Though the post is 4 days old, that's the pace of news in the baseball world these days.Here's some of the verbiage -- The Giants remain focused on re-signing Pagan, and even though the expectation was that Pagan would let the market play out as Carlos Beltran did a year ago, I’m told that there is greater optimism that a deal can be reached between the two parties. Giants manager Bruce Bochy talked to Pagan on Thursday, and planned to touch base with second baseman Marco Scutaro in the coming days.

Pagan is looking for at least a three-year contract after scoring 95 runs and leading the majors with 15 triples. There are other free-agent outfield options such as Shane Victorino, Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. But Bourn is expected to command the biggest salary of the bunch, and the Giants need a leadoff presence – something Pagan provided forcefully after moving back to the No.1 spot in the lineup on Aug. 3.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jumping out of his seat

The San Francisco Chronicle's Dave Weigand has given a stellar review to the official DVD about the 2012 World Series champs. The little man is jumping out of his seat. Some excerpts -- 


-- I can remember a time when the idea of re-watching a baseball game seemed like a waste of time. After all, if you had seen it the first time and knew the final score, what was the point?
All of that was before 2010, and now that the Giants are being fitted for another series of World Series rings, watching the official MLB DVD of the road to Detroit, being released Tuesday, is almost as much fun as watching the playoff games and the four Series games when they were played.


-- The Giants' season had more than its share of bumps, including the loss of Brian Wilson and the 50-game suspension of Melky Cabrera. It should be noted that the MLB film mentions Cabrera's suspension, but doesn't remind viewers it was for juicing: That's one of the differences between an MLB production and, say, how Fox Sports might report on the team's status.
On the other hand, with the MLB film, you don't have to put up with pointless distractions like dugout interviews and an infuriating promotional chat with the head of Taco Bell while the game is going on.


-- You get a glimpse of Ryan Vogelsong's mind, for example, when he thought about his long and sometimes winding career journey just as he was about to take the mound in Game 3 against Detroit.
He didn't know how much time he had left but had decided, "If I was going to be done, I wanted to end my career as a Giant."


The Giants' season had more than its share of bumps, including the loss of Brian Wilson and the 50-game suspension of Melky Cabrera. It should be noted that the MLB film mentions Cabrera's suspension, but doesn't remind viewers it was for juicing: That's one of the differences between an MLB production and, say, how Fox Sports might report on the team's status.
On the other hand, with the MLB film, you don't have to put up with pointless distractions like dugout interviews and an infuriating promotional chat with the head of Taco Bell while the game is going on.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/SF-Giants-Official-2012-World-Series-Film-review-4050507.php#ixzz2Cjzqh3ug
The Giants' season had more than its share of bumps, including the loss of Brian Wilson and the 50-game suspension of Melky Cabrera. It should be noted that the MLB film mentions Cabrera's suspension, but doesn't remind viewers it was for juicing: That's one of the differences between an MLB production and, say, how Fox Sports might report on the team's status.
On the other hand, with the MLB film, you don't have to put up with pointless distractions like dugout interviews and an infuriating promotional chat with the head of Taco Bell while the game is going on.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/SF-Giants-Official-2012-World-Series-Film-review-4050507.php#ixzz2Cjzqh3ug

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Seven years, $110 million

That 's what Chris Quick at Bay City Ball proposes for a deal for Buster Posey -- who will be arbitration eligible next year.It's an excellent post. Here's the meat of it -- 

Ideally in any contract extension with a player of Posey’s caliber, you’re buying out portions of his free agent years, too.  Spit-balling, I think we can comfortably set the bar around $18M for buying out Posey’s first free agent season in 2017. Baseball is flush with cash and the sport seems more profitable than ever. And for the Giants, coming off two World Series titles in three years, things look bright. The Giants consistently sell out home games at AT&T Park and have shown that they don’t mind locking up their homegrown talent such as Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. Posey should, theoretically, be no different.
Thus, Posey’s seven-year, $110M extension would be structured as follows:
Year Salary WAR
2013 6.0 1.3
2014 9.5 2.1
2015 12.5 2.8
2016 16.0 3.6
2017* 18.0 4.0
2018* 24.0 5.3
2019* 24.0 5.3

*Denotes free agent years; WAR denotes at what level the Giants are paying Posey to perform at
Buying out three FA years seems like wishful thinking, but at $18M for 2017 and $24M for 2018-19 Posey should be earning market value. Maybe a little less if salaries continue to escalate. It’s also worth noting that the Giants purchased three years of Madison Bumgarner’s FA years with his very team friendly contract extension. This contract would keep Posey a Giant until his age 32 season. It’s doubtful that he’ll be a catcher in 2019, but it’s likely that the Giants can extract most of Posey’s value as a sterling defensive catcher that hits like an above-average first baseman for the duration of this deal. The Giants are best configured when Posey is catching.  Down the road, if the team needs to, they can move Posey to first base or maybe shortstop
There’s a good bit of risk in paying any player $100M for seven years of work. As we all know, sometimes players get hurt. Or they lose their skills and decline. But Posey’s successful comeback in 2012 should mitigate some of the Giants’ fears about how he might hold up in future seasons. The Giants also place a huge premium on Posey’s leadership qualities. Whether or not you think those exist — or, more appropriately if they matter — the Giants definitely do. I thought Posey looked gassed near the end of the year — and parts of the playoffs — but it’s clear that his 2012 season — MVP award or not — was a rousing success. At 25-years-old, he’ll be expensive to lock up, but I can’t think of a more deserving player.
And, heck, it’s not my money. But there’s something really satisfying about saying “Posey on the Giants in 2019.” Go ahead and mouth those words to yourself a few times. Feels good, right? Feels right. So, a seven-year, $110M deal, the keys to my house, and free reign of my fridge? Deal.

The 1964 WAR rankings
















1.Mays (SFG)10.7
2.Santo (CHC)8.6
3.Allen (PHI)8.5
4.Davis (LAD)7.9
5.Robinson (CIN)7.5
6.Clemente (PIT)7.0
7.Aaron (MLN)6.6
8.Menke (MLN)6.3
9.Boyer (STL)5.8

Callison (PHI)5.8























































































































































































































































































































































The 5 MVPs for Mays

Willie Mays won the MVP in 1954 and 1965. He should have also won in 1960, 1962 and 1964 instead of Dick Groat, Maury Wills and Ken Boyer. 

David Pinto at Baseball Musings picks up Az Snakepit's fine post about the biggest difference in the MVP winner and the leader in WAR. 

Year MVP WAR MWP WAR Diff
1996 Juan Gonzalez 3.5 Ken Griffey Jr. 9.5 6.0
1979 Willie Stargell 2.3 Dave Winfield 8.1 5.8
1974 Steve Garvey 4.3 Mike Schmidt 9.5 5.2
1979 Don Baylor 3.5 Fred Lynn 8.6 5.1
1964 Ken Boyer 5.8 Willie Mays 10.7 4.9
1987 Andre Dawson 3.7 Tony Gwynn 8.3 4.6
1970 Boog Powell 4.8 Carl Yastrzemski 9.3 4.5
1962 Maury Wills 5.8 Willie Mays 10.2 4.4
1995 Mo Vaughn 4.1 John Valentine 8.1 4.0
1974 Geoff Burroughs 3.2 Rod Carew 7.2 4.0
1958 Jackie Jensen 4.6 Mickey Mantle 8.4 3.8
1969 Harmon Killebrew 5.7 Rico Petrocelli 9.5 3.8
2004 Vlad Guerrero 5.2 Ichiro Suzuku 9.0 3.8
2012 Miguel Cabrera 6.9 Mike Trout 10.7 3.8
1999 Juan Gonzalez 4.6 Alex Rodriguez 8.3 3.7
1987 George Bell 4.6 Wade Boggs 8.2 3.6
1961 Roger Maris 6.7 Mickey Mantle 10.2 3.5
1985 Don Mattingly 6.4 Rickey Henderson 9.8 3.4
2002 Miguel Tejada 5.3 Alex Rodriguez 8.6 3.3
1960 Dick Groat 6.0 Willie Mays 9.2 3.2
2006 Ryan Howard 5.0 Albert Pujols 8.2 3.2
1967 Orlando Cepeda 6.6 Ron Santo 9.6 3.0
1989 Robin Young 5.4 Rickey Henderson 8.4 3.0
2000 Jason Giambi 7.4 Alex Rodriguez 10.1 2.7
1993 Frank Thomas 5.9 Ken Griffey Jr. 8.5 2.6
1976 Thurman Munson 5.0 Graig Nettles 7.6 2.6
2007 Jimmy Rollins 6.0 Albert Pujols 8.5 2.5
2006 Justin Morneau 4.0 Grady Sizemore 6.5 2.5
1982 Dale Murphy 5.8 Gary Carter 8.2 2.4
1963 Elston Howard 5.0 Bob Allison 7.2 2.2

Buster really is the best

Baseball Reference ranked him at 7.2 WAR, just ahead of Andrew McCutcheon

1.Posey (SFG)7.2
2.McCutchen (PIT)7.0
3.Braun (MIL)6.8
4.Molina (STL)6.7

Wright (NYM)6.7
6.Bourn (ATL)6.0

Headley (SDP)6.0
8.Votto (CIN)5.6
9.Heyward (ATL)5.5
10.Stanton (MIA)5.4

Ramirez (MIL)5.4

Prado (ATL)5.4

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Riot

If you went to enough Giants games this year, you realized that "The Riot" was actually Ryan Theriot, he who has now won two World Series rings in two years. Some guys get all the luck! Ryan hardly played once Scutaro showed up but he got the biggest hit of his career in his last at bat of 2012.

MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt Cain) has a fine post about the two Giants supersubs -- Joaquin Arias and The Riot. Here's the whole thing -- 

 Joaquin Arias made a name for himself all season long by filling in for Pablo Sandoval at third base and spelling rookie Brandon Crawford at shortstop. Both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference rate his contributions as worth 1.0 WAR. The former Rangers utility man made one of the biggest plays of the year when he completed Matt Cain's perfect game with a long throw from "deep third" (as Kuip called it) to get the ball to first and nail down the final out. B-R lists his closet comp ('similar batters through age 27') as Freddy Sanchez! In the playoffs he had his biggest day in Game Four at Cincinnati, roping two doubles and scoring two runs after a 4th inning double-switch with B-Craw (and Tim Lincecum). He saw action as a pinch-hitter in Game One (9th inning single and run scored), at short at the end of Game Three, and again at short in Game Four of the LCS. Otherwise he was Pablo's final inning defensive replacement at third base (eight games including the final seven). He handled all his chances (four putouts, one assist) flawlessly. The versatile right-hander from Santo Domingo is arb-eligible for the first time. I expect he'll be back in the same role in 2013.

Ryan Theriot
carved out a spot for himself in all-time Giants lore by starting what proved to be the winning rally in Game Four of the World Series and scoring the go-ahead and ultimately winning run. His wild, car-wreck slide and ecstatic celebratory howl will forever be etched in our collective memories. The former Cubs shortstop was a 3rd-round pick from LSU but escaped from Chicago in a trade with the Dodgers in 2010 and then struck baseball gold via another trade with the 2011 world champion Cardinals. He signed with the Giants as a free agent this spring and I called him "Freddy Sanchez insurance." Sure enough, he was the everyday second baseman until the arrival of Marco Scutaro. Theriot was 0-2 as a pinch-hitter in the LDS, but worked a walk in Game One of the LCS in the same role. His other big moment was as a replacement in Game Two for Scutaro after the infamous Matt Holliday rolling tackle finally forced Marco to the bench. Ryan drove in two in the 8th with a line-drive single to make it a 7-1 lead and seal the deal for Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants. He had another pinch-hit RBI single in the 8th inning in Game Six as well. His final pinch-hitting opportunity came in Game Two of the Series but Drew Smyly struck him out. In Game Four he was the DH for the only time in his career, and delivered his biggest hit ever in his final at-bat. Phil Coke had struck out the previous seven batters he had faced before that single. The class clown of the Giants clubhouse was now the hero. (Good story by Baggs here.)

The last moment of the season

How often does the final moment of the season wind up with the two MVPs at the plate? (Buster Posey and Miguel Cabrera)

Amaze your friends! Win bar bets!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Adios, Melky

Well, that was interesting -- the four and a half months that Melky Cabrera spent on the Giants, I mean.

Fans started out thinking, "Well, at least we got SOMETHING for Jonathan Sanchez" to being amazed that this guy was playing like an MVP to being stunned over his suspension to realizing that the team took off and began playing like a World Series winner once he left.

It all came to an official halt today with the Blue Jays signing him. The Jays seem to have realized that the AL East rivals can be had, given Bosox and Yanks are vulnerable and that the Orioles made it into the postseason. David Schoenfield of ESPN has a pretty good story posted -- 

The Toronto Blue Jays are taking this "build a contender" idea pretty seriously. On the heels of the multiplayer blockbuster trade with the Marlins, they signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million contract. Cabrera, of course, comes with the baggage of his 50-game PED suspension in August, but he also comes with a .322/.360/.489 batting line over the past two seasons with the Royals and Giants.

Cabrera doesn't have to hit .346 again to make this deal worthwhile. Even if that offensive boost was stimulant-enhanced, he's a terrific signing at a low-risk $8 million per season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he turns into the best free-agent signing this offseason. But what I like most about the moves Alex Anthopoulos and ownership made this week: The Jays are finally acting like a big-market franchise. Despite a metro population of more than 6 million -- the sixth-largest among major league cities -- the Blue Jays have spent the past decade acting like a lower-tier midmarket club.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mays, McCovey and Posey

In case you've been stuck in an elevator today, Buster Posey was named the NL MVP. Henry Schulman's story for the SF Chronicle has these notable observations, including that Buster and the Willies are the only players to have won Rookie of the Year and MVPs in the Orange and Black  --

Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.


Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.
"To hear my name mentioned with those guys doesn't even seem real," Posey said.
In interviews throughout the day Posey credited the Giants for fielding good players, making it easier for all to succeed.
Asked if the award was more meaningful in light of his 2011 injury, Posey said, "I think wining the MVP, whether coming off an injury or never being injured, is an extremely gratifying accomplishment. I do know I definitely have a deeper appreciation being able to play baseball. I've seen it can be taken away quick. Hopefully I can continue to embrace the game and enjoy it."


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLqnF5Q3
Here's what David Pinto at Baseball Musings said -- 

  Buster Posey wins the 2012 NL MVP. He’s simply the best hitter in baseball right now, and I’m happy to see a great hitter at an important defensive position beat out a leftfielder.
Update: The voting is here. Buster took 27 of the 32 first place votes as he ran away with the award. The closest race was between Andrew McCutchen and Yadier Molina for third, McCutchen winning by four points.
Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.
Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLqFMmhl
Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.
Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLqFMmhl
Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.
Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLqFMmhl
Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.
Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.
"To hear my name mentioned with those guys doesn't even seem real," Posey said.
In interviews throughout the day Posey credited the Giants for fielding good players, making it easier for all to succeed.
Asked if the award was more meaningful in light of his 2011 injury, Posey said, "I think wining the MVP, whether coming off an injury or never being injured, is an extremely gratifying accomplishment. I do know I definitely have a deeper appreciation being able to play baseball. I've seen it can be taken away quick. Hopefully I can continue to embrace the game and enjoy it."


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLpfuC00
Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.
Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.
"To hear my name mentioned with those guys doesn't even seem real," Posey said.
In interviews throughout the day Posey credited the Giants for fielding good players, making it easier for all to succeed.
Asked if the award was more meaningful in light of his 2011 injury, Posey said, "I think wining the MVP, whether coming off an injury or never being injured, is an extremely gratifying accomplishment. I do know I definitely have a deeper appreciation being able to play baseball. I've seen it can be taken away quick. Hopefully I can continue to embrace the game and enjoy it."
Posey already has embraced a lot of hardware. Just 308 games into his major-league career he also has won a Silver Slugger, Comeback Player of the Year and the Hank Aaron Award as the league's best offensive player, notably winning all those honors as a catcher.
He is the first NL catcher to win MVP since Johnny Bench in 1972.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLpDX7fq
Posey won the 10th MVP by a San Francisco Giant. Willie Mays won in 1965, Willie McCovey in 1969 and Kevin Mitchell in 1989. Barry Bonds won five, including four in a row from 2001-04. Jeff Kent won in 2000.
Posey also joined Mays and McCovey as the only Giants to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Orlando Cepeda won rookie honors as a Giant and MVP as a St. Louis Cardinal.
"To hear my name mentioned with those guys doesn't even seem real," Posey said.
In interviews throughout the day Posey credited the Giants for fielding good players, making it easier for all to succeed.
Asked if the award was more meaningful in light of his 2011 injury, Posey said, "I think wining the MVP, whether coming off an injury or never being injured, is an extremely gratifying accomplishment. I do know I definitely have a deeper appreciation being able to play baseball. I've seen it can be taken away quick. Hopefully I can continue to embrace the game and enjoy it."
Posey already has embraced a lot of hardware. Just 308 games into his major-league career he also has won a Silver Slugger, Comeback Player of the Year and the Hank Aaron Award as the league's best offensive player, notably winning all those honors as a catcher.
He is the first NL catcher to win MVP since Johnny Bench in 1972.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Buster-Posey-caps-comeback-year-with-MVP-4042143.php#ixzz2CLpDX7fq

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A hat tip to Hector

With Buster Posey having a decent shot at becoming the NL MVP tomorrow, it's worth remembering that the Giants decided to go with a single backup catcher this season -- a 22-year-old rookie named Hector Sanchez. He started 48 games and hit MLB far more effectively than Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart had. He also managed to help keep Buster fresh.

MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain evaluates Hector and the other Giants rookie George Kontos, who was pretty decent, too --

The Giants took a big risk early in the season when they traded away veteran backstop Chris Stewart for a rookie relief pitcher named George Kontos. That left them only Eli Whiteside as the backup to Buster Posey. Unless you were counting 22-year old rookie catcher Hector Sanchez, of course. Sure enough, the youngster from Venezuela managed to do a credible job in his 48 starts behind the dish, and he also found himself on the 25-man playoff roster. It wasn't the best post-season debut (1-11, 2 BB, 7 SO), but it was a bit of necessary seasoning for the kid who had only seen 87 games of big-league action. Hector looks like he has a good arm but is otherwise raw and unpolished back there. You figure that will improve with time and experience. He's a free-swinger (5 walks and 52 strikeouts in 227 PA this season), but did manage 61 hits (15 2B, 3 HR) so he's not useless with the bat. The Giants like guys who can put balls in play and Sanchez' .349 BABIP fits right in with that. Like his fielding, you have to think his hitting will improve. He made the jump from A-ball straight to Fresno where he only played 50 games before getting the call. He made three starts in the post-season, two behind the plate (Game Four win vs. Cincy and Game Four loss vs. St. Louis) and one as a DH (Game Three) in the Series. It will be fun to see how he develops in 2013. Kontos, meanwhile, emerged down the stretch as a strike-throwing stud and eventually replaced Clay Hensely as the first guy out of the 'pen. He also earned his spot on the 25-man roster, striking out 44 in his 43-2/3 IP while allowing 34 hits and 12 walks. His finest moment in the playoffs came in the 6th inning of LDS Game Five in relief of Matt Cain when he got Jay Bruce to ground out weakly on two pitches. He also pitched in Game Four and got a couple of big outs. Otherwise it was mostly mop-up duty (all three losses in the LCS) and the 9th inning of Game One of the Series. That was not pretty--he gave up a two-run HR to Jhonny Peralta--but it was the World Series. Nothing wrong with a little seasoning. Despite being 27, Kontos has only made 51 appearances in the majors.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

10 and a third scoreless in the playoffs

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pence coming back for sure

ESPN reported 4 days ago that the front office has decided to bring back Hunter Pence at a cost of $13 million in 2013.

Big questions remain on the free agent trio of Affleldt, Pagan and Scutaro. I think all three will be back, too

It was 20 years ago today

Actually, it was Saturday, so I missed it by two days but Chris Haft of mlb.com has a good story on the Giants site about how Peter Magowan bought the Giants in 1992 rather than letting them move to Tampa. 

I don't know what I would have done if the Giants had left. They came damn close to leaving in 1975 for Toronto before Bob Lurie and Bud Herseth stepped in.

Thanks, Peter, Bob and Bud.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Adios, Manny

MLB Trade Rumors has a post that Manny's decided to become a free agent after being outrighted to Fresno. 

In five seasons with the Orange and Black, he racked up a Wins Above Replacement total of -2.5 due to an utter inability to hit MLB pitching.  

I am sure he's a good guy but I am not sad to see him go.He had 1 homer, 1 triple and 14 doubles in 801 plate appearances. That's Hal Lanier-type lousy.

My guess is that the Giants held on to him this long because he was a versatile defender and he'd been a first round pick in 2006 (33rd overall). The front office redeemed itself that year by picking Tim Lincecum in the first round. So that's a good trivia question -- who were the two first round picks by the Giants in 2006. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gary Brown = Gregor Blanco?

Baseball Prospectus details the outlook for Gary Brown, who seems like he's on his way to being a decent MLBer -- except for uncertainty over his batting skills.  Here's part of Hudson Belinsky's post --

In 2012, Brown was promoted to a much more pitcher-friendly Eastern League. He struggled to make contact in the first few months of the season, but after a strong June/July push ended up with a .279/.347/.385 line. Serious doubts about his hit tool resurfaced, and his approach hadn’t seen significant improvements.
Its easy to see what scouts love about Brown. He’s an elite runner and a superb defender in center field. There’s also a smidge of power, but it isn’t an impact tool. In order to provide value as a big leaguer, Brown probably won’t need more than an average hit tool. Unfortunately, that’s the mystery around him, and sources offer varying opinions on him.
Some scouts think he’ll turn into a pesky up-the-middle-player who hits in the .270 neighborhood while bothering pitchers on the bases. Others see him as a fourth outfielder whose hit tool just won’t play well enough to give him a career as a solid regular. Personally, I see Brown’s hit tool as a 50 at maturity. He can square up prime-time velocity, and the swing is short enough for me to be comfortable with an average grade. It will be fun to see how his speed impacts his offensive output. With routine groundouts turning into hits and singles turning into doubles, Brown’s offensive deficiencies could be somewhat shielded by that speed.
This coming season is going to be a big one for Brown. Many believe that he won’t be ready to contribute in the majors, but a strong year in the PCL could put Brown in consideration for the job in center for the next several seasons.

My reaction is that he sounds a lot like Gregor Blanco, who racked up a 2.0 WAR this year, according Baseball Reference 

The WAR ratings can be a little perplexing. Pablo Sandoval's is also 2.0 for the year, partly because his defensive WAR rating is -0.4. It seems to me that Sandoval is a little more valuable than Blanco...

Zito wins the Hutch Award

Dodgers = Yankees

The final word on Buster for 2012

If you're any kind of baseball fan, you know that Buster is the only starting position player on both the 2010 and 2012 world champions.  

It sounds like he'll be named NL MVP. M.C. O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has a fine post about Buster Posey's postseason and it's so well-written that I'm posting the whole thing (Boldface is mine) --

Buster Posey became the Giants full-time catcher in 2010 and the team went on to claim the world championship. Buster was hurt in 2011, missed most of the season, and the Giants finished in second place. Buster was back on the field and in the lineup full-time in 2012 and the Giants won the World Series. Not much more than that needs to be said about Mr. Posey. That's what you call right there "empirical evidence." The guy is a winner. Oh, and he will likely be the NL MVP, too. I've written before about his remarkable sangfroid, particularly his relaxed ease in front of the microphone. The only other player I can remember being such a natural both between the lines and on camera is Derek Jeter. The Yankee captain always manages to look good in his uniform and to say the right things when the tapes are rolling. Posey has that same quality--he expects to be among the elites of the game and he accepts with good grace his role as leader and spokesman of the club. It's a special combination of talent, hard work, and character. When you look up "intangibles" in the Big Book of Baseball, you'll see a picture of those two lads. By the way, here are the four guys drafted ahead of Gerald Dempsey III: Tim Beckham, Pedro Alvarez, Eric Hosmer, and Brian Matusz. Way to go, Giants!

Buster only had nine hits in his 68 plate appearances, but three of them were homers. The first one was in the 6th inning of Game One of the LDS and it was the first run scored by the Giants in the post-season. The second was an epic, series-clinching blast, a massive grand slam off
Mat Latos that crushed the Reds dreams in Game Five. It was one of the signature moments of the entire playoffs. The last one was in the final contest, Game Four in Detroit. The Tigers, down three games to none, finally showed some life when their Triple Crown slugger Miguel Cabrera poked a wind-aided ball over the RF fence to take a 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning. But with one out in the top of the 6th and Marco Scutaro (who else?) on first, Buster smacked an errant changeup from Max Scherzer down the LF line just inside the pole to regain the lead and the momentum. It was as clutch a hit as you will find in the history of the organization, and so typically, totally Posey. Oh, and Matt Cain was the starting pitcher in each one of those games. If Tim Lincecum is The Franchise, then that dynamic duo must be The Pillars of Creation.

It's a great time to be a Giants fan.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The entire season on the line

Grant at McCovey Chronicles has an excellent post about the Barry Zito strikeout of Daniel Descalso in Game 5 of the NLCS in the second inning with two on and no out -- a game the Giants had to win.Here's the setup -- 

Two pitches into the inning, Zito had two runners in scoring position with no one out. The meltdown was starting, through no real fault of Zito's own.
You probably said a few naughty words. You don't have to take them back; they were completely valid.
That brought up Daniel Descalso. In a small sample over his career, he has reverse platoon splits, but that shouldn't matter. If you start Daniel Descalso against a left-handed pitcher, you probably deserve whatever happens. Except these were the Cardinals, so he was obviously going to rip a double down the line.
Instead, Zito pitched masterfully. It's hard to say with any certainty that this was the most important at-bat of the playoffs for the Giants -- it was just the second inning, and they won the game by five, after all -- but it probably was. A single would have put the Cardinals up two at home in an elimination game. Things could have quickly spiraled in the other direction.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Marco? Scutaro!

That variation on "Marco? Polo!" was a favorite out in the bleachers during Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. Chris Quick at Bay City Ball has a nice post about whether the Giants should re-sign him, based on his outstanding 2012. Here's a key part -- 

 A Scutaro return seems likely. Though, the Giants should have learned some important lessons from the 2010 World Championship — namely that “keeping the band together” isn’t always the best idea. The Giants had better realize that what they pay for and what they actually get could be two vastly different things. Because unless you believe that Scutaro somehow learned to hit at an above-average level during his time as a Giant — which I don’t — he’s much more likely to perform at past levels with some decline added in for aging.

Chris suggests that a 2-year $14 million deal is in the offing. That seems pretty sensible to me. He's been putting up pretty decent numbers for awhile -- ever since the 2008 season, when he had a 4.1 WAR, according to Baseball Reference, which says he had a 5.1 in 2009, 2.6 in 2010, 2.4 in 2011 and 1.9 last year (-0.2 in Colorado and 2.1 in a Giants uni)