Sunday, December 29, 2013

The rich get richer

In this case, it's ESPN and Walt Disney Co. The state of Connecticut is giving them a big tax break to ensure they will stay in Bristol, per the NY Times. It's funded by ordinary taxpayers through payroll and sales tax.

Thanks to David Pinto at Baseball Musings, who notes --

I suspect supporting rich television stations is as bad as supporting rich team owners.
If tax breaks are good for business, then provide a low-tax environment that allows businesses to succeed or fail without picking winners, or in this case, supporting someone who already won. If a company decides that political lobbying is a good way to make money, something is wrong with the system! What this comes down to is the 3.6 million people of Connecticut, whose money is taxed both when they get paid and when they buy something, supporting 4000 people at ESPN. They were extremely well paid before these tax breaks took effect.

Feeling the Crawford love

M.C. O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain, one of my fave Giants sites, has a nice post noting that Brandon Crawford has been on an upswing in performance in his 3 years in the bigs. 

Plus, he's sponsoring B. Craw's Baseball Reference page. Brandon has racked up a 5.3 WAR and he's coming into his Year 27 season. I think the Giants are lucky to have him

Here's part of MC's verbiage --  I think he's going to hit damn close to league average in 2014, maybe even a little better. When you do that at a premium defensive position you are one of the elites. For the record, the NL average line last season was .251/.315/.388 (.703). In fact, B-Craw was pounding out an .800 OPS the first week of June in 2013. He sprained two fingers on his right hand a little later in the month and saw his numbers drop as the season went on. With improved health and a little more experience under his belt I don't see why he can't hit well all season long. Last year I wrote that I was looking forward to watching him play more than anyone else on the team. Not that the Giants don't have lots of wonderfully watchable guys, but a 25-year old lefty-hitting shortstop with a World Series ring and a bright future is hard not to fixate on. So, bring it on, Brandon!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Please don't be like Puig

He just got arrested for driving 110 mph, according to Hardball Talk. What a typical entitled dodger numbskull. It's not the first time, either -- 

 He was charged with speeding, reckless driving, and driving without proof of insurance in April after he was pulled over for driving at 97 mph in a 50 mph zone in Tennessee. With no previous criminal record, those charges were eventually dropped in November, partially because of his charity work. He’s probably not going to get off as easily this time around.

He's also a lousy teammate -- Mattingly benched him in August for being a bonehead on defense. 

Then he gagged during the NLCS, as recapped by Bleacher Report. What a headcase. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

RIP Paul Blair

He had a homer in game 3 of the 1966 World Series as the only run in the game as part of the Baltimore Orioles' humiliation of the Dodgers.

He passed away yesterday. Here's a nice rememberance in the Baltimore Sun by Dan Connolly -- 

By the time I was old enough to really appreciate the beauty of baseball Blair had been traded to the hated New York Yankees, where he won two more World Series as an aging bench player.
So I never got to witness first-hand Blair’s play. But I’ve seen enough video over the years to almost trick myself into thinking I watched the real thing: Those ubiquitous shots of Blair playing a shallow center, then streaking to the wall -- only a fading No. 6 visible before the ball disappears into his outstretched glove. It seemed like there were hundreds of those plays during his 13 seasons in Baltimore.
I had the chance to talk to Blair several times over the years. He’d come out to Camden Yards, meet and greet fans, etc. And he was often chatty – which, I guess, helped earn him the nickname “Motormouth.” It’s obvious he made a huge impact on his teammates and fans over the years.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all

We at Giants Win hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas!

There's an especially warm wish to Rick Gosselin who has written a non-hysterical column for the Dallas Morning News explaining why he's voted for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens this year after spurning them last year. One of the most interesting part is that the comments on Baseball think Factory are mostly about Goseelin's inclusion of Jack Morris on on his ballot. Here's how he ends --

If baseball won’t police itself, don’t ask the writers who vote on the Hall of Fame to do it for you. When I look at the 73 home runs Bonds hit in 2001 (and now listed at 6-2, 240), I do not see an asterisk. I don’t see any sign that baseball is protesting or contesting this accomplishment. So why should I?
The same with Clemens. When I look at his 18-4 record, 2.98 earned run average and 218 strikeouts as a 40-year-old in 2004 (and now listed at 6-4, 235), I don’t see any sign that baseball is challenging the legitimacy of his achievement. So why should I?
If baseball wants to remove Bonds and Clemens from the ballot, as Cooperstown has done with Pete Rose, I would not be able to vote for them. But if baseball keeps them on the ballot, they are worthy Hall of Fame candidates.
And I will vote for them.
Just not on the first ballot.

Here's a link to the BBTF comments. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thanks to the Willies

No. 24 and Stretch showed up at The Stick on Monday night -- the place where the Giants won the hearts of many a young fan, this one included. John Shea supplies coverage for the SF Chron.

Both Mays and McCovey supplied us with so many thrills. I can still see Stretch, who was 41 at the time, lining a pinchsingle in 1979 at the home opener in the 9th inning with two outs, batting for Roger Metzger. Here's what happened next --

 John Tamargo pinch hits for Vida Blue (P) batting 9th
Max Venable pinch runs for Willie McCovey (PH) batting 8th

Home Run; Venable Scores

In 1969, he won one of the closest MVP races ever, edging Tom Seaver, who won 25 and went on the lead the Mets to a World Series vic. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The worst baseball card ever

Adios, Brett Pill

He's heading to South Korea, per this Adam Berry story for He was OK as an occasional start but lousy as a pinch hitter....except for one fine at bat in LA at Chavez Latrine on Sept. 15 -- 

Pill came up for Gregor Blanco in the top of the 8th of a 3-3 tie and blasted HR off Paco Rodriguez for the Giants' 3rd straight vic over the Dodgers. They had started the series with a 4-2 loss but then won 4-2, 19-3 and 4-3 to put some doubt into the dodgers' minds...They were 69-81 when they left LA and went 7-5 the rest of the I've said, the last 6 weeks of the season were the best part of it, since it was a sign how they may play in 2014. 

Anyhow, here's some of the Pill verbiage...

Pill made 259 plate appearances in 111 games for San Francisco over the past three years, compiling a .233/.279/.404 batting line with nine homers and 32 RBIs as he bounced back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A Fresno.
The right-handed slugger did more than enough to prove himself at the Triple-A level, posting a .301/.340/.511 batting line with 70 homers and 315 RBIs in 1,709 plate appearances over the past four years for Fresno.
But Pill couldn't carry those impressive numbers into the Majors as he dropped down the first-base depth chart behind not only Brandon Belt, but also catcher Buster Posey and recently signed left fielder Michael Morse. The Giants could have used him as a right-handed reserve, but he's hit just .140 with two homers in 50 career at-bats off the bench.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jonathan Sanchez on the Cubs

Back in 2010, it all came together for Jonathan -- a 3.7 WAR, superb performances in Game 162 and Game 4 of the NLDS.

He signed a minor league deal with the Cubbies, according to the story, which doesn't even mention him in the headline -- 

Cubs sign three left-handers to Minor League deals

Wada to compete for spot in rotation; Chicago also signs outfielder Maier

Here's all the mention he gets -- Sanchez, 31, was once a staple in the Giants' rotation who threw a no-hitter against the Padres in 2009. He appeared in five games for the Pirates last season, and struggled with his command.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Brenly game

Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle, who I've bashed in the past, does a fine writeup of the September 14, 1986 game in which Bob Brenly committed 4 errors in an inning and then hit the Giants into a 7-6 vic. 

The funny thing is -- MY fave game of the 1986 season came two weeks later on Sept. 28 -- a glorious 6-5 vic over the dodgers in 16 innings. Here are some of the things that happened: 

-- The Dodgers lost a game to suck even harder; they were 71-85 at the end of this one. 
-- Steve Sax went 0-for-7, thus losing any chance at the batting title.
-- The Giants' Greg Minton gave up 2 runs in the top of the 14th; Harry Spillman drove in 2 runs in the bottom of the 14th.
-- Minton then closed down the dodgers in the 15th and 16th 
-- In the bottom of the 16th with the Giants running out of players, Minton hit for himself and doubled. The dodgers intentionally walked Will the Thrill. Brenly then singled in the game-winner. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

No more baseball at The Stick

Chris Haft of has a nice story up on the Giants site about how there aren't going to be any more baseball games at Candlestick -- 

Mike Gay, who has served as Candlestick's stadium chief for the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department for 35 years, pointed out why the Giants can't go home again.
The dugouts are no longer dugouts. They provide field-level luxury seating.
The backstop vanished more than 10 years ago. So did the netting.
The outfield fence no longer exists. The once-retractable seats that emerged from beyond right field to form the East sideline stands for football have become immovable. And re-installing foul poles would be a costly, Herculean task.
"So," Gay concluded, "you're talking about $3 million to have a baseball game here. It's not feasible."

One of my big memories from the Stick was Willie Mays getting his 3,000th hit on a Saturday in July, 1970  

By the time I got back to downtown SF by bus after the game, one of the papers -- I think it was the Examiner -- had run off an Extra with coverage of the hit. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bochy = Hall of Famer?

John Shea of the SF Chron has a nice long piece on Bochy's career as a manager, which started all the way back in 1989. He asserts that 3 more seasons should get Bruce to the 2,000-win mark as a manager. 

I've always believed that Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS showed him at the top of this managerial game. that was the Jonathan Sanchez meltdown game, where he had to be pulled with no outs in the 3rd.  Here's what happened -- 

 Innings pitched, hits, runs

Jonathan Sanchez 2 3 2

Jeremy Affeldt 2 0 0

Madison Bumgarner 2 3 0

Javier Lopez, W (1-0) 1 0 0

Tim Lincecum, H (1) 0.1 2 0

Brian Wilson, S (5) 1.2 0 0

.  Here's some verbiage for Shea's article --

According to Jack McKeon, Bochy's managing career is just getting started. McKeon was the second-oldest manager in history - at 80, he took over the 2011 Marlins. Now he's eyeing Connie Mack, who managed until age 88.
"I'm just in between jobs," McKeon said. "I'm as sharp at 83 as I was at 53, maybe sharper. (Bochy) has got a long way to go."
McKeon gave Bochy his first managing job, with the Class A Spokane Indians in 1989. Bochy last played in the majors in 1987, and he was a player-coach for Triple-A Las Vegas in 1988. McKeon, the Padres' GM, along with farm director Tom Romenesko figured managing was Bochy's calling.
"He was the perfect guy to have on your ballclub. Great personality, a clubhouse leader even though he wasn't playing," McKeon said. "He wasn't in position to be the No. 1 catcher, and he never bitched or complained. He accepted the role and remained dedicated."

The Hector Sanchez outlook

One of the few real highlights last season came on August 15, when Hector Sanchez his a 3-run pinch-hit homer in the 9th against the Nats with two outs in DC. In one swing, the score went from 3-1 Nats to 4-3 Giants. He'd been out much of the year but when the season was over, he had 3 HRs and 19 RBIs.   

It's a slow time for Giants baseball news so I re-read Chris Haft's coverage of the winter meetings and the Michael Morse signing. He mentioned that teams were really interested in Hector Sanchez, who was MIA for most of last season....

San Francisco's covetous rivals employed common sense and mostly ignored right-hander Kyle Crick, aware that the Giants wouldn't jettison the organization's No. 1 prospect. But Sabean heard -- and spurned -- plenty of proposals involving many of the Giants' other promising pitchers who are a year or two away from reaching the Majors. The group included Edwin Escobar, Chris Stratton, Adalberto Mejia, Clayton Blackburn and Ty Blach.
"We're not going to randomly trade from the surplus we have," Sabean said.
Nor will the Giants part easily with Hector Sanchez, whose basic profile -- he's a 24-year-old, switch-hitting catcher -- makes him a valuable commodity, almost regardless of his performance.
"He's been one of the most asked-about guys, which is good," Sabean said. "People look at him as a potential frontline catcher."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Michael Morse = Pat the Bat?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A piece of The Stick!

Yes, you can buy two seats from Candlestick for $749, per the SF Chron. If it's a hot day, you can sit in one and get a lot colder ...

I don't have that kind of money. The proceeds go to benefit youth programs.

Interesting to me that the Giants didn't win a World Series til they left The Stick. 

I was at the Stick for Game 1 of the 1962 playoffs, Game 2 of the 1962 Series, Game 4 of the 1987 NLCS and Game 4 of the 1989 NLCS, Game 3 of the 1989 World Series and Game 3 of the NLDS in 1997. 

Buster Posey's legacy

In addition to being the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2012 NL MVP, he's now inspired a rule change that penalizes no-talent psychopaths like Scott Cousins for deliberately attempting to maim a catcher by trying to end Posey's career in May, 2011

It's a damn shame that this practice was allowed for so long. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball reports that the rule will go into effect in either 2014 or 2015. 

Go to hell, Scott Cousins.  

Monday, December 09, 2013

Orange and Black power arms

Andrew Baggarly reports that the Giants appear to have a TON of great young arms besides Kyle Crick and Heath Hembree...there's Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton, Kyle Blach, Edwin Escobar, Adalberto Mejia.... 

At least, that's who other teams are asking about. 

No wonder there's speculation that Clayton Kershaw may get a deal in the $300 million arena. Still, there's always a chance that today's hot prospect is tomorrow's Jonathan Sanchez. What I mean by that is MLB pitching is a punishing gig. Just ask Roy Halladay, who retired today at age 36.

Sanchez had one great year in 2010 with a 13-9 record and a WAR of 3.7. He wound up with his career in tatters and a 3.4 WAR after 7 seasons. He got cut by the Pirates last May after going 0-3 and hasn't played in the bigs since then.

A vote for Blanco in left field

Mark Renolds at Call to the Pen makes a strong case that Gregor Blanco is the best option left for a leftfielder next year -- 

With the New York Yankees agreeing to terms on a three-year, $45 million deal with Carlos Beltran on Friday, the San Francisco Giants can scratch off another potential left field option while adding another. Well, the Giants never had any reported interest in Beltran, with general manager Brian Sabean holding firm to his desire not to surrender a first-round draft pick for any free agent. That stance also rules out the best remaining free-agent outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo.
The Yankees signing of Beltran has created a rumor that the Giants could pursue a trade for Ichiro Suzuki, a player the club was interested in during free agency last winter and at the trading deadline two years ago. There’s only one problem with this line of thinking: incumbent left fielder Gregor Blanco was much better than the washed-up Suzuki in 2013. Blanco had a higher batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, defensive rating, and WAR (2.8 to 1.1). Surrendering talent and money to downgrade from Blanco to Suzuki—who will turn 41 next October—makes absolutely no sense.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Getting old like the 2006 Giants

I never quite fully understood why the Giants decided to surround Barry Bonds with the oldest possible lineup in his last few seasons with the Orange and Black. Now, it seems the Yanks have decided on the same approach, per this post from Jake O'Donnell of Sports Grid ... 

Can you have two DH spots? What about seven? Is there a pitching equivelent of the designated hitter? Like, you just have to go out there with a glove and feed balls into a pitching machine? No?
Well then what in the holy hell is Brian Cashman doing?
A day after letting Robinson Cano walk (to a team he was clearly using for leverage and DID NOT want to go to), the New York Yankees signed former Met/WWII paratrooper Carlos Beltran. He’s 36. And now he has a three-year deal worth $45 million. You can’t make this stuff up. Last year they were the oldest team in baseball by a full year (31). It’s like they’re trying to build a high end convalescent home on River Ave.
Some of you might say this is a transitional period for the Yankees, who are waiting for 2014 when some of those older contracts dry up. Why? To make a move for LeBron James? There’s simply no reason a professional sports team, at any point and for any reason, should look like the 11 AM shuffleboard league at Shady Oaks retirement community. Here’s a list of some of the dinosaurs that roam the Bronx:
Derek Jeter, Ichiro (40)
A-Rod, Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda (38)
Beltran (36)
Wells (35)
Mark Teixeira (34)
CC Sabathia (33)

The irony? The only old player who left this offseason was Mariano Rivera (44) — and he was the only one still at the top of his game. The rest of these guys (besides Kuroda and possibly Soriano) are tanking harder than the Utah Jazz. Sure, signing Brian McCann (29) and Jacoby Ellsbury (30) brought down the team’s cumulative prune intake, but that doesn’t mean come August, we won’t be talking about a lineup of minor leaguers filling in for a bunch of broken down players who fell trying to get the mail.
What’s more, Ellsbury was just signed to a $153 million contract over a seven year period, meaning this team is planning to have old people on it for the foreseeable future. Why? Does wisdom score runs? Do adult diapers win games? Does shaming your relatives into coming to visit you have a good on base percentage?
Until the Yankees get serious about signing the right YOUNG players, they’ll never see a World Series again.

By the way, here are most of the guys from the 2006 team, which went 76-85 --

C Eliezer Alfonzo 27 87

2 1B Shea Hillenbrand 30 60

3 2B Ray Durham# 34 137

4 SS Omar Vizquel# 39 153

5 3B Pedro Feliz 31 160

6 LF Barry Bonds* 41 130

7 CF Steve Finley* 41 139

8 RF Randy Winn# 32 149

Rk Pos
Age G

9 RF Moises Alou 39 98

10 1B Mark Sweeney* 36 114

11 1B Lance Niekro 27 66

12 C Mike Matheny 35 47

13 C Todd Greene 35 61

14 IF Jose Vizcaino# 38 64

Friday, December 06, 2013

Belting Belt in

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle says the Giants will probably a deal with Brandon Belt that will cover some or all of his arbitration years.Here's the entire post -- 

The Giants as expected Monday tendered contracts to all five of their arbitration-eligible players: Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, Joaquin Arias, Yusmeiro Petit and Tony Abreu. All are considered signed for 2014, their salaries to be determined by an arbiter unless contract agreements with the team are reached first.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants tried to sign Belt to a multiyear deal this spring to buy out some or all of his four arbitration years.
The Giants did shed two players not yet eligible for arbitration, though, non-tendering outfielder Francisco Peguero and right-handed reliever Sandy Rosario, who made 43 appearances with a 3.02 ERA last season. Both become free agents.
The Giants designated Peguero for assignment Saturday to clear a 40-man roster spot for one of two new pitchers they added, Erik Cordier and Jose De Paula. Rosario’s spot will go to Ryan Vogelsong when his one-year deal, worth about $5 million, is completed Wednesday as expected.
The Giants could try to re-sign Peguero and Rosario to minor-league deals.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Rajai Davis back in the Orange and Black?

Chris Haft of floats that idea, noting that Rajai is one of a handful of left field free agents available including Giant castoffs Jeff Francouer and Andres Torres. I guess Randy Winn and Steve Finley are not coming out of retirement. 

He had one good year in Oakland in 2008 with a 3.2 WAR but has been mostly ordinary in the rest of his career.  

Haft says there's some speculation about other guys -- 

Right-handed-batting outfielders who have been mentioned in trade speculation include Chris Denorfia of the Padres, Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins and Josh Willingham of the Twins. But the Padres would seem unlikely to deal Denorfia to an division rival such as the Giants.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Strange trades day for everyone but the Giants

Here's what Grant at McCovery Chronicles has to say in an exceptional offseason post. I"m particularly hopeful that the Brian Wilson deal is going to backfire  --

Dodgers: Nearing agreement with Brian Wilson

Verdict: Gross
Alternative verdict: Probably good for them
The reason teams shouldn't overpay relievers is because it limits what they can do with payroll in the future. We haven't seen a limit for the Dodgers yet. So, whatever, okay, spend a lot of money on a setup man, heathens. You can't deny that Wilson looked really impressive last year. As long as he isn't preventing the Dodgers from acquiring anyone else, it will be a solid move. If it happens.
Just don't think about how Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, and Javier Lopez add up to Jacoby Ellsbury, give or take.

Rockies: Traded Dexter Fowler for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes

Verdict: hahaha
Good work, Rockies. I'm sure Barnes + chemistry is better than Dexter Fowler. Because when you start with an 88-loss team, the first thing you want to do is take a step back in production.

Yankees: Signed Jacoby Ellsbury for a lot of money ($153 million, seven years)

Verdict: Good lord
Not in the division, but it just happened. Man, I'm glad the Giants weren't in that market, although Ellsbury will hit a billion homers next year.
I would easily take Pagan for $32 million over the next three rather than Ellsbury for over $121 million more for the next seven. What a bargain. Ellsbury is a full Zito over Pagan. A FULL ZITO.

Padres: Traded Luke Gregerson for Seth Smith

Verdict: Probably a net positive for them, and I'll miss the Greg Lukerson jokes. Lug Grukerson. Group Loogerson. Son Groogerlek. Man, so many permutations.
Smith is a fine platoon/fourth outfielder, and the Padres make relievers out of dandelion spores, so it's a good swap. I'm not sure how much playing time Smith will get, though, considering Will Venable and Carlos Quentin exist. Unless there's a trade a-brewin'.

Diamondbacks: Traded Heath Bell for minor leaguer Justin Choate

Verdict: Aw, man Heath Bell is the best. He gave the Giants some of their best moments of the season, like this and this. The Diamondbacks get more money to spend in the offseason, and the Rays will magically turn Bell into Mariano Rivera.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A vote for Vogey

MC O'Conner at Raising (Matt) Cain really likes the Vogelsong signing and he's optimistic about the 2014 season. I'd like to get a better starting leftfielder than Gregor Blanco but the season doesn't start for another 4 months  -- 

I'm happy with the move. I don't understand why they didn't just pick up his option instead of re-negotiating, but that's why Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans, and the rest of the crew run the roster, not me. Things look good, don't you think? Cain will be Cain again, like he was in the second half, and Bumgarner is only 23 and still getting better. That's a formidable 1-2 punch, and newly-acquired Tim Hudson is a perfect fit. This guy is a ground ball/quality start machine. Tim Lincecum is the big question mark for most people, but I'm not one of them. Last year I saw a guy recovering his form and mastery of the game. He may never again be The Franchise, but he'll be really good, and may even be great. The way this team works, any one of the four front men could be the ace for a series or a stretch--they've all been in that role and all have it on their résumés. And lest we forget, in 2012 Ryan Vogelsong was the best of the bunch in the post-season! It's almost always about injuries, and if the Big Five are healthy all year long I don't see why they can't be among the best in baseball.

I'm not worried about the rest of the pieces. They'll add some depth in the outfield and the bullpen, but the guys they got is the guys they got, and they're the ones they're going with. Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, and Brandon Crawford will all be there, as will Gregor Blanco, Joaquin Arias, and Hector Sanchez. Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo will be back, too.