Friday, January 26, 2018

The good old Giants

John Shea of the SF Chronicle talks to Bruce Bochy about the 3 new Giants -- Longoria, McCutcheon and Austin Jackson.

As the Giants were winding down their 98-loss season, Sabean said they needed to get younger, more athletic and better defensively. They’re 2-for-3.
Once Brandon Belt turns 30 in April, only Joe Panik among the projected everyday players will be in his 20s. Hunter Pence turns 35 in April.
On the other hand, defensive-minded Steven Duggar, 24, will be given an opportunity in spring training to win playing time in center field, perhaps in a platoon with Jackson.
Sabean said the Giants could add an outfielder from the outside — they’re monitoring “minimum-service type of players who are obviously low in salary.”
Sabean and general manager Bobby Evans reiterated their goal to stay below the $197 million competitive-balance-tax threshold to avoid penalties. That virtually rules out any pursuit of a high-end free agent or trade target.
“He’s certainly a viable option,” Sabean said of Jackson. “Did we get him to be our everyday center fielder? Probably not. I don’t know that in his recent history, he’s been able to go out there in that fashion.”
Jackson, who got a two-year, $6 million contract, played just 139 games the past two years and could float around the outfield, backing up Pence in left and McCutchen in right. Manager Bruce Bochy also sees Jackson as a possible leadoff hitter.
“Right now, as we start the season, I think you’ll see Austin out in center field as much as anything,” said Bochy, noting that things could change if Duggar or someone else enters the fold. “We’ll see where we’re at when we break camp, but that’s a need for us out there in center.”
Bochy said he has been having fun thinking of different lineups and said he spoke about the newcomers with Buster Posey, who’s “pumped and excited” about his new teammates.
“If you had told me after the season we would’ve gotten this much done and added these players, I wouldn’t have been happier,” Bochy said. “I really like where we’re at. I love the guys we acquired on both sides of the ball and the character of these guys.
“I couldn’t feel better going into spring training.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

Steven Duggar starting in center

Now that the Giants have Andrew McCutcheon as a one-year rental, they've decided that he will play in one of the corner outfield spots. Steven Duggar, who was hurt last year, will probably start in center

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles says it makes more sense to use what little spending money is left on a fifth starting pitcher. Here's the key part --

 Bobby Evans confirmed it in an interview with Gary and Larry on KNBR on Wednesday.
“It wouldn’t be a guess, it would be Steven Duggar,” Evans said, when asked if he could make an educated guess about who would man the middle of the outfield if San Francisco didn’t add another player to its roster this offseason.
It’s possible to make a list of things that went wrong with the 2017 Giants that’s 100 deep before you get to Duggar getting hurt, but that’s on the short list of things that went wrong with the 2017 that are also affecting 2018. With a little better luck last year, Duggar could have received 200 at-bats and come into the season as the clear favorite. Or he could have at least wowed everyone with his glove and made us all feel less nervous about him being the offseason’s backup plan.
As it stands, though, he’s something of a mystery. He has a career .384 on-base percentage in the minors, but he’s played just 13 games above Double-A. Steamer projects him to hit .242/.315/.351, which isn’t ideal, but also not dreadful. It’s the kind of projected line that can make a team think it could do better.
Still, if the internal evaluations have Duggar as a plus-plus defender — not just a “yeah, sure, okay” defender, like Gorkys Hernandez — it wouldn’t be wacky to throw him into the fire. The Giants aren’t going to get a plus-plus defender who can hit if they want to stay under the luxury tax threshold, which means they aren’t going to get a plus-plus defender who can hit. If that’s already a foregone conclusion, and if they think Duggar can be that kind of defender, shouldn’t they just save the money? There’s at least a chance he can hit, after all.
This brings us to a larger point that probably deserves its own article: It’s possible the Giants would be better off spending money on a fifth starter than a stopgap center fielder. The Blach/Beede/Suarez trio with Jarrod Dyson makes me just as nervous as, say, Duggar and Chris Tillman. There are a lot of half-decent starting pitchers looking for work right now, and if the Giants can get one of them and stay under the luxury tax, they just might be a better team.
The idea would be to figure out if the difference between a name-brand fifth starter like Trevor Cahill and a will-work-for-exposure fifth starter like A.J. Griffin would be greater than the difference between Dyson and Duggar. This is the kind of conversation the Giants’ front office is having right now, and don’t be surprised if they come down on the side of the fifth starter.
It all depends on how good Duggar is, I suppose, and if the Giants would be patient with him through a slow spring training. But if you’re wondering what the team’s plan would be if Jarrod Dyson, et al go somewhere else, we already know that. It would be Steven Duggar. Depending on who would take the additional payroll room, this might be a good thing.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tyler Beede getting ready

He's the top pitching prospect for a team that developed Cain, Lincecum and Bumgarner 

The Giants offered him and Joe Panik in a package for Giancarlo Stanton but Derek Jeter decided to trade Stanton to the Yanks instead 

 Here's part of the story on the Giants web site --

Rated the Giants' No. 2 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline, Beede might have received a promotion to San Francisco last year. But he was sidelined by a groin injury in late July.
Before that, Beede posted a 6-7 record with a 4.79 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Sacramento. He admitted that his seemingly impending ascent to San Francisco might have distracted him.
"If I had a good start, [I'd be] sitting there by the phone, waiting for a phone call. And that sort of got in my head," Beede said. "I think I needed to have a new perspective of why I was playing, my routine, my mindset. ... I think the injury put me in that new state of mind where you don't take it for granted where you're at."
When Beede does reach the Majors, he'll have the pointers he learned through the various seminars at the Rookie Career Development Program to guide him through his journey.
"It meant a lot," said Beede, who was selected by the Giants in the first round (14th overall) in the 2014 Draft. "I know how prestigious this is. I know how much you can learn from being here, the knowledge that they bring in on the panels and discussions for these meetings. It's great just to be a sponge, to learn things and implement them into my career, on and off the field. It's been awesome, and I've learned so much while I've been here."

Monday, January 08, 2018

McCutcheon not coming to SF

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles says it won't happen because of the emotional cost to Pirates fans

It is lengthy but it makes sense -- here is part

The third reason is the most important reason. It’s that the Pirates view McCutchen as something more than a 2.5-WAR player making $14.5 million in the last year of his contract. That is, he’s something more to them and their fans than a simple cost-benefit analysis, and they’ll want some prospects back. Imagine the Giants trading Buster Posey for three prospects who don’t rank in the Blue Jays’ top 10, and them coming back to explain, “See, here’s what Posey was owed, and here’s the WAR-based analysis of what he was expected to produce. We’d rather save the money.” You’d be furious.
If you think that’s an inappropriate comparison because Posey helped the Giants win three World Series, you’re mistaken. McCutchen helped the Pirates become relevant after two decades of being a punchline, and that counts for a helluva lot. There are logical reasons for the Pirates to trade him, but the emotional reasons for keeping him are much stronger. There would have to be something for the Pirates to bring back to their fans. This is why we had no choice, they would say. The chance to strengthen the future was just too great.
The Giants have no interest in strengthening someone else’s future, though, and that’s the biggest problem. They’ve already traded Christian Arroyo away, and they don’t have a lot of interest in trading Tyler Beede and/or Chris Shaw for a one-year rental. There is no emotional attachment to McCutchen, no franchise-building nostalgia. There is only an idea that the Pirates would prefer not to pay $14.5 million for a player while they slog through a purgatory season, only to lose him for a compensation pick, at best, so why wouldn’t they give him away for a couple of lesser prospects and save the money?
The two teams are looking for two different things, in other words. And unless the Pirates are looking only to save that money — possible! — it’s unlikely a trade will make sense. The Giants would probably rather spend the extra $25 million on Jay Bruce and keep the prospects, hoping that Bruce provided at least a little value in the years that followed. And the Pirates would probably rather keep McCutchen for a final victory lap, reminding their fans that they didn’t just ditch the expensive fan favorite for prospect flops this time, no sir.
Without the context, a trade makes sense. The Giants can spend over $10 million for a new corner outfielder. The Pirates don’t want to pay over $10 million for a corner outfielder if they’re half-in/half-out next season. Here’s a way for everyone to be happy.
Then comes the context. Do the Giants really view McCutchen as a corner outfielder? Would he even be okay with a transition? Why would the Pirates be that desperate for some of the lesser prospects in a lesser farm system? Why would the Giants trade some of their better prospects for a one-year rental, even if they’re committed for 2018?
None of it makes sense unless the Pirates are absolutely desperate to ditch the financial obligations. They could figure that $14.5 million and two lesser prospects in the hand are worth more than -$14.5 million and a compensatory pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, and that would make some measure of sense. That would ignore all of the emotional ties, though, which are legitimate and important. They want a haul. They probably won’t get a haul. Andrew McCutchen is staying put because of this, most likely.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

McCutcheon in the Orange and Black?

The Mercury News is reporting a report that the Giants and Pirates have held trade talks about Andrew McCutcheon

Here's part --

 A five-time All-Star and 2013 National League MVP, McCutchen would present a nice offensive upgrade for a club which finished dead last in the majors with 128 home runs last season. McCutchen finished the 2017 season batting .279 with 28 home runs and 88 RBIs.