Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Watching, waiting

The Boston Red Sox, one of the best teams in the business, jumped on John Lackey to beef up their rotation and signed Mike Cameron to mitigate the loss of Jason Bay. The Philadelphia Phillies, defending NL champs, give up Cliff Lee but get Roy Halladay, keeping their edge. The newly-crowned New York Yankees lose Hideki Matsui and Chien-Ming Wang but pick up Curtis Granderson and re-sign Andy Pettite. Big teams, big players, big moves. These guys mean business. Another team that means business is the Seattle Mariners. Last year Seattle scored 640 runs--that's 17 less than the Giants. And that's in the American League! But they gave up only 692 runs, the fewest of any AL team. The Cubs, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Giants were better, and the NL champion Phils were close at 709 RA. The Mariners were 85-77 last year, respectable, but 12 games back of the division-winning Angels. So what has Seattle done so far this off-season? They just picked up the aforementioned Cliff Lee. Wow--that's quite a 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. And they signed Chone Figgins--taking a key player from their division rivals--to improve the lineup. If I was Mariners fan, I'd be excited, but I'd still be hoping to add another bat. Nonetheless, the Mariners think they have a shot at the title and they are going for it.

Meanwhile, your San Francisco Giants have improved the club for the divsion race next year by __________________________ (fill in the blank). I say we've improved the club by dumping out-machine Molina and (maybe) giving the job to Mr. Golden Spikes. Otherwise, I'm still watching and I'm still waiting.


Ron said...

The key word with some of these moves by other teams is 'creative'. We don't do creative - just predictable, ill-conceived crap. There are no signs of life left in the Giants' front office. We might as well be the Pirates. Show me something! Show me creative!

JC Parsons said...

We have improved by....NOT DOING MUCH OF ANYTHING!

This is the key to our success, just like last year. We have to wait for our home grown talent. Tim and Matt continue their journeys to greatness; JSanchez, Wilson and Sandoval join the ranks of consistent All-Stars; Posey and MadBum begin their ascent.

Sabean can fill a couple roster spots with retreads, that works about half the time, and we are back on that contender rollercoaster. If Sabean makes a "creative" move, heaven help us!

This team is better than you guys think. You didn't think they would do as well as they did last year, remember?

Ron said...

We didn't make the playoffs last year. A couple of better decisions, & we might have. We did nothing last year. We have the worst offense in baseball. We will not make the playoffs until that isn't true. 1954-2009, 3rd most embarrassing run of non-success in baseball. Gambling that a couple of re-treads might keep us in contention is not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for success in 2010.

I'm asking for a miracle (not what Sabean thinks is creative). Maybe Ron Wotus can stage a coups d'etat & make a move without anyone noticing, then go on to manage the team, while Bochy looks for his missing hat.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'll buy that we are better simply by NOT starting Bengie Molina. And I love our young guys. I hope Sabes keeps his grubby paws off JSanchez, Wilson, Sandoval, Posey, MadBum, Cain, & Lincecum.

But even good teams can regress--just ask the Tampa Bay Rays. They have one of the best core group of youngsters in the game, and they went BACKWARDS last year. Why? Because it is a cruel, hard game. When you get an edge you have to keep sharpening it. There are no "shoo-ins." That's why perennial winners like the Yankees go out and get Mark Teixeira even though they already have A-Rod, Jeter and Posada! That why the Sox--who already have Beckett and Lester--go get Lackey! They are always looking for MORE value.

You have to keep improving. You can't assume--necessarily--a linear progression of wins. Believe me, I'd rather stay in a holding pattern and do nothing as long as Sabean is running the show. He's a dipshit. But when I watch the Phillies--THE DEFENDING CHAMPS--go out and get one of the best pitchers in the game because they "aren't good enough" I realize that we will always be bridesmaids in this venture.

The Giants are content to field a "competitor" and not a winner. The only way we win a title with these hitless wonders is if Tim Lincecum gets 40 starts and throws 10 shutouts. AND Buster Posey is Rookie of the Year. Can it happen? Sure. Will it? I'm not willing to bet on it.

JC Parsons said...

We improved greatly last year! That is FAR from nothing and we did it with little or no contribution from Sabean's moves. As we enter this new era of less offense, teams with dominating pitching will continue to move to the forefront. We are one of those teams. A great pitching staff and an average offensive team can make it to the playoffs; and a great pitching staff can win it all from there. Granted we are not an average offensive team ( we are NOT the worst however ) and I already have hope that we are improved (FSanchez from start, no Bengie).

M.C. O'Connor said...

FSanchez << 2009 Juan Uribe.

Ron said...

You know I love great pitching as much as anyone - for sure, we shouldn't mess with that part of our team. But, the fact is that we had a GREAT pitching season last season, & didn't even make the playoffs. If our big offensive improvement this year consists of 'not playing Bengie Molina', we are destined to be an also-ran again. We need to do more - something big would be nice, but even a few lesser moves, just to head in the right direction. Otherwise, 2009 may have been our ceiling.

JC Parsons said...

Your last comment makes little or no sense. Are you saying that 2010 FSanchez < 2009 Uribe? Or 2010 FSanchez < 2010 Uribe? These are very different. The first is silly because it involves a guess compared to established fact, but if your point is that FSanchez will do worse than Uribe did last year, that could be true, I suppose.
Hey, don't regressions go both ways? Isn't it likely that some of our stiffs last year have "up" years in 2010?
Also, don't let ANY doubts linger about Buster. The Organization is making weird noises, but Posey is ready and HE IS THE REAL DEAL. Have you guys seen him swing? This is an impact player NOW. It may take a while to settle in, but he's our #3 hitter soon and for a long time to come. In a couple three years, He and Pablo could be considered the best pair of hitters around.

Zo said...

As content as I am to be serenely apart from the sabashing throngs, I have to take exception to the statement that we had a run of non-success from 1954 - 2009. I seem to remember 2002 being pretty good. 1989 comes to mind. We did not win the world series in either of those years, but then, that is pretty much a crap shoot anyway. More to the point, if your definition of success is limited only to winning the world series, then it seems like a futile and not very enjoyable endeavor to be a baseball fan of any team, even the Yankees.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Juan Uribe was hugely valuable to the 2009 Giants. Taking his bat away from our offense hurts it A LOT. He was our best hitter (2.9 WAR in only 122 games) other than Sandoval. It was a fluke year for him, and we benefitted big time. FSanchez will not deliver Uribe's .824 OPS--his lifetime is .751 and his best season was .851 when he was 28. He's 32 next week. Of course "regression" works both ways, but I hate counting on an aging, no-walk, no-power guy to get 600 PAs and bat second. It's a shitty plan, frankly. He's Aaron Rowand all over again--he has to deliver a career year to make us winners.

You said it yourself--we are a long way from a league-average offense. I believe in Buster, too, and I think he can hit better than anyone else on our team not named Pablo. Joe Mauer had his breakout season at 23, after an impressive rookie season at 22 (he also had over a 1000 minor-league ABs). I hope the team figures out they HAVE to play him. But you must admit counting on a rookie--RIGHT NOW--to be as good as Joe Mauer is a reach. It's not an organizational plan--it's a prayer.

So, yeah, I'm happy to go into 2010 with the "even blind pigs find acorns" brain trust running the squad. And I'm happy to start the year with huge holes in the lineup and the OF and 1B. Hey, maybe Sabes has a secret plan to get some real hitters, and I'm dead wrong. Nothing would make me happier than to be completely wrong about this team. But I just don't how we can score enough runs with the current crop, and that's counting on us to lead the league in fewest runs allowed. In other words, we can't have ANY "regression" by our pitching staff--at all--because we have absolutely NO MARGIN for error. Our offense, as currently constituted, cannot survive any stretches of mediocre pitching. I think it would be wise to give us a cushion by building a team that can score at least 80 more runs than last year--a half run more per game.

Ron said...

Winning the World Series should be the goal of every team. It is obviously not the goal of the Giants' organization. It is easy to take a 'gee shucks' attitude about NEVER WINNING THE WORLD SERIES FOR 55 FUCKING YEARS when you favorite team during half of your life & your current 2nd favorite team has managed to muster quite a few World Series wins during your lifetime. The rest of us are faced with the real possibility that we may live our entire lives without ever seeing the Giants win the World Series - think about that. Again, I understand that it is a crapshoot, but it has to at least be the goal. I am becoming less and less convinced that it is the goal of the Giants organization. I refer respectfully to Mark's letter to Neukom, which did not exactly receive an emphatic response, eliminating all doubt about the goal here.

Zo said...

"It is obviously not the goal of the Giants' organization."


M.C. O'Connor said...

Mr. Neukom did not specifically state that the goal of the organization was to win the World Series, even though I prompted him to. It ain't "obvious" but it is a funny avoidance of the singular goal of a professional club. Note that Mr. Magowan said it was his goal when he bought the team. He came up short, but it was the right attitude. That's not MY beef, though. Mine is the lack of offense.

I tell you what--I'll give the Brian Trust the benefit of the doubt. I figure they are waiting for all the arbitration cases to get settled, especially Tim's. THEN they will focus on the 2010 roster. I can live with that. They were fools not to sign Tim to a long-term deal, they are going to pay a huge arb settlement, but that's life in the big leagues.

So--no more bitching (from me) until arb is over. I promise.

Ron said...

Now that we've jacked around & done FUCK ALL for the last few weeks, while indicating that Damon just doesn't fit into our plans, along comes the news that the Yankees, of all people, are now interested in the one guy that we apparently thought that we had first dibs on: Nick Johnson. Their thinking is that Matsui is gone, Damon won't meet their terms, so getting Johnson back seems like a good option to them. Meanwhile, we are going to just sit & sit & wind up with first nothing, then some panic move to appease fan hostility (the tried and false 'let's shovel millions at some guy way past his prime in a long-term deal' approach).

We are pathetic.

If our collective response is to try nothing creative, because we can't trust our management's sense of creativity, then it's way past time for them to get their asses gone. I am sick of this. They will lose Lincecum & Cain eventually - we will turn into the Pirates. Yuck.

On a happier note, Happy Birthday, Zo!