Thursday, January 29, 2009

How many replacement level players does it take to make a ballclub?

We signed ourselves a backup for Edgar Renteria and a backup for our third baseman guy and a backup for our second baseman guy. See, the cool part is this backup guy is the same fookin' guy for each position. Sabean, he's the new Billy Beane. Talk about value. Talk about options. What? You say it was a minor league deal? Dude, that is so righteous. We are all over this 40-man roster thing.

The 2009 Giants: no hitting, no fielding, but lotsa guys.

Chris at BCB gives us the breakdown. Thorough and intelligent as always. I'm so glad there are sober, rational Giants fans out there. You see, I recently acquired a bottle of 80-proof Wild Turkey. I was thinking, that's like decaffeinated coffee, eh? I mean, seriously. They sell 101, don't they? So what's the point of 80-proof? My whacked-out alcoholic Boston-Irish uncle (god and mary and patrick be with his dear departed soul) told me when I was just a scrub that light beer was a crock because you just drank twice as much of it. Sorta like 80-proof Turkey.

And that brings me back to the 80-proof, er, 2009 Giants. We're 80/101ths of a real team. I mean, we got the spunk and the can-do and the hustle and whatnot. But we got no what. Just whatnot. There's no there, there. We taste like bourbon but we got no kick. We're 80-proof instead of 101.

That sorta thinkin' leads to drinkin'. I'm bustin' out the 80 and pourin' fattys--want some?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good Riddance

You wanted to like Jeff Kent, after all he went to Cal. And he was one of the most "impactful" Giants players in recent history. But he found his true self as a Texan, a red-necked, dumbass shitkicker.
The following is a cut-and-paste straight off the Giant's website:
"Kent topped 100 RBIs eight times and hit 20 or more homers in 12 seasons -- and went 6-for-6 in both categories as a Giant. Besides winning MVP, he finished among the top 10 in MVP voting in three other years with San Francisco, represented the club in three of his five All-Star Game appearances and collected three of his four Silver Sluggers as a Giant. His career-high 128 RBIs in 1998 broke Rogers Hornsby's 71-year-old franchise record for second basemen.

"Kent contributed heavily to one of the most successful stretches in team history. The Giants averaged 91 victories per season during his tenure with them. They reached the postseason three times, not counting a loss at Chicago in the 1998 Wild Card playoff. The Giants' only comparable period since they moved to San Francisco in 1958 was 1962-67, when they averaged 93 wins per year but captured just one pennant."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Is 83% of Jesus enough to save us?

I love the new statistics, mostly because they make Matt Cain look better than a .411 pitcher. Win percentage? Old school, dawg. Waaaaaaaay old school. The best part of my fascination with the new statistics is that I don't really do any of the homework necessary to understand them. If I can't skim a 2-line definition in a glossary of cool acronyms then I just skip the analysis as too burdensome. After all, this is baseball, an escape from tedium and hard work. Oh sure, I have the dilettante's skill of quickly cobbling together factoids and stringing them along in a seemingly-intelligent discourse, but the joke's on you, my friend. I don't know shit and I'm too damn lazy to work out what I do know. Statistics, for me, are like a salad bar. Those artichoke hearts look a little grey to you? Skip 'em. Heap on those luscious cherry tomatoes instead. The feta cheese stinkier than usual? Stick to the sunflower seeds--stolid, reliable, nourishing. If I develop a hopeless bias in favor of a ballplayer then I'll pull every fookin' bizarro statistical metric out from the brains of basement-bound mama's boys in the saber-geek universe and sing them out from the mountaintops. (Post them on my blog, at least, my cyber-equivalent.) And I'll make Richard E. Nixon look like a milquetoast when it comes to information suppression if anyone tries a nerd-stat counterstrike.

So I was breezily dashing about the 'net with Google and "Venezuelan Winter League stats" and I came across one of those difficult and time-consuming articles by one of those really smart guys at Baseball Prospectus. Lord, I thought, what a bother, and I tapped anxiously on the PAGE DOWN key until I saw this:

2000 2001 2002 2003 AvgValue
.831 .838 .812 .833 .829

Now we're talking. Quick. Easy. The Venezuelan Winter Leagues are, like, 83% as good as the big leagues. Junior high math! I'm loving it. Which, of course, brings me to Our Savior, the MVP of the VWL this season, SeƱor Jesus Guzman. He hit .349! Multipluy that by 0.83 and you've got a .28966666666 major league hitter!!

Quick check time: who on the 2008 Giants hit better than .290? Bengie Molina. Randy Winn, Nate Schierholz, and Pablo Sandoval. We've now arrived at that elusive marriage of the modern, analytical, weighted, adjusted, averaged and re-averaged, and simulated 10,000 times acronym-dependent statistics with old-school, Real American, God-fearing, and always-faithful batting average. They said it couldn't be done, but by golly, this is America as I think I said already, and if it can be done it will be done. Hope. Change. I'm down with it. I'm in the Big Tent and I'm drinkin' the kool-aid. Here's the rest on Our Boy Jesus: a .435 OBP (.361 in big leagues!) and .616 SLG (.511!!). That's an OPS of 1.051 (.872, my friends, that's Adrian Gonzalez country).


If that line doesn't get you a job with the 2009 San Francisco Giants, what will?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

To Manny or Not To Manny . . .

. . . that is the question.

Or, is one Manny too many?

Seriously. The ManRam talk is heating up. Do we or don't we?

1. If you believe the Giants are "one player away" from competing for the playoffs, then it is hard to argue against taking a shot at Ramirez. He's the premier bat out there and prices for FAs are falling. He's right-handed and has already destroyed the NL West, so his power numbers would hold up in our Park.

2. If you think, like me, the Giants are two years (at least) from being a contender, then it is easy to pass on Ramirez. We had Barry Bonds, the greatest LF ever, if not the greatest player ever, and would not re-sign him even though he would still be one of the best hitters in the game. Ramirez is younger, and currently healthier, but the rationale for cutting ties with Bonds--The Youth Movement--hold with No. 99 as well.

So, me bhoyos, do you want to see Manuel Aristides Onelcida Ramirez in orange and black?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy 2009, Giants fans! Our Home Opener is the 7th of April against the Brewers. Speaking of Opening Days, here's another bit of nostalgia for you, a few more old ticket stubs. The top is from 1981, back in the old "dollar" days in the Candlestick bleachers. The bottom one is from the first game at the new park.

1981 ended in a strike. 2000 ended with a soul-crushing loss to the Mets in the playoffs. We were one game over .500 in 1981 and had the best record in baseball in 2000. I don't think either of those is very likely in 2009. I know Chris at BCB makes a convincing case that we will win 82 or 83 games, but that assumes everyone is healthy and plays reasonably well. I think we will be lucky to score four runs per game. David Pinto at TSN thinks 4.2 rpg is a reasonable guess for the 2009 Giants, and he projects us to give up 4.5 rpg. That, my friends, is called a losing record.

Perhaps I'm partial to the Pinto prediction because it confirms my bias. Chris' work is conservative and meticulous, and it would be great if we did indeed play that well. I'm a skeptic, though. This team, as currently constituted, can't hit enough to win. That's what my gut says, and since the BBWAA officially sanctions "gut-votes" for HOF and MVP, I'm sticking with my gut vote.

So, me buckos, how many games will the MMIX Giants win?