Friday, February 12, 2010

The Great Race

What do I have to do to get a rise out of you guys?

Here are a set of betting lines for the NL pennant.

What do you think of the Giants chances this year? Predict, project, guess, fantasize, wish, dream, whatever.



Ron said...

This is big news (& probably equitable)!:

"Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants have settled their arbitration case, with the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner agreeing to a $23 million, two-year contract."

Ron said...

As far as your betting line goes, this just proves, yet again, that the Cubs, Mets, & Dodgers have skewed betting results. It is a bit disturbing to see us & Arizona with the same odds. I'd like to think that, despite our pathetic lineup, we are still superior to them. The NL West is pretty weak - you seem to fancy Colorado's roster. I see everyone as having several weaknesses, except the Padres, who are pretty weak in every category.

M.C. O'Connor said...

That's good news about Lincecum. It's too bad we couldn't do something long-term, but the Zito-Rowand BS deadweight sunk-cost garbage contracts we gave them have seriously hurt us.

Think about it--Lincecum is getting only slightly more than Edgar Renteria got. Yikes. And we spent $24 M on two stiffs--Mark DeRosa and Freddy Sanchez. Wouldn't you rather have had the extra $20+ M to spend on Tim and used Fred Lewis in LF and Juan Uribe at 2B (or picked up Felipe Lopez or Orlando Hudson on the cheap)?

Old guys. Too many old guys. Guys fade quickly by their 30s. Very quickly. We've got SIX stiffs in the everyday lineup. SIX. At least one, if not two are going to fall off a cliff this season.

The Lincecum deal is funny--if he had gone to arbitration he certainly would have gotten at least $10M and had a shot at $20M in 2011. He cost himself, I think. But he did not sign away his life--he'll be in a great bargaining position in 2011. I wonder if that's the big plan--jump to NY or LA or somesuch by 2012 for the BIG PAYDAY.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Actually, this deal only buys out two years of his arbitration, doesn't it? So he still has to go to arb with Giants in 2012, and conceivably, 2013. Weird. Free agent in 2014, eh?

Let's hope we can put a real team behind him next year.

Ron said...

Although the numbers are obviously stratospheric compared to the average School Teacher or Engineer, baseball salaries are still based upon seniority - thus, even though someone like Lincecum is 5,000 times more valuable than Renteria, he is paid more-or-less the same. I expect that all of this will change before too long - more like the NBA, where the top stars earn a lot of money in the first professional contract they sign.

Of course, it would be peachy to have saved the money that the geniuses running this team gave DeRosa, Sanchez, Huff, et al - although our lineup with Lewis, Uribe, Ishikawa would be just as good as what we have now, I would have used it to make a 'push us to the head of the pack' move for Holliday.

By the way, Damon is about to get paid way too much money, so I suppose that staying out of that bidding war was good thinking.

Zo said...

First of all, Tim would not have received "at least $10 million" he would have received either $8 or $13 million. Nothing in between. I have to laugh at all the speculation about whether the Giants were or were not going to lose based on absolutely nothing at all except "intelligence" which sounds to me more like other totally unfounded speculation. Second, as underwhelming as the other signings are, they have ZERO to do with what we could of, would of, or would not have paid Tim or what will happen in the future. Tim Lincecum is now going to make more than $23 million dollars in the next two years. I do not think he is really feeling disrespected. I think if I were to be offered a 35X increase in salary, I'd be pretty damn happy. Betting odds are influenced by projections and money. The more the Cubs are bet on, perhaps by sentimentalists, the more the odds shift so that, overall, the book does not lose. I agree with Ron, I guess the presumption is that Brandon Webb is going to pitch pretty much every other day.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The CBA is set up so that older players get free agency, not necessarily a big payoff. After all, Tim was going to make either $8 or $13 for his 3rd season, much more than, say, ancient Aubrey Huff is making. The Giants did not have to overpay Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand--they bid against themselves for both players.

Ballplayers are a unique and specialized group, and they work in a multi-billion dollar industry that requires their unique skills and draws from a very limited pool of such people. Hence they get paid a lot. The highest paid ones, though, generate FAR more wealth for their employers than they ever get paid. Teachers and engineers are fungible--you don't like your teacher, go to Chico State and get another. You don't like your engineer, move your factory to India and get some for a lot less.

I'm glad the Tim thing is over. The whole thing is weird, I was hoping for a Verlander/FHernandez type of deal, but Tim will still be a Giant in 2012 and 2013 barring a trade. Think about it--the Giants signed Matt Cain and Noah Lowry to FOUR-year deals when they were mere pups. Weird. That's all I have to say--weird. BUT, it is over. Tim is (apparently) happy, and we are good to go.

Now we just need some hitters. (And yes, betting lines reflect popularity, so LAD and CHC and NYM get more action than SF or AZ. But AZ does have Dan Haren, too, who is better than everyone in the NL West except Tim.)

Ron said...

Young players start at league minimum & make jack for several years. Merit has nothing to do with it, until they are eligible for arbitration - then, there is still reluctance to give dramatic raises, despite exemplary performance. There is a graduated timeline for raises, whether or not it is officially written. Is this a bad thing? I'm not saying that it is.

And, by the way, I do believe that all of you & I contribute to society in a disproportionate manner to Tim Lincecum or Bud Selig or David Letterman or whoever. We should be paid more (or, more appropriately, they should be paid less). Maybe I can get a bunch of teenagers in China to start an internet campaign about it. While Tim Lincecum's career as a baseball player is relatively short, his cumulative earnings in that time will be massive.

The least he could do is get a fucking real haircut - really, this current look of his, even worse with the wool beanie, is really getting old. He looks like some sort of stoned Nirvana freak from Seattle who hasn't seen the sun in 9 months - more or less what he is, I guess. I don't need some kind of military cut, but this look is just atrocious. It works, with a baseball cap on - maybe, in his current contract, they have a clause that he must wear a Giants cap in public everywhere. Sorry, but I had to rant about it - we don't need the 1970's LA Dodger look, but 2010 San Francisco neo-hippie would an improvement.

M.C. O'Connor said...

You haven't seen the "Lincecum Rally Hair" promotion? Sort of a Manny-dread thing. Bad, very bad. But if our guy wants to grow his hair to his ass and still pitch Cy Young baseball, I'm cool with it. Beats Brian Wilson's idiotic hand gestures.

By the way, how come no one wants to talk about where the Giants will finish this season? One wag I saw said the Giants are legit contenders due to the studly staff and the offensive upgrade from "power-hitting" Mark DeRosa.

So--where will the Giants finish? What are our chances of contending?

JC Parsons said...

Oh my, so many things to disagree with...where shall I begin?

Ron: You are certainly a little out of date with respect to young stars not getting "dramatic" raises. Ryan Howard, Alfonso Soriano, FRod and others got HUGE awards. There is no "graduated timeline" agreed upon or not. That is what agents are for. Certainly precedents are set and comparisons are made...which brings me to

Zo: Laugh all you want at the "totally unfounded speculation" about what Tim should get paid, but I've read several well thought out scenarios. My favorite is put forth by a regular at McCovey Chronicles, giantsrainman. Basically it compares Tim to the only other possible pitchers (interestingly all from the same time):
Roger Clemens 60-22, 767 Innings, 694/216 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 3.11 ERA, 2 CYs, 1 MVP

Dwight Gooden 73-26, 924 Innings, 892/275 K/BB, 1.11 WHIP, 2.46 ERA, 1 CY, 1 ROY

Bret Saberhagan 55-39, 806 Innings, 506/156 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 3.39 ERA, 1 CY

Tim Lincecum 40-17, 599 Innings, 676/217 K/BB, 1.15 WHIP, 2.76 ERA, 2 CYs

The arguement goes that these guys got awarded salaries that made them the 36th, 31st, and 54th highest paid players in all of MLB. It turns out that 41 players last year were paid more than the $13M Timmy is asking for while there were 105 paid more then the $8M the Giants offered. Doesn't that make it pretty clear that $13M is completely reasonable? Also, implying that He should just be happy with a big raise is kind of silly. PROFESSIONALS must get the market value for their service, pretty much whether they want to or not, or else they ruin the profession's value for every one else. See how your union likes it when you try to give back money. I'm surprised Tim took the offer, happy to have some closure but still sort of shocked. Maybe he really does want to be a Giant. I bet He saved the Giants at least 6 million by skipping arbitration twice.

OK, I'm pooped. Gee, I didn't make any predictions....sorry, MOC, but you know I suck at that. Right now I'll go with 162-0. But I promise to sleep on it and get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Guess who? I'm seeing about 90 wins. Yes, I know the projections don't say so and neither do most sources, BUT a lot of people see them ending off at about the projected spot that they were supposed to be last year. If the 2010 Giants will be the same as the 2009 Giants then that will be at least 86 wins. However, now we have an amazing Pablo Sandoval right from the start (last year he only had 1 HR in April, 2 in May) and Bengie won't bat cleanup. People seem to forget to mention that Pablo had a slow start last year. By June however, he seemed to figure out how to hit with more power and yet be able to take more pitches thus more walks and higher OBP. He will truly be a force to be reckoned with. There are more options with the lineup. I'm sure that Madbum can pitch about as good as Randy did last year (Wins/Loss and ERA-wise).I must admit, it would have been nice to get Adam LaRoche over Aubrey Huff, but at least if he screws up maybe Travis will finally shine (offensively). I imagine that Tim will remain godly, Matt will continue to improve as well but I wouldn't be surprised if his ERA jumps up a bit, Sanchez looks like he found a groove (last year was his first year with an above average in ERA+ don't ya know?). And then there's Zito. And there's the starting rotation. I imagine the offense will be slightly better since the team's youngsters have matured a bit more. I'm not saying that it will be amazing, but there's a shot. The Dodgers lost some of their dominance since last year, the Padres will still be the Padres of last year, and the D'Backs are relying on a rejected Yankee draft pick and a pitcher coming off surgery. The Rockies are the only threat that doesn't seem to have any weak points. Though they did not add anyone to further strengthen themselves, they got rid off some dead weight and with a team like that, you don't need to do much. I'm seeing:

1st Rockies
2nd ...
3rd ...
4th ...
5th Padres

I'm very certain on the first and last place teams. Everyone else will be a mystery. The Dodgers were a bit lucky with Wolf, Blake, and Pierre. Wolf is gone, Blake won't repeat last year, and Pierre is gone. Manny is one year older, and I don't see them beating us. The Diamondbacks are a bit like us but with better hitting but lesser pitching (but not by much). But many things can go wrong with their pitching staff, especially two starters in particular (Webb and Kennedy). The Giants just need to be healthy and...

The biggest thing that the Giants need to improve is their overall OBP. Not Slugging, not Defense, but OBP. Pablo will send them back home. With plate discipline comes better hitting and better hitting leads to more runs and more runs lead to more wins. It all starts with getting on base.

At the very least, it will be an exciting season for sure. It will also be my first as a fan. Don't worry about me, I was rooting for the Yankees last year and just by seeing a team win the World Series was enough that I think that I can go without one for a while. I know that I can take a few years of the Giants. You know, they're starting to look more and more like the Braves of the 90s. Awesome pitching, ehhish offense (though theirs was average at least). I see the Giants coming close a couple of times during the next few seasons and eventually win...not gonna jinx it but you get it. Once Schierholtz, Bowker, Neal, and Posey break out, Barry Bonds makes his return, Zito becomes the unexpected winningest pitcher of the 2010s, Bochy gets named Manager of the year, the Giants will win a know.

I can't wait for August when the Giants come to play at Citi Field and I would finally be able to see them.

One word for the Giants for the next few years, "RELOAD!"

Ron said...

Y'all be illin'. Yes, young stars get dramatic raises (only after getting to arbitration-eligible status) - meaning they are miserably underpaid for the first few years of their professional careers. Then, even though they get dramatic raises, it still doesn't bring them up to par with grizzled veterans (if performance were the measuring stick). Hence, next season, Tim Lincecum, double Cy Young Award winner, gets paid the same as Edgar Renteria, old, tired, poor-performing, losing another step, marginal MLB player.

And, what am I not seeing about how great the Rockies are? It seems like Mark & Joisey Anonymous are falling all over themselves with giddy admiration for the Rockies. I still see them as marginal, like the rest of the division.

Why won't I predict anything? Because this is a division which will be decided by a few key injuries. We could win it. I hope that we do. Can I predict it?

Bob said...

I'm still here, but I got nothing in the prediction department. I'm just a fan, not an expert, and all I do is hope, not project. I hope Huff and Derosa are good, I hope Pablo will do nothing but get better and better, etc. etc.
I think it's wonderful we gave Tim a generous deal. Having a GREAT pitcher on our team is the brightest development since, well, forever.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm not giddy about anyone. I'm too much of a skeptic to be giddy. The Rockies seem to have the fewest holes--that's why I think they have the best shot. I've said it before, I'll say it again--the baseball gods are cruel. Random chance and normal variation are the Destroyers of Dreams.

Here's a trenchant bit from Bill James, ca. 1988:

When a team improves sharply one season, they will almost always decline in the next.

The arbitration process is a holdover from the reserve clause days. The owners did not want total free agency, so the 6 years of team control includes three arb years (four in Tim's case as a Super Two) where, supposedly, a player can get closer to his "market value" while remaining the property of the team. The result is that guys become true free agents in their declining years, and so often make more than their true value. It doesn't help that idiots like Brian Sabean can't see that older FAs can be had cheaply and for short-term deals, so he throw heaps of money at mediocre guys because he believes they offer priceless intangibles far in excess of their actual production, thus dooming the team to also-ran status.

The fact that the organization was happy to waste millions on people like Dave Roberts and then penny-pinch with Tim Lincecum is unfathomable. I think the whole thing is a charade--the team wants the fans to believe they gave a long-term deal a shot when they had absolutely no intention of making one. And Tim, for whatever his reasons are (and more power to him for charting his own path), took a fairly conservative approach in this round of negotiations that has nothing to do with his "love of the team" or any of that shite. He made an economic decision based on his own criteria and what he thought of the people sitting across the table. If he'd played hardball, I suspect he'd have done better, but he didn't and the team benefits greatly. But I don't think we'll ever understand why he took a somewhat conciliatory stance--perhaps his youth and inexperience led him to trade security for leverage. In two years he will be $23 M richer, and have ridiculous bargaining power, or he'll simply be $23 M richer. But don't assume it means anything more than that. I wouldn't trust Baer, Sabes, Nuke & Co. any futher than I could spit--I suspect Tim might catch on to that by 2012, if he hasn't already.