Monday, July 29, 2013

Helpless Tim

The worst part of Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Cubs was it's complete inevitability. After Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner pitched gems and were betrayed by non-offense, it seemed only fair that Tim Lincecum would get get the same treatment. I woke with a sense of dread (that happens a lot lately) and helplessness (probably how our starters feel each day.) I would have been shocked if we had actually played like we had a heartbeat. We didn't. Not really. I hate to admit it, but around the third inning, I knew how this was going to end.  Come on, admit it, so did you.

The only good news of the game was another fine job by Lincecum.  He went seven full innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits with 10 strikeouts. Sounds good, huh? Of course, he had to "freak" it up by giving up homers to the the #8 and #9 hitters. Doesn't sound so good, huh?  To be fair, Travis Wood, their pitcher, has hit 3 homers this year. That would make him the #6 hitter on our team.  But anyway, Tim's numbers are really starting to come around, at least compared to last year. Makes me think we may try to keep him. That's a good thing, right?

We scored 3 runs this series and are now officially worse than the Cubs.

Should we make a big deal?
Every writer seems to think this season is toast.
Lots o prospects to be had.
Lots o holes to be filled.

What do you guys think?


Brother Bob said...

Yay Tim.
This is a team that thinks it can just turn on the mojo whenever they need to, but I guess they need to have their backs against the wall before it kicks in.
So I expects a nice little trade will occur, and if_____ and if_______ and if________ all occur also, the Giants will probably make a spirited run at contention for a couple of weeks in September

M.C. O'Connor said...

I thought you would call it "Cained Tim." But "Cain-ing" is not exclusive to Matty anymore.

The Giants are a hungover club. Championships can do that to the best of men. But there is still an enviable nucleus: Bum, Cain, Posey, Panda, BCraw, Romo, and the much-maligned Belt. Vogie, Casilla, Affeldt, Pagan, and Scuts will all be back, too. That bodes well for 2014. It should be noted that the team has gobs of money, and could buy some good players to fill holes.

They should make qualifying offers to both both Lincecum and Pence, as they will either get them back for a fair price or get draft picks in compensation. I'd be happy if both stayed. I hope the club does not panic and sell. This is not a good time to make long-term decisions.

As wretched as the team is right now, they could have a great month, put together a 16-4 stretch, for example, and throw a scare into the leaders. Crazier things have happened. It would be nice to see a .500 finish. That would require a 35-23 record (.603) from this point forward. Wow. That's some ugly math.

Ron said...

A few things:

- Tim was excellent, but, even to an idiot like me, it was obvious that Tim's awkward mechanics had completely broken down in the 7th inning. His limbs were all over the place (much more so than usual). When I noticed this, I was just praying that they'd either take him out or that, by some miracle, he'd make it out of the inning. But, you can't keep Wellington Castillo down forever, can you?

- This team is sickening right now. Remember the misery of 2011 - the high expectations; then, Posey out for most of the year, Huff hitting a ground ball to 1B in nearly every at bat, Torres hitting about .200. Right now, this team is about 20 games worse than that team. Think about that.

- We certainly aren't buyers - that would be pointless. Are we sellers? I pretty much hope not. I'd love to see us re-sign Tim. I am OK with us re-signing Pence, although he scares me sometimes. Javier Lopez will probably be dealt, & that is sad - a key guy on 2 Championship teams. Brandon Belt is the biggest enigma right now. I have no idea where his career is headed. By now, we should have been trusting in his abilities, so that we could be planning the rest of our roster. Come one, Brandon ... get it together!

Zo said...

I agree with Ron - Belt is a mystery. At the moment, he is clearly pressing WAY too much after his deadly bout of Buckneritis. But here is the deal with Lincecum - you sign him and maybe overpay if he is mediocre, but not overpay at any price if he returns to his Timmeh potential. You let him walk and it will be the biggest mistake ever if he returns to greatness, but, of course, not if he fades away. So right there you have a 25% chance of making a terrible move and another 25% chance of making a Zito-like move, that is, overpaying for what turns out to be an average pitcher who can be brilliant, although not too often. So if he walks you have to replace him with someone and that someone has to be good. Zach Wheeler isn't available to call up, and our other minor leaguers do not look ready. So that means you go free agent or trade. Who ya gonna get that is definitely better? Not so easy, is it? Hopefully, Tim signs at a reasonable price with options to escalate his salary with performance.

Shankbone said...

I think you have to shake it up somehow. I'd trade Pablo, he has value because contending teams remember the Velander and he has the year of control/backend possible qualifying offer for draft pick value. His lack of dedication has played him out of the Gints long term plans anyways.

We might get Vogey back, which would allow Zito to get shoved along. Might be a jolt, who knows. But the offense is completely lost. Maybe having the hackers Pence and Pablo back to back isn't such a hot idea, they are just so streaky.

This team needs another patient hitter along with Posey to prop up the offense. We'd love for it to be Belt, because he's cheap, but that hasn't exactly materialized.

But bottom line, with the defense absolutely bad news bears sloppy, and the pitching staff's problems with the long ball, there is very little chance of a miracle this year. Still... 1951... The 2011 Cards... Its not over til its over.

I'd shake up and re-tool on the fly. And Pablo is the best chip and addition by subtraction.

Gints public statements and all these writers quoting, they are offering QOs to Pence/Timmy, which means its 50/50 or better that Lincecum is pitching in the French Vanilla next year! Between his wanting short term contracts and the fact the QO kills some value (no team wants to lose a draft pick and the pool moneys involved on a big time gamble) maybe its even 75/25 now. On the short term, that's a great risk for the Gigantes! And the marketing folks can OK that budget.

nomisnala said...

I don't know how you can know if Pablo is not dedicated. Do you have inside information? Some guys work their buttocks off, and are still much heavier than the next guy. Anyone who is a lefty, and trained himself to throw righty as good as he throws, has to have some serious dedication. If Pablo gets hot the last two months, I hope it is with the giants. Plus, how much does the giants brass make by selling those Panda hats?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Panda is unique. No one else hits balls six inches off the ground for homers and then tomahawks balls in his eyes for homers. He's infuriating, but he's a unique talent. I'd rather take my chances with him than without.

Shankbone said...

Fair points on Panda lads. Hey, I love our homegrown talent and would love for them all to be lifetime Giants. Sandoval has... a .929 fielding percentage. Miserable. Is a station to station runner due to his excessive weight. Miserable. If you can't field and can't run you'd better hit. Panda is at .406 slugging. Fat Ichiro hitting singles will not cut it. He has 9 HRs on the year. 270/322 and especially 405 isn't getting it done, and he costs 8.25MM next year, his last under contract.

I'd trade him while the memories of his WS heroics were still fresh, and the chance of a get a steal are fresh in GMs minds. Because this could well be the best he's going to be right now.

Anonymous said...

No one else hits balls six inches off the ground for homers and then tomahawks balls in his eyes for homers.

And neither does he.
1 HR since May 22

Ron said...

In 2011, the year of the pre-season Panda training program, he had his best #'s over the last 4 seasons in Fielding Percentage, BA, OBP, SLG, HR, RBI, Total Bases, Fewest GIDP. Seriously, the empirical evidence is solid that a Panda in shape is a better Panda (who will still hit balls 3 inches above the ground & above his head).

Agree that he is our best trading chip, but disagree that we should actually trade him. We should just make sure that he gets back into shape again for 2014.

JC Parsons said...

Many good points on Sandoval, both sides. He has an excitement factor that can't be denied , ask Verlander, but it also makes him easy to over value. It would be a safe bet to expect him to miss a fair bit of time due to injury, especially if he fails to get in better shape. Also, he is definitely the type who's talent will evaporate quickly when he hits thirty. It is possible his defense is already failing, although he is still capable of the flashy play. There's that excitement factor again. The fact that he has hit ONE homer in two months is scary. Bottom line: I could live with using Pablo in a deal to shake things up. I would miss him, for sure, a truly great Giant.

I think we can get a lot for Lopez. I love him, always have, but he has big time value to a contender with that need. I would be surprised if he isn't moved.

Anonymous said...

Lopez'll go - good LOOGY's have way more value to team's in it than one playing out the string.

Sabean should be able to extract solid prospects as teams get desperate for deadline help.

Zo said...

Pablo is just now waking up from his struggles, but when he is healthy, he is very good. I would be surprised if we could manage an overall upgrade in hitting by trading him. The trade deadline cannot get here soon enough. We wait for offseason, which is probably necessary from a money perspective to see whether Tim and Hunter re-sign. Then we can see if we need to pursue a free agent. If we must trade now, it has to be someone in the bullpen. Castillo, Lopez, these guys may have some value to contenders for prospects - other than that, I don't see how we can actually make a difference on the upside because the team has played themselves into low-value players.

Ron said...

It is, indeed, a dark day. Brian Wilson is now a smog-sucking Dodger. Is anyone really surprised?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Sandoval turns 27 next season. He makes $8.25M next year, a bargain. FA in 2015. I'd rather take the chance on him for one more year, then make him a qualifying offer and get the draft pick if he goes. You might be right, JC, he's the type that could be done at 30. That, though, just strengthens my feeling about keeping him while he's still got something left.

I'm not a fan of sell-offs. This is a bad year, not a bad team. Sure hate to lose Lopez, the guy is as close to automatic as I've ever seen, but a LOOGY is more replaceable than most positions in baseball, and they still have Affeldt and Mijares.

Alas, Wilson is a Dodger. No surprise, really. Hollywood suits him. The only upside is that Dodger fans will tire of his goofball act really quickly if he can't perform. It's too bad. The Giants are a happy-go-lucky bunch, but have lost some of their 'cool' vibe with the decline of Lincecum. Mostly, though, they are a pretty dull bunch. Slow-talking Southern boys like Cain, Bumgarner, Posey, Belt. Mellow CA-dudes like BCraw. With Pagan on the shelf and Panda on the shit list Romo is about it for personality. Wilson was fun, even when his antics got a little tiresome. I like having a nutty character or two around.

Ron said...

Pence is pretty nutty - hope that he's still on the team by Thursday.

No point trading anyone now - B. Obama has predicted a big 2nd half run for us. We could become the first team to win a division with a below .500 record. Of course, the conspiracy theorists would be all over that one, checking birth certificates & whatnot.

Shankbone said...

Well Zito sure isn't doing himself any favors...

Sandoval is at 0.9 WAR, we'll see how he stretches it, but he's not a bargain at 8.25MM at this years level, so he needs to get all 2011 on us. I'm just saying its not a slam dunk, and personally I believe its a long shot. I'm going out on a limb and predicting further cratering, where he can't go more than 1 base at a time, booting balls and not hitting the ball to the long parts of the park.

His hand eye and bat skills are amazing. His conditioning ain't. We need to face the fact he's a big part of why the Giants cratered this year.

Pence just said he'd come back even if he's traded! Talk about some wacky dedication.

Giants have to get better production from all 4 corners.

nomisnala said...

How many errors at third base are due to Panda's weight? He may not run the bases like Maury Wills, but his quickness at third should not be underestimated. He is a fat ball of reflexes. How about the play he made on the bullet hit to him in the Lincecum game, and then he made a powerful throw from his knees to first with his right hand, even though he is a lefty. The problem with wearing a gold glove, when you do not have one, is that it is not flexible.

Shankbone said...

Sandoval's F/G page has him at -2.8 FLD and -3.2 BsR. I would actually point to his low double play # (9) as one of the indicators he's just not quick on the draw.

He's always been below average on the bases, that's not the problem, the problem is he can never take an extra base in this condition.

He's had positive fielding metrics in 2008, 2011 (big time) and 2012.

Only 2 years of 200 + ISO - 226 in 2009 and 237 in 2011.

The errors - 14 in total, 6 fielding and 8 throwing. Conditioning or mental? To my eyes his range is the worst part of his defense, but most of his errors have looked like mental miscues more than the physique.

I want a Billy Mueller type 3B - steady production, not this boom bust stuff.

Anonymous said...

Pence 2012 Phil
.271/.336/.447/.783 440 PA

Traded for Schierholtz, Rosin and Joseph

Pence 2013
.277/.320/.455/.775 444 PA

He's the exact same player. Can't see him worth more today as a 2 month rental, but if they can trade and re-sign him for some mid-level guys to restock the farm - why not?

And DFA Frenchie - the only thing worse than his yesterdays are his tomorrows.