Saturday, November 7, 2015

We Need a New Thread

The off-season is upon us and it's time to talk about 2016. Here are the free agents who've been given Qualifying Offers from their teams. Teams signing them have to forfeit a compensatory draft pick. MLBTR also rates their top 50 free agents (with predictions about where they will wind up). They think the Cubs will land David Price, for example, who they list at number one. They think Jordan Zimmerman (#7) will get 6 years/$126M from the Blue Jays. Check it out.

But it's not just about free agents, right? We need to look at the system and the youngsters and talk about who will get a shot and who has the best chance to succeed in the bigs. Not to mention comeback performances from some key guys like Matt Cain and Hunter Pence. How do they project out for next season?

Let's make a blueprint, position-by-position, for the Giants winning the World Series. Actually, a blueprint for making the playoffs. After all we know what they can do when they get their chance. If they can get in the post-season tournament I'm pretty confident they can run the table with Ol' Boch at the helm.

I know we've covered some of this ground already but let's do it again. Hell, we've got a few months. And the Winter Meetings are what, a month away? We've got work to do.



M.C. O'Connor said...

Brett Bochy, Juan Perez, Jackson Williams outrighted.

Zo said...

I'm not sure why that MLBTR thinks that David Price will get $217M/7 and Zack Greinke will get only $156M/6. That's $6M less per year. I don't think the Giants need either one of those guys. With Pence's return we have great hitters, so we need steady reliability more than superstarishness. If we go after Leake ($80M/5, according to MLBTR), then we will probably try for someone in the low $100M range, not $200M.

There is something else that happens, too. There are always a few teams that spend big - really big - on a marquee player. But then things quickly quiet down. Not that there is not still competition and bidding, but that the "wildly overpay" phase of the free agent market seems to come and go rather quickly. Of course, this could be the year that blows a hole in that theory, but it seems to be the case every year. The Giants have some holes to fill, they don't need a BIG NAME to get people to the park. Fortunately, thanks to the emergence of Matt Duffy, those holes are few.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Price is younger. That's all I can think of. And a southpaw.

God, I want one. I know it's not the Sabean Way, but losing out on Lester last year after the serious effort the team made to get him rankles me. He could have been the difference between winning the West and not. He certainly helped the Cubs. I know those contracts never "pay off" but if you get a ring out of the deal it matters little as we know with Barry Zito. The Giants were desperate for a second starter last season. With a real 1-2 punch down the stretch it might have been just enough. As you say the Giants offense was solid and will likely improve next season with the return of Pence, Panik, and possibly Pagan.

Anyway, I think Price or Greinke would be awesome. I know it's unlikely. God damn, I need a shiny new free agent pitcher. I really do. And I think it is just the piece the Giants need, too. But I've a feeling they'll do the practical thing and get five guys for the price of one. That means they are counting on Cain to be healthy and ready to pitch. Hell, John Lackey can still pitch and he's older than Moses. Guys like that give me hope our broken stars (dare I mention Timmy?) can bounce back.

Zo said...

I think they'll get two. But not a suppa-suppa expensive one. You don't need a free agent that is that shiny. You may think you do, but you don't.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

The Giants went 34-17 in Pence starts. 34-17! That's with the starting pitching that we had last season.

There is all the talk about LF, but Posey, Belt, Panik, Duffy, Crawford, Pagan, Pence, there are no holes in that lineup, unless it happens to be LF.

So, I wouldn't mind a suppa suppa expensive one, but I have an aversion to 9 figure contracts unless he's a Giants keeper (like Cain, Posey, and eventually Bumgarner; and I would have been OK with Lincecum before, which now makes me think, maybe he was already feeling his hip problems and that's why he turned down the 5 year, $100M?), so I would be OK with signing Leake to a fair contract (5 years, $60-75M) and picking up a SP and a LF on a short 1-2 year contract.

We don't need much offensively from LF, I would be OK with Blanco, Williamson, and Parker fighting it out for the starting position in spring training.

As I noted, we won all those games Pence started with even the pitchers we had early last season, so I view getting Leake back as a big upgrade over what we had then (Huddy was on fumes, and Lincecum was up and down) and if we can get an older producing SP (a Huddy 2.0?) that would bump Heston to long relief, and we got Blackburn in reserve in AAA, that covers Peavy and Cain having any issues during the season, even together, like last season, as we would have Heston and Blackburn as the next replacements.

Besides, Bochy was actually agitating for a reliever (see Pavlovic's column today), and good ones don't come cheap, noting a replacement for Affeldt. I had thought that Osich was that guy, but apparently the Giants don't agree. Because we got Casilla, Romo, Lopez, Kontos, Strickland, Osich, and Petit currently in the bullpen, so if the Giants get anyone, one of these RP will be gone, one way or another.

I see people agitating to lose the draft pick (or thinking that we have to), but I would prefer to keep it, with all these QO's, you have to think we will move up from pick 19 into the mid-teens, you can still pick up a good player there sometimes.

JC Parsons said...

It sure is nice to see such active chit chat. I haven't had much time to write lately ( a slow and laborious task for me ), but I never miss reading every little bit you weirdos jot down. Here's a few random thoughts and predictions, with the usual caveat that I really don't always know what I'm talking about...

* I've got this feeling that we will go BIG on a free agent pitcher again (like we tried on Lester). My guess is Price, but maybe Greinke. We could very well give a ridiculous early super inflated deal, just to show everyone (ie LA) that we can do it. Our organization will start to "look bad" if we can't finish the deal on some superstars, after all we are one of the rich teams (and getting richer, does the passing of Prop D mean more future $ for the Giants?)

* Since we need PITCHING, PITCHING, and more PITCHING, I think we ALSO pick up another one of the FA starters out there. Leake, very likely and I think that is a good idea especially since he is so damn young. I guess Zimmerman has been on our short list for awhile too. It all depends on how big a fish we land with the top deal, which is another reason why we make an early BIG deal.

* I don't quite understand any bad feeling towards Aoki, he did very well for us until he was derailed by injuries. He is far from perfect but his asking price reflects that. When he was doing well for us he put everything in play and was super tough to strikeout. Hell, he was on track for a All Star appearance. Yes, his defense and base running was a bit erratic, but it was clearly entertaining too. Oh well, no real big impact on our future, I just enjoyed watching the guy. I guess our LF is now also a bit dependent on that Big Fish mentioned above.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, I'm one for keeping the draft pick. That means Price, not Greinke! :-)

If the Giants can get Matt Cain back that would solve much of the pitching issues, even if he isn't quite as good as he once was he'd still be valuable, much like a healthy Jake Peavy.

Ron said...

An early BIG deal isn't the Giants' MO, so I have no reason to expect one this year. With Boston, Cubs, Texas, NYY, LA, & Anaheim always ready to splash more cash than anyone, that doesn't offer much hope for us to make the BIG deal.

With a couple of new mid-level Starters, we can put together a fine rotation. And, why does Heston always end up at around #7 on everyone's list? He gave us a generally excellent Rookie campaign.

The guy I worry about most is Pagan - I have no idea what to expect from him this year. With LF now open, too, at the risk of re-igniting Mark's 'OFers are a dime-a-dozen' mantra, I'll say it again: investing in a top OF is something that our Team could use. And, I like the idea of replacing Affeldt being a priority, too.

And, then there's Zobrist.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I worry about Pagan, too. He looked healthy at the end of last season but could not hit the ball hard. I wonder who is out there to replace Jeremy Affeldt--I have not been paying attention to the reliever market. Antonio Bastardo?

Ron said...

That Tony Sipp guy who has been very good for Houston for the last 2 years & few years here-&-there before that is available. Also, KC's Franklin Morales - not as awesome recently, but solid for several seasons - has that combined Javier Lopez / Affeldt lineage of having pitched for Colorado, Boston, & KC. Sipp in an up year is probably more of a game changer. Bastardo would be an excellent choice, too - plus, a great name ... that always counts for something.

nomisnala said...

Maybe we can use another lefty reliever, but I hope one is better than last years Affeldt. Osich and Lopez seem formidable, but another lefty will be ok. I am not sure that Petit would not have been a better option last year than some of our starters. But he does seem to have to pitch a bit to get into a groove. Romo was good, then sucked then was great, and then had a couple of bad games. His stats post all star game were overall excellent. I am a bit surprised that they let Aoki go. He made opposing pitchers work hard to get him out. Aoki, Panik, Duffy, and Tomlinson all can give opposing pitchers fits when they get into that mode. That can soften them up for guys like, Posey, Belt, Crawford and Pence. A healthy Pagan can be an asset but I think he may have only been healthy for about 8 weeks last season. The rest of the season he was a slap hitter, and would not go full out in the field. He became Juan Pierre without the steals. I think the addition of Leake and either Cueto or Zimmerman would be fine. If we get rid of a guy like Aoki, we better replace him with a player like Cespedes. I am looking forward to next season, but I don't know if I can take 5 months of continuous rosterbation. I was disappointed in last year's off season. Also, I would like to keep Lincecum and see what happens.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm sure you've seen this video of Ray Black topping 100 mph in the AFL. I did the old-school stirrups.

I was actually thinking of Buster Posey. He had a career high in plate appearances last season with 623, 13 more than his MVP year. He caught 900 innings, continuing a downward trend. The 320+ innings at first base continued that upward trend. That's 37 starts. I can see that ticking up to 40-45 starts, but I still think he start at least 90-95 games behind the plate (103 last year). What do the Giants do with Brandon Belt when Posey goes to first? Try him in LF again? Hard to keep that guy's bat out of the lineup. And Andrew Susac will have to fulfill that "potential" we keep hearing about. I think if he's healthy he will do so and they'll rest Buster a lot. But Belt? 120 starts at 1B and 14 in LF (8 complete games). Belt doesn't have a significant split against lefties, but maybe he sits against the really tough ones. Even so it looks like the Giants might have to send him to the OF a few more times, eh?

Chris Haft thinks the Giants will trade for a LF rather than go FA.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I meant I "dig" the old-school stirrups!

Ron said...

Chris Haft's ideas are stupid. His article is stupid. I am amazed at the stupidity of it all, especially since Haft is basically a mouthpiece for the organization. I hope that his stupid ideas don't reflect the Giants' true plans. Maybe, they are a clever diversionary tactic, so that other Teams are caught off-guard, when our true plan is revealed:

- Brett Gardner is OK, but not much of an upgrade, if any. His salary is nearly triple that of Aoki.

- Jay Bruce has been declining for awhile. His best years are probably behind him.

- Cameron Maybin? Again, his salary far exceeds Aoki, & his 'career year' production wasn't that impressive.

- I saw a lot of Mark Trumbo lumbering through his last season w/ the Mariners. Meh.

- Josh Reddick I can get behind, but it's an unlikely trade.

- Carl Crawford? Come on. A malcontent w/ declining skills & a defensive liability. Any upside whatsoever>

- Andre Ethier is the least detestable of the Dodgers, but he has become more & more of a platoon player as the years have gone by. Unfortunately, he bats lefty, so same as Blanco.

JC Parsons said...

BCraw won the Golden Glove! Isn't that pleasant news?

Ron said...

Very nice. If it weren't for Kris Bryant, Duffy would have been Rookie-of-the-Year. But, he should finish 2nd, & that's quite awesome.

Up a few posts, Mark talks about Belt. We all love Belt. He's got some offensive tools & has become a fine 1B. His slumps are wretched, ugly episodes - more wretched & uglier than most guys' slumps. Posey has to move more & more to 1B, or his career will be considerably shorter. So, that leaves us with 2 choices:

- More Belt in the OF.

- Deal Belt.

I think that we all prefer the former, but the latter has to be considered, too. One of those 'if the right deal comes along' things. Luckily, Belt isn't too shabby in LF, so that helps keep him in SF. It also makes it more likely that the next OF we get is a right-handed hitter, because, with Belt & Blanco, we have good coverage in the lefty department. Parker & Williamson have the lefty/righty youngster combo covered pretty well.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Just goes to show if you hit better people notice you.

We know he's the best. No one flashes the leather like Craw. I liked it when no one else noticed, actually. Now they do, esp. with Andrelton Simmons rolling out a .660 OPS. But it's a great honor for him and he's overdue. Go Giants! Best damn infield in baseball.

campanari said...

My idea would probably be: 1. Get the best FA pitcher we can get. 2. Trade Belt, Susac, and a prospect pitcher to Cleveland for Carlos Santana (an inferior replacement for Belt) and either Carrasco or Salazar to slot in as a high-ceiling SP. 3. Re-sign Aoki, who was on track to be at least a 2.5 fWAR player for us before his broken leg and concussions, but also apply high scrutiny to Williamson and Parker. 4. Stay far from Lincecum, so as to remove any temptation to substitute crowd-pleasing sentiment for rational baseball analysis. 5. Drop Petit for Blackburn. We're we to do this, we'd probably lose a draft pick in the course of no.

Campanari said...

in the course of no. 1, though not if we got Price. We would stay within our current financial expectations. We would leave room to act again in the Spring, if we then had to bolster our outfield.

nomisnala said...

I think we should have kept Aoki, and tried Parker/Williamson in spring training. Belt should also get some games in left. After further evaluation in early 2016 we could decide whether we need to trade or sign another free agent. I think Petit is well worth what he costs. I would like to see a mid rotation guy like leake, and a compliment to Bumgarner like Cueto, or Price. The team needs to be healthy in 2016.

El said...

Stay far from Lincecum


obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Quotes from GM's from the GM's meeting on Fangraph has Cleveland's GM stating that everyone is approaching him because of his depth but that he wants to build on that depth, and has no plans to move major league pieces. So he will need to get WOWed in order to trade his SP.

I don't see why people have a problem with offering Lincecum a minor league contract. If he's really back to full health from the procedure, you got to see what he's got because even when dealing with the pain, he could be shutdown good over half the season as a starter, so he should be shutdown good as a reliever, and if he's not, the Giants would feel OK just letting him go then. Win-win.

I love Aoki but I view his being not option as a positive because, to me, this means the Giants think that they can cover LF with internal options well enough in a worse case scenario (no FA, no trade). And I expect Belt to get time in LF. Plus, them seeing trade possibilities could mean mid-2016, not just now.

I would love to get a top tier SP along with Leake, but there's probably not enough money to do it without going over the penalty threshold again, which Baer said that they are aiming not to do. I think at best, we'll get two second tier SP, Leake and another guy, hopefully not costing us a pick, because with 20 QO, I don't see how we don't move up the draft from 19th to mid-teens, where there are usually still very interesting question marks remaining in the first round.

Nobody seems to believe me about the Giants payroll, so here's what Fangraphs determined, and it's basically the same, they think the Giants have roughly $40M to spend:

M.C. O'Connor said...

$40M could get a nice shiny piece or two, eh? And I agree about the draft pick--Giants have done a good job in the draft and I'd like to see that continue. And I agree about Timmeh--a minor-league deal would be just fine. You never know. The odds are pretty long, I think, with hip surgery, but you never know. Esp. with Tim who doesn't seem to fit any "profile."

Maybe you are right about internal LF options. Parker? Or some "dark horse" at AA that's not yet on our radar. And Belt's a good athlete, has range, good hands, long goddamn arms, he'd be OK out there, better than a lot of guys I imagine.

Bum, Cain, Peavy, two FA SP, and Heston in the wings. Maybe they think he needs some more seasoning. Clearly he has ML stuff, but it's the adjustments to big-league hitters that make the difference with guys sticking or not, so maybe it's just a learning hump he's still struggling with. Heston was the savior early but struggled late. Better fitness, more experience, he could still be really valuable on the depth chart, much like Petit. And what to do with Yusmeiro if Heston is the "6th man?" He goes arb now and is a FA in '17. If they only get one SP then they are really expecting Cain to be back to full strength. Man, that would be great.

M.C. O'Connor said...

BCraw Silver Slugger!

And Braves trade Andrelton Simmons to Angels. Wow! Don't win a GG, get yer ass shipped. Harsh, man.

nomisnala said...

Heston seemed to lose his command, not his stuff, and never seemed to be able to conistently hit his spots in the second half of the season. If Heston can get his control back he will be a very good pitcher, if not, I would rather have Petit.

el said...

problem with offering Lincecum

I'd rather they give 'let's see' innings to pitchers with a future, rather than a past.

Like the Durocher character said in 24:
We're playing for money here.

campanari said...

Problem with offering Lincecum

Like el, I want to look at our future, not our possible stopgaps. Also: if Lincecum shows signs of possible recovery, fans will start sloshing in nostalgia so that he will get overpaid at a time when we're pushing the luxury tax threshold, given too much rope at such time as he lapses into mediocrity or worse, and reduce the flexibility that we have when players retain options to be moved from the minors to The Show and back. In short, I think his remaining with the Giants poses risks to allotment of resources--money, roster space, freedom to maneuver--that taking a flyer on some other comeback candidate doesn't.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

All I care about is getting a fourth ring. If nostalgia ruled my thinking I would have had more issues with losing, say, BWeez or Dirty or Pandoval. Has nothing to do with the past or stop gaps, and l am only focused on getting the next ring.

I think people are missing the fact that Lincecum can be very good over long periods of time even while dealing with health issues. He was one of our best starting pitchers over long stretches of 2014 and 2015. And he was good over long stretches of 2013 as well. You can't buy that type of dominance for a minor league contract. I can't forget how dominant he was in the 2012 playoffs. I think he's reached the point where he realizes he needs to make the transition to reliever. Costs us almost nothing to find out.

And I'm thinking in terms of him being one of the last guys on the 40-man. So worrying about that type of flexibility s like wish
Hing on a lottery ticket. Lincecum has more reward than anyone you can fill with that 40th spot, in my view.

The arguments against is almost anti nostalgic and as if you hold his last contract against the FO. Overall the FO has made great decisions that netted us 3 in 5. Lincecum was the best starter in the rotation a number of times the past two seasons. His health did not allow him to continue that.

It's not like anyone is advocating for a big LT contract. It is not like he is keeping higher potential players off the roster, particularly if he is signed to a minor league contract, but even if it were for $1M, the Giants are not going to keep him on the roster if he is less productive than others. They have cut bigger contracts and has made the tough cuts if necessary.

Zo said...

Lincecum on a minor league contract is a risk/reward analysis. The risk is that he is not able to pitch, but if that happens, you lose little. He isn't taking up roster space, there is plenty of room in the minor leagues. A minor league contract doesn't cost that much. The other risk is that another team decides to offer him a better contract and he chooses that. If so, then he is their problem and/or possible reward. The reward for the Giants is the return of a great pitcher whom the fans love. The "whom the fans love" part, by the way, translates into a return at the gate. Peavy has risks, Cain has risks, Petit has risks, Heston has risks, free agents have risks. About the only rotation spot that doesn't have a risk (outside, of course, of an injury that can happen to anyone) is Madbum. So you get enough guys so that if some of the risks don't work in your favor, you have others that do. The risk of falling in love with Lincecum and letting him pitch even though he sucks? I have to trust the management to not do that.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'd take a chance on just about anyone with a minor-league deal. No real risk there. If Timmy would take one I can't see how that hurts the club. What I wonder is if there are clubs that would offer him an ML roster spot. Pitching is always at a premium and guys with his experience are still in demand even with poor recent performances.

Not much talk on the trade/FA front. Maybe we can all relax and enjoy Thanksgiving before getting all lathered up for December!

Watching the 2010 Giants on DVD these days: Game 4 and Game 6 of the NLCS v. Phils. And starting the WS this week. Game 4 was positively epic. Just an amazing win. And Game 6 with the Lefty Assault--JSanchez, Affeldt, Bum, Lopez--and Lincecum in relief before Wilson. Another amazing game. So many guys from that team are out of baseball!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Speaking of minor league deals.

Zo said...

News we can use!

M.C. O'Connor said...

That's good news, indeed. Happy he's going to be here for a nice long stretch. These days he's definitely my favorite player to watch.