Monday, December 7, 2015

Still rainin', still dreamin'

Bobby Evans is in Nashville for the Winter Meetings and Giants fans are hoping for at least one more big splash from the GM to bolster the 2016 squad. I think we are more likely to see a few smaller splashes, word is sought-after IF-OF free agent Ben Zobrist wants to be "closer to home" with his new team. His home? Nashville. The Dodgers reportedly grabbed free agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma but the big news is that they made a trade with the Reds for Aroldis Chapman. We'll see how that story plays out, supposedly they did not have to give up any of their top prospects in the deal. The arms race in the West has certainly heated up. The Diamondbacks shocked everyone by nabbing ├╝ber-ace Zack Greinke. They can afford to spend $30+M on him as their core of cost-controlled young studs is formidable: Paul Goldschmidt, AJ Pollock, Ender Inciarte, and David Peralta racked up over 20 WAR in 2015. The Giants could certainly have spent the big bucks for Greinke or David Price and word is they made an effort but it seems more like the team to spread the wealth and go for quantity instead of one shiny bauble.

As I mentioned in the comments of JC's post I'm happy with the Jeff Samardzija deal. More than anything last season the Giants needed a workhorse to complement ace Madison Bumgarner. All free agents are risks, but the Giants like the big righty's power arsenal, athleticism, and durability. He was an All-Star in his impressive 2014 campaign, and despite his regression in 2015 I think the match with San Francisco is an ideal one. He'll have a great group of fielders behind him in a big, pitcher-friendly park and a consistent and productive lineup to give him ample run support. We all believe in Dave Righetti's magic touch with mechanical issues and we all know that Buster Posey is a great pitch-framer and game-caller. At an average of $18M/season Samardzija's contract is a relative bargain. The only downside to me is the loss of next year's 1st-round pick, but the club has a nice array of young arms close to the bigs so I can live with it.

What's left? I have to say I've been thinking about Ron's coveting of Justin Upton and that would be quite a coup if the Giants could sign him. He gives me that untouchable Greinke-Price vibe though, and I don't expect it to happen. But you never know! And Alex Gordon is still available if the Giants maintain their we-need-an-oufielder urgency. Regardless I think the Giants have shown, again, how well they can navigate the minefield that is free agency. They grabbed a quality arm for a fair price and I think they'll find another good deal or two out there this week

It's raining here and I'm still dreaming about snow. Seems to be falling everywhere except my local mountain. A foot of the stuff might fall later in the week and that would be great, in fact it would mean I'll be skiing on Saturday. In the mean time I'll just have to be patient and wait for good news.

--M.C.


p.s. I forgot to mention that RMC is now the proud sponsor of Sergio Romo's B-R page!

47 comments:

Ron said...

Which Ron was coveting Justin Upton? Not this one. He would be about 4th on my list of preferred OF's (behind Heyward, Cespedes, & Gordon), just ahead of Parra. Of those 5, though, I think that we have a shot at all except Cespedes. I think that the Angels are probably going to over-pay him.

Iwakuma would have been a very savvy pick-up to fill the #3 rotation spot. It seems clear that the Giants are going to go with Heston as #5, which is OK. The part that I worry about is relying on Cain, Peavy, AND Samardzija to all be effective at #2 through 4.

Regarding Mark & Jon & your incredulous 'doesn't matter how much you pay' philosophy, I don't know where to start - I don't relate to your attitudes at all. Don't get me wrong ... I am a believer in the Players getting a good piece of the action, instead of the Owners keeping it all. However, the parts that I don't abide by are:

- Stadia populated by dickwad bandwagon jumpers filling Corporate seats, because large Corporations are the only organizations who can afford the good seats. $10 beers, etc. for people who don't have Club Seats (in other words, those who actually have to buy food & drink).

- Gigantic TV deals driving up the price of both Cable TV & computer-based subscriptions. Every one of these gigantic contracts drives up those prices, too. Who does that hurt? Well, you & I, for starters. And, there are so few games available on 'regular TV' anywhere. Lower income folks can never see a game - even less frequently than back when we were Kids & hardly anything was televised.

- A Salary structure in which really, really good players in their late 20's get paid 10% or less than guys in their early 30's. Other than professional sports, give me one other example of a profession in which there is such a ridiculously dramatic increase in pay in such a short time, often associated w/ marginal improvements in performance (&, in some cases, diminished performance). How many years will Matt Duffy have to toil getting paid virtually nothing until he cashes in? Is that fair? Is that really what the MLBPA wanted, when they fought for Free Agency? It has become a perversion.

- A Salary structure in which Zack Greinke gets paid 200 to 1,000 times as much as people working their assess off just to be able to afford to go to 1 or 2 games a year. Thanks to dynamic pricing, they have to pay even more for the chance to see him pitch. This is a double-barreled perversion. The Greinkes of the World make so much money it's ridiculous, & the Teams use 'legalized scalping' to extract even more money out of the peons who want to go see the Greinkes play.

I could go on & on. I'm not happy about these Contracts. On the other hand, at least the Giants didn't wobble the top end of their whole Salary structure to sign Samardzija. I'm glad that they didn't sign Greinke. I hope that they make more Samardzija-level moves.

Ron said...

This was supposed to say 'really, really good players in their late 20's get paid 10% or less of the salary of guys in their early 30's.' In other words, for example, salaries that go from $600,000 to $6,000,000 from one year to the next.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Well of course major league baseball is ridiculous. No one is arguing with that. But in the context of MLB as it is, Greinke's contract is perfectly reasonable.

M.C. O'Connor said...

And I did confuse Upton with Heyward.

Ron said...

It's one thing to say, more or less dispassionately, that 'MLB is ridiculous' & be fine with that. But, I cannot help but take it personally:

I CANNOT AFFORD TO BE A FAN TO THE EXTENT THAT I WOULD LIKE ANYMORE

And, compared to many people, I make a decent living. Salary structure, Ballplayer (+ Agent) greed contribute to that predicament. So do Team Owner greed, Cable Media greed, & a lot of other greed. The 0.1% get richer; the 99.9% suck wind - the percentages just keep getting worse & worse.

Zo said...

Here are some thoughts on pitchers from Grant Bisbee at Mccoveychronicles.

M.C. O'Connor said...

If I lived in the Bay Area I could follow the Giants on KNBR for nothing. Well, next to nothing, I'd still have to be subjected to KNBR and all their bullshit. Next year I'll pay for the privilege of KNBR via the internet. I may just wind up with MLB Gameday and "in play, runs" and whatnot scrolling across the screen! Of course, box scores and game stories are still "free". It's a long way from dollar nights at Candlestick, to be sure, but I don't miss it. It is what it is and I take from it what I want. We live in a world where people who raise children and take care of old people barely make a living while billionaire CEOs who make gadgets no one needs complain about taxes. There's plenty of stuff in the world to grind my teeth about.

El said...

Duffy getting paid virtually nothing

$500,000 aint exactly slave wages.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The MLB salary structure is indeed screwy and favors veterans, but that is the legacy of the reserve clause. Teams still "own" players through their arb years. Players should be free agents from the get-go, that would move money down the pipeline, even to the minors.

As Chris Rock points out, "Shaquille O'Neal is rich, but he ain't wealthy. The guy who SIGNS HIS CHECKS is wealthy!" The principal owner of the Giants (Charles Johnson) is reputedly worth almost $6 Billion.

Brother Bob said...

The Chapman deal is on hold because apparently the young man is a wife beater, or some such thing. Too bad, I imagine there was a time (not too long ago) when one of the biggest jobs for any commissioner of a major sport was the active covering up of an endless series of violent crimes, DUIs, etc. Many athletes are just dudes with too much testosterone.

M.C. O'Connor said...

All kinds of dudes hit their wives/girlfriends, it ain't confined to jocks.

Ron said...

Back to my Duffy comment - a reasonable comp might be Belt. This is Belt's Salary progression as a MLB Player:

- Age 23, $ 414,000
- Age 24, $ 481,000
- Age 25, $ 532,000
- Age 26, $ 2,900,000 !!!!!
- Age 27, $ 3,600,000
- Age 28, $ 6,200,000 (MLB Trade Rumors Projected)
- Age 29, $ 9,000,000 (final arb year, my projection)
- Age 30, $16,000,000 (1st year as Free Agent, my minimum projection)

To-date, Belt's effectiveness has been fairly steady - nothing spectacular, although some very good performances. He has yet to make an All-Star Team or win a Gold Glove. He has never scored 80 runs in a season, driven in 70 runs in a season, nor had 150 hits in a season.

Will Belt be 30 times the player at Age 30 that he was at Age 25? That is my point here. Again, other than professional sports & some forms of entertainment, are there any professions for which this type of salary progression is 'normal'? A 6-fold salary increase in one year (age 25 to Age 26)? Adjusting my initial salary for inflation, my merit salary increase over 35 years has been less than 3-fold.

So, I know that Owners, Players, Agents, Media people, etc. are disgustingly rich. That's not OK. It's just as sickening as Financial Analysts who scam everyone & escape the consequences, but just get richer & richer. They're also the ones who can afford the great seats & everything else normal fans used to be able to afford. It's not that I want to resume going to 40 to 60 games a year - I don't (even if I lived in the Bay Area). It's that some run-of-the-mill folks with families working their butts off & getting paid OK still cannot afford to go to more than a game or 2 a year & have to think twice about paying cable TV bills. It's that lower income people not only can't afford to go, but can't even watch on TV.

If we continue to just say that it's all out-of-control, but cannot be changed, the result will be something despicable.

Sorry to go all Bernie Sanders about this, but it's really getting to me. Part of why the MadBum shirts I got from NC last year was because they were a rare novelty - they were the only 2014 World Series memorabilia I bought. Part was because I am just about done buying officially-licensed products of any kind - don't want to keep shoveling more money to fuel the fat cat system even more.

And, it looks we miss out on Zobrist. Do you think that we're investing anymore? I think the cheap-o contract offer to Petit will come, but not much else.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Bernie on, brah. No argument here. I just pulled the plug on the satellite because I couldn't stand it any more, for many of the same reasons. It's brain and soul rot. But I loves me some Giants, so I take what I can take. I wish it was pure and unsullied entertainment, but it ain't.

When players are under "team control" they get paid A LOT less. This is why ownership clings to the vestiges of the reserve clause. Cheap young talent is how you build a winner and makes it possible to "afford" high-dollar FAs.


campanari said...

Ron's indignation can gather fuel from the pathos of minor leaguers, forever dreaming and (overwhelmingly so) deluded, teammates who are both bonded and pitted against one another for promotion to the Show. Fans should read John Feinstein's exploration of this ongoing, underfunded tragicomedy in *Where Nobody Knows Your Name*, published last year.

I'm not well-placed to speak to some of his points because except for a couple of years in the mid-1940s, when I first got passionate about the Giants, I have never lived anywhere near their home games, or particularly close to where they came in and out again for away games. But I can say that I'm more involved in Giants baseball than I ever have been, because I can read and respond to blogs such as this one (and DrB's and Shankbone's and ogc's and MCC), read the beat writers on line, and have access to a great supply of stats and analysis that is infinitely more satisfying than the old, ignorant cracker-barrel bull I saw for the first fifty or sixty years of my fandom. All this costs me nothing, since I pay for computer service anyhow. For about $2.00 a week, moreover, I can watch games on MLB.tv, helped here, I admit, by my not being blacked out as a resident within the Giants' home market; and I can do so while listening, happily, to the Giants' home announcers, TV or radio as I choose. Since I could do this even if I were a poor person, I would have to say that the evolution of baseball as a business has been a great gift as well as an arrangement of increasing deprivation in the ways Ron details.

Are poorer people more alienated from baseball than they used to be? I can see the logic of Ron's protests, but I wonder what the changes in the actual demographics of people in the ballpark might be. From the panning of the crowds I see on television, I wouldn't have said the fans in the stands look ritzier than they used to look fifty years ago. Have ticket prices gone up drastically on an inflation-adjusted basis?

M.C. O'Connor said...

The D-Backs are on the warpath. Greinke, now Miller. That's certainly an improved rotation if Corbin stays healthy. AZ does not seem to give a shit about draft picks.

Ron said...

To campanari's questions, yes, the demographics at the ballpark have changed drastically. You used to go to games & see clumps of retired folks of every ethnic group enjoying an afternoon at the park. Aside from a couple of eccentric women who are endlessly on TV because they have hats with every Giants button ever minted, you hardly ever see those 'fixed-income' types anywhere. People in the good seats are either corporate, corporate underlings, or people who have had to pay a month's mortgage to obtain tickets through 'dynamic pricing' (Team-sponsored scalping) or some 're-selling' (other type of scalping) mechanism. And, yes, price increases from the bottom end of the scale to the top have far out-stripped inflation. Back in 1975, the range used to be $1 to about $16. Inflation would suggest that today's rate would be $3 to $50. In reality, it is about $22 to $350, unless it is a big game. Then, 'official prices' can be $40 to $450.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Another argument for getting rid of MLB's monopoly status.

In the old days, when tickets were cheap, it was a hassle to get to the games at the Stick. Now it is really easy to get to the new Park but it costs a hell of a lot more. Public transit-wise, that is. In my mom's day, all parks were in urban centers. Then they moved out to the suburbs. Now they are back.

I was sure, 30 years ago, MLB would have teams in Tokyo and Mexico City. Guess we've got a while for that, eh?

Zo said...

Not to get in the way of a good rant, but this: https://eh.net/encyclopedia/the-economic-history-of-major-league-baseball/ suggests that the increase in salaries and revenues has far outstripped the increase in prices of tickets. Of course, the luxury tickets (field boxes, luxury boxes, restricted-entry tiers) is a relatively new phenomena. The first of the new, retro HOK baseball stadia, Camden Yards in Baltimore, was only opened in 1992. It does not have a tier equivalent to the Club Level at ATT, opened only 8 years later. All the new stadia are built around maximizing revenue from these kinds of tickets. It is also a little bit hard to tell what the "price" of Giants tickets are, because they change with every game. For example, looking at next year, Thursday April 21 vs Dbacks, seats in View Reserved (top of the stadium) are priced at $24, Friday vs Miami at $16, Saturday and Sunday vs Miami at $29. The cumulative inflation rate since 1975 is 342%. So, for the $24 ticket, that is the equivalent of paying $5.43 in 1975 dollars. I know that we paid less for bleacher seats, but that suggests to me that the price of an upper reserved ticket is more or less in line with inflation. What they have done is generate many gazillions of dollars more in TV revenue and, as I stated, add higher priced ticketing structures.

I would also disagree that the people you see are all corporate types. I think that the large majority of fans at the park these days are young people with disposable income. That may have always been true, I certainly had a lot more disposable income when I was young before a mortgage, insurance, taxes, wife, etc, etc, etc. There are definitely corporate types, and part of that (at least in San Francisco) is because of the downtown location. The Giants were not a part of the city experience in the way that they currently are. Catching a game while visiting the city (for an out-of-towner) is very much part of the attraction of San Francisco, that was never true with Candlestick (except for the occasional Giants fan like campanari). The city itself is becoming more and more full of corporate types (even if those corporations are staffed by coders). Finally, I would note that, while we may or may not like it, the Giants at least continue to fill up the stadium. So business sense dictates that they should raise prices until there is exactly 1 empty seat for each game. And that is exactly what they are doing.

Zo said...

So weren't the dbacks the team that went into debt to pay for Schilling and Johnson and had to borrow money from Major League Baseball? And everyone is OK with letting them do that again? Fuck that.

campanari said...

Ah, yes, Zo, I did make a pilgrimage to Candlestick in the 1960s, just as, at different times, I visited Ebbetts Field, Shibe Park (Philly), County Stadium (Milwaukee), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), Wrigley Field, and of course the Polo Grounds, to see my Giants. I hope that before I pass to the everlasting Elysian Fields I will get to AT&T, so as to be price gouged and scalped in full, dotard's loyalty. (I haven't yet.) But of course as an out-of-towner I can afford, as a vacation lark, to sit in pricey seats. For me, going would be to soak up the experience, the great beauty of the field and the trajectories of batted balls above it, the noise and smells, and so forth, as a wonderful tourist attraction. I'm sure that for actually seeing the game, I would be at least as well off watching electronically, getting pointers from Kruk and Kuip, and keeping an eye on f(X). As I said above, I would understand it far better than I ever used to, because of electronic media and bloggers like all of you here. For those reasons and the ones you offer, I find Ron's anger doesn't match my feelings, though from my experience with baseball as it used to be, his anger strikes some degree of answering chord in me.

Ron said...

My comments are based not only on trying to buy Giants tickets, but because the same phenomenon applies here with the Trail Blazers. These are the entities who buy most of the seats, especially the good seats:

- The Ultra-Rich (a few young people w/ too much disposable income in this group)

- Corporations

- Corporate Underlings (many of these are the ones who might appear on TV as young people w/ too much disposable income; they get tickets as a perk of their job)

- Professional Ticket Scalpers using computers to purchase massive numbers of tickets

The 4th category is the main reason why so many tickets are instantly on the secondary market at inflated prices & stay there until just before or just after game time - the 'there are always tickets available' phenomenon celebrated in a twisted TV commercial run by the NBA. Hard to get a ticket at a good price, unless you're willing to wait until the last minute. Anyone who doesn't live within a few minutes of the ballpark or who has a Family can't operate that way. Upper Reserved between the bases for the second home game of the year (i.e. not Opening Day) are currently $55 or more; Bleachers are $45 or more. That kind of money is well in excess of inflation-based projections.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I don't know about that. Seems to me inflation plays a pretty big part. A twenty dollar item in 1975 will set you back a few hundred or more today. But I get what you are saying. Certainly the business school geniuses have concocted a hell of a lot more schemes for gouging customers. I happily forked over money ("seat license fees") for the "privilege" of then buying a season ticket package! What a fucking joke.

But Zo's right, there are lots of "normal" people at games. The corporate types get the luxury boxes, the front row seats, and the big matchups. I remember my brother Brian used to work for some lawyers at a downtown firm in SF, and I went by to meet him before we went to the game together. This is when our seats in sec 310 were about $20. The secretary was really envious, kept saying "god, I'd love to go to a game" to us. Then one of the attorneys came out and chatted, mentioning that "he had tickets" in an off-hand way, like no big deal, maybe he'd go. The split could not have been more clear. I think teams have made a fortune ten times over by catering to that kind of fan, the businessman/professional with scads of extra cash who is somewhat dispassionate about the whole deal. The working class fan can still go, but it will be Tuesday against the Brewers not Friday against the Dodgers.

I wonder how much money teams make on tickets, that is, how does it compare to the TV revenue. Or even concessions, which seems like a gigantic cash cow.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm not nostalgic by nature. We had some great times watching mostly crappy teams back in the day. We all became friends for life. But I don't miss it. I'm not that kind of fan any more. Sure, there's a lot to dislike about the over-moneyed version of baseball today, but the Giants have certainly found it to their liking. And we got what we wanted--championship banners in a proper downtown park. And as campanari points out the plethora of internet sources for baseball analysis and appreciation is terrific. I never watch ESPN and never will again. I can enjoy sites like FanGraphs or Beyond the Boxscore if I need a nerd-fix, and this blog is the result of being inspired by other bloggers like OGC and MCC and etc. I don't even have to watch the games and the MLB audio fixes the problem of living too far from KNBR's reach.

Zo said...

@campanari - please get there early enough to take a walk around the stadium. It is lovely. If you are there for batting practice you can see how the ball travels in the outfield. Remember how everyone thought it would be a home run park down the right field line? It is an unusual weather pattern that doesn't push the ball from 309' towards that 421' right center. Be sure to stop by the upper deck, right field. The corner of the balcony down the line is where they showed those camera shots of Bonds' home runs flying into McCovey Cove. It's also conveniently located near the Murph's where you can get fish and chips and a Guinness.

@Mark - the cumulative inflation since 1975 is 342.1%. A $20 item in 1975 would now cost $88.42, not hundreds of dollars. Of course, some things have outpaced inflation and some things have under-inflated. Candlestick Park was owned by the city, although undoubtedly the Giants got most of the ticket revenue (maybe all of it sans seat taxes). The Giants own PhoneCo. They get the revenue, plus ad revenue (remember the story of what Coca-Cola paid for the bottle? By the way - it, too, is beautiful in my opinion), plus parking (soon to be developed so that they will make more money on the parcels), plus rental for any other event. But the biggest boost is undoubtedly tv revenue. From the link I posted above, average salaries from 1975 to 2002 rose 5200% (free agency came into being during this time), revenues increased by 1800%, tv revenues increased by 2800%, and ticket prices increased 439% while attendance doubled. So, if ticket prices increased 439% from 1975 to 2002 and the cumulative inflation rate during that period was 234%, then ticket prices rose at a little under 2x the inflation rate. Wanna do parking? What did we used to pay to park at Candlestick? $2.00? During the 2007 All-Star game parking near the stadium was going for $75.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah I reckon my math is a little shaky, retirement has its downside! I can't hardly cogitate logically no more. Pretty soon I'll be typing nursery rhymes instead of blog posts. Or nonsense. 10-cent stamps and 50-cent gas from 1975, that I remember.

I actually think, despite the ridiculous cost increases, that we are getting a better product. Not the broadcasts, which are horrid despite the HD-quality and the frame-by-frame look at events, but the game itself. We hear all the time about "the good old days" but the ballplayers today are really much better and the game is more sophisticated. When number eight hitters are jacking mistakes 400 feet and no one notices, it tells you the game has changed. That never happened when I was a kid. And the fielding is out-of-this-world. Even fat third basemen can pull off shit only Brooks Robinson used to do back in the day. In fact you have to have those moves just to make the cut. Watching BCraw is a revelation. How many MLB SS could do what he does forty years ago? After Ozzie everyone had to learn his moves. It's like when Dr J came into the NBA--now they all pull off that crazy shit. Think of the repertoire every pitcher has to have just to survive. Two kinds of movement on the fastball, minimum, a changeup (what the fuck was that in 1975? did we talk about "changeups"?), and a curve and/or slider. All of them have to have that or they go to the 'pen. Shit, Nolan Ryan and Vida Blue threw two goddamn pitches! Fastball, curveball, good to go. Can't do that today. And the international players. Fabulous. Really makes the game better to have it be more global. So, yeah, the corporate fucks are sucking our blood but the game is still fantastic.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Giants take themselves our of the Jason Heyward sweepstakes.

He's certainly a prize but I think the Giants can upgrade without that level of commitment. Like the Greinke thing, it turned out OK as Samardzija is a nice pickup.

Zo said...

Jason Heyward has apparently agreed to a deal with the Cubs - for $20 million less than the Nationals were offering him, reportedly, for some reason.

Ron said...

The Cubs are the new Dodgers. Spend, spend, spend. I hope that they suck next year. After we finally started winning titles, I was actually starting to feel a bit sad for them. Not anymore. I will re-focus all of my non-Giants energy on wishing good things for the Indians & the Mariners - in the odd-numbered years, that is.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

You slipped the digits, it should be 342% vs. 439% for ticket prices, so roughly 30% higher, not 2X.

And over a 40 year period, that's 3.1% vs. 3.8%. Not so bad.

However, I'll bet that if you include parking, drinks, food, and merchandise, inflation is probably much higher for those items. Plus, they were overpriced to begin with.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Cubs got a deal on Heyward. I was sure he'd net $200+M. He has an opt-out, so if he keeps up his production he stands to get an even bigger payoff. Crazy!

Snow is falling here. Tomorrow is the start of our local ski season--Mt. Ashland will be spinning chair lifts. So if you don't hear from me even if something big happens in GiantsLand it's because I'm skiing or preparing for skiing or recovering from skiing!

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Well, it depends on what AAV you were figuring for the $200M. For me, I had been seeing $200M for ten years or $20 M AAV, so this deal , while lower than $200M is around $23M AAV, and thus not a bargain to me. Plus, with TWO opt out clauses, where he can cancel this contract and seek an even higher one, that makes it even less of a bargain, by any definition because these clauses allows him to run if he improves his hitting, while you are stuck with him if he proves to not be as good as advertised. So not a bargain in my eyes.

His college professor parents must be shaking their heads about the craziness of this, but proud as heck.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I suppose you are right but I thought he'd get more. Just impossible for me to predict where people are going and how much they'll get!

Ron said...

At the risk of sounding like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth, I am getting more & more pissed that it appears that the sum total of the Giants' moves following the windfall gains of winning their 3rd title in 5 years will be:

- Signing Aoki, Vogelsong, & Lincecum, none of whom were difference-makers, for 1 year apiece, then cutting them loose.

- Signing Peavy for 2 years, even though he isn't a really difference-maker, either.

- Signing Samardzija for 5 years. Because this was a somewhat modest deal (in today's terms), I think that this will turn out OK, but it is still not a block-buster.

I stand by my previous comments that Player Contracts & the progression of Player salaries are obscene. On the other hand, what is even more obscene is Owners receiving enormous windfalls off the backs of the Team's supporters & not passing it along in the form of Roster improvements (or anything else, other than higher prices, despite the lack of investment).

Unless we sign another great Starter & another great Outfielder (although he is a decent player, Dexter Fowler does not qualify), I will think that we have been jobbed by the organization. I sort of had that feeling last off-season, but we have all grown used to the minimalist approach in the off-season immediately after a title. Two off-seasons in a row is just profiteering.

Ron said...

Another 'Giants are making a strong push' story ... Cueto, this time. I think that Leake would be a better value, but, if this story is real, at least it represents some effort. I also think that a Cueto signing would take us out-of-the-running for an OF upgrade, while a Leake signing wouldn't. I'm more inclined to go with a double signing.

Zo said...

There does seem to be an ongoing shift in stories coming out of the Giants. First it was to sign a big name pitcher (or 2!) and an outfielder. And Leake was a one sure thing. Then it was Samardzija (which was fine) then hyping Samardzija (which can be expected) but maybe not another pitcher. Then maybe not an outfielder. I read that Grienke almost signed with the Giants until Arizona snuck in at the last minute with a better offer. So the Giants were going to spend $200 million but have spent $90 million, but aren't going to pursue another pitcher? Then I read that the interest in Leake, who was in the "must have" category, has dried up except for the Giants. But he hasn't agreed to a deal yet. Now Cueto? Are the Giants soft-selling their way into not signing Leake, and outfielder or anyone else? Are the prices too high (like for Alex Gordon)? Or maybe this is all stuff that writers are totally making up and they don't have a fucking clue while the Giants play the free agent signing game like a finely tuned violin? I should really take a vacation from November until late February.

Zo said...

I guess we won't have Joaquin Arias to kick around anymore.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

$90M or $18M AAV for a pitcher who is arguably among the top 30 SP in the majors is pretty good work for me: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=c,7,8,13,6,45,124,62,122,217,43,40,224&season=2015&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=14,a

He's 26th per a new pitching metric used for talent evaluation.

And if you accept the premise that 2015 does not represent what he normally does, as recent articles clearly suggest, he's among the top 15 in the majors: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=c,7,8,13,6,45,124,62,122,217,43,40,224&season=2014&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=14,a

So that's a pretty good move in my view.

On top of that, 2015 is obscured by all the one-off injuries that happened to position players during the season. We rarely had the full lineup in there, rarely had Pence in there, period. Yet, crappy SP and all, when he was in the lineup, the Giants went 34-17. I don't expect the same in 2016, but that's a pretty good lineup we run up there, complaining about Aoki and Pagan is besides the point, the point is we have a great top of lineup with Posey, Belt, Panik, Duffy, Crawford, and Pence.

And we have a great bullpen, and the starting rotation is OK and could be better. The off-season is not done yet, and even if it were, with our lineup and bullpen, and backups of Blackburn, Stratton, Blach, Beede, Mejia, our SP should be OK enough to get us to mid-season, at which point we can upgrade via trade on one of our SP.

Ron said...

And the good Lord has apparently delivered us ... Johnny Cueto! As they say at the Vatican, 'Habemus Rotatium'!!!!

Ron said...

Well, well, well. It looks like the Giants & Cueto have crafted a mutually-beneficial short-term deal (Giants can decline option after 2016, Cueto can opt out after 2017) masquerading as a long-term deal. And, even if the deal plays out to its full duration, the annual salary is in line w/ other key Giants' salaries. As big money deals go, it's not too bad, especially for a guy who has shown signs of being a big-time Pitcher. Upside is that he had good control recently. Downside for me is that he's a shitty hitter - I just love Pitchers who can hit.

Ron said...

Initial reports of a Giants early way out of the Contract appear to have been mis-stated. Still, it's not a horrifying deal, given today's market. One thing that I was reminded of in reading the latest story is that his early success was in a ballpark which is a horrible place for Pitchers. His lifetime WHIP of 1.18 isn't too shabby. And, unlike David Price, he has actually won 2 Post-Season games, including his recent WS Complete Game.

Zo said...

Plus dreads. We were in need of at least one guy with dreads.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Jaysus, I commented on the wrong post. But wow, flashy move, eh? The Giants sure surprised me with that one. Starting ro' was not up to snuff last season and we don't have any idea what Matt Cain or Jake Peavy have left so they needed some fresh arms and boy howdy they got 'em!

Welcome aboard, Johnny Cueto!

nomisnala said...

One thing the team still lacks, unless one of the rookies starts to hit dingers, is a true power hitter. That could cement the lineup, to have a true RBI guy. No one on the team with 100 RBI. Posey had more than enough opportunities but lack of the long ball kept his RBI total down.

Ron said...

Happened to switch over to KNBR this morning on the way to work. One of the 'Murph & Mac' guys was reciting Cueto's stats in NL West ballparks - MUCH better than his already impressive overall career stats.

Ron said...

Everyone did catch that Hanchez is now a White Sock, right? Kind of a bummer - he was lovable & could occasionally launch a big blast.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Did not catch that about Hanchez! Thanks! Yeah, a big bummer, hopefully he can resurrect his career over there, probably saw the writing on the wall last season with Susac, he would make a good bench player who can play multiple positions including occasionally catching, and in particular, good at pinch hitting, if he can just get a role like that without having to catch much, that would be ideal, maybe get into DH role at some point.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Giants were averaging over 5.0 runs scored per game with Pence in the lineup. Even in his second stint, they averaged that even though Aoki was either missing or playing poorly, Pagan was playing poorly, and Panik went on the DL and replaced by Adrianza, that's three lineup spots!

So they were scoring that even with no "true power hitter" while getting no production out of four lineup spots (including pitcher). So I don't see how the lineup is lacking, what it was lacking last season was healthy starting players.