Monday, December 21, 2015

25 in 2012

I've got the 2012 World Series on DVD of course and just finished re-watching the whole thing. I thought I'd do for the 2012 team the same thing I did for the 2010 club. Current Giants are in italicized bold. Starred players were on the 2010 post-season roster.

The Giants carried 12 pitchers on that squad:

*Jeremy Affeldt: retired.
*Madison Bumgarner: signed through 2017 with options for '18 and '19.
*Matt Cain: signed through 2017 with an option for '18.
*Santiago Casilla: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
George Kontos: first-year arb-eligible
*Tim Lincecum: a free agent.
*Javier Lopez: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Jose Mijares: a free agent.
*Guillermo Mota: retired.
*Sergio Romo: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Ryan Vogelsong: signed with Pittsburgh for 2016.
Barry Zito: retired


Two catchers:

*Buster Posey: signed through 2021.
Hector Sanchez: signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago White Sox.


A whopping seven infielders:

Joaquin Arias: signed a minor-league deal with Arizona.
Brandon Belt: third year of arbitration.
Brandon Crawford: signed through 2021.
*Aubrey Huff: retired.
*Pablo Sandoval: with the Boston Red Sox.
Marco Scutaro: retired.
Ryan Theriot: retired.


Only four outfielders:

Gregor Blanco: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Xavier Nady: a free agent.
Angel Pagan: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Hunter Pence: signed through through 2018.


That's a dozen players still with the team. All of them, in fact, are important pieces for 2016. Speaking of 2016 I don't see much more happening on the roster/trade/free agent front. The Giants grabbed two big pieces in Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto during the Winter Meetings and ought to feel good about a job well done.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

--M.C.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Johnny and Jeff

From Brandon Crawford, via Andrew Baggarly:

“With these two, we’ve also added a good amount of hair, which is never a bad thing…”

No argument here. My own locks are in out-of-control retirement mode so I'm in favor tonsorial adventurousness. I must say I was surprised by the Johnny Cueto deal. I did not expect the Jeff Samardzija signing but it seemed like a natural move for the club, picking up a talented under-performer for a reasonable free agent cost. The Cueto thing is bizarre. The front-loaded nature of the contract plus the opt-out makes it a puzzler. If Johnny does well, the Giants get two years for $46m ($23M/yr) and then he leaves to get a bigger windfall on the open market. But the Giants would have gotten two years of stellar starting pitching. Perhaps they are also thinking that one of the young arms in the system will be ready by 2018 (that's Matt Cain's option year). If Johnny does poorly or gets hurt, the Giants are on the hook for four more years and the remainder of the contract (about $84M or $21M/yr). So he gets paid less over the long haul if he sticks around. Matt Cain's $21M/yr will be off the books by then so if the team is going to overpay for an aging starter (Cueto is younger by a year-plus) he'll have dreadlocks instead of a crew-cut. Madison Bumgarner also has a 2018 option and will likely require a Greinkian investment to stay in orange-and-black. But this is why teams pay those smarty-pants accounting types, so we don't have to worry about it.

What am I thinking about? I'm thinking about next season. And it looks good. Consider that the Giants now have a full rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy, and Matt Cain. That's a hell of a thing, man. I'm stoked. Peavy was hurt for much of last season but when he was healthy he pitched well. Cain is a question mark but he's healthy and I think he will deliver far more than fifth-starter value. And the team still has Chris Heston who can ably fill in for one of the Big Five if need be. (And then Timmy can be the 6th man!)

What's left? A little outfield help, I suppose. But it has less urgency now that the rotation has been solidified. A lefty for the 'pen, but I think that may come from within. The lineup was excellent last season and I expect more of the same. If they need a piece or two I feel like BobbyE will pull off a mid-season move and get it done.

Giants: thank you for surprising me. And thank you for fixing what was broken. Should be a hell of an interesting race in the West next year.

--M.C.


p.s. Warm farewells indeed to Hector Sanchez and Joaquin Arias--champions in orange-and-black. May they succeed brilliantly in their new roles but rack up 0-fers vs. the Giants.

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!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

No Greinke, What Now?

It looked like a fresh post was in order since we have moved out of the dream portion of the off-season (where we land the biggest and most beautiful FA's) and we have moved into the harsh, boring Giants reality of "making do" and grabbing for sloppy seconds.

The easy choices are done.  Yes, I think Price and Greinke were no-brainers and they automatically help their teams, even at the crazy high prices.  We needed to get one of those two in order to be sure that we were ready to match up with the doggers. Especially nice would have been Greinke, since that means LA loses him (oh, he also had the best year pitching since Gibson).  BTW he is 7-0 against us in the last couple years, so getting him gone from LA is a big help.

I guess I really am having trouble with the "too much money" for that guy idea that pops up all the time.  The market value of these guys is pretty clear and predictable and it exists within a very clearly successful industry.  In other words, no one in Giants land is losing money and we have more to spend all the time. So why care if one guy deserves it or not?  If we need Greinke, 10 or 20 million dollars should not get in the way of that.  Didn't we all learn that even HORRIBLE deals can easily exist in championship situations?  Aren't we richer after throwing $ away at Barry Zito?

So I say we spend like there is no tomorrow. (There actually are a lot of tomorrows but you must admit that we have a window right now that we must take advantage of!).  Leake seems like the next easy choice due to his age.  He was disappointing for us at the end but his first half was super strong.  We MUST HAVE more starters, at least one big one, and

I DO NOT REALLY CARE HOW MUCH WE SPEND ON THEM!