Saturday, December 1, 2018

Opening Moves

The FZ Era of Giants baseball begins! The Giants declined arbitration with Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez, and Chase d'Arnaud making them free agents. Joe Panik, Sam Dyson, and Will Smith were all tendered contracts. Smith (Willie Mac Award winner) and Dyson both pitched very well last season while Strickland saw his numbers decline (not to mention his behavior issues) so the Giants kept the older, more expensive pitchers and obviously hope for similar performances next year. Joe Panik was injured and played well below expectations but his youth and low cost (plus a lack of an alternative) keep him in orange-and-black. You can't give up on first-round picks, but I get the sense this is a fish-or-cut-bait season for the lefty second baseman.

It isn't very exciting stuff and fairly predictable but it is Giants news and so I had to post. As far as the big stuff goes, I don't expect a Madison Bumgarner trade. He's too valuable to the team right now and I can't see them getting a decent enough return. If he has a good year then they can discuss an extension or make him a qualifying offer so they'll at least be compensated if he leaves. I think the odds are good he will stay healthy and pitch well in 2019 which is the best outcome to hope for. He is at a point in his career where he'll likely have to make big changes in his conditioning and preparation in order to remain an ace starter. Age catches up with everyone and the athletes who adjust continue to succeed. I'm curious if Bumgarner has the mental makeup of someone like Justin Verlander who seems able to reinvent himself and stay at an elite level.

The Winter Meetings are December 9-13 in Las Vegas. Maybe we'll get some action then. Meanwhile we had our first snowfall in town last night and this morning!



Barbara said...

What is your opinion of Gorkys? I always found him to be entertaining, but somehow he never found a spot.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Oh, I was rooting for Gorkys. He went "all-in" with the power surge. I think Ron would call that "Dan Gladden Disease." But that was it. He hit below .200 after the ASB.

I love it when the marginal guys make an impact and show their major-league skills, but they so rarely ever have enough to last. Joaquin Arias, for example, is one of my favorite players. He stuck around just long enough to help the Giants win and made a lot of contributions. (And has two rings!) Gorkys flashed some leather in the outfield, that's for sure, but Steven Duggar did, too, and that didn't help his case. Duggar is 25 (Hernandez is 30) and just may have some offensive upside, and I think we've seen the peak for Hernandez.

He's a free agent. If he doesn't sign with a ML club he could wind up on a minor-league contract somewhere, including back with the Giants.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Paul Goldschmidt goes to the Cardinals in a trade. It's a one-year deal as he is a free agent next year. D-Backs get a pitching prospect with ML experience, a catching prospect with ML experience, an AA infielder, and a draft pick in the 70th to 75th-pick range.

Doesn't seem like a lot for a great player, but Arizona wanted salary relief and apparently made an extension offer to Goldschmidt, but he will likely have a lot bigger payday as a free agent. They re-stock their team with young talent, and the pitcher (Luke Weaver) will likely be in their starting rotation.

That's the reality of trading a star--it's not going to bring you back a world-beater, but rather a package of talent. I don't think trading Bumgarner would be much different. Not to say from AZ's point of view this isn't a good trade, I don't really know, but that's what they got for their star so it is fair to say that is what he is worth.

M.C. O'Connor said...

That is, he's a free agent for the 2020 season.

campanari said...

“What he is worth” is, of course, contextual. Renting Goldschmidt is worth X to the Cardinals, whose divisional standing has been lowered by the Cubs and Brewers, and whose fans therefore need a shot of immediate hope; who have a thin middle of the order, and need a big bat to complement Carpenter and Ozuna; and who want to act quickly before Arizona gets a plummier offer at the upcoming Winter Meetings. The D-Backs want salary savings and trade chips, and pitching to replace Corbin and Miller, maybe also Greinke. Value and return can’t be untangled from circumstances, including those arising from the demands of PR.

What Bumgarner is worth altered when Paxton went to NYY (lowered Yankee need, elevated need for Yankee competitors, removal of one good lefty from the market) and also when Corbin went to Washington. It altered when Goldschmidt went to StL, because Milwaukee needs to up its chances for 2019, given that StL has upped its; and renting Bumgarner to improve their iffy rotation is affordable for the Brewers, so as not to preclude other upgrades that they might make with their small-market financial resources. Like you, MC, I don’t expect that anyone is going to give us a star, save by accident, so as to rent Bum, but I also wouldn’t want to extrapolate from the Paxton or Goldschmidt deal to what we might be offered for him.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Supposedly the Giants are interested in Yusei Kikuchi

M.C. O'Connor said...

Agreed. Baseball is too small of a market and players are not fungible commodities. They are all different and each team has unique needs, and there is a ripple effect when one team makes a big move. But, I have no other basis to judge MadBum's trade value other than to look at current trades. He may fetch more if one team really wants him, for example, or if the Giants wait until mid-season and the pennant races ratchet up the urgency. Mostly I'm just trying to prepare myself in case they do trade him. As fans we will expect the moon, of course, but as observers of the game we may have to adjust our perceptions!