Monday, December 28, 2009

Mark DeRosa: MLB Swiss Army knife

Turns 35 in February. Became a full-time player in 2006 with the Rangers, making 59 starts in RF, 40 starts at 3B, and 26 starts at 2B. His 2008 slash line with the Cubs .285/.376/.481 (117 OPS+) is better than all 2009 Giants not named Sandoval. He had 80 starts at 2B, 53 in the OF, and 10 at 3B that year, his career best (.376 wOBA in 593 plate appearances), and was worth about 3.8 WAR.

Obviously we like his versatility. He seems like the ideal Boch/Sabes player--grizzled vet, some pop, a post-season resumé, NL pedigree, can play different spots, and hits anywhere in the lineup. It would be nice if it were a younger player with upside, but that's not our way. At least, not with position players. I like our young pitchers and their upside, but this "one-Aaron-Rowand-at-a-time" philosophy of lineup construction is a teeth-gritting affair. Aaron Rowand's career line? Glad you asked: .280/.339/.448 for a .788 OPS and 102 OPS+. And now Mr. DeRosa's: .275/.343/.424 for a .767 OPS and 97 OPS+. Toss in FSanchez and that is the very definition of "league average." In fact, the NL last season had an average line of .259/.330/.409, only a .739 OPS, so we've got surplus of average we can spread around!

I've been whining all along that we need at least a "league-average" offense to win. This assumes, of course, that our awesome pitching remains awesome. I don't abide by the "bloop-double-and-two-productive-out" school of run-scoring. Sure, it's cute and perky and all that, but three-run HRs are a LOT better, no matter how boring they are. So I think we need another serious bat to complement Sandoval. Matt Holliday just might have to take a 3-year, $40 M deal instead of the 6-year $80 M payday he says he wants, and if that happens there is no reason why the Giants couldn't court him. But I figure we'll sign Juan Uribe. He can play short if/when Renteria goes down, and can handle the other three IF spots. DeRosa would work in LF, assuming Lewis gets dumped and Project Velez is abandoned. That would give Olympic Nate his shot in RF, and we could keep Panda at 3B and give Ishikawa the bulk of the time at 1B. Fielding is important, and DeRosa would likely contribute better with the glove in LF than anywhere else, he's known as a below-average infielder.

Other than that, Swiss Army knives are pretty cool. I mean, when you are backpacking you can't carry a freakin' toolbox so you have to have a half-assed scissors, a half-assed carving knife, a half-assed Phillips-head screwdriver, and a half-assed file. Having them in one convenient package is very cool. (Personally, I'm a Leatherman guy, but that's a quibble.) But if you had a choice, would you buy a proper tool for each task or just a bunch more Swiss Army knives? The Giants are going the multiple Swiss Army knife route here, I think, in their continuing quest for "league-average." I'm reminded of that old saw: careful what you wish for.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

RMC wishes everyone a Really Merry Christmas!



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Buster, Buster, Buster

Buster Posey, right now, is the most important person in the Giants organization. Unless we have a secret plan to sign Matt Holliday, it is pretty clear that the Giants are "standing pat." There's some upside to that: Sabean can't fuck up and throw away another pitching prospect or trade Jonathan Sanchez for a mediocre has-been. And Jaysus-Mary-Joseph can we please not sign Johnny-Fookin'-Damon? We could get the same performance from Fred Lewis, could we not? For the record, I'd love to sign Matt Holliday, but the cement overshoes known as Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand most likely rule that out. I'm plugging my ears and going "nee-nee-nee-nee" over and over again thinking about the $15 million that Tim Lincecum will get in arbitration. At least that dude deserves his raise.

No, it's all about Buster. CHONE says Buster will deliver a .262/.339/.399 line in 122 games (100 hits, 50 runs, 21 2B, 9 HR, 40 BB, 73 SO). Not bad for a wet-behind-the-ears kid, eh? FanGraphs has both the Bill James and fan-vote projections for 2010, and they are more generous (.270/.331/.405 with 128 hits in 131 games, 25 2B, 11 HR; and .282/.359/.438 with 105 hits in 101 games, 22 2B, 11HR). Bill James says 43 BB and 86 SO, the fans say 41 BB and 71 SO. The fans like Buster and his stats translate to 3.0 WAR. That would be something. Only Tim Lincecum (8.2), Matt Cain (3.6), and Pablo Sandoval (5.2) contributed more than 3.0 WAR to the Giants in 2009. Juan Uribe was 2.9, just for comparison. Freddy Sanchez was a 3.2, 4.8, and 3.7 WAR player at his peak (2005-2007). Wouldn't it be swell if he could conjure up a 2010 like that?

Here's what John Sickels says about Buster (after grading him our only "A" prospect):

No-brainer. All he needs is playing time.

I think we know that. Let's hope the Giants do as well. So--now that we figure the Giants are NOT going to sign a hitter or two, Buster's 2010 performance becomes that much more important. So, what do you expect from Buster next year? Check out Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Kurt Suzuki, and Joe Mauer. Where does Buster project when matched up with these established backstops?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bud Humbug

Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post writes that Commissioner Bud Selig has appointed a 14 man committee to "analyze ways to improve baseball." Mr. Boswell writes, "After the various embarrassments of this year's postseason, piled on top of a recession-plagued year with sinking attendance, MLB has decided to get serious about correcting its problems, many of which have festered for years. From excessively long games to bad umpiring to World Series games in November to the intractable DH rule, Selig says, 'There will be no sacred cows.' " You can read the entire article here.

The committee will consist of managers Joe Torre, Mike Scioscia, Jim Leyland, and Tony LaRussa and executives and owners from Philadelphia, Toronto, Atlanta, St. Louis and Baltimore. Also, Frank Robinson. Mr. Boswell then lists 10 ideas for fixing the game, including more instant replay, a proposal to make mid-inning relief pitchers pitch to at least two batters, other proposals to speed up the game by a time-saving 15 or 20 minutes (Mr. Boswell apparently thinks this 15 or 20 minutes is "the elephant in the room," not scheduling games in November and not awarding the World Series home team advantage to the winner of the All-Star team. Mr. Boswell is very enthusiastic about this committee, comparing it to a "holiday gift."

Forgive me if I don't share Mr. Boswell's enthusiasm. Bud Selig has never done anything for baseball that does not involve getting more money from the public and stuffing it into billionaires' pockets. Starting games in November that run until 1 am on school nights on the east coast? As long as tv wants it, that is not going to change, unless tv decides that they want them to START at 1 am. Tony LaRussa on a committee to decide whether to make relief pitchers pitch to at least two batters? Has Mr. Boswell ever seen Mr. LaRussa manage a game? I could see how they could collectively decide how to make life less comfortable for the umpires, but you know what? I really could care less. I get burned as anyone when a call doesn't go the Giants way, but hey, we could make it like football and basically have the game be run by video (see stories about the Dallas Cowboy stadium on How boring. Speed up the game by 15 minutes? First of all, no one, NO ONE would then think that baseball would become lively if they think it is boring now. Second, how much do you want to bet that that 15 minutes would not be filled up with trying to sell you more crap. That is what the problem with the time in baseball is - the fact that playoff games take 6 hours because 3 and a half hours of commercials are crammed in.

Are they discussing revenue sharing and how they should set a minimum salary level if they want competitiveness? I think it is obvious that some teams make more money off of revenue sharing than they pay out in salaries, never mind ticket sales and tv revenues. How do the fans of these teams feel? Are there any fans on the committee? No? How unsprising. Are they going to address the DH? No, they are going to deal with crap that is marginal and then trumpet their "findings" while ignoring the stuff they should fix.

So, over your Irish coffees, what would you change about baseball games? What do you think should be changed that actually could be (in other words, a shorter season is a non-starter)? Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Watching, waiting

The Boston Red Sox, one of the best teams in the business, jumped on John Lackey to beef up their rotation and signed Mike Cameron to mitigate the loss of Jason Bay. The Philadelphia Phillies, defending NL champs, give up Cliff Lee but get Roy Halladay, keeping their edge. The newly-crowned New York Yankees lose Hideki Matsui and Chien-Ming Wang but pick up Curtis Granderson and re-sign Andy Pettite. Big teams, big players, big moves. These guys mean business. Another team that means business is the Seattle Mariners. Last year Seattle scored 640 runs--that's 17 less than the Giants. And that's in the American League! But they gave up only 692 runs, the fewest of any AL team. The Cubs, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Giants were better, and the NL champion Phils were close at 709 RA. The Mariners were 85-77 last year, respectable, but 12 games back of the division-winning Angels. So what has Seattle done so far this off-season? They just picked up the aforementioned Cliff Lee. Wow--that's quite a 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. And they signed Chone Figgins--taking a key player from their division rivals--to improve the lineup. If I was Mariners fan, I'd be excited, but I'd still be hoping to add another bat. Nonetheless, the Mariners think they have a shot at the title and they are going for it.

Meanwhile, your San Francisco Giants have improved the club for the divsion race next year by __________________________ (fill in the blank). I say we've improved the club by dumping out-machine Molina and (maybe) giving the job to Mr. Golden Spikes. Otherwise, I'm still watching and I'm still waiting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

" . . . and soon fell out of favor. . . "

FanGraphs' RJ Anderson breaks down the Garko move. He thinks it is one of the silliest of the off-season. Even if you skip the story, look at the graph comparing Adam LaRoche's wOBA with Ryan Garko's. The blue line is "league average."

Grant at McChronic is just as bewildered. Garko was worth something when we acquired him--he was worth exactly one pitching prospect. Apparently that pitching prospect had almost no value because the Giants aren't willing to pay Garko $2 M or so next year (he was paid $466 K this year).

The Giants traded for Freddy Sanchez, who was hurt and couldn't play. We gave away a pitching prospect for a guy that could not help us. Then we gave that same guy $12 M for the next two years. No audition at all for FSanchez--he had the part already. The other guy we traded for, Ryan Garko, got an audition of sorts. But the poor lad took a fall on his first entrance and that was it. The organization wrote him off and never looked back. All it cost was another pitching prospect, and we all know the Giants lead the world in pitching prospects, so we shouldn't be upset if we use them up like kleenex.

I know that Ryan Garko is nothing special, but he's a reasonably competent major-leaguer who doesn't cost a lot and can deliver value with the bat. He sounds like the kind of player we need a surplus of, not the kind of player we cut loose. According to Extra Baggs, Garko "didn't have nearly the impact the Giants hoped and soon fell out of favor with manager Bruce Bochy."

Great. Our team is run like a junior high cheerleading squad. I suppose all will be better when we give $25 million to Adam LaRoche.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A proper Irish coffee

You'll need a proper glass, of course.

Whip heavy whipping cream to a thick froth that stands. Toss 1 tsp. table sugar in the bottom of a proper Irish whiskey glass. Add 1 oz. Irish whiskey. I like Jameson, but Irish whiskey and coffee is an alchemy of sorts. You'll have to find your own right mix. Fill that glass to within 1/2-inch of the top with fresh-brewed black coffee. I like Peet's. Regardless, use a full-flavored coffee, but not too roasted. Alchemy, remember? Add 1/8-tsp. of vanilla extract to the coffee. Spoon whipping cream on the top so that it makes a nice mound. Watch the lovely strands of cream make fractal curlicues down the glass. Drink. Repeat.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thus Spoke Sabethustra

This Torres/Velez leadoff meme refuses to die.

Andres Torres' lifetime OBP is .290 (.343 in 170 PA in 2009, career .358 in the minors)

Eugenio Velez' lifetime OBP is .305 (.308 in 307 PA in 2009, career .342 in the minors)

This is ludicrous. Velez is versatile, so I understand his appeal as a utility guy. Torres is a terrific fielder, fleet baserunner, and has some pop off the bench. He's an excellent 5th OF.

But these guys are not starters and certainly should not get the bulk of the team's ABs. Obviously the Giants are not going to keep Fred Lewis around, despite his career .355 OBP, and I understand that. His limitations as a fielder, propensity for strikeouts, and lack of power doom him as an everyday player. With his age and pending arbitration (2011), the Giants don't see a future for him. But I think he could be useful as a stopgap leadoff hitter, and certainly could do a better job as a regular than either Velez or Torres. But that's not the handwriting I read--I expect the Giants will try to trade Lewis. Whether Fred could do the job at this point is moot. This Velez/Torres platoon nonsense is here to stay. Unless we want to throw 2 years and $30 million at Johnny Damon, that is. I don't figure that to happen, do you? Meanwhile, we have a serious leadoff hitter crisis, which is certainly no worse than our who's-the-other-guy-besides-Pablo crisis, and our FSanchez-is-our-2nd-best-hitter crisis.

Since we're having a crisis of sorts, I'm going to have a Xanax.

Have a nice evening.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

JV squad for you, Buster

The Brian Trust has decided that Buster Posey will start the year in AAA. Maybe. That is, most likely. In Sabespeak (via Extra Baggs): "That's our lean now. We haven't crossed that bridge yet." So, like, they are almost mostly sure, OK? I'm down with that, you know? I'm all about Veteran Savvy Clutchness and Gamerosity. And whatever Buster has, it ain't that. Hell, does he even shave? How can you be grizzled if you aren't even shaving? This time, I'm not going to knock the Brian Trust. They know what's best. They spent a couple of cases of coke money on this fella, and if they think Fresno's the place for him, then by gum so do I. Just because some hotshot 22-year old Golden Spikes winner and first-round draft pick thinks he's the shit doesn't mean he is. Who cares if this top-tier athlete with a superb pedigree wants to strut his stuff in The Show? Who does he think he is? The fookin' Six Million Dollar Man? This wet-behind-the-ears-punk don't know nothin' and the sooner he learns that the better he'll be. The nerve of that guy--building up the fans' hopes and all. Listen Mr. Junior Varsity, just because you're the best hitter in our system in the last twenty years doesn't guarantee you a job. This is a meritocracy--you have to earn your way to the bigs, Buster. And never mind what that David Pinto guy is saying.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tongues are waggin'

MLB TradeRumors says we are pursuing Dan Uggla, Nick Johnson, and Adrian Beltre.

ExtraBaggs has a look at options that wouldn't cost a draft pick: Orlando Hudson, Miguel Tejada, Jermaine Dye, and Johnny Damon.

Haft-Baked is stuck on Yorvit Torrealba.

Mr. Haft's regular piece on the website mentions Mark DeRosa.

My favorite line from that article is "After ranking 13th in scoring, 14th in slugging percentage and 16th in on-base percentage last season, the Giants realize that almost anybody would represent an upgrade." (Emphasis mine.) Now THAT'S a rebuilding philosophy!

I never trust the words that come out of Mr. Sabean's mouth, but he indicates he does NOT want to trade pitching (i.e., JSanchez, MadBum) for a hitter unless it is a "sure thing." (Like, er, Ryan Garko?) I feel the same way. I think we have to have both lefties in the stable. You could make a case that we have our 5-man ro already set with MadBum, and don't need to chase after old guys like Brad Penny. But I think Boch & Sabes would soil their nappies at the thought of a Bum & Buster battery every 5th day--much, much too young and lacking in veteran savvy clutchness for the big leagues.

The hot stove won't really start heating up until next week. Dust off those keyboards, lads, and give me some solid reasons for going after player X and player Y, or trading/not trading player A or player B. After all, we are looking to replace some stiffs with some not-so-stiffs, and expecting our historically awesome pitching to stay that way, so I don't expect any dramatic moves. Try to avoid those Euguenio Velez-for-Evan Longoria fantasies, mm-kay?

UPDATE: I would like the Giants to STOP messing with Pablo Sandoval. Give him a job--a permanent position--and be done. If he's our 3B, then don't chase a FA 3B. If he is our 1B, then stick him there and leave him there. He's our best hitter! Build the team around him, don't treat him as a fungible commodity and figure you'll "find a spot" for him. And FanGraphs takes a look at Joe Crede and Dan Uggla if you are curious about what people think of these guys.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bye-bye Bengie?

The Giants did not offer arbitration to Bengie Molina. I thought they might, figuring he was as good as gone and they'd get compensatory picks when he signed elsewhere. They decided to forgo that opportunity, and I'm not sure why. Did they think the free-agent market would be so soft that they might be stuck over-paying Bengie for another year? Despite his monumental out-making prowess, Molina has the HR/RBI numbers that might play well in arbitration. Were the Giants afraid Molina would accept arb and get a raise? I suppose we'll never know, as the stuff that comes out of Sabean's mouth is nothing but obfuscatory gubble for Chronicle readers and casual fans. Is this a signal that the Giants have finally cut ties with Señor Slow? I hope that's the case. After all, if you want to wallow in nightmarish paranoia, Bengie's free agency means the Giants can now join his list of suitors! I know, Sabes is going to trade Buster Posey for the big hitter we need and then re-sign his favorite hacker. Brilliant! Just shoot me now!!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Buster Posey >> Joe Mauer !!!!!

Joe Mauer's career minor league line:

.332/.407/.426 (.833 OPS)

Joe Mauer's major league line:

.327/.408/.483 (.892 OPS, 136 OPS+)

Buster Posey's minor league line:

.327/.421/.538 (.959 OPS)

Buster Posey's projected major league line (based on my advanced proprietary algorithm):



Buster Posey is better than Joe Mauer!!!!

It's NOT projection! It's SCIENCE!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving week

My job has a few perks, one of them I particularly enjoy: a whole week off at Thanksgiving. I thought I'd find a few things to be thankful for and throw them up on the blog so y'all will have some reading material for the holiday.

If you aren't a Baseball-Reference junkie, you should be. I sponsor a page there. Guess which one? B-R has everything. Here's a page for real Giants fans. Here's another. How about the Franchise Encyclopedia? Or the day-by-day game logs for any season? Or playoff game box scores? Transactions? This site has something for every one of you. Go find something cool and report back!

For the sabermetric beast lurking in your soul--and I know it's there, so let it out--nothing beats FanGraphs. Want to see how Pablo Sandoval stacks up with the best using today's trendy new stats? No problem. Want to settle arguments about Tim Lincecum and the Cy Young? Piece o' cake. Want to gape with awe at Barry Bonds' hitting prowess? How about another gusher about Tim? There are lots of ways to view a ball game. It's hard to stay on top of this stuff, I'll admit, but this is 21st-century baseball. There's no end to the data mining we can do.

You can hit "refresh" on this page until your eyes glaze over.

Danger, danger.

Nerd! Nerd!

Road trip!!

A thoughtful piece by a one-time-Giant called "Exploring the Intagibles of Catching." Recommended.

I'll be on the road and un-tethered from the web for the week. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Basking in the glow

At lunch yesterday JCP and I had a lot of fun talking about Tim Lincecum's remarkable season and his 2nd Cy Young in as many years. This morning I'm still basking in the glow. I know Cardinals fans are dismayed, and I expect a number of BBWAA members are surprised, but I believe the best man won the award. All homerism aside, Tim Lincecum was the best pitcher in the league last year and pitched even better this year. They used to say when I was a kid that a challenger had to "knock out the champ" in order to claim the title. Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Wainwright had tremendous seasons and are great ballplayers, but they lost their 15-round decisions by a few points on the judges' cards. I knew the vote would be close--I think we all did, and I must admit I thought Carpenter would win. I figured he'd get the lion's share of 1st place points, and Tim would clean up the 2nd place points. I could certainly see a writer picking either of the other two guys as number one, but I couldn't imagine anyone voting both guys ahead of Tim. (And Javier Vasquez and Dan Haren are both studs and very deserving of votes--it should not have been Tim vs. The Cards, but Tim vs. the best in the league.) In the end, Tim just got too many votes--he was 1, 2, or 3 on every ballot. He made quite an impression on the baseball cognoscenti. As well he should. Giants fans know how dominating this kid is. Leave the stats aside for a second, and think about the feeling you get when you watch him pitch. For me, it's simply awe. I just marvel at his confidence, his fearlessness, and his ability to sit guys down. The guy is great theater--his small frame, his slacker 'do, his outrageous delivery--and you can't take your eyes off him. Giants fans have never seen this kind of talent on the hill. Tim has a long way to go to match the career numbers of guys like Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, but in back-to-back seasons he has simply smothered the opposition with pitching brilliance. (Pitching brilliance, I might add, that is totally supported by a panoply of both sabermetric numbers and old-fashioned stats!) When Barry was being Barry, I remember feeling like the earth stopped turning when he was at the plate. Whatever I was doing, wherever I was, I froze and gave my full atttention to that moment. We know what that was like--we will probably never experience a hitter like that again. Tim is the closest thing to getting that feeling back. You feel like magic is going to happen when he has a ball in his hand, much like when Barry was waving that black bat. Congratulations, Tim! I hope the brain trust is smart enough to make you a Giant forever.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two For Tim

That's right, based on the BBWAA voting protocol, Tim Lincecum is officially the best pitcher in the National League for the second consecutive year. Hey JP, how about another of those great pictures of our favorite Timmah?

OK, back to bitching about other stuff!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Off-season filler

Stat geeks don't like the Giants 2010 offense. Big surprise, eh? Check out and click on the Giants hitters. There's also a projection for Free Agents. OK, since I know you won't follow the links, here are the highlights:

Sandoval .312/.356/.502
FSanchez .281/.319/.396

Holliday .299/.376/.510
NJohnson .264/.395/.407

The fellow who puts these together is named Sean Smith and his system is called CHONE (he's an Angels fan). BBTF's Dan Szymborksi has a system called ZiPS, but I don't believe he has worked up next season for the G-men. FanGraphs has Bill James projections available if you really need to waste time at work. These are popular with fantasy league guys, and I enjoy them because I do that sort of thing in my head all the time--imagining what so-and-so will hit next year. These are just more systematic, and have a track record. Have fun while we wait on Tim news!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Outrage is too mild a word

Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals beat out the Giants Pablo Sandoval for the 2009 Silver Slugger Award for National League third basemen. Managers and coaches vote.

Ryan Zimmerman

.888 OPS
133 OPS+

Pablo Sandoval

.924 OPS
142 OPS+

I'm sure Mr. Zimmerman is a fine fellow and all, rescuing babies from burning buildings and whatnot, but this is the SILVER SLUGGER award. According to the website:

They base their selections on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage . . .

Hmm. Batting average? Check. On-base percentage? Check. Slugging percentage? Check. I'm sure glad the managers and coaches were paying attention to the criteria for Silver Slugger Award when they filled out their ballots. Oh, wait:

. . . as well as the coaches and managers general impressions of a player's overall offensive value.

This is what we call a fudge factor. As in, "I never got to see Sandoval play, because I'm an East Coast guy, and the Nationals really suck, and the only other guy I know who plays third is David Wright and so, uh, I guess it's Zimmerman." That, my friends, is what passes for analyis in the upper echelons of MLB leadership.

Of course, any excuse to write about the Panda is fun. Here's the latest on his off-season (hat tip to OBM). How can you not love this guy? Here's what he says:

The fans, I love them and want them to know I'll always be the guy who's working hard.

Hah. Keep your damn silver bat, Zimmerman. Let's see you top that!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Uggla rumors

Acording to "major-league sources" the Giants are pursuing Dan Uggla. We've heard this before, of course. Uggla sports a career OPS+ of 114 and a career slash line of .257/.344/.482 (.354 w OBA). In his four full ML seasons, all with Florida, he's been worth 4.1, 2.7, 4.7, and 2.9 WAR. He's considered a defensive liability, and would have to play third on the Giants (moving Pablo Sandoval to first). He's a legit power threat, racking up 121 HR and 139 2B in 617 games. He made over $5 M last season, his first arbitration-eligible year. HE'S NOT A FREE AGENT. We would have to make a trade (that scares me). He turns 30 in March.

Assuming we don't chase Matt Holliday with 6 years and $100 million, would you pursue Uggla? He's never had a season below .800 OPS (.826 career), but also never reached .900 (Sandoval was .943 last year). He's a cut above Aaron Rowand (.788), but that's not saying much. For the record, Juan Uribe gave us .824 in 2009. Uggla would be a temporary piece, adding some much-needed pop but not much else. He walks a fair bit, which is nice, but doesn't hit much for average, and strikes out a lot. He's a bit too one-dimensional for me. I suppose it would come down to what we'd have to give up. At this point, we don't have much in the way of surplus, and I've no idea what the FloMars are looking for. You can bet they'll sell high and dazzle poor Sabes with "All-Star" and "RBI-man."

I think we'd be better off chasing a free agent, at least then all we'd lose is money, and your San Francisco Giants have never had issues about throwing money on the ground. Barry Zito will be paid $18.5 M in both 2010 and 2011, and $19 M in 2012. Add in Aaron Rowand at $12 M per year over the same span, and you've got over 1/3 of a $90 M payroll spent on two spectacular mediocrities. Unless the team is willing to jack up the cost of doing business, those two contracts may doom us. The Lincecum-Cain-Sanchez triumvirate will only get spendier, and the window of opportunity to win big with them will close quickly. You see why I get depressed thinking about next year? Tell me, O My Brothers, that I'm wrong. Maybe I'll just have to start gobbling Zoloft.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


A trade proposal from Al at (
"The first order of business is to remove Milton Bradley from the premises. We have had many long debates about whether and for whom he should be traded, but I believe this is top priority for Jim Hendry and will happen sooner rather than later. Disagree if you wish, but I think the best of many not-so-great scenarios is to send him -- and Aaron Miles -- to the Giants for Aaron Rowand. Between Bradley and Miles, they are owed a total of $23.7 million; Rowand is owed $36 million. Since in doing a deal like this, you would be relieving the Giants, essentially, of $12 million (approximately) by taking the third year of Rowand's contract, Hendry should ask the Giants to split the difference and pay half of Rowand's 2012 contract, which would split the total dollars (approximately $60 million) between the two teams, about $30 million each.
This would also accomplish equalizing the 2010 payroll -- or come close -- to what Bradley and Miles would have been owed ($11.7 million) and what Rowand is owed ($12 million). I think the Giants would be willing to do this, because you are taking $6 million off their 2012 payroll, while leaving their 2010 and 2011 payrolls where they are now, since Bradley is owed $12 million in 2011.
I concede that Rowand has had two pretty poor offensive seasons in San Francisco (at least in part due to injuries). But in 2007, he had a fine hitting year in Philadelphia, and I believe that he has at least a chance to return to that level in Chicago. If you were looking at the possible acquisition of Rowand in a vacuum, you wouldn't do it -- but the necessity of removing Bradley from the team makes this probably about the best way to accomplish that. At best, this could turn into a Hundley-for-Grudzielanek-and-Karros sort of deal."

So what do you think? Would you be willing to risk a petulant Milton Bradley to replace a gamery Aaron Rowand? Bradley has been a major leaguer for 10 years, has hit over 20 hr only once and hit 19 once. .277 avg, .371 obp and .450 ops (Rowand: 9 years, 2 with 20+ hr, .280, .339, .448). Could Bochy handle Bradley, and vice-versa? Would he likely be able to find success and fit in with the Giants? If you think this is a possibility, would you throw in some cash as Al suggests? Or would you just do Bradley for Rowand straight up and tell the Cubs to stick it?

Me, I think Milton Bradley has more potential than Rowand, but I can't see it, even if the cash were not "equalized." Just not enough upside in the career stats to make it an attractive deal. I don't know if Bradley is a head case, or has some issues that are going to re-appear over and over. But in spite of a better obp, where I see the only significant difference, it is the devil you know against the devil you don't know. Aaron Miles - could be a back up, but we got guys for that. Aaron Miles does not create an incentive.

OMG it's the GM meetings!

This is a rough time for me. The season is over and there's nothing going on. I click on all my favorite blogs and news sources, hoping and praying that there will be something to write about. Something good would be nice, like the Giants getting Hanley Ramirez in a blockbuster trade for Eli Whiteside and Waldis Joaquin (it's a major-league ready-to-go battery, you see, I'm not just talkin' outta my ass here). Naturally I stare at one of my favorite spots to stare at in the off-season, the MLB Important Dates link from Presto! Something to write about! The GM meetings are here! The GM meetings are here! (I feel like Navin Johnson getting his new phone book.)

I doubt the Giants will do anything earth-shattering. Extra Baggs says Randy Winn has been let go. No surprise there. Having him at the top of the lineup has been a big reason why our offense stinks. This year's dropoff (.262/.318/.353) from his career line (.286/.344/.418) is pretty alarming, especially since it is even worse than his terrible 2006 season (.262/.324/.396). He sandwiched two .790+ OPS seasons in between, but that isn't particularly impressive (104 and 105 OPS+). He's a good fielder and baserunner and can get on base at a .350 clip when he's going well, but has no pop. That makes him a role player, or a 3rd OF on team with two studs. The Giants, of course, populate their team with league-average guys. That's fine when you have a Phillies-like murderer's row (Utley-Howard-Werth), but we don't, and we won't for a long time.

So long and good luck, Randy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The "objective list"

You may recall my note of 19 October to Mr. William H. Neukom, MGP/CEO, and his reply of 29 October. He stated most artfully:

Be assured that we continually look for ways to improve and a winning team is always at the top of our objective list.

I didn't know we--er, the Giants--had an "objective list." But since they do, and we know that they do because W.H.N. said so, it seems time to talk about it (the list, that is) in more specific terms. In other words, what's on the list? And, uh, can we see it? At least we know "a winning team" is on the list, and it is "at the top." Does that mean it IS the top? Or just ONE of the top items? I'm having trouble with that wording. Seems a fella like W.H.N with his Dartmouth A.B. and his Stanford LL.B and all would have little trouble saying exactly what he means to say. And since he said something that isn't EXACTLY clear, I can only assume that was his intent. It would be OK with me if W.H.N. said "a robust revenue stream" was priority number one because it takes one of those to build a good club. Hey, I'm a practical guy. I'm down with capitalism and the free market thing. I got no beef with a business being business-like. It takes the big bucks to build the big winners, don't it? How 'bout those Yankees? I can join hands with the congregation and praise the Almighty Dollar just as well as any good American. So it's OK, Mr. N., you can come clean. If "$$" is numero uno and "in play--runs" is numero dos, let's just 'fess up and be done, OK?

For the record, here's my objective list:

1. Win the World Series.
2. Do everything in the organization with objective number one in mind.
3. Get rid of anyone who does not abide by objective number two.

It's a good thing I'm not the MGP/CEO. I'd be a tiresome bore, constantly droning on about winning the World Series. No one would want to work for me.

"Hey, boss, I got us some donuts!"
"That's fine, son, but how does it helps us with Objective Number One?"

You see? Tiresome.

God help me, I can't wait for Spring Training.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Important stuff

Just wanted to make sure y'all knew the Spring Training schedule was posted.

March 3rd--that's not so far away, eh?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Franchise is party animal!

This just in: Tim Lincecum was stoned and speeding! (Hat tip to commenter Orwell D. Catt on McChronic for the link.) The Freak is goin' all Michael Phelps on us, dudes! Now he won't get on the Wheaties box!

Welcome to the off-season

The Yanks were the best team all year. They won it all. They deserved it. Congrats to Mr. Matusi. OK, enough of that.

The real excitement for Giants fans is that we have the off-season! Hot damn! What over-rated free agent will we throw money at this year? Oh, wait--we got a guy already. Do this: go to this FanGraphs page. It is sorted for "second basemen in 2009" by wOBA. Look at the list. Then change the pull-down tab to read "2008." Then try "2007." You see, the problem with contracts for guys like Freddy Sanchez is THEY HAVE TO REPEAT THEIR CAREER-BEST YEAR IN ORDER TO BE ABOVE-AVERAGE. Hey--he might do that. But the odds are against it. At least it is only a two-year commitment, I can live with anyone for two years. I expect FSanchez will be an net positive for the club, but so what? He can't walk or hit homeruns. He doesn't run and he's an average defender at best. Sounds like an infield version of Aaron Rowand. The Matt Holliday/Jason Bay circus will play out soon, and someone will give them 4 years and $60+ million. I hope it is not us. We could use the bat, but both of these guys will be good for two years, max, before they become just another drain on the payroll. This FA class is not much help, and the thought of Sabean trading one of our core guys fill me with dread.

How do we improve the team, guys? And should we expect our lights-out league-dominating run-prevention to be the same in 2010? What happens if we have a drop-off, even a slight one, like Matt Cain posting a 3.50 ERA? Or Jonathan Sanchez getting hurt? Or the bullpen having a few hiccups? Last season our pitching had to be damn near perfect to win. Can we reasonably expect that to work again? Finally, who is going to get the walks and homeruns it takes to win in the major leagues?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mr. Neukom writes back!

click to enlarge

Here's my original letter.

He wrote me back! I wasn't sure I'd get a personal reply. I thought I might get the old "Dear Valued Customer" routine, but I got an actual letter on French vanilla stationery (with embossed Giants logo) with The Man's actual signature. Oh, I've no doubt one of the minions processed my note and printed the reply, but they must have at least waved it under the Big Fella's nose. I mean, I made his "in box." How cool is that?

Here's the complete text if the image is unreadable. Sorry for the poor quality, its the best my scanner can do. Hey, computer-savvy guys out there: suggestions for how to display this item for consumption on the blog are most welcome!

Dear Mr. O'Connor:

Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts about the San Francisco Giants. It is always interesting to hear what our fans are thinking, whether it be in the form of praise or constructive criticism.

Your passion for the Giants is shared by all of us here in the Giants' front office. Be assured that we continually look for ways to improve and a winning team is always at the top of our objective list. (emphasis mine)


William H. Neukom

Charitable translation: "we're working on it."

Uncharitable translation: "piss off, mate."

What say, me buckos? Are you "reassured?"

(update 1900 PST: 7-1 Yanks after five, looks like 2009 is over)


What passes for excitement around here in GiantsLand is the hiring of a new batting coach. This guy makes my all-time, all-name team. How cool is a nickname like "Bam-Bam" and how cool is a moniker like Hensley Filemon Acasio Meulens? Admit it, your middle name is not anywhere near as cool as "Filemon." He's paid his dues professionally, and is supposedly fluent in several languages (not surprising in someome from Curaçao), which has to be a good thing in today's game. None of this will matter if we throw the same squad of no-talent hackers out there in 2010. I remember thinking Carney Lansford was a good choice, but the brain trust threw him under a bus without so much as a second glance. The skeptic in me says "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" but the sucker, er, believer in me says "change is good and ought to help." Welcome aboard Bam-Bam, I hope you like working with guys who swing at pitches that hit them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Miracle, part I

I was thinking about 3-1 deficits in the World Series while watching the Phils win last night. I remember the 1968 Series when the Tigers came back--most improbably--against the defending champion Cardinals. I was a bit young to appreciate the significance, but I did know the Cards were the best team (they had beaten my Mom's beloved Sox the previous year) and that they lost. A comeback like that didn't happen again until the 1979 "We are Family" Pirates picked themselves up off the floor and wore down the mighty Orioles. I remember the Series well as I still had a grudge against the Pirates for beating the Giants in the 1971 playoffs. The Cardinals saw their 1985 World Series dream end after being up 3-1 against an underrated Royals team. That Series was best known for the blown call in game six that kept KC's chances alive. Jack Clark had been my favorite Giant through a long stretch of mostly lousy teams and I rooted for him and the Cards in that one. It is 2009, there hasn't been a 3-1 comeback in the Series for over two decades, don't you think we are due? As I said yesteday, I don't like the odds, but the Phils got step one out of the way for their miracle, can they do it two more times? They pounded the crap out of the ball and withstood a furious Yankee rally that chased the imperturbable Cliff Lee out of the game. In the 9th the Yanks had Derek Jeter up with two on and no outs, and he hit into a double play! Lots of guys hit into double plays, but this was Cap'n Derek, Mr. Clutch, the very embodiment of The Bronx Bomber Mystique. Imagine if it had been A-Rod! The matchups so far are Pedro vs. Pettite, and Hamels v. CC, but it wouldn't surprise me if Charlie Manuel did something nutty and used rookie phenom JA Happ at some point. Is a miracle still possible in these dark and cynical times?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nail, meet coffin

The Phils are done. Barring a miracle, the Yanks will be wearing new rings this week. Cliff Lee can pitch the Series back to NYC with another one of his gems tonight, but that will mean the season is over for Philadelphia's best pitcher. A weekend in New York without your best pitcher and you have to win two games? I don't like those odds. The Yankees just scored 15 runs in two games against Hamels, Blanton, and the bullpen. Pedro Martinez gave a "quality start" in game two, but still lost. The Yanks have a seemingly-endless supply of counter moves for whatever Manuel and the defending champs try to do.

Everybody's talkin' about the Johnny Damon double steal. It was a smart play, and unique. No one was covering third due to the shift on Teixeira, and Damon outran Pedro Feliz (who took the throw at second on the steal). It shouldn't have mattered with two outs, but Lidge plunked Tex and gave A-Rod a chance to hit. I could smell "three-run HR" but the game-winning double was enough. Damon should also get a lot of credit for a great two-out at-bat: down 0-2, working it full, singling on the 9th pitch. The beleaguered Phillies closer was perfect last season. Oh, how things change! The fact that the Phils are the NL champs with Lidge struggling so much all year long is a credit to the rest of their team.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat

When the Phillies opened their Hallowe'en sacks last night they found a fat, stinking turd instead of candy. The pile had a note from King George stuck to it: Bugger off ya bloody wankers, we're the fecking Yankees. Trailing 3-0 after three, the Bombers put up two in the fourth and three in the fifth to kick Cole Hamels' butt. They went on to score a single run apiece against the next three relief pitchers. New York goes for the kill tonight with their big ace, C.C. Sabathia, on short rest. It's not a great spot for the defending champs as their über-ace, Cliff Lee, goes tomorrow. Let's hope Joe Blanton pitches the game of his life and the big bats produce for Philadelphia.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Freddy Sanchez, professional hitter

Looking at Freddy Sanchez' WAR from 2005 (when he became a Pirate regular) we see 3.2, 4.8, 3.8, 0.4, and 2.2 (111 games).

Here's what a 4.8 WAR (2006) season looks like:

.344/.378/.473 (.851 OPS and 119 OPS+)

Here's what a 0.4 WAR season (2008) looks like:

.271/.298/.371 (.669 OPS and 79 OPS+)

I assume the "real" Frederick Philip Sanchez is somewhere in the middle. Here's his career line:

.299/.334/.417 (.751 OPS and 97 OPS+) ***

Since he's accumulated 14.4 WAR in those five seasons, he's roughly a 2.9 WAR player. (FanGraphs lists his career WAR as 14.1, but that's because his 2002-2004 seasons--only 31 G, 72 PA--accounted for a negative 0.3 WAR.) Juan Uribe contributed 2.9 WAR last year, a full win over the 1.9 from Aaron Rowand. FSanchez is now officially our second-best position player behind Pablo (5.1 WAR) Sandoval. Is he an upgrade? You bet! Second base is an organizational black hole along with shortstop, first base, and outfield. We can't make one so we have to buy one. Did we get a good deal? Probably. If you accept the argument that a "win" is worth about $4.5 million on the free agent market, a "2-win" player should cost about $9 M per year, a "3-win" player about $13.5 M per year. FSanchez is supposedly getting $12 M for two years. The Giants signed Juan Uribe to a minor league deal last year and got a 2.9 WAR performance for about a million bucks. Still think it is a good deal? See, here's the problem--the Giants have to pay market rate for veterans because we don't have any other choices. No one in the system is good enough or, if they are, they aren't ML-ready. (Conor Gillaspie, where are you?) So we went out and did the safe, conservative thing, we signed a safe, conservative guy, nice and boring and middle-of-the-road, a perfect spokesman for the insurance industry, probably look good in a bespoke suit and bow tie. Your 2010 San Francisco Giants just got a new leader, a new gamer, a real pro, hell, let's pin a VSC on him with GMF clusters! I've no doubt he plays the game the right way. I'll bet can do the little things, too. I'm really looking forward to him moving the runner over and making a productive out. And those 2-run singles! Hot damn!

***q.v. Mark Loretta.


He was an 11th round pick (#332) by the Red Sox in the 2000 draft. The Giants took Jackson Markert, a pitcher, just ahead of him. Boof Bonser was our first round pick that year (#21), and Adrian Gonzalez was number one overall.

FSanchez was born in Hollywood, played at Burbank High School, Glendale Community College, Dallas Baptist University, and Oklahoma City University before turning pro. He will be 32 in December, making him about four months older than Aaron Rowand.

READ THIS pre-season 2009 piece from FanGraphs "Postion Battles: Giants' 2B job". Then weep!

Here's Dan Szymborski's take on the deal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who's your daddy?

I love Pedro Martinez. He's one of my favorite baseball characters, and he's had a remarkable career. And what Giants fan doesn't enjoy seeing a guy become a star after he leaves LA? There was a stretch--1997 to 2003--where he was nearly unhittable. I got to see him pitch in Fenway in 1998 in a game against his former team, the Expos (with Felipe Alou managing). Former Giant Darren Lewis was the hitting star!

I thought yesterday's press conference highlights were hilarious. Baseball reporters never seem to get it when a ballplayer is messing with them, it's as if they refuse to believe some dumb jock can poke holes in their questions. I think there is an unwritten script that the ballplayers are supposed to stick with ("I'm just happy to be here" and "I just want to help the team" and etc.) and when they ad lib no one knows how to deal with it. Barry did that all the time and all it ever caused him was more grief. When the Yankee fans were really giving it to Martinez as he walked off the field last night you could see him break into a smile before the cameras cut to commercial. You are not supposed to laugh in the face of defeat in the baseball universe, that's not the manly way to handle it, but Martinez knew that the Yanks had beaten him and the only sensible thing to do was to "tip his cap" to them. He pitched a great game, but Burnett pitched an even better one.

The big moment for me was when Rollins worked a walk off Rivera in the 8th. That was quite an effort against a guy who never walks anyone. Then Victorino poked one into right field and the big guys were coming up with only one out. Alas, Utley hit a double play ball, and was out at first on a verrrrry close play. That was it for the Phils. Give credit to the Yanks, they made the big plays and got the big hits when they needed them. Burnett pitched a gem and got the ball to Mariano for the last six outs--that's a tough formula for any club, even the defending champs. Cole Hamels has yet to show his 2008 form, but he'll get a chance on Saturday at home to right the ship. He'd be the game seven starter if this rotation holds. Will we see C.C. come back on short rest for game four if the Yanks are down 2-1? If the Phils are in a 2-1 hole will they trust their fortunes to journeyman Joe Blanton or rookie J.A. Happ? What a great series so far, eh? Let's hope it keeps up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phils 6, Yanks 1

Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant!

The Gauls held the legions at bay last night. I've no doubt the Emperor was pissed and a troop of minions was decimated. Exceptional performance by Cliff Lee, dominating the toughest lineup in the game and out-dueling the big ace, C.C. Sabathia. The Yanks 'pen blew some serious chow in the 8th and 9th, and a desperate Girardi did his best Felipe impression, getting the last six outs with five guys.

Some wag opined yesterday "The Phils will need to have the big guns delivering the big hits and will need Cliff Lee to neutralize C.C." I'd say two homers by Chase Utley, two doubles by Ryan Howard, and two RBI by Raul Ibanez counts for the big guns/big hits part and an Game Score of 83 (TEN striekouts!) qualifies as neutralizing. What a cool customer Lee is--would you say he is the biggest pick-up of the season?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Serious

The World Series starts tomorrow, thanks to the TV networks and their stranglehold on Bud Selig's pubic hair. Let's see what the matchups look like. The Yankees, as a team, sport a wOBA of .366, best in the majors. The Phillies come in tied for 5th with the Rockies at .340, best in the NL. How about OBP? Yankees, 1st (.362), Phillies 14th (.334). Slugging? Yanks with the gold(.478), Phils with the bronze (.447). Runs scored? Yanks on top again (915), Phils 4th (820, best in the NL). The Yanks hit the most HRs--244--but the Phils are right behind at 224. The Yanks have the most hits and the most walks and the third fewest strikeouts--the Phils are middle-of-the-pack in all three. On paper, it's a mismatch. The Bombers have the best lineup in baseball. The Phils, of course, have Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jason Werth, and Raul Ibanez, all serious mashers, throw in Shane Victorino and the 2008 Jimmy Rollins and you've got a hell of a team. But no team in the game can match the Yanks for firepower: Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, A-Rod, Posada, Matsui, Cano, and Swisher all sport an OPS above .850 and a wOBA over .370! Of the 2009 Giants, only Pablo Sandoval (.943/.396) could crack that lineup, and he'd be up against Tex and A-Rod for a spot to play. Scary. One plus for the Phils? They only hit into 90 DPs, best in the game, 54 fewer than the Yanks.

How about pitching? The Yanks are 13th in team FIP (4.32), the Phils 17th (4.36). The Yankees bring some cheese with 1260 strikeouts, good for 4th (SFG #1 at 1302), while the Phils are 12th at 1153. The Phillies, on the other hand, don't walk people (489, 3rd best), while the Yanks do (574, 18th). The Phils gave up 709 runs (8th best), while the Yanks yielded 753 (11th). Both teams give up a lot of HRs (181--NYY, 189--PHI), but both play in hitter-friendly parks. The Phillies have 8 complete games (3 by Happ, 2 by Hamels, 3 by Lee) and 5 shutouts (2 Happ, 2 Hamels, 1 Lee). The Yankees have 2 CG by Sabathia, 1 a shutout, and 1 CG by Burnett. Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia have both been dominant in the post-season so far--will we get 3 starts by either of them if it goes seven? If I were Philly, I'd be tempted. The Yanks can counter Hamels with Pettite and Happ or Blanton with Burnett. The X-factor for Philadelphia will be Pedro Martinez. If he can pitch like the vintage Pedro we have all seen in the past that will be a huge plus for Philly. The other starters after Hamels--who has looked shaky so far--are eminently hittable. The Yankees have a huge advantage in late and close situations with Mariano Rivera, who seems to be just as good as he's always been, which means he's one of the best of all time.

The Phils will need to have the big guns delivering the big hits and will need Cliff Lee to neutralize C.C. Otherwise the Yanks will roll. The Phils are the defending champs--that counts for something. But the Yanks can wear anyone down with the bats--there's a reason they had the most regular-season wins. In a short series, we know that anything can happen and the "best" team doesn't always win. I'll root for the Phils, naturally, being the NL rep and all that, not to mention that rooting for the Yanks is like rooting for the Roman Empire. But my head says the Yanks will get the ring even though my heart says otherwise.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Logic Test

First, read this article. Think about it. Do you agree?

Second, if so, complete this analogy: Bobby Abreu is to the Angels’ plate disciple as ____ Molina is to the Giants lack of plate discipline.

Third: Put Buster Posey behind the plate for 2009, getting backup catchers as necessary. Do not bury Buster in the minor leagues because Bengie Molina would not accept a one-year contract. Buster will learn. Buster is the future. See the future. Be the future.

I’m off on a scouting expedition, looking for another Tsuyoshi Shinjo type player. Back in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Super Timmer

David Pinto agrees with me:

If you come up with someone like Tim, take care of that years (sic) with a long-term contract before arbitration becomes an issue, like the Rays did with Evan Longoria. The Giants should offer Tim 5 years, $60 million now and put that worry away for a while.

Emphasis mine.

(This all started because Big D at Giants Win linked to the Henry Schulman Splash posting.)

I hope we can sign Tim for 5 years and $60 million. Aaron Fookin' Rowand got 5 years, $60 million. When your organizational benchmark is 7 years, $126 million for Barry Bleedin' Zito, you're in a stinkin' pile of shite.

(Evan Longoria has two seasons in the bigs and sports a 127 OPS +, a .377 wOBA, and 12. 6 WAR. He signed a 6-year deal for under $20 million.)

UPDATE 0642 Thursday: You have to love this. At least we know TSN got it right. We'll see if the BBWAA follows suit. (T'anks to JCP for pointing out the story yesterday!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Signed, sealed, delivered.

click to enlarge
(I signed my real name on the actual letter!)

I Would Have Never Thought...

that Tim McCarver and Joe Buck would sound good. I don't know who the idiots on TBS are, but here is an actual quote from last night's glorious shellacing of the doggers.

"Can you imagine where the Phillies would be if Brad Lidge had the kind of year he did last year?"

Ummm.....exactly where they are right now, playing for the NL crown?

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Modest, Although Somewhat Risky Proposal

Brian Wilson will be either arbitrated or signed to a long term deal. We all know that. His pertinent numbers for 2009 are: 38 saves, with 7 blown saves. He threw 72.1 innings in 68 games. He made a little under $500,000. He will not win the Fireman of the Year award, but was pretty good. Being a closer is coming into ball games in high pressure situations, and a good closer is not just valuable, but a must-have for a winning ball club. Good closers make a lot of money, and Brian Wilson will make a lot of money soon. So here is the proposal: Consider giving him his arbitration award, and then trading him. The success of this gambit hinges on two things that both must work out, 1) you have to find someone who needs an established closer, and 2) You have to find someone to replace him. So what do you think, is there a closer in Affeldt/Runsler/Romo that is at least as reliable at Mr. Wilson? Whom do you think would want an established closer? Chicago? Texas? What do you think he would net in return? Too much apple cart upsetting?

I'm just trying to think outside the box here. By the way, Fuck the dodgers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Graphic Failure

Some of you may remember a post I did before the 2008 season. OK, I don’t really expect anyone to remember, but trust me on this – the post was about how I thought it was reasonable to expect Ray Durham to improve from a crappy 2007 season. Here are some of his numbers: 2007 - obp .295, slg .343; 2008 (w/Giants) – obp .385, slg .414. Not surprising to see someone rebound to something approaching his lifetime stats (.352 obp and .436 slg) from such a significant drop off. I argued that, although Ray was near the end of his career, there was probably more uncertainty in the stats for a player near the end of his career than for one near the middle, and a rebound could reasonably be expected.

But this is not about Ray, it is about Edgar. Edgar the Warrior. Here is his production in obp and slg, with the yearly averages and two-year moving averages. I also have three-year moving averages, but it looks less elegant and they show the same thing.

Note how the graphs take a nose dive in the past couple of years. Unlike a one-year aberration, this convinces me that there is a trend here, and I especially don't like the way that the slugging and obp lines converge. So I have a proposal. Trade Edgar, even if it means paying part of his salary. He is due a cool 9 million simoleans next year, and if you pick up half, get someone in return (backup catcher, maybe?) you save 4.5 million and can have a more productive infield. I'm thinking Uribe at shortstop, Sanchez at second. I know that a lot of folks don't like Sanchez, but I think he can contribute significantly. I think Uribe has earned a place on the team. Edgar is a bit younger than Ray Durham was in 2007, but they both have had similar years in the bigs (13 for Edgar so far, 14 for Ray). If Edgar was, as reported, injured, I could be convinced that he could improve, just not enough to buck the trend. If you want this team to improve (and I just don't see that many ways to do it without trading away the kind of pitching that we don't want to lose) then you have to do something, like eating salary. Take a big bite - yum!