Monday, November 18, 2013

We Have 80% of a Great Starting Rotation!!!!!

"The Giants have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with right-hander Tim Hudson, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle."

I consider this to be excellent news.  Lots of $, but a short deal, for a perennial thorn in our side.  Having him on our team, instead of on another team, alone is worth something.  He's always been a top-notch pitcher, & Atlanta disintegrated when he got hurt last year.

This is a big deal - next up, Bronson Arroyo, I hope.

Giants in 2014!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Money Matters

An interesting article over at MLBTR got me thinking about those things I really don't like thinking about, namely, economics and finance. The game--that is, professional baseball--has always been a business despite our best attempts to disguise it as a pastime. Being a fan is a pastime, but running a ballclub is serious business. The San Francisco Giants, despite a poor 2013 season, are big-time players in the business of baseball. This ain't your mid-market team no more, buckos, the Giants are in the upper echelon and plan to be there for a while. We like to think of Los Angeles and New York as the centers of gravity when it comes to baseball Benjamins, but the Giants are no slouches with payroll. The Giants spent about $136M last season, up from $131M in 2012 and $118M in 2011. The 2010 bill was a mere $96M, which was a $14M jump over 2009. The team has already committed $110M to 2014 with several roster spots to fill and arbitration cases to settle, and $109M to 2015. Only five players are signed for 2016, but those five (Matt Cain, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Madison Bumgarner) have a hair over $80M coming. Those five become four when Pagan's deal is up in 2017, but they will still cost over $70M. Only Buster is left by 2019, and he's in orange-and-black until at least 2021 with an option for 2022, all to the tune of $20+M per year.

For better or worse, that's the core. The team is "all in" with the guys they have. This is The Window. If the Giants are going to win another World Series ring, it's going to happen with these guys. This season and the next is how long the band stays together. After that there are some huge obligations and a hell of a lot of holes. We've seen the Giants bring in the young studs and win championships, but now those young studs are well-paid veterans. With the possible exception of Brandon Belt, the team is counting on richer, older guys to deliver the goods. That may work, but it's not like it was before. Take a look, like I said, at the article on MLBTR by Jeff Todd. He has a graph showing which teams have the most money committed going forward, and to no one's surprise the Dodgers lead the way by a lot. The Giants, despite being $100M short of LA, are right up there in third place. And that got me thinking, which isn't always a good thing.

The good news is that the money is flowing into the game at an unprecedented rate. Fox and ESPN are ponying up huge bucks for the TV rights, and every team stands to benefit. Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs has an article worth your time that looks at revenues and payrolls. Again, the Giants stand out as big spenders. I'm not saying that's bad, just weird. I never thought my team would be one of those rich ones! And big expenditures come with big expectations. I mean, here we are. This is The Window. The money has been shelled out for the guys we love, and some more money will have to flow before the team is set, and by god we will be damn disappointed if they don't kick some NL West ass and take another playoff run. And we will be equally disappointed if the brain trust can't conjure up some serious young talent to take the open spots and keep up the new standard of excellence the team has set for itself. It's a long way from frigid nights in Candlestick, ain't it lads?

Tell me what you think.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The 2014 Season Starts Now

The World Series is over, thus marking the end of 2013. Hope springs eternal for 2014. The Giants have a piece of unfinished business, and that's signing Javier Lopez. The guy has been lights-out in his role of Super-LOOGY, and despite being 37 years old shows no sign of slowing down. His walks per nine (2.7), strikeouts per nine (8.5), and his hits per nine (6.9) were all career bests. He's faced 605 batters in his San Francisco tenure, striking out 121, walking 54, hitting three and giving up two, yes two home runs. In 147-1/3 innings, he's allowed 120 hits and 42 runs. According to Baseball-Reference, he's been worth 3.5 WAR since his 2010 debut in orange-and-black. We all know this guy's a stud, and even though he's a specialist, he's a very, very good one, one of the best in the game. Let's keep him in the fold.

The Boston Red Sox, possessor's of the game's mightiest offense, won the World Series scoring a mere 27 runs with a paltry .621 OPS. But their pitchers allowed only 14 runs to the NL's best offense, giving up just 10 extra-base hits and striking out 45 in 53-2/3 innings. Two superb starts apiece by cagey veterans John Lester and Jon Lackey and excellent bullpen work from Brandon Workman, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, and regular-season starter Felix Doubront neutralized Cardinals bats. St. Louis featured a spectacular quartet of flame-throwing youngsters, starter Michael Wacha and relievers Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez, and Trevor Rosenthal, as well as a legit ace (Adam Wainwright), but it wasn't enough. In a short series, anything can happen, and Boston had everything go their way in Busch Stadium after losing Game Three on the now-famous obstruction call. I thought, after blowing Game Two in Boston, the Sox would likely come home down 3-2, but the dramatic wins in Games Four and Five sealed the Cards fate. It was a weird series with some sloppy play and odd, hard-to-defend managerial moves, but in the end none of that matters because flags fly forever.

Boston went from last to first, and that's the lesson. Things change quickly in the modern game. Whether it's the meteoric rise of rookies, the impact of free agents, or the comebacks from injured players, last season means less and less in the big scheme. What the Giants (and everyone else) do now is what matters most. The team obviously has some holes to fill and moves to make, and I think we will see some action this winter. What do you guys think the team should do? Let's get the discussion started!