Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Musings

Will Smith will not pitch for the Giants this season: Tommy John surgery looms for the lefty. Matt Moore, George Kontos, Derek Law, and Hunter Strickland are all TJS survivors. I've always wondered why ligament reconstruction, arthroscopy, and laser eye surgery aren't considered performance-enhancing. Why are chemical fixes bad and mechanical ones good? Speaking of bad, Smith's injury is a blow for the bullpen. It will be interesting to see who steps up to fill the void. A lefty who can get righties out is a tough guy to replace, but having a couple of good LOOGYs could make up the difference. It will take a village out there this season, and that's OK as it seems to be the Giants Way. Get a bunch of pretty good guys to back up a star, in this case closer Mark Melancon, and work the matchups and play well in the field and good things will happen.

Speaking of good, I'm happy that Barry Bonds is back with the club. The man knows more about hitting than any other human. Get that knowledge out of him and spread it throughout the organization. Even if that were not the case, Bonds was a megastar in orange-and-black. He was the biggest draw in baseball and played magnificently under constant scrutiny. He was the only one who could turn right field and McCovey Cove at Pacific Bell Park into his personal showcase. No one hits them out there anymore. He was the only one, it will be some time before another player can do that. The bĂȘte noire of the MLB burned a lot of bridges in his day, but every good melodrama needs a black knight, especially a flashy and menacing one. Barry had a knack for the role, eh?

I also must admit to enjoying the World Baseball Classic, although I also admit to being a skeptic in its first incarnation. I think the fact that the other nations approached the tournament with both planning and passion finally convinced the American public it was a worthy endeavor. MLB's big-wigs I expect were tired of looking bad, especially in comparison to the Japanese. Team Japan is awesome and Team USA did well to get past them. I got to see most of the semi-final against Japan and the final against Puerto Rico. I thought the Puerto Rican lineup was scary, but it became obvious they didn't have the pitching depth available to win it. Certainly the presence of Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey on the domestic roster was a huge pull for me, and adding FNG Melancon was icing on the cake. I note that all performed well, BCraw in particular was part of everything, good and bad, that happened to the team. Why wouldn't veteran guys like our stud shortstop and catcher want to play real baseball instead of mucking around in Scottsdale? Both will be a joy to watch this season, and having a stud closer will be a huge boon for the team's chances.

What's on your mind as we count down to Opening Day?


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Things to get excited about for 2017

The return of Giants baseball from winter hibernation is certainly exciting enough, don't you think? But there are some specific things about the 2017 Giants that I'm feeling stoked about. For one, how about Matt Moore? For another, how about Eduardo Nunez? I don't think either player has shown his full potential. Moore will be 28 in June and Nunez will be 29. These guys ought to be at their physical peaks--the Giants were smart to grab them both. Let's imagine a full season from both of them with Moore complementing the outstanding one-two MadBum-JohnnyC combo and Nunez filling out an already outstanding infield. We are going to enjoy watching these guys.

Mark Melancon was of course the obvious upgrade the bullpen needed, but I'm excited for some of the youngsters like Derek Law and Steven Okert and perhaps even Kyle Crick. "Old vets" like Hunter Strickland and Cory Gearrin will be more seasoned and I expect they'll be stalwart contributors. We didn't really get to see what Will Smith can do, I feel like Bochy did not know him well enough last season and that this year he may get a chance to be, for lack of a better term, Jeremy Affeldt Lite. The fact that Matt Cain is physically healthy (at least that's the word) is exciting. My expectations are muted, but if he can be effective as a fifth starter that will make the rotation among the best in the game.

Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker both bring some excitement to the outfield. Untested, sure, but that's part of it. The uncertainty in the outfield, what with both Pence and Span being below par last season, is a problem, but I feel good about the process. There are vets aplenty to push these guys and I have faith that they will step up. They don't have to be superstars, just solid major-leaguers, and I believe the team has the support and coaching necessary to achieve that. Then again, Mac Williamson and Chris Marrero could make some roster decisions really tough. That's good. When you cut or re-assign talented players, that means you have a deep club.

What are you guys excited about?


p.s. I forgot to mention Jae-gyun Hwang, Mr. Excitement. Who knows what this guy can do?