Tuesday, December 24, 2019

'Tis the Season for Some Changes

The Giants promoted Antoan Richardson, the team's Field Coordinator, to first base coach for the major-league squad. Jose Alguacil, it seems, is let go. I always thought they were grooming Alguacil for bigger things. From a January article about Richardson:

Antoan Richardson -- Field Coordinator
Richardson starts his first season with the Giants as the Field Coordinator. The former outfielder spent the 2018 season as an Outfield Coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays. Richardson appeared in the Majors with the Atlanta Braves in 2011 and with the New York Yankees in 2014. He was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 35th round of the 2005 draft out of Vanderbilt University. The Bahamian native made his Major League debut on September 4, 2011, and recorded his first career hit off Clayton Kershaw in his first Major League at-bat. In his free time, Richardson mentors youth in the Bahamas through Project Limestone, a non-profit organization he established shortly after his retirement.

He just turned 36. Only Ron Wotus, among the coaches, is a greybeard. These whippersnappers have some big challenges ahead--I hope they're up to it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone. And thanks for reading, as always.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nicholas Castellanos, anyone?

The only free agent reliably associated (by that I mean multiple references on MLBTR) with the Giants has been Nicholas Castellanos. An OF and DH with the Tigers since 2011 he was traded to the Cubs in mid-season and performed extremely well (1.002 OPS and 37 XBH in 51 games). That raised his stock quite a bit although he was already a good player (2.7, 2.9, and 4.7 bWAR 2016-2018), if better known for his bat than his glove. He'll be 28 in March and has played in almost 900 games and amassed over 3600 PAs.

I don't know if the Giants are really in the running, after all the website is called MLBTR and the TR stands for Trade Rumors. But a tweet from Baggs sent me to an article by Sahadev Sharma who covers the Cubs for The Athletic and it had this:
Castellanos’ market is solid, but according to sources with knowledge of his priorities, he’s looking for a situation where “culture” and “environment” are more than just buzzwords.
Money matters, but all things being (nearly) equal, Castellanos is searching for a team ready to embrace him as a potential leader and one that is committed to building a winning culture. In his discussions with various organizations, Castellanos sees the Giants, Rangers and Cubs as three teams who value him for more than just his offense and that treat “clubhouse culture” as more than just T-shirts and talking points.
This counters a bit of the talk about analytics and cost-benefit analysis ruining the team! At least one player out there seems to like what's going on in San Francisco. Players choose teams for a lot of reasons. We don't always know what the reasons are.

In any event, Castellanos would be strictly a corner OF, mostly likely confined to LF. But if he could deliver 120 OPS+ and 300 TB that would be great. Supposedly he has improved his fielding every season since becoming a full-time starter--he came up as a third baseman but was quickly forced to the outfield.

This could all be nothing, but it's worth taking a look at. I think we've talked out the Bum stuff.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Adios, compadre

I should add an hasta luego as well.

In a move that took me by surprise the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Madison Bumgarner for five years and $85M. Forgive me if I think they got him on the cheap. The Giants supposedly offered a similar yearly salary but for only four years. And it turns out that Bum and his wife love Arizona and have property there. So he wanted to go. At least that's the way I see it. And good for him. He's a free agent after a decade in the bigs and he gets to call his own shots. That's the way it should be.

Of course he will be missed. Few players in the history of the team are equally accomplished and entertaining. Some are accomplished and some are entertaining, few can do both. Madison Bumgarner did everything you can ask from a player and did it with panache. He managed to surpass, in his Giants legacy, the two aces who came before him: Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. That's some damn fine work.

I hope he stays healthy and pitches well in Arizona. Except against the Giants, of course. I'll want to see 2-2/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R, that sort of thing. Against LA I'll be rooting for shutouts!


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The new coaching staff

37, 35, 38, 36, 31, 29, 33, and 31. And 58, of course.

That's how old these guys are. Or, perhaps I should say, how young they are. I just turned 60, so they seem rather young to me. But that's good. Major League Baseball is a young man's endeavor.

The article is worth taking a look at even though it is a bit long.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

New Faces

It's the Winter Meetings so you expect some action. The Giants sign RHP Kevin Gausman to a one-year $9M deal, with incentives. He was non-tendered in Cincinnati. He's 28 and has started 150+ games in his career. The Giants also purchased 34-year old infielder Zack Cozart from the Angels for over $12M, but it seems the point was to get 21-year old shortstop Will Wilson, the #15 pick (from NC State) in last year's draft. The team certainly has money to spend, and they'd rather take a chance on a guy who has one season of rookie ball than a seasoned centerfielder. But that's what you do when you are rebuilding. If they get anything out of Cozart it will be a bonus, but he did hit 24 HR two years ago.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Winter Meetings Begin

Seven years and $245M for Stephen Strasburg to stay in DC. What will it cost to keep Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco? More now, I suspect. Starting pitching is always a premium product--you want some, it'll cost ya. But that matters not. The Giants have oodles of money and can spend it if they want. We don't know what they want, that's the problem.

I saw a tweet from AmyG that says the Giants will sign a starter this week. And, they are meeting with MadBum's reps this week. I have to assume the Giants want to improve their starting pitching.

She also tweets that Aramis Garcia is slotted for Buster's backup spot now that Stephen Vogt has left (he's on the D-Backs). This is a good opportunity for Garcia and I hope he makes the most of it. The big talk is about 'player development' which I assume is industry buzz for 'teaching' but at the major-league level. That stuff mostly used to happen in the minors, but things have changed. There is more emphasis on teaching at the top level and of course there is much more information available. I hope that means more young players will get chances in 2020 and that they will get the coaching they need to be their best. I don't know how that stuff works, I just hope it does work.


Monday, December 2, 2019


The Giants decided that Kevin Pillar was not worth approximately ten million dollars to play for them next season. The fact the he was a popular, entertaining, and even valuable player made no difference in the end. Value, of course, depends on the beholder. I thought the "butts in the seats" argument would knock the Villar-meter over to "sign" but I remain once again useless at prognostication. That doesn't mean Pillar won't be on the Giants, it just means he will be free to find a home somewhere else. You never know, sometimes guys come back on a lower per-year deal for their own reasons. Or the market for their skills never develops. Baseball is not a "free market" in the Econ 101 sense, it is too small and too constricted and subject to too many random inputs. But a guy like Pillar, a good ballplayer despite some scary on-base numbers (.287! overall), does not have the "value" in today's market that perhaps he should. But that's as much on the players and the skewed free agency rules that the MLBPA have gone along with; and as I like to say "it is what it is" when faced with such messes. Pillar should have a job on a major-league club, but the market right now is not ready to pay him ten million bucks.

The Giants are willing to pay Alex Dickerson ($925K) and southpaw Wandy Peralta ($805K) but not recently-claimed Tyler Anderson ($2.6M) and Rico Garcia (pre-arb), or late-season pick-up Joey Rickard ($1.1M). Donovan Solano was also offered a contract, but I can't seem to find the details. Like Pillar, he is on the wrong side of 30, but costs a lot less. And he hit better--whether he can do that next season is anyone's guess, but .330/.360/.456 is better than .264/.298/.442 (just with the Giants). To be fair, Solano was a half-timer (81 G to Pillar's 156 G), but he probably should be. Pillar would be a great player if he hit 8th, but on the 2019 Giants he hit mostly 5th, 6th, and 7th, which in my view is too high in the lineup. He would be an excellent part-time/platoon player or late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-hitter.

The Giants have plenty of money and could certainly afford Pillar, but FZ claimed the move had nothing to do with finances. If that's true, it means they don't see Pillar as part of the future. They are indeed rebuilding, even if they won't say it out loud. Pillar would be a great piece on a good club that's ready to contend. That tells you something right there. And I'm OK with it. This Giants team needs a makeover. It needs an infusion of talent. Pillar was the right guy at the right time, but they need a lot more than that going forward.