Wednesday, November 30, 2011
This morning, however, I read that the newly fiscally-secure Brian Sabean wants to trade Ramon Ramirez or Jeremy Affeldt. Didn't we just sign half of those guys? Actually, the idea makes sense. Sabean signed these guys because there is a dearth of lefty relievers around (Ramirez is a righty). Because of that, lefty releivers are valuable commodities to many teams, inlcuding the Giants. In addition to Affeldt, we have Dan Runzler and Javier Lopez to fill that role. If Barry Zito starts, Eric Surkamp may be another. Oh, and don't forget our stengths of Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla from the right, in addition to Ramirez. I'm just saying that if you want a good player in a trade, you have to have something good to give. And lefty relievers may be just that valuable of a trade bait so that Mr. Sabean can fish up something worthwhile in return. Names anyone?
Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Oh ... and sign C-L-B (Cain, Lincecum, & Beltran)!
And, Ryan Doumit is a decent player, but wants a lot of money to be a back-up Catcher. Is Hector Sanchez not the answer? Well, no, he may not be, but I don't know about that kind of money for Doumit. He is a switch-hitter & plays 1B & OF, too, so those are plusses.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
You build consistent success by investing in sizable improvements. When you have the resources to do so, there is no excuse for not doing so. Otherwise, you will sink back into the mediocre mire.
The 2011 Texas Rangers provide a great example of how to run an MLB Team. As Mark pointed out a couple of weeks ago, reaching the World Series in consecutive seasons is an amazing feat. As happy as I am that the Cardinals won, I still give the Rangers credit for getting there again, & getting there in the way that they did.
Between the 2010 & 2011 seasons, Texas acquired Adrian Beltre to, effectively, replace an aging Vlad Guerrero. And, in one of the less-noticed, but substantial moves of the off-season, they acquired Mike Napoli to replace the retiring & chronically ineffective Bengie Molina. This transformed their lineup from powerful to over-the-top powerful. That 3 through 7 of Hamilton, Young, Beltre, Cruz, & Napoli was a core 5 right up there with any team in recent memory. They also found some fine pitching, both in-house & via the trade market. Picking up Mike Adams was the best move that they made in mid-season. They knew that Cliff Lee was going to be gone, but they knew that they had the arms to replace him (besides, he lost both games in the World Series!).
Meanwhile, after a cruddy 2011 season (although not cruddy at the box office or in sales of merchandise), we are tossing around lightweight moves (e.g. Bloomquist, Carroll, now Barmes). Our team should be thinking much bigger than that, or we will be back in the mediocre mire.
I am only OK with turing SS over to Crawford, if we sign Beltran. Otherwise, Crawford needs to go to Fresno. Signing a Rollins for 2 years (first year as a starter, second year as a part-time starter & mentor) makes sense to me. Getting a real 5th starter (Mark Buehrle is my latest favorite, but others would work out well), so that we are not trotting Barry Zito out there & praying, should be on our list.
We need to decide whether we are going for consistent success, or just waiting for our next turn at lightning-in-a-bottle, which may take 30 to 120 years. I'm for trying to guarantee continued success.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I'm ready to take my chances with this bunch of kids. We know the pitching is there. We know the offense is a question mark. But all I see is upside. LOTS of upside. Who is ready to embrace The Youth Movement with me?
Monday, November 7, 2011
Melky "Leche" Cabrera is 27 years old. That's a good thing. You can view his stats here. This is what this tells me:
1) The Giants have given up on Andres Torres and are do not intend to make more than a cursory pass at Carlos Beltran. Probably not even that.
2) The Giants have given up on Jonathan Sanchez. Too bad, for those of you who might mention that we would not have to see him (as a Giant) in the post season again, I would remind you that the Giants would not have been in the 2010 postseason without his efforts.
3) Maybe that means they will explore a shortstop, ignoring the excellent glove work of Brandon Crawford. Mabye not.
4) Ladies and Gentlemen, your starting pitcher, Barry Zito.
Last year Leche hit .305, which is significantly better than his 2010 season with Atlanta, in which he hit .255 (a post-rookie season low). His OBP is not too impressive, .331 lifetime and .339 last year. He also can steal bases, 20 last year, although he was caught stealing 10 times. Last year he also had career highs in doubles and home runs. Lets hope he is maturing with some power. He will undoubtedly be playing center field and batting lead off.
The first time he does something good, the headlines will be "Dulce de Leche." I should have been in advertising.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
OK, that is probably not the best title for this post. “Afford” implies that I have some knowledge of the Giants finances, and I don’t. Perhaps a better title would be “On Whether the Giants Are Likely to be Able to Produce a Successful Bid for Free Agent Carlos Beltran. The answer to that question is, in my view, “Yes.”
The conventional wisdom says the Carlos Beltran will demand (and receive) a fiver year contract. The conventional wisdom also asserts that the Giants will be able to be outbid by other teams that either have deeper financial resources or that have fewer sunk costs, meaning existing salary commitments. But let's examine how valuable Carlos Beltran would be and who would be the likely bidders for him.I have observed is that there are two levels of superstars. The upper level tends to get a lot of money. Their contracts, even in today’s recession-limited market, are stratospheric (and remember, from the Giants’ attendance figures in 2011, their market is decidedly not recession-limited). But then you see a drop off, and superstar free agents who are not the very cream of a given year’s crop tend not to have the high profile interest that the tippy-top guys get. Carlos Beltran is not the premier free agent on the market. That would be Albert Pujols, followed closely by Prince Fielder. Elias Sports Bureau has a ranking system of the most desirable free agents and you can find a copy of it on MLB Trade Rumors, here. Carlos Beltran ranks #7. MLB Trade Rumors also has a list of the top 50 free agents, here, and which team they guess each one is likely to sign with. With the addition of Yu Darvish, Carlos Beltran is addressed in the #9 position. There are several free agents that are pitchers, including starters CJ Wilson, Yu Darvish, Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt, Mark Buehrle and relievers Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon (he wouldn’t really pull a Damon, would he?), and Ryan Madson.
In any year, the tippy-top only goes so deep. There are always a couple of high profile signings, and then a lot that make you wonder if the high profile guys are really worth their money compared to the rest. I just don't think Carlos Beltran will be one of the top top guys. Age is one reason. Here are some pretty good hitters that may be higher on wish lists than Carlos Beltran: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Aramis Ramirez. Carlos Beltran will be 35 when the 2012 season starts. Albert Pujols will be 32; Fielder, 27; Reyes, 28; and Rollins and Ramirez, 33. So I don't think five years is a given for Carlos, considering that their are a number of other, younger players out there to soak up the highest offers.
The Yankees need pitching, pitching and more pitching. They have enough hitting. The Red Sox need to replace Big Papi, and need to replace or re-sign Papelbon, although they may be interested in Carlos, they have other priorities. The Phillies need to replace or re-sign Madson and Rollins, the Mets already did Beltran, and the Cardinals need to re-sign the big A at all costs, and then shop for relief, although it held up well enough in the playoffs. Texas needs to re-sign or replace Wilson. The Cubs with their new GM might be a likely bidder, so might Washington. There is always a surprise team, of course, but the Giants have the advantage of being a team that is known to contend, and that carries weight with players who are looking to get into the post-season. Always remember, that Brian Sabean, for all the ire that he has engendered in the lunatic fringes, somehow managed to wind up with a stable of pitching that is unmatched and few needs except to upgrade the offense.
So I believe the Giants are in the driver's seat to sign Carlos if they want to, and I also think it will not take five years nor Albert Pujols money to do so. What is more, I think they should. Carlos left/right, Nate center/right, Brandon Belt left/first, and Andres as the fourth outfielder at center works for me.
Oh. Apparently, the Giants may be open to trading Jonathan Sanchez.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Mostly, the Giants lack an adequate lead-off batter, and lack the big bat that puts fear into opponents' hearts. As much as I relished the days when Barry Bonds would make a nation hold their collective breath during his at bats, I believe that what the Giants most lack is a lead-off batter. It would indeed be nice to have another powerful bat in the line-up. Pablo Sandoval may be a fearsome bat sometimes, and Buster Posey may become one, but neither are quite the kind of batter that opponents really shape their game around. The Giants have no one like an Albert Pujols or a Prince Fielder - guys that can absolutely change a game with one swing of the bat. And therein lies the argument for re-signing Carlos Beltran.
But with Posey, and Sandoval, and a hopefully rejuvenated Aubrey Huff, and some real contributions from Brandon Belt, I believe that the bigger need is a player to bat in the lead-off position that has some potential to get on base a lot. I'm not sure what the on base percentage from the lead-off spot was for the 2011 Giants, but I know that Rowand was less than .300, and Torres was only .312. That's not good enough. It would be great to have someone get on base a fair amount of time. Jose Reyes seems to do this fairly well, with a .341 lifetime obp and a .384 obp for 2011. Jimmy Rollins also has the perception of being valuable in this regard. His obp is not quite as good, .329 lifetime and .338 for 2011. Let's consider those numbers for a moment. In 600 at bats, a healthy Andres Torres would be expected to get on base 187 times in a season and Jose Reyes would get on base between 204 and 230 times. Mr. Rollins would be expected to get on base between 197 and 203 times. So, averaging the two and averaging their lifetime and 2011 totals, 208 times reaching base. That is 21 times more than Andres Torres, or once more every 7.7 games. Is that enough to make a difference? It is at this point where I wish I had enough access to existing baseball statistics and statistical accumen to be able to figure if it indeed would be a meaningful difference or not. It sure doesn't sound like much.
Which brings us back around to the main question. Based on your perception or on a numerical analysis, what do the Giants most need, a fearsome bat, or a dependable lead-off batter?