Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Barry Bonds Finally Signs

After what probably seemed like an eternity to some Giants fans, me included, Barry Bonds finally came in to the Giants offices on Monday and got his physical and is now a member of the 2007 San Francisco Giants. He's going to make $15.8M, with $10M paid this year, $5.8M deferred, and another $4.2M in incentives that he can earn (which makes his "I will never, never, ever, accept any incentives!" statement ring hallow; can only believe half of what he says, indeed! :^). I'm guessing that it is games incentive because he said in the press conference (I'm basing most of this info on the Merc's version of the press conference and some from what I gleaned from KNBR this morning) that he wants to play more than the 130 games he played last season. Funny how incentives and light a fire under his "tired" ass.

I'm a little leery, however, of one portion of his answer. The Merc noted "Bonds divulged few specifics about his physical condition - another key issue, given his troubled knees and the left elbow that required arthroscopic surgery in October to remove bone chips. He said that he has 'worked out really hard' but won't know his condition until he gets on the field next month at spring training." How many years have he been playing, 20+? Shouldn't he know how his condition compares to how he felt in the past? Or at least enough to give an educated guess, like, "It has been tougher than in the past because of XYZ, I'm not up to the levels of where I was before, so I'll have a better feel for it in spring training."? Or something? I guess we will see in spring training soon.

Larry Baer on KNBR's Murph and Mac

Mac was not around, else I would have been hoping he might sing a version of the Clash's "Should I stay or should I go now", changed to "Should we sign Bonds or should we go now", but Murph was all over Baer, at least as much as an KNBR host can (one would have thought he was still on the Chronicle's payroll still :^). He asked about Balco and Barry's potential legal problems, which Baer sidestepped with something like, "He's innocent until proven guilty and until all the facts are in, we can only deal with what we do know right now." He also asked Baer about Barry's greenies use reported by the NY Post and Baer said that their research showed that there were great inaccuracies in the Post's account and therefore that is over.

Giants Young Starting Pitchers Is the Future

Baer also noted, in response to a question about getting Bonds, that in their search for a young (is there anything better? :^) cleanup hitter, the other teams always wanted Cain, Lowry, Lincecum, Sanchez, and the Giants said that they are not trading away any of their young pitchers. So, instead of going for a young slugger, they instead signed another young pitcher (Zito) to boost up the rotation (well, that's the gist of it, I couldn't write everything down while driving and my memories been going lately; I recently was given - not asked for but given - the Senior meal discount at a Sizzler lately... :^).

That's been my mantra this offseason, that the Giants young starting pitching is our future, but it is nice to get confirmation of this from someone as high up as Baer. Hopefully that will calm the fans who worry incessantly that Sabean will trade one of our young starters for an old grizzled vet. I assume they are not untouchable - if the other team wants to throw a boatload of great young players at us, the Giants will surely accept - but that's probably not going to happen, and unless it is a no-brainer, like getting an Utley, Wright, or Cabrera, I would be more than happy to see the four of them in Giants uniform over the next 5-6 seasons and see what they can do for us.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that having a solid pitching staff, especially 1 to 3 or 4 in the rotation, is the best way to make it all the way through the playoffs. Hitting can be neutralized on any day by good pitching by a so-so starter (see Bobby Jones, 2000 playoffs), but if we have a great staff of pitchers starting and in the bullpen, the games will usually be close enough that our team will get a chance to tie or win late in the game.

7 comments:

  1. Oh man that rotation could be good! Can you imagine the excitement if we had a few more hitting prospects?

    Kent

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am not happy to hear that Baer included Lowry amongst the group that they are not willing to trade. He is the one guy they could afford to trade and should be trading. The other guys should be untradeable, but not Lowry. He is not in their class.

    I don't think they should trade him just to trade him, but rather to improve themselves offensively. Also, they should be acquiring someone young, not a grizzled veteran. I mentioned this before, but someone like Saltalamacchia would be a good target or other top prospects like Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, for example.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The thing is, we don't know what the Giants were offerred for Lowry. You list a nice list of prospects, but it doesn't mean that teams were offering them for him.

    Today, the Giants roster is pretty set. Trading Lowry now would not really serve any purpose unless it is an offer they cannot refuse. After last season, he is not going to get that much in return anyway, cheap contract or not.

    And at this point, if we are not getting someone really good, I see no purpose in just trading Lowry just because he's tradeable. Let him pitch and prove what he is or isn't. Most teams probably see him as being closer to 2006 than 2005, and I cannot see him doing any worse than 2006 in 2007. So let him have a chance to prove his worth, to see whether he's the pitcher he was before the injury or if this is the "true" Lowry that we saw in 2006. Waiting won't cost us much in value we would get back, his contract will still be very cheap and there will be a team that would rather have him as their 5th starter than pay $5-7M to get one on the free agent market next off-season. But he proves that 2005 is the "true" Lowry, he is extremely valuable, he would be a #2 caliber pitcher, and that will fetch us the top position hitter that we all crave.

    I think the reward far outweighs the risk, so I'm glad that they held on to Lowry, presuming they weren't being offered top hitters for him, and would rather see how he produces in 2007. Plus, there's no guarantee that Ortiz or Sanchez will be all that serviceable in 2007, they could still flop, and with Lowry around, we have a solid 4 in the starting rotation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Plus, there's no guarantee that Ortiz or Sanchez will be all that serviceable in 2007"


    Especially Ortiz!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just knew someone was going to say that. :^)

    I still think that for $400K or whatever pittance (relatively) Ortiz is getting, it is worth it to give him a shot. He was pitching much better by the end of last season, as a reliever, Righetti was his pitching coach when he was with the Giants and pitching well, and he is not far gone from the days when he was very effective, which was in 2004, unlike, say, Chan Ho Park, who hasn't been as effective as Ortiz was since the last millenium.

    Again, like Lowry, low risk to take him on, very high reward if he can return to his very recent past form, particularly pitching in SF, where he had been successful previously. If it works, then we greatly benefit (particularly if he either turns out to be a closer or becomes a starting pitcher trade bait), and if he doesn't, we still got Sanchez and Hennessey ready to fill the #5 spot, which don't require much there, as most teams don't have that great a #5 starter.

    It's a no lose situation with huge reward if Ortiz is back to normal and it is still good if he can just be as good/bad as he was as a reliever at the end of last season, he could provide some depth in the bullpen, particularly if Benitez is traded and we don't get a reliver back. If he's as bad as advertised, then we still got great alternatives and still have candidates for significant roles in the bullpen in Sadler, Misch, Begg, Anderson, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  6. There is too much uncertainty in the Giants young rotation to trade Lowery at this point. Morris, Lowery, Sanchez, Linececum are all a bit unknown. Until we can identify two of those guys, in addition to Lowery (to fill the 3 & 4 spots in the rotation) I think we hold onto Lowery. I am OK with picking up the Ortiz's and Wright's of the world to fill the # 5 spot. I think we did reasonably well w/ FAs this off season, so I would not be in favor of trading Lowery until next off season, at the earliest. And, then, we will have fewer needs than we did this year, plus we will have Bond's money to go into the FA market.

    ReplyDelete
  7. does bonds really need the extra income to be doing this?

    ReplyDelete

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