Monday, January 22, 2007

The Giants Had One of the Most Efficient Starting Rotations in 2006

I found this interesting article on The Hardball Times today about the efficiency of major league starting rotations, in terms of pay and production, using Bill James Win Shares counting stat. According to their analysis, the Giants had the highest Net Win Share Value in the National League, and the third best in the Majors, behind only Detroit and Oakland.

The Giants had an overall NWSV of $16.5M. THT has a calculator you can use to calculate this, here. To get the data you need to fill in the calculator, you need to go here. Amazing how much value even Lowry and Morris generated for the starting rotation, despite all the crap some Giants fans have said about the two, particuularly Morris. Very interesting that Lowry's 2005 was about as good as Schmidt's 2006, in terms of WSAB, which I'll go into in the next part.

Zito Replacing Schmidt: Better

Comparing Schmidt to Zito, I was pleasantly suprised double-fold. First, Zito had a higher Win Share than Schmidt, 18 to 16. Most commentators said the Giants went down a step in switching Zito for Schmidt, but according to this metric, Zito actually contributed to more wins. Second, Zito had a higher WSAB, which stands for Win Share Above Bench. In this glossary entry, WSAB basically is Win Share's version of production above replacement player, except that the author had a problem with the concept of a replacement player versus a bench player. Here, Zito has a 12 WSAB while Schmidt had 11 WSAB. So by this measure, the Giants not only replaced Schmidt, but improved on him by getting Zito.

Of course, the caveat there is that Zito's win shares for 2006 was his high for the past three years whereas Schmidt is about where it was when he was doing better in 2004. The good news is that Zito has been improving for the past three seasons while Schmidt has been wildly up and down. Plus Zito is only 29, heading into his peak physical years while Schmidt is headed into what is normally the starkly declining years for a pitcher, his late 30's. Zito's acquisition looks better and better for the short term - we just need to cross our fingers and toes for the long term.

49 comments:

  1. Is "efficient" the new PC word for "suck"?

    I guess this is another example of how statistics don't thell the real story. In any case, even if it's true, it points out how bad the bullpen was. Too bad the Giants haven't addressed that problem.

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  2. Efficiency has nothing to do with how good it is, it has more to do with doing the most it can based on the resources put into the process, which in this case is money. With three main starters - Cain, Lowry, and Wright - being paid very little, that makes things easier for a pitching rotation to win more than would be indicated by their salaries.

    Then again, Morris by all accounts did not do that well as a starter overall, but still, relative to a bench player, provided some marginal effectiveness in winning, and resulted in a positive net value for his performance.

    Suckiness index, as you might put it Boof, would be related to summing up the WSAB or simply Win Share for each rotation and comparing. Thus while the Giants might have a net value much above most teams, it's total win share could still be lower than other teams and be "sucky" in your parlance. However, I don't have the time to compile the total win share for each team's main starters to see if that is true.

    Still, knowing that win shares are tied to the team's wins (total for each team is three times their actual wins figure), since the Giants had won so few games relative to the Majors and hence pick 10th again in the amateur draft, it wouldn't take much of a stretch to say that their pitching rotation "sucked" in 2006. Counting out the exact win shares might push them up a few notches, but most probably not enough to put them, say, in the Top 10 instead, their starting rotation wasn't that good in 2006.

    Efficiency, now that I'm thinking more about, is all about how much production you are getting from the staff relative to salary, so obviously this is a strong indicator that your team is deriving a lot of wins from cheap, i.e. (for the most part) young, pitchers (except when you luck out in signing a cheap vet who then does well for you).

    And once you see Detroit and Oakland there among the leaders, that seems all the more obvious. Both rotations had a large percentage of young starters. Then you see Tampa Bay 5th, Colorado 6th, Florida 7th, and Reds 9th, Padres 11th, all teams with a large component of good, young, cheap starters. Then again, Pittsburgh is way down the list, which goes to show that young does not equal good.

    This supports my contention this offseason that the Giants have a great rotation of young starters going into 2007, particularly with Zito taking over for Schmidt: Zito, Cain, Lowry. Morris looks to be better as he was actually pretty good, for the season, until he hurt himself somehow in the last part of the season, his ERA was still in the low 4's until suddenly the wheel went off his car. Similarly with Lowry, it's like they should just take him out of the rotation (or trade him) once August is over.

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  3. Oh, and this has nothing to do with the team's bullpen. This stat only deals with how well the starters did in relation to their salaries.

    With Sanchez potentially in the bullpen with the addition of Ortiz, and Sadler and Anderson waiting in the wings, I think an effective bullpen has more to do with attrition and having ready and able replacements like Sadler, Anderson, Misch, Threets, Begg, available to come up and take the place of someone who falters.

    It won't be a great bullpen unless Wilson comes through as the Giants management thinks and be a closer quality reliever, whether actually closing or as a key setup man.

    I think Chulk and Kline have proven to be adequate setup men and there have been teams that have muddled through the season with the closer situation unsettled and still win games.

    While that is not great, we are one, maybe two, good performances from a bullpen candidate away from a good bullpen. That is life when your team starts to use young players to supplement the team instead of older proven players, you need to hope that some of them come through for you. Enough of them come through for you, you have a good season, like the A's of the 2000's, enough of them don't, you have a poor season, like the A's of the mid to late 90's (or so, don't remember exactly when they were bad).

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  4. OK, it is a measure of what you got in return for what you paid. In that case, I can see that the Giants got about what they paid for. Makes sense.

    However, it doesn't take analyzing a bunch of statistics to know that the Giants pitching sucked last year. All you had to do was watch them......if you could stand it.

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  5. No, the point of the Net Value exercise is that the Giants got a lot more than they paid for - per your point, since they did not pay a lot, that's not necessarily saying a lot, though I still think it is significant that the Giants staff overperformed their salary by a large amount. After all, Schmidt and Morris were not paid peanuts.

    It comes back to what we were arguing about before - either you believe or you don't. Clearly you don't. And that's OK with me, I understand that position, I just don't agree.

    I guess it also comes down to whether you care or you don't, about the rotation. Clearly you do care - I actually don't. Or, that is, I don't worry too much about what I can't control, which is how the Giants put together their team.

    I will still root for them, warts and all, just like I assume you will too. The only difference is probably I will enjoy it while you probably won't, given your very snarky remarks about the team thus far. You will be complaining about the team all season long - good luck with that. You are as bad as my early Giants friends who always thought they were a competitive team during the 70's, only the other side of the coin.

    Too bad you can't see the good things among the bad. There really are some flowers among all the Feliz, er, weeds. I think the team can be entertaining next season in terms of their young pitchers, it can be an eye-opening year or a groan-inducing year, but it won't be a nothing year, as it will be very interesting how our young players develop (or not).

    I think the odds favor a better season than most people have been saying about the Giants. Will they be great? Not even a real possibility, the odds of that happening is probably as great as me winning the lottery or Barry Bonds finding out all this has been just a horrible nightmare dream, as he wakes up with Victoria Principal naked in the shower.

    But I think there is a good possibility of the pitching staff being really good, with Zito and Cain leading the way.

    And if we can get a good season out of Lowry and/or Morris, then I think we can make some damage in the playoffs and get past the first round.

    If Ortiz can return to even the worse he was before he became a batting practice pitching - a low K, high BB, tight-roping, mid-to-high 4 ERA pitcher - then I think we could be talking championship. Odds of all that happening, very low, but I think those are viable scenarios, on a one-by-one basis, to watch out for.

    I could stand watching them last season because they weren't as bad as you made them out to be. They mainly sucked early on and then the last month. They were actually pretty good in the middle, particularly Schmidt, Morris, Cain, and even Lowry was good (again) in August.

    The Giants were close to the lead until late in the season, and you know it was not because of their awesome offense, it was because of their pitching. And, in the end, they lost because of their pitching, when they became unable to keep the other team from scoring 10 runs. That it happened soon after Benitez had his blowup, I would not put that as a coincidence - he has to go and hopefully he pitches well in the spring and we get someone good, but giving his attitude, I can see him screwing up just to piss off the team.

    Lastly, if you can't stand it, why do you follow the Giants? Life's too short to be bummed out by a team's pitching staff so much that you rant on and on about it.

    At least I write on and on because I think there's something of value to watch next season. The way you go on, why would anyone want to watch, why would anyone want to watch such a "sucky" team, as you put it?

    It's clear that you don't enjoy it, so I'm wondering what is the pleasure you will get from next season? Or even the seasons going forward: past the Bonds era, it isn't looking any prettier at the moment, except for Lincecum and, much further off, Villalona. Lots of sucky things to come, potentially, lots of things to complain about.

    What's in it for you, what's your payoff?

    And I'm not trying to be confrontation, I've always been a caring person, from the time a bunch of classmates nearly tipped a table (and themselves) over and I surprised everyone in the room by shouting to save them, to the time a little bird flew into my windshield and injured itself that I tried to save, to the runty, malformed kitten that was left in our backyard that I tried to save, I've always cared about my fellow living creatures.

    And if I didn't enjoy the team, in some way or fashion, I wouldn't be following the team, let alone write about it on-line, because, as I noted, life's too short.

    For the Giants, I guess I just love them, for lack of a better term or, better, accept them unconditionally. Sure, it sucks when things are bad, but I feel like we are all in it together, good or bad, and you set your expectations appropriately. So if your sibling happens to be a genius, great, and if your sibling happens to be not so smart, well, don't expect great things from him or her, but you love them just the same.

    Thus I enjoyed following the team during the 70's and 80's when they pretty much blowed as a team, and I enjoyed the brief interlude when Al Rosen and Humm Baby and Will Clark got the Giant Attitude going again. I didn't enjoy the period after that much, mainly because I was pretty mad at each side after the strike cancelled the World Series.

    But when Sabean came along, even with the team pretty much all-time sucking, I was encouraged because of his successes while directing the Yankees farm system, and started following again earnestly.

    So I will enjoy the 2007 Giants, maybe they won't be the greatest team, and may even be a sucky team, but they are my team.

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  6. I also love the Giants and continue to root for them, just as I have my entire life and I will continue to into the future. However, my love is not unconditional and I choose not to cover up their inherent weaknesses with a large dose of sugarcoating. Because I want to see the same thing you do,...see the Giants win...I complain out loud when I see Sabean tearing this organization apart by trying to "build a winner with veteran players" while totally disregarding the long term health of this team. I shudder when I see good dollars...and a lot of them...thrown at mediocrities like Feliz, Molina, Winn, Benard, Alfonzo, and any other garbage that has run through this city in the last few years when they could've put that money to good use by acquiring players like, Vladimir Guerrero for example. I care, perhaps too much, about this team and I don't settle for sub-.500 seasons while saying, "we were in the division race until almost the end." That's not good enough, in my opinion.

    I've played and seen enough baseball in my lifetime to recognize baseball talent when I see it. Zito & Cain are good pitchers. Cain has the talent to be great. Zito, in my opinion, does not. I know you don't believe this, but Morris' good pitching days are way behind him. He is closer to Jamey Wright than you think. Lowry is still young, but will never be more than a journeyman. I firmly believe that the Giants would be better served to trade him now while he is still young, marketable and locked up and relatively unexposed to the rest of the league. The rest of the Giant pitchers, save Sanchez and Lincecum, are milquetoast ....some days good, most days not so good.

    Offensively, I challenge to to name one player in the Giants starting lineup that is in the top 5 at his position, offensively. It's not a pretty picture. They are just good enough to be bad, but in a division where bad is the norm.

    Still, I will follow them, watch their games, hope they win it all and will root for them no matter how far below .500 they will be this year. I just wish that the Giants braintrust....there's a mutually exclusive term...would get off their asses and address the deep rooted problems within this organization so they could be challengers for World Series every year, not just "we might win the West" attitude that has permeated the entire organizatin lately.

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  7. "Offensively, I challenge to to name one player in the Giants starting lineup that is in the top 5 at his position."

    Piece of cake, Barry Bonds in LF and Ray Durham at 2B.

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  8. Fair enough, Boof, I can understand that point of view. And I totally agreed about Vlad.

    I agree that Zito is not great while Cain has the talent to be. The point, there, I believe, is that we only need Zito to be very good, not great. I know we are paying him a boatload of money, so the inclination is to think he needs to be great.

    But to have a good rotation, we need one great, one pretty good, and two OK to good starters. Cain hopefully can continue what he did at the end of last year - and second half surges like that are often indicators of a better next season - and be the great pitcher. Zito looks like he will be able to be pretty good, based on switching leagues and coming to a pitchers park that reduces one of his main negatives, which is giving up too many homers.

    Lowry, I agree with you that it would be great to trade him, as he's our best tradeable chip, but I still think that he can be more than a journeyman pitcher, which I would define as one with an ERA in the high 4 range. I think he can get into the low 4's regularly when he is healthy.

    Morris, I won't say that he will assuredly be better. There's truth to what you say. However, I think he has shown enough that there's uncertainty in what you say too. He was a pretty good pitcher once he got things going mid-season.

    giantrainman answered your question on hitters. I'll post soon on the lineup, where it stands, since you brought that up, I usually wait until the lineup is more settled, but you bring up a good point, how will our lineup work next season.

    And I know you will root for them, but like I said, I hope you can appreciate the good parts of the team and enjoy the season, as I think there's things to like.

    I don't think I'm sugarcoating things, just because I'm more positive than you are doesn't mean that I'm sugarcoating things, it could also mean that you are just a nervous nellie. I just feel that there are more indicators that a better result will happen than a bad result and I've explained my position, and, either you believe or you don't.

    Since you clearly don't like what happened this off-season, Boof, what would you have done differently? I'm not happy with the results either, but I don't think the Giants could have done much better in the personnel they signed, they pretty much had to sign who they signed, to my thinking.

    But I could have missed something, what would have been better in your opinion? And I assume you will be reasonable in deciding who would have signed with the Giants had you been in charge.

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  9. As great as Bonds has been during his career, there is no way that he is in the Top 5 at his position any more. He doesn't have the leg drive anymore to consistently drive the ball. The operative word here is consistently. When he hits it, he usually makes very good contact. However, just think back to last season and try to remeber if you've ever seen Bonds strike out as many times as he did or look foolish at the plate as many times as he did. Having said that, I am comparing 2006 Barry to the super-human Barry of previous seasons, a remarkable standard to sustain. Ass that to the fact that he will not answer the bell, for probably 35% of the Giants games this year and that would seem to indicate a plyer that is not going to be in the Top 5 at his position. Players that I think will out produce Barry this year will be Lee, Bay, Soriano, Holliday, Dunn, and possibly Alou.

    Agree that Durham was in the Top 5 last year. I have a hard time buying that he will be able to produce another season like that this year. I just don't see it happening again, absent the inevitable trip(s) to the DL. Players that I think will out produce Durham this year Utley, Weeks, Uggla, Phillips & Kent.

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  10. Regarding what I would've done differently in preparation for this season is that I would've traded Schmidt in mid-season last year. He would've brought a nice return from a contending club (say Lastings Milledge from the Mets for example). Instead we got zippo for Schmidt. Nice work, Sabes. His strategy would've only made sense if they were planning on bringing him back.

    I also would've traded Durham for a prospect, preferably a hitting prospect not that far off. I would've also tried to have traded virtually anyone else on the team except Cain & Sanchez. The Giants may have tried here, but understandably there might not have been many takers. On the other hand, I question how hard they tried as they felt "they could still win the West."

    If the Giants were committed to giving a montrous contract to someone, my choice would not have been Zito. I probably would've opted for Soriano if I felt compelled to spend that much money on one player. I know he's 3 years older, but I think he stands a much better chance to pay dividends than Zito does on that type of financial commitment & length of contract. Like it or not, Zito will be on the Giants for the next 7 years as his contract makes him virtually untradeable.

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  11. Boof, you can waste your time predicting future drops in performance all you want. The fact is both Bonds and Durham were in the top 5 at their respective postions offensively last year as measured by both OPS and VORP. Only time will tell if they remain so in 2007. I for one will not bet against either of them.

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  12. As for trading Durham and Schmidt last year just who do you think we could have gotten for Schmidt that would have been better the the two draft choices (1st round and supplemental 1st round) we got in compensation when we lost him to free agency? Lastings Milledge? Please! You have to be kidding!
    And just who would we get that would be better the RayRay? Younger just does not mean better.

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  13. You must be Sabean himself. Are you seriously saying that those 2 draft picks are going to be better than a top flght prospect that the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, and whatever other team may have forked over in a Schmidt deal? I've got to get some of what you are smoking. At mid-season ladt year, a number of teams would've fallen all over themselves to land a quality starting pitcher for a half-season. They certainly could've turned Durham into something and then signed him again....just like they did....as apparently noone else was interested.

    By the way, last year was last year. Durham's career season is not going to happen again. You can take that to the bank. I gave you the guys who I thought would be better. Let's see your list.

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  14. Your memory is very poor. Sabean entertained offers for Schmidt and found them lacking. The example of Lastings Milledge you suggested doesn't even iterest the A's enough to give up Blanton. Yes, the two draft choices are worth more the the likes of Lastings Milledge.

    Last year was indeed last year, but I think it was the biginning of a new Ray Durham having completed his transition from a top of the order hitter to a true middle of the order hitter. I extect even more from Ray in 2007 then we got in 2006. He now knows that he needs to minimizxe his aggressive baserunning to maintain his health and he will do so to his and our advantage by having his now true middle of the order bat in the lineup more.

    It is you my man that is smoking something. You are smoking the lie the younger is always better.

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  15. If the A's thought for a minute they could talk the Mets into a Blanton for Milledge trade, they would be all over it. The reality is that the Mets don't want to give him up for so little in return. Now if they were talking Danny Haren, that would be a different subject.

    Yeah, I guess you're right. Two unknown draft picks that are years away from producing anything are much better that a top flight prospect that is almost major-league ready right now. Yeah, I could see where the Giants couldn't use a guy who has steadily improved every year in each stop of the minors, is head and shoulders better than anyone they have in their organization right now, can hit for power and steal some bases, can play some defense and ...imagine this...is not 35 years old. Those kind of players are not useful at all. Hoo boy! And somehow I am the one smoking something!!!

    It seems that because the Giants didn't trade Schmidt, it's because they didn't have a credible offer. You have been drinking from the Sabean Kool-Aid there, my friend. The reality is that they did not aggressivley shop him because (1) they mistakenly thought they could still win the West and (2) they underestimated the free-agent market and thought they would re-sign him for a "stay-at-home" discount.

    Let's just buy your premise for a minute that Ray Durham... at the age of 36 no less... has transformed himself into a middle of the order hitter that is going to be better than he has ever been. Can you point to one shred of evidence in his career that leads you to that conclusion? You realize, of course, that in 13 seasons in the majors he had never had more than 20 HRs or 75 RBIs in a season..and he only did that once before last year. This is also the same guy who has not logged 500 ABs in the last six seasons. Oh yeah, it's because he found out in 2006 that he should not running any more. Of course, the fact that he has not stolen 10 bases in a season for the last 5 years must just be an anomaly, I guess.

    Hey, I hope you're right on Durham, but if you really were, don't you think there would have been at least one other ML team that might have had some interest in him this off season?

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  16. Lastings Milledge just isn't the major league ready stud you see him as. Even the Mets don't think he is or the would not have signed Alou. He is more likely to be another in a long line of AAAA players then he is to ever become a quality major league starter let alone a major league star.

    It is very nieve of you to believe that no other team had interest in Durham. Ray is a Giant I believe because he wants another season with Barry to complete the gains he made last year with Barry's help. One of the secondbaseman you think will be better then Ray is even older the Ray and last year was more injury prone the Ray. How do you explain your positve view of Kent and your negative view of Durham other then to acknowledge that you are just biased against Ray because Sabean is positive about him.

    Open your eyes and stop looking at everything through your hatred Sabean. Brain has done far more good then bad and he does indeed have a plan to not just get the giants younger and healthier but better too. Barry Bonds and Ray Durham are very necessary parts for the transition phase of this plan. The Giants business model with their stadium debt just can't afford to go down the path of being really bad before they become really good again and at the very least Barry and Ray make sure they will not be really bad in 2007.

    Where you and I disagree the most is that it is clear that you think the present needs to be sacrificed for the future and I do not. I like the Giants plan for the future and find it a very rational approach to start build the future upon pitching. I also like the Giants plan for the present where I will get to watch good young pitching continue to develope and watch history too.

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  17. Hello, McFly! Durham received zero offers from other teams. The Giants were the only bidder for his services. Ray is a Giant because they are the only team who was willing to sign him. It's very easy to have a better view of Kent than Durham because of the fact that Kent has produced superior statistics many many many many times over his career whereas Durham has not. It's called a track record. Kent has had 20 or more HRs in a season 11 times, Durham twice. Kent has had over 100 RBIs 8 out of the last 10 years, Durham never. It's not that hard to comprehend.

    Sabean has done a good job???? Can you please tell us what your view of the Giants farm system is right now? If you don't believe me, take a look at this article on Fox Sports: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6392576

    Sabean comes in at 17th place in the GM rankings and here is their comment about him:

    "The Giants have won a pennant and three division titles under Sabean, but his neglect of the farm system and his willingness to part with the few prospects the Giants have developed are not to his credit. Neither is his undying fondness for decline-phase veterans."

    Sabean has left the Giants farm system in a shambles that will take years to recover from. Think about that when these 35-43 year old players we're depending on right now inevitably break down. Who are you going to replace them with? Certainly not the garbage the Giants have in their farms system, with a couple notable exceptions.

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  18. Oh, I see track record good for Kent but not for Bonds. It is much more likely that a 35 year old 2nd baseman like Durham will repeat his 34 year old season then it is that a 38 year old second basemen like Kent will return to his previous injury free and +500 SLG form. You only see and believe what you want to see and believe.

    It is just not going to take much time for the Giants farm system to recover. We have 6 of the first 60 picks in this years draft! The MLB roster and our existing minor league prospects can already be expected to keep the rotation at a near elite level and the bullpen at a better then average level for years to come.

    Next year we will only need to replace three of our position player starters (Bonds, Vizquel, and Feliz). We should again be able to do this thru Free Agency. We will not need to start stocking our lineup with home grown talent or thru trades of our pitching prospects until 2009 at the earliest. Sabean has done a fine job this offseason of both making the Giants competative now and preparing for the future. I feel sorry for you that you are just too blinded by your hatred of Sabean because of the disappointments of 2005 and 2006 to see that the future is now bright.

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  19. Wow, I take a day off and a great discussion breaks out! :^)

    If you are familiar with Murph and Mac's "What you give me for?" similarity score, I would give an 8.5 for giantsrainman and what I would have answered, and I took off points because I wouldn't have covered it so well.

    So much to go over... I just don't see the Giants getting much for Schmidt with free agency coming up and him being 36 in 2007 and him being injury prone PLUS he was already performing worse at the time of the trading deadline - maybe if the trade had been done in May or early June, but after his 16 K game, he wasn't the same and you can see that in his games stats. The time to trade him for a Milledge would have been pre-season, I don't think that the Mets would have parted with another top prospect (see Kazmir/Zambrano) for a rental, they were already 10 games ahead by the end of June, they only needed to coast in.

    They could have been tempted by the fact that Pedro was out around then, so then Schmidt would replace him, but I don't see them giving up a top prospect for a rental when they are so many games up.

    Also, as good as Milledge might be, the Giants needed pitching - as you noted, they sucked - not outfield help, and especially not OF help that isn't ready to start in 2007.

    And I think you are both wrong: we didn't lose Schmidt for nothing, but it is not appreciably more than nothing, as the Mets pick and the supplemental are so high that it is pretty unlikely we will get a good player out of the two picks, maybe about 20-25% chance, based on the draft data I've collected, and as Boof noted, it would probably be a long time before they progress to the MLB, up to 4-6 years, as my research showed.

    But given how poorly Milledge played last season, he might not be starting until these two picks are ready anyhow. The Mets have noted attitude problems on his part plus he is looking like a corner OF, which drops his value greatly. And we have a number of AAAA corner OF in Linden, Ortmeier, Schierholtz, EME (probably our equivalent prospect), and probably could throw Lewis in that lot too.

    I would have to agree with Boof that Durham outperformed on his HR. If you look at his HR/FB, it was an atmospheric 16% or so, when the norm is 10% plus he was near the norm for his career until 2006. That said, he has always performed at a .800 OPS pace and pushed it up twice in the past three years to mid-800 and higher.

    A mid .800 OPS would put him in the Top 5 spot for 5th hitters in 2006 for the NL. So yeah, maybe he won't hit so many homers again, but I don't think that it is a stretch to say that he will be a good #5 hitter in 2007, I think he will be.

    I think Boof is correct that injuries was the deterrent to other teams signing him, signing him to a $7M contract is the equivalent of a $10M per the games he is expected to play, given his dismal ability to stay healthy while with the Giants. Not many teams have a Frandsen waiting on the bench who could be plugged into the lineup, or at least would be willing to put up with that, that's why the Giants were able to get him again so easily and cheaply.

    But if Durham was traded at mid-season, I don't think it would be a slam dunk that he'd be back.

    Plus, Boof, you can't have it both ways, if you denigrate Durham as a free agent, then you can't turn around and say that he would have brought in that much in a mid-season trade. Look at how little Jose Vidro got the Nationals and he was under contract plus has been a much better hitter than Durham has during his career. Durham would not have fetched much as a gimpy free-agent to be plus would have cost the Giants another draft pick had they signed him after trading him.

    And I think he will do as well as Kent will plus Kent was really injured in 2006, he missed a boatload of games, Durham hasn't done that the last few seasons. And at 38, it ain't getting better for Kent. Looking at his HR/FB, he was right at 10% in 2006 and only had 14 HR in 407 AB - even Durham in his Giants days outhit that HR rate. Kent has the history but unfortunately, it is his recent history - 2006 - which matters the most, I think.

    OK, that's it for now...

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  20. Rainman, I enjoyed your discussion and agree with most you had to say. I particularly agree about Sabean. I am older than I want to admit, but, damn, I have suffered through some dreadful years. I think Sabean has been the most succwssful GM the Giants have had since moving West.
    I think it is ignoring facts to say Sabean has destroyed the farm system. Sabean had a very particularized situation and approached it with a very particularized strategy. He had Bonds, the most prolific offensive force in the history of the game. He also had a pretty limited budget. He decided to squeeze the rest of the system in order to maximize the possiblities of successful seasons, - and an attempt to get to the post season. And he was successful in that, something damn few other Giants GMs can claim. He decided to draft pitchers, primarily, and trade them for pieces for the big club. Every strategy has risk. And Sabean got burned in '05, '06 when Bonds was hurt, the centerpiece of the strategy was on the DL.
    So, the farm system was used to acquire pieces, and is not presently stored with talent? Well, that is only partially true. For all the criticism, people forget that there are a hell of a lot of players on the major league club that came from the farm system: 2, maybe 3 starting pitchers; 5 (est) bull pen pitchers; 1 backup catcher; 2 OFs; 2, 3 IFs. That is half the team.
    We have 2 outstanding, very young pitchers, Cain and Lincecum. How many teams can say that?
    People can't seem to accept that Sabean has changed the strategy, is responding to the post Bonds era. There is more money and attention being paid to re-stocking the minor league talent.
    I think Martin has it right, the majority of Sabean criticism is hate based, it is angry and irrational. Everything Sabean does is distrusted and looked at as negatively as possible. So, Martin and Rainman, I appreciate the care, the objectivity, the depth of your analises. And, damn, I can't wait for the season to start.

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  21. OK, a few things to address. I disagree that Schmidt would not have brought back something valuable at mid-season. The Mets were not the only team that needed a starter.....not for the season... but for the playoffs. I used the Mets as an example. Think they wished they had him against the Cardinals. The Yankees were another team that could've used a starter for the playoffs. Think back to how many quality starting pitchers were made available at the trade deadline. None. If Schmidt were really out there, the Giants could've cashed it in. I used Milledge as an example. It could've just as easily been someone else....instead of the nobody that they got.

    I never said that Durham would've brought back a lot in trade. Again, something would've been better than nothing. Same goes for just about anyone else on the roster. Package deals are possible, you know.

    I am not blinded by hatred of Sabean. I don't hate him at all. However, he does need to be fired farm system. The environment created by Sabean at the major league level (buiding a team around Barry with past-their prime veterans) is a deterrent to attracting young free agents, in my opinion. Nobody want to sign on with a club that is facing an inevitable rebuild. Free agents want (1) money and (2) a chance to win.....in that order. So as long as the money being offered is relatively similar, the Giants are at a disadvantage trying to land free agents because they offer very little for the future.

    Rainman, the future is bright?????? Are you joking? What future? Outside of Cain, Lincecum, possibly Sanchez and Villalona, the Giants are a bare cupboard in their minor league system. This is not just my opinion. Look around some of the baseball services that grade prospects. The Giants minor league prospects score very low. Don't believe me, look it up for yourself. It will be an eye opener for you. You probably won't though because your love for Sabean makes you want to go through life with blinders on.

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  22. Why Is The Future Bright?

    Let me count the ways:

    1) Approaching elite rotation for perhaps the life of the Zito contract. (Zito, Cain, Lowry, Lincecum, and Sanchez)
    2) Better then average with chance to be real good bullpen for life of Zito contract. (Wilson, Correia, Chulk, Hennessey, Sadler, Taschner, Misch, etc)
    3) Core of above average position player veterans signed for at least two more years but no more then three more years. (Winn, Roberts, Durham, Aurilia, and Molina)
    4) Homegrown above average bench with some chances to become above average starters ala Aurilia and Mueller from late Ninties. (Linden, Frandsen, and Alfonzo).
    5) Money to spend in 2008 from the departure of Bonds, Vizquel, and Feliz and the trade of Morris for overall younger, healthier, and better bats to replace Bonds, Vizquel, and Feliz.
    6) Time to develope or trade pitching prospects for younger, healthier, better position players to replace Winn, Roberts, Durham, Aurilia, and Molina when their contracts expire.
    7) Six picks in the top 60 in the 2007 draft to get a jump start on getting the quality prospects we need for 6) above.

    Looks very much like a bright future to me!

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  23. Why the future is not bright:

    (1) Soft tossing Zito pitches OK for a couple of years and then inevitable arm injury occurs and Giants are saddled with huge contract. Giants fail to trade Lowry an NL hitters lear to lay off changeup and wait for him to groove his very hittable fastball.

    (2) Relatively same bullpen that stunk in 2006 wil probably stink again in 2007. This is one area where some of the youngsters may pan out, but it is very much an unknown.

    (3) Winn continues to regress and Giants can't move him because of contract. Giants come to realization that Aurilia's numbers for the last 1 1/2 seasons are inflated by Cincy's bandbox an he cannot possibly put those numbers up at Pac Bell. Come to realization that $16MM buys an awful lot of food for Molina and he has a hard time getting out of his crouch. Combine that with his eroding defensive & offensive skills and you have another albatross for a few more years. Durham is still servicable but cannot produce numbers like his career year in 2006. Has the inevitable multiple trips to the DL. Giants come to find out that Roberts can't reach the cutoff man from CF. He gets on base and steals at a highly successful rate....only agianst righties. Chronic hamstring pulls limit his effectiveness.

    (4) Because of injuries and multiple days off needed by elderly players, Linden & Frandsen are exposes as very limited players.

    (5) 2008 comes along and the Giants have money to spend, but not as much as you think, because Giants are unable to unload Morris' $11MM contract. However, this is a potential bright spot for the Giants as they will be flush with money to spend on an impact player. However, Sabean goes out and spends it all on an aging Todd Helton.

    (6) & (7) Giants make a splash with their multiple picks and acquire some real talent. Sabean trades them away in mid-season for bullpen help & veteran position players because "we have a chance to win the West."

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  24. Hmmm, reading over the comments again, Boof, it looks like you wanted to punt this season. I totally disagree with that.

    For one, it's not like we have so many prospects that we are holding back someone with the team we have today, except maybe Frandsen and Linden, but based on what I've read about both, there's enough question marks on both to put doubts on whether either will ever be a starter. Plus, offensively, we needed Durham back, we had no viable candidate for the #5 spot of the lineup, else they might have been willing to give Frandsen a shot. With Vizquel gone after 2007 (potentially), Frandsen could see a season there before moving back to 2B in 2009, by which time Emmanuel Burris could be ready.

    Secondly, Sabean staggered most of the signings so that a large chunk of money is freed up each year, allowing him to acquire a key player each offseason if he so choosed.

    Thirdly, you've seen the history of the Giants and baseball, there is never any assurance that if you go down the slippery slope of blowing up a season, that you will necessarily ever make it back. Pirates and Royals have struggled, Tigers too until they hired Dombrowski who had architected good teams with the Expos and Marlins on low budgets, and in any case, knew how to pick talent.

    Punting a season is no panacea, particularly if you have such low opinion of Sabean as a talent evaluator.

    I would also disagree about Lee over Zito. As loathe I am about Zito long term, at least he profiles as an above average pitcher for the most part, he's a clear #2, possibly #1. Lee is not that outstanding an OF, particularly for a corner. He has never had an OPS above .900, but he's being paid like one who hits over 1.000 OPS. Plus, he is entering the zone where most offensive players start to come down from their physical peak years, into his 30's. And he doesn't have the sleek athletic-type of body, he's a Michellin Man type of build. There's a great risk, in my mind, of his blowing out in his early to mid-30's.

    Zito, on the hand, has at least been extraordinarily good, and has been pretty good in recent years. And he has even been better on the road than at home, with him moving to a better home for a pitcher in SF. Plus he'll be only 29 in 2007, two years younger than Lee. And he's known to be a workout enthusiast, much like Barry Bonds, unlike doughy Carlos Lee. Both contracts are big risks, but comparatively, Zito's a better risk than Lee's is, even with the additional two years.

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  25. Boof:

    Now you are just being silly and argumentative with no rational thought behind your ramblings. I see no reason to bother to continue reading you blind hateful drible.

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  26. Rainman, obviously, heavy doses sarcasm are wasted on you.

    Definitely, yeah. Who's on first.....

    I don't believe we should be punting this season. I also don't believe that throwing away money on the likes of Feliz, Molina, Aurilia, etc. is the way to go either. The Giants organization has stagnated. You're right, I have zero confidence in the competence of Sabean to engineer a rebuild. The answer is that he needs to go before the Giants can get back on the road to health. What happened to the proclamation that Sabean/Magowan made to the season ticket holders that they are going to get younger & healthier? It's laughable.

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  27. Also where does the Lee thing come from? I had said earlier that if I felt compelled to give a monstrous contract to anyone, it would've been Soriano.

    Now, before the dollar amount so the contracts spiraled out of control, I was in favor of ditching Bonds & Durham and signing both Lee & Soriano. It was obvious early on however that was not going to happen given the length of term & amount that both players were asking for. In any case, signing any pitcher for seven years is pure folly.

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  28. OK, I see there has been a number of comments after I started this last one.

    OK, Boof, I'm confused. First you denigrate Sabean for making an environment that young players don't want to come to (Zito, BTW, was one of the younger free agents available) because of the re-building but if we followed your plan (and you never commented on what you would have done during the off-season to make things better), then the team would be re-building and thus unattractive to young free agents.

    About your points:

    1) Who says Zito is headed towards an injury? Yes, pitchers have a lot more injuries, but at least Zito is a workout maniac, unlike the doughboy you wanted to sign instead, Carlos Lee. Why not then point out that maybe "Mr. Defensive" might trip and off on that weird hill in Houston and can't play productively anymore? Or he has a ranching accident that permanently disables him? Those seem just as likely if you are are going to tar Zito to be like any other pitcher, ranchers get hurt too.

    2) Yes, it is an unknown for some parts, but the main part is Kline and Chulk, they have done well previously as relievers. And Correia has done well when given the chance, so while he is not "proven" (you are sounding like what Sabean has taken heat for), he looks to be good again. Same with Hennessey. And Sanchez did well in his short stint as reliever before, and if he ends up in the bullpen, that's another good arm. I agree that Wilson is a big question mark. However, he has done extremely well in the minors. He is probably better than anyone we could have gotten for Durham, and yet you denigrate his potential while thinking that getting anything for Durham was better than nothing.

    It is not all cream and honey switching from vets to prospects, you have to accept that there will be portions of your team which will be big questions marks. You have to take risks. Sometimes your risks pay off and Frank Thomas suddenly is not only healthy but hitting great again. Sometimes your risk don't pay off and Randy Winn is injured and affected by the injury all season long.

    3) "Winn continues to regress?" One season and he was bothered by an injury, or are you saying he was regressing in 2005 too?

    At least check the numbers, Aurilia's road numbers were good last season too, which you might then term an aberration, but then I can then term Winn's 2006 season an aberation too, look at his career stats and 2006 was unlike his previous 5-6 seasons. And you site Kent's history (which we can do with Winn) but then you dismiss his injury marred 2006 but see Winn's as "continually eroding".

    "Eroding offensive skills" about Molina? Again, check the numbers, he had his two best OPS seasons the past two seasons. Plus his most homers ever.

    Durham won't have another 2006 but he doesn't need to, he only has to have another 2004 and we'll be fine, and he has reached that level in two of the past three seasons, since you like history and trends. Plus while he is a regular DLed player, we will have Frandsen in reserve and while has been injured, he's been getting into around 550 PA a season, which is not that bad.

    4) Maybe, maybe not. You are so definitely in your pronouncement, but Linden hit 30 HR in only 340 AB at age 25, which not that shabby. And some prospect prognosticators think that Frandsen has potential still. So there are experts out there who think they can be contributors.

    5) FYI, Todd Helton still has many, many years on his contract, they are stuck with that albatross until 2011, so he's not a free agent. Giants have plenty of money to spend even with Morris around and, clearly, his contract is not that bad anymore (only $9.5M, btw, not $11M, and he is way better than Meche).

    6) That's funny, I still see Cain, Lowry, Sanchez, Wilson, and all of their major prospects still on the roster after last season, only Accardo and Martis was traded, but we got Chulk for Accardo (Chulk has shown more performance in the majors than Accardo has) and Martis wasn't that good in low-A ball, so he wasn't that big a prospect to lose, other than he threw a no-hitter in WBC.

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  29. Sorry, Boof, my bad, I thought you had pointed out Soriano with my quick reading of everything. I'll have to think about what to respond on Soriano, I had examined Lee in great detail before so it was easy to pick on him. Just strike all the stuff on Lee...

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  30. I guess the sarcasm of my post was lost on you too. Much of what I had to say in that post was said in a tongue-in-cheek tone. It's hard to covey that on an internet post.

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  31. Ok boof, I will take you at your word that you were just trying to be sarcastic. However, normally sarcasm shows up in an attempt to overstate the other side's position rather then one's own position. That said, I don't know you so I will give you the binifit of the doubt and take your word for it that this was your intent.

    So, back to the main discussion. It is clear that we just disagree on Sabean so let's put that disagreement aside for now and focus instead on what the Giants' Plan should be from here on out with the assumption that we either have a new GM or that Sabean becomes a GM with both the skills and will to execute this new plan. Let's make one other assumption as well (to avoid another potential unnecessary side issue), let's assume that Barry Bonds' contract for 2007 is completed and he is a Giant. With these assumptions, what do you think the plan to go forward should be and why?

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  32. Unfortunately, the Giants are in a bad situation contract-wise. They are locked in to a number of players on multi-year contracts that will be difficult to move. Add that to the fact there is a very big deficiency in their minor league system with "real" talent and you have a situation that leads to the conclusion that for a few years, the Giants will be mediocre, at best.

    They are painted into a corner right now. The only path of recovery right now is to (1) stop giving multi-year contracts to aging players that have their best years behind them and (2) as soon as they fall out of the race in 2007, try to hoodwink some other team into giving us some young talent for players like Morris, Roberts, Molina, Winn, Durham, etc. It is going to be a difficult task that will probably mean that the Giants will have to pay a substantial portion of these contracts in order to get "real talent" back in return. They may also have to move other chips, like Lowry for example, to get this done properly. Lastly, they have to fully commit to the plan of getting "younger, faster, healthier" and not just the lip service paid to it during the off-season by replacing 40 year olds with 35 year olds. Of course, they also have to be willing to bite the bullet on a couple of losing seasons to get this done. However, it can't be much worse than the results with the current strategy employed during the last 4 years where they've steadily regressed without addressing their future.
    They have to be very astute in their talent evaluation for both their draft picks and their trade acquisitions so that the futrure won't be so far in the distance. They also need to focus more on acquiring young offensive talent, not just pitchers every year.

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  33. Boof,

    Here is my plan.

    Remaining 2005/7 Offseason) Target two more free agent signings prior to spring training to add some depth, experience, and closer options to the bullpen. My targets would be Chan Ho Park and Dustin Hermanson and I would sign both to 1 year $1M with up to another $2M in bonuses for relief appearances and games finished.
    This would have no impact on our ability to develope our own position player or pitching prospects and we could catch lightning in bottle and find a decent closer. These signings and completing the Barry Bonds deal will require the removal of 3 players from the 40 man roster. My targets would be Mike Matheny (retirement ala Tim Worrell), and trading both Lance Niekro and Jason Ellison to anyone willing to take them on their 40 man roster for whatever combination of not yet 40 man roster players we can get.

    Spring Training) If Benitez is not healthy put him on the 60 day DL to start season. If Benitez is healthy trade him to the Marlins for the best young reliever we can get. Target Tankersley but except Petit (rumored to have already been offered to the Giants for Benitez) if that is all we can get.

    Trade Deadline) If we are both above .500 and within 5 games of the playoffs then again be buyers for whatever our biggest short term need is. (50% chance in my opinion that we will be in this position). Just don't trade Lincecum, Cain, or the 16 year old kid! If we are both below .500 and more then 5 games out of the playoffs then be sellers of Morris and Sweeney, two of Vizquel, Klesko, and Feliz (but not all three) and one of Winn or Roberts (but not both). (25% chance in my opinion that we will be in this position.) If we are either below .500 or more then 5 games out of the playoffs (but not both) then be both buyers and sellers by trading Morris and Sweeney for the best infield position player prospect they he can bring and buying the best short term solution to our biggest need for the cheapest price. (25% chance in my opinion that we will be in this position.) Just don't trade Lincecum Cain or the 16 year old kid!

    2007/8 Offseason)

    If A-Rod opts out of his Yankees contract and is healthy do whatever it takes to sign him ala Barry Zito! If Andrew Jones is healthy and a free agent do what ever it takes to sign him too again ala Barry Zito! Say good bye to Barry Bonds no matter what. If we did not trade Matt Morris at the trade deadline then trade him now plus second tier prospects for a good (doesn't have to great) major league ready young cheap infielder.

    If we were buyers at the trade deadline then target to re-sign the best performer of Vizquel, Feliz and Klesko to join Aurilia, Frandsen, Durham, and maybe A-Rod in the infield in 2008. If no A-Rod then target the best two to re-sign.

    If we were position player sellers at the trade deadline then sign one cheap and useful starting infielder and on cheap and useful starting outfielder to join the infielders and outfielders that remain, the traded for youngsters, and perhaps Alex Rodriguez and Andrew Jones on our roster.

    My expectation is that we will end up with at least one of A-Rod or Andrew Jones in 2008 with a long shot at both.

    In my judgement our most likely 2008 13 man position player roster will be:
    Catchers - Alfonzo and Molina.
    Infielders - Aurilia, Durham, Frandsen, Klesko, Vizquel, and new quality young cheap MLB ready guy recieved in Morris trade.
    Outfielders - Andrew Jones, Lewis, Linden, Roberts, and Winn.

    With a long shot at:
    Catchers - Alfonzo and Molina.
    Infielders - Aurilia, Durham, Frandsen, Klesko, Alex Rodriguez, and new quality young cheap MLB ready guy recieved in Morris trade.
    Outfielders - Andrew Jones, Lewis, Linden, Roberts, and Winn.

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  34. Agree on Park, 1 year make good contract. Don't agree on Heramnson. His back looks to be a continuing problem. They are better to pass on him. They might as well sink or swim with guys like Tasschner, Sadler, etc. to see what they can do.

    If they can get more than a bag of garden mulch for Benitez, he should be gone. The Petit rumors are real, if the Giants pick up most of his salary and he shows he's healthy in spring training. Let's hope he is and he can "do his job" elsewhere. Giants should just bite the bullet here.

    There is only one circumstance that the Giants should be buyers and that is under the very unlikely circumstance that they have the best record in the NL or a 10 game lead at the break. Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. I guess anything is possible, but the chance that the Giants are buyers are so remote that I am not even going to analyze that. It's a waste of time.

    I would not hesitate to move everyone they can except the same guys you mentioned. I think you'll find it will be hard to move these guys without eating more contracts here.

    They do need a star to build around, but I'm not sure that A-Rod is the guy. He is a great player and underappreciated by his team, but he will be 32 this year, 33 by the time you are going to try and build a team around him. Kind of a slippery slope.

    Andruw Jones is more palatable at 30 and also the best defensive CF in the game, a nice quality for Pac Bell.

    However, instead of these 2 guys, I'd try to pry the arbitration-eligible Miguel Cabrera off the Marlins first before either of those two. It would take a major deal, but would be more worth it than the other two in the long run.

    I'd like to see them make a play for Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Braves. He is stuck behind a young Brian McCann and could be very available in the right deal. This would allow them to get rid of Molina....like there's someone out there who wants him.

    You are not going to get much for Morris unless they eat most of that contract also. Eating all these contracts will limit what they can do in the FA market. It's a Catch-22. However, if they really want to fix this team, they'll have to do that to get valuable pieces back. It will hurt for the short term, but will pay dividends in the near future.

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  35. Boof, you are just way undervaluing Morris. Even at last years stats Morris' market value is at least the $9.5M per year his contract pays him for the next two years. Just look at Weaver, Marquis, Batista, and Meche. I see no reason at all why he could not for example be traded to Twins straight up for Alexi Casilla or some simular deal with another team for another MLB ready cheap young good infielder.

    5. Alexi Casilla, ss/2b
    DOB: 7/20/84
    Height/Weight: 5-9/160
    Bats/Throws: S/R
    Signed: 2003, Dominican Republic (Angels)
    What he did in 2006: 331/390/406 at High A (359 PA), 294/375/382 at AA (199 PA), 250/500/250 at MLB (6 PA)
    The Good: Luis Castillo clone offensively burned his way from High Class A to the majors. Slappy hitter who focuses on contact and is a dangerous base stealer once aboard due to plus-plus speed. Unlike Castillo, Casilla can play on the left side of the infield, and is very good there with above-average range, soft hands and a solid arm.
    The Bad: Casilla has no power and none is coming. He needs to hit over .300 to have offensive value unless his improving plate discipline continues its upward trend.
    The Irrelevant: While splitting time between the two middle-infield positions at High Class A Fort Myers, Casilla hit .392 as a shortstop, but just .280 as a second baseman.
    In A Perfect World, He Becomes: We've been over this. He's pretty much Luis Castillo with shortstop skills.
    Gap Between What He Is Now, And What He Can Be: Average – Casilla will play the majority of the year at Triple-A, but can fill in immediately at either shortstop or second base should the opportunity present itself.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5825

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  36. I'll give you a reason. There is no chance the Twins make that deal unless the Giants pick up all of his salary and, ven then, they may not do it. Outside of what Santama will make (and it will be worth every penny and then some), do you see any expensive pitchers on their roster who are on the downside of their careers?

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  37. The Twins are not willing to make long term commitments but they do have Radke's $10M/yr to spend. I absolutely believe they would make this trade and take on all of Morris' salary using the Radke money.

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  38. Not going to happen. They are going to need every dollar they have to lock up Santana and Nathan who are going to be arbitration eligible. They are not going to waste any of that money on a guy like Morris.

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  39. Both Nathan and Santana are already signed for 2007 and 2008 so which are the years remaining on Morris' contract so this is just not an issue.

    Johan Santana p
    4 years/$39.75M (2005-08)

    signed extension 2/05, avoided arbitration ($6.8M-$5M)
    05:$5.5M, 06:$9M, 07:$12M, 08:$13.25M
    may earn award bonuses
    $25,000 for All-Star selection, 2nd in AL MVP vote or 3rd in CY vote

    $50,000 each for Gold Glove, AL MVP, LCS MVP or 2nd in CY vote

    $100,000 each for WS MVP, Cy Young award

    limited no-trade clause 2006-08
    may block trades to 3 clubs in 05, 8 in 06, 10 in 07 & 12 in 08
    full no-trade clause for 2007-08 with top 3 in CY vote in 06 or 07
    full no-trade clause for 2009 with top 3 in CY vote in 08

    1 year/$1.6M (2004), lost arbitration $2.45M
    1 year/$0.335M (2003)
    agent: Peter Greenberg
    ML service: 6.122

    Joe Nathan p
    2 years/$10M (2006-07), plus $6M 2008 club option

    06:$3.75M, 07:$5.25M, 08:$6M club option ($1M buyout)

    signed extension 3/05
    2 years/$2.54M (2004-05)
    04:$0.44M, plus escalators for 05; 05:$2.1M (including escalators)
    $25,000 All-Star incentive
    signed 3/04

    1 year/$0.3M (2003)
    agent: Dave Pepe
    ML service: 5.120

    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/minnesota-twins_17.html

    When you start throwing out things that are just so obviously and factually wrong you lose all credibility. This discussion is over because you just don't know what you are taking about.

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  40. I know exactly what I am talking about. Yo uare the one who is clueless. The Twins will not allow these contracts to expire. They will make an attempt to sign both of these players to long term extensions well before the final year of their contract. The Twins are not like the Giants. They will either sign them now or will look to trade them and get something in return for them. My money is on the Twins ponying up the necessary money to keep the best starting pitcher and best closer in baseball right now. They are too valuable to let get away. They will not allow them to get to their contract year and tempt them to try the free agent market. Only guys like Sabean do that. These guys know what they are doing. But don't believe me, read this article and inform yourself. Knowledge is power.

    http://www.startribune.com/509/story/964409.html

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  41. No time to go over everything so I will focus on the Twins and offer up two words: David Ortiz.

    Plus I would note that given Liriano's health problems before, they didn't show much smarts in pushing to start him, even with their strong need for it, they should have left him in the bullpen.

    And I would have signed Justin Morneau after his relatively disappointing 2005 to a long term cheaper contract, his stats were too good in the minor, plus his hot start in 2004. Good luck getting him to signed to anything cheap this season.

    Lastly, signing Juan Castro to start at SS? Ug-ly.

    I like the Twins GM, but he's not perfect either. As good as he fleeced the Giants in the trade, I think his releasing Ortiz pretty much negates that one, if not overshadows it, IMO.

    And it is easy to stockpile prospects when you are big losers from 1993 to 2000 and can pick up a lot of high 1st Round picks (winning percentage under the Giants winning percentage for 2005/2006 in 7 of those 8 years). Helps you get the #1 pick like Mauer.

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  42. Boof, you have fallen over the cliff and you don't even know it. What the hell does signing either Santana or Nathan to extentions for 2009 and beyond have to do with having money or not having money to spend on a starting pitcher like Morris in 2007 and 2008? You have commpletely lost all grip on reality here and you need to just stop before you eat your two feet that you have already shoved into your mouth.

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  43. I guerss that there is no educating the ciminally stupid. At least your moniker fits you, Rainman. It's not that hard to understand that the Twins will need every penny of the Radke money and then some to try and lock up Santana & Natahan, just like they have publicly announced that they are intending to do. They are certainly not going to use it to waste on a whashewd up veteran pitcher like Morris. BUthat's Ok, you go ahead and live in your paralell fantasy dimension. I'm done with you.

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  44. Please guys, I understand the frustration of not getting the other side to understand your point of view - believe me, I do :^) - but don't bring the discusion down to the level of the last two comments (plus there were others above, but I was hoping it was just an aberation).

    When your frustrations/temper has reached the breaking point, please refrain from name-calling or behavior of that ilk. Just agree to disagree, or my all-time favorite, either you believe or you don't believe, and we'll see what happens in 2007.

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  45. Back to more intellectually stimulating talk, I decided to tackle the issue about the Twins more.

    Trying dig up Twins payroll info, and found out that Ryan has GMed the Twins since the 1995 season. So it took him 6 seasons (1995 to 2000) to turn around the team from where it was before, to when they could become competitive again. So if you count 2004,5,6 as the start of the downturn (even those years were better than most of those years with Ryan), then you should allow Sabean another 3 seasons to turn things around, particularly since he has practically revamped the whole pitching staff to be much younger already, with a lot of potential in Cain, Lowry, and hopefully Lincecum, Sanchez, and Wilson.

    Also, Boof, you are incorrect, the Twins have already bought out Santana's and Nathan's arbitration eligible seasons, plus it looks like the Twins might have gotten a year of their potential free agent years. So any extension would go into their free agent years. But you are right that they entertain thoughts of keeping the two of them. But it is not as easy as you make it sound like to keep them.

    At $64M payroll in 2006, and Santana signed already for $12M in 2007 and $13.25M in 2008, any extention for him would be at least $18M per season, like Zito's - I would say at least $20M if signed this year with 10-15% tacked on each year they wait because Santana is that much better than Zito, but I would put him for $22-25M on the open market and only use $20M for this example - for at least 5 if not the 7 years that Zito got. That $20M would be a third of their payroll right there.

    Joe Nathan is signed for $5.25M for 2007 and $6M for 2008. The last big name closer on the market that I can remember is B.J. Ryan, who got 5 years @ $47M or over $9M per season PLUS that was before salaries went crazy this off-season, with mid-range starters going from Loaiza/Byrd's $7.5M range to Padilla/Meche's $11M range, or 50%. Applying that to Nathan, who I think is better than Ryan, would push his asking price to $14M at the least, if not the $15-20M range. That $14M would account for about 22% of the Twins salary.

    Together with Santana, that's 55% of the teams salary, with Mauer and Morneau wanting big raises and the Twins needing to decide what to do with Torii Hunter, who will be a free agent in 2008 and is paid $12M himself in 2007. If he got, say, Wells money, that's $18M per year, or nearly 30% of the Twins budget of 2006. If they kept him too, that would be 85% of the team's payroll in 2009, assuming the same payroll budget, or $52M altogether.

    Even if the payroll goes up, say, 25% to $80M, that is still 65% of the payroll, leaving $28M to field the rest of the team.

    The top 3 players today takes up $25M, so the other 22 players today required $39M to pay, and that's with the incredible bargains of Mauer at $400K and Morneau at $385K.

    So no, even conservatively, the Twins would not be able to keep their top players around for the forseeable future. Even if one just focused on Santana and Nathan, that's still at least $34M, leaving $46M for the rest of the team, which is not much more than the $39M of 2006, plus the need for a CF without Hunter, plus the need to sign Mauer and Morneau to similar arbitration eligible contract extensions, which would suck up even more available payroll space.

    But I agree with Boof that the Twins will not necessarily want to get Morris, particularly this season. They have Santana, Silva, Bonser, Baker, Ortiz in the rotation, plus potentially Liriano coming back to take over the place of the starter who isn't cutting it early in 2007, like they did in 2006.

    They also have their own Cain-like luminous prospect in Matt Garza, who didn't do well in 2006, but most analysts I've read think the world of him, though not as good as Cain. And I'm sure there must be other pitching prospects coming down the pipeline, but I don't have my prospect book yet (it's in the mail :^), so I don't know who.

    Besides, I see no need to trade off Morris, with him the rotation is pretty solid going into 2007. If Lincecum pitches the way we are hoping he will, that would make Morris available for trading mid-season and, as giantsrainman noted, his salary is now actually cheap for a pitcher of his ilk. And if he can get back to the low 4 ERA of a couple of seasons ago (plus 2006 before his season went awry, probably due to that mysterious injury), then he would be an absolute bargain, even at $9M, mid-4 starters were getting $11M this off-season, so a low 4 starter should be getting much more.

    So the earliest I can see Morris being traded away is mid-2007 and I suspect that there will be some disappointments, either from him or another starter or two, and the team will need to keep him for 2007. But if Lincecum and Sanchez develop like we are hoping, Morris probably can be traded by spring training 2008, particularly if salaries fly up again during that offseason and make his salary look like nothing, relatively.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I meant to refer to Santana & Nathan's impending free agency. The article that I remembered reading dealt with the Twins dealing with their other arb-eligible players. It was a mis-statement, but they do intend on addressing the issue now rather than later.

    I never said it was going to be easy to sign these players. All I said was that they would need every available dollar to do so.

    I just don't see how they let Santana get away. He is just too valuable. I agree it will take better than Zito money to sign him. I also agree that they will not be able to sign eveyone. Something has to give for this team. I think that they try to keep Morneau & Mauer. What this means is that they will probably have to let Hunter & Nathan go. I anticipate that they will try to trade these players either mid-2007 or in the 2007 offseason.

    Their quandary is that they need to be competitive in order to fill seats for their new ballpark. Once the new ballpark is online, they will have additional revenue and be in the position to increase their budget. It is a similar situation that the Giants found themselves in. This situation may mean they they don't trade one of these players and cash in the compensatory picks.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Martin,

    I just don't see Liriano pitching at all in 2007. Most of the articles I have read have him not available until 2008. I also do not see either the Ponson or the Romon Ortiz experimients working out for the Twins in 2007. So (while they most likely have no interest in adding another starter now) I do see them very interested in adding another starter at the trade deadline. I agree and have stated in my other posts that the Giants have and should have no interest in trading Morris now. But, come trading deadline I think they will have other needs and will have Lincecum ready to take over. This (as I have already stated multiple times) is when I would expect this trade to have a very realistic chance of happening. Doing this trade and commiting a 1/3 of a season's worth of 2007 dollars and a full season worth of 2008 dollars should have no effect on the Twins ability to sign extentions for anyone for 2008 and beyond. It is this point that I have been unable to get Boof to see. Dollars spend in 2007 and 2008 have no effect on dollars available to spend in 2008 and beyond.

    Finally, the whole Twins example was just that (an example) of how Morris could be turned into a quality young cheap infielder. There are plenty of other teams that a simular senerio could work out with. The bottom line is Morris is in fact (inspite of Boof's weak arguements to the contrary) a valuable trading comodity that the Giants can and should use as soon as Lincecum is ready to join the rotation. The Giants will not have to include any dollars in any potential Morris trade because his contract is in fact a bargin in today's market.

    ReplyDelete
  48. "Doing this trade and commiting a 1/3 of a season's worth of 2007 dollars and a full season worth of 2008 dollars should have no effect on the Twins ability to sign extentions for anyone for 2008 and beyond. It is this point that I have been unable to get Boof to see. Dollars spend in 2007 and 2008 have no effect on dollars available to spend in 2008 and beyond."

    I made a typo above. in both places where I typed "2008 and beyond" I ment to type "2009 and beyond". Again, dollars spent in 2007 and 2008 do not effect dollars available to spend in 2009 and beyond!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sorry giantsrainman, that's what I get for jumping into a debate having quickly read the comments. What you wrote makes a lot of sense, and as have been noted frequently by a number of people, Morris is a bargain, even if he pitches as poorly as he did in 2006. I kind of addressed the topic of trading for position players at Lefty Malo's latest post on the Giants plans, but basically I think the Giants are reaching the point where they can start trading off to get position prospects from other teams.

    ReplyDelete

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