Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lewis Helping Cain Again


Cain won today for just the 3rd time this season and the deciding factor today was the same as it was with his 2nd win of the season: Fred Lewis. Today, Lewis hit a grand slam to help lead the offense to victory, on a day that Cain did not have his best stuff: 5.2 IP, 9 hits, 4 R/ER, but 2 BB with 6 K's, no HR. Thus far this season, Cain hasn't even won on the days he had his best stuff, facing the other team's best pitchers, but today he got Belisle, he of the 5+ ERA (as I had noted yesterday), and got away with it, particularly after the Reds combustible bullpen came in and gave up 4 more runs.


Cain was quoted as saying that he felt that something big was going to happen when Lewis was up. And Lewis delivered again, with his grand slam homer, his second of the season already, becoming the first San Francisco Giants rookie to hit two grand slams in a season (stat from sfgiants.com and SF Chronicle) and third in franchise history (from Chron), with Babe Young in 1940 the first and Daryl Spencer in 1953 the second, and Michael Tucker is the last Giants to hit two in a season, in 2005. Bonds noted when Lewis returned to the dugout, "You only swing on holidays," refering to Lewis hitting a grand slam and for the cycle on Mother's Day this year, May 13, which helped Cain get his aforementioned second win of the season.
Lewis Looking Like Position Prospect People Have Been Crying For
Lewis also banged out two singles, going 3 for 4 for the day, with 1 run and 4 RBI. Since returning from the DL, in two starts, he is 5 for 8, double, HR, 4 runs scored, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. He is now batting .273/.333/.444/.778 in 99 AB with 3 HR. In a full 600+ AB season, if he continued at this rate, he would have 138 runs, 162 hits, 24 2B, 12 3B, 18 HR, 128 RBI, 72 BB, 120 K's, 18 SB. Like I noted in a post before, not too shabby, people like to put down the Giants for not developing position players - and rightfully so - but Lewis has been doing very well in his time with us here, basically doing what we had been hoping from Todd Linden for all these years.
Bochy says that he will fit Lewis in and with all the consecutive games played over the next two months that I noted yesterday, he will have to. But Bonds usually gets about a game of rest per week, so that gets Lewis one game per week. And Roberts normally sits against LHP, so perhaps Lewis gets one, maybe two starts a week from that. And Winn has not been hitting again in June, after being on fire in May, so he might see a game of rest per week because of that. That basically gives Lewis about half the starts per week, which would (over a full season) be the equivalent of giving Lewis about 300-400 ABs per season, which is pretty good. Plus with all those consecutive games played, Bonds might see more rest than usual, perhaps 2 per week during the next two months. That would edge Lewis more towards 400 AB.
As I noted in a post recently, people, particularly newspaper columnists love to crack upon Sabean for not developing position prospects, but Lewis is begining to show that maybe Sabean might have known a little something about doing that, that his digging up Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada while with the Yankees was not a fluke. And it is convenient when the stats are not all in to deride him, plus nice to ignore that the prospects you tout as better are no better than Lewis, Schierholtz, Ortmeier or Frandsen.
And I'm not saying that Lewis is it, only that he's been doing well up to now. Maybe he starts failing as teams learn him. Maybe he hits better once he learns the other teams. But there is now some evidence that the Giants oh-fer-years stretch of no good position prospects may finally be broken and the critics need to at least acknowledge that and not go for the easy dig at Sabean, you need to show the whole picture.
Teams Need Pitching Prospects Too
As well, they should stop fixating on the lack of position prospects when other teams have a lack of pitching prospects and the Giants have a multitude of them. Every team needs not only position players but a pitching staff to help them win games. If you are going to focus on other teams' position prospect, then at least look at the whole picture and compare our pitching staff, almost solely developed, with how many pitchers the other teams are developing. I don't know for sure, but I believe that the Giants will compare favorably with any team, what with Cain, Lowry, and Lincecum, plus Sanchez, Hennessey, and Correia.
And I still believe a pitching mainly focus is a good strategy. Pitchers can fill 12 spots in your roster. And typically any of those 12 spots. If you draft a player, you might draft a SS, but end up with a CF, RF, 2B, or 3B. Same with any other position. So you never can really draft for position need, you can only draft for best talent and hope that they fill a spot you need, else you have to trade anyway for what you need.
But with pitching you build up the pitching staff to a critical point, then every good prospect that makes it up either improves the pitching staff or is good enough to be traded for other team's position prospects. And every team can use pitchers. Rangers had a good stretch with 1B, Teixiera, Hafner, Adrian Gonzalez, but had to trade off two of them, and didn't get much good return on them, because not everyone can use a DH hitter like Hafner, and they just blew that trade with San Diego, they got fleeced.

28 comments:

  1. minor corrections.

    Lewis' rbi pace is 96, not 128.

    He hit his grand slam on June 1 in Philly, not during the cycle game.

    He should replace Roberts as much as possible.

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  2. Thanks for the corrections. I was doing the math in my head late at night after a long day.

    I thought so about the grand slam, but the sfgiants.com account of the game stated that as the date of his grand slam, I should have checked up on that when I had that feeling.

    The way Roberts is hitting versus Lewis, I would say so, but at minimum, as much as we should let the youngster play now, we need to give Roberts time to get himself on track as well. Winn is not tradeable (no trade clause) but I think Roberts is, so if we can get him back on track, then he would at least be a tradeable chip after the season ends, but if we play Lewis a lot and don't give Roberts the chance to show that it was the elbow and not age that caused his reduced stats, then we would have zero chance of trading him.

    Not that I want to trade him or keep him, just that he's just a useless hood ornament if he doesn't hit well after the All Star break, whereas at least he could be a chip to trade if he does well.

    Personally, I like him leading off if he can hit like he did the past couple of seasons, he can rev up the offense, much like he did for the 'Dres last two seasons. But if we can upgrade the team by trading him, I'm all for that too, it depends on what we get back for him.

    If anyone I would replace right now, it would be Winn, we're stuck with him no matter what happens and he's not hitting right now, so give Lewis more of his ABs as long as he is not hitting that well. When he perks up, then play Lewis for Roberts more, plus by then it will be that long stretch of consecutive games played, so give Bonds more rest, particularly against lousy teams, play him more for NL West teams, we definitely need to win those, whereas the lousy teams we might be able to beat without Bonds in the lineup.

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  3. Good comments, Martin. Actually, I think there is more strategy in Sabean's draft philosophy than he is given credit for. First, he's (any GM is) an easy target because a) he doesn't tell everyone his strategy and b) he can't really fight back. But I think in the early years after ATT was built money was very tight and that lead to the getting rid of a couple of draft picks for the dollar savings. But then Sabean had a couple of years to see how the new park played and I think he has put together very intelligent and reasoanble strategy. It starts with pitching.
    Pitching wins games, and, particularly in playoff series, good pitching shuts down good hitting. And, you can never have enough pitching. And if you do, it is VERY tradeable. Next, pitching makes up 12/25 (48%) of the roster. If you can develop pitching and keep the pipleine full, you can address 48% of your roster with very good and very affordable players. And, as we are seeing this year, when you have injury, especially the 15 day type, having guys 150 miles away that you can plug in and who are on the doorstep is a major plus.
    Next I think, and I've said before, Sabes looks at other models, looks at how ATT plays and concludes, if you have good pitching, especially in ATT and the big parks here in the west, good defense is also important. So, Sabean has focused, recently, (or intensified his focus) on middle of the diamond palyers - fast, defensive plusses, base stealing, table setting types of guys for C, 2b, SS, CF, and possibly RF.
    The benefit of drafting these types of guys is, at a minimum, you get defensive replacements. If you are successful you get your C and backup C, your 2b, SS,and two backup IFs, your CF and your 4th and 5th OFs. That is, potentially, 9 players. 9postion players out of 13. ONce you get to this, which Sabean is on his way to doing, you only have to acquire by FA or trade 3 or 4 players. If you can get decent production for these positions, you only need to sign/trade for highly productive 1b, 3b, LF. Finally, I am not even sure this model requires traditional power, HR power. This team (much like this year's Padres) is built to win if they can get 260-285 production out of the lineup on a reasonably consistent basis. Guys who hit a lot of doubles or can yank hits into triples alley are going to be very productive IF THE WHOLE TEAM IS PRODUCING. 2 guys hitting, 6 slumping will never work, but 5 guys hitting every night, with good pitching and good defense - I'll take my chances.
    I think we are in a transition towards this type of club (and I credit you, Martin, for being the first person to identify the 'stealth' rebuild). So, not counting this year's productive draft, we have Timpner, Coleman, Richardson, Velez, Bocock, Sanders, Burris.

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  4. I really do like Lewis, and I was happy to see the Giants start him again today after his good game on Wednesday.

    I personally would love to see the team try and move Winn, if at all possible, to open up some playing time for Lewis or whoever else they can fit into the corner OF spot.

    Lewis runs better than Winn and I like his upside more than Winn. Lewis has the potential to flash power now and then rather than Winn's slap and punch approach.

    I love the Linden comment too, I think Lewis is performing like most had hoped Todd could and would do. I'd like to see Ort get a chance too sometime, he's been hitting great in AAA since he went back down.

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  5. Chris, Winn has a no-trade contract so he would be hard to move.

    Ortmeier I like too, I wonder how much he was screwed up by spending two seasons in Dodd Stadium, he was considered a potential starter until he reached AA, but I thought his struggles in AAA before reflected that he just hit his ceiling.

    But I liked the vibe he gave while he was up here, I had hoped he would get more playing time, and it is great that he is doing well in AAA now as well, I think perhaps his confidence was hurt before but his experience in the majors may have given his confidence a boost, some juice. Maybe he will get a better look in September.

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  6. Chris, Winn has a no-trade contract so he would be hard to move.

    Yeah, hence the "if at all possible" maybe Winn would waive to head to a contender? Who knows and it's mostly just day dreaming on my part for now.

    I really don't like the Winn deal the more and more I think about it. A Ort / Lewis platoon would probably produce around the same and be much less expensive.

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  7. This so-called "stealth rebuild" is a fiction of some overenthusiastic imaginations of Sabean apologists. There is no such thing. If a rebuild was really in place there would be a number of prospects that are 1-3 years away from taking over a starting spot in the majors. Amongst the position players in our farm system, there are exactly zero - yes that's right...zero - that fit that bill right now. There are a couple that may some day pan out, but certainly not in that time frame. The Lewis', Ortmeiers, Schierholtzs, Frandsens and whatever other cannon fodder that is in the majors, AAA or AA right now are not the types of players that you build a team around. They are fill in players, at best.

    We do have some pitching, I will grant you that, however only one of those guys per day will have any effect on a game. I agree that good pitching is important, especially in some of the NL West parks, however all the good pitching in the world does not help if you continue to trot out anemic hitters that can't carry out even the fundamentals of good offensive baseball.

    The blame for this lies all on Sabean. He is the one responsible for saddling he Giants with some terrible contracts - like Zito, Roberts, Aurilia, Durham, Winn - for sticking with players that really don't add much - like Feliz, Sweeney, Vizquel, and for not moving players when they might have been able to convince another team that they had some value - like Morris, Winn, Durham. Sabean has run his course here and needs to find employment elsewhere. THe Giants need a new direction under new leadership. The current leadership is not getting it done and that is the bottom line.

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  8. Chris: Got it.

    About Ort/Lewis, at the time of the signing, I think Lewis and Ortmeier were both having a tough year in Norwich/Connecticut. Now we know that it was related to the park, but back then it looked like their prospect status stalled, so we didn't have any prospect looking like they would come up and do well.

    It's similar to the Alfonzo deal. A lot of people blast the deal today but the Giants main choices were either Alfonzo, David Bell, or a totally unproven (if not proven to be bad) Pedro Feliz. True, it probably would have been better in hindsight to go cheap with Feliz but given his stats up to then, it would have been the height of GM mismanagement to say that Feliz was the starter that year, instead of signing Alfonzo.

    I think that's the same with the Winn deal. Sure, the Giants could have waited a year, because they already had him on contract for the next year anyhow, but really, an average starter today is getting around $7-8M per year and as much as people think that RF is just a HR happy position, Winn is only slightly below the average RF when comparing their batting line but is superior defensively. That is, when he's hitting for his career average as a starter. Hard to tell what's happening with his bad April and June but great May.

    But yeah, now, I think an Ort/Lewis platoon would be great in RF, if anything, it would be Roberts' contract that could have been eliminated this off-season, just play Winn in CF where his offense is a plus instead of RF where he's slightly below average.

    But both Ortmeier and Lewis didn't do that well in AAA last season, like Feliz, it would have been considered the height of GM mismanagement to start them based on what they did last season.

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  9. Boof, it is a rebuild if you replaced a large portion of your team with your farm products, period. The Giants has 11-12 players on their roster who came directly out of their farm system, plus three players who we got using farm products: Winn, Kline, Chulk.

    If you have another definition of rebuild, I would love to hear it because to me the essence of rebuilding is to populate the team with your farm products. They have done a good job of that over the past couple of years. The difference is that they have focused mainly on the pitching side, not across the whole team, and have done it while trying to win (though failing at it).

    It is stealth because it happened under the nose of many Giants fans that they don't (and still don't) recognize a rebuild if they saw one. Why does one have to sell off everything to rebuild? I will admit that I would have preferred that, but he has done a stellar job rebuilding the pitching staff, that I cannot deny.

    Show me all the teams in the past that has been rebuilt totally from the farm, with prospects 1-3 years away from taking over a starting spot in the majors. Please name them for me so that we can discuss them.

    Most teams rebuild with their farm products but then supplement from the free agent or trade market, the only difference being that most teams have a mix of position prospects and pitching prospects, but the Giants chose to focus on pitching.

    Show me a team that has been successful over a number of years and then replaced nearly half of their roster with farm products in a 3 year period. I have not seen many teams who have done that.

    People still don't understand how hard it is to build up a farm system when you are drafting in the last third of the first round.

    For example, some people consider the Braves to be successful in producing Jeff Francoeur. He hits a lot of homers, he's a power corner OF, they were successful.

    However, his career OBP is similar to Pedro Feliz, .312, and his OPS is not much better, .777, and yet the Braves are successful with Francoeur but the Giants are total idiots for having Feliz.

    About building around Lewis et al, I never said that we are building around them. Why can't a team build around Cain, Lincecum, Lowry? Why can't a team be built around a pitching rotation?

    And how is Cain, Lincecum, Lowry just "some pitching". In what universe is a pitcher with 3.5-ish ERA just "some" pitcher? Lowry and Cain is currently 13th and 15th among qualified starters in ERA, that's not some pitching, that's elite pitching.

    They are elite pitchers, and if you have a rotation full of elite pitchers, they greatly affect each and every game, whereas a hitter often has a minimal effect on any game, it is rare that any particular hitter "wins" the game on his own, it is a team effort there.

    The average team last year scored 4.65 runs/game. The Giants were right there at 4.63 runs/game. The offense appeared improved this year, so expecting an average offense would not be wildly optimistic. If you have a rotation of starters who can keep the team's ERA around 4.00, that's a 93 win season. So if you have a great pitching staff, you only need an average offense to have a great season. That's typically an offense full of players who are not prospects you build around but are at least average.

    Every team has its share of lousy contracts, if you are around long enough, you will have them.

    It is all context as well. Durham's and Robert's contract looked good pre-season; if they were performing to their recent norms, they wouldn't be on the list. Winn didn't look that bad after his hot May, but looks bad after a bad June.

    Vizquel was a plus offensive SS last season and a plus defensive SS, he just got bad this year. So I don't understand this "sticking with him" unless you mean to just can the player when times are tough. If you were a GM like that, players will be wary of signing to play for you or to resign with you.

    Sweeney has been a good pinch-hitter and spot starter, criticizing the 25th man on the roster is the height of pickiness.

    I don't like Feliz either, but find me a better 3B on the free agent market than Feliz. For the contract, there were none better.

    If you say Sabean should have drafted better, then shame on LA, SD, they also couldn't draft a 3B to play for them the past few years either, couldn't trade for one either, Betemit, LaRoche, Kouzmanoff, previous 'Dres 3B failures, all of them have been failures, struggling. They should fire their GM too.

    In fact, why stop there? The average 3B had an OPS of 775 since 2000. Eric Chavez is only hitting 761, Beane should be fired for signing him to that long terrible contract for a injury prone, sub-performing 3B. Adrian Beltre is only hitting .753, their GM should be fired too. Encarnacion is only hitting .736 OPS, another disappointing year for that prospect, Krivts should be fired from the Reds too. Scott Rolen is hitting .724, he has long terrible contract and is injured frequently too, get rid of ol' Walt, he's losing it. Huff is hitting .692, 3 year contract, fire the Orioles whole GM suite. Alex Gordon is only hitting .675, their GM should go too. Punto is scrapping the bottom at .568, the Twins GM has lost it, the Nathan trade was nearly 4 years ago, what has he done for me lately?

    In fact, there are only 12 3B with OPS above 800, the rest of the 18 teams should be have their GM fired, they couldn't produce a 3B worth keeping this season, so they should all be fired.

    The bottom line is that Sabean has rebuilt the pitching staff over the past 2.5 seasons, and is making progress towards the rest of the diamond. He doesn't need to have prospects at every position because NOBODY does that, he can fill in with free agents as necessary. And if you have an elite rotation (and also bullpen), then you can get by with an average run scoring offense.

    I've never said that Sabean is not accountable, I have only said that Sabean has done an excellent job turning over the pitching staff, we should give him time to finish off his rebuilding job and see what he can do. I think a two year contract is fair, that gives him a little time to get past the Barry Bonds era and to see how the roster shapes up.

    Just because he is rebuilding the roster in a non-traditional way does not mean that it cannot be done. Isn't that the ultimate point of Moneyball, attaining success differently?

    How you can call it "some pitching" I have no idea how you can come up with that given how well Cain, Lowry, and Lincecum has been pitching, what exactly have you been seeing, as that is not the Giants I've been seeing pitch. Some pitching I would ascribe to the bullpen maybe, but not the starting staff.

    And if you want to be picky, you have to throw the Bonds contract in there too, who ever gave a 5 year contract to a 37 year old player for $90M, that is risky beyond belief, that's the age when players decline and particularly once he gets into his 40's, only one player has played well into his 40's, Ted Williams, every other baseball player declined greatly and was a shadow of even his recent self once he passed 40. Or how about $20M for a 42 year old player, who just missed a full season not that long ago, who has federal indictments which are supposedly one key piece of evidence away from putting him in jail for perjury or tax evasion. He's our best player.

    And Molina was a good sign too. And those contracts for Cain and Lowry are pretty sweet too, we could have just go through salary arbitration and pay through the nose when arbitration came up. And he picked Lincecum when 9 other teams deemed him too risky to pick, and it turned out that it was too risky not to pick him. Klesko was a pretty good pickup as well, he's providing needed offense from the 1B and #5 spot. So they are not all bad.

    True, things could have been done better. Find me a perfect GM somewhere else and I'll be ready to condemn Sabean right now.

    You have to look at the overall package, we are set in the rotation for the foreseeable future and not with "some pitching" but elite pitching from Cain, Lowry, and Lincecum, plus maybe Zito and Sanchez. Most teams are lucky to have one, maybe two, good starters on their team, we have 3 maybe 5 good starters. The bullpen looks pretty good right now too, we just need a closer. The whole pitching staff is rebuilt and should be together and good for the next 4-5 seasons roughly.

    Now it's time to give Sabean some more rope and see what he can do with the starting lineup.

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  10. I am amazed at what I am reading here that anyone can possibly say that Sabean is doing a good job in rebuilding this team. It's a pure fantasy.

    First of all, I agree that rebuilds are not all done from your farm prospects. They are supplemented by free agent signings & trades. We agree on that. What we don't agree on is that a rebuild in happening. Top notch free agents don't want to sign with the Giants because they see an old and broken down team with a bleak future. We then go out and sign Roberts, Aurilia, & Durham to multi-year contracts. We re-up Bonds & Feliz making the AARP team compete. Would you want to tie your future to this group if you were a free agent? We know the answer to that.

    You want to look at examples of teams that have rebuilt with prospects that have developed, young players, trades & key free agent signings. You need to look no farther than teams like Cleveland, Minnesota, Detroit & Arizona, for instance. These teams have a future. The Giants do not.

    Building around pitching is fine, but drafting pitching year after year after year has produced a vaccuum as far as offensive talent is concerned in our minor league system. Pedro Feliz is the only position player that is starting for the Giants right now that has come up through their farm system. That is a pretty sad commentary on the success of the Giants' minor league system. Who are these other 11-12 products that you speak about? Frandsen? Ortmeier? Lewis? Please, it's a joke.

    We have Cain & Lincecum. That's 2 top notch prospects that hopefully will be with the team for a long time. Lowry - I'm not convinced - and have maintained that they should be trading him to get a jump start on the rebuilding process. Not that he would bring this type of return, but Cleveland started on their rebuilding way by trading Bartolo Colon to Montreal for Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, & Cliff Lee. Just think where they would be if they hadn't given up on Phillips too soon. That's the type of deal the Giants should be trying to make since they have no offensive help in their minor league system. Similarly, they should've traded Morris a month ago when they could've hoodwinked another team into believing that he still has something left in the tank.

    Look at Arizona, only 2 of their position players, Byrnes & Hudson, have not come from their farm system, and even they are relatively younger players. They still have a number of position player propects that are lining up right behond them also...like Justin Upton & Carlos Gonzalez to name a couple. This is what a rebuild is supposed to look like. They have a bright future and, if they would be willing to spend the money, could attract top notch free agents to fill in specific needs....in theor case, pitching.

    If the Giants don't start getting rid of the older players and replacing them with younger players with upside potential in order to create a long term opportunity to improve this team, they will never be able to attract free agents to come here. It's about having a plan and it's clear that the Giants don't have one. They don't even appear to have a clue. Maybe you're satisfied with medocrity......I'm not. That is why Sabean has to go and new leadership has to be brought in.

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  11. Martin, you forgot (I think) to include that the roster contains 4 non pitchers from the Giants minor league system, 12 players total - and that number is likely to be larger next year.
    I also think my point, that if Sabean can fill the pitching half of the roster, and the bulk of the bench from the monor system, he only needs 8 FAs to fill out the roster and the starting team, complements your arguments and ideas. looking forward to the off season, the team is set at pitching. They have signed C, 2b, CF, RF, plus part of the 1b platoon (Aurilia). They need to fill SS, 3b, LF and a LH hitting 1b. My suspicion is Bonds comes back for 2/3 of the games in LF so the need a significant 4th OF, which I think they fill w/ Lewis and mayb they also add Ortmeier, as they need a RH bat. I suspect Klesko comes back for the LH part of the 1b platoon. That means they really only need to fill SS and 3b.
    People are going to jump up and down and say that is the same as this year, but, as weird as it sounds, this team is not that far away.
    They are, as of 7-6-07 3d in the NL in ERA, behind LA and SD (with their unreal 3.00 ERA), but ahead of Az. In the NL west, with the pathetic production we have had, we are 2d in runs/game:
    team runs/gm ERA OPS
    LA 4.465 3.81 731
    SF 4.265 3.89 708
    SD 4.262 3.00 700
    Az 4.172 3.94 721
    I am not even considering the possiblity that one of Roberts or Winn (maybe even Durham, but I doubt it, as his "poor" year still has an OPS of 735) gets traded, opening up another slot for a FA pickup. The point is, add a 750 OPS and a 725-735 OPS bat, in 2 of the 3 open positions, (SS, 3b, OF) and I think this team is right there. If you look how close the numbers are, if the "washed-up" veterans had each an added 10-15 OPS we would be right there right now, too.
    It is not age that has caused the drastic decline of all of these guys. Roberts and Aurilia can likely be attributed to injury. I am, frankly, surprised by Feliz, but we'll see over the next 2-3 months if he has anything or not. The same is true of Durham. No matter what, I would expect Durham to bounce back and have an "average" year next year. I'm not prepared to say OPmar is washed up because, if you look at his career stats, he has been prone to way off years. That said, I'm not terribly in favor of bringing him back UNLESS the 750 and 725 bats are brought in for 3b and OF

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  12. I almost forgot....another team that has built from their farm system. Take a look at Milwaukee. Seven of their eight starters right now came up through their minor leagues. Only Estrada came over via trade in the off season.

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  13. Frank, you realize of course, that there are only 2 teams in the NL that are worse than the Giants right now? You realize that they are also the 6 worst team in all of baseball?

    Yet, you have the guts to say that this team is not that far away? Hell, even the Giants say that they suck. You are the only one who believes that they don't.

    Now you want us to believe that all we need is a 3B & SS and we'll be good for next year also? It's so preposterous that I don't even know how to respond to this other than to say that you need to take a good dose of a reality check.

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  14. OK, now we can have a debate. Clearly, from your list of teams listed, you have no idea of the pain each team went through to get where they are today.

    I'll start off with the Brewers (LIFO?).

    This is year 24 of the rebuilding that started, I would say, in 1984 after a nice run from 1978-1983. If you are happy with that, then you need to give Sabean another 20 years to rebuild the Giants.

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  15. Ooops, forgot to add, you showed that you clearly don't read everything here on my site, I've gone over this over and over because people like you think rebuilding is a sunny bed of roses that a team goes through.

    Arizona, as I had made clear before, went through a three year rebuild, so if you are OK with that, you need to wait until next year to see how Sabean has recrafted the team before deciding that he has done a bad job, because the D-backs were losers the past three years and, frankly, there's still the rest of the reason to fall back out of contention for them.

    Detroit, ah, one of the poster children for this sort of fiction of the clean rebuild. The last year they were competitive was 1988, though if you want to be generous, they were bobbing around 500 for another few years, but from 1994 to 2005, they pretty much scrapped the bottom of the barrel. Here is their winning percentage starting 1994: .461, .417, .327 (109 losses!), .488, .401 (97 losses), .429, .488, .407, .342 (106 losses), .265 (119 lossess), .444, .438. After so many years of stockpiling high draft picks, I would hope that they rebuilt their team, they have taken long enough.

    Minnesota, another darling of the rebuild crowd. After a nice run of World Series from 1987 to 1992, the team rebuilt from 1993 to 2000, 8 seasons long. They were in the bottom two spots in the division from 1993 to 2000: .438, .469, .389, .481, .420, .432, .394, .426. 8 years of rebuilding, plus the #1 pick of the draft and they picked right, Joe Mauer - even the #1 pick does not turn out to be a good player, about 50% of the time only.

    Cleveland, another darling of the rebuild crowd. Their rebuild started 2002 and have lasted 3 years or 4 of 5, depending on how you classified 2006's losing year. If you like their rebuild, then you should give Sabean until next season to see how the total package turns out.

    Because you don't know how things will change season to season. Sizemore and Peralta came up in 2005 and the team took off. In 2006, Sizemore continued up but Peralta hit worse than Vizquel did that season, and Cliff Lee didn't pitch quite as well and they made a horrible free agent signing with Paul Byrd and bad trade, Crisp for Marte and Shoppach (and others).

    This year Peralta came through again - that's the problem with young hot prospects, they have up and down years to start their careers or, like Andy Marte, just can't get off the ground. And the trade for Josh Barfield hasn't turned out the way they thought, he has been horrible, worse than Neifi. Dellucci and Nixon were a horrible sign as well. Lucky they have 5 hitters with 800+ OPS. Lucky CC Sabathia and Fauto Carmona are pitching better than the rest of the rotation, all near 5 ERA or worse. Plus a closer with a 5.51 ERA.

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  16. You make my point for me. We don't have to wait another year, 2 or 3 because during the time that Sabean should've been restocking their farm system with both pitching & position players, he has failed to find any position prospects. Those are guys he should've been getting 4 years ago when the Giants were already an old team. The Giants are going to be facing a long period of years where they are not going to be competitive becaue their cupboard is bare.

    Face it, if you're a top notch free agent, you're going to get your money wherever you sign. What is it then that they are going to look for? It is going to be the cahnce to win a title. That is something the Giants will not be able to offer for a long time. However, a team like Detroit, Milwaukee, Arizona, etc. can offer that.

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  17. What point is that? I've countered most of your points that you previously espoused, are you admitting that I proved my point with my comments since you didn't challenge any of my assertions?

    Your point is that you want to rebuild and you sited all these teams as examples you would want the Giants to follow. Your point had nothing to do with the Giants ability to sign free agents, though it was one of your side points.

    Apparently you are OK with 8-12 year rebuildings, you don't care to try to be competitive for a long time, as long as they just get rid of the old guys and go through a bunch of young players until they get the right combination.

    I would rather not go through an 8-12 year rebuilding cycle. I like the players that Sabean has picked up in the drafts and how they have performed for us at the major league level. I believe that Sabean has our team ready to compete in a year or two, because with a strong rotation like that, we only need to have an average offense to do very well.

    Ideally, we don't get anymore platoon type guys like Roberts and Klesko. We were forced into that because free agents went elsewhere.

    You can blame Sabean all you want but Carlos Lee was going to Houston because his ranch was nearby and Gary Mathews wanted to live near his children in the LA area. As long as Houston and LA was paying, they were going to go with them. And fortunately we didn't pick up the one dimensional Juan Pierre, heh heh, the D-gers got him.

    If we can field a team of average hitters who hit LHP and RHP about equally well, then I think we can win a lot of games with our rotation and bullpen.

    The rotation has an ERA of 4.04 and the bullpen of 3.52, with an overall 3.89 ERA. Even with the 4.3 runs/game average we have now, that should result in a 90 win season, a .553 winning percentage. So the team is underperforming, but the strategy is sound of having a good pitching staff lead the way to wins.

    That has been my point, that the rebuild of the pitching rotation is basically done and now we need to give Sabean time to rebuild the lineup. I think two years should tell us whether to keep Sabean long term or not after that.

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  18. Martin, I admire your patience for being able to deal with trolls, guys who post with no purpose other than to raise hell, guys who grab one or two facts out of the air and think they have an argument. What is the point in debating guys who don't bother to do any in depth study? I enjoy your site and your posts because you appreciate the complexity and difficutly that a MLB team has in trying to compete and to succeed. Really, any GM, including in Atlanta, Boston, or NY, can be criticized, if that is the only goal of a poster. But as you point out, succeeding is far more difficult than the nay sayers would have us believe.
    Some random points. Milwaukee, bottom dwellers for years, had the benefit of draftin top 5 picks for years. What is the benefit of draftin, say, #4 as opposed to #25(representative of a competitive team)? The same is true of Cleveland, and, to some extent, Detroit. So, Sabean, with, at best, 2 #10 picks, can ot be compared to teams like Milw, Pitts, Kansas City, et al, who were year after year, drafting in the top 6 or 8. The advantages of having the #6 pick vs the #22 pick are, statistically, enormous.
    Look at some of the teams in this division. Az, admittetedly has many home grown position players. They also have imported virtually the entirelty of their pitching staff. Why is that superior? LA has 0 starting pitchers from within their system (we have 3). They have 3 "system" starting position players, we have 1. I don't have a complete breakdown with me now, we we are not terribly dissimilar, though their "future" seems more in position players, our "future" more in pitching. SD has 0 home grown starter and only 1 home grown position player (K Greene, not substantially superior to our own P Feliz).
    Incidentally, when talking about the "future," it is important to keep in mind that SD has several key components nearing the end of the road (Hoffman 40, Linebrink 31, Maddux 41, Wells 44, Cameron 34, Cruz 33, Giles 36). LA, they of the rotation of 2 SPs also (Hendrickson 33, Lowe 34, Saito 37, Saenz 39, tomko 34, Nomar 34, Kent 39, L Gonzalez 40).
    And while Az has a nice group of young position players, what did they have to "pay" to get them? 3 losing season, 1 barely winning season ('06 4th [76-86]; '05 2nd [77-85]; '04 5th [51-111 OUCH].

    I think it is remarkable that "fans" completely forget that, up until Bonds had the totally unexpected complication from surgery, the Giants had the 3d best W-L record (for I think 7 years) in all of MLB. '05 and '06 are largely attributable to that very same injury/occurence.
    And, as I said above, when you get inside the numbers, this team is NOT that far away. 20, 25 more runs and this team is right in it, if not in first place. Oh, sorry, I'm not supposed to say that, not supposed to whip on the sacred cow of Sabean and, by implication, Giants mediocrity.
    Look, I'm very well aware this team is 10 games under 500. It is also undeniable they have the 3d best team ERA in the NL. It is also undeniable they have scored the second most runs (per game) in the NL west. We have watched the games, seen how over and over a base hit here, a bunt there, and instead of losing a passel of 1 and 2 run games we could easily have won 10 of them and be at 47-37, 1/2 game out.

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  19. Boof is no troll, he's just a passionate fan like us who has a different opinion of things than you and I, allfrank. I've been trying to convince him otherwise, and he's been trying to convince me otherwise.

    The ball is in his court, I've volleyed back and he has been very silent on the matter. Here, I'll give him a gimme, the D-gers have been able to rebuild while winning, assuming that you are impressed with their farm system (I'm still not convinced) though one has to admit that while they were never really horrible, they were really never that good either 1998 to 2001.

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  20. My point is this: You want to give Sabean 2 more years to rebuild the offense. In order to do that, he would've have to have stocked the farm system with offensive talent over the last 4 years or so in order for them to be ready within the next 2 years that you want to give him. Follow so far? Now, stay with me on this point. The Giants have a grand total of zero offensive talent in their minor league system that will be ready to go within the next 2 years. Therefore, this "stealth rebuild" that you speak of is either (1) a complete failure, (2) not going to be achievable in the time frame you want to give Sabean or (3) both of the above.

    That is why Sabean has to go. He has failed the organization. In any other occupation, he would have been fired a long time ago for mismanagement. I don't see why that is so hard to understand.

    Just so we don't misunderstand each other, I would not normally be a proponent of an 8 year rebuild. However, it is apparent to me that it very well could be what the Giants are facing now, whether they wanted to or not. There is no short term solution to the problem that they are facing with the complete dearth of offensive talent in the pipeline. The failure to recognize this and continue to delay the rebuilding process is only going to make it worse.

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  21. My point is this: the pitching staff is pretty good right. There is no "need" for position prospects who are "ready" to come up if the pitching prospects keep percolating upward as I expect and are then traded off to get the position players we need to fill out the team.

    My thesis is this: as the new pitching prospects come up and are ready to take on the majors, we can trade off people, mixing and matching, based on interest on the part of other teams.

    For example, the A's didn't have the outfielders they needed when all their players started getting injured (and why isn't Beane as excoriated by the fans for acquiring gympy players like Bradley et al, the way Sabean has been for acquiring older players? Anyone can see that Bradley and the rest of these players are going to go on the DL over and over again), so he traded off minor prospects to get the players he needed.

    The Giants could start doing that because previously they had prospects they wanted to keep (Lowry, Cain, Lincecum) but that's all other teams wanted. As new pitching prospects come upward, other teams will demand them and we can use them as trading chips to get what we need. And other teams can always use more pitching (else explain how Jeff Weaver and Brett Tomko and Sidney Ponson continue to get paychecks). Speaking of Ponson, the Twins are renown for using their prospects but they decided to sign Ponson than go with Garza or Baker, I just didn't understand that move, other than they wanted a veteran presence in the rotation, in order to be competitive and win now.

    The 'Dres needed a 3B so they traded off their "excess" 2B, Barfield (because they were gambling that the Braves would release Giles) to get Kouzmanoff. So, should Towers be condemned like Sabean for not developing a 3B? And really, the only position player they developed is Greene, and he is an injury prone SS who don't really hit that well, his career OBP is a Feliz-like .314, it is only his power that is a plus, but he's hit not much better than Vizquel has during this career and doesn't have near the defense.

    So should Towers be tossed to the wolves too for not developing any good position players over the years? The main reason the team is doing so well right now is because he pulled a double-Sabean trade by getting Chris Young AND Adrian Gonzalez in one trade, that was like getting Kent and Schmidt in one trade for an aging starter and a reliever.

    I think in two years, the prospects will continue to climb up and develop, and the team will be able to start trading off them (or people in the rotation today and replace with prospects) and get the position players they need.

    And I have to assume that A-Rod is a prize that they want. I sometimes wonder if their winning bid for Zito was meant as a sign to Boras that they would be serious players for A-Rod should he go free agent.

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  22. Your plan is not realisitic. Outside of maybe the catching position, the Giants will need to/should replace all the rest of their current starting position players. The players that are usually available in trades are (1) prospects or (2) veteran players with bad contracts or (3) veteran players that are soon to be free agents. Since you propose to trade prospects, then you will probably be acquiring players from 1 of the other 2 groups. Typically, these are not the type of players that you build a long term future around.

    Basically, what you are endorsing is the continuance of the methods of acquiring veteran players on the down sides of their careers in exchange for mortgaging the future. This is the strategy that has been employed under the Sabean regime. It has proven to be a failure and should not be continued any more. It's time to move on to a new vision.

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  23. Your plan is not realistic either. As I explained above, you don't need to have a great offense, you just need one good enough and consistent enough, you think like all the other unrealistic fans who think a team can only win if there are good players at every position. It is not necessary. We already have the players we need to build a long term future around, Cain, Lincecum, Lowry.

    Tell that to the Tigers. You tout them as a good example, while they were losing 100 games a season, they were signing veteran injury-plagued free agents to big money contracts right and left, I-Rod, Percival, Ordonez, others.

    And they really had nobody young who was that good during their struggling years, Granderson came up last year and Inge is OK, his stats are no better than Feliz and his defense is probably worse.

    Who did they build around? Pitching: Bonderman, Robertson, Maroth, then they added Verlander and jettisoned Maroth.

    And they wasted money on free agents, Todd Jones has been a big bust, so was Perceival, Omar Infante, they made plenty of mistakes as well. And Ordonez was horrible his first year but then paid off later but I-Rod is bad now but was good before. Many of the Giants free agents could do that too, Morris is now good but he was bad last year, Roberts and Zito are bad but could be good next year.

    NOBODY BUILDS ONLY VIA PROSPECTS! Show me a team that does that, I asked for this a while ago but you have not produced one team who does that. Every teams builds by a combination of internal prospects, free agents, and trades.

    Show me this team, that's all I've been asking for the past few days, give me an example of a team who has done this, since that is the main criteria you espouse for getting rid of Sabean, that he's going about it the wrong way.

    As I've showed already, the Tigers - whom you have named as a prime example of the way to do it - signed a bunch of veteran injury prone players to a number of contracts and built around their good rotation and good bullpen, which is what the Giants have been doing over the past three seasons.

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  24. Of course nobody builds solely through prospects. However, the complete lack of prospects at position players makes the rebuilding job 100 times harder. If a team has 3 or 4 position prospects that they can build around, it makes it a lot easier to fill in the gaps with free agents, etc. This goes without saying that they also have to have pitching to go along with it.

    All that being said, there are some teams right now who have built almost completely around prospects that they either developed or acquired. I've already mentioned these before but you choose to ignore them. Arizona's starting lineup has 7 position players that were developed in their system and with more coming up on the horizon. All they lack right now is dependable pitching. Milwaukee also has 7 position players that were developed in their system. Yes, they were bad for many years, but they chose a path to correct previous years of mismanagement and have been successful at it. Cleveland also has built mainly around their prospects and prospects that they have acquired. I think you get the picture.

    Again, the problem here is that the current management has not kept the pipeline full of players that were developing their craft while the veteran players were playing at the ML level. The management has allowed the team to get old all at once without having a plan for their eventual replacement. To me, and to a lot of other observers, the blame for that lies solely on the mismanagement of the current Giants front office. There is no one else to point the finger at.

    The Giants are now facing a number of years where they are going to be a very mediocre to bad team as they are currently constructed. There is no debating that point. All you have to do is look at the results over the last few years and it is very evident that it is going downhill fast. Staying the current course that they are on will doom them to more years of mediocrity. If we are going to be bad, let's at least restore hope for this team by committing to being bad for a number of years while they trade away these broken down players and restock themselves with younger talent. It's not the way I would've chosen, but Sabean's mismanagement has painted this team into a corner.

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  25. Here's another example for you of a team that has stayed competitive for a number of years while bringing in young talent amidst veteran players.....the Atlanta Braves. Over the last few years, they have brought in McCann, Francouer, Kelly Johnson, Saltalamacchia, & Y. Escobar. They brought up LaRoche and then later traded him for bullpen help they desperately needed in Gonzalez. They trade a young pitcher in H. Ramirez and get their future closer R. Soriano. This team has stayed vital throughout the years because they continue to develop talent in their minor league system and bring them up when they are ready. The quality of their pitching prospects is not at the Giants level, but they are serviceable. However, they have not totally forgotten about keeping the pipeline full of players that will eventually take over positions at the major league level, playres like Andrus & Lillibridge to name a couple. It's no accident that they have reamined competitive over a long period of time.

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  26. Yes, the Braves are a good example. They are the example I relied on in my Phoenix Rebuilding scenario that I posted on before. Because, while I'm for keeping Sabean, I think the fastest quickest way to build a great team is to suck for many years and get a lot of great draft picks, like Atlanta, like Florida, like Detroit did when Florida's mastermind took over Detroit's baseball operations. The problem with that is that you are playing with fire, you can recover fast like the Braves or take forever to recover, like the Royals, Pirates, Tigers even.

    First, how did Atlanta set themselves up for such a good long stretch of performance? Six excruciatingly bad seasons, from 1985 to 1990. They averaged 96 losses per season during that period. That gave them a lot of high picks where the odds of selecting a great player, like a Chipper Jones, is much improved over picking 25th overall, say. They also supplemented with international signing to net them Andruw Jones. And free agent signing, which got them Greg Maddux.

    I also like their strategy of drafting high school players. Once you are successful, it becomes very hard to find those good to great players via the draft, nearly impossible, a needle in the haystack. You need to develop them.

    If you draft college players - and this is the reason Billy Beane drafts them - you pretty much know what you are getting, they don't really develop much beyond that, though there are those who do.

    Thus, high school players are where, if you are playing in the deep end of the pool, where there are less fish to easily catch, you have to draft and develop in order to find your good player needle in the haystack. There is more chance of finding someone who falls through the crack among high schoolers and develop, than among college players, in my opinion.

    Now, lets take where I think you are overlooking some things regarding Atlanta, which I brought up with someone on MCC who thought Atlanta was their great example.

    I'll start off first with this comparison of career numbers, over their first two years of starting regularly:

    Player A: .262/.302/.451/.753, 25.5 AB/HR
    Player B: .271/.297/.477/.774, 21 AB/HR

    Pretty similar, no? Player B is slightly better, but with that horrible OBP line, just as bad as player A, they are pretty much equivalently bad, except for a smidge more power for player B.

    Player A is Pedro Feliz, Player B is Jeff Francoeur. Francoeur makes Feliz look like a walking king and he strikes out a lot more than Pete Happy.

    And that doesn't account for the fact that the average 3B hits .775 OPS, which Feliz is off 22 from, whereas the average RF hits .813 OPS, which Francoeur falls short of by 39, almost double Feliz. BTW, Francoeur's batting line this year is .289/.329/.434/.763, now 50 points off from the average RF. That's less than what Fred Lewis has right now, albeit in much less ABs.

    About Elvis Andrus, I just recently read about how much he is struggling at Advanced A Myrtle Beach. Looking at his stats, he's hitting .239/.322/.331/.653 (.302 BABIP), and there's not a lot to like about that.

    True, he's only 18 and doing OK in Advanced A where there are a lot of 22 year olds and above, but I think it is pretty clear that he's no offensive or defensive prodigy either, which is what you can say about almost any other Giants prospect. I'll start counting him when he reaches AA; if you'll notice, I don't really mention Villalona, because until he reaches AA, he's just a pipe dream of the kind that one can buy in the Haight.

    His most basic positive is that he's "toolsy." How many Giants have you seen described as "toolsy"? Enough to know that toolsy players don't always develop.

    We have a similar guy, Sharlon Schoop, he already plays defense at the major league level, and definitely way better than Elvis, but he's only hitting .235/.287/.303/.590 in A-ball Augusta Greenjackets and he's older at 20 so he's even worse offensively. Plus you can throw in Villalona as comparable too if you are going to count young players still in A-ball or lower.

    McCann is nice but his OPS is .751 this season, which is in line with his results in 2005, making 2006 look like a fluke year. Catchers have average OPS of .723 since 2000, so he is good and perhaps great. I would put Lowry in that category, a good year, a bad year, so this year we see what type of player/catcher we got. Right now Lowry is beating out McCann, Lowry is matching how good he was in 2005 whereas, unfortunately for McCann, he is matching how good he was in 2005, not 2006. And as much as you diss Lowry, he's doing it.

    Kelly Johnson is having a nice year this year but last time in the majors not so good in 2005. Maybe he improved, maybe he's a fluke too. He's never spent a full season at a level above AA, he has been spliting time, so perhaps pitchers didn't get the chance to figure him out. His AA stats were not that great, in 2003 his equivalent OPS was .732 and in 2004 it was .747, but then he jumped in AAA in 2005, but didn't do well in majors that year. I think he's a wait and see, particularly since his BABIP right now is .336, his monthly stats point to April being a fluke month (May .748 OPS, June .716 OPS). Lewis is doing about as well, though Johnson is obviously outdoing Lewis since he plays more and hits for more, and at a premium position, 2B. But Johnson is not doing so much more that they are at least in the same ballpark in comparison, particularly in light of how poorly Johnson played in 2005.

    Salty is good but this year he was rated 51st top prospect; Lincecum was rated 8th.

    I'm going to quote from Baseball Prospectus on Escobar: "His range is so-so at SS, but he has a strong arm. With Andrus coming up behind, and Renteria locked in for another two years in front, he could be a nice solution to the otherwise pointless choice between Pete Orr, Tony Pena, and the like for the utility job." The Giants have plenty of players like that if you like Escobar.

    Why can't the Giants trade off young prospects and get their future closer et al? As I noted, it was hard for the Giants to trade off their young guys because they first needed to establish them before other teams start respecting our talent and offering more for them. Now that the pitching staff is pretty stocked, as new parts come up, there is someone to trade off, plus as other prospects rise they can be traded as well.

    Atlanta has serviceable pitchers? Who is being unrealistic now?

    If the Giants were bringing up similar pitchers up to the majors, you would be giving Sabean a new orifice right now, to go with the one you are giving him for position players. Who are these serviceable players? Cormier, Davies, Devine, James, McBride, Moylan, I'll even throw in Horatio Ramirez.

    James is nice, he's doing about as well as Lowry whom you don't think much of.

    And the Braves robbed the Mariners in the Soriano trade; now that we have replacements in the minors, perhaps we can start robbing other teams blind again, perhaps Hennessey for a 30+ HR hitting 1B.

    Let's put it this way, if the Braves had serviceable pitchers, Davies would not be starting regularly this year with a 5.55 ERA (unless you think that is serviceable) and they would not have to trade a 30+ homerun hitting 1B to get a reliever, albeit a good one, but still, a 30+ HR hitter? Do they really fall off the tree that often? And Gonzalez has had his health issues previously in his career.

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  27. Not exactly sure what your point is there but let me sum up why I brought up Atlanta as an example of a team that has rebuilt while continuing to be competitive.

    (1)Atlanta has consistenly supplemented their veteran players on the ML roster over their long run with players from their minor league system. Not all have them have been stars, but many of them are producers and sustained a certain level of achievement at the ML level. The Giants, on the other hand, have not done that under the Sabean regime which is a huge failing and will result in the Giants having to endure a number of losing seasons just like some of these other clubs have done.

    (2) The difference between Francouer & Feliz is that Francouer has an upside. Feliz does not. Atlanta is willing, for now, to tolerate some of his undisciplined hitting to see if he can reach some of his upside potential. Feliz will never be any better than he is right now and he is about 8 years older and about $4M more expensive. Big difference. Again, the Giants don't have a young player like Francoeur that may develop anywhere in their pipeline.

    (3)In case you hadn't noticed, McCann has been on the all-star teams the last 2 years, his only 2 years in the majors. What did he hit last year? Something like .350? The Giants wished they had a catching prospect like that. Atlanta has 2 of them.

    (4) If Escobar is not that good, why were the White Sox insisting on him in a potential Buerhle deal recently? Why did Atlanta feel that they could trade Wilson Betemit last year? Give Escobar some time. He's got a chance to develop into a good player. The Giants have no such similar player in the ML, AAA, AA. See the difference?

    (5) Actually Chuck James is a very serviceable pitcher and, like you say, somewhat akin to Lowry. Lowry, at this point may be a better pitcher, but I think Lowry is more valuable to the Giants as a trading chip in return for younger offensive players. Atlanta already has those young players.

    (6) There's no question that the Giants have good young pitching that are being rushed to the ML. It is the only thing that they have developed over recent years. Ask Matt Cain how easy it is to win a game when the offense scores zero runs for you.

    (7) Atlanta knew exactly what they were doing when they traded LaRoche. He's a hitter that was going to have to be paid big real soon with a huge hole in his swing as the Pirates are finding out right now . The player they got in return was one of the best left-handed relievers in the league with an admitted colored injury history. It was a calculated risk and one that I think will eventually pay off for them when Gonzalez comes back from his surgery. The Giants had a similar 1B with a huge hole in his swing, Lance Niekro. Last time I checked, they had to DFA him and no one picked him up.

    The bottom line is that Atlanta has players in their pipeline that they are constantly plugging in. We have Luis Figueroa.

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  28. My point is that I am right and you are wrong. :^)

    Obviously, the Giants have failed at continuing to be competitive while being rebuilt. So we have no argument there.

    My point is that the Braves rebuild has been no better than the Giants. Let go over your points about the Braves, and as noted, it is an excellent example of a rebuilding:

    1) The Braves have not been been consistently supplementing their veteran players on the ML roster in regards to their pitching. They have failed (using your definition as applied to the Giants) in replacing their rotation adequately. How else do you explain STILL starting someone who has a 5.50 ERA when your team is battling for the playoffs?

    2) Yes, he has upside, but my point about Feliz is that when he began producing, he was actually producing better than Francoeur relative to his position. There is nothing to say that Jeff will ever be even average. So you are applauding the playing of sub-average players in the hopes that his potential will be met, but then denigrating the Giants when they refuse to play a sub-average player like Linden and instead try their chances with a veteran instead. A lot of prospects never pan out, see Burroughs with the 'Dres, 3B for all those years, never made it.

    3) I guess you didn't noticed but that choice is in the hands of the manager, so it isn't always the best players being selected, often players are selected on reputation. McCann has a deserved reputation because of what he did last season.

    But the facts remain that he didn't hit that great in 2005 and this year, he hit well in April (.806 OPS) but has been OK to bad in May and June:

    May .257/.317/.405/.722
    June .238/.270/.417/.687

    That brings up legitimate questions about his long term ability to survive in this league. Yes, he is young and could recover. But baseball history is littered with players who shine brightly one season but not any other season.

    Unless, that is, a .700 OPS catcher is considered an accomplishment worthy of putting them up as an example to follow. In which case, we need to celebrate Eliezer Alfonzo, lifetime .265/.302/.455/.757.

    4) OK, now you are stretch your credibility here. Here you are touting Yunel Escobar: he was 23 years old in AA, which is average, and he hit only .264/.361/.346/.707. This year, in the majors, he is hitting .304/.339/.412/.751 with 1 HR, 15 runs, 10 RBI, 2 SB in 102 AB. Meanwhile, this year, the Giants have Fred Lewis, who has hit way better in AA and AAA than Escobar, and is hitting .280/.358/.439/.797 right now with 3 HR, 24 runs, 16 RBI, 3 SB in 107 AB.

    By your logic, then, Grilli, Armando Rios, Ryan Vogelsong, et al were all suppose to be good players that those teams wanted. Who knows why a team wants a particular player, other than they think he is good; that does not mean that he will turn out good.

    5) I agree that James is a serviceable pitcher, more than serviceable, I noted that he was nice and equivalent to Lowry, who, it should be clear to anyone who reads my blog, I consider to be a very good pitcher, but that you have denigrated previously. I suppose my sarcasm was too subtle.

    The problem for the Braves is not that they have enough young offensive players, it is that they don't have enough young pitchers. That is my whole point in regards to your arguments. The Giants might be missing position players, well, the Braves are missing pitchers.

    That is why they have had to trade a 20-30 HR hitter to get a reliever with injury issues. I don't know what your problem with LaRoche is but he already has 13 homers and, by the way, is still playing.

    6) Rushed according to whom? They are doing pretty well for "rushed" players. And if you want to talk about rushed players, a lot of the players you tout about the Braves were rushed up too, all their OFs were injured or performing poorly, for example, so they brought up Francoeur and he took the position. Johnson was forced to play 2B when he has been playing the OF recently because they couldn't afford Marcus Giles. I think James and Davies came up because of problems they were having with starters. So why aren't you accusing them of rushing up players as well?

    7) As I noted, he's still hitting homers out, but Gonzalez is sitting around.

    The Giants have pitchers in their pipeline that they are constantly plugging in, the Braves have been forced to use substandard or average pitchers like Horatio Ramirez and Davies, or to trade away good position players - not just prospects - for relievers. So how is that different?

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