Monday, November 10, 2008

RE: Chronicle Letters to the Green

Michael Eckstut wrote to the Chron complaining about how Sabean is blind to Giant Holes:
Editor - It seems that Brian Sabean doesn't recognize how poorly the team performed last year and how many needs they must fill to become competitive. He's in a tweaking mode when there are fundamental flaws across every part of the club except at No. 1 starter.

This is a team that lost 90 games, didn't hit 100 home runs and had huge difficulties scoring runs. One bat isn't going to do it - you need at least two, maybe three additional ones, and the middle relief is awful. Putting Matt Cain in an untouchable category is ridiculous. He is a sub .500 pitcher who pitches well enough to look good losing. If he can be traded for one or two bats (Prince Fielder?), do it in a heartbeat!
I was going to respond to the Green but thought there's probably a low probability that it would get printed, they probably get a lot of letters. Plus, I don't like giving personal information when I don't feel that it is necessary.

My Response

It seems that Michael didn't seem to understand that 2008 was a rebuilding year. Yes, there are holes, there are always holes when you are re-building, that's part of the definition. Rushing a rebuild would be implementing the strategy of the previous 4-5 seasons of getting the best available free agent (no matter how mediocre they are). In a rebuild, you only want to add premium players and not feel forced to acquire veteran players to fill spots.

Plus, even if the Giants were to open their checkbook and sign the 2-3 big bats to boost up the team, most probably we'll be lucky to get one of them. And, of course, he says sign big bats without considering what that might mean, a lot of them are strictly OF (or poor 1Bmen), and there's no way we should sign any free agent OF. In addition, it could kill our budget, for example, there's no way Mark Teixiera signs with us without us totally overpaying for him for years because there will be so many teams pursuing him.

Also, he complains about the bullpen but apparently he missed Sabean's annual post-season press conference where he stated that the bullpen needs help and he'll be looking for it among free agents.

Then he ridicules making Matt Cain untouchable. First, as a seller with desperate needs, no sane businessman would say, "Here's one of my most valuable assets, please give me your best offer." The Padres show this lack of business knowledge by having open bidding for Peavy, there was no reason to sell him now, particularly with a deadline of the winter meetings when teams are still contemplating signing CC Sabathia instead; this looks like this will be a repeat of the Fred McGriff trade where they got totally ripped off by the Braves. And look at what happened to the Twins last year with Santana, they ended up with a pretty poor package for arguably the best pitcher in the majors.

Second, he calls Cain a sub-.500 pitcher who pitches well enough to look good losing. Matt Cain has had above average K/9 every full-season he has pitched for us, plus has his K/BB above the 2.0 that is the mark of good starting pitchers. And his ERA has been among the best of the NL each year as well, so it is the team offense that is scoring just short enough for him to lose than the other way around. He should get his facts straight.

Third, even if the Giants were to trade Cain for Fielder (which was always just a media rumor, I've seen nothing to believe it was a real rumor), that would just fill one hole while creating another hole. That's just spinning your wheels in terms of rebuilding plus you take on the risk that the 300 pound Fielder, who has refused the team's request that he keep in shape, implodes on you much like how Jerome Williams did when he couldn't or wouldn't keep his weight down. Excess weight can ruin a career just like that, no matter how good or promising.

Player Evaluation

People still have a hard time discerning the difference between having to sign a player when you have a hole versus deciding whether to keep a prospect or not. There has been very few prospects whom the Giants have traded during the Sabean era who have had good careers, and they are only nice relievers and one good closer, Bob Howry, Scott Linebrink, Keith Foulke, not front-line starters.

Meanwhile, he kept minor league prospects Rich Aurilia, Bill Mueller, Russ Ortiz, Shawn Estes, Noah Lowry, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum. In all cases, they could have been traded in order to bolster the team at the MLB level to contend for the title but were not.

The only prospects to really register on the regret meter are Francisco Liriano and Jeremy Accardo, and both, while pitching well since, have also missed significant time with injuries. Neither have pitched long enough to bring huge regret to me yet, though I suspect that Accardo eventually will (Liriano is an injury magnet and pitchers who are like that are not going to pitch very long).

The only player traded away who had over a year's worth of MLB experience who should not have been traded away was Joe Nathan. But compared to what we have received in terms of Jeff Kent and Jason Schmidt, I would say that Sabean is still comfortably in the plus side of the trade ledger there, even without considering Robb Nen, Livan Hernandez, JT Snow, Kirk Rueter, Ellis Burks, Shawn Estes, Andres Galarraga, David Bell, Sidney Ponson, Randy Winn, Kelvin Pichardo.

Has he been perfect? If he were, he wouldn't be human. But on the whole he has been very good as GM in terms of evaluating talent in terms of acquiring them via the draft or via trades.

People forget that his hands where tied regarding signing free agents because, if you expect to be a contender, you can't go into the season with so-so prospects lined up at a position, you want to man each position with the best you could afford. Unfortunately, the Giants budget was not a bottomless pit like the Yankees where they can afford to eat a $20M contract and not blink, and they had to make compromises, particularly in the latter Bonds years, in terms of signing veteran players to fill positions.

Still, Sabean has not been perfect and thus why I say don't give him Carte Blanche but to give him a couple of years to show that he can still do the GM position proud. I think he did really well for the 2008 season and am looking forward to 2009. I would hope they stick to signing only premium players strategy and mainly let the young players play and making 2009 another re-building year, though with higher expectations. I think they should be close to .500 in 2009 with an good chance of being over .500 if Sanchez and Zito can pitch a whole season like they did for long stretches of 2008.

3 comments:

  1. "Letters to the editor" are the scourge of humanity. I wouldn't even respond to them or get worked up over them.

    When anyone describes Cain as:

    "He is a sub .500 pitcher who pitches
    well enough to look good losing"

    You know they don't know what the hell they are talking about. Good lord that statement made my head spin.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know what you mean, Chris, and I normally don't but this one was so egregious that I had to respond in some way.

    And perhaps being sick made me a bit grumpy and less tolerant, I'm fighting off the effects of the flu shot I got last week.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, no problem, you've made a noble case but I'm guessing that Mr. Eckstut won't be swayed much by what you say.

    Get well soon!

    And, what the hell does "pitching well enough to look good losing" even mean?

    ReplyDelete

Labels

1984 Draft (1) 2007 Draft (15) 2007 Giants (52) 2008 Draft (22) 2008 Giants (53) 2008 season (6) 2009 Draft (18) 2009 Giants (87) 2009 season (24) 2010 Decade (10) 2010 Draft (11) 2010 Giants (137) 2010 NL ROY award (1) 2010 season (19) 2010's (3) 2011 Draft (9) 2011 Giants (84) 2011 season (8) 2012 Draft (11) 2012 Giants (93) 2012 season (11) 2013 Draft (3) 2013 Giants (39) 2013 season (5) 2014 draft (5) 2014 Giants (45) 2014 season (13) 2015 season (1) 25 man roster (7) 3B (1) 40 Man Roster (4) 6-man rotation (1) 89 Quake (1) 89 World Series (1) A's (6) A-Ball (1) A-Gon (1) A-Rod (3) AA-Ball (1) Aaron Rowand (25) accomplishments (1) Adalberto Mejia (4) Adam Duvall (2) AFL (4) Alex Hinshaw (3) All-Star Game (1) almost perfect game (1) Amphetamine (2) analysis (5) Andre Torres (14) Andres Torres (2) Andrew Susac (5) Andy Baggerly (2) Andy Sisco (1) Angel Joseph (1) Angel Pagan (10) Angel Villalona (29) Anniversary (1) appendicitis (1) Aramis Garcia (1) Arbitration (12) Armando Benitez (5) Armando Gallaraga (1) art of failure (1) At the Rate They Are Going (1) ATT Park (1) Aubrey Huff (20) Award (4) BABIP (2) Barry Bonds (28) Barry Zito (77) Baseball America (2) Baseball Prospectus (2) Baseball Prospectus Bias Against Giants (3) baseball strategy (5) Baseball Study (13) baserunning (2) batting peripherals (1) batting stance analysis (1) batting title champion (1) Beat LA (6) bench players (1) Bengie Molina (14) Benjamin Snyder (1) Bert Blyleven (1) Beyond the Box Score (1) Bias Against Giants (1) Big 6 (7) Bill Hall (1) Bill James Handbook (2) Bill Neukom (21) Billy Beane (1) Blog Philosophy (2) Bob Howry (2) Bob Mariano (1) Bobby Evans (1) Brad Hennessey (5) Brad Penny (2) Brandon Bednar (1) Brandon Belt (38) Brandon Crawford (18) Brandon Hicks (1) Braves (5) breakout (1) Brett Bochy (2) Brett Pill (9) Brian Anderson (1) Brian Bocock (2) Brian Cooper (1) Brian Horwitz (3) Brian Ragira (2) Brian Sabean (40) Brian Wilson (14) Bridegrooms (2) Bruce Bochy (22) Bucky Showalter (1) bulllpen (1) Bullpen (21) Bumgarner (1) Business Plan (13) Buster Posey (91) Byung-Hyun Kim (1) Cained (4) call-ups (1) Cards (8) Career Prospects (3) Carl Hubbell (1) Carlos Beltran (4) Carlos Gomez (1) Carney Lansford (2) Carter Jurica (1) catcher injury (4) catching (1) CC Sabathia (1) censorship (2) CEO (2) Chad Gaudin (5) Charles Culberson (5) Charlie Culberson (3) Chase Johnson (2) Chillax (1) Chris Brown (1) Chris Gloor (1) Chris Heston (2) Chris Lincecum (1) Chris O'Leary (1) Chris Ray (4) Chris Stewart (4) Chris Stratton (8) Christian Arroyo (3) Christmas (1) Christopher Dominguez (3) Christy Mathewson (1) Chuckie Jones (2) Clay Hensley (3) Clayton Blackburn (5) Clayton Tanner (3) Closer (7) closer by committee (3) Coaches (3) Cody Hall (1) Cody Ross (8) Col (1) Comeback Award (1) Commissioner (1) competitiveness (1) Conor Gillaspie (22) contender (1) contract negotiations (1) contract signing (4) Cory Hart (1) Craig Whitaker (2) cuts (1) Cy Young Award (5) D-backs (14) D-gers (31) D-Rocks (3) D-Rox (16) Dallas McPherson (1) Dan Ortmeier (11) Dan Otero (2) Dan Runzler (6) Dan Uggla (1) Daniel Slania (2) Darren Ford (1) Dave Roberts (11) David Aardsma (1) David Huff (2) David Loewenstein (1) Decade of the Giants (10) decline (1) Defense (8) Deferred Money (1) deleted comment (1) Derek Law (4) Detroit Tigers (1) DFA (3) DH (2) Dick Tidrow (1) Dirty (1) DL (1) dodgers (5) Donald Snelten (1) Draft (3) Draft Analysis (8) Draft Bonus (7) draft list (1) draft signing (3) Draft Strategy (11) Draft Study (2) Draft Success (2) drafting (1) Dres (16) DRS (1) Edgar Renteria (13) Edwin Escobar (5) Ehire Adrianza (14) Eli Whiteside (4) Elimination game (1) EME (2) Emmanuel Burriss (18) epic season (6) Eric Byrnes (1) Eric Surkamp (6) Eugenio Velez (12) extension (6) fanfest (1) Fielding (4) Fielding Stats (4) finger injury (1) first post-season press conference (2) Francisco Peguero (4) Fred Lewis (3) Freddie Lewis (17) Freddie Sanchez (4) Freddy Sanchez (7) Free Agency (3) Free agent possibilities (17) Free agent signing (4) Free agent signings (21) gamer-tude (1) Gary Brown (22) Geno Espinelli (1) George Kontos (3) Ghosts of Giants Drafts (1) Giants blogs (2) Giants Chat (3) Giants Draft (7) Giants Drafts (2) Giants Farm System (29) Giants Franchise record (2) Giants Future (62) Giants GM (4) Giants Greats (2) Giants hitting manual (1) Giants No-Hitter (4) Giants Offense (21) Giants Offseason (21) Giants Strategy (34) GiDar (1) Gino Espinelli (1) glossary (1) good will (1) Graphical Player (1) Gregor Blanco (12) Gregor Moscoso (1) Guillermo Moscoso (2) Guillermo Mota (2) Gustavo Cabrera (3) Hall of Fame (7) Hall of Shame (3) Hank Aaron (5) Happy Holidays (2) Hate mail (1) heart-warming (1) Heath Hembree (8) Hector Correa (1) Hector Sanchez (9) Henry Sosa (8) HGH (1) high expectations (1) high school focus in draft (1) Hitting (15) Hitting Coach (1) hitting mechanics (3) hitting pitchers (2) hitting streak (1) Hitting; (1) Home Run Career Record (7) Home Run Hitting Contest (1) Hunter Pence (19) Hunter Strickland (1) Idea (4) improvement (1) Indictment (1) injury (2) instant replay (2) instructor (1) Interesting Question (1) International Free Agent Pursuits (3) International Signings (5) interview (3) Investment (1) Ivan Ochoa (2) Jack Taschner (4) Jackson Williams (2) Jacob Dunnington (1) Jacob McCasland (1) Jake Dunning (1) Jake Peavy (1) Japanese Starters (1) Jarrett Parker (5) Jason Heyward (1) Jason Stoffel (1) Javier Lopez (5) JC Gutierrez (2) Jeff Kent (1) Jeff Suppan (1) Jeremy Affeldt (10) Jeremy Shelley (1) Jerome Williams (1) Jesse English (2) Jesse Foppert (1) Jesus Guzman (4) Joaquin Arias (9) Joe Panik (10) Joe Torre (1) Joey Martinez (2) Johan Santana (1) John Bowker (22) Johneshwy Fargas (2) Johnny Bench (1) Johnny Monell (1) Johnny Rucker (1) Jonah Arenado (1) Jonathan Mayo (1) Jonathan Sanchez (48) Jose Canseco (1) Jose Casilla (1) Jose Guillen (3) Jose Mijares (3) Jose Uribe (2) Josh Osich (3) JT Snow (1) Juan Perez (4) Juan Uribe (9) Juggling Monkey (1) Just Say No (1) Kendry Flores (1) Keury Mella (1) Kevin Correia (2) Kevin Frandsen (22) Kevin Pucetas (10) Kung Fu Panda (30) Kyle Crick (10) Larry Baer (2) Larry Ellison (1) Lead-off (2) left-handed (1) Lew Wolff (1) LHP (1) Lineup (17) lineup construction (1) Lineup position (1) Long-Term Contract (21) long-term planning (3) luck (1) Luis Angel Mateo (2) Mac Williamson (5) Madison Bumgarner (121) Mailbox (1) Malcolm Gladwell (1) management change (3) management issues (5) managerial value (2) Manny (1) Marc Kroon (2) Marco Scutaro (11) Mark DeRosa (8) Martin Agosta (6) Marvin Miller (1) Masahiro Tanaka (1) Mason McVay (1) Matsuzaka (1) Matt Cain (122) Matt Downs (2) Matt Graham (1) Matt Holliday (1) Matt Morris (2) Mechanics (4) Media (15) Media Bias (17) Media Trade Idea (3) Medical (1) Mediocy (10) Mediots (4) Melk-Gone (1) Melky Cabrera (14) mental (1) Merkin Valdez (8) Message in a Bottle (1) Michael Main (1) Michael Trout (1) Miguel Cabrera (2) Miguel Tejada (5) Mike Fontenot (3) Mike Ivie (1) Mike Kickham (8) Mike Matheny (1) Mike Morse (6) milestone (1) minor league contract (1) minors (10) mismanagement (1) mistakes (2) MLB (2) MLB stupidity (2) MLB Success (6) MLB Trade Rumors (1) MLBAM (1) MLBTR (1) MLE (1) Mock Draft analysis (4) MVP (1) Natanael Javier (1) Nate Schierholtz (45) Nathanael Javier (1) Naysayers (1) Negotiations (1) Nick Noonan (26) Nick Pereira (1) Nick Vander Tuig (2) NL Champions (2) NL West (21) NL West Division Title (15) NL West Future (1) NLCS (15) NLCS MVP (1) NLDS (7) Noah Lowry (14) non-roster invitees (1) non-tenders (1) NPB (1) Oakland A's (4) OBP (1) oddities (1) Offense (3) offensive era (1) Omar Vizquel (3) one-run games (1) Opening Day (4) opening day pitcher (1) opening day roster (3) Optimism (1) Osiris Matos (2) Outfield (1) Ownership (7) Pablo Sandoval (87) Panda (6) Pandoval (1) passing (1) Pat Burrell (15) Pat Misch (5) Payroll (8) Pedro Feliz (12) PEDS (10) Perfect Game (2) perjury trial (1) Personal Reminiscence (2) Pessimism (1) Pete Rose (3) Peter Magowan (2) Phillies (7) Phoenix Theory of Rebuilding (1) Pitch Count (3) pitch value (1) Pitching (14) Pitching Rotation (54) pitching staff (1) plate discipline (1) Play Ball (1) player budget (2) player development (2) playoff (2) playoff hopes (24) playoff roster (1) playoff rotation (3) Playoff Success (18) Playoffs (26) postmortem (1) PQS (65) press conference (1) pressure (2) priorities (1) Projected Record (4) projection (2) promotion (1) prospect (2) prospect analysis (1) Prospect of Note (3) prospect study (1) Prospects (42) questions (1) Rafael Rodriquez (8) Rajai Davis (2) Ralph Barbieri (1) Ramon Ramirez (3) Randy Johnson (9) Randy Messenger (2) Randy Winn (14) Rangers (5) Ranking (4) raspberry (1) Ray Durham (5) re-sign (2) Rebuilding (4) Rebuilding Myths series (1) rebuttal (1) Reds (5) Relocation Concession (2) Research (2) resource scarcity (1) Retired (3) Retirement (1) return (1) RHP (1) Rich Aurilia (7) Rick Peterson (1) Rickie Weeks (1) Ricky Oropesa (3) right-handed (1) risk mitigation (2) risk profile (1) Rod Beck (1) Roger Kieschnick (13) Roger Metzger (1) Ron Shandler (2) Rookie of the Year (1) Roster (4) ROY (2) Rule 5 Draft Pick (3) rumors (9) runs support (1) Russ Ortiz (11) Ryan Garko (2) Ryan Klesko (4) Ryan Rohlinger (2) Ryan Theriot (3) Ryan Vogelsong (65) Ryder Jones (2) Sabean Naysayers (4) Sabermetric Thoughts (5) sabermetrics (3) Salary speculation (3) SALLY (1) San Jose Giants (1) San Jose Relocation (3) Sandy Rosario (1) Santiago Casilla (8) Scott McClain (2) Scott Shuman (1) Scouting (1) Sergio Romo (13) SF Giants (2) Shilo McCall (1) Shooter (1) shutouts (1) Signature Song (1) signing (12) Silly-Ball (3) South Atlantic League (1) South Bay Rights (1) Spring Training (15) standings (1) starting lineup (14) starting pitching (48) statistics (2) STATS (1) Steroids (5) Steve Edlefsen (4) Steve Johnson (3) Steve Okert (1) Sue Burns (1) sunk costs (1) superstition (1) Team Speed (1) Team Support (1) The Giants Way (1) The Hey Series (15) Thomas Joseph (3) Thomas Neal (9) Tigers (4) Tim Alderson (17) Tim Hudson (17) Tim Lincecum (158) Todd Linden (3) Todd Wellemeyer (6) Tommy Joseph (3) top prospect list (4) Trade (9) Trade Analysis (15) Trade Idea (7) Trade PTBNL (2) Trade Rumors (28) trading (1) training staff (2) Training Tool (1) Travis Blackley (1) Travis Ishikawa (40) turning point (1) Ty Blach (2) Tyler Beede (2) Tyler Horan (1) Tyler Rogers (1) Tyler Walker (2) umpire mistake (3) Umpires (3) USA Today (1) Voros McCracken (1) Waldis Joaquin (5) walks (1) WAR (1) Warrior Spirit (1) Wendell Fairley (10) What-If Scenario (3) wild card (1) wild card race (1) Will Clark (1) Willie Mac Award (1) Willie Mays (1) Winter League (1) World Series (18) World Series Champions (10) WS Ring Bling (1) Yusmeiro Petit (19) Zack Wheeler (9)