Friday, March 06, 2009

Roberts Out And 11 Man Bullpen

As reported on all the Giants news outlets, Dave Roberts was let go. Chris Haft had a nice blog post on Roberts's intangibles, which I still believe is valuable (though not $6.5M valuable, but that is a sunk cost already) and hopefully he'll come join the Giants as a coach, particularly baserunning instructor for the minors, in the future. Just look at what he has done with Randy Winn in the two years he's been here (Winn credited him recently), horrible SB%, and in two years he has the best SB% in his career, at the elite level. Everything looks amicable between Roberts and the Giants, just disappointing, so I'm hoping he does return to the organization as a coach eventually.

I think the writing was on the wall, though, the moment I saw the media note that Roberts was having knee problems. Injuries have basically knocked Roberts out of the Giants plans at the start of the past two seasons. He's been as advertised when healthy, but he hasn't been healthy, unfortunately for significant periods of his time with the Giants.

The Giants also recently floated the thought that they might go with 11 pitchers instead of 12, before Roberts was let go. If both are followed through with, that opens up two spots on the bench and takes away one bullpen spot.

Bullpen and Bench Swap

It is curious that they suddenly said they might go with 11 pitchers instead of 12. Of course, once the team needs 12 pitchers again, that guy who earned his way onto the starting day roster will probably be dropped back down to AAA at that point. In any case, this implies that one of the position prospects is opening their eyes more than expected.

Obviously, Velez is doing that right now, pushing out Roberts. And perhaps the talk about 11 was originally about keeping Velez until they learned more about Robert's knee and that came to the fore as a reason to get a spot. So that bears watching.

Bullpen Watch

But assuming they are sincere and separate about both statements, that makes the bullpen a bigger situation to watch. With only 6 relievers, and 3, probably 4 (Taschner), spots already spoken for (it would have been 5 if Romo was healthy and producing, I believe), that leaves two spots for Romo, Hinshaw, Sadler, Matos, Miller, Medders, Valdez, Perdomo to pursue, with Yabu and Pichardo (who could stand a year in AAA anyway) the first to miss the chair when the music stopped, which makes sense as that's a lot of competition for very few spots, one less with the move to 11 (assuming it sticks now). And Valdez only today threw his first inning, who knows how his health will turn out.

Odd thing to me is that Perdomo has been doing pretty well so far, so I would think the Giants would want to keep more relievers than less, in order to keep him. Though really, Hinshaw, Matos, and Sadler probably could use a year in AAA in 2009. Miller I saw as an upgrade on Yabu, so maybe start the season with Miller and Perdomo on the roster, both Romo and Valdez on DL or rehab, and the rest in AAA.

Then as Miller and/or Perdomo show what they can do for the Giants in the majors, Romo and Valdez, when ready, can either come up if Miller or Perdomo are failing, or Romo could still go to AAA to cool his heels (Romo could use some time there also) and Valdez would have to be waived, so I would think that if Valdez is healthy and all the relievers are doing OK, they would move to a 12 man pitching staff at that point.

In any case, Perdomo has done very well up to now, so he looks to make the roster if he can continue to do well. And if Valdez is doing well, and can stay healthy, he would also earn a spot as well, he is out of options. That could push Romo to AAA, even if he's healthy and doing well. He'll get the "Schierholtz" speech of the past two years: you should be up here but with the roster we have, you have to be in AAA. Miller looks like he's not going to make the roster unless somebody is injured or recovering from an injury, and once they are back, he'll be in AAA.

Bench Watch

The other big question then is the bench, which moves from 5 to 6. Holm, Aurilia, Uribe, Schierholtz have been pretty set and now Roberts is out, making it two spots open now instead of just the one for Roberts spot. Velez looks like he's headed for a utility role on the bench, and would probably be the first go-to guy for 2B, with Uribe covering SS, and Uribe and Aurilia covering the corner infield. Schierholtz looks to soak up most available OF starts and substitutions, with Velez as backup as really necessary. So who is opening eyes?

The position player's name that has been popping up in recent games that I've been noticing is Jesus Guzman, the former A's (and others) prospect who we signed away from the A's during the off-season. He set some records in the Venezuelan Winter League (both he and Sandoval bashed there this winter) or simply compiled big numbers there, as the case may be. He's a power hitter and plays both 1B and 3B, and he's powered out a couple of homers already. If he continues to hit well, the Giants might just decide to bring him up for at least a while and platoon with Ishikawa and Sandoval, grabbing starts at 1B and 3B, before they need to bring up the 12th pitcher.

Another name that I've seen mentioned has been John Bowker. Sabean noted him as a possibility in the outfield. But based on spring training stats, he hasn't done much of anything to warrant opening a spot for him right now. Plus, he's another left-handed power bat off the bench, which duplicates Schierholtz, who is going to get most of the ABs anyhow, and there is Ishikawa, Aurilia, Uribe, and Sandoval who can play 1B. So I believe it is him who has piqued the Giants interest.

In addition, while I haven't seen either of their names in the news, their batting lines suggest both are looking to take hold of 2B: Burriss and Frandsen. Burriss is hitting .476/.500/.571/1.071 with no strikeouts in 21 AB (but also no walks and only 2 extra-base hits, doubles, in 10 hits) and Frandsen is hitting .412/.500/.647/1.147 with no strikeouts in 17 AB (and only one walk, but with a double and HR out of 7 hits).

As nicely as Burriss is hitting, it also illustrates the reasons why the Giants would want him to go to AAA this season and work on things. First and foremost, his lack of power. I suppose Lansford's suggestions have not made it into his head yet. 20% XBH% and 95 ISO is not what you want to see, you want to see at least 30% if not 35% XBH% and ISO at least 150. Small samples, but Frandsen is showing why he should win the 2B position, 29% XBH and 235 ISO (not going to keep it that high, but illustrates his power potential differential over Burriss).

Still, if Burriss continues to hit this well, just not the way the Giants want, the Giants would probably feel like they need to start the season with him on the opening day roster on the bench, to reward his nice spring, then send him back down once they need the 12th pitcher in the bullpen.


  1. More Hardball wants to know who has the hottest fans in baseball. We'vl be running a set of posts over the past month or so featuring images of each teams' hotties, with a voting poll to crown a champion. We've crowned champs of the AL East (BoSox), Central (ChiSox), West (Angels), and AL Wild Card (A's) already, and we're now moving on to the National League. The Phillies won the NL East, the Cubbies took the NL Central, and now it's time to move out to the NL West. Sticking true to Major League Baseball's roots, there will be an eight team playoff system where the winners of each division square off with the addition of a wild card team to determine who wins the pennant and represents each league in the World Series of Hotness.


    Give it a plug if you like it, thanks.

  2. I have not had a chance to see them play this spring but why could not Torres with his.364 OBP, .450 SLG around a .392wOBA (if I did the math correctly) be the one surprising instead of Velez?

    Nice run down Martin thanks for doing it.

  3. First, I see an error in my Bowker section, I DON'T believe it is him who has piqued the Giants interest.

    I think most would agree that the move on Roberts is linked to Velez starting to take practice in the outfield. So I would phrase your comment more to why not Torres over Burriss or Guzman, who were some of the players I listed in addition to Velez.

    There are a number of reasons why not Torres. First and foremost, he is a career journeyman, so any nice spring has to be take with a huge amount of salt. Career numbers normally don't lie, particularly for 31 year old journeyman (or somewhere in that age range). Second, his main benefit is playing in the OF and speed. Schierholtz getting playing time, particularly batting, should be the Giants priority in 2009. Hopefully when the DH comes in, he plays in the field and either Rowand or Winn get to rest at DH. But basically any time the Giants look to start someone else or bring in someone else, Schierholtz should be the first choice everytime. Meaning Torres mainly would be a pinch-runner most of the time, plus some pinch-hits, but defense is his forte, not offense, good spring or not.

    In addition, Burriss would have similar speed if he's the guy on the bench. Plus he's important to the future of the Giants while Torres is not. You have to reward Burriss with at least a 25-man spot if he has a good spring, should Frandsen get the starting nod at 2B. Then you can drop him when the bullpen needs another arm, and that would be legit while rewarding good play in spring with starting out in the majors.

    And that spot is still in flux, the Giants never definitively said they would go with an 11 man pitching staff rather than a 12, they just said they are thinking of it. So there is a lot of spring to go before that is decided, but in the meanwhile, we can have the fun of trying to figure out who the Giants were thinking of maybe bringing up to the majors, albeit briefly until another reliever is needed.

  4. Spam, what can you do about it? I'll leave this one on, this time, since at least it's baseball related...

  5. Spamers have no self-respect---and no life.



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 (1) 2014 draft (5) 2014 Giants (79) 2014 season (16) 2015 Draft (4) 2015 Giants (31) 2015 season (9) 25 man roster (9) 3B (1) 40 Man Roster (5) 49ers (1) 6-man rotation (2) 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) ace pitcher (1) Adalberto Mejia (4) Adam Duvall (4) AFL (4) Alex Hinshaw (3) Alex Pavlovic (1) All-Star Game (1) almost perfect game (1) Amphetamine (2) analysis (8) Andre Torres (14) Andres Torres (2) Andrew Suarez (1) Andrew Susac (7) Andy Baggerly (2) Andy Sisco (1) Angel Joseph (1) Angel Pagan (12) Angel Villalona (30) Anniversary (1) appendicitis (1) Aramis Garcia (1) Arbitration (12) Armando Benitez (5) Armando Gallaraga (1) art of failure (1) assessment (1) At the Rate They Are Going (1) ATT Park (1) Aubrey Huff (20) Award (4) BABIP (3) Barry Bonds (29) Barry Zito (77) Baseball America (2) Baseball Prospectus (2) Baseball Prospectus Bias Against Giants (3) baseball strategy (6) Baseball Study (17) baserunning (2) batting peripherals (1) batting stance analysis (1) batting title champion (1) Beat LA (7) bench players (1) Bengie Molina (14) Benjamin Snyder (1) Bert Blyleven (1) best manager (1) best practices (1) Beyond the Box Score (1) Bias Against Giants (1) Big 6 (7) Bill Hall (1) Bill James Handbook (2) Bill Mueller (1) Bill Neukom (21) Billy Beane (2) Blog Philosophy (2) Bob Howry (2) Bob Mariano (1) Bobby Evans (2) Boston Red Sox (1) Brad Hennessey (5) Brad Penny (2) Brandon Bednar (1) Brandon Belt (40) Brandon Crawford (22) Brandon Hicks (1) Braves (5) breakout (1) Brett Bochy (3) Brett Pill (9) Brian Anderson (1) Brian Bocock (2) Brian Cooper (1) Brian Horwitz (3) Brian Ragira (2) Brian Sabean (43) Brian Wilson (14) Bridegrooms (4) Bruce Bochy (25) Bucky Showalter (1) bulllpen (1) Bullpen (25) Business Plan (13) Buster Posey (94) Byung-Hyun Kim (1) Cained (4) call-ups (3) Candlestick Park (1) Cards (13) Career Prospects (4) Carl Hubbell (1) Carlos Beltran (4) Carlos Gomez (1) Carney Lansford (2) Carter Jurica (1) Casey McGeHee (3) catcher injury (4) catching (2) 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 (10) Chris Lincecum (1) Chris O'Leary (1) Chris Ray (4) Chris Shaw (1) Chris Stewart (4) Chris Stratton (8) Christian Arroyo (3) Christmas (1) Christopher Dominguez (4) Christy Mathewson (1) Chuckie Jones (2) Clay Hensley (3) Clayton Blackburn (6) Clayton Tanner (3) Closer (7) closer by committee (3) Coaches (3) Cody Hall (2) Cody Ross (8) Col (1) Comeback Award (1) Commissioner (1) comparison (1) competitive advantage (1) competitiveness (1) Conor Gillaspie (22) contender (1) contract extension (1) contract negotiations (2) contract signing (4) core competency (1) Cory Hart (1) Craig Whitaker (2) cuts (1) Cy Young Award (5) D-backs (15) D-gers (31) D-Rocks (3) D-Rox (17) Dallas McPherson (1) Dan Ortmeier (11) Dan Otero (2) Dan Runzler (6) Dan Uggla (1) Daniel Carbonell (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 (6) Detroit Tigers (1) DFA (3) DH (2) Dick Tidrow (2) dictionary (1) Dirty (1) DL (2) dodgers (7) Donald Snelten (1) Draft (6) Draft Analysis (11) Draft Bonus (7) draft list (2) 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 (18) Eli Whiteside (4) Elimination game (1) EME (2) Emmanuel Burriss (18) epic season (6) Eric Byrnes (1) Eric Surkamp (6) Erik Cordier (1) Eugenio Velez (12) evaluation (1) extension (7) 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 (6) Free agent possibilities (18) Free agent signing (7) Free agent signings (21) gamer-tude (1) Gary Brown (25) Geno Espinelli (1) George Kontos (6) Ghosts of Giants Drafts (1) Giants (3) Giants Announcer (1) Giants blogs (2) Giants Chat (3) Giants Defense (1) Giants Draft (11) Giants Drafts (2) Giants Farm System (29) Giants Franchise record (2) Giants Future (63) Giants GM (4) Giants Greats (2) Giants hitting manual (1) Giants No-Hitter (5) Giants Offense (27) Giants Offseason (21) Giants Pitching (1) Giants Strategy (35) GiDar (1) Gino Espinelli (1) glossary (1) good will (1) Graphical Player (1) Gregor Blanco (14) Gregor Moscoso (1) Guillermo Moscoso (2) Guillermo Mota (2) Guillermo Quiroz (1) Gustavo Cabrera (4) Hall of Fame (9) Hall of Shame (4) Hank Aaron (5) Happy Holidays (2) Hate mail (1) heart-warming (1) Heath Hembree (8) Hector Correa (1) Hector Sanchez (10) Henry Sosa (8) HGH (1) Hidden Game (1) high expectations (1) high school focus in draft (1) Hitter's League (1) Hitting (16) 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 (22) Hunter Stickland (1) Hunter Strickland (4) Idea (4) IFA (1) 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) J2 (1) Jack Taschner (4) Jackson Williams (2) Jacob Dunnington (1) Jacob McCasland (1) Jake Dunning (1) Jake Peavy (26) Jalen Miller (1) Japanese Starters (1) Jarrett Parker (5) Jason Heyward (1) Jason Maxwell (2) Jason Stoffel (1) Javier Lopez (5) JC Gutierrez (3) Jean Machi (5) Jeff Kent (1) Jeff Suppan (1) Jeremy Affeldt (12) Jeremy Shelley (2) Jerome Williams (1) Jesse English (2) Jesse Foppert (1) Jesus Guzman (4) Joaquin Arias (12) Joe Panik (12) Joe Torre (1) Joey Martinez (2) Johan Santana (1) John Bowker (22) John Thorn (1) 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 (4) JT Snow (1) Juan Perez (5) Juan Uribe (9) Juggling Monkey (1) Just Say No (1) Kendry Flores (2) Keury Mella (1) Kevin Correia (2) Kevin Frandsen (22) Kevin Pucetas (10) KNBR (1) Kung Fu Panda (30) Kyle Crick (11) Larry Baer (2) Larry Ellison (1) Lead-off (2) leadoff (1) left-handed (1) Lew Wolff (1) LHP (1) Lineup (17) lineup construction (3) Lineup position (1) Lon Simmons (1) Long-Term Contract (21) long-term planning (3) Lucius Fox (1) luck (1) Luis Angel Mateo (2) Mac Marshall (1) Mac Williamson (6) Madison Bumgarner (149) Mailbox (1) Malcolm Gladwell (1) management change (3) management issues (5) managerial value (3) Manny (1) Marc Kroon (2) Marco Scutaro (12) Mark DeRosa (8) Martin Agosta (6) Marvin Miller (1) Masahiro Tanaka (1) Mason McVay (1) Matsuzaka (1) Matt Cain (138) Matt Downs (2) Matt Duffy (4) 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) memories (1) 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 (9) Mike Matheny (1) Mike Morse (9) milestone (1) minor league (1) minor league contract (1) minors (11) mismanagement (1) misnomer (1) mistakes (2) MLB (2) MLB stupidity (2) MLB Success (7) MLB Trade Rumors (1) MLBAM (1) MLBTR (1) MLE (1) Mock Draft analysis (5) MVP (2) Natanael Javier (1) Nate Schierholtz (45) Nathanael Javier (1) Nationals (1) Naysayers (1) Negotiations (1) Next Gen (1) Nick Noonan (26) Nick Pereira (1) Nick Vander Tuig (2) NL Champions (2) NL West (21) NL West Division Title (16) NL West Future (1) NLCS (22) NLCS MVP (2) NLDS (7) Noah Lowry (14) non-roster invitees (1) non-tenders (1) Nori Aoki (3) 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 (2) opening day roster (6) Optimism (1) Osiris Matos (2) Outfield (1) Ownership (7) Pablo Sandoval (91) Padres (1) 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 Palmer (1) Pete Rose (3) Peter Magowan (2) Phil Bickford (1) Phillies (7) philosophy (1) Phoenix Theory of Rebuilding (1) Pitch Count (3) pitch value (1) Pitchers League (1) Pitching (14) Pitching Rotation (63) pitching staff (3) plate discipline (1) platoon players (1) Play Ball (1) player budget (2) player development (2) playoff (2) playoff hopes (25) playoff roster (2) playoff rotation (3) Playoff Success (20) Playoffs (34) postmortem (1) PQS (79) press conference (1) pressure (2) priorities (1) Projected Record (4) projection (2) promotion (2) prospect (3) prospect analysis (2) Prospect of Note (3) prospect study (1) Prospects (42) questions (1) radio great (1) Rafael Rodriquez (8) Rajai Davis (2) Ralph Barbieri (1) Ramon Ramirez (3) Randy Johnson (10) 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) Ronnie Jebavy (1) Rookie of the Year (1) Roster (4) rosterbation (1) ROY (2) Royals (3) Rule 5 Draft Pick (3) rumors (9) run production (1) runs support (1) Russ Ortiz (11) Ryan Garko (2) Ryan Klesko (4) Ryan Rohlinger (2) Ryan Theriot (3) Ryan Vogelsong (87) Ryder Jones (2) Sabean Naysayers (4) Sabermetric Thoughts (6) sabermetrics (4) 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 (17) 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 (15) starting pitching (57) statistics (2) STATS (1) Steroids (5) Steve Edlefsen (4) Steve Johnson (3) Steve Okert (2) strikeout rate (1) Sue Burns (1) sunk costs (1) superstition (1) team culture (1) Team Speed (1) Team Support (1) Thank You (1) The Giants Way (1) The Hey Series (15) Thomas Joseph (3) Thomas Neal (9) Tigers (4) Tim Alderson (17) Tim Hudson (36) Tim Lincecum (179) 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 (47) turning point (1) Ty Blach (2) Tyler Beede (4) 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) winning on the road (1) Winter League (1) winter meetings (1) World Series (26) World Series Champions (11) WS Ring Bling (1) xBABIP (1) Yusmeiro Petit (33) Zack Wheeler (9)