Friday, November 05, 2010

Sabean-Bochy Post-Season Press Conference

CSN was kind enough to broadcast it on their website today.  I caught most of it (Thank you CSN!).  Baggarly has a nice rundown of the main points at his blog.
  • Wow, tough love indeed, threatening Pablo with the minors if he don't get into shape.  They also noted that he could be on the bench since he can handle 3B, 1B, and C.  I still think that he'll be the starting 3B in 2011, but then again, Jerome Williams never figured out how to keep his weight off and never had success in the majors again.  Lost in all this is that Pablo in the second half of 2010 hit better than the average 3B, so his hitting is still there in some ways.  And as I've been noting everyone, personal travails (divorce, child custody, mother near-death) coincide with all his slumps in the 2010 season.  I believe he can still hit like he did in 2009, if he can avoid the huge personal problems that would make anybody's work performance be less than usual.  And he would not be the first person to eat a lot while depressed or hurting.  Still, it would be better for him to get his eatting habits in check, and I think that he will.  Lots of fat guys in baseball history have hit well and played defense well enough to play, the question is his longevity in the game, I think.
  • Clearly Sabean couldn't commit to signing Huff, who knows if someone goes crazy and offer him a boatload of cash.  But I don't see anyone doing that.  I think the Thong thing will just turn off some GMs.  Others will see his 2009 season and wonder if 2010 was an aberration (though they might also see 2008 and wonder if 2009 is the aberration).  But if Baltimore was only willing to offer him 2 years at $16M three years ago, and in the current economic malaise we are in, I don't really see any team offering him more than 2 years at $6-7M per.  And that is something the Giants can match or get close enough (I think the Giants offer him 2 years at $12M like DeRosa and Sanchez) that Huff will sign for us.  We just have to wait the process out.
  • Uribe is a bigger question to me.  While his OPS wasn't that great in 2010, he did hit a lot of homers while providing flexibility backup at three positions.  I don't really see the Giants wanting to go more than $6M for one season, particularly with Emmanuel Burris, Brandon Crawford, and Charlie Culberson potentially ready by 2012.  There could be teams willing to finally sign him for a multi-year contract for more money to be their starting SS.
  • Renteria, not really covered here but in a prior blog post, might be a possible signing.  It sounds like he's willing to come back and be a backup player, and the Giants will explore that, Sabean said, because the free agent crop is not that great.  And who knows, maybe he's finally healthy and can play a full season if they don't find anyone else.  He could be the Huff signing for 2011.
  • The Giants are discussing Burrell, but Burrell in an interview late in the season said that he would be willing to come back to the Giants in 2011 and be a bench player.  Of course, that was his role when he joined the Giants in 2010 and he eventually became the starter.
  • Potential bench given these possibilities:  Whiteside, Ishikawa, DeRosa, Renteria, Burrell, Schierholtz.  That assumes, then, that Rowand is starting in CF with Ross in LF and Torres in RF (probably, given Torres speed).  However, that would mean holding 14 position players on the team during the season.  The Giants could consider that since all the starters could go deep in games, resulting in less use of the bullpen and thus less need for another arm.
  • It was noted that should the Giants look for free agents, left-handers would be a priority (Carl Crawford was alluded to by a reporter).  Right now, only lefty starters are Huff (assuming he signs), Sandoval (assuming he wins war with weight and bat), and Torres.  Looks like Ishikawa and Schierholtz are not being considered for a starting position.  Baggarly also noted that therefore Jason Werth would not be pursued.
  • Sabean noted something which he is known for "in a perfect world, I'd make changes that would allow for a more athletic lineup."  But he don't expect to find any.
  • While not committing to offering arbitration to all eight arbitration eligible players, they are interested in bringing all of them back:  J. Sanchez (maybe long-term contract finally?), Torres, Ramirez, Casilla, Ross, Lopez, Fontenot (he's probably not back if Renteria is back), and Ray.  Given this preference, the Giants forecast that their budget will be over $100M for the first time, and that does not include what they might pay to sign Huff and/or Uribe.
  • Sounds like the Giants will have most of their pitching back for 2011, mostly because they are already signed or are pre-arb:  Lincecum, Zito, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner (probable order, Bochy likes R/L/R/L), Wilson, Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, Ramirez, Casilla.  Mota was not mentioned among the free agents the Giants are pursuing.  I'm also not sure where Ray would fit in unless they go with a 12 man pitching staff, but then that brings into question what their bench will be.
  • From what I recall, someone mentioned asked about moving Zito or Rowand, and Sabean supported Zito, noting how valuable he was during the season by eatting up innings, but didn't go that far with Rowand.  There was a twitter rumor that the Phillies would be willing to take Rowand off the Giants hands if they paid most of his salary.  With two seasons left, the Giants might be willing to do that since they will have Burrell, DeRosa, and Schierholtz as backup OF and the bench is full.  This could be similar to the Livan situation where they paid off most of his salary, only for two seasons and about three times the total money.  But unless we get a nice prospect in return, I don't see the upside of that is.  Rowand could be on the bench instead while Burrell starts, I think there are a lot of mix and matching that Bochy can and will do if he could chose between Torres, Ross, Rowand, Burrell, Schierholtz and DeRosa.  Rowand is useful when he is hot, but if he's cold, then others can get starts.  I would bet that this is why Burrell offered to come back on the bench, he knew he could not necessarily come back if he were paid like a starter, because then what do the Giants do with Rowand, and he really wanted to return to the team (particularly if Huff returns).
There was also a Sabean interview on KNBR late in the afternoon, and he mentioned some of the prospects.  He noted that Brandon Belt is a possibility for coming up sometime in 2011, as he has done very well this season.  He also mentioned Zach Wheeler for the future, throwing out that they are not sure if he is a starter or reliever, which was shocking to me.  Normally don't pay that much bonus for a reliever but that's conventional wisdom, I suppose. 

He also mentioned what was announced the other day, that Dan Runzler will be converted to starting pitcher for 2011.  As El Lefty Malo has been noting at his website for a while, the Giants don't have any pitcher ready to take over if the worse case scenario happens and we lose one of our great starters.  Runzler could be one of the top ones to be promoted if he can successfully convert to starting.  I think another reason they are doing this is because he hasn't been able to stop walking guys, and sometimes teams would move the guy into starting to give him more practice in game conditions to improve on that. 

The Machine Unmasked and Exposed

I'll end with a big scoop that Brian Sabean gave on-air:  the Machine that Brian Wilson refers to (in various on-line videos of an interview to a leather fetish wearing man walking in the background) is the Giants left-fielder.  That presumably means Pat Burrell, because it certainly wasn't Mark DeRosa, Andres Torres, or Cody Ross (though I suppose Aubrey Huff could have that body type) and he was the starting left-fielder when the season ended.  I'm not going to link to the video, but it is all over, on Twitter, on YouTube, probably other places too.


  1. It's not Huff, I saw in the parade speech that Huff has a tattoo on his shoulder. "The Machine" doesn't. Pat Burrell it is...

  2. Hank Schulman had his take on the conference:

    Interesting speculation by Hank, noting that should Jeter and Yankees don't see eye to eye on new contract, Sabean was the scouting director for Yankees who drafted Jeter, so maybe he might consider coming here.

    Looking at his stats, one might reduce his salary because of the poor season. However, his strikeout rate, while higher, is within career means, walk rate too. Power definitely has been down since he turned 33, though had higher year last season in HR/FB, but mostly at lows of early career.

    But mainly his down year related to his low BABIP of .307. Career BABIP of .356 and past four seasons, roughly .365 BABIP average. His speed does not seem that much worse, as his doubles, triples, and SB are all in career range.

    However, his two worse OPS seasons of his career are two of the last three seasons. If he plays like 2009, he's worth that much, but if he playes like 2008 and 2010, he's only worth $8-10M.

    One big negative about him is his age, he will be 37 YO in 2011, but obviously age has not scared away Sabean before.

    Will be interesting how much Yankees drop his salary, he made $22.6M last season. They tend to overpay their players anyway, so I don't see how the Giants can compete with that. Plus, who would they get to replace him, they don't have SS in system, and the free agent market is not that good either.

  3. Thanks Steve, I didn't really think Huff was the Machine, as I've read other speculations on Burrell being the Machine, but Sabean saying so was someone who would know, whereas the others I saw claim to know someone who knew this.

  4. I agree the team should keep Rowand, unless there is a better alternative. I don't know how much better, but he's better than what we saw this past year.

    And if I were him, I'd cross the Phillies off my list - nice left-handed compliment, "we'll consider you if we don't have to pay your salary". Gee, thanks, guys.

    One thing does bother me about the off-season, and that's stasis. Granted, in effect we're adding the total of a full season of a great catcher and starter, but I wonder about regression overall. Then again, it seems like prospects are not too far away - blocking someone is worse.

  5. Wow! All the permutations of roster possibilities are almost mind boggling. I get a headache every time I try to sort it out! Maybe that's why I have writer's block over on my blog?

    I worry a bit about stasis too, but the FA market is horrible and it seems like the Giants don't really have a lot of trade bait, as most of their young MLB level players are clearly untouchable and most of the MILB talent is too far away to get much return on.

    At some point, as some of the younger players get more and more expensive, it may be good strategy to leverage one or two of them into 3 or 4 MLB ready prospects or pre-arbitation players, but that's still a year or two away.

    Right now, standing pat may be the best they can do.

  6. Man, if The Machine is Pat Burrell, he sure has a doughy looking body on him. I wouldn't be showing my face either! LOL!

  7. check out the Giants celebrating in the locker room right after their big win!

    And Mike Fontenot too!

  8. Ideally, I'd like to see the Giants add a power bat to the lineup....Dunn would be a fit here. That would make Huff the LF and DeRosa either the 3B or the Super Utility, which would be his forte.

    The Giants should stay away from Crawford, even though I really like him. I think they need to focus on prying a quality SS from someone. One possibility would be Stephen Drew and trading J. Sanchez could make that a possibility.

  9. There's probably some GM in MLB who figures he can get Huff for a thong...

  10. Hello Martin -
    I have been following your blog - and ocasionally contributing for about 5 years, now. I see you are no longer listed on McCovey Chrons... What happened?

  11. Hey Allfrank, of course I remember you. Not a lot of commenters here - not that I'm complaining - so I do tend remember the ones who do. Plus I see you at other sites, so you stuck in my memory.

    My answer will be my next post, unfortunately, as usual, it is too long an answer and thus has to be chopped up, and I want it to be one full answer. Thanks for the comment!



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