Monday, November 29, 2010

Uribe Signing with D-gers: 3 years, $21M pending physical

The bad news is that the D-gers signed Juan Uribe to a reported/tweeted 3 year, $21M contract (see details at ExtraBaggs).  It is pending him passing the physical, so unless there is some bad news there, he should be bleeding D-ger blue next season.  I can't wish well to anyone who is a D-ger, though Juan is certainly a strong test case.  I don't blame him for going though, that's a lot of money and who knows whether he'll get another chance at such a contract.  He "only" made $4.25M with the Giants the past two seasons. That's 21 million different ways of happy. 

Still, this is probably up there with Johnny Damon going from the Red Sox to the Yankees, though worse because of the long history of the Uribe name in Giants history (Jose Uribe will always be THE Uribe for the Giants, unlike what AJ Pierzitski thought, that SF stole that from Chicago, what a historian he is; ironically, Jose is truly the player to be named later, as his name was Jose Gonzalez when we got him in trade for Jack Clark, the only player to have any eventual significance for us from the trade, but he decided to go with his mother's maiden name because there were so many Jose Gonzalezs already in pro baseball.  So it is only befitting because Jose Uribe is so unique, a one of a kind guy).

Giants Thoughts

The good news it that the Giants did not match the offer.  That's just too much for him for what the Giants need.  Juan's OK as a shortstop, but 2 years at $6M per at best, as reward for the 2010 season.  The extra year is just too rich for my blood and then you top it off by going to $7M.  No thank you, but thanks for a great 2010 season.  And I think D-ger fans will start "Boo"-ribaying him at some point because right-handed hitters do poorer HR-wise in D-ger Stadium, it is just harder for them to hit homers there (while easier for lefties). 

I think the Giants offense will be fine without Uribe in 2010.  The "Someone new everyday" offense will continue to function fine, in fact, it should even be better because 1) Bumgarner pitches full season (meaning even less offense needed to win), 2) Posey plays full season, 3) Ross here all season (meaning less Rowand), 4) Torres starts full season (meaning less Rowand), 5) Sandoval should return to Panda-mojo status, and 6) we already signed Huff back.  Torres, Franchez, Huff, Posey, Ross, Sandoval, plus OF and SS is a pretty good top of lineup, better if Burrell comes back as starting LF and hit as well, outstanding if Sandoval can reach 2010 levels of production.

And the pitching, which was basically MLB best (I think we ended up 2nd by barest of margins), should duplicate its 2010 season (or better).  Cain and Sanchez had great seasons, but any downside for them are balanced by Lincecum looking so dominant with his new slider and having Bumgarner instead of Wellemeyer for half a season;  Zito has pitched about the same the past two seasons, probably do about as well again. 

Plus, the bullpen should be even better, the Giants spent the first half of the season trying to find relievers who could deliver and only Casilla delivered outside of regulars Wilson and Romo, plus Affeldt was struggling.  Then Moto did OK, then Ray, and lastly Lopez and Ramirez were acquired, before Affeldt finally returned to 2009 goodness, and now the bullpen looks stellar with Wilson, Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, Casilla, and presumably Ray (former closer getting over surgery; could finally be healthy in 2011) and Ramirez (some speculate that one or the other might be non-tendered but I don't see that happening).

For SS, I've seen many names mentioned as possibilities, either signing or trading for, most noted in Baggerly:  Derek Jeter, Orlando Hudson, Miguel Tejada, Cesar Izturiz, JJ Hardy, Jason Barlett, others I've seen include Marco Scutaro and Jose Reyes.  Not that I think Crawford will ever be that great a shortstop, but I would rather not get anyone with big money attached, particularly in trade, because that would probably require the Giants giving up some talent, particularly pitching talent. 

The Giants are nicely loaded in pitching but it takes only one or two injuries or poor performances, particularly after pitching more innings than ever before in 2010 by going deep into the playoffs, to make the Giants scramble to replace pieces.  A trade of significant prospects would steal our depth, which is shallow right now (only Runzler is a possible backup starter for 2011 season right now) and would only get worse.  If we can get away with lesser prospects, though, I would be OK with that.

Therefore, I would prefer to sign a free agent SS (and some might be non-tendered, like Hardy and Barlett, and become free agents) on the low side, who can play good defense (like Barlett or Izturiz).  Hardy would be OK since he's like Uribe providing power from SS.  Luckily, in the lineup I described above, we don't need to get offense from the SS position as he would probably bat 8th and for most 8th place hitters, any offense is a plus, just not expected. 

And that is particularly so if Sandoval delivers as I expect him to, meaning a return to 2009 levels, and force his way up to the middle of the lineup (probably 5th), or if Belt delivers as I expect him to eventually, meaning something along the lines of Sandoval's 2008 or, dare we dream, 2009, which I think he's capable of, and which would push him also into consideration for middle of lineup duties.  Our lineup can be monster if Sandoval and Belt hits as I expect along with Huff and Posey in the middle, plus Torres up top.

Side Note:  Posey Awarded Again

Also today, Buster Posey was named to the 52nd Annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team, after being named NL Rookie of the Year two weeks ago (which I forgot to note with a post).  He beat out Atlanta's Jason Heyward easily for the ROY award, gaining 20 first place votes to only 9 for Heyward, despite "only" playing for about 4 months of the season.  Buster was "humbled" by the recognition, befitting his modest and humble manner.  Makes you want to just give him a big hug and say "you big lug!"

He was on every ballot (each voters only gets to vote 1-2-3) except for one, who left him off because he did not play the full season (the guy actually voted for Gaby Sanchez for 1st; he even shafted Jason Heyward too).  Even if he weren't a Giants rookie, I don't see how one could do that, that's like saying quantity matters more than quality.  Luckily, that was just his personal code of conduct, the rules are actually quite vague about what to consider when awarding ROY.

Posey joins a list of Giants greats and very goods:  Willie Mays (1951), Orlando Cepeda (1958), Willie McCovey (1959), Juan Marichial (1962), John "the Count" Montefusco (1975), and Gary Mathews (1976).  He also became the first catcher to win a ROY award and a World Series championship in the same season. 

I loved this column by Gary Peterson of the Mercury (his column has been a welcome addition in the past year, I like his writing and this thoughts), here is an excerpt: 
Now, with the advantage of hindsight voters didn't have, it seems a no-brainer. Start with this: Posey became just the fifth National League Rookie of the Year to help his team win the World Series. And by help we mean:

Leading the Giants in hits in the first-round win over Atlanta; tying for second on the team with three RBIs in the NLCS dethroning of Philadelphia; batting .300 with a homer in the World Series; blocking balls in the dirt; throwing out would-be base stealers; acting as a reassuring, mature-beyond-his-years presence for Giants pitchers.

Unprecedented contributions from a rookie? You could make that argument. Fernando Valenzuela won three postseason games (one in the World Series) for the Dodgers in 1981. Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter and Chuck Knoblauch were in the thick of championship postseasons for the Red Sox, Yankees and Twins in 2007, 1996 and 1991.

But none of the above consistently batted third or cleanup. None was so intimately involved with every pitch of every game. Posey played every inning of the postseason. If you don't believe us, ask backup catcher Eli Whiteside. The only time he made it off the bench was for the end-of-series pig pile at the pitcher's mound.

There's a reason there are only nine catchers among the 128 players who have been honored as Rookie of the Year since 1947. Catching is tough stuff. To ask a young player to catch at an elite level for a championship team is just begging for trouble.

It got the Giants a shiny gold trophy.
I couldn't agree more.  Congrats to Buster Posey for his awards, clearly there will be many more in future seasons.  Amazing what leadership he's already providing, he said this at the SF Giants 2010 World Series Championship Celebration Parade and he repeated it when he spoke on winning the ROY:  “Let’s try to do it again next year.”  We Giants fans are truly blessed to have him on our team, leading our team. 


  1. Totally agree that passing on this type of contract for Uribe was the right move. Looks like it could be the Jason Schmidt situation all over again for the Dodgers.

    Now that Uribe is signed by the Dodgers, it's more likely than not that Ryan Theriot is non-tendered by the Dodgers. Don't be surprised if he ends up being the Giants SS in 2011.

  2. I think you're wrong. The Giants should have matched the offer. The Renteria signing was a bad one but he made up for it with the 2010 postseason. The Giants got Uribe on the cheap the last 2 years and it was time to stop nickel and diming the guy and reward him: power-hitting middle infielders who can play all over the infield don't grow on trees. If the Giants want to skimp then skimp on their bullpen. Shortstop is the only big hole the Giants had to fill and why not do it with someone they know. So tell me: Who's gonna play short now? It's just ridiculous that the Giants can't pay a guy what he's worth. They just won the World Series and he played a part in that happening. They should have paid the man. He's only going to be 32 years old next year, he's still got plenty left in the tank for a 3 year $21 million dollar deal. I'll boo-RIBE that guy like nobody's business when he's in town but I can't blame him for taking that contract.

  3. Boof, I like Theriot too, I would have preferred him over Fontenot.

    Anon, we just have different views of what Uribe was worth. He deserved more but at 3 years, $21M, that's just too much.

    People forget about how bad he was in the years before 2009. And his 2010 wasn't that great either in terms of OPS. It's OK for an average defensive SS, but far short for 2B or 3B, which are the two positions they are hoping he will play for them.

    It won't be as bad as Schmidt's deal, just due to size and lack of performance, but I wouldn't be surprised if Uribe delivers high 600 OPS offense to D-gers for three years, which is not what they would be hoping for from him (besides stealing him away from Giants). He'll be more like their new Juan Pierre: OK but not what they wanted.

    Another area of disagreement: only 32 YO? That's fine if he were not of the body shape he is - big boned - and not playing at key defensive positions. His body type tends to age quicker than others, and outside of his great 2009, he hasn't had a good offensive season since 2004 when he was 24.

    Another anomaly of his two seasons with SF is that he hit way better in SF than elsewhere:

    Home: .280/.335/.479/.813 20 AB/HR
    Away: .215/.285/.400/.685 24 AB/HR

    Home: .346/.385/.582/.967 20 AB/HR
    Away: .241/.279/.421/.701 31 AB/HR

    LAD: .258/.308/.367/.674 40 AB/HR
    Home: .279/.322/.489/.811 23 AB/HR
    Road: .233/.278/.376/.654 39 AB/HR

    Unless he suddenly figures out how to hit in LA AND on the road, his numbers for LA will be closer to .700 OPS than .800 OPS.

    But we can agree that we don't blame him for taking that deal.

    I'm not worried yet about SS. I think some nice surprises will come out of the non-tendered crop of players. And, worse comes to worse, if nothing good there, I just realized that if all the Marlins could get for Uggla was two good relievers, I would expect the price for a JJ Hardy or Jason Barlett to be much less.

  4. The rumored target for the Rays in return for Bartlett is bullpen help. That is something the Giants can provide.

  5. I agree with you obsessive, Uribe's numbers actually went down from the first month of this season onwards. He is a clutch hitter and eventhough he decided to sign with the Dodgers,he made the key contributions a la hitting the game winning HR in game 6 of the NLCS. However, his BA for the postseason wasn't great and neither was it great for this season.

    Out of the crop of SS's available, I'm most intrigued by JJ Hardy. He seems to fit the bill on both sides of the ball. I just don't think Brandown Crawford is quite ready from an offensive point of view and Adrianza is apparently lower on the prospect pool.

    The key to next year, outside of pitching and defense, is Sandoval. We need to sure up the left side of the infield and without a SS for the meantime and De Rosa being a question mark due to his age/wrist, the Giants scoring production oddly will have a lot to do with Sandoval.

  6. I will miss Juan greatly. His ties to Giants history thru his uncle and his clutch hitting will always make him one of my fovorite short term Giants.

    In my view completely independent of the above I would of matched the Dodgers offer. All his has to produce over the next 3 years is 5 WAR for this to be a fair deal and I think the odds favor him exceeding this level of production.

    All that said, I do not see this as a big hit to the Giants ability to return to post season success in 2011. We have other options.

    For example we can most likely sign both Tejada and Berkman to 1 year deals totaling the $7M Uribe will be paid in 2011. The following lineup might look mighty nice on opening day 2011 and way better the the opening day 2010 lineup.

    Torres CF S
    FSanchez 2B R
    Huff LF L
    Posey C R
    Berkman 1B S
    Ross RF R
    Sandoval 3B S
    Tejeda SS R

  7. Yeah.... $21 million was too much for Uribe. He's a favorite of mine too, but he really is a utility guy. It shows faith by the Giants that Panda will return to form (and people seem to forget DeRosa).

    I'm not terribly excited about the crop of SS out there either, Tejada maybe the most if he can be had for a song, but he's a risk. I agree that a defense-first SS is the best move, makes the pitching better, and while nobody on the roster is exactly Babe Ruth, for once there's a profound lack of black holes in the lineup. Shockingly, I think the Giants can afford to give a little there.

    Is Neifi Perez still out there? :-)

  8. Mark my words: Uribe is going to tank in LA. For one thing, he'll have to face Giants pitching in 18 games! Don't laugh, that's probably at least 15% of the total games he'll play in.

    I agree with you, OGC. Time to go small at SS. First priority should be getting someone who is good on D, and secondly for cheap.

    My first choice is Theriot, who appears to be a lock to be non-tendered. O-Cab would be #2. Miggy T would be a distant #3 because of inferior D. Bartlett or JJ Hardy only if we can get them for 1 reliever plus 1 3'rd tier prospect.

  9. Sorry, Rainman, but there is no way in hell that Berkman comes to the Gaints at any price. He is on record as saying he hates it here. Ass that to the fact that he is a mere shell of the player he once was and that all adds to PASS.

    Tejada is no longer a SS. Period. Renteria has more range than Tejada. He is really not an option. I agree with DrB's order of SS replacements.

  10. Yikes.........I can't spell.

  11. Boof,

    With it taking $6.5M to sign Tejeda it no longer matters if Berkman is willing to play in SF or not. The Giants no longer have the money to spend to sign him.

  12. I sure hope that Tejada was signed to play 3B and not SS. If the Giants are thinking of pairing Tejada & Sandoval on the left side of the infield, be prepared for all our pitchers numbers to go up.

  13. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Jay Viz, good point about Uribe's numbers going down.

    grm, I like the historic thread Juan weaved with his uncle, but that just made his decision hurt that much more. I'll be thankful for his time and key contributions, but I've moved on: it's the D-gers for criminny sake!

    marc, yes, I think Neifi is still around, but thankfully been retired for a while now.

    DrB, good point about 18 games v. Giants pitching.

    Too bad Theriot was traded to StLou. I'm OK with Miggy over O-Cab as I think he does have leadership qualities that O-Cab lacks, IMO.

    Boof, just Freudian slip, no? :^)

    And sorry, but it sounds like he's the full-time SS right now. I think Pablo is going to be fine defensively, particularly with him getting professional help in getting fit (he's using Barry Bonds' old fitness outfit in Arizona). He'll never be great, but with his bat, he can provide a lot of value if he's just average defensively.



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