Thursday, January 06, 2011

Let Me Take You Down: MLB News Around the Bases

I am going to go through some recent news, mostly ex-Giants related.

Renteria Gets Respect From Reds:  $3M

World Series MVP hero Edgar Renteria has reported signed with the Reds for the 2011 season for $3M.  He famously opined that the Giants $1M contract offer was a "total disrespect".   I wish him well, except when facing the Giants, of course, and thank him once again for his amazing performance in the World Series.

Still, to get respect, one must earn it too.  I'm willing to overlook his $18M for two seasons of essentially one season's worth of poor, for the most part, ABs where he didn't even hit as well as Neifi Perez, because of his great World Series performance.  But $1M is about all I would be willing to bet on a replay.  In 2009, it was the "asteroid" in his elbow.  In 2010, there were the array of physical maladies that brought him down.  The odds don't look better in 2011.

And $3M is basically what Huff got last season.  He at least had a great 2008 and a poor 2009, so there was some good hope that he might end up somewhere in the middle or higher, because while his 2009 was poor, his batting peripherals were still good and his main problem was a bad BABIP.  Meanwhile, Renteria now has three bad consecutive seasons on his resume.  Playing in Cincy will help with the batting line, but I doubt that will matter if he's on the trainer's table most of the season.

Take care, thanks for the glory, but I'm OK with Edgar moving on at that price.  Now the Giants can look elsewhere with more intent for a backup middle infielder.  And I assume they will continue looking for somebody to sign for under $1M to be their backup depth at starting pitching in AAA. 

Kevin Frandsen Signs with San Diego

Frandsen seeks to pursue his dream in SD.  I once had dreams of him starting at 2B for us, but he wasn't very smart mouthing off to management and pouting when he was sent down.  He had nice stats in the minors but not that good.  The writing was on the wall, so I was happy he ended up with Boston, as I think he is buddies with Dustin Pedroia.

He didn't do much last season playing for two pennant contenders (Red Sox and Angels) nor got much of a chance.  Surprised Marlins didn't latch onto him, but perhaps their opinion of him isn't strong either.  But playing for SD, I can't root for him, sorry.  His support of Fred Lewis' homophobic rants didn't help either.

If he didn't screw up his chances in 2009, he could have been part of the group in 2010 that would have brought a World Championship to SF.  Instead, Pat Burrell came in and represented local Bay Area interests.  Life is funny how it works sometimes.

Alfredo Simon Arrested for Double Murder, Get Support from new Giant

That was a shocker to see, particularly since he played nicely for the Orioles in 2010 and looked ready to finally capitalize on the talents that led the Giants to get him in the first place.  And a double murder, no less.  Then I was shocked to see that new Giant Miguel Tejada is helping Simon out with getting legal representation and so forth. 

Blyleven in Hall of Fame - FINALLY - Alomar Makes it Too

Bert Blyleven is finally in the Hall of Fame:  FINALLY!!!  I thought he was deserving from the beginning and been commenting on this across the internet for a while.  When I was growing up, he had the best curveball around and not only did he strike out a lot of batters, he compiled great stats, great except for his Win-Loss, which apparently a lot of baseball writers though was the final arbiter of how good a pitcher was.  Where were these people when Blyleven was pitching, were they sticking their heads in the sand?  This - along with why in the hell did Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson, etc. not get voted in unanimously in their first year - are reasons why I have not been happy with the Hall of Fame voting over the years.

The best solution I could think of was to count it against the writers when they don't vote someone in who was clearly deserving.  For example, they could lose their vote if they don't vote and the player gets, say, 95% of the votes.  But then that would cause a lot of CYA votes, so maybe it could be a three strikes type of system.  Another nuance is that some don't vote in the first year, so maybe they won't get a strike if a player is voted in but under, say, 85% of the votes.  Anyway, I can't think of a good system, these are just some of my thoughts that I can spit out now.

Roberto Alomar got in, and frankly, I don't know if he deserves it or not.  The only thing I can recall about him is the spitting incidence and the general feeling from the media that he's a really good overall player, i.e. his defense is great.  I won't begrudge his entry, there have been plenty of players voted in that were marginal for me to greatly care as long as there were those who thought he was pretty good.

Paapfly and I got into a discussion of Jeff Bagwell's Hall of Fame credentials, and what I realized was that he was a really good hitter who I didn't really know much about other than I knew he was good, just not THAT good.  He probably should get in at some point but with so few votes, he probably is going to waiting around like Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven. 

Looking at his career stats, I realized that part of the reason why I am disconnected from Alomar and Bagwell is that a number of their best seasons came in the mid-to-late 90's when I was not really following the game.  After the strike of 1994, particularly after McGwire's comments and the cancelling of the World Series, I pulled my own strike of the game and I probably didn't get really fully re-engaged with the team until 2001 when Bonds set the record.

Part of that was because I was having a life, wooing my wife, marrying, having kids, but a lot of that was due to that strike of 1994.  And I guess I was not the only one, the majors have not had a strike since and they had been apparently using juiced balls to boost offense (and interest) in the majors since that strike ended, according to one famous baseball analyst, Eric Walker, as outlined in his on-line essay analysis, Silly Ball (and where he outlines some of his logic for why steroids and other PEDs could not have been responsible for this significant boost in offense).  In any case, the offense has restored the industry to new heights of robustness.

Now, baseball can work on getting Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame.  Fine, ban him from baseball, ban him from baseball management, ban him from making Hall of Fame as a manager, but the Hall of Fame is a sham until baseball's career hit leader is in there.  He epitomized all that was good about baseball when he was a player:  love for the game, maximizing your talents, playing to win.  It has been long enough now, put him in.

Ex-Giants Galore

The Pirates dropped Joe Martinez, who the Giants traded to get Lopez for the bullpen, in order to sign ex-Giants Kevin Correia to a two year contract.  I was always hoping that Correia would get a chance with the Giants, he would have been a good back of rotation starter for us, as he often pitched pretty well too. 

I wonder why he left the Padres, his childhood team.  Were they not interested?  I can't see that to be true, they will need more pitching than ever after losing Garland and Correia, and they didn't get anyone ready to contribute in the A-Gon trade with Boston, and I wasn't aware of any young stud coming up, Latos was that guy. 

It could be that Correia needed to get away, his beloved younger brother leapt to his death last spring, and maybe being around home just reminds him too much about his younger brother, who he was probably more like a father to because of their tough family circumstance in their childhood (there was a sister in-between).  Good luck to him, I wish him well.

Other News
  • The Giants re-signed Guillermo Moto to another minor league contract, as they had did last year.
  • Waldis Joaquin was released on waivers by the Giants, and the White Sox claimed him, but he then somehow became a free agent and re-signed back with the Giants.
  • Bengie Molina apparently was offered a backup position with the Cards, behind his brother.  That has got to be a comedown for him and a big blow to his pride.  He's probably still hoping a team would sign him to be a starter, but might sign with Cards when spring training beckons.
  • Boof Bonser signed with the New York Mets.  Part of me was hoping the Giants would sign him to be one of our potential call-ups in case of injury or what not happens to one of our starters.  We do not have any depth at all for the major league rotation (though honestly, most teams don't, else the guy would have signed elsewhere and be in the majors, unless, of course, the team still controls him).
  • In another Pirates-ex-Giants news, Brian Burres re-signs with Pittsburgh in a minor league deal which apparently gives him an out should an Asian team be interested in signing him.
  • Eric Hacker, Tony Pena Jr, Dontrelle Willis, Stephen Holm, and, maybe Clay Timpner (doing this from memory) have found new teams after the Giants released them.
  • Lastly, there was a nice interview of Brandon Belt by Mychal Urban for CSN's recent Hot Stove show.  The video should be in the link.  The delay between the two is a bit jarring, FYI, for some reason Belt got Urban's talking with a 1-2 second delay.  Still, it was nice to hear and see our #1 prospect.


  1. No way can you count on Rent to be a starting shortstop anymore and $3 million is an awful lot to pay for a backup. It's only for 1 year and it's not my money, but I can certainly see why the Giants passed. Now that he's finally signed, maybe the Giants can move on and sign the guy who will be the backup SS this year.

  2. Alomar career .300 hitter. 12 time allstar and 10 time gold glover. Stats and career similar to Jeter. Only thing that hurt him was all the teams he played for. Sort of the Bobby Bonds thing except with better stats.

  3. Anon, thanks for the info on Alomar. As I noted, I don't know much about him, never felt the urge to check him out. I'll admit it: I've always digged the long ball.

    One thing I think the Hall of Fame is for is recognizing the players who revolutionize a particular aspect of baseball. I think Bobby Bonds did that with his combination of homeruns and stolen bases. Sure, Mays could have done it had he known it was a big deal, but I would think that would be true for home run hitting as well, but it was Babe Ruth who did it.

    Bonds is still the only player besides his son to have 5 years of combined excellence in HR/SB 30-30's.

    And as much as people like to deride his strikeouts, he also walked a lot and compiled a good OBP. His OBP was above league average OBP in 11 seasons, sometimes signficantly so, and was basically league average in two others. Only one season was he significantly below.

    Of course, his SLG was usually significantly higher than league average, for total of 12 seasons, plus one about average and one poor season.

    Overall, 129 OPS+. And he led the league in Power-Speed rating in 9 seasons. Lastly, among position players in MLB history, his WAR is 128th best in the 135 years in history. When he retired after the 1981 season, he was 73rd best in history at that time (105 years at that time, remember, offensive era of past 15 or so seasons were boosted by Silly Ball).

    As I said, I won't begrudge Alomar getting in, he sounds like he's deserving and I'm OK with that.

    But there was luck involved with the things you note.

    Bobby Bonds won 3 gold gloves himself and probably would have won more had he had a less abrasive personality, as voting for that award is often driven by popularity and voting for the incumbent. And as far as gold gloves goes, that's something related to luck, you could have been the second best glove at 2B, but if you happen to play at the same time as the best glove at 2B, you won't win that many gold gloves despite having a very good glove.

    I find the All-Star designation to be also a bit related to luck and circumstances and personality, particularly to borderline candidates like Bobby Bonds.

  4. Agree that Barry Bonds should be in the hall (my bias is that he was my favorite player while I was growing up)
    Alomar received 10 Gold Gloves DESPITE an abrasive personality.



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