Saturday, October 01, 2011

Your 2012 Giants: Born A Ramblin' Man

Now that the season is over, with the Giants ending up 86-76, I thought I would just get my thoughts and info out on the Giants next year.

Click on the title for the full post

Sign as Many Young Stars Long Term

First, the most important thing is that the Giants should be signing some of their young stars - Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval - to longer-term contracts, buying out their arbitration years and maybe going into their free agent years.  Lincecum is on record that he's looking for shorter deals, but according to one rumor I read somewhere, he doesn't want to saddle the team's payroll with a big long contract.  I would still like a 5 year, $90-100M contract with him anyway, that is about what Verlander got (5 years, $80M), and toning it down to 4 years would be OK with me, just get some of his free agent years covered.

The low offensive support is probably a concern to him, but he has to be aware of how awesome the Giants lineup will look in a couple of years with Sandoval, Posey, Belt in the middle, Brown and Panik up top, plus Schierholtz would be good 6th, plus maybe others like Joseph, Hector Sanchez, Gillaspie, Culberson, Dominguez, Peguero, RafRod.  Retaining Beltran would really make the point, but I'll get to that later.  Anyway, I also think that he and Cain understand that 2011 was greatly hurt by loss of Posey, which I think a lot of Giants fans are missing.

Others worry likewise that Cain will get tired of the low support, but as I've been noting, the Giants are HIS team, he had no boyhood team, and more importantly, he lives in SF, his wife works in the Bay Area, his daughter is growing up here, and as we have seen with prior contracts, the Giants don't really skimp on contract dollars, so as long as he gets anything fair - and he might even give a hometeam discount (he's the only one I think there is any chance of that happening, though I won't hold it against him if he doesn't) - he will remain a Giant as long as the team wants him.  Stop worrying.

Bumgarner had his salary dust-up with the Giants this past season, so if they can offer him a contract that covers his arbitration years, 5 years, $20-30M, I think that would soothe things between them.  I still think he's going to leave to join Atlanta at some point - his ranch and wife are near there - but he has the SF World Series ring, so that might help sway him, but I fear he is gone as soon as he free agents, so hopefully we can get an option on his first year of free agency for $9-12M.  And, who knows, if the offense comes together soon enough, he may grow to love it here, there are ranches out here too.

Signing Posey now would be buying low, so I don't think Posey would go for it.  Plus there is risk for the Giants since we have no idea what we will get until he starts playing again.  But I would rather at least kick the tires and see what interest is there and for how much, maybe the collision made him see the frailty of a baseball career and we can get a good, fair deal done.

Sandoval won't be cheap either, but I think it's time to keep him happy with a 4 year deal, buy out his arbitration years and a free agent year, as this is his first arbitration year.  Yes, he has gained weight, and weight will always be an issue, but this is not a 10 year deal, only 4, I think it would help motivate him more, unlike others who would just sit on their butts and eat away their fortune.  And the recent report from Schulman is that he only gained 10 pounds, he's always going to look like a hefty boy, the fan reports that he had gained back everything he lost appears to be way off. And he's going back to the same fitness firm again this off-season to lose that weight and continue getting fitter.

Sabean noted in the first post-season press conference that the Giants payroll was not changing from the roughly $124M that it was in 2011.  Have not seen the math of all that, so I'm not sure how much is left after raises to Lincecum, Cain, Dirty, and Wilson, plus Romo and Casilla too.  As he noted, the Giants will have to take care of their pitchers first, before handling the position players.

He was also asked about long-term deals by the reporters.  He said that the goal right now is to figure out all the arbitration cases (i.e. who to keep, etc.) and once he gets them signed to one year deals, then the Giants can look long-term.  Cain, since he is a free agent after next season, will have some urgency but they are going to be open minded with Lincecum and see if they can get something done there too.

Rotation: Game, Set, Match

The rotation looks great with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, plus either Dirty or Zito, and with Surkamp probably sitting in AAA as our emergency starter if necessary.  Surkamp did well at first, but has been very exposed since then, though he only really had that one bad start last time (I'll forgive any bad starts in Colorado).  A full season in AAA should do wonders for him and then he'll be ready in 2013, hopefully.

I had been hoping that the Giants are able to trade Dirty at some point before the start of the 2012 season and get at least one good prospect for him, preferably a hitter, maybe even two good position prospects, depends on how desperate the other team is.  I didn't think that would be too much to ask for one season of Dirty before he and Boras goes to free agency.  However, apparently his shoulder was hurting all year (thanks DrB!), so the earliest he can be traded is probably just before the season opener, and even that is pretty unlikely.  Best hope would be mid-season, and if he is starting.

I can see a tweener team, who is around .500 this season, be willing to give up a good prospect for a pitcher like Dirty to help their rotation, at the mid-season point.  But most probably he's with the Giants all season now, with this injury news.  Zito looks destined for the bullpen as long reliever, unless Sanchez is still recovering next season, and thus get put in the bullpen.

Position Roster-bation

Now the lineup needs a leadoff hitter.  I mentioned Rollins the other day, but I have to take him out of consideration:  just saw that he's looking for a 5 year contract, on MLB Trade Rumors.  That notes that execs expect contracts between 3 years at $12M per to 4 years at $14M per.  That's just too much, I clearly was way off on my guess on his contract, the money is too much and so are the years.  And this will cover his 34-36 seasons, another big negative.

Also, I just looked at Crawford's UZR:  as brilliantly as we have seen him play the position, he isn't even rated at one win above average over a full season, barely over half a win.  That definitely won't work with how poorly he hit this season, he really should use 2012 learning how to hit better.

However, he did very nice for the Giants in September, particularly once he started getting regular starts.  From Sept 11, he started 11 of 17 games and hit .250/.333/.425/.758 with 5 walks and 6 K's in 40 AB, which would be excellent to get from him over a season with his defense.  And he was even better from Sept 22, he started 5 of 7 games and hit .267/.353/.467/.820 with 2 walks and 2 K's in 15 AB, very good numbers over the last week of games.

Crawford probably rose the most in my eyes this season among the prospects.  I still think he's probably not up here for good until 2013, hence why he should be in minors in 2012, but he handled the bat amazingly well considering how poorly he had done previously in the minors.  I was very impressed.  He could be like a Vizquel who has the great glove but poor bat who slowly works his way up to being good with the bat, I really like the way he was able to keep his strikeout rate down while taking more walks.

And maybe he finally made a break in September.  He will have to show that was not a fluke by continuing to hit well in the AFL and maybe the Giants will go with him as the starter at SS and not sign a free agent.

So maybe a FA SS signing is coming, depending on how Crawford does in the AFL, unless there is a trade out there, not sure who is available.

Right now, assuming they are still searching for a starting SS, looking over the 2012 Free Agent list on MLB Trade Rumors, I think the two most likely targets would be Marco Scutaro, who is OK defensively while OK offensively as well, though Boston might want to keep him at $6M or he might want to stay at $3M (player option), though with a $1.5M buyout, he would only need a $2M contract to get more the $3M, so he probably will be bought out if Boston don't keep.  But $6M for what he did, I can't see them not picking him up.  Maybe we can trade for him if they don't need him by end of spring training.

I'm also thinking that Jack Wilson would be a target too.  The Giants were rumored to be interested in him previously, and he was buddies with Franchez too when they were with Pirates.  He has hardly played the past few seasons, not as a starter, not sure if injuries or what, but defensively, over a full season, he's around +1-2 wins defensively, and while his offense is not that great, actually pretty bad, it is not as bad as Crawford.

A sticking point is that he might want the $5M per season he's been getting for a number of years now, and I think that would be too much given how poorly he has hit and age will erode his defense some as well.  I think a one year contract for $3M would work for the Giants and maybe for him too.  He has also played a little at 2B too, so he could be insurance there as well in case Franchez is slow coming back (again...).

Clint Barmes might be interesting to some fans, but his offense is all homegrown, it is pretty bad on the road, though still better than Wilson, now that I'm realizing it.  Barmes is just as good defensively, a year younger, and has not made a lot of money, so he could be happy with a $3M contract for 2012 or 2 years, $6M.

OK, he's growing on me as an alternative, while he has hit much better at home, and he doesn't hit that well on the road, he at least has been better than Wilson still.  And he has played a lot of 2B too, and been good defensively there too, though not as good as SS.  He could be a better alternative over Keppinger as utility MI, if he is willing to take such a position.

CF, I think the Giants will look at Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, and maybe Nate McLouth, if he is desperate and nobody is kicking his tires. All three either has experience as leadoff or gets good enough OBP to help generate offense there.  I think DeJesus and McLouth could be buy low candidates who the Giants might take a chance on.  Crisp, while not ideal, can provide a lot of speed up top, OK defense in CF, good offense, but he will probably want and get $6M per year contract, probably for 2 years.  We would probably have to promise him CF, whereas DeJesus and McLouth could be happy with a promise that they will get a chance.

Plus there is Cody Ross, though the way Sabean likes to play it, he would rather target someone early and pursue that person, so the position could be filled before Cody gives up and accept a one year deal.  But who knows, if he does not get a lot of long-term feelers early on, he might decide he would rather stay here and work out a one year deal to stay before the Giants sign anyone else.

I've seen some talk about getting Cuddyer as a potential corner OF or 2B.  I say pass.  He has not hit very well on the road, his high offensive batting line is due to his home park.  Plus, we need a CF, not another corner OF or 2B, we have a lot of options for both spots.

In the OF, Belt, Torres, and Schierholtz are the only ones I would say is most likely to be on the team next season, despite rumblings among scribes that Torres might get DFAed, but even then, I think he resigns at lower contract, a la Fontenot last season, and be our 4th OF.  Torres has to be upset about how poorly he did this season and want to make amends.  Clearly, though, Giants management made it clear in the press conference that Torres is not the starting CF.

Schulman noted that Pill was asked by Giants to get practice playing OF in winter league, looks like he will get a long look (and as long as he doesn't implode in spring training) as a super utility guy on the bench who has power, plus would get first shot if anyone is injured or not performing.  He plays 1B well, has experience at 2B this season, though don't know how well (could not be that good though, else would have done long ago I would think, so just in pinch when necessary), plus probably LF during off-season.

Speaking of Pill, I wanted to note his quote that "The pitchers don't make as many mistakes up here. My biggest thing is not hitting the pitcher's pitch - finding my pitch, a pitch to drive."  Pitchers adjusted to him, after hitting a homerun in his first two games, he hasn't hit one since.  Still, he has hit OK since, .282/.310/.436/.745, with only 7 K's in 39 AB, which is not that bad, 82% contact rate.  That's great for a bat off the bench.

People accuse me of cherry picking, but there are a lot of reasons why you take out slices from the data, like the first games or week when the other teams don't know what to do with him.  Particularly when you are dealing with a small sample, you have to watch out for when outliers greatly affects the overall picture, you want to get as close to the truth as possible.

Burrell may or may not be back, depends on his foot, he probably does not re-sign with Giants - he says he'll either re-sign or retire if his foot is too bad.  Hey, we'll always have 2010.  Thank you Pat!

We got Panda at 3B, Franchez at 2B, Huff at 1B, and Pill as probable backup at 1B, and Fontenot probable backup at 3B, 2B, SS.  Emmanuel Burriss and Conor Gillaspie are out of options so they are probably up for spots on the bench too.  Gillaspie is seeing some practice time at 2B - he has been a 3B during his pro career - and probably will learn some 1B as well as LF.

With a CF signing, that would mean 5 players for 4 bench positions.  Which means that the Giants most probably is not going to keep Keppinger around, though they might sign him with the intention of keeping him around as insurance in case Franchez is not ready, and then trade him in spring if Franchez is ready.  Sabean called him a "luxury item" in the press conference.

I also like Mark DeRosa for the bench, though after looking at the bench, I'm not sure there is a spot for him unless they dump Fontenot (possible if Burriss is on the bench) AND Gillaspie.  DeRosa wants to be closer to his home in Atlanta, anyway (remember, his never playing for us is due to him going to local Georgia doctor instead of the specialist he went to get it done right), so I expect him to sign with the Braves, even for a minor league deal.

But Pill, Burriss, Gillaspie/Fontenot probably got spots on the bench, and assuming a CF is signed, Torres too, and that is four spots gone, so one of them would have to go for DeRosa to have a spot.  Only way he returns is if Atlanta passes on him and the Giants give him a minor league contract with a chance to win a spot.  Gillaspie/Fontenot is probably the loser in that scenario.

Also, it was noted in the post-season press conference that Huff was ordered to get into good shape for 2012 and that he has been told to be ready to play the outfield (presumably LF since Bochy named Schierholtz the starting RF) should the Giants decide to go with Belt or Pill at firstbase.  Huff has been very contrite in late season interviews, he totally blames himself (unlike Rowand who blames the park), so I expect the good Huff next year, particularly with Posey and Pablo hitting well in the lineup, taking the pressure off of him.  But you never know, so be prepared for him being DFAed at some point if he don't deliver.

For the last bench spot, Chris Stewart most probably is the backup catcher in 2012, Whiteside most probably is gone, says a lot that Stewart is Lincecum's personal catcher right now.  I also like the way that Stewart handles the bat, he avoids strikeouts well and for catchers, offense is the last thing to click, and usually in his 30's, and Stewart will be 30 next season.  Whiteside got really exposed this season, offensively as well as defensively.  And Hector should play in minors and work on his bat and defense.

A wrench in this scenario is that the Giants don't think that Posey can handle a full catching load of 120+ games next season, as he recovers from his devastating injury.  And they don't really view Stewart of being capable of taking on more than a backup's role.  So they could find a backup who is more of a starter to be backup (like a Torrealba) or they could keep Stewart while signing someone who would backup both catcher and other positions.

Wild card:  Schulman reported that Beltran will actually talk with the Giants during their exclusivity period negotiating with him, before he goes free agent.  Boras usually prefers his players to NOT talk to teams, but he seems to be flexible enough to listen to his player's preferences.  So maybe Beltran realized his mistake with his statement, appreciated that Sabean actually made the effort to make Carlos look smart, maybe Boras spoke to him not to burn that bridge yet, since Boras went public to say that Beltran does want to talk with the Giants and consider them.

At minimum, according to this report, he admits obliquely that he is happy here without saying that he was happy here, by saying that a player needs to listen to a team that is interested and offers a fair deal, while the player is happy.  Why mention this if he wasn't happy here.  Appears that he and Pablo had a good time together, so perhaps that is part of the allure.  And he has backed off the comment he made before, noting the improved lineup once Posey and Franchez return.

I wonder if Boras is looking to do one of those one year for big money deals with the Giants, which gives Beltran a good chance to finally win a ring with the Giants in 2012, then get a big contract afterward wherever.  Much like I-Rod's one year deal with Marlins (which was not planned, he simply waited too long and no more teams were interested; he brokered a deal with Marlins where most of that $10M was deferred).  Would look really good on his resume to be offensive leader on playoff and hopefully World Series team for 2012.  Or maybe Beltran finally gets the Giants pitcher dominance thing, and want to give it a try over a year.  Or maybe he had a change of heart.  Of course, speculation can go in many different directions.

In any case, Sabean noted in the post-season press conference that the Giants have already reached out to Boras (and perhaps this is the reason both Beltran and Boras have been conciliatory in recent days) and let him know that the Giants are interested in retaining Beltran. He also acknowledged, using his Sabean-ism, that "it's a process" and it might take time, so that suggests that one should not expect this to resolve quickly.

However, since he made the point of having done this, instead of the usual "we need to sit down and discuss everything", that to me suggests that the Giants already have a ballpark idea of what Beltran wants and that they could get there financially, else why mention this?  As he usually keeps everything "under his kimono", as he likes to say, and he normally do not lead on the public with things he don't intend to do.  No use mentioning this unless the Giants are, as Beltran had mentioned, going to make what they believe to be a fair offer for Beltran.  We will see.

If he is re-signed, I doubt he will play RF.  Schierholtz should get RF because of his knowledge there.  And Bochy said that Nate is the starting RF right now, it is his job to lose, in the first post-season press conference with Sabean and Bochy.  And it wasn't like Beltran was good there.  Only reason the Giants didn't move Beltran was because most players don't like to adjust mid-season and they respected that.  With spring training, he can get reps in LF or even perhaps CF, if the Giants really want to give Belt a shot at starting in LF (or Huff there as well).  Don't think Beltran is that good anymore in CF, but with Nate in RF, perhaps Nate can help cover extra ground and help him out in right-center.  And Beltran's offense is good enough to make up for that poor defense, particularly in CF where offense is a premium.

Bullpen Changing

In the bullpen, the Giants will have Wilson, Romo, Casilla back, plus probably Mota as well.  Sabean noted in the post-season press conference that the Giants will retain Affeldt, though not necessarily exercise his $5M option.  Don't know about Lopez or Ramirez, but given the tight payroll budget, both probably are gone, particularly since we will probably get draft picks for them being Type-B free agents and they should be highly sought, so we won't need to offer arbitration to get the picks..

Runzler probably won a spot with his nice showing after his last call-up, as he cut down on the walks that has been haunting him all his career.  Though his injury in the last game was worrisome, though Bochy said that he is fine and expected to be fully healthy by spring.  Runzler noted that he succumbed to a problem many pitchers do, being afraid of getting hit and giving the hitters too much credit, instead "I was pressing not to give away runs and trying too hard to get people out, trying to make the perfect pitch," he was quoted by the Chronicle.  He mentioned, "When I was down in Fresno this year, I had an opportunity to look in the mirror and say, 'Just attack the hitters like you used to,' " Runzler said Tuesday. " 'Don't give the hitters too much credit. If a pitch gets away from you, get ready to throw the next one.' "

Great attitude for any pitcher, starter or reliever.  That was a problem for Cain for a while early in his career, I remember Matt Morris and fellow Giants hitters telling Cain this, that he gave hitters too much credit and was nibbling instead of taking it to them.  Krukow mentioned this a number of times on broadcasts too, that he needed to trust his stuff, hitters can't hit that pitch.

Probably one of Steve Edlefson and Waldis Joaquin will get Ramirez's spot, and I would put as an outside shot that maybe Hembree will force his way onto the team in spring training.  I think Dan Otero might be in the mix as well, plus they could always put Surkamp in as lefty relief like they did with Sanchez, though I doubt it because Surkamp did not strike out that many in the majors and they really need him to be ready to start, he would benefit greatly from pitching in AAA.  Plus there is always Osirus Matos.

And undoubtedly, they will check out the free agents there as well, and pick up a buy-low reliever who they like, like they did with Mota.  Plus, if Dirty is not tradeable, then Zito probably will be long main as lefty out of the pen, I would think, though you never know, the roles could get reversed, Dirty has been injury prone, they could push him into the pen instead, much like Righetti was, despite doing well as a starter.  He and Boras would not be happy though, getting put in the pen just before he turns free agent.

Prospects

Prospects to look out for in 2012 include Gary Brown, Joseph Panik, Heath Hembree, Surkamp still qualifies, Otero, Edlefson, Joaquin, Hector Sanchez, Francisco Peguero, Ehire Adrianza, Max Ramirez, once hot catcher prospect with Texas, not sure how we got him but very intriguing to me, who I would not rule out as a dark horse to take the backup catcher job in 2012 from Stewart if he should ever figure out his bat, he's only 27 next season, still young for developing catchers, and he has a LOT of power, 10 HR in 148 AB in Fresno this season.  I still like Crawford a lot even though he is no longer considered a rookie prospect.

Among the draft picks this season, I'm hopeful that Andrew Susac, Ricky Oropesa, Bryce Bandilla, Chris Marlowe, Josh Osich, and Kelby Tomlinson will also get their names into the "To Watch" list in 2012.  I am most excited over Susac and Osich, two prospects who were thought by some to be first round talent, but who fell to the Giants in later rounds.  Oropesa has intriguing power.  And the Giants always finds the arms.

Speaking of the draft, if the Giants do let go of Lopez, Ramirez, and Ross, according to MLB Trade Rumors reversed-engineered Elias Ratings, the Giants could get Type-B compensation for them (assuming that the CBA renewal includes that type of compensation in 2012, if I understand everything right) for all three of them.  Most probably, though, only Lopez and Ramirez will get signed before the Giants need to offer arbitration to get the picks, while Ross will go past the deadline, ending in two picks.  Cabrera, unsurprisingly, is not that high.

Keppinger, however, is rated a Type-A, so the Giants might retain him first as backup insurance in case Sanchez has any problems coming back from his surgery, and second, as trade bait, should they don't need him for that.  They could even keep him all season, just in case Sanchez has yet another injury, but that would  mean that the other MI utility player is definitely a SS (Fontenot or Burriss or free agent) and that DeRosa is most probably gone (Torres, Pill, Keppinger, Fontenot/Burriss/FA in this scenario).

Sabean and Bochy:  Two More Years

I hope the Giants give Sabean and Bochy a two year extension this off-season.  Both have been deserving of it again.  They should not be put in the position of being lame ducks next season, like Neukom did in his first season.  Maybe he was going to do it again?  They have earned that much after all that they have done for the Giants the past two seasons.

Sabean has the franchise's youth movement in its best shape that I have ever seen in following the Giants for 40 years.  Our rotation is pretty set for years with Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner, and Vogelsong should help us buy time to find good starters to fill out the rotation in the second half of this decade.  Wilson is a great closer, Hembree looks like he'll be ready to take over the reins should Wilson price himself out of our payroll (sorry, just can't see them giving him the big money closers get nowadays, more important to keep Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Sandoval and Posey), Romo, and it does not cost too much to pick up good relievers plus they find them out there, like Casilla.  Plus there is Runzler and other reliever candidates.  The Giants have been good finding pitchers down later in the draft who jump up, like Wilson, Dirty, Romo, Runzler.

Meanwhile, the lineup looks to be very good as well.  Sandoval, Posey, and Belt in the middle look to be among the better in the NL.  Brown and Panik look like they will take the top two spots in the lineup in a couple of years. Perhaps next year if they do well in AFL this season.  And Schierholtz would be good in the #6 spot.  Plus we have a lot of potential starters still, despite all the trades, with Joseph, Peguero, RafRod, Hector Sanchez, Susac.  Plus there is Max Ramirez.  And who knows, maybe Villanova will re-ignite his prospect status.  Don't need to be great hitters when we are filling out the #7 and #8 spots, but they could become good.

Bochy has impressed me the past two seasons.  Last season, he made the hard decisions that had to be made and he kept the players productive even after they were benched.  Else Renteria would have never stamped his name permanently into Giants history.  I did not think that he was capable of that, based on what he did in previous seasons, but he was aware enough to know when he needs to go all out in his decision making versus most of the time when the lineup he writes down won't make a heck of a big difference, run-wise.  He knew when it was do-or-die time and when it is all deck chair shuffling on the Titanic.  I greatly admired that.

This season, it became clear to me from my research that Bochy is one of the most unique managers since he become manager, perhaps and probably in the history of baseball, by being able to manage his way to NL leading records in 1-run games, among or the leader in most games above .500 in 1-run games.  In the years since he started his managerial career, he probably managed nearly 7% of the manager seasons and yet he has 40% of the seasons where a manager was 8 games or more above .500, a huge outlier among managers.  He has basically done that in 50% of his years as manager.  The only manager with such a high percentage is Bobby Valentine; the only other manager who is closest to Bochy in terms of number of seasons among the leaders in the NL was Bobby Cox, but while he was like that for a number of years, he hasn't done that for years now.  Bochy is in a class all by himself, I look forward to him managing our team for years to come.

We Hardly Knew Ye, Neuk

I also wanted to thank Neukom.  He brought a nice touch to the position of Giants owner, brought a lot of hope to us fans, set the team's image straight after Magowan got mud splashed all over him from the steroids scandal.  I love the Giants Way, I loved that he would at least entertain all baseball moves, even if finances didn't work, to see if he could make the finances work, I loved that he has been so passionate a Giants fan all these years, and not only that, put his vast fortune where his mouth is.

But if the rumor is true that he wanted $10M to run the Giants, then I'm sorry, you just aren't worth that.  I would rather see the team spend that on keeping our young players around as long as possible.  Paying him that much would cost the team a lot of good players.  Thanks but no thanks.

Still, thank you Bill for everything, particularly 2010's World Championship!

Larry Baer, I'm watching you!

He's said some reassuring things, implying that he will continue Neukom's policy of looking at all baseball deals and have Sabean let the owner's rep worry about the financing part.  But he's basically done what he has always done, say the pat things that managers say, so I don't really know what to expect out of him.  Hopefully he learned some lessons from Magowan's signings of Zito and Rowand.

Still, one thing he won't be able to do is whip out his wallet and say "I'm investing another $100M into the Giants so that they can sign some players" like Neukom could have.  Unless the A's give the Giants $100M for the South Bay, I am not hopeful that we can keep all our core young players around for a long time.

Row, Row, Rowand on the Bike

Speaking of Aaron Rowand, apparently part of the reason he was complaining so much that he got DFAed was about the ballpark.  Hello!  Look in the mirror!  Riding a mountain bike every day during the off-season is not a robust fitness routine.  If you want to see how a baseball player mans up and get into fit shape, look no further than how Sandoval went to a professional fitness firm and got experts to help him get into the best shape.  And he's not even being paid $12M per year by the team, Rowand could certainly have paid for that.  He hit great for us early in the season for us his first couple of years.  Here is how he did, split before and after:

2008:
to June 2:  .342/.408/.549/.957, 8 HR in 193 AB (24 AB/HR)
Afterward: .233/.300/.334/.635, 5 HR in 356 AB (71 AB/HR)

He was still hitting .287/.355/.445/.800 on August 23rd.

2009:
to July 4:  .302/.365/.486/.850, 9 HR in 278 AB (31 AB/HR)
Afterward: .208/.259/.335/.594, 6 HR in 221 AB (37 AB/HR)

He was still hitting .282/.336/.455/.792 on August 22nd.

Funny, but all those games in AT&T didn't seem to hurt his hitting at all those first two seasons early on.  Seems more like him being out of shape and unable to play a full MLB season that really hurt his performance, as he just sunk from there.  Then his 10 cent head took it from there, blaming the park when he should have pointed at himself, something Huff did immediately at the end of this season.  Not once have we heard from Rowand that he did anything wrong.

He finally tried to do something to get into shape after the 2009 season - at least he did realize he had a problem - but did it with mountain biking every day, week.  That is not the effort I expected for $12M, I guess he didn't have as good a professional attitude as was thought when he was signed.

Despite his "workout", he didn't do much hitting last season, that deep into the season.  He cooled off almost immediately and lost his starting job in early June.  Maybe he spent too much time biking and not enough batting.  He did the same again this season, starting out hot enough, but cooling off fast again.  The biking, if anything, one could say hurt him more than whatever he was doing before.

And what was with that batting stance he used this season?  Ugh!  About the worse batting stance I've ever seen in 40 years.  And I'm counting the PONY League (competitor of Little League that is more fair to all players) players I've seen in the years I was a coach on my son's team.

He will probably find a job somewhere for next season, for the minor league minimum, hey, maybe Ozzie will attract him to the Marlins.  But I can see him finally getting himself into the right shape in hopes of getting another contract after this one expires.  That would really piss me off.

Loser.  At least man up and get into shape the right way, not like how a child would do it.  You got a big contract, you are suppose to be professional and do all that you can to deliver on that contract.  Huff at least understands that.  Good riddance, what a mistake his contract was.  It looked bad from the beginning and proved to be even worse than advertised.

Giants Set for 2012 Division Title

Still, the Giants look good for 2012.  Taking a look at the lineup for 2012, assuming we sign Crisp for leadoff and CF, the lineup of Crisp, Franchez, Sandoval, Posey, Huff, Belt, Schierholtz, SS, #9 is that the lineup would produce 4.32 RS/game.  That with 3.55 RA/game of this season would result in a .589 winning percentage, 95-67 record.  That is with Crisp's poorer stats in last 5 seasons, Franchez last 4 seasons, Sandoval's 2011 season, Posey's career stats, Huff's stats in the second half of 2011 (.259/.330/.384/.714), Belt's stats in 2011, Schierholtz career stats, 12th worse SS stats in NL in 2011 (Pittsburgh), and #9 stats for Giants #9 hitters.

That's without Beltran coming back or getting a great leadoff hitter as he suggested the Giants needed even with Posey coming back.  That does not include any possible uptick in power from Sandoval, as he recovers fully from his broken hamate bone and shoulder problems, any upside if Huff really is on an odd-even alternating career, Posey doesn't improve any, Belt doesn't improve any, Schierholtz maybe reaching a new career level this season and next, and the Giants not getting much offense from whoever is SS for us in 2012.   It also does not account for the possibility that Brown or Panik might show a lot in the AFL and could be ready to come up and contribute by mid-season 2012.  And, of course, getting Beltran back would be an even greater boost.

Of course, that also depends on Vogelsong impossibly delivering again another good season.  However, he don't need to be that good, as long as we get a big improvement out of our #5 starters.  In 2011, #5 starters  collectively in 34 starts, 174.2 IP, had a 4.95 ERA.  If we can get a #5 starter who can deliver a 4.00 ERA (which both Dirty and Zito was basically able to do in 2010), Vogelsong only has to deliver a 3.72 ERA for the Giants to get the same performance out of our #4 and #5 starters that we got in 2011.  Between Vogelsong and all the other starters, they had a collective 3.86 ERA in 2011.

So Vogelsong don't need a repeat, he only needs to do well, though even 3.72 ERA seems like a lot to ask out of him given his career.  However, from his July 23rd start, he had 13 starts, 81.2 IP, 64 K's only 28 BB (good 2.29 K/BB ratio) and 3.53 ERA (.307 BABIP).  So he appears capable, as even after the league figured him out some and some fatigue set in on him since he hasn't pitched a full season in a long time, his ERA was still pretty good in the second half, showing how he can pitch well even without his best stuff.

The Giants look all set to do well in 2012, assuming no idiot takes one of our top hitters out of the lineup and our starters are healthy for the most part.  And there are potential upsides offensively that is not accounted for, which is balanced by the risk of poor performances (like Huff or Crisp or Franchez or Schierholtz).  Still, I was pretty conservative with the lineup stats for the older players, so not a lot of downside there for the 4.32 RS and, as noted, a number of upsides.

That 95 wins should win us the NL West title in 2012.  None of the other teams should be that close.

Arizona was very lucky in 2012, with a very good record in 1-run games, which as I noted, only Bochy is proven to be consistent in delivering that, and even he don't do it every year, so Arizona will need a big boost from prospects, particularly Bauer in my mind, to compete for the title in 2012.  Plus, I don't think Goldschmidt can duplicate his 2011 season, I think he will be not as productive striking out so much, and that will be something else they will need to make up for.  I think they will be in the mix but that Gibson will prove to not be capable of doing that well in 1-run games every season and they will fall back to the middle, low to mid-80 wins.

How lucky were they?  At 6 games above Pythagorean, AZ would have been at 88 wins had they been at the mean.  Most teams balance that by being below the next season.  They were 12 games above .500 in 1-run games, which basically explain a lot of their Pythagorean surplus.  Again, at .500 in 1-run games, they are at 88 wins.  The Giants ended the season with 86 wins.  Can't tell me that Posey was not worth at least 4 wins over what Whiteside and Stewart did for us and that would have put the Giants up on top.

Colorado traded away Ubaldo, and I don't see them replacing him easily, and they don't really have a lot of good prospects either, that I see coming up.  Everyone loved them entering 2011 but they ended up about where I thought they would, far from the division lead.  I just don't see them being being in the hunt once again, though certainly competitive, just not enough to be in it to the end of the season.  Enjoy that, Tulo!

LA certainly have a lot of good young players, but they also have a lot of so-so players as well.  Like AZ in 2010 and SD in 2009, they had a very nice end to 2011, going 40-24 from July 20th.  So I would count LA as the dark horse team to watch out for in 2012 in the NL West.

But I just don't see the upside.  Only Kemp is young and producing, everyone else is either old and/or mediocre offensively.  Kershaw had a Cy Young level season but can he repeat?  Billingsley should rebound from a poor season but Kuroda at 37 probably don't repeat a 3.07 ERA.  Rubby De La Rosa had a nice season, but can he do it over a full season?  He just walks too much, in my opinion.  And Lilly is 36, Garland 32, next season, and I'm not sure Garland is even back.  Great looking bullpen, potentially, though, with Kenley Jensen.  Both SD and AZ had great ends to seasons with young players coming to the fore and contributing in those seasons, but I just don't see that with the D-gers for 2012.  Still, they won a lot of games, so beware.

SD, I just see no there there, not like 2009.  They did about as bad as I expected given that they traded away Adrian Gonzalez.  Their GM had the nerve to say publicly that they were still fighting to win the title even after that trade.  Still, .500 is not out of the question in 2012, I see a lot of the NL West teams being around .500, slightly above maybe, while the Giants would be on top with 90+ wins and win the division title.  And they do have some good young pitching.

On top of all that, this assumes the Giants will play .500 in one-run games.  Bochy is 2 out of 5 seasons in achieving a top win differential in one-run games for the Giants and he has basically been at 50% during his career, slightly higher given that he struggled in managing his new team in his first season with them.  Any uptick there should result in an even better record overall.  And should we sign Beltran, 100 wins would not be out of the question.  Lots of good reasons to be positive about the 2012 season for the Giants.  Can't wait to see Sabean's moves.

Go Giants!

8 comments:

  1. Hey OGC -

    One reason I enjoy your site is your optimism. Its the nature of the beast, but a lot of blogs go down the rabbit hole of bashing the Giants and Sabean in particular for everything.

    Biggest positive for me is locking up Cain. Its very obvious, but the verbal commitment to take care of the pitching is a good thing. I said verbal for a reason. Count me as nervous until the ink is dry.

    Calling out Huff was done in a positive way. His response is what you want to hear as well. It would have been an absolute disaster to call him out while the year played out. I'm mildly optimistic about his chances to turn it around, and everything the brain trust said about it being different next year was just fine. He was a huge cog in the 2010 season AND the 2011 season. They have backup plans in Belt and Pill, I feel confident about 1B.

    With regards to our five guys: lock em up for sure. And enjoy the hell out of it - Posey and Sandoval are absolutely 2 of the best young players in the game. Giants fans, take a moment to stop bitching about the holes in the lineup and consider the cornerstones we do have. And the pitching is a once in a lifetime opportunity, something you tell your grandchildren about.

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  2. But I do have my lunatic fringe moments, and I can't share your optimism about Sabean making sane moves this offseason.

    To me his comments signal a strong likelihood for Belt to be in AAA next year, Coco Crisp to be signed 3 days after the World Series to a 3/21 or worse, another FA OF to man LF and Furcal coming in to play shortstop for 2/16.

    If Sabean's strength is on the scouting side, savvy trades and good dumpster diving, his weakness has always been the middle market free agents.

    I hope to be proven wrong. Coco Crisp is an OK 1 year stopgap if you can have a backup plan for the 50 plus games he will miss. A longer term deal makes no sense. But Sabean has a long track record (as DR B pointed out) of fixating on his guy, paying more dollars and years to get it done quick.

    So these holes at CF and SS are glaring, and I don't share your confidence in the one year stopgaps happening, I see Sabean dipping in and overpaying for mediocre talent.

    I like your suggestions a lot. I don't see Sabean having the patience to wait out Scutaro or to just trade for him (how bout Ramon Ramirez back to the sox?). Jack Wilson would be just fine as a stopgap or even a platoon for Crawford if he's deemed ready. Alex Gonzalez is another cheap vet who doesn't stand out but won't break the bank either.

    In CF I am afraid they are pulling the plug on Torres. It is understandable to downplay him after the season he had. But he is still valuable even as a 4th OF. If they wait around for Ross I like that as well - he provides flexability in the OF and the batting order. I'm not sold on DeJesus but can live with that as long as its one year. While Nate McClouth is intriguing for that 2008, his defense is Freddy Lewisesqe.

    Your point about Cuddyer's home/road splits is excellent. I see him as a very likely candidate to get signed because of the Mark Derosa like position ability. His defense is not great either, but the backup at 2b, LF/RF due to injuries/performance issues and him being a righty bat proven veteran makes him #2 possible signing right after Crisp.

    Maybe there isn't money in the budget for any free agents. I would just hate to see it wasted on 3 "fill in the lineup" guys instead of going after one impact guy or simply making cheaper moves. Unless you overpay for Reyes/Rollins there are no offensive options at shortstop. There are no CF leadoff options besides Crisp (although if the Mets non-tender Angel Pagan...) The Giants will most likely have to limp through with a big compromise at leadoff for the year until Brown is ready. Overpaying for Crisp or Furcal will be a disaster.

    Ending more positive, you are damn right we have interesting farm system players. I think its Sabean's strength once he has started paying attention to it. Brown, Panik, Susak, H. Sanchez, Joseph, Dominguez, Oropresa, Culberson, Frankie Peggs, even Roger Kieshnick. Chuckie Jones, RafRod - I think we have a ton of interesting players. Its just a matter of bridging the gap.

    Very interesting offseason that will be pivotal to the future of the club. I like your optimism, I hope you are proven right about Sabean and 1 year stopgaps being the name of the game still.

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  3. Thanks for your comments, Shankbone.

    We all have our lunatic fridge moments. And I'll admit that sometimes I may seem I'm totally against them when I may agree with some of that viewpoint. I view it as akin to "just because they are paranoid does not mean that someone isn't coming after them." I just don't feel the need to agree to agree, I try to point out when people appear to be off in their logic or facts.

    Yeah, I have a fear that Sabean will give a long contract to a veteran and it will blow up again. DeRosa, heck, Huff so far, Roberts, Alfonzo, Durham, Benitez, etc.

    It becomes a matter of what risk you are willing to take.

    As much as I hate to take the big risk on old vets, as we saw in 2011, going young is a big risk too, which many of the fringe refuses to acknowledge. It is easy to complain about what went wrong, but I don't see any of the fridge ever having good realistic alternatives. I like the Giants straddling by signing a vet but having the young guy proving himself in the minors meanwhile.

    Yeah, Sabean is known for his M.O. of quick movement in free agency, which often results in overpaying in some form, years, money. Management now is geared more towards short 1-2-3 year deals, so that helps reduce that damage.

    But what a lot of fringers fail to acknowledge is that the Giants do try to keep spots open for their top prospects, where they can either compete to win a spot in spring or could come up at some point mid-season as the vet holding the spot is only there to keep their spot warm.

    Another problem is that a lot of fringers have an overinflated view of some of our top prospects. I think you and I know the difference between Lance Niekro and Brandon Belt in terms of talent and potential, but I would bet a lot of them view the two to be much closer than we would. At least, the way they argue, they are just a vehement for either of them.

    So that is why I think the Giants will not be pursuing most LF candidates. Beltran would be the only one I can see, only because he is a known upgrade over Belt, but the rest, like Willingham and others, I can see the Giants passing on.

    The way I see it, they will sign a CF, and as DrB noted, that basically screams Coco Crisp as their #1 target. He looks like another Dave Roberts redux, though, so I can't see Sabean going three years on him if it gets that high, though I agree that $6M seems to be the market price.

    I don't see 3 years because Brown is maybe a year away from majors, year and a half, and a 3 year contract would mean what do you do with Crisp that last 1.5-2 years?

    That's back to my point that the Giants don't block the truly good prospects, they give them opportunity to win a spot vs. a veteran. Belt, as we agree, is truly good, Ortmeier, Linden, etc., not so much. Brown too is truly good.

    From that stance, then I don't see the Giants really pursuing anything more than a 2 year contract for CF.

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  4. The way I see it, Belt will be competing with Torres for LF in 2012, with the CF free agent basically getting CF, though I would leave as an outside chance that if Torres can get his act together as he did in 2010, he could win the CF starting job if Belt also forces the Giants hand.

    Torres is valuable as a 4th OF if we can re-sign him at $1M. If we have to go through arbitration with him and he gets $2-3-4M, I think I would rather push that money towards the FA CF we sign.

    He is a total wildcard, because if he can't get his ADD under medical control, he's useless. Look at his second half numbers, they were horrible. If he is more like his first half, then he would be OK, but he was basically useless from June to the end of the season, look at his splits.

    At equal money, I see Ross as more valuable right now as 4th OF than Torres.

    See, I see DeRosa as a reason why Cuddyer will not be signed. Sabean noted in the conference that defense is important, and DeRosa is an excellent defender at almost any position he is thrown in. Cuddyer is bad anywhere he gets through in.

    I would rather they re-sign DeRosa 2-3 years for $1-2M than get Cuddyer. Though, as I noted, there is almost no way DeRosa makes the bench.

    And you are right, I didn't weigh defense enough on McLouth, his defense is rather poor as well, so the Giants hopefully will stay away from him except for a minor league invite.

    I too hate getting 3 mediocre free agents instead of one good one. That is Giants management's weakpoint, I agree.

    I didn't really want to get too into what will happen at SS and CF until we see what happens in the AFL, frankly. I think how Crawford, Brown, and even Panik does there will greatly influence what the Giants do regarding those positions when free agency starts up. I would have preferred skipping but acknowledged that it has to be part of the conversation, as is.

    Regarding the farm system, I don't blame Sabean for neglecting the farm system. That is on the hands of the owners for forcing him to make such choices. They had rainy day money to spend, they could have opened up the purse for the farm system but choose not to.

    Also, I am OK with Sabean focusing on pitching first, position second, as he needed to get that into shape first, then he could focus on the position players.

    I would also credit John Barr for helping to boost up the number of good position prospects in our farm system that we have now. We are almost there.

    Lot of the Naysayers mock the Giants farm system, but even the best farm systems place maybe two starters onto the roster each year. The math of that vs. 5 starting pitchers, 1 closer, and 8 starting position players means it takes a team a minimum of 7 years to put together a team fully from the farm system, in the best cases, and probably closer to a decade.

    Yet the Naysayers have been barking since the Giants started losing (no way you consistently get one starter a year while you are winning), without acknowledging that it takes even the best prospects 2-3 years to make the majors (showing how special Lincecum and Posey were) or the time it takes to even field a full team. They simply don't think through the consequences of their ideas.

    I hate the overpaying, but that's the way you have to play this game if you don't want to risk another rookie hitting sub-.600 OPS for you all season. What I hope is that the Giants play it like the Pirates did in prior years, wait until Jan-Feb and sign some players on the cheap to hold the fort at SS and CF.

    And as I noted, I'm hopeful that Crawford might be able to hold SS starting in 2012.

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  5. You've just made good cases for not signing Crisp or Cuddyer. Crisp won't cost a pick as he is somehow unrated (not even a type B), and Minny is going cheap so they may not offer Arbitration, but Cuddyer is a type A, which further sours me on him.

    Willingham I go back and forth on, as he has very consistent numbers, including 30HR potential. The downsides are worse than Burrell defense and he is a type A FA.

    Ross makes some sense if he is cheaper than last year. So streaky, but I think a good bet to beat this years numbers, and the good defense in all 3 spots is valuable for the type of team we have. As a 4th OF lefty masher he is just fine at a price point. I prefer Cody to Dejesus for sure, but I value defense more than most. Dejesus looks like a good obp, low power, bad defense slight injury risk.

    John Barr has been awesome. I like the balance he brings to Tidrows pitching projects with the college hitters. I'm glad they hired him.

    The AFL - why didn't we protect Joe Paterson? He looked good in the AFL last season, I watched him K Prince Fielder and mashed my teeth a little - protecting Alex Hinshaw and various other guys who have slipped off the 40 unclaimed...
    We are losing Javy Lopez to the budget, that will be a blow.

    The Giants are much higher on Crawford than the Fringe. The only thing I can add is he put up great numbers his first month of A-ball in SJ (371/445/1045). They threw him to the wolves in AA and all the track record comes from that. He's the reason they drew the brakes on Gary Brown. With the position just going to the dogs across the majors offensively, I don't see the problem with a cost controlled guy if he can figure out the hitting a little.

    You never know how the Beltran or Rollins market will develop. Its a longshot with the budget and player demands, but those 2 guys are the best chance to help for real next year. The 2nd/3rd tier guys on multi year deals are a big Dave Roberts style waste of time.

    I've changed my mind a lot on Jose Reyes in the last month. I think he'll be injury prone the rest of his career, a no heart me first guy who will cost so much money he will have no chance of not being a bust. Its a red flag he came back from his injuries this summer and didn't run at all.

    So while Crisp is the only CF leadoff, Jimmy Rollins could be the alternative. He is asking for 5 years. Will the phillies offer 3? Could the Giants sneak in with 3/36? Is that a good bet? Rollins is the last offensive SS for a long time. So if they want to go that route...

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  6. My changing thoughts on CF/leadoff, which I posted on DrB's great site:

    I don't think a trade is possible because the Giants most significant prospects is Brown, who is slated to be the future CF after whoever they get for 2012 (and maybe 2013).

    And because Brown could be ready by 2013 (we'll know more after his stint in AFL), I just don't see the Giants signing any legit CF to 3 years. So if getting Crisp would require 3 years, I just don't see the Giants doing that.

    Lastly, I would add that Type A free agents should not interest the Giants, as it would cost them their pick, which I think is in the high teens (18 or 19, depends on who didn't sign high picks last draft).

    Crisp does not cost any picks, so that's not a factor, and I can't see him getting 3 years from anyone else, but 2 years seems like a no-brainer with him, for any team in on him. So the Giants might have to go to $7M for 2 years, more money than years, to get him.

    If he's relatively healthy and hits like he has over the past 5 seasons, which is roughly average for a CF, plus above average defense, then I can see going more $ to get him, but he's never put in a 150 game season yet, and out of 8 roughly full seasons, he's had roughly 600 PA (twice high 500's) in only 3 of them. Echoing that, he's only had (again roughly) 140 games or more in a season 3 times (though close last season).

    Based on this poor history of health, I think even $6M per is an overpay for him, maybe a sliding scale bonus contract where he gets $7M for playing 140+ games, $6M for playing 135 games, $4M for playing 120 games, and $3M base pay. But his agent won't go for that.

    David Dejesus fits the Giants needs better, I think, after reading this post. First, he plays good defense in CF. Second, while he had a poor 2011, he was offensively competent for a corner OF, giving greater flexibility as to where he plays, whereas Crisp is really only a CF offensively. Third, given that he can play corner, he can move to LF should Peguero not develop in time, stay in CF should Brown take longer, move to RF if Schierholtz is injured (again).

    On top of all that, while he does not steal bases like Crisp or any classic leadoff guy does, he does something even more importantly, he gets on base a lot (.360 OPS in 7 previous seasons). Plus, the Giants had basically traded for him in 2010 when he busted his wrist (or whatever).

    That's about the only negative, that he's had a spotty history in terms of playing a full season, he's been almost as bad as Crisp, which should also help to keep his salary demands down, overall.

    Also keeping down demand for his services is that he's not flashy in any way, just competent or good in most ways. That's very much like a Randy Winn-type player, which Sabean obviously likes, except that he's not even competent stealing bases, and he's not particularly a good base-runner. Still, .360 OBP helps mitigate that greatly, can't drive in guys who don't get on base. And as we have seen in Bochy's tenure, he's not against having non-speed guys leading off.

    Any word on whether A's will try hard to keep him? Right now I think he's the guy the Giants will drive hard to get for leadoff/CF, though I'm not wedded to this thought if someone has a better idea.

    Also, Dejesus probably would sign sooner than later, as there will probably be less demand for him relative to other CF free agents, he is not really a name player, which Crisp at least once was. He's more in the Randy Winn mode of nondescript ballplayers. And he might want to see what he missed out on in 2010.

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  7. Very interesting as usual, I've been following you for a few years now. Great comments on the CF spot as well... I haven't heard anyone mention Juan Pierre? Wouldn't he be a decent stopgap CF leadoff until Brown is ready?

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  8. Thanks for your comment and compliment, JD.

    I've never been much of a Juan Pierre fan. His only skill has been that because he can avoid strikeouts, he can get on base a lot via a hit. However, that is partly because he's hyper active as a hitter, as he don't walk very much either, though usually as many as he strikes out, so he's an elite hitter in that way. But he just doesn't hit for much in terms of power, negating greatly any skill he has as a hitter.

    And while he's fast enough to steal a lot of bases, he also gets caught way too much for my tastes, the benchmark I use for a productive base stealer who doesn't cost more in CS than help with SB is 80%, which I admit is arbitrary, I heard a pro say that, probably on TWIB, but in observing since, I like that level. In any case, MLB average in 2011 was just over 72% and he only was successful 61% of the time, and is at 74% for his career.

    Here are some comparisons with best ever. Rickey was at 81% for his career. Lou Brock was only at 75%, but during prime of career, 77% (he was a late bloomer). Tim Raines was at 85%. Vince Coleman 81%. Joe Morgan 81%. WIllie Wilson 83%. Kenny Lofton 80%. I think 80% is pretty good still, though perhaps too high a threshold.

    BP's research found that the break-even point varies by team, park, season, as the offensive era affects the cost in runs when CS. BP notes, "The stolen base is a useful weapon but also an overrated one."

    However, looking over the charts BP has in their book, where I found the above research, roughly 70% is the breakeven point for where the SB is valuable, though it ranges, depending on the situation from roughly 60% to 75%. So Pierre probably has been above average most of his career, but not good (or great) at it.

    In addition, he's been mainly a LF for the past few years, so I'm not sure how good he is anymore in CF. And, at least, even when he was playing CF, he appears to have fielded it poorly as he was mostly negative in dWAR for most of his years in CF, and by a lot.

    Still, he does get on base really well, at least for our needs. And speed up top would be nice, plus Bochy is not one to steal crazy, so he might corral Pierre and only allow him to use his speed in key situations, improving his success rate (like Randy Winn did for us). And OBP is more key batting 1st than SLG. He would actually be ideal for situations where he bats 9th, looking at the lineup regression numbers.

    So I guess it all depends on how well he can still field CF and how good he can be offensively, juxtaposed how much he wants. If he is like he has been in 3 of the last 4 years, I think he probably shouldn't get more than $1-2M for a year. He would hold the seat warm for when Brown is ready to come up, hopefully sometime next season, but if not, 2013.

    But between DeJesus and Pierre for equal money, I think I would rather take the chance that DeJesus recovers in a bounce-back year, than hope that DeJesus somehow rejuvenates himself at age 34. He had a peak year at age 31 for LAD, second best OPS, otherwise, he's been pretty under-ordinary as a hitter for most of his career. His shiny stolen bases totals attracts the teams.

    DeJesus, however, is only 31, had a really bad BABIP season in 2011, though part of that was his really bad strikeout rate, so maybe he's gone as well. Still, perhaps he was still recovering from his injury in 2010, as he was pretty bad in the first half, more like his career self in the second half, .270/.342/.438/.780, .316 BABIP, though his contact rate was still low, only 78%, so that is a true and steep decline there. Still, if he can bat .750+ while delivering good defense in CF, that is better than what Pierre can do. I would rather risk DeJesus than Pierre for the same money, $1-2M, maybe $3M. Anything substantially more would be too much, in my opinion.

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