Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Media Bias Warps Fans Views

I love reporters - I read the newspaper almost every day - and the Giants are blessed to have good reporters covering them in Andy Baggarly, Hank Schulman, and Chris Haft (plus John Shea Hey often fills in for Hank).  They add immeasurably to our enjoyment of our favorite team by bringing us the news regularly and also busting scoops, like Neukom getting replaced.  But their bias against the Giants (and if it is just misunderstanding on their part, well, the result is still bias) has colored the fan base against Sabean and Bochy.

The latest writings to get my dander up are by Baggarly and Haft (Shea has often gotten be riled up as well, and I assume Schulman has at some point, but not that I can recall at the moment).  And Haft got me riled up with another post he had.

Baggarly

I love Baggs and he brings the most and best news about the Giants to us fans.  So I feel a tinge of guilt to pointing him out, but somebody needs to point out the Emperor's new clothes.

First is a minor quibble, but still, his is a widely known, well-respected source of Giants information.  He noted that "Sandoval batted .379 from his (natural) right side".  Only, his natural side is his left side, as he was born left-handed, but learned (and pretty well) how to throw right-handed.  The story is that Sandoval's hero at some point was Omar Vizquel, so he wanted to play SS to emulate his hero, but, obviously, left-handers can't play SS, so he learned to throw right-handed in order to play SS, and from then on he was right-handed, for all intents and purposes.  (that's actually a common thing, my mom was left-handed but did a lot of things right-handed)

The other I was more perturbed by, which is when he said that Bochy "preferred Orlando Cabrera to Crawford later in the summer."  Because he has inside information, the way it is written, he makes it looks like Bochy preferred Cabrera.  What I want to make clear is that any manager should know that having a younger player is better than having an older player, if they are equal in performance. 

So that is the conundrum, was Crawford better than Cabrera.  At that point, Crawford hadn't played much above the A-level, so all we really had to judge him was his results at the major league level.  At the time of the trade, he was batting .190/.275/.261/.536, but if you took away his first two good weeks of hitting, over the next seven weeks (June 9-July 30, when trade for Cabrera), he hit .161/.242/.196/.438 in 29 games started and 37 games played. 

So sure, Cabrera was not doing that well, but Crawford at the time of the trade had been hitting poorly over the prior 7 weeks (almost 2 full months of starting, putting the lie to people complaining that Giants management don't play young players), but his hitting was plummeting, as his last three weeks he was hitting .100/.l62/.100/.282, which does not take a sabermetric degree to figure out isn't really good.  Really, do people need to make it personal that Bochy and Sabean hates young players or prefer Cabrera over Crawford?

The point was not that Cabrera wasn't any good anymore, nor that the Giants preferred Cabrera over Crawford, but that Crawford had cratered offensively and the Giants felt that he needed to back off, take some time in the minors to fix some things they saw, plus hopefully Cabrera could put in a finishing kick (unfortunately he didn't).  Ultimately, the Giants prefer production and Crawford wasn't giving it to them, so they rolled the dice with Cabrera.  I have no problem with that, particularly if they thought that Crawford could use the lesser pressure and learn some new batting techniques.

And you know what, the Giants did figure out something.  Crawford when he came back was an improved hitter, he hit .225/.295/.325/.620, 12 starts in September plus some other games he got into.  If he can hit that over a full season, it would be great to go with his stellar defense at SS.   I preferred Cabrera over Crawford given how poorly Crawford was doing for a long time (almost 2 months) plus was doing nothing offensively for almost a month.  And it had nothing to do with "preferring Cabrera over Crawford", at least from the numbers perspective.  And now I hope the Giants give Crawford the chance to start, but with someone backing up who could keep the seat warm if Crawford still needs some tweaking down in the minors.

That short stretch and his nice showing in the AFL (though he tailed off at the end, but that could have been because he was distracted by his upcoming nuptials) plus, more importantly, his OK contact rate in the majors, he had a 84% contract rate overall (good hitters are at 85% and higher), plus improved by month, 80.5% in June, 84.4% in July, 86.0% in September.  I understand small samples and all, but I think that the 84% overall bodes well for the future, plus he improved over time. 

In another recent post, (I had intended this to go out on Saturday but somehow screwed that up) he also opined that "you could argue that Sabean should have a larger budget than $130M, after the Giants sold out every game last season.  You might be right."  Then again, maybe you won't.

OK, I wrote something I wanted to bring over here at Extra Baggs but apparently my comment got removed by his moderator (his ears must have been burning with this sitting waiting to post :^). There are a lot of factors involved with the revenues that prevents them from spending more. Sure, selling out makes a lot of revenues but it also means that you pay a lot more in revenue sharing. The Giants are basically paying into that what the A's get, and the A's have just been pocketing that money instead of making the team good enough to compete and draw bigger crowds in Oakland, they are the team fans should be badgering about increasing their payroll.

In addition, their revenue sharing went up because they accounted for the stadium cost over a 10 year period, per the revenue sharing rules, and thus they started paying even more into revenue sharing starting in 2011.

Plus, they have a host of stadium related expenses which the Giants fans were unwilling to vote to give to the team so they had to build their own park. First and most of all is the $20M mortgage payment, which is mostly principal by now, so they have less interest to write off, taking away more income that they could add to payroll. There is also the stadium upkeep that they have to do because they do own the park.  The events they hold there when baseball is not playing helps offset that, but I doubt it covers the entire bill for a full year worth.

I would also point out that a sell-out at SF is not a huge park, it can only hold 42,000 fans, which about average among the top teams.  And they averaged $26 per ticket in 2010, the lowest among the top seven teams in valuation.  The Red Sox, for example, averaged $53 per ticket in 2010, the Yankees $63.  The other were at or just above $30 per ticket.  So while they are selling out, apparently that has more to do with their fancy dynamic ticket pricing to ensure sell-outs.

Their payroll in 2010 was in line with their revenues.  Player expenses was $114M in 2010 vs. gate receipts of $107M.  The Yankees had $236M vs. $300M in gate.  Red Sox, $187M vs. $176M in gate.  D-gers, $118M vs. $107M in gate.  Cubs, $157M vs. $146M in gate.  Mets, $139M vs. $123M in gate.  And Phillies with $150M in revenues and $124M in gate.  And they bumped up their payroll for 2011 to the $120M range.

So, no, I don't think an argument could be made for the Giants spending much more than $130M on payroll in 2012, not unless Larry Ellison bought the team and put all his billions into the team.  Until that happens, or until the prices catches up with the top teams and top $30 per ticket, which would add around $15M to the gate (and maybe that happened in 2011, but still that only bumps player expenses to around $122M per the Forbes numbers).

Haft

Now, he wasn't as bad as I had initially thought.  Still, he makes the case that adding Melky Cabrera is not "enough to correct the vast imbalance between their skilled pitching and somnolent hitting." Well, as I showed in the Posey post, yeah, it does, because he is forgetting that Posey is part of the new mix in the offense in 2012. Why do people not get that losing one of your best hitters, particularly your clean-up batter, does not cripple the offense?

Then in the article about the extensions for Sabean and Bochy, he noted some other things.   In response to Baer, he retorts:
"I strongly believe that Brian and Bruce are the best at their crafts in the game," Baer said.

Other current GMs have assembled more winning teams than Sabean, who has built five postseason qualifiers (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2010). A handful of active managers have tasted triumph more consistently than Bochy, whose teams have finished 1,360-1,376, including 409-401 by the Giants since 2007.
That just totally ignores the fact that there was a rebuilding in the middle of all that, a rebuilding and losing that was necessary to restoring competitiveness.  Plus, he didn't really name anyone with more winning teams, probably because there are FEW who have, as Sabean is the longest tenured GM, some GMs out there have not even GMed as many seasons as Sabean has had winning seasons (11 winning teams, by the way).

And Bochy was hampered first by the tight-fisted Padres' owners, who dismantled his World Series team right after they made it in, causing him to suffer through 5 losing seasons before the team was rebuilt to win again, plus he took over the Giants during their rebuilding phase, but if you are keeping track, he has three winning seasons with the Giants versus two losing, and does not look like he'll be losing any in the coming seasons either.

Giants Thoughts

These inaccuracies are what are coloring many of the Giants fans thoughts regarding the team.  They are teaching this fan base, which are not obsessive enough to dig deeper and thus rely on the beat writers to guide them, to spout the same inaccuracies when they go on-line or talk with their Giants fan friends.

I also just realized that beat writers have a vested interest in having a riled up fan base.  I'm not accusing any of them of doing this on purpose or knowingly, but it would make logical sense for them to mislead the fan base in order to keep them disgruntled. 

That is something I realized about KNBR night-time hosts, they must have realized at some intellectual level that they need to push the buttons and be controversial and hard on the Giants to keep the callers coming in and goading the callers to call in to complain about the Giants, mainly because a contented fan base do not have much interest in calling in and complimenting the Giants.  In fact, all that would be necessary is one call praising the Giants and that would be it.  Crickets chirping the rest of the 3-4 hours of the show.  So it behooves them to get the fan base riled up and calling in, by pointing out everything and anything, paticularly by biasing the audience towards a touchy-feely position (he loves vets, he signed bad contracts) that really doesn't hold up when the facts are piled on top of each other, but when talking off the cuff, can be easily defended for people who are not really that into the Giants and where facts are not as readily discovered and presented.

Basically, if the fanbase were happy, there probably would not be as much people talking about the Giants and complaining about them in particular.  It is just human nature not to have the impetus to say or do anything when things are going well.  Less people talking equals less people buying newspapers to see what is happening, less people visiting their websites to see what is happening, less people following his twitters to see what is happening. less people calling into shows, less people listening to shows.  This makes economic (survival) sense to keep the fans at least a little hungry and angry, as that stirs up interest in your product, which is news.

It is like the story about the guy who started eBay because his girlfriend at the time wanted to sell her collection of Pez dispensers.  Which wasn't true, but the eBay publicist gave that out on a lark, apparently, and that story got legs like you wouldn't know it, as one columnist after another, assuming that the original story was true (it was told by an eBay employee afterall), passed it along.  I thought it was true until I read an article exposing that lie.

It is also similar to the Barry Bonds "I'm better than Babe Ruth" comment a few (OK, many) years back.  He clearly (to the reporters who knew him) was joking about that, but one reporter who was there didn't know him, so he just reported that verbatim without the context that Bonds was clearly joking, and that blew into a media storm, as one writer after another assumed that the story was true, which culminated with the head of the Babe Ruth Museum taking a pot shot at Bonds.

Another Bonds incident that got blown up and passed around like a joint was when he angrily addressed the throng of writers crowding up to speak to him after the Giants lost the 2002 World Series.  Most of them presented him as a surly angry person in their articles regarding that interview, but the ones up front made it clear that when he told everyone to back off in a loud voice, it was because the idiots in the back were pushing forward and the reporters up front threatened to crush Bonds' son, who was with him.

In neither Bonds case, once the truth was known, none of the writers would write a follow-up article noting, "Ooops, I got that one wrong, sorry".  But it sure generated a lot of columns and a lot of interest (lots of comments bashing Bonds).

But while I understand that this is the nature of the beast, it does not mean I have to be happy about it either.  I hate inaccuracies in the news with a passion, because that will color people's imprressions for a long time, whether true or false.  And particularly in the case of the Giants, as I am afraid that the ownership might decide to appease the angry willagers with their pitchforks and torches asking for the heads of Sabean and Bochy.

I will join them and lead the way with my pitchfork when I think Sabean and Bochy are doing anything to endanger the Giants present and future.  But as I've been writing for over 4 years now, Sabean has the Giants on the right track and in a good situation.  We can be the team of the 2010's decade if the ownership is willing to make it so with their payroll, dipping into the rainy day fund as necessary, freeing Sabean to make baseball moves.  I was more encouraged when Neukom was in charge, but will allow Baer time to show his true colors.  And as I've written and research on Bochy as well, I've realized that he's a special one too.  I am happy for their extensions, they were well deserved.

43 comments:

  1. Thanks OGC - this does tie in with your previous post about "rumors" - people like to gossip. And gossip usually not positive. Plus we live in a cynical world where liking things is seen as "uncool" (at least by certain other-referential persons). Mob mentality.

    Another thought re: Haft - I get leery when WS titles or playoff appearances are cited as a Boolean litmus test of success. First, yes 2006-2009 don't really count, and second, the point is contending. I don't think that many would disagree that 2006-2009 excepted, that the Giants haven't been constantly in contention in Sabean's tenure. Certainly we're heading for a 4th straight year this year. And maybe getting a bit carried away, but I can see a 10 year run of contending set up.

    I hardly think that the Giants' ownership is not interested in making money, they are well aware that fielding a winning team makes money, and they're not about to hire a GM and manager that don't (in their view) maximize those chances. I know this is obvious, but I often detect an undercurrent of "they're all incompetent boobs" in the blog media - really? If all that can be trotted out is Huff's contract vs Belt and Cabrera vs Crawford, that's some reaching.

    The lack of proportion is hard for me to accept seriously.

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  2. Thanks for the comment marc, good points.

    Well, on the WS titles, I often wondered if that was because the Giants hadn't won one while I was a fan and was biasing me. Now that we have the 2010 World Championship, I still feel the same, I would rather focus on the Giants being competitive for a long period of time as a litmus test of success.

    I see no problem with seeing a 10 year run. I've been saying for 3-4 years now that the Giants are going to be the Team of the 2010 Decade if they can play their cards right. I have faith in Sabean after studying all the various ways teams success and studying in-depth what Sabean does in practice.

    Nobody will ever not make a mistake. It just seems like Sabean does nothing but mistakes if you go to most Giants blogs and watering holes, but clearly the Giants are being set up very nicely to have a good long run of dominance in the NL West, much like the Braves once they began their long stretch with Bobby Cox at their helm.

    I mean, come on, any team would love to have Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner atop their rotation, Wilson and Romo in the pen, with Posey and Sandoval in the middle of their lineup, plus Belt at some point in the future, and probably Brown and Panik up top. And I think that Crawford will also take the Omar route, make the majors on his glove but then develop into a nice hitter, I'm very encouraged that he's able to avoid strikeouts so well in the majors. Most any team's fans would love to have that to see for the next 10 years.

    But these Sabean Naysayers are so blinded by their hatred that they can't see that.

    And they act like they are the ones who put together that team, or worse, they pooh-pooh the accomplishment of putting together such a great set of young players together.

    To me, they show a lack of appreciation for how hard it is to put together such a great set of young players, I mean, if it were so easy, why are most teams like this? Wouldn't any team love to have a great young core of great players around for the next 10 years?

    I take solace that every year one more of their complaints or reasons fall to the wayside, whether it be luck, pythagorean, lack of youth, preference for vets, what have you. Hopefully they will see the light before this Golden Era of Giants baseball ends.

    But I'm tired of trying to make them see the light, I'm more than happy to take the happiness that could be theirs and enjoy the Giants success more because it is happening closer to the way I said it would and not like how they said it would.

    Juvenile, yes, but I'm tired of all the crap they have given me. And I'll bet that not one of them will eat crow when it turns out that they have been bellyaching for nothing, that their meddling and downcast attitude could have cost us our GM and manager leading us to greater heights, that they were simply and plainly wrong.

    Screw them. I'm enjoying life. My team WON the 2010 World Championship, whereas their team lucked into their championship, which is at best a hollow type of feeling. I feel joy seeing my picture with my wife next to the trophy, in the middle of pictures of the Giants that I bought.

    I still wish that they could share in that joy, I feel sorry that they are missing out.

    I mean, how can you enjoy something you think you lucked into? Human nature says no. It's a hollow victory that you don't think will happen again. So you have no hopeful view for the future because Sabean and Bochy are here for two more years, at least that is what it seems like when I read through their screeches.

    I just know that I'm going to enjoy this decade, the Giants decade, the team of the 2010's.

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  3. Lack of proportion. Lack of perspective. Lack of maturity. After hanging out some at MCC the last few weeks after dipping in off/on to check it out over the years, I have to say you have a ton of patience. I can't stand the place most days. One of my problems is block quotes. They are almost always used to misrepresent what you are saying, taking things completely out of context. That really drives me nuts.

    Another thing though, its just some really young kids who are having what is fun to them, maybe not fun for a lot of folks. Group think prevails, a lot of snark, but maybe the worst part is the technology to quickly zip through and post comments. Sounds silly, but it encourages sniping, brain dead comments and debate club arguments instead of baseball discussion. And it takes away the time to compose anything thoughtful and respectful. Now I know a lot of the stuff you got into was before this type of forum existed, but thats just my current observation. There is plenty of disrespect with a traditional message board, and more in depth arguing as well. But that's my thoughts on MCC today.

    Then you throw in Grant's wailing about things that Brian Sabean might do to him in the future and... Time for me to back away. Brian Sabean is not your kindly grandfather. He is not a very sociable comfortable person. He's a baseball guy for crying out loud. He makes some bonedhead moves and he makes some pretty good decisions. Sometimes even in the same year!

    I am seriously impressed you argued for so long. 90% of the comments (which are generated by 20% of the posters, most very aggressive in their points of view) are about how crap the Gints are, how much the team sucks, how its just like 2007. Or 2003. Gulp. Time to go somewhere else.

    Sometimes I think you go way overboard in your defenses of Sabean. Its almost like you've appointed yourself the guy who is going to set things right in the Giants blogosphere. I don't think that is a good use of your talents personally, and its not a criticism, its an observation.

    One of my big beefs is people never admit they're wrong. I pride myself on that. Its manning up. But there are a lot of tough guys on the internet, smart as well, and it doesn't foster much of that. Its very important to re-evaluate your views. I'm sorry people don't have the guts or the consideration to do that for you, but that is life on the wacky web.

    Mostly though, you are dead on in your conclusion. That team played their heart out. It was a wild ride, and for them to get dismissed as a fluke or a lucky draw by "fans" is extremely joyless. A championship is something you should never ever take for granted and some very excellent ballplayers and ballclubs never reached those heights. Our team earned that title.

    Baseball is an awesome game, a frustrating game, and a heart breaking game. The combination of stats and history can be very addicting. The combo of smarts, a half assed understanding of stats and a mean streak can be pretty destructive on the interwebz.

    Now don't be pissed about this, but I can't just log off all agreeing with you about everything. So I'm going to throw something down: I don't believe anything beyond Zito can be possibly credited to Petey M, and even that isn't a slam dunk. You've grabbed onto Baggs report on Sabean/Zito/Rowand and I don't think it passes the smell test. That is my example of you going all out to defend Sabean, and I don't think that's a good position to take. But you keep fighting the good fight OGC!

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  4. Thanks for the comments Shankbone.

    Speaking of manning up, I was totally wrong about the Giants-Beltran situation. And I'm sad again that Neukom is not around anymore. I'm back to hoping Ellison buys the whole team, though I've read that the Mutual Fund guy just bought more shares from the Burns sisters and now owns more than 25% of the Giants. But he's in his 70's.

    I do go overboard in defense of Sabean sometimes. Part of it is that I feel I have to go overboard when others go overboard. But mostly it is because I think I did good analysis of a number of particular situations regarding Sabean, and there is so much white noise out there blabbing the same wrong impressions - and I understand that, I was out there babbling back long ago plus who knows what now - that I took it on myself to try to educate others, I wanted to share the knowledge, I wanted others not to feel so bad (or hopeless) about the situation when things are actually pretty good, or at least understandable.

    I hate not knowing, whatever it is. And I guess I project that on others, and if I were them, I would want to know if I'm wrong, and not just wrong because I say so, but there is analysis showing that I am wrong.

    And I understand that what is true one moment, might crumble down with deeper analysis. Much like how Newtonian physics was good once, and still good for a lot of things, but now there is Quantum Mechanics and all the work that Einstein did, and now all the string theory work (and I know I probably don't got all that right, but close enough :^).

    But you only know what you know and you go with that, until you realize something else.

    I have no problem saying I was wrong. I was wrong when I accused Sabean of screwing up the farm system long ago. My analysis showed that the draft is much, much harder as a tool for rebuilding a team than most fans realize, and still don't realize, because the main mainstream source of that information, Baseball Prospectus, took the wrong tack on their analysis (which, BTW, came out after my analysis), looking at only averages. Averages are OK for more homogeneous datasets, not for lumpy data like the draft, where you might get A-Rod one year and Matt Bush another. The proper way to look at that is by proportions, as in what percentage of a particular pick actually turned out to be a good player, as that is what the goal of the draft is, to find these specific players, not to find the average.

    I was wrong for not supporting Bochy earlier, though to my defense, he didn't really show off the traits I liked until it was necessary, in 2010. Still, I could have liked him from the beginning had I known that he was so good at winning one-run games.

    I am still so jazzed over that finding, been meaning to post that on Fangraphs and see if it passes muster, but I lost my data...

    Still, again to my defense, sabermetric standing on one-run games is that every is .500, so I had never thought of checking that, I just happened to run into that fact because this year both Bochy and Gibson were so high above .500 in one-run games. And I'm a data-addict, once I looked at one year, I looked at another, then another, then his whole career once I got curious how often such high wins over .500 has happened.

    And I was wrong on a lot of stuff I posted on MCC too. Pedro Feliz is one particularly bad one, though ultimately I was correct, from a long-term view, but he just hadn't put it all together at the time I pronounced on MCC.

    I have no issue with being wrong, and if I am, I am happy if people want to post that on my site, I hate being wrong, I like being ultimately enlightened.

    What I care about is doing the best that I can at the moment, and if it wasn't good enough in retrospect, then what can I do to improve it for next time.

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  5. I love your writing, Shankbone, let me know if you ever blog. It is an awesome frustrating game, a heart breaking game.

    I think I love it for a number of reasons. First of all, just the feeling of a well-stroked line drive over the head of someone. I also love it because it is ultimately democratic and gives everyone a chance.

    I was the guy who usually got picked among the last when teams were chosen. So I often played "Left-out" or rover or behind the pitcher or catcher. But unlike football, where I was either rushing or blocking, or basketball, where the ball was rarely thrown my way, in baseball, I get the chance to be the hero in every game, no matter what. I could hit the bloop double down the line and score the winning run. I could block homeplate and tag out the runner.

    I love your eloquence with words, your way with words.

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  6. The thing I like about this blog is that the discussion is at length, not sound bites. There is no "LOL! Sabean! LOL!" content. I get very little from that, and I READ what's here. Entertainment is fine, sure, but I can get that from the current silly internet memes. There is also intellectual entertainment, and while I may not have the time or I may not 100% agree, this blog provides food for thought - which is the difference. I don't like my answers given to me, so, what I'm saying is OGC is doing "writing". That's hard to find. There's importance behind the headlines, and no, I don't count Baggs (though I do like him) as different from that. He's still news or gossip, not analysis.

    Shankbone makes the excellent point about the draft - I've posted this here before, but reminds me of the Yankees in the 30s-50s. Develop one solid position player every year and the run goes on forever. You get that one, that's a successful farm system. Starting with Cain and up to the present, that's a pretty damn good list. It's the nature of the draft, or the nature of signings - and always has been. The key to Rickey's success with the Cardinals - he just realized that the more shit you throw at the wall, the more likely some will stick. Only a small percentage of 18 year old prospects ever will really amount to anything, and it's always a guess as to which ones that will be, it's getting that one that matters.

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  7. I don't get pissed if people don't agree with me, I get pissed when they don't even bother to try to understand what I'm trying to say, which is what mostly happens when I get pissed.

    What people don't understand is that if I vociferously argue my case, I'm not really pissed, I'm just trying to make my point. I only really get pissed if they get personal or condescending or don't try to understand, or worse, lie and make up "facts" to support their case.

    At some point you have to decide on what is the validity of news reports. As I noted in this post, the reporter's bias really colors things sometimes.

    What smells to you about Baggarly reporting that it was Magowan who drove the Zito and Rowand signings? Not being accusatory or anything, I want your perspective.

    It makes sense to me, though. Magowan likes to make splashes. That is why he signed Bonds even before he officially owned the team (he had to sign legal documents with Lurie and MLB that absolves them from the Bonds contract if the sale did not go through for any reason).

    Now Bonds is at end, so Magowan makes another splash by signing Zito. And if he is willing to snub the nose of the MLB, he will step all over Sabean to sign Zito, because the team needs a new name to market to the fans.

    Judging by how Sabean identifies and kept the good pitching, I think it is pretty clear he knows what a good pitcher looks like. Zito is good, but clearly not as good as his contract. I don't see how Sabean did not know that, and if Magowan was pushed out because of this deal (among other reasons) then so would Sabean if he was supporting this in any way, and he would have been swept out at the same time.

    Regarding Rowand, not as strong, but since Baggerly included it (he could have just said one and not the other), I accept that because the Zito one makes sense to me.

    But even regarding Rowand, Sabean has been able to figure out which hitters to keep and which to let go, so he has shown some knowledge regarding hitters. He has never let go of a hitter he thought was worth keeping.

    And again, if ownership thought that Sabean really had a huge role in either signing, wouldn't they have swept out Sabean and then install Tidrow as the new GM? Why wouldn't ownership clear out Sabean at the same time as Magowan if he was a strong factor in the Giants signing Zito and Rowand?

    So this passes my smell test. What smells to you?

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  8. Since we are discussing smell tests, I noticed you and DrB disagreed with me regarding whether Sabean had anything to do with the Pierzynski trade on his site. I was planning to respond there but I had work, so never got around to it, didn't know where it is now.

    I have no problem with disagreement, I have had my disagreements with you and DrB, and I'm OK with that.

    Here is how I see the situation.

    Magowan publicly stated that he would have prevented the trade if he had been informed of it. He left out Sabean's name when it would have been very easy to do, just switch the one word and use a name. Instead he left it vague.

    Why? Clearly, almost anyone hearing what he said would think that Sabean is who he is talking about. So why not just say Sabean didn't tell him? Why be vague?

    Unless it wasn't Sabean who didn't tell him.

    Unless it was Ned proudly going off on his own and negotiating a deal on his own, as he said in a number of interviews was a great thing about Sabean's management style, letting his lieutenants stretch and do things out of their normal purview.

    That is why I believe Ned pulled off the biggest blemish on Sabean's record.

    Otherwise, it is pretty much pristine, no real stars have otherwise been traded away by Sabean to haunt him later, Foulke is the best of the bunch, and he was not a real star, though a good closer for a number of years. But you see from experience how finding closers work, no real way to predict that or who. I guess Aardsma now too.

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  9. Hey thanks for the compliment OGC. I am actually thinking heavily about starting a blog. I tend to take a while to weigh things. It took me a while to want to actually say anything in the blogosphere, so to me writing down on yours, Leftys and DrB's site (and yes, MCC) is sort of getting my feet wet. I tend to be a perfectionist, which is something that will hinder you on a blog. It feels good to just throw some things down, but then I realize I left things out, didn't really clearly state some things, etc. The nice thing about your joint and Lefty/DrB's is there is much more forgiveness for small errors and omissions. I think its the familiarity with Giant history possibly.

    Speaking of being wrong, one of the big ones for me was the Freddy Sanchez trade. I hated it. I was really liking our struggling along team, and as soon as he broke down I was very pissed. Especially at those damn Giant doctors. Noah Lowry was one of my favorite pitchers, not an ace but a good 2/3, and that really broke my heart. Injuries suck, and its irrational but the Giants docs haven't had the best track record at all times. So I hated the Sanchez trade and quick re-signing. Well, once he got on the field he proved me extremely wrong, and is one of the posterboys for not just looking at the damn stats all the time! (I got in a good dustup with G/N over Sanchez - I pulled my punches on that one, he's a young guy)

    Speaking of doctors, please don't broadcast this one out, but one of the reasons I am ultimately down on Jose Reyes is this: my best friend is a orth surgeon. He does sports medicine at a high level, and he did his internship in New York with the Mets. Yes, he has first hand experience as one of the 3 trainers of the Mets. He is also a hardcore baseball fan. His take on Jose Reyes is not favorable at all. Bad attitude and bad injuries. I can't bring that into discussions of Reyes, for privacy and it just doesn't feel right to me. But there you go. Please don't write about that for those reasons.

    Marc - Hey that's OGC's draft analysis. Some of your best work I might add, and done before we had so many crazy stats in front of us to work with. I keep a database of trades and drafts and mess around with it from time to time. I really enjoyed the methodology, honesty in analysis and conclusions, even if I argue them from time to time OGC.

    But great point Marc, its really hard to wade through a bunch of nonsense to find the guys who take the time to put something down. And the fact people can't stand having their opinions challenged and go into attack at all cost mode, that gets old quick. Some of baseball is throwing stuff against the wall. I think that's the part of the LOL crowd that gets me the most. These guys are playing their hearts out doing one of the most difficult things to do on the planet. Try not to ever dismiss even minor league players (this gets hard when you get down to it, opinions are harsh sometimes) because the major leagues really are incredibly hard to reach and maintain.

    Have to admit the building through the draft just clocks me back to Will the Thrill and is much more exciting to me than building around bonds. I loved those teams, but for me watching players develop, fail and succeed is a big part of the fun of rooting for your team.

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  10. OGC - on the dark days of 2003-2007, I'm gonna be crashing in a sec, but I'll come back. I put that up to ding you a little, too much consensus is a bad thing in my opinion! But short version, the Rowand thing just looks too much like Sabean chasing FAs with his newly authorized Vlad money to me, the AJ trade makes some sense with Agent Ned (he sure did a bang up job with Alfonso and his physical as well) but ultimately Sabean has to step up. Zito... Oh man. Its like Denise Richards, its complicated. And she and Zito are just about as shallow, maybe they should meet up and hang...

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  11. One more thing about Jose Reyes, because it bugs me: I said to watch what the Mets offered him closely. Well, they barely made an offer. I know they are going in a different direction and saving money, but I think Alderson is a pretty good GM and judge of talent, etc. The fact they did so little speaks volumes to me. Add the fact that an overbid way above what the Marlins ultimately paid and Reyes is a total fools errand, and that has me at complete loggerheads with the conventional wisdom at MCC/some other blogs.

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  12. If I recall right, DrB also noted, which I agree, that it was Sabean's fault because he's ultimately responsible for the actions done in his name.

    I agree, but to a point. That is actually the logic that a lot of the Naysayers use regarding the Zito signing, that even if he opposed it, if it happened on his watch, then he is responsible for it.

    I agree, to a point. OK, if the question is responsibility, yes, he as GM is responsible. That was his policy as manager and that needs to be fixed, if not already.

    But if the question is, if he is responsible, then he should be fired because he just don't understand talent, then I say no, he should not be held responsible.

    We see examples of this in sports all the time, the meddling owner doing something that the GM would not do. Firing him for mistakes of the owner, to me, is stupid if he is working well when the owner is not interfering.

    If he's making too many mistakes otherwise, sure, fire him.

    But there are only 30 such jobs in the majors. And it is not like he can say, "you know, I QUIT!" He will be out of a job and you don't know when or where the next one will be. And maybe you love the area you are in now. So I cut the GM some slack if things are done in his name by the owner.

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  13. In addition, short of murder and trading away Albert Pujols for a bag of magic beans or letting Johan or Hamilton go on in a Rule 5 draft, we must look at the big picture of where the team is right now, in spite of any mistakes that is perceived to be the fault of the GM.

    This is where DrB and I heartily agree: the big picture is that Sabean has put together one of the best young core of team in the majors and look to be really good for a long time, barring catastrophic injuries.

    And he is responsible for that, along with all the mistakes that we think he has made. Nobody makes no mistakes. He should not be judged solely on his mistakes, which most the Naysayers do, they ignore the over abundance of good that he has done and focus only on the bad.

    Some begrudgingly acknowledge his knowledge (or mainly Tidrow) of pitching but then says that he don't know offense.

    I've been patient (relatively :^) and feel that as Sandoval, Posey, Belt, then Brown, Panik, and I still feel good about Crawford and I like Schierholtz, prove to be a good offensive team, the final leg of their creaky stool of hate for Sabean will finally be crushed.

    They just focus too much on the here and now, they don't really project out what the team will look like in the couple of years, nor see the goodness that is there now.

    The pitching has been in place for the most part since Lincecum joined the team. You just needed to be patient and wait for things to develop, and it has. I can still remember a columnist writing "what's the future, the vision for the Giants" and I promptly wrote in a post, "it's the pitching, it's clearly the pitching."

    And I'll admit I was nervous about the offense until we drafted Posey. He is our equivalent to the Braves drafting Chipper Jones. He's going to be our offensive leader for a long time, and we already had Sandoval coming up (I made a point to draft him early in my keeper league), even though BA didn't think enough of him to include him in the top prospect rankings.

    Now I'm pretty jazzed about Brown, Panik, Belt, Posey, Sandoval.

    Patience, I think, is the key difference, and I think part of that is age and learning to be more patient, though I've been a patient person all my life (just more so now). Part of that is also learning more of the difficulties of how hard it really is to be a GM and of the life-cycle of winning teams.

    My research findings, as well, have had a strong hand in my willingness to accept the slow nature of rebuilding. Even if you were good at it, it probably still would take many years.

    Think of this way. Are there any Bill Walshes in baseball? What I mean is that in one draft, he found immediate starters with picks in his first 6-7 rounds of the football draft.

    Most teams would be lucky to find one starter out of any year's draft and he most probably won't be starting for another 3-4 seasons, as he develops. As a ELM post once quoted from, I think, Kevin Goldstein of BP, any farm system at any time has two future starters and two future utility/relief guys. Just do the math of that to fill out a starting team of 8 position players and 5 starting pitchers plus a closer, particularly accounting for the fact that often these top players are in the farm system 2-4 years at a time.

    That's glacial rebuilding at that rate.

    That is why I developed my Phoenix Theory of Rebuilding, as that increases the efficiency and effectiveness of a re-build, instead of having it last decades, as it did with the Giants in the 70's and 80's.

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  14. OK, I probably should go more into that math. Even if a team developed 2 starters from every draft, that takes 7 years for you to find a starter for every starting position. Most don't even find 2 in a draft though. At 1 per year, that stretches out to 14 years.

    That math says that you need to build a young core of excellence, then fill in the rest via free agency and maybe trades. That math also says that by the time you are finishing up rebuilding solely via the draft, your first starters are now becoming free agents.

    That team sound familiar to anyone?

    Focusing on pitching accelerates the rebuild process, though. The cream rises to the top and even failures become good relievers, or even a closer. The unit just gets better and better, organically, no need to trade for what you need and risk picking up a dud. A bird in the hand is worth way more than whatever is in the bush.

    Plus, great pitching means that you can have lousy hitting and still win, as you then go into the next phase of rebuilding, which is the offense after the pitching.

    Meanwhile, you supplement with international signings, free agent pickups, and found money, like Santiago Casilla, who the A's dropped like a deadweight.

    To make it even faster, you blow up the team, like Luria has done over and over again (but I think he learned that from Dombrowski, who wrote a college thesis on this I think), start from zero at the major league level but have a lot of prospects plus great picks from the draft because you are losing so much.

    That's basically my Phoenix Theory of Rebuilding.

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  15. Thanks marc, I try my best.

    I don't like answers given to me either, and hopefully I write like that, I write like the way I want information: lots of it, lots of explanation so that I can understand the point exactly, examining all the different angles one could take on the subject, also so that any bias or illogic comes out immediately too, hopefully.

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  16. Shankbone, I would read your site if you start one. My one warning is that it is a big time commitment. I squeeze this into my days usually, but sometimes I forget and have to catch up on work. So you have to watch yourself carefully.

    And being a perfectionist will hinder you as well. I have accepted a certain level of imperfection internally, just to get things out sometimes, otherwise I wouldn't have the time.

    I'm like that too, it feels good to throw something down, but then you start thinking more...

    Ah, Franchez. I remember somebody was buzzing around here all the time blasting me about that trade and saying we'll miss Alderson a lot.

    Thanks for the Reyes info. Wasn't planning on sharing it - besides leaving your comment here :^) - but good to know. As you know, I don't really bother with things that might have been regarding the Giants. I like dealing with the what is.

    But I'll remember this if he becomes a huge anchor on the Marlins.

    Yeah, it is a fine line regarding prospects. I try not to be too negative here because one of them might be reading or a friend who then passes it on. What do I really know, ultimately?

    Heck, even the experts don't really know, they know on a bulk rate, but all of them missed on Pablo Sandoval, and the signs were all there, and Romo was never on any radar.

    So I mainly focus on the players we as fans should be keeping an eye out for. The stuff that other commenters do (prospect X will never amount to anything), I mean, I can blanket say that about everyone and be right on 99%, but really, you don't know what a prospect will do until he reaches the majors and do it. You can have ideas, leanings, strong hints, but it doesn't happen (or not) until he gets that chance, often.

    I will downplay interest, though, by pointing out why a particular prospect is challenged in the minors and thus probably won't make it in the majors, but I would never say that prospect A won't ever make it, as you never know.

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  17. OGC - I think I'll tackle it chrono style. So you can break it down a number of ways. Lets look in 5 year cycles attached to managers, so its not exact.

    The first five years are the Dusty years, but the first thing to note (DrB reminder) is after the Gints signed Bonds and the heartbreak 103 win season, they lost the next 3 years. So in comes Sabean for Bob Quinn, and you get your clean Dusty Baker 1997-2002 block. It begins with "I am not an Idiot" (not the point right now) followed by a pretty sweet IF buildup of Mueller, Aurilia, Kent and Snow, always some issues in CF and less issues in RF, and some pretty sweet teams culminating in Ol Dusty and Russ.

    You know all that, and there is a fair amount in there that can be argued, but I think context is important. The first big issue is Jeff Kent. I threw up a big blast of it being an avoidable mistake, one of the biggest of Sabean's career on MCC. Several very thoughtful comments threw down a number of scenarios. Petey M fed up with Kent and his car-wash. Kent fed up with Bonds. Sabean fed up with Kent. Its a complex situation, there isn't a right answer. Looking back, the Kent divorce was probably a mistake. More should have been done to mend fences and keep the club together.

    But it didn't work out that way. So you have 2 on-paper signings that look good. Alfonso was first, and before Kent left also. Definitely Coletti was in on this big time, and from my understanding of how it went down it was pretty dogged pursuit with not enough due diligence including asking why the Mets were low balling the guy so much. Durham was a pretty good Giant, but he did get injured and his defense (which wasn't Kent's strong suit either but the plays he got to) was pretty sketchy. Alfonso was in my opinion Sabean's first disaster, one he's ultimately responsible even if Agent Ned's fingerprints are there.

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  18. So we go from the 2002 heartbreak to even more crap, wire to wire only to get decapitated by that damn Marlins team. Alou always struck me as a PR signing who should be an elder statesman and not a manager. Maybe that's harsh, but his bullpen and pitching staff mgmt really bothered me. So coming out of 2003 you have a frantic "we gotta retool some more" vibe, there are only so many Bonds years left. The AJ trade. I don't know, it gives me a headache sometimes. I think Sabean was following his formula, trade off prospects who have been determined to not be up to snuff. Nathan was the big prize, and I really think his playoff performance played way too much of this analysis. It sure did with poor Jose Cruz Jr as well. Time to get clutchier players, or something like that. So I can see your point about Agent Ned with the catcher pursuit, but ultimately I think Sabean is driving the strategy bus pretty hard on this one.

    More important is Vlad. It still kills me. The solution to our RF revolving door. A counterpart to Bonds, support like Jeff Kent. It made so much sense. The Vlad quote getting bandied around right now kills me, because it still enrages me, and when I see it with silly names put in it cheapens it and makes it fade away to me. It was a huge terrible mistake. And I guess this is a big point of contention: how much was McGowan being a cheapskate and how much was Sabean being obtuse? Well, if PeteyM is such a PR freak, wouldn't a successor to Bonds as well as a Dominican in the mold of the Alous be a pretty big feather? There is a lot of conflicting info here. Vlad hates Alou, wouldn't go there. Or maybe not, maybe that was a big misunderstanding. (I do have a lot of sympathy for Alou getting one of the most talented crews dismantled underneath him by Loria). So its a mixed bag, and somebody needs to do a frickin' book on the thing, cuz the debate still rages. But for me, I wanted Vlad very badly, and the fact the Angels got him for that contract still eats at me.

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  19. We've had enough on Michael Tucker, I'll leave sweet Mike alone. The Gints go hard, but come up short as Sabean's white whale Steve Finley hits a damn grand slam in the Cody Ransom game. Well, I'll give you a little dig on Michael Tucker after all - with a slightly less mediocre RF (such as just resigning Cruz even) maybe we win 2 more games or whatever it is and get another shot. As it is, this is the high mark of the Bonds era.

    Gets hurt the next year, I'm speeding up so dates aren't important here, finely gets Finley for Alfonso in a trade of corpses when he was better off just leaving well enough alone, plays the oldest OF ever (that might not ever be beaten except for PR stunts), and Alou gets his "We're where vets come to die" line in. Bonds gets hurt, and its game set match. 2005 was a bad one.

    2006 we have the day of reckoning. And here is where the PR angle comes in. Nervous about the crowds dwindling, and not sure about Bonds coming back, the steroid mess brewing full, its a complicated situation, just like Kent 4 years ago. The weirdest thing about Zito, and I know Boras is a magician at times, how in the world did the talks leapfrog from 5 years to 7? I need to go back and read some articles about it, but it just makes no sense. Nobody in their right mind thought Zito was worth that. But it only takes one. And that was Sabean. I have no doubt there were outside considerations. But PeteyM has denied telling him repeatedly to go get Barry Z. It could be CYA, for sure. I stop short of saying Sabean should have stopped it. But it just seems to me the leap in terms is pretty insane. Sabean did get played on that front. I can't see Boras going straight to PeteyM to hammer the details out. Mixed bag, and I should look into it some more.

    Rowand. I put down something in MCC about this that everybody loved. It was very long winded and I cut off the but... part. I was surprised to see it rec'd. The but part didn't get rec'd.

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  20. If you look at the non-signings in 2005 along with Zito you see the Giants try and sign Soriano and Lee. It didn't work out and Sabean was furious at being used to inflate other teams offers. Instead of that just being part of the game, ever since he has decided he needs to be a bulletproof monk and keeps things even more guarded. I think you can agree with that part. He is notoriously private, and I think its fair to say he's extremely thin-skinned. When viewed from that angle, 2006 rolls around, the Giants make an offer to Gary Matthews Jr (nice feel good story right?) for too much money based on a career season and he goes to the Angels! At this point I think Sabean snaps. The Phils had an offer of at least 3 and most likely 4 years out to Rowand. There was definite demand for him. And here's the rub, what smart asses don't realize about FA. Sometimes you have to woo, and sometimes you have to go way over to get something done. At this point the park is getting a huge pitchers rep, hitters don't want to go there. I think that is the ultimate reason we end up with Rowand, in an overpay from 4/40 or so to 5/60. Then the PR post-Bonds we have to get this steroid stink out of here takes over. I think Rowand is the type of player Sabean appreciates, a no-fuss dirt dog. It turns out in the end he wasn't quite the good soldier, but if he didn't keep running his mouth I bet they would have stuck with him. The Giants are loyal to a fault. And a bit too snippy with players out the door, but much better than most teams and markets.

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  21. If I haven't said so yet, thanks for your thoughtfulness Shankbone.

    I'll jump to your latest comment first (I should be working :^).

    For me, there are, like Shrek said, many layers to the onion that is determining whether a move was a mistake or not, context being a huge factor in it.

    The way I see it, Sabean was charged with keeping the Bonds train going. So even if he would have preferred, lets say, to go with Feliz at 3B and what ever happens, happens (which he was freer to do in recent seasons when he left spots for Niekro, Frandsen, Ishikawa, Schierholtz/Bowker, Bumgarner to battle for), I assume ownership's edict was to compete for the playoffs. You don't compete for the playoffs starting an unproven (and unheralded) 3B prospect like Feliz at 3B, you spend money on a free agent.

    The problem was double that season. Not only was Kent leaving, but then that liar David Bell ("don't worry about me opting out...", though that worked out in the end in that fashion as he stunk afterward) opted out of his contract, leaving the Giants to replace both Alfonso and Kent.

    First layer, Durham and Alfonzo were mistakes to sign, they were both busts in terms of what we got versus what was expected of them. I understand that.

    Second layer, Sabean not allowed to go with rookies, expected to buy free agents to fill two positions. Durham was a great sign in that case, proven leadoff guy, great offensive force even if defensively challenged (and I've heard rumors that he was mentally challenged as well), and had played over 150 games his whole career, no extended DL stint.

    Alfonzo was a risky sign because he had been injured, there were rumors that he had been a juicer, worse, back problems usually don't get better. But the money was not outrageous at that time (on per year basis; problem was length), and he frankly was the best available free agent at 3B. Given that the objective was not to avoid a mistake but to try your best to keep things going, the signing was a success.

    FYI, I always considered this a Sabean sign, didn't know Ned was the lead on this.

    And as much as people want to complain about the Giants not understanding OBP, both Durham and Alfonzo were known more for their OBP ability than their slugging, they always conveniently forget that in their rants.

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  22. Third layer, not resigning Kent is definitely a disaster, but as you note, it is unclear what was the reason for the divorce.

    Frankly, given all the hate that Kent sent towards SF afterward, even if, as he says now, it was all one big joke to him that was taken out of context, he did sent it along and despite what he calls now a misunderstanding, he did not take any effort back then to correct that view, it was not until he wanted to be associated with the team he is best known for that he started mending fences. I think he just hated being around Bonds, for whatever the reason is. He probably wasn't happy about how Truck-gate went down either.

    I would also add that being near his ranch in Texas was probably a large factor in him wanting to get away as well, perhaps even bigger than getting away from Bonds or SF. I know that is why (luckily) Carlos Lee told SF to stop bother bidding, even though they were willing to give more money, he had a ranch out there too (and with no state tax, versus CA having one of the highest in the nation, a 10% bonus on top).

    So I give Sabean a pass on this one. Yeah, it was a mistake to sign Alfonzo. But it would have been a bigger mistake to go with Feliz without any idea of how he would work out, that could have sunk the season before it started, and, again, his edict from ownership was to keep the train going.

    At that point, people were clamoring for Jerome Williams, Foppert, and Ainsworth. Ultimately, we could have traded them, that would be the correct decision in hindsight, but they were bright prospects and the only way to get a 3B worth anything would be to give up on one of them. At the time, it would have been a mistake to trade any of them to get a decent 3B.

    To me, I think the only player that Sabean was really fed up with was Bonds. But he had to bite his tongue.

    Though I would add any player who tried to play him, like when Shooter tried to leverage Sabean into a big contract, Sabean went out and got Nen instead. And that was behavioral fedupness, I'm sure he probably liked Beck as a person.

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  23. So that's sort of what I think. Its hard to go over it all again and again, but I think its important to see the progression of events, and how things sort of tumbled down. He made a series of less impactful moves as Bonds played out. And a few of them became disasters - oh damn I forgot Benitez. And only barely touched on the draft picks. Oh well, another passanovante.

    Regarding my doc buddy, yeah, I shouldn't post it on anything public, my call. It's just an aside. I actually asked him about Pagan this morning, waiting to hear back. Baggs had some nice tweets up about him, he didn't sound like a cancer from that, and from what I've seen either. Sportswriters are a catty bunch, and you know how easy it is for them to get snippy if a player doesn't give them the access they think they deserve. Crazy Horse seems like a good bet. I proposed trading for him for the past month, I'd better believe it right?

    I've read all your essays on building/rebuilding. They are really interesting. Its harder than it looks, requires luck, and the best examples haven't had the pressure of paying for a publicly sponsored stadium. I bash ownership a bit more than you do, but I do appreciate its pretty unique in MLB for this to have gone down. Of course they now own a gigantic asset and have increased their investment seven fold easily.

    Good trading ideas OGC. Watching Arte Moreno go crazy, just like when he lowered beer prices (hah) is bittersweet. I'd love to have an owner like that. but we don't right now, so why lose sleep over it? At least this is a huge shot across the Doyers bow, and they are going to be reeling from it.

    Oh, and one last thought, because I think a lot of Giant fans would feel very different if we had a pitcher locked up right now: any opening bid has to be very close to the Zito money. 6/110 or something. Why? They look over their shoulder, say "You've been paying that stiff how much?" and then... Yes, you can make all sorts of rationaizations about how to approach. But anything but "we screwed up with Zito, here's close to that" as an opening woo is BS. I don't blame Timmy's camp at all for saying 8 years. The Giants offering 4 is a joke. They should immediately go back with a very serious 6 year offer and woo their way to getting it done. And here's the rub: Sabean is not a very good people person, nor a woo'er. But sometimes (as we've just seen with Pujols) retaining your talent means "What do you want and we'll get as humanely close as we can". Looking at what a 2nd tier pitcher like CJ wilson got and what the Marlins offered gives me shivers. Give them 7/127. Gotta break up the jinx on that terrible contract number. but sooner than later, or you're really threatening the fans goodwill.

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  24. Good points OGC. The ranch appeal, no income tax, very powerful incentives for sure. Complex situation. Jeff Kent is an odd duck. He never got along with anybody. Just played the game like a professional. The other thing that we forget, I think everybody was fed up with Bonds... until he stepped to the plate. Its easy now to look back however you look back, but at the time it was getting old. Keith Law floated the info that Halladay was offered for our guys. Well, yeah, great trade. At the time... He would have been strung up. Those are the what-ifs you have to move on from. Like that damn Jose Guillen argument. He played 42 games for the G's. Get over it already. Sabean threw him up to see if he'd stick like Burrell was doing. That whole, if it works, keep doing it til it doesn't strategy. Sabean loves that one.

    And thanks for bringing up David Bell. That was extremely weak sauce, and we forget these things. When DrB talks of being in on fielding I think he's talking a lot about Feliz, Visquel and Metheny. And Cruz Jr. Feliz couldn't ever figure out the curve ball. I was never as frustrated with him as other fans. He played some sweet D. And had a nice bit of pop for teams dumb enough to throw him heat.

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  25. LIFO (though liked reading thru your stuff, will comment, if any, later).

    I am like an elephant about slights, one of my faults. So I'll never forget David Bell's two-faced response. And Sabean seems to be a similar guy, and hopefully he learns to not be like that too (but it's hard).

    I liked Pedro Feliz too. I think the frustration was because they thought he was more than he was because of his great AAA season (a problem that many of them have). I accepted that he was what he was, and that was still pretty good in a number of ways, as you described him.

    I think it also plays to the "my guy is the best or I want to get the best" mentality that seems to pervade many of these boards. I understand that on the surface, but reject that because obviously only the Yankees could ever come close to that. There is a budget, we must accept tradeoffs.

    However, the way some of these people act, it seems like they don't understand that there are consequences to their actions. They don't realize that it is like the boy plugging up the holes in the dike, if you go plug up one hole, another hole is going to open up.

    Cruz, I'm sorry, I understand mistakes happen, but to be that close, plus I didn't think that he couldn't be replaced, and as it was, he probably would have costed more than we paid for Tucker anyway.

    I felt the same way about Candy Maldonado, I'm sure Boston felt the same way about Billy Buckner, I was willing to move on, no big loss.

    About Kent, I don't consider his behavior to be professional.

    I don't expect him to sing "kumbayah" and have friendly meals with all his teammates. But neither should he be instigating a shoving match during the middle of a game either, or complaining about a fellow player during the game, Bonds was much more professional in that regards.

    A professional also considers how the loss of his services would affect his team. If Eugenio Velez hurts his leg popping a wheelie, he wouldn't be missed (and some fans would have cheered), but losing Kent's services would have severely hurt our chances to win, particularly if it was for a lengthy period of time.

    Bonds was much more professional than Kent ever was.

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  26. Wow, Angel's sign Pujols for $245M over 10 years. Cards fans will be crying into their Bud's tonight.

    That's fine with me, one less contender for an NL playoff spot in 2012, unless they can sign Fielder instead. Or, they could move Berkman to 1B (he really shouldn't be playing OF) and sign Beltran. But Pujols is unreplaceable and they barely made it into the playoffs in 2011. That 2011 World Championship glow will probably have to last a long while, who knows when they get their next chance now.

    Oh, and the Angels signed CJ Wilson for 5 years, $77.5M. Nice to have a billionaire owner willing to spend the moolah, eh? Now that the Giants are back to their pre-Neukom ways, I'm back to my "get new owners" stance again.

    I will love them with all my heart for keeping the Giants here and for building a beautiful park, but this is unacceptable.

    That Beltran, now you see him, now "you know, he wasn't really affordable" crap just don't fly for me. They should not have led on fans like me like that, they should have been much more honest up front, I would not have been as upset as I am now for sticking out my neck for them. I get enough crap for being a homer, lap boy.

    I would be just as happy if Johnson just bought the rest of the Giants he don't own (he now reportedly owns 25%), and maybe he has a child who is a big Giants fan who would run the team like Arte does in LA at Anaheim.

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  27. Oh boy, OCG sharpening his pitchfork and searching for matches...

    I said early on this might become a mini-Vlad situation. While I hate those quotes, it is extremely short sited to publicly hold the line on a budget when you have sellouts and merchandising. You look cheap, which is hard to do with a 130MM budget, but they've done it.

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  28. I hope I even absorbed half of what was posted since yesterday...

    A question - Alfonzo a "juicer"? It's a shame that one has to ask this question, but do you mean steroids or booze?

    I can't really add much to all that's been posted, but a point - I see the phrase "made sense on paper". Well, don't virtually all trades? One has to remove the benefit of hindsight when analyzing these things. Okay, Rowand was paid too much, but it wasn't insanity. Zito wasn't insanity. I don't know who OGC meant by "you" in the comment on A.J., but I don't think that was insanity either. Made quite a bit of sense, actually.

    The skill of a good GM though is to see beyond what looks good on paper, and be right more often than wrong. So, I see Soriano and Lee mentioned... there's a success there in NOT overbidding for them. Another I remember that the blog crowd had a coronary over was not signing Chone Figgins. There's multiple bullets dodged in the Sabean years, and I don't think most appreciate that - they forget.

    A mistake might be... when Feliz was deemed "untouchable" - now, the point is well made about player development that as that goes, Feliz was a success - had a long MLB career. Had value. That he didn't live up to his press is not an actual failure (though I can criticize him, I suppose). The misstep was that he should have been trading for an A+ arm or whatever - and there again, is the difference between on paper and the benefit of hindsight.

    I don't know about all the speculation about Agent Ned. But I do believe that you sign a Rowand, it's not ultimately Sabean's decision. So certainly there may be a bit of "who had Magowan's ear" in the background - one forgets that the politics and personalities that go on in the smallest companies still go on when you're talking hundreds of millions. These people are not more mature or wiser than anybody else - maybe about baseball, but it's still first and foremost a business.

    Oh, and Kent was a prick and that's all there is to say about that, but I will think lustful thoughts about Denise Richards - the image is much appreciated.

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  29. Thanks Marc.

    I had seen a rumor once that Alfonzo had used steroids, obviously, don't know if that is so or not, but I saw it rumored in a number of places, particularly Mets fans, so I felt OK at least mentioning it.

    Well, that Mets trading away Kazmir never made sense at any level one could think of. :^)

    But I get your point, and I agree that one has to remove the benefit of hindsight when analyzing.

    Oh, the "you" was meant for Shankbone regarding AJ, unfortunately blogger limits my comments (the nerve! :^) and so I split up my comment, forgetting to change the language so that it is clearer.

    The trade for AJ was not insanity - in fact, if anyone cared to check, BP, in one of their rare moments, praised the Giants for that deal in their commentary on AJ, saying the old saberl-rubric that relievers are fungible and easily replaced. Really, All-Star catcher who plays good defense and hits well, that's a good trade.

    But since the Sabean Naysayer use that as an example of why Sabean has to go, that's why I even care to distinguish that the deal was made by Sheriff Ned.

    Rowand was too much, I think, I'm pretty sure I wrote that when it happened, the only way it made sense was if Rowand continued hitting as well as he did the year before plus play good defense. There was no margin for error. And I have no problem with teams taking such chances, only if they take too many of them.

    However, he clearly was a good hitter when he was on, and he was that first 4 months as a Giants player, people forget that but he was killing the ball, but then he ended the season cold (because he was out of condition) after which it was pretty much a downhill ride after that, with only a few ups.

    Unfortunately, speaking of professionals, he was NOT professional enough to go through a proper, professional fitness program after that season, didn't realize it was bad enough until after his second season, then all he did was ride his bike, like, 60 miles a day to get into "shape", then did that again last off-season.

    Given that most ballplayers know their stats pretty well, and should know what is good or not, then maybe a professional would acknowledge that is why he's not playing so much anymore, and just sit down, shut up, and be ready to contribute when asked. That is what a professional does.

    Or retire and don't accept any more money, like Mark McGwire did for the Cardinals. Either way works for me.

    Good points about swinging and missing on those players. Juan Pierre too, reportedly, that pitcher the A's got too, the one who got a ticket going 100 MPH in the East Bay (they eventually snookered LA into taking him AND his salary).

    I wasn't aware that we could have traded Feliz for an A+ arm, never heard that rumor. And frankly, I would wonder if that was a real or not, at no point in his prospect years were he that highly regarded a prospect, other than by Giants fans who saw his AAA stats that one year (and before we found out that he was actually two years older).

    Astute observation about politics existing anywhere and everywhere, that is certainly something that I think many of the Sabean complainers don't understand, probably because they haven't been in the work world long (or ever).

    I was wondering where the Denise Richards comment came from. FYI, Shankbone, Zito got married over the weekend, so I don't think he'll be hanging with starlets and wannabes anymore.

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  30. I was just being silly. Zito to me is a mental midget, for all the zen yoga bs he is pretty shallow, like Richards and her silly unwatchable show. Throwaway LA reference (remember - I'm stuck down in the southland right now!)

    The juicer comment could very well extend to Rowand. I've thrown that down for him and B12 Tejada in earlier discussions here. I think the bigger problem with Alfonso was his back. Its why Hanley Ramirez doesn't look good either. There are rumbles of trade demands so I imagine there'll be some rosterbation on that level. Boo says I, never want that kind of guy around. It should be a three ring circus down there, but there will be some good Ozzie quotes I'm sure. Ozzie cracks me up.

    I don't think I called the AJ trade insane, it made some sense at the time, its just the prospects ended up showing more promise than the usual Jason Grilli type and Joe Nathan had more sand than anybody could have predicted. My big point is that I think Alou had some clashes/misuses of Nathan and he fell out of favor especially due to the postseason. It was a disaster of a trade for sure, but Liriano has really been a typical flaky lefty, mitigating the level of disaster a lot in my eyes.

    On the Rowand/Zito fronts. I looked up some hardballtimes article, the consensus on BZ was 5/75 abouts. I would consider 2 more years and 50MM more slightly insane. Grantland had a piece on Boras' big binder and how it messed with Zito's head. Interesting read. Rowand was terrible with his conditioning for sure OGC, but you are right, he actually started out most seasons hitting pretty well. The thing that kills me is we overpaid on the career year in a hitters park. He really had false power numbers. I do think he was a juicer though as well.

    Marc I think we were the high bidders on the Soriano/Lee deals, and they just used it to go elsewhere. But the point about the deals you avoid is a good one. And I'll give OGC the point that Zito really isn't a guy that Sabean would want to go out and grab, that part doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    For all the hype that Beane and Jack Z of the Mariners have received for using UZR, their defenses haven't been good and their offenses have been terrible. Sabean has done a good job with defensive metrics. I'm half convinced they have some crazy modeling they consult. Or just very very good scouting and defensive positioning. That's one of the reasons I was so frustrated with the Tejada signing though, it made no sense defensively.

    Read a good comment - one of the reasons the Gints end up with low obp and seem to be evaluating on BA (to the dismay of the saber crowd) is they're looking for value - everybody's after the high obp types, we'll go dumpster dive in low obp. I really wouldn't have minded Alex Gonzo as the caddy, but he most likely didn't want anything to do with it. Crawford rolling without a net? Or is it just more dekeing? I get the feeling this is a genuine hard line. Very short sighted to me, they could use a couple more pieces. But I'm pretty happy with the team. The club though, needs to do some work with the starting pitchers immediately.

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  31. Sorry Shankbone, I should have been clearer. You did not call the deal insane. You called me insane.

    :^)

    Actually, you and DrB challenged me on the Sheriff Ned blame for the trade, and that was all I was referring to with regards to you.

    I then was trying to note why I'm trying to analyze who actually did the trade, because a lot of naysayers point to that trade.

    But it all got muddled, my apologies.

    We definitely would have been high bidder on Lee, but caution on that regard that the overbid might have been taking taxes into consideration.

    Rowand actually was a good hitter outside of Philly as well, I thought he would be able to translate his hitting to AT&T because a lot of it was gap power, plus AT&T don't affect RHB as much. Not that he was that great, but to the point some naysayers say, he was a hitter built for AT&T, with gap power.

    FYI, Neukom noted in early press conferences that the Giants did have sabers on-board and that they had developed their own proprietary defensive metrics for their internal evaluations. But not much was ever made about that in the press.

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  32. No worries dude.

    Hey, a blurb to set the record straight:

    Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez told Spanish-language sports talk radio show Los Cronistas in Venezuela that he had offers from the Giants and the Mets but that he chose to sign with Milwaukee because he wanted to be a starter

    The Giants are showing a lot of faith in their younger guys. Not only Crawford, but Belt & Pill/Burriss. This is very interesting to me. I'm noticing a more sparse approach - last couple years there's been a lot of bodies. I'm thinking of our OF mainly on that one.

    Rowand was a good hitter - and I expected better results, I really think that was the juice in his early years, and the absence hampered his abilities a lot. Once he had to start early to catch up to fastballs, the curve became a complete achilles. Couple that with an absolute refusal to get coached up and he slowly made himself onto my bad giants hall of fame list.

    I remember seeing the defense metric - smart asses like me immediately make Commodore 64 jokes and the like. Ah, its all in good fun. Feels good to be clear of Warrior Spirit. I have a soft spot for Burrell but the defense and mobility was a big compromise. And Torres struggles led to Rowand's ABs. Cody is a streaky dude, and his injuries and timing were off, never got that torrid streak going. So we'll see how it goes this year. I think they decided ultimately to avoid Beltran so as to avoid a logjam. Decided the defense regression/injury risk was too great.

    Don Carlos will not be stealing bases much anymore, that is for sure. Lefty did some interesting Bill James lineup work. And then just threw up a "get me Beltran" post. I understand that, its very tempting to have a better bat. But there is serious injury risk and defensive downgrade as well as baserunning downgrade, even if he has been stellar in the past. And then the Rainy Day Crew and their sad tidings. But the consistency is very tempting, for sure. Reading those lineup projections is a good way to forget about the nice swing and get ready for next year. Only projections though.

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  33. Here is how I see the low OBP myth among the Naysayers.

    First of all, there are not a lot of high OBP hitters. They cost money, teams know about it now too. The complainers forget that both Alfonzo and Durham were high OBP guys, they were great signings based on what they did before, in that regard.

    They also forget about players who did well for us in OBP. Jose Cruz Jr, who did very well for us. And Michael Tucker was above average for us too. Huff is also a high OBP guy, for his career too. Omar was also above average for us his first two seasons in OBP. People believe what they want to believe, they focus on the guys who are low OBP, like Marquis Grissom or that Bowker wasn't "given enough chances".

    People forget that Felipe Alou would talk about OBP as a key attribute to look for in hitters, and how he wanted them up high in the lineup, but they would rather demonize him as a someone who loves hitters who hack at the ball.

    People think OBP is the be-all and end-all, but forget about the other crucial part of the run scoring equation: driving in runs. How do you do that? Most run creation formulas use some form of OBP as the mechanism in the formula to represent scoring by getting on base. The ying to that yang is SLG, to drive in the runners who are on base, and some form of that is represented in the formula as well.

    That is why a high BA is important. A high BA contributes not only to OBP, but also to SLG, as the base under the ISO. Walks are a good sign of a good hitter, particularly relative to the strikeouts he gets, but all people look at is the guys walks, ignoring his BA, ignoring his SLG, other than nothing if he hits homers or not.

    They forget that strikeouts is a horribly invaluable result in baseball. It not only creates an out, but there is no advancement of the runners, and almost zero chance of an error to get you on-base.

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  34. The way I see it, Sabean, instead of extolling his greatness to a Hollywood writer and basking in the glow of his hype, likes to keep his secrets behind his kimino (as he liked to say before). Observing Beane, he's actually been copying some of Sabean's tactics, signing older guys, going after the same pitchers, and, geesh, the number of ex-Giants who end up with Oakland afterward!

    As I noted, people remember what they want to remember, as a leading analytical website (I think it was the Hardball Times) did some analysis on WAR by age, and what they discovered is that while there is a definite downside to WAR in their 30's, WAR actually goes up in the mid-30's, as there are players who are still good in their 30's. They noted in that article that perhaps Sabean is exploiting one of the undervalued areas of baseball, much like Moneyball did with OBP.

    I would add that defense is another area under appreciated, but the Giants have proprietary metrics that help their defense. In the Hardball Times annual, they had team defense stats for the Plus/Minus Defensive Runs Saved, and the Giants were consistently among the top teams in defensive runs saved.

    As Fangraphs analysis has shown, somehow the Giants pitchers know how to avoid giving up home runs. They also have appreciated starters like Rueter, Cain, and Zito, who are capable of pitching well without striking out a lot, plus Cain and Zito's BABIPs are clearly controlled by them, they don't fall under DIPS, which all FIPs and the WARs calculated from them, undervalue their WAR produced as it assumes that their BABIP would regress to the .300 mean.

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  35. Shankbone, as I've noted, the Giants have been pretty good about leaving spots in the lineup for their better prospects to compete to win a spot.

    As I've tried to show, Crawford actually made nice strides as a hitter over the season, as well as Belt, but while Belt has greater potential, Crawford, I think, showed more so far in the majors, in terms of zone discipline.

    About the shift, it only appears to be a shift because now there are actually good position prospects who get close enough to force the issue a bit. The Giants farm system had been sparse, mostly because winning don't give you a lot of potential talent via the draft, it becomes a numbers game.

    Also, people seem to focus only on the position players side of things, but the Giants did try to create opportunities for their young players to win a spot before, they traded Livan in order to give Ainsworth his shot, they made space for Foppert and Williams. Brian Wilson too, eventually.

    The main point I'm trying to make is that when the Giants had a prospect who seemed worthy enough to get a chance in the majors, they would keep a spot relatively open, with some talent but not an established starter, to challenge the prospect.

    The problem with the masses, in my view, is that they have hyped expectations on who is actually good, taking Baseball America's Top 10 as gospel, when it is clearly true that some year's #5 prospect is better than other year's #1 prospect by a mile.

    They don't understand the overall quality of our prospects, thinking that Brian Dallimore because he hit great in AAA would do well in the majors. Or pumping up on John Bowker and Fred Lewis, but missing out on Pablo Sandoval. Or think that drafting Buster Posey was a mistake because they thought Smoak was better.

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  36. Yeah, been waiting for the cries for Hanley Ramirez - I'm with Shankbone, he's bad news.

    And I may well be remembering wrong about Feliz. Or might have bought into hype, I don't know.

    Nothing more, except I'm an Ozzie fan too - he's the kind of guy baseball doesn't make anymore. Pure entertainment. He may not last out the year with Loria, but he won't go quietly. Ozzie's cool.

    Good point to ponder, OGC, about putting the ball in play. An example of how even K/BB only tells you part of the story.

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  37. OGC - I think you're talking about this one that was written shortly after the Omar signing:
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/inside-the-mind-of-brian-sabean/

    One thing thats funny is even when its a complementary piece on whatever move Sabey Sabes makes the writer has to throw some digs. Its like you don't want to ruin your interwebz street cred by being too positive about a Sabean move.

    I've adopted Beane's apparent nickname for Sabean, I think its funny. Haven't seen the movie yet, wanted to get to see it on the big screen but the rug rats run interference. Its supremely ironic to me the adoration to Beane and the scorn of Sabean. The defensive measures, the vets, all copied badly. And it always comes back to scouting and draft pick order. The Giants did a very good job of hitting on great picks in successive years, extremely hard to do. It saved Savvy Sabes job, that's for sure.

    I share your belief that obp for the sake of obp alone is not a good measure. Do I detect a little dislike of PTB in your writing? As long as there is power, I think having a patient guy who either ropes the ball or K's is OK. You don't want a lot of high K's in the lineup, but you can tolerate it under certain circumstances. I do agree as a rule you need the ball put in play.

    One issue I have with the whole "league worst offense" for 5 of 6 years type hand wringing is that it includes some truly awful teams, 2007-8 especially. If you just grab the past 3 years, all winning seasons, it changes the narrative quite a bit. The Giants decided for PR and butts in the seats that they couldn't go scorched earth. That was a mistake, yes, and they overpaid for very marginal players. And are still working off that hangover.

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  38. 2009: our OF is Lewis, Rowand and Winn. Lewis is one of your favorite subjects, he had a lot of potential but never could put it all together. Rowand got off to a similar hot start but faded badly. Winn was a good solid role player but overpaid for his average production and that was his last year here. The IF was Renteria, which turned out to be a pretty bad signing based on injuries (although he did play 123 games) and declining skills. Sandoval had his awesome season. Burriss started and then got hurt, Uribe took the reins. And the 1B was Ishikawa. Molina was asked to do more than was really reasonable, and yes, the offense stunk it up.

    So what's the problem there? Lewis Ishikawa and Burriss all got the most PT at their positions. It didn't work so well. Rowand and Renteria were high priced mistakes. Bengie was overtaxed, Sandoval was awesome and Winn was OK on the way out. They DID play the kids. It almost worked out that year despite the offensive struggles. The trade for F Sanchez tanked for the year, and Garko was a non factor. But you have the hints of the 2010 season - Uribe and Torres taking over.

    2010 and 2011 we know pretty well. I think the biggest factor is the bad endings at Shortstop. I think they pow-wowed back and forth, back and forth and decided no more grab the old vet. We're going to take our lumps with Crawford.

    I didn't hear this myself, but i read that Kuiper was on KNBR recently and basically said he talked to the entire pitching staff and to a man they were really bummed when Crawford went down for Cabrera. Right now I think Krukow is more the company man, I really listen to what Kuiper says between the lines, he has a pretty funny dry sense of humor and you can pick up little things. That speaks volumes to me. And it really supports my theory that they screwed the pooch by rushing out for Tejada and then trading for Ocab. Yes, you can throw all the Crawford struggling bat stats at me for the reason to replace, but I'm not going to agree with you because its was better to have one great skill than 2 marginal ones in this case. Sabean went back to the well of grab a vet, and it didn't turn out. An underrated part of the terrible injuries was Fontenot going down when Posey did. It screwed with his bat when he got back, and it necessitated the Keppinger trade, which further weakened the defense. I think I said this before, it won't show up in a stat sheet because of Homer official scorers, but Ocab absolutely destroyed us in Atlanta with his defense, and that really started the slide.

    But we can only beat ourselves up so much over the past, you really have to look to the future. The Giants have players coming up who are much better than the discards from the past few years. Lefty put it really well, the schizophrenia of the lunatic fringe - Play the kids! No lousy vets! you're playing the kids? We want vets! The good ones! You can't have it both ways.

    Fans are being way too hard on Crawford, underestimating Posey and misunderstanding Belt. What I see from the offseason is the Brain Trust learning from last years mistakes: no greybeard at short, Huff called out and on a short leash, clearing out the logjam in the OF. I wish they'd have a better plan with Zito, but there are hints. While the false ceiling on the budget sucks, and RDF is a total bunch of BS, the team itself is very interesting. The utility roll, the backup catcher and the 5th starter are issues, but those are things you can work through. I see enough issues with the FA market that I don't really mind them sidestepping it. But a couple more tweaks would make sense to me, so the budget does annoy me. I think I'm working off the Moreno Pujols shock/envy though, and getting back to the season coming up.

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  39. Just browsing around for all the good/bad Sabean analysis' and found this one...

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/eenie-meenie-miney-mo/

    There are some flaws in their argument, especially once the pitching first strategy started - some hard luck with Williams, Lowry, Ainsworth & Foppert.

    But the argument about what a 1st round draft pick can be worth is a good one in my opinion, and no organization should ever deliberately punt their picks. I think this is a very valid criticism of Sabean - penny wise pound foolish. Cheaping MadBum out of 50-100K is insanely stupid, especially coming off the world series. There are arguments on both sides for Cain and the extra year the Gints pulled back, but it will most likely cost them pretty big at the table this year.

    I do love this article though... "It'll be interesting to see what he does"... turns into Big Time Timmy Jim a k a "The Franchise". That is hitting a home run, under pressure.

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  40. PTB? Not sure what that means, Shankbone.

    But I have no problem with the Rob Deer or Jack Cust types, they are valuable in their own ways.

    However, find me one OBP complainer who brings up these nuances that need to be considered when discussing players like this, I'll find you 999 where these nuances doesn't even enter the conversation. That is my problem.

    Subtlety in analysis by the masses on this point is almost non-existent.

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  41. Jumping around Shankbone, looking at the this gets to what my draft study gets at, that any back of first round draft picks are crapshoots, at best, and that even top of first round picks are not that easy to find a good player with.

    For example, they explain that the Giants are pretty bad at first round picks with their list there, but the fact is that when there is roughly a 10% success rate (which my study found) when your team is competitive for the playoffs, there is still a 35% chance that you pick 10 duds in 10 years and there is nothing wrong with your ability at picking in the draft. It was just that your luck was not great.

    That is why I say that skipping a draft to avoid paying the draftee that big bonus is not that big a deal every once in a while. It will not greatly affect the probability that you will find a good player in the long run (or short run for that matter).

    It is called a calcuated risk. In baseball, you can never punt all your first round draft picks and not suffer from it, at some point, but when your team is competitive, odds are that you are not going to pick a good starting player any particular year that you decide to punt the pick.

    So you take the small chance that the player might be a good player and instead use the money to get a player who can contribute to your team today, using that $1M that you saved to pick up a spare useful player on the cheap in the off-season.

    Doesn't matter any more, any how, a team can't punt their pick anymore, though they are allowed to trade them (though I don't know the full details about that).

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  42. OGC - interesting conversation going on at DrB's with the pitchers.

    PTB = Pat the Bat Burrell aka "The Left Fielder" in Sabean speak. (He called him that when he was asked about "The Machine" by Tom Tolbert after the WS)

    Doesn't matter anymore for sure with the draft picks, and I agree with your analysis but I hate the players they punted for. I really like your draft study.

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  43. Ah yes, the left fielder, I remember that show, never saw PTB for Pat the Bat before, good to know, thanks.

    Yeah, well, I normally would not want a Michael Tucker, say, but he was actually a good pickup for us that season because Jeffrey Hammonds did nothing for us.

    What I tried to do there is assess who was responsible for what. I blame the owners for us getting Michael Tucker, not Sabean. That is why I get super-white-hot about the ownership. I think the way to go in baseball is to go for the top talent and sign them (like when they went after Barry Bonds), rather than go for mediocrity and breadth/coverage. That is what they did with Vlad (though to be fair, Ted Robinson claims that there was no way the Giants could sign Vlad because apparently he hated Felipe Alou, so perhaps he was not a viable option) vs. birds in the hand.

    To me, Sabean made the best decision he could given his circumstances. The odds favor you if you decide to punt a back of first round draft pick. You will be right 90% of the time, and from what I understand, teams try to assess the depth of talent in drafts, so it could be like an SAT question where you can increase your odds of a correct answer by eliminating one of the choices, maybe the Giants assessed that the talent pool wasn't that good in that draft, that would be further impetus towards punting the pick.

    Meanwhile, the money you save on the draft bonus can then be used to acquire someone useful to you now, instead of 4-6 years out.

    I see BP often attack the Giants punting by noting, "See, you can find good players like Matt Cain with that pick", without noting that the talent depth is not the same in every draft, nor without noting (because their analysts missed this in their draft analysis) that the odds of finding anyone, on average, is much like buying a raffle ticket from a local organization you are supporting, the odds are not great.

    And as I noted, there is the time element, most picks take at least 2 years to make the majors, if not 3-5 for even the semi-good prospects, so the payoff, even if it comes, don't come for a long time.

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