Friday, September 30, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Postmortem Press Conference

Giants Management likes to hold their first post-season press conference on the day after the last day of the season.  Last season, it was obviously very late in the year, but it isn't even October yet.  Oh well, that is how the baseball bounces every year.

Andy Baggarly and Hank Schulman provided their partial transcripts.  I took some quickee notes here (I missed the very end) so I'm relying on Tim Kawakami's full transcript that he provided on his blog with help from his writer friends, plus my comments after each Giants management comments to a reporter's question.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking Forward: Gary Brown

Great article on Giants prospect Gary Brown by incomparable Andy Baggerly, as everyone looks to next season and beyond, now that the Giants season will end soon.  He's had another great season dishing great information to us Giants fans, we are truly lucky to have him as one of our local scribes.  Some good bits I liked:
"This guy is going to be a big-league ballplayer," San Jose manager Andy Skeels said. "There's no doubt about it. He has everything he needs, and I don't think he needs anybody else to tell him that."
"I've still got more to learn, but I think I've shown what I'm capable of doing," he said. "Hopefully I can clean my up some of my mistakes in the Fall League and carry it into next season."
Skeels, the San Jose manager, believes the organization has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to grooming talent. He notes that players such as Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Madison Bumgarner all thrived in San Francisco from the moment they arrived.
"Once we determine that Gary's ready, he really will be ready," Skeels said. "He's a focused player who understands all the noise is meaningless. And he shares a lot of the same traits with Buster and Bumgarner. This kid competes."
Brown concedes that he's not happy about one thing he heard this season.
"People keep saying I'm a singles hitter," said Brown, who is 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. "Maybe they think that because I'm a leadoff man, but that's not me. I've been a gap hitter my whole life. So that gets me a little riled up."
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Do or Die

Wow, much more exciting rush this last, roughly, week's worth of games (9 in total) left in the season than we could have imagined just a week ago.  That's what an 8 game win streak will do for you.

Still, 3.5 games back of wildcard (and another team in-between) and 5.5 games back of division title with only 9 games left in the season means that while the week should be exciting, the sands of time is pretty much gone and it is extremely unlikely that the Giants will even make the playoffs, let alone repeat.  Still, as the saying goes, you never know.

Let's take a look at the tough road to the division title since, although further back, the Giants have some control in their hands, due to the three games in Arizona in the middle, and they don't have another team to climb over.

The D-backs only have 8 games left, having played and, more importantly, won, yesterday.  Even if the Giants sweep the D-gers, in LA, and the D-backs, say, win 2 of 3 against the Pirate, at home (and they play at home the rest of the season), the Giants will still be 4 games behind when they go to Arizona.  Then, even if the Giants sweep the D-backs (and we will face Kennedy in the series), they would still be 1 game behind, with 3 to play, with the Giants facing the D-Rox at home and the D-backs facing the D-gers, again, at home, where the GIants need to win one more game than the D-backs just to tie for the division lead.

So, even if the Giants extend their winning streak to 14 games, they would still be 1 game behind and the D-backs get to play the woeful D-gers at home for the last three.  Though, to their credit, LA has been playing well as of late, despite losing Ethier for the season.  And the Giants will have to beat both Kershaw and Kennedy in that nine game stretch.  It appears oh so unlikely and oh so hard.

And we are playing the D-gers three games in LA now.  The first game is the marque game with Tim Lincecum facing Clayton Kershaw.  Kershaw's dominance over the Giants this season has been almost total this season, and amazingly, somehow, with only 18 team meetings, this will be his 6th start, so somehow Mattingly has manipulated the rotation to get Kershaw a start in each and every series the Giants have had with LA.  He is also going for his 20th win of the season and is 4-0 against the Giants this season in 5 starts, 1.04 ERA.  Yikes!  And the Giants don't have one of their major weapons against LHP, Cody Ross, as he's out with an injury (though as noted in my comments previously, Ross's poor 2011 season is directly related to his poor hitting against LHP this season).

Still, the Giants are amazingly 25-15 against LHP, and that includes their 0-4 against Kershaw.  And it is not like he has dominated them in all the games, though still 4 of 5, but in that other game, he only went 5.0 IP, giving up 4 runs, and that was in LA.   Teams normally do not face the ace of the other team so often, and if, say, two were switched over to one of LA's other sad sack starters, the Giants would be two games closer in both races and have a real chance of catching up, instead of an unlikely chance.  Taking out his games (which LA won 4 of 5), the Giants are 7-3 against the rest of the D-gers' starters, and 24-11 against all other LHP.

Let's see, LHP lineup is probably Torres, Keppinger, Beltran, Sandoval, Pill/1B, DeRosa/LF, Whiteside, Cabrera.

Game 2 has Ryan Vogelsong vs. Dana Eveland, a former A's prospect, and LA is his 6th team in the last 6 seasons.  At only 27, maybe LHP Eveland finally has figured it out, 2.25 ERA in 3 starts, but only 10 K's in 20.0 IP, and his BABIP has been very favorable, .262, whereas previously in his career, it was .347 in extensive opportunities, 95 games.  He's facing our version of that journeyman journey in Vogelsong, who in the last month has a 3.21 ERA in 7 starts, not as great as earlier, but still very good.  Should be a good battle, but as noted, Giants beat up on most LHP and Eveland has been extremely lucky with BIP so far in his starts and he's not striking out hardly anybody, on par with Kirk Rueter.

Game 3 has Madison Bumgarner vs. Hiroki Kuroda, the D-gers only other very good starter, Mattingly even managed to include him in this series.  However, he has only had two starts against the Giants and he was not that great, good in first start of year, 3 runs in 7.0 IP, but in the other start, 9 days ago, 3 runs in 4.2 IP with 8 hits and 1 walk.  And he has a 3.79 ERA against the Giants in 7 career starts (see how weird it is that Kershaw has 6 starts this season against the D-gers, Kuroda has pitched 4 full seasons now and will only have his 8th start in two days) so the Giants do hit him relatively well.

Meanwhile, Bumgarner completes our 3 headed dragon atop the rotation, showing way more maturity and gravitas than Dirty ever showed, even though Sanchez is older and has had way better stuff than Bumgarner.  Since Madison started his run of starts where he was striking out a lot more batters, on July 24th, he has had a 2.40 ERA in 11 starts, 75.0 IP, 67 hits, 78 K's and only 19 walks.  I heard on KNBR a debate on who would you rather have, Lincecum or Kershaw, right now, but really, we have our own Kershaw already in Bumgarner.  He should be able to keep LA down while the offense handles Kuroda enough to win.

Signing Young Giants Core

Shankbone noted in the comments that one of the key things the Giants need to do is sign their young pitchers - Lincecum and Cain - to long-term contracts this off-season, and I totally agree.   But writing this, I realize that the Giants should also try hard to sign Bumgarner to a long-term deal as well (and maybe Shankbone meant him too, I just know I didn't think of it until now).  Unfortunately, they had that disagreement about how much Madison would make this season, and so the Giants just enforced their figure, so Bumgarner's side will probably want extra to make up for that.  So I suspect that his agents will play hardball on a long-term deal, much like how Lincecum's agents did that, and thus no long-term contract yet with Tim-meh.  Still, the Giants should at least kick the tires on that with Madison.

And I expect them to at least broach that.  This is the similar timing when the Giants signed Lowry and then Cain to their long-term deals, and I'm sure they approached Lincecum's agents and was rebuffed.  Hopefully they can get him signed.

And while they are at it, may as well try to get Posey and Pablo signed as well.  Buster Posey's leadership and presence in the lineup and the field spoke volumes between what happened last season and what happened this season.  Normal players don't do that, but potential Hall of Famer's do.  Teams need leaders and Posey is a natural-born leader, just give him a Longoria type contract.

And Pablo Sandoval is a great hitter, let him worry more about getting hits than worry about his future with the Giants.

And the price for either will never be this low again, not that we should short-change them, but that if we wait any longer, I think their awesomeness will be that much more apparent and thus will cost more to get.  Get them signed long-term as well as the pitchers.

Unless a miracle happens and we somehow make history and get into the playoffs, the Giants fan base will want some sort of feel-good news to get them through the winter.  Signing all these players to long-term contracts will leave a sunny glow that will last all the way through to spring training I think.

You Never Know But, You Know, It's Pretty Much Over

And history still might happen.  The more I think about it, the more I think Kirk Gibson is a Billy Martin type of manager that can get lowly talent to play above their heads for a season.  No way their team should be so high up the standings, but to their credit, they are.  They went 18-3 over that incredible stretch where they took their huge lead.  And they are now 11 games above .500 in 1-run games, which normally does not happen.  And they are 6 games above their Pythagorean W/L.

But when the cracks start to appear, players could start to press, causing a downward cycle.  They recently lost 3 in a row, but have now won 2.  Will they steady their ship, or would cracks continue?  Still, with so few games left, they would have to have an epic type of collapse to enable the Giants to get back into the race substantively.  Very unlikely.

So enjoy the rest of the Giants season, but don't get your hopes up too high.  I've already mourned for this season and will just enjoy the rest of the games that we have left, and hope for the best.  I curse Cousins and what might have been, but that's life sometimes.  I won't get my hopes up too much unless we can get to within one game of the playoffs.

Go Giants!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Neukomium Blast Aftermath

Wanted to follow up with something after the hastily arranged press conference the Giants threw yesterday.  Here is a link to the transcript, courtesy of Tim Kawakami (with assistance from Janie McCauley, Chris Haft, Jorge Ortiz, John Shea and Adam Berry).  I will go over the interview later in this post.  Kawakami also had a post-press conference exclusive interview with Larry Baer here for the Merc.  He did a great job with both.

Lastly, wanted to point out two great articles on the debacle.  First, there is Monte Poole's great article on the move, "Just the Latest Rift".  Took me FOREVER, to find the article online, no link to it showed up for any of the Mercury articles on the firing of Bill Neukom.  The other was Gwen Knapp's "Neukom's ouster a misplay by Giants' ownership", and both make it plain that it was a firing, not a voluntary retirement.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Punking Neukom

This has to be a Giant Punk, right?  Surprise, you've just been fired Neukom!

This is not a rumor, the Giants have acknowledged that this will be happening, officially as of the end of this year.  Mark Purdy broke the news for the Mercury - Huzzah! Mr. Purdy! - and Al Saracevic of the Chronicle also reports that the Giants acknowledgement after Purdy let their cat out of the bag.  Read both for a good overview of what is known right now.

Giants Thoughts

Change at the top is always unsettling.  The outward appearance is that this is all about Neukom spending money and the other owners not knowing about it until reading about it in the newspapers.  Communication.

Something like that normally is a hand-slap offense that you take care of with an owners meeting, heck, they were all owners, I am sure that Neukom was on their speed dial.  Just order him to communicate better.  Done.

Seems like there is more to this that we may never learn about.

It appears from the Chronicle's account that it is clear that Larry Baer is the new CEO and face of the Giants.  Not that he wasn't a face before, but now he's the guy making the decisions on everything.

I had speculated back when Neukom was first announced that he would be the transition between Magowan and Baer, running the Giants for a number of years (don't recall what I wrote back then, but I would guess 4-9 years) and then Larry would take over.  After all, Bow Tie was already 66 YO at that time, so that would put him around 70-75 for real retirement.  I assume the group decided that it was time to up the time table on that, for whatever the real reasons are.

I'm open to Baer as our new leader but I view him as part of the failed Magowan management team that resulted in Magowan's ouster.  I had been agitating for Magowan to be out since the whole "mediocrities are better than Vlad" debacle, so I was happy about the change.  Now, I'm not sure if there is any change.  I felt a lot better with Neukom, who has $600M net worth that he could inject into the team if he felt like it, in charge, than Larry Baer, whose main asset is probably his small slice of ownership of the Giants.  He will have to prove himself to me.

There could have been ego problems among the other owners, as Neukom is very much tied to the World Series Championship in the minds of many fans.  Maybe too many fans credit Neukom and the other owners are chafing about that.

I would agree that the average fan gives Neukom too much credit, judging by the sturm und drang on Twitter that I've seen about this move.  Lots of people complaining to the highest heaven about this move, like the Giants will suddenly become a pile of trash after this move.

I would disagree.  Sabean, Tidrow, and Barr have been the brains behind the Giants rebuilding efforts and thus the Giants overall success of the past three seasons, 2009-2011.  That solid core of players that the Giants control, or could control, for a long time, could keep the Giants competitive, barring another idiot taking out our star player for the season, for the rest of the decade.  The big picture still looks good.

Not that Neukom did not bring some good things to the table.   I liked his "The Giants Way" theme he gave the team.  I hope the Giants keep that and continue to develop that.  It was always unspoken traits that players passed to prospects, like what Jack Clark talked about, but now it can be captured in a book that can be passed on to future generations of Giants without having players be the ones passing on the torch.  That will help the next time we get into rebuilding and run into a dry spell like the 70's and 80's.

I also like that he was willing to at least entertain the thought of making the best baseball moves by having Sabean bring these decisions to him and allow him the opportunity to make the finances work to do the baseball decision, instead of having Sabean give up on it immediately.  Had he been in place back then, the Giants might have been able to sign Vlad as well as get most of those other players without upping the payroll much more.  I examined that possibility back then, it was doable.

I also liked his public face.  He was a Giants fan, an ordinary joe, from what I saw in interviews and meetings.  I never got that from Magowan or Baer.  That could also explain the general fan's endearment of Neukom so strongly.

Ultimately, all I really care about is the future of the Giants.  The Giants need to make sure that they sign Lincecum and Cain long-term, maybe also Sandoval and Posey too, soon, if we are to dominate the decade as I've been saying for a few years now.  It is not a fait accompli.  As long as Larry Baer takes care of that, starting with signing Lincecum and Cain to long-term big bucks contracts this off-season, I will be OK with the change over.

If not, then I'll be agitating for Larry Ellison or any other Silicon Valley billionaire to buy the whole team - like I did when I was complaining about Magowan - so that the Giants can sign all our good young players long-term and not see them leave the team as free agents with only draft picks as compensation: that is not a good option to me, if we cannot sign them, let Sabean know now so that he can start trading them to get very good prospects in return, and rebuilding quickly, like how the Marlins transitioned from 1998 to 2003.

Ideally, though, I want an owner like the Angels got, a billionaire who enables a lot of things because he has the money, not owners like we have now with the Giants complaining about hearing of the good uses of the Giants money in the press rather than personally from Neukom.  The Angel's owner isn't worried about saving for a rainy day fund due to the extra money the World Series has generated for the Giants.  He has been looking for ways to better the team and spending that money.  We don't need owners worried about rainy days, we need an owner who will keep our potential juggernaut of a team going for the next decade.

We have the players in place.  We only need owners who have the cajones to make that happen.  These owners are showing me that they don't have guts to do it by taking out Neukom over a disagreement over how windfall money usage was communicated to the rest of the owners.  That is a bullshit explanation that everybody sees through, the fans are not idiots.  I give them a vote of no-confidence right now, but am willing to see how Larry Baer does now that he is in charge.  I am giving him very little rope right now and this off-season will be interesting in how the Giants handle the payroll and signing players.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Need Some Warrior Spirit

Originally, I was going to go with a title of "The Week that Wasn't" and then review how the Giants chances went from good to basically zero in such a short span of time, roughly 10 days (but that title worked better, I thought).  But Bochy's speech to certain key players captures more of what I'm thinking of for the weeks ahead, instead of me reflecting on the week that wasn't.

That's the way I've always played baseball and followed baseball when my playing days ended:  you play to the bitter end to win.  I remember the game still, from the early 70's, the Giants were losing something like 7-1 to the Pirates and then they came back with 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win the game.  I think that they did most of that with 2 outs too.  I remember my first date with my wife, I took her to a Giants-D-gers game, the Giants were losing 7-3, but came back to score 5 runs, and I think that they did not even make one out.  I never understood the people streaming out of the park just before the Giants got their final ups in the 9th, I felt sorry for them.

My point with these examples is that baseball is much like one of those Russian dolls where if you open up one, you find another similar one inside of it.  A baseball season is much like a baseball game, writ large.  One inning, you look like crap, the next you are Babe Ruth and Cy Young all wrapped up into one.  So I understand the gloom and doom.   Most likely, this is not going to end well for our heroes, Los Gigantes de San Francisco, but much like a baseball game, you never know when your team pulls it out in the bottom of the ninth.

Put another baseball way, I would rather the Giants run out the grounder by playing to win until there is no more games to be gained such that they can win.  Most grounders do not end well, but I would rather see the Giants hustle to get to first base than trot to first base and accept their probable fate.

I want them to show the Warrior Spirit that Bochy spoke to some of them about, as noted in the newspapers,  Mercury and Chronicle:

"It's very important for us to keep going hard," Bochy said before the game. "It's what you should do. It's the right thing to do. It's an obligation and a responsibility. We're not going to tolerate anything else. It's on the veterans and the leaders to keep them going hard.
"This is when you find out about players, too. If there's any time you come out with a fighting spirit, a warrior spirit, it's now."
So yeah, the going is tough, but as the saying goes, this is when the tough gets going.  I like that Bochy said that people are not just playing for 2011 right now, they are playing for 2012 because the Giants management will be evaluating who they want to be on the team in 2012, who deserves to be on the team, both young and old.  Even Barry Zito, with his mega-contract that one would think would be a huge hurdle, Sabean said, when asked about Zito in 2012, that he didn't know.


That's why I loved Madison Bumgarner's start and Pablo Sandoval's game, neither of them gave in, and they had great games.  And a lot of the players played well too, and like Sandoval had been doing for a long while, played with injuries, like Huff, who apparently has been struggling with his bad back, which was reported earlier this season, and recurred again in last night's game.

It is a fine line whether it is better for your team to continue  playing injured or to take the DL and get well, but I would prefer that they tried to play first, then quickly DL when it is clear you are just hurting the team.  Beltran, for example, didn't even try and took the full 15-days when he probably could have at least started playing when he was still not on the DL around day 10.  I think that will hurt his contract negotiations this off-season.  Huff, at least, had been hitting well and tried to play, but it is arguable whether he stayed too long in the lineup and started hurting the team by not DLing or at least resting.

And that still gets to my theme of the recent past few posts:  we need a hero.  Someone with that Warrior Spirit who will lead the team, then who might continue the job in 2012, as Bochy and Sabean are looking for a few good men, apparently, for 2012.  It is not going to be easy, but I want the team to go down running for first base, hoping to beat the throw, maybe starting a rally that wins it all for us.

Go Giants!

Friday, September 02, 2011

2011 Giants: August PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of August 2011, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here. I wrote on this first in 2006 and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this, which I've provided a link to). Plus, I think it has a lot to offer for understanding our pitching and how that translate into competitive advantage for the Giants.  Regular readers can skip to the next orange titled section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sabean Cleared by Baggerly: He Was Not Responsible for Rowand and Zito's Contracts

Andy Baggerly in his article today clarified a question that has bothered me and many others for a while now:  how could Sabean sign Zito and Rowand?  It turns out that he didn't.  Andy wrote:
Club and league sources have confirmed that Sabean did not take the lead role when the club signed Rowand (2007) and Zito (2006); both contracts were panned at the time and have turned out perhaps even worse than critics predicted.
Of course, while most others thought literally "how could he?", I was more "It don't make sense" because Sabean throughout his career has shown that he knows how to recognize talent.  I think fans generally don't understand all the nuances involved with player acquisition.

Signing free agents have less to do with recognizing talent than your team's need for body to fill a position, so you are stuck with whatever is available when you need to get someone to fill a position.  Same with a lot of trades as well, when Sabean is unwilling to give up players that he thinks are keepers, you get so-so players, but sometimes you just have to roll the dice, particularly if he does not think that the player he is giving up will not make it as a good major league player.  Even the draft, while obviously requiring some ability to discern talent, is filled with a lot of unknowable factors that there is no team that can consistently find talent, it is mostly hit and miss with a lot more misses.

But in terms of trading prospects, Sabean has a great record, very few of his traded prospects have made the majors and few have been that good, except for Liriano (Nathan was not a prospect anymore at that point), but his injuries have made managing the Twins a nightmare not knowing if you have your ace that season or not.  Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, David Aardma, Carlos Villanueva, Clay Hensley are probably the most valuable of the bunch (with Foulke being the one true miss), then there is Jeremy Accardo, Boof Bonser, Jason Grilli, even Ryan Vogelsong, until this season.  Plus, there are the ones who the Giants let go and other teams picked up:  Brian Buscher, Pat Misch, Brian Burres, Freddy Lewis, etc.

But there was no overwhelming need for the Giants, baseball-wise, to sign either Rowand or Zito to huge contracts.  When Sabean signed other players, there was that need, in order to field a team to win.  By that time, the Giants were beyond just one player to win, neither Rowand nor Zito were players to get us over the hump.  Both clearly looked like overpays.  Both looked like they would never fulfill their contract to the amount paid, let alone exceed it.  This did not seem like a Sabean signing to me and others, mostly because it looked like the moves were more for marketing and PR purposes, not baseball purposes.  And now Andy Baggarly cleared that all up with his great reporting and investigative abilities.

This also supports the ease with which the Giants let go Rowand now, versus just playing out the string and keeping him around in September just in case.  It is much harder to let go of your own mistake, but when it is the mistake of someone else's that you have been living with, the release should be easier.

I know some will wonder why it didn't happen sooner and blame Sabean for that.  But these people don't understand that veteran players do come back from bad stretches of poor play.  They can also contribute, much like how Rowand, while not a key player in the playoffs, made some key plays and hits that helped the team reach the pinnacle of their profession.  Even better example:  Renteria during the playoffs.

But with the season spiraling away, Sabean needed to do something for shock value before meeting up with Arizona, whereas one would reasonably think the Giants should have been able to take on the Astros and Cubbies, but weren't.  Rowand by complaining internally didn't help, and Baggarly has been giving us a foreboding of that with his prior reportage.  His poor hitting has probably been a reflection of his unhappiness too, as well as a reflection of his diminishing skills.

Plus, Arizona has been on fire winning, but have been really being lucky in that regard because they have not been scoring that much more runs than allowed in August.  They ended August at 120-106, which has a Pythagorean of .553 or 16-13 record:  they ended up 19-10.  Take away those three games and the Giants are only 3 games behind right now.

It would be hard to predict both a Giants collapse against poor teams as well as a streak of winning by Arizona.  If neither happens, the Giants are still in the hunt, behind by 2-4 games, and not on the fringe like they are now, 6 games back.  And Sabean would not be second-guessed as much.

At this point, all the Giants can do is try to right their ship and not worry so much about Arizona except for the upcoming six games against them.  They need a hero and they need him to take charge now, and the team needs to win at least 4 out of 6 and ideally win 5 or 6 games (i.e. sweep).  Unlikely, but that is our state of the union right now, try to finish off with a nice record this season and hope that it is good enough.  But it will take a lot of opponents taking down the D-backs and D-backs regressing to the mean for the Giants to make the playoffs.

Not a pretty picture for Giants fans, but them's the facts.  Still, plenty of time to go before the season ends, plenty of time for a young team like the D-backs to fall on their faces.  Better teams have stumbled on their way to the finish line and screw up their playoff chances.  But right now, they got the look of a team that wants it, much like the Giants last season when Posey was leading them down the stretch, and they got a huge enough lead that they could coast if they wanted to.  I'll still be rooting for my team to win, hardcore, I haven't given up yet.

Buy "A Band of MiSFits"!

Thank you Andy for another big Giants scoop, clearing up that Sabean did not take the lead role in signing either Rowand or Zito. Now we need the Pierzynski trade to be clarified as well, and either take that off his record as well (as it has been implied before by Magowan's comment that he wouldn't have allowed the trade if he were appraised of it; one would think Sabean would know which trades to run by him or not) or mark it clearly his mistake.

These scoops are why I love reading Andy Baggerly's  book "A Band of MiSFits", there is a lot of inside  information about the Giants and their personnel in there, chockful that really improved my enjoyment of my favorite team, like how much money Neukom is really worth. I really recommend buying it (really inexpensive on Amazon and I believe it is on iBooks as well), as it was an enjoyable read and, like I said, it improved my enjoyment of last season's Giants dream run.

FYI, in case you are wondering, I make nothing off his sales, just want to share something really good with fellow Giants fans.

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