Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your 2012 Giants Are World Champions!!!


Wow, what a game!  What a series!  What a season!

If ever there was a team effort for World Series MVP, this was it.  Sure, Pablo Sandoval gave the Tigers a gut punch in the first game with his homers and hit well all through the series, but what got lost among all that is that Barry Zito pitched a great game, to go with his other great game. Without Zito, the march to being the World Champions would have ended seven games ago.

And while Pablo won the game for us in game 1, it was Hunter Pence who scored the first run in the following three games, and without those runs, who knows if we would have scored the runs to win those games, and he drove in the second run in game 2, and the Tigers would have won in regulation in game 4.  And Buster Posey, delivering a key homer once again, that kept the game alive into extra innings.  Of course, Marco Scutaro again was in the middle of the action, driving in the winning run, and I thought it was apropos that he drove in Ryan Theriot, the guy he replaced at 2B, the guy who hit well for us starting at 2B after he healed up on the DL, and helped us bridge from Freddy Sanchez to Scutaro.  And back to the start again, Sandoval stout hitting in the series helped make that happen, as the Tigers had to pitch to Scutaro or face Sandoval with two runners on base.

And what about the defense?  Even though they did not hit particularly well in the World Series, both Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco were making big plays in the outfield over and over again.  Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt as well in the infield, as well as Scoots.  And, in any case, when they did get hits, they got them in key situations, and really, when you are winning games by 1-2 runs, every run is critical and key.

What about the bullpen?  Tim Lincecum was so dominant in middle relief, probably the best middle reliever ever. Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla were great in setup.  Sergio Romo was great in closing out games, closing out the finale in exclamation with a called strike three on AL MVP Cabrera!  And that struck out the side.

And, despite little usage in the World Series, George Kontos and Javier Lopez, without their work in the NL series, we would not have been here, at the end, Champions once more.  For those who didn't see the importance of spending $10M on both Affeldt and Lopez should see what happened to the Tigers with their bullpen, to see why we spent that money on proven players who the team's management knew, and could trust and rely on proven performance.

Most of all, the starting pitching:  Barry Zito, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain.  We got three DOM starts in the World Series, and as I noted in my research before, it is DOM starts by pitchers that helps their team win over 70% of the time.  They had 8 DOM starts between the NLCS and the World Series, helping the Giants win the World Championship.  Not that the Tigers fell down like the Cards did - only one DOM start in the seven games - as the Tigers also had DOM starts, in the last three games, but that is where the hitters come in as well as our pitchers, we scored just enough to win each game.  Hitting, pitching, fielding, everyone contributed their necessary contribution to enable the championship, nothing was too small to be of importance, each was necessary for that glorious second championship in three seasons.

San Francisco Giants:  Team of the 2010's Decade

I've been saying this since the late 2000's, that the Giants had the makings of the Team of the 2010 Decade.  Of course, there is the lovely and great starting pitching to start with, Lincecum, Cain, and, clearly, Bumgarner coming up.  Then Sabean has been great at putting together a great bullpen, as he has been able to for much of his time as GM, when the team is good, he is able to pull the trades to build up a great bullpen.  And they have been almost picture perfect for what Baseball Prospectus' study on success in the playoffs found:  high strikeout pitching staff (check!), great closer (check!), and great fielding defense also (check!).

But you still need some sort of offense.  Before this season, we had to accept imperfections because it took time to develop an offense after concentrating on the pitching for so long.  Talent does not come into any baseball system quick enough via the draft and international free agents to fuel a championship.  The Giants, to their credit, has supplemented well in finding gems among the minor free agents, with Andres Torres, Santiago Casilla, Ryan Vogelsong, Gregor Blanco, and Joaquin Arias coming in and contributing significantly from 2009 to 2012.  That is the to the credit of the Giants scouts.

Meanwhile, the Giants picked up offensive gems along the way, Sandoval, Posey, then Belt, Crawford, and Hector Sanchez.  These they grew along the way, while also picking up pieces like Theriot, Pagan, Blanco.  Then traded for the final pieces to this Epic Championship team, Scutaro and Pence, and they were what drove the offense to the championship, as they outscored the Cards and Tigers by a total of 36-7 in the last seven game, averaging 5.1 runs per game while holding the other team to 1.0 run per game in that stretch, keeping the opponents to 3 runs or under in each of the games in the stretch, reminiscent of their streak in late in the 2010 season.

The Giants, by winning their second World Series Championship in three seasons, has laid strong claim on this decade.  If ownership and management can keep this core going forward, this should not be the last of their championships, and hopefully just the beginning.  We should have the core players to at least mid-decade, and if the money can be ponied up, into the latter half of the decade as well.

Thank You Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy!

And we have Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy to thank for this.  Of course, they could not do it without their top advisers like Dick Tidrow and John Barr, Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, Tim Flannery and Ron Wotus.  Still, they are the ones who get the public scrutiny.

Sabean, what a masterful job he has done, putting together all the pieces, first with the great pitching staff, then now with the great lineup.  Bochy, what a masterful job he has done, balancing the present and the future while steering the team to another playoff berth, then switching to cut-throat managing, managing as if each game, each win, was necessary to prevent elimination.  And, of course, that paid off in both the Reds and Cards series, as they faced six games of elimination and swept them all.  Hopefully the Naysayers can now see that it is not luck that the Giants won, but through excellent decision making on the parts of Sabean and Bochy.

I am thankful that we have the two of them employed for the Giants and hope that the Giants first moves of the off-season be to sign the two of them to another joint extension.  They have earned it, in spades.

Then I hope the next moves after that, in no particular order, be to sign Posey (ok he should be first), Pence, Pagan to long term contracts.  Plus sign Scutaro, Sandoval, Lincecum, and Affeldt to two year extensions.  I would not mind a long term deal for Belt if possible, Crawford too.

And there is money coming in to fuel all these contracts.  Remember, the new ESPN deal doubles the revenues delivered to teams, adding over $11M to each team's coffers each year.  And revenues from MBLAM has been growing each year, it is one of the great Internet e-commerce success stories so far.   And season ticket holders should expect prices to go up again, as well.  Plus there is usually a windfall from being in the playoffs as well.  Lastly, I'm still hoping the A's will pay at least $100M for the South Bay rights, which will pay for a lot of long-term player contracts.

Congratulations again to the 2012 World Champs, Go Giants!


  1. The Giants Win The World Series! 2 in 3 years. Beautiful home grown young core. Success can be fleeting, so you have to savor every moment, but the D word will get thrown around a ton now. I like the Gigantes chances of a dynasty.

    I've enjoyed your writing for a lot of years, and I've really enjoyed discussions this year. Watching everything fall into place, and watching this team fight and kick its way to best in the world status has been great.

    1. Right? Right!!! Dynasty.

      And really, with 2 of 3, in today's baseball world, that IS a dynasty. As you note astutely, success can be fleeting, see the Phillies and Yankees in recent years.

      But a Dynasty, of the sort that spans generations of players, teammates, leaders, that is also possible as well. We already see inklings of the next generation of contributors percolating in the minors: Brown, Panik, Blackburn, Crick, Stratton.

      But usually, there is one guy who stirs the drink, who makes it happen, and as I saw in a comment somewhere: two seasons where he finished the season, two seasons that Buster Posey and the Giants won a World Championship. And he truly is the only link in the starting lineup between the two teams. The pitching is virtually the same, only with Vogelsong replacing Dirty, plus a rejuvenated Zito, but Posey is the only starting hitter to heed his call to come back and do it again.

      I didn't want to put too much negativity into my post, but I'll mention it here: what if that idiot Cousins didn't end Posey's season in 2011? Could it have been three in a row? Think about it, the pitching was, if anything, better with a normal, expected Lincecum starting, along with the new and improved Vogelsong, and the lineup, though not as strong as this year, was good enough to win a lot of games until Beltran came to the team, and the team hit the skids.

      Thank you for your kind comments, I've enjoyed our discussions this year as well. It is all I really want, discussions about our favorite team where we both learn a little more about our favorite team.

      Yes, watching this team fight and kick its way to the top has been great.

      And to mis-quote a man wiser than all of us: let's take a moment to enjoy this and then let's do it all again next season (Buster Posey, 2010 Celebration Parade).

      Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty! Dynasty!

      Go Giants!

  2. Agree with much of what you say, but I'm much less clear on both Pence and Pagan.

    I think ultimately Pence will stay as the arb deal will be only 1 year commit. A longer term deal isn't out of the question, but Pence's price tag isn't going to be cheap.

    Pagan - while he did a great job at leadoff, he's also going to command a premium this offseason.

    Much as it is easy for others to give up multiple millions a year for 'home team discount', Pagan is at his earnings prime and will do what he needs to do to take care of his family.

    Scutaro will get a Huff-type deal as reward for coming through - kudos to him.

    Let's also not forget that Zito is no longer an automatic exit after next year, and Lincecum as well has a renewal coming up. I don't see either of them getting the premium bucks they are getting now, but then again they're not going to be working for free either.

    Net-net - the freed up Rowand and Freddy Sanchez (if he retires) bucks aren't going to go far; that and the extra revenue you noted above will be absorbed just with Scutaro and Pence. If Posey signs to a long term contract, any and all other extra revenue will have been accounted for. Looking at all this, I just don't see Pagan in the mix unless the rest of the league somehow decides to take a pass on him.

    1. I do understand your points about Pagan. However, they are very similar to the points many fans had about Cain. Cain got paid, but most felt that he left a lot of money on the table with his Giants contract, as big as it was.

      Pagan has openly mentioned how this was the best experience he has ever had as a ballplayer. I'm not expecting a home discount, but I don't expect him to hold out for every last dollar. He just has to see what happened to Beltran when he held out for every last dollar.

      And as much as players want to play the "take care of my family" card, Pagan is probably going to get at least $10M per for 3 plus seasons. That's plenty of taking care of, for plenty of lifetimes.

      I'm not asking him to go with his heart, just like I didn't ask Cain to do that either: I just think from their public comments and situations, that they will go with their heart. And the Giants, as you know, are rarely penny-pinchers when it comes to signing players.

    2. About Scutaro, I don't think that he's expecting a Huff-type deal, if by that you mean $22M for 2 years. I think he can be gotten with a similar sized deal as what he got when he signed with Boston, similar to what the Giants gave Sanchez when he helped us win it all in 2010: 2 years, $12M total. I think he's basically taking Freddy's space in the payroll.

    3. About Zito, I didn't want to muddy the waters with saying this in the post, but, while his contract will never be matched by what he does during the regular season for us, just like Renteria in 2010, I'm willing to call it even. Without him shutting down first the Cards and then besting Verlander, we don't make it this far without him this season, he played a very key role in getting us #2, especially when we appeared to be down and out, and he was the last starter any of us wanted to be starting for us at that point, yet he was the one who shut down the other team and got the ball rolling for seven glorious (epic - Giants had never won 7 in a row in the playoffs) victories.

      Yeah, as DrB has been making the point, Zito looks like a lock now to get his option picked up, only $11M extra for 2014, if he pitches like he did in 2012 for us, I don't see how that option don't get picked up by the team.

    4. I get your point that there is no bottom-less pockets for the Giants owner. That's why I've been openly asking them to do the best for Giants fans and sell the team to a billionaire who is willing to put up the big bucks to continue this dynasty for as many years as we can.

      But I assumed, with my statement, that the Giants had already accounted for a number of big salaries that might be looming, when they had Sabean publicly announce that there was enough budget room to sign both Melky and Pence to long-term deals. Obviously, now Pagan will take most of Melky's money, but they must have known how much Pence might want, and they hopefully were still planning on Lincecum in their future. That, to me, means that the money is there, somewhere.

      Zito's money, perhaps is not there, but basically is covered by the increase in ESPN's annual payments, which was not a known thing at the time that Sabean announced that about Melky and Pence. And they didn't know at that time that they would get the playoff money either, especially after falling on our face last season after the big pickup of Beltran, so that is another way of covering Scutaro's salary, if you are assuming that Freddy Sanchez's money is what goes into Pence's salary (which is a logical assumption at that time).

      But where picking up Beltran stalled our already high-flying plane, Pence helped to put us at a higher altitude.

      You are also forgetting some big freed up salaries. Rowand frees up $11M+ (using BB-Ref's #'s). Sanchez frees up $6M. But there are others. Huff frees up $8M (he has $2M buyout). Brian Wilson is not getting $8.5M, he is probably getting a low base plus bonuses for games pitched. Melky is not getting $6M. Pagan was already paid $5M for 2012. Nate's $1.3M is gone too. Mota is probably not getting $1M either. That is roughly $38M freed up (counting Pagan's $5M but nothing from Wilson) plus whatever we can save off of Wilson's contract. Let's call that $40M. That $40M has to cover Pagan and Pence, $5M raise to Cain, $1M Zito, $4M Lincecum, $2.5M Sandoval, $2M Vogelsong, plus raises for Casilla, Romo, and whatever Posey is getting. That's $14.5M in raises, I would guess $10M for Pagan, $14M for Pence, that's roughly leaves enough for Casilla's raise.

      That leaves Romo and Posey's raises. But the above only covers savings from salaries dropped. Now we have all the additional revenues, from the playoffs, merchandise, ESPN, MLBAM, and I believe there are expected boosts to revenues from other TV contracts to be signed, if I recall that right. Plus, the Giants have been raking in the operating profits in recent years, they can reduce that return in order to keep the team going, if necessary.

      Should be good enough to keep the team intact as I outlined above.

  3. EPIC

    Bochy looked as if the blood drained from his head when told he became the first Giants manager to win two World Series titles since John McGraw, back in 1905 and 1921-22.

    The Giants won their last seven games. They didn’t have a seven-game winning streak once during the regular season.

    And with the Giants one out away from mobbing the field Sunday night, Romo did not recoil when he had to go through Miguel Cabrera – the first hitter in 45 years to win a Triple Crown.

    Romo got ahead with sliders. Posey called for another with two strikes.

    “Romo shook to the fastball,” Posey said. “He gets all the credit on that. It’s extremely gutsy. It just shows the makeup he has. There’s no fear out there.”

    Posey didn’t give any thought to a mound visit.

    “No because he has a feel for the situation and what’s going on,” Posey said. “It’s not something you can learn. It’s just something you have.”

    [Note: forgot to mention how EPIC it was for the Giants to win by striking out the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years.]

    “I’ve never been around a team that bonded the way this one did,” said Vogelsong, who spent so much emotion on the mound.

    “World Series champions? Yeah, I like the sound of that. It’s too new. I can’t call it anything but a dream come true, and I know that’s a cliché that people say. But that’s what it is. This is the moment I’ve always dreamed of.”

    And how does it feel?

    “Better than I ever could have thought, just because of the people on this team,” he said. “We are a family in here. These players go out there for what’s on the front of their shirts and not on the back. It’s about the Giants.

    “We did this as Giants.”

    They inspired themselves to survive, as Pence often put it, just so they could spend tomorrow with each other.

    What does tomorrow hold now?

    “Go back to San Francisco, prepare for the parade,” said Pence, his eyes wide, “and celebrate!”

    [And all this reminded me of the team's marketing motto for this season, which I recall as a recycle of last season: Together We're Giant. How true those words are for this team, this team that wanted to spend another day playing together, much like how true it was in 2010, with "It's Magic Inside"]

  4. EPIC

    Affeldt bent backwards in a display of relief. He has a perfect 0.00 ERA over 10 1/3 innings spanning 10 appearances.

    Pablo Sandoval had a single to finish with 24 hits this postseason, one away from matching the major league record. In deference to his three-homer performance in Game 1, he was named World Series MVP. He and Edgar Renteria are the only World Series MVPs in franchise history.

    1. Affeldt has been a very good pitcher. He has his gas can moments, which may be related to mechanics, but he has pitched huge for us in big moments. I want him back, and I bet its Sabes job #1.

      Here's a slightly new angle on Affeldt - I have been making the point he has always been expensive for the Gints and he stabilized the pen in 2009 after some disasters in 2008... He is also durable, and pretty consistent. He shows up. I think Sabean really values that, and its something that interwebz jockeys don't look at enough: the value of the show up, do your job, don't get hurt. Staying in the lineup is huge.

      Now its a bit ironic I'm saying this about the guy who gets injured with burger patties and little kids tackling him, but if you look him up, he has been very consistent for 4 years. I hope he gets another 2 quick. And has some more kids, because that seems to be working for the guy.

    2. My point all along about Affeldt is that he's got closer ability without us paying closer prices. Hasn't changed much since then, I was excited then, I still like him now.

      And with Wilson a huge question mark and Romo someone who I've been afraid would break from greater use, like the way he was this season, plus how Wilson was admittedly playing hurt for the good of the team in 2010, and Romo espousing similar thoughts and attitudes, I would sign Affeldt again, just because we might really need him if Wilson has as much difficulty returning as most pitchers with two TJS and Romo is hiding anything that we won't be aware of until spring training.

      Yes, I agree that some people don't understand the value of a player you can rely on to show up and deliver.


    Only the 7th time a World Series clincher happened in extra innings, but 4th time the Giants were involved, 1912, 1924, 1933, and 2012. Giants are now even, after losing their first two, they have won the next two, though separated by 89 years.


    "He trusts us. Especially with me and (Brandon) Belt this year, being young guys, he just keeps throwing us back out there. We've had our struggles, but he had confidence in us, and we're here now."
    Brandon Crawford, Giants shortstop, on manager Bruce Bochy

    "Hopefully, his confidence has grown so much that he realizes, again, how good he is."
    Bochy, on Lincecum
    "I think it helps him, not having to think all night about, hey, I'm starting tomorrow. Just to let him know during the course of a game, hey, Timmy, you're in there - now he doesn't have time to think about his delivery or anything. It's time to get ready. And he doesn't take long, so it's not like he has a lot of time to think about it. Just go out there and let your talent surface."
    Bochy, on Tim Lincecum's transition to relief

    1. Pitchers trust Crawford to make the play behind them. I don't think that gets enough emphasis. Absolutely huge to be able to pitch with confidence. All the spew about Crawford's bat just missed the boat huge. And now his bat is coming around (still 200 more PAs to that magical 2K professional PA mark!) its just gravy.

    2. Good reminder that Brandon is still a relative beginner in hitting professionally.

      Given what we know today about how pitchers can be distracted easily and how they like to stay focused during their starts, I have to think it is huge for any pitcher to be able to go out and throw like he can without thinking, I better cheat in or out so that I avoid balls going to fielder X. And even more so to think that this guy is so good a fielder that I want the batter to hit a ball to him.


    The year's sweep marks the third time the Giants have won a World Series without losing a game, with the other occurrences coming in 1922 (against the Yankees) and 1954 (against the Indians). The Tigers were swept in the Fall Classic for the second time, following a sweep at the hands of the Cubs in 1907.

    The Giants are the first National League team to sweep a World Series since the Reds defeated the Athletics in 1990.

    Sandoval went 1-for-5 in Game 4, bringing his 2012 postseason hit total to 24, tying him for the fourth most in postseason history. Marquis Grissom (1995), Darin Erstad (2002) and Freese (2011) are tied for the most, with 25 apiece. Marty Barrett (1986) had 24, as did Tino Martinez in 2000 and Albert Pujols in both 2004 and 2011.

    The Giants finished the 2012 postseason on a seven-game winning streak. During the stretch, the team ERA was 0.98, and the starting staff's ERA was 0.99.

    • The Giants held the Tigers to a .159 batting average in the World Series -- the lowest for a team since the Mets held the Orioles to a .146 mark in the five-game Fall Classic in 1969.

    • Sergio Romo struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th, picking up his third save of the 2012 World Series. Romo pitched a total of three innings in the series, retiring all nine batters he faced. Romo is the first pitcher in World Series history to record a save in the clinching game by striking out the side in the opponent's final at-bat.

    With the Giants winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012 and the Cardinals capturing the title in 2011, the Fall Classic has seen three consecutive NL teams capture the crown for the first time since 1979-1982, when the Pirates, Phillies, Dodgers and Cardinals were champions.

  8. My off the cuff Hot Stove predictions for Los Gigantes:

    Affeldt 2/10MM. First contract signed.
    Pagan 3/30MM with a 3MM buyout/12MM 4th year.
    Scutaro 2/20MM with a 2MM buyout/10MM 3rd year.
    Melky 0/0
    Wilson Non-tender, 1/3MM with 2 option years at 10MM
    Pence - Negotiated 1/13MM instead of arbitration
    Freddy Sanchez - minor league deal, invite to spring training
    Aubrey Huff - A Thank you for your service/scouting offer to keep Pat the Bat under control/company
    Casilla - Trade Bait #1 for whatever hole they need
    Romo - 2/8MM
    Theriot 1/1MM
    Mota - minor league deal, invite to spring training.
    Clay Hensley - 1/800K to avoid arbitration
    Xavier Nady - minor league deal, invite to spring training.

    I think the one factor to look out for that is huge is Ned Coletti will be trying to poach yet again. He will go hard after our table setters, Pagan and Scutaro. I think that will force Sabean to pay a bit more. Coletti loves older MIs, and as much as I would love the Freddy Sanchez deal for Scoots, 2/12MM, I think it will be the Huff deal in the end, because of the Doyer money breathing down our necks.

    Good points about Pagan. I think he loves it here, he's seen his career thrive, and he will make a move to meet in the middle, still making a ton of dough. His age (30) stops him from getting a 5 year deal, even with not much supply out there.

    1. I don't think that Coletti will have any interest in either Pagan or Scutaro. With Kemp, Ethier & Crawford, there is no place to put Pagan or afford his salary. They already have Mark Ellis, so where would they put Scutaro. Just does not make any sense.

    2. Ellis is backloaded to boot, he's going to cost 5.25MM. Coletti likes to collect a bunch of guys, he is getting rid of Adam Kennedy now, he does have Nick Punto from the trade, so that is 2 MI under contract. Uribe makes it 3. Jerry Hairston is a 4th (backloaded as well - 3.75MM, but I don't think this ownership cares how much they are paying... yet)

      Maybe they have enough options at 2B they won't bit on Scutaro, so good point. I wouldn't rule it out though.

      Kemp is not going to be ready for season start, and neither is Crawford. While a big FA splash would seem silly, I would not put it past this ownership group, which really wants to throw its weight around, and one method is to try and reduce the Giants.

    3. I expect the Giants to get Pagan and Scutaro signed during their exclusive negotiation period, so I don't think Colletti enters into the picture at all.

      So I expect them to get fair deals. Scutaro at $10M per, 3 years after all he could get was $6M per season deal for 3 years, I don't see happening. He had an outstanding season for us and in the playoffs, but overall his 2012 was much like his recent career numbers, no way his salary goes up now at age 37 for 2013. I don't see him getting less than $6M per, he might get $7M, but again, I think he signs easily at 2 years, $12M total.

      Given that LA tried hard to get Uribe (succeeded) and Huff (unfortunately didn't succeed), I have to think that they will come hard at anyone we allow to enter free agency.

      As both Scutaro and Pagan noted that they want to sign during the exclusive negotiating period and the Giants seem pretty clearly interested in re-signing both, I don't see how a deal does not get done unless the players have unrealistic expectations on their salary. Scutaro should not get that much more than his current $6M salary. And he got $5.5M in his two previous years, so $6M per year for two years would be a raise given that he's 37 next season. We just need him as a transition to when Panik should be ready to take over 2B for us, and he's in the AFL and should be in AA for 2013, AAA in 2014.

      Pagan, again, I think I got too high on him above, $10M is the max he's going to get, I think, and somewhere in the $6-8M per season range is where I think he'll end up. At 3 years, that is still plenty of money to take care of him and his family.

      How Pagan got touted for more than Swisher, I have no idea, as Swisher has been a more more proven hitter than Pagan, and better hitter, career .828 OPS hitter, if Pagan gets more than him, I'll be more than happy to sign Swisher for less, play Blanco in CF and Swisher in one of the corner spots.

      Plus, doesn't LA have enough outfielders, who is going to sign a big contract knowing that they might end up being on the bench by the time the big guns get healthy?

      Otherwise, I like most of what you are throwing down for players here.

    4. Well... LA has a certain FA named Victorino. Shawn, or Seth, or something... Yeah, the Doyers have a ton of OF types, and an insane amount of money tied up in Kemp, Ethier and Crawford. So maybe the Ned Coletti poach threat is overblown. I tend to exaggerate the Doyer fear, you tone it down. No worries.

      The thing is here - the key to our defense is having 3 CFs. Pence is stretching that, and Melky could only fake CF, but having 2 or 3 OFs who can really go get it is a huge advantage. I don't think Swisher could even handle LF at AT&T. He is dreadful, at least the dozen games I've seen him play this year. He is a better hitter than Pagan though, they have different skill sets. One sneaky thing about Pagan is his SB ratio, and his speed. He is extremely hard to gun down from 2nd, he scored almost at will. Swisher lacks the SB threat, and every time Flannery would start windmilling would be a 50-50 proposition. No bueno.

      I've liked Swisher for a number of years, but he will be severely overpaid for his past production. Its nice to have a consistent player, and his numbers are amazingly consistent. The rub? He has enough of a playoff record it ain't no small sample. And he has consistently completely stunk up the joint in the playoffs.

      And we are... Playing to defend a championship next year! Constructing the roster with the playoffs in mind! Playing for the brass ring! World Champions Baby!

    5. Oh, is Swisher that bad? I recall him playing CF for somebody at some point, so I thought he had some range and defensive ability. Well, I like your Torii Hunter idea more anyway, so I would rather try to get him if Pagan falls through.

  9. Here's the arb prediction #s from mlbtr:

    Hunter Pence - $13.8MM
    Brian Wilson - $8.5MM
    Buster Posey - $5.9MM
    Santiago Casilla - $5.4MM
    Sergio Romo - $3.6MM
    Jose Mijares - $1.6MM
    Clay Hensley - $1.3MM
    Gregor Blanco - $1.3MM
    Joaquin Arias - $800K
    Emmanuel Burriss - $600K
    Eli Whiteside - $600K


    So I forgot about a few of these guys... I predict Blanco and Arias are taken care of quick. Burriss is a very nice guy, but he is a classic AAAA no-hit in the majors guy, he has had his chance. I hope the Gints move on. Whiteside can go be Crash Davis or start coaching for us. I forgot about Mijares - I think they keep him, and move Casilla. And I guess I was light on the Pence prediction.

    Hmmm... I just can't shake the fact the Giants might want to try and lock up Pence for a bit, getting a slight discount. I could see a matching offer like Pagan - 3/30 with a 3MM buyout 12MM type thing. Who knows on that front, and Pence's struggles will definitely make him the guy to talk about. I think I would lean back to his past performance and how consistent he was. But I'm a fan of his, I can see others being more negative. And I can see Aaron Rowand's name being brought up an awful lot. Not sure if that is fair.

    I have a theory that only homegrown players will get 4 year or more offers. Of course, priority #1, as always, is to lock up Posey. I think they will work something out. But I predict 3 years as the max they'll go for guys outside the core home grown guys. I think they are pretty raw about Zito Rowand, as in nobody remembers mistakes more than the guy who made em.

    1. I've mentioned before about Pence that his arb salaries work out to roughly $17M per season (based on the 40%, 60%, 80% theory on arb salaries), which then predicts a $17.3M free market salary and a third year arb of roughly $13.8M. So that is where that number comes from.

      So I'm usually pretty good with using MLBTR's arb predictions, they seem to hue to that theory and has all the numbers available to guess-timate well.

      I think Pence will get a lot more than Pagan. Pagan's arb salaries work out to around $6.0M per year. I think I commented 3 years at $30M somewhere here, but that was influenced by talk I had heard previously about him. Looking at the arb numbers, I think that is the max he might get from the Giants. I think he's more likely to get something in the $6-8M per year deal for 3 years, plus maybe an option year buyout for $1-2M. His age and relative lack of proven seasons (just two full seasons so far), suggest that he will get less for that reason. People don't have to look far, look at Andres Torres. Still, I think he'll be happy with that, that would take care of him for the rest of his life, and he gets to stick with a team that he has openly loved.

      Whereas, I think $10M per year would be low-balling Pence, I think that 3 years in the $13-15M range is what he will get. That might not get done immediately before arb time comes, but definitely something will get done by spring training, the way the Giants seem to work, when they openly talk about extending a player.

      I think 3 years is the max they will give to free agents outside of the team experience and evaluations and such. Pence, I would consider to be internal now that they have had doctors probing him and scouts and coaches evaluating him. I like him, he seems the real deal, I would not be surprised by a 4th year, but I think age is the real gating factor for Pence, hard to remember but he's already going to be 30 YO for the 2013 season, 3 years cover to age 32, 4th year 33, which are the question mark years for hitters. 5th would push to 34, so I just don't see that happening.

      Plus, given age, free agency at age 31 is old, so I think the Giants by offering a multi-year deal beyond 2 years that is in the ball-park of his value will get him signed, based on what he said about the team. Buying out his free agent years are buying a position players declining years, most acknowledge that prime physical years range from 28-31 or so. So committing to 3-4 years in that range should work for signing him, I think.

    2. Good points about the track record and arb salary calculations. I'll have to reconsider that. So Pagan is 31 now, I thought he was 30. A 3 year takes him through 32, 33 and 34 midseason. Definitely going to be a stretch to get that 4th year, but it only takes one GM.

      Sabean's open public statements about wanting them back provide a pretty good idea here. I have a gut instinct that some action is coming down the pipe right after the parade.

    3. No, my point is that Pagan will be 31 for 2013, his free agency season, sorry I wasn't clearer. So a three year deal covers his 31, 32, 33 seasons.

      But yes, it only takes one crazy GM (or owner :^).

      That's my point, I think some action will come down the pipe after the parade, during our exclusive negotiating period, and the Giants will get Scutaro and Pagan signed before they become free agents.

      But if either decides to play and leverage the Giants, I think the Giants would be OK with shifting Blanco to CF as a starting OF and find another corner OF (plus give Nady a shot), and OK with going with Theriot as their starting 2B, as he was for much of the 2012 season and successfully at that, mostly.

      But like I felt in the Cain situation, I think both sides want a deal to get done, and thus I think something will.

    4. Blanco to CF has some good merits. The nice thing about Pagan is he did well here, he's a useful piece, but he's not irreplaceable. And frankly, neither is Scutaro, who will not be nearly as productive as he was in his torrid August/September. They are both heads up ballplayers, I want them back, but there is a reasonable price, a reasonable overpay, and then its walk away time.

      Here's a thought - Torii Hunter is a free agent. RH power, dump him in LF on a one year "come win with us" deal... We have enough young uns between Peggs, Brown and Kieschnick they could all do a little 4th OF to caddy him as healthy. And even though he's slowed, he's still excellent defensively. Hunter put up 313/365/451 this year. He won't be paid 18MM, or 12MM. I can see him being a last minute snag in the FA market.

    5. I'm pretty sure that they are going to keep Mijares. His agent is pretty stupid if he plays hardball and try to become a non-tender, being with the Giants is the best situation for a reliever, as Bochy will use a guy if he is good, and he's known as a Relief Whisperer, so how he could get a better situation than that, I don't know.

      Burriss is pretty much done, I think, but I think that he'll be back still for one last try. I think Noonan will be his replacement in 2013 and he'll be passed through waivers again, unclaimed, but he'll elect for free agency and maybe hook up with the Nats.

    6. I don't think that Scutaro is irreplaceable, but he'll be an easy sign for cheap bucks, I think.

      Torii Hunter I would love as a player, but he actually had a pretty good season, I would think he would want something high again, at least $12M per. I would be OK with picking him up if Pagan falls through.

  10. Here's what I'm looking at:

    (first number expected next year salary, 2nd number addition over this year's payroll)

    Pagan: $10M/$5.1M
    Posey: $5.8M/$5.1M
    Pence: $13.8M/$3.4M
    Lincecum: $22M/$4M
    Cain: $20M/$5M (His contract was $15M for 2012, $20M for next 3 years after 2012)
    Bumgarner: $3M/$2.4M (unless he fails to make Super 2. Unlikely)
    Wilson: ? (He's making $8.5M now. I find the idea of offering him $1M - and no other team willing to pay more - highly unlikely. Maybe a slight savings, but under $2M best case)
    Scutaro: $10M/$9M (Assuming a 2/20 Huff type deal. Note the Giants only were responsible for $2.2M of Scutaro's $6M salary at the time of his trade, and the Rockies paid some unspecified amount of cash - I'm guessing $1M)
    Romo: $3.6M/$2M
    Huff: $0/-$10M
    Freddy Sanchez: $0/-$6M
    Barry Zito: $20M/$1M
    Rowand: $0M/-$12M
    Sandoval: $5.7M/$2.5M
    Melky: $0/-6M
    Vogelsong: $5M/$2M
    Misc. Brandons and what not: +$5M

    Overall: +$8M

    You can see from this that a $30M/3 for Pagan would be more than half the overall payroll increase (and I suspect that number is low because of increases due to relievers), and the Giants are looking at payrolls jumping for the next 3 or 4 years due to Posey, Bumgarner, Sandoval, and others ramping.

    I personally don't see $30M/3 as realistic - that would be a hefty hometown discount as Michael Bourn is expected at $10M to $12M, and Pagan (slightly) outperformed him in just about every offensive category imaginable, and significantly outperformed if AT & T is taken into account. But the actual number isn't going to be dramatically higher - maybe $36/3.

    Be that as it may, the Giants are run as a business. They're already selling out, so increased ticket sales won't make a big difference. They don't have a regional TV deal like the Dodgers, Angels, and Yankees have. The Oakland deal may or may not happen - frankly it isn't clear to me at all that $100M is to be found by Oakland to pay the Giants.

    Let's also not forget that - for all I think Blanco did a fantastic job, the Giants really could use a stronger bat in left field.

    In any case, I would love to see Pagan come back, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1. Anon - what's your handle? You throwing down some good stuff.

      The quick and dirty budget for me is the starters will cost 69MM next year. I'm assuming they have to up the budget to 140MM, at least for next year until they bridge the Zito/Timmy gap. (45MM coming off in 2014... maybe).

      So assuming the 70MM leftover after the starters are paid out, you deal with the pen first - 4.5MM for Lopez, 5MM for Affeldt, 1.5MM for Mijares on the lefty side, 4MM for Romo, 3MM for the Beard on a prove healthy, the Greek at the minimum, and 1MM for Hensley. Now maybe they keep Casilla as Wilson insurance, or maybe they go grab some new guy. Right handed relievers are the easiest thing to replace in baseball. But the pen will be around 20MM, maybe a tad more, due to Sabean's willingness to spend on it.

      So then you got 50MM for your position players. Catcher you have Posey at whatever he'll get, say 6MM, and Sanchez at the minimum. You have Belt and Crawford at the minimum as well, so you're up to 7.5MM with the home growns.

      Then the scrappers, Arias and Blanco will get 2.5MM or so, now you've got 6 players and 10MM spent.

      40MM to go, Scutaro takes down 10MM of that. 30MM, Pence will squeeze out 13MM, you're down to 17MM, and you're up to 8 players.

      Pablo! World Series MVP! 5.7MM. Now its about 12MM left, 9 players... Yeah, Pagan, even with a raise in the payroll is going to be tough. I imagine the 4th OF would be Peggs or Kieschnick, or another trip to the VWL or DWL. If Pagan and a minimum could be had for 10MM, you'd have a million left for the scrappy Cajun, and you'd have 12 players for about 70MM.

      If they hard budget it to 135MM this team will have to choose between Pence and Pagan. And there is the Melky factor - he can be signed for less than either Pence or Pagan.

      I hope they don't cheap out, I hope they can raise the payroll to that 140 and keep Pagan and Pence. Should be interesting.

    2. Thanks for the rundown. Sorry, need more time to go through numbers. But overall, looks good.

      I would note that Bourn is a classic leadoff guy plus steals a hell of a lot of bases, and will get more because of that. Pagan is a tweener, hence why he's been used in a variety of lineup configurations, and why I don't think he's going to get as much as Bourn.

      A's easily has $100M. They have been socking away $20M+ per Forbe's estimates of their EBITDA, and he's been owner, what, 6-7 years, so that's $120-140M in cash flow he has taken in. Also, Wolff is a multi-billionaire, $100M is pocket lint for him if he wanted to.

      Sure, there are stronger bats than Blanco in left. You can say that about most of our positions. The key is whether the offense we have now is good enough to win with our pitching. I think with Blanco, it will, as most of the young players should improve some in 2013.

  11. FYI - in case I didn't make it clear - despite $34M (!) coming off the books via Huff, Freddy, Rowand, and Melky, the Giants payroll would still rise if they sign Pagan for $10M/year or more.

    After Zito salary comes down - one way or the other - the Giants have more room to work with albeit would need another 5th day pitcher. Ditto Lincecum's salary. Be that as it may, it just doesn't look like a lot of free spending in 2013.

    1. When Sabean said that the Giants were going to try to sign both Melky and Pence to long-term contracts, I assumed that meant that the payroll was going to increase. However, since I didn't know by how much, I didn't want to enter that into the discussion. But I probably should have mentioned it.

      I have been assuming that one of Crick, Blackburn, Stratton or Agosta (plus there's Surkamp) ready to take the fifth spot in the rotation in a couple of years.

      I don't expect free spending at all in 2013, other than another Theriot signing in the $1M range. I'm hoping they sign the key players that we've been discussing, Pagan and Scutaro, plus extend players like Pence and Posey, among others.

    2. ogc, you can call me c1ue. I don't twitter or facebook, and my only Google accounts are biz related so I don't like to use those to sign in either.

      Anyway, I'm just looking at the delta between this year's and next year's pay. All of the above numbers - with the exception of Scutaro - are either already committed contracts or from the estimated arb numbers put up earlier, so I think the estimates are fairly hard.

      I'd also note that Sabean's comments on Pence and Melky were pre-Pagan 2nd half (I think). Pagan at the time was in his gigantic mid season slump so wasn't looking like a $30M/3, more like a $12/2. Having a $30/3 Melky (no PEDs) and a $12/2 Pagan is, I think, on the line of tolerable especially if 2nd base wouldn't cost so much (Freddy and/or some respectable replacement) - but with Scutaro being a World Series hero and getting his Huff-deal and Pagan finishing out with Bourn+ numbers, it just looks difficult to me. Scutaro at $8M to $10M, plus Pagan at $10M to $12M, plus a new left field bat vs. the previous Melky/$10M, Pagan/$6M, Freddy/$6M - I think you can see where I'm going.

      Lastly I'd note that Timmy/Zito coming down isn't necessarily a huge savings either. If Timmy continues to be a mediocre/poor starter and/or converts to long relief/closer, you do reduce the Wilson issue but then have to find a new upper half (1 to 3) level pitcher as well as a new #5. As annoying as Zito can be, he is light years above the #5s the Giants rolled out in previous years. The last 4 years haven't been bad with Zito and Dirty, but think of the predecessors: Morris, Tomko, Wright, Foppert. Those are what normal teams have for a cheap #5... *cringe*

      Zito even in his worst year was only equivalent to the above cheap #5s, and most of the time was significantly better than that.

    3. That's cool, nice to meet you c1ue. Most who do as you just put their handle at the bottom of the comment, like a signature.

      Yes, I'm looking at the delta too. Yes, Sabean's comments were pre-Pagan, when we were expected to let him go and have Melky, Blanco, Pence in the OF.

      I think I see where I'm off from your discussion.

      I don't see how Scutaro can demand more than the $6M he is making this season. He's going to be 37 YO, and when you include his Colorado numbers, his performance is below the baseline he was selling when he was last a free agent after the 2009 season (.282/.379/.409/.789). Plus, at his age, winning is more important than making that extra million or two a season, generally, hence why he openly talked about returning and signing before the exclusive negotiation period passes.

      I can see him getting $1M extra bump for being the hero, to $7M, but not that much more, as he was only hitting during NLCS, he hit poorly in NLDS and WS. And as we saw with Renteria, being the hero only goes so far with Giants management. If Scutaro prices himself outside of $6-7M, I expect Theriot to be our starting 2B in 2013, and that won't be a huge downgrade, plus keeps the spot open for if Noonan or Panik should happen to become ready for majors. It is not a huge negative for me if he don't sign, though a definite downgrade, but with the younger players expected to do more, plus a full year of Pence, I think we'll be OK overall.

      I think that the Giants plan on Pagan and Pence in the OF (might move Pence to LF, depends). Blanco will be given a shot to own LF, I think they will give Kieschnick a chance to, maybe Nady, plus maybe another under-the-radar free agent on par with Torres/Blanco.

      If Pagan falls through, I expect the Giants to give another free agent a deal (I like Shankbone's idea of pursuing Torii Hunter if he falls into January, but I don't think he will, and Sabean don't like waiting, I think he'll move on from Pagan quickly if he jacks his demands up high).

      So I'm not expecting another big salary. Instead of Melky, we'll have Pagan or another free agent. Instead of Sanchez, we'll have Scutaro or cheaper. Pence already budgeted in somehow, probably via upgrade on payroll. As I detailed about the various
      potential salaries and scheduled raises, I think we should be covered, but to your point, no money for a big free agent, unless Pagan falls through.

    4. I guess you are new to my site. I've been a Zito supporter (not contract supporter, Zito supporter) for a number of years. Ignoring contract, he's actually a pretty decent starting pitching, as you noted, better than most team's #4 or #5 starters and he's our #5 starter. That stance didn't make me popular at many Giants sites. :^)

      Regarding Tim and Zito, I think you are jumping ahead to 2014. Both Timmy and Zito are signed for 2013. We also have cheap ($11M extra) option for Zito in 2014, which we probably will pick up as long as he's still producing at this level in 2013, though if a starter is clearly ready in the minors, maybe not.

      I personally think that Tim will be better in 2013 but not Cy Young good. I think DrB's narrative that his up and down weighings, without supervised or expert supervision, screwed him up physically for first half 2012, and that it took him a while to get into good enough shape (i.e. add enough muscle) to pitch well. Meanwhile, his confidence took a beating. He was actually our best starter in the second half until the last few starts when he lost it again.

      It is my belief that this is related to his drastic loss of weight in the last off-season, resulting in a loss of stamina when we got deep into the season. That, I believe, is why he was able to pitch well on short burst during the playoffs, as he got more rest in between appearances, and why he got blasted in his one start, because he constrained himself when starting and lost enough zip that he gets hit in a start, but is sparkling in relief.

      I think with proper training and supervised nutrition this off-season, he can be back to relative normalcy next season, not Cy Young good, but he had a low ERA of 3.06 until his last two starts blew that up. I would take a season of 3.06 from Lincecum in 2013, easily.

      So the need for a replacement ace begins, I believe, in 2014, should we not resign Lincecum. I believe the Giants will sign Lincecum to a contract similar to Cain's but slightly more, during this off-season and I would be OK with it. With the mortgage ending soon, plus boosts in other revenue streams, I think we are covered if he should not perform, but given him performance in the playoffs, I can see him taking on a super-reliever role, jumping in as needed, long, short, set-up, close, as needed, and compiling up to 150 IP each season, like the great relievers of old, should starting not work out. Like the Zito contract, we can take the hit should he not perform to the size of the contract, as long as he is still a viable contributor to the pitching staff, like Zito has mostly been during his contract.

      About poor #5's, don't forget Wellemeyer or even Randy Johnson.

    5. The thing is, when you have four good starters as the Giants have (and I include Zito among the good), you can afford to have one bad starter in the bunch and still do well as a team and in the playoffs. 2009 to 2012 showed that we could have a good RA while having a starter struggle.

      For 2014, I think that Surkamp, Kickham, and Heston will be competitive enough for a spot in the rotation, which could push out Zito even at $11M. Petit too, if he lasts that long in our farm system, I think he'll want to leave for a better chance in 2013, given how well he pitched in AAA.

      And by 2015, Crick, Blackburn, Stratton, and Agosta should have been promoted to at least AA, if not AAA by then, and be ready to compete for a spot in the rotation. And the first three have the potential to be top line starters, ready to be a top pitcher, though, of course, not to replace Lincecum. But we don't need another Lincecum to be competitive, as we learned this season, we just need another top line starter. The three look good for that, I think.

      I think our starting rotation, as well as our bullpen (both Hembree and Bochy will be ready to take on key set-up or closer roles in the next couple of years, Dunnington also looks intriguing as well) should be fine for a number of years, barring a significant injury to more than one key pitcher. We had one with Wilson and survived OK, and with Lincecum's implosion, we got a disaster drill in the starting rotation and I think we did OK in the face of that.

    6. OGC - one factor to remember with Scutaro is the overall market. I completely agree with the numbers argument you make, but the fact is the MI market is pretty bare. That is what will pop it up beyond what seems reasonable (2/12, the Sabes special) to a Huff like deal. We can hope the Giants can grab the Special, and be happy, but I expect it'll cost. Hopefully we'll find out soon! And happy birthday to Mar-co Scu-ta-ro, btw.

    7. Yes, that is true, and his agent would be remiss not to inform him of that. But after moving from team to team like he has during this career, and never winning it all until now, I think as long as the Giants are fair, Scutaro will sign.

      But you never know. Maybe now that he has that ring, he wants the bling bling bling that comes with his MVP. I think if he makes it out to free agency, he's gone, the Giants don't need to sign him back, but if he's to stay, it'll happen now, during the exclusive period.

    8. I agree that Scutaro - without NLCS MVP - wouldn't be getting $8-$10M. However, he was. He also drove in the game 4 run, and unlike Renteria - he can also still actually play a decent 2nd base and a large number of starts.

      Renteria was AWOL for almost the entire 2010 - great he pulled it out in the playoffs, but in no way could he be mistaken for an everyday player.

      As for Lincecum and Zito - I absolutely agree Zito's price tag will go down. Whether it will be with the Giants - much less certain.

      Lincecum, while he'll be a free agent again after next year, it is equally unclear what the result will be. I have heard a 2nd credible theory behind his (lack of) performance this season and it was personal - won't comment about it in public but completely believable. It is quite clear that his issues are mental, not physical as he was excellent coming out of the bullpen. Be that as it may, it isn't worthwhile for the Giants to have a great middle reliever no matter how good he can be - I am certain Lincecum knows this as well. Essentially beyond the mental focus issue, Lincecum needs to adjust his thinking to going just 5 innings if that's what it is rather than trying to dance on a pinhead to go further in. If he does so, I don't see his cost falling to any significant degree.

      Net net - I'm hopeful that the Giants can keep their core together, but the economics don't seem to line up too well. Time will tell.

      The half of the Giants of 2012 which were young and cheap are becoming less young and less cheap every year - I don't see this trend reversing. Yes, there are some promising pitchers in the pipeline, but promising pitchers are just that: promising. Whether they pan out or not, whether the Giants truly have some magic pitcher development capability, only time can tell.

      The fiscal managers of the Giants can not and will not rely on promise - this much is clear.


    9. I should also clarify what a Huff type deal is. It isn't $20M/2 - it is a deal which is as much to reward a player for materially contributing to the Giants while being paid relatively little as it is to compensate said player for future performance.

      And while some might scoff at this practice, the reality is that this behavior unquestionably leads at least some players to take their chances with the Giants rather than go for larger name clubs. Blanco is a possible example.

      The equation being put forward by the Giants is simple: come and play for us for minimal pay, and if you work out, we make it up to you.

      This can look pretty attractive vs. the normal line: come and try out, and if we can't do better we'll pay you 'fair' (read minimal) compensation for 1 year until we get someone better.

      I may be reading too much to get to this conclusion, but then again, I may not be.

    10. I see your points about the different between Scutaro and Renteria, but here is my view on that. They just gave him a $1M offer when all he wanted was $3M to be a backup. I'm not saying that I would have done it, but that is the basic difference between you and I about Scutaro's contract, $2M.

      Huff, on the other hand, had one of the best offensive seasons around, and it was reasonable to think that he could provide a average type season (which his contract was priced at, roughly a 2 WAR player) over two seasons, or one great (4+ WAR) and one nothing (0 WAR) season.

      And they let Uribe go over roughly a few millions of dollars as well. And Ross wanted multi-years and they let him go without even making an offer, if I recall right.

      So, to me, that means that if Scutaro wants roughly $6M (up to $7M), the Giants will sign him, but I don't see them going above that for him, just because he was a hero during the playoffs. If he wants to play for a team ready to reach the World Series again for a fair salary, then fine, but if not, then that's fine too. Same for Pagan.

      If they want to capitalize on whatever they can, good luck to them, but Sabean and the Giants will move on.

      I should point out that the Giants have a team option on Zito for $18M for 2014, but with a $7M buyout that Zito would get either way, that means that effectively the Giants are only paying an additional $11M to have Zito for the 2014 season. This is what I'm referring to.

      I agree that the economics are not lining up well if players are not reasonable with their demands. But that's true most of the time. The Giants made the call to announce that they are bumping up their payroll to afford Pence and Melky long-term. I assume that is still true with Pagan substituting in Melky, which should be at a lower price point.

      Yes, they are promising, but so were Posey and Bumgarner when they were coming up. There is also injuries, so you never know, you are right. Still, it looks pretty damn good.

    11. In Blanco's case, he was just looking for a lifeline as his career was dead in the water, and the Giants made the case that he would get used more with them than the Marlins. It had nothing to do with getting paid for good performance later, though obviously he would hope that, anyone would, he just needed an opportunity to show off what he can do and the Giants gave him that.

      Plus, can't tell exactly his status, but he's either got one more pre-arb year or he qualifies as a Super-Two and will get his first arb year in 2013. Either way, the Giants can cost control him to 2016 - he's a free agent in 2017 - so it is not like he's going to make a BIG payday that makes up for things from the Giants, he's got until 2017 for that to happen, at which point he'll be 33 YO, not really a prime free agent age, though Scutaro made it work for him.

      So I don't really see that the Giants are using that to hook players. Their hook, at least with the lower priced free agents is: if you come here, you'll get a chance to play and, BTW, improve your chances for a big payday afterward, but not necessarily with us if you are going to be greedy for more. That's why Beltran, Ross, Renteria, left the team, not that the team didn't want them, but they wanted more than the Giants were willing to give, whether money or years or both. And given what they eventually got and/or produced, the Giants were right not to get played, both Beltran and Ross got way less than they were hoping for, and while Renteria got more money, for what he produced, the Giants made the right move, that got that much production with Fontenot for much less money, and zero question mark on health. That is how I see it.

    12. Blanco definitely made a conscious decision to try out for the Giants rather than other teams. This may or may not have been to a Huff type deal, but I don't personally have any doubt whatsoever that - whatever the actual decision making process - players around the league know that the Giants will both give NRIs a real trial and will also pay if said NRIs perform. There really aren't too many NRIs elsewhere that got this opportunity - and the Giants started 2 in the World Series in 2012 and had a similar number in 2010. I'd also note that Vogelsong and Blanco aren't even regular NRI's - most NRIs who do get in are former regular players on the back end of their career.

      Renteria: Let's not forget was paid $10M in 2010 for very few games played (under 300 PAs I just about guarantee). It was abundantly clear that he cannot contribute in any meaningful way to the Giants and that he was paid quite fairly for the entirety of the 2010 season; his WS performance only caught him up to what he didn't contribute in the regular season. And as an NL team that has always been pitcher heavy - there simply is no room for a DH type hitter which is all Renteria can contribute now.

      Ross - I love what he did for the Giants, and he is a great guy, but the reality is that Ross isn't a superstar. He's streaky, generally on the poor side, and his power is much less relevant given AT & T park. I'm glad he got his deal with Boston, but there were no surprises or tears when he left.

      Beltran - he's simply too old. A great hitter, but his stint with the Giants - even after Beltran got healthy(er), showed clearly that the Giants can not be successful with just one superstar hitter. Melky plus Pagan plus $5M/$6M vs. Beltran - that's what the tradeoff was.

      Equally Fontenot - while he is a good value for his pay - simply isn't the hitter the Giants need. Scutaro had one of, if not the highest contact rate in the entire major leagues. His skills are frankly underutilized in Colorado - a park where fly ball hitters flourish but exactly the opposite scenario for Scutaro to shine. Boston and Toronto aren't much better.


    13. Thanks, you make a lot of great points that I happen to agree with. Great point about the Giants getting a rep for giving failed prospects a second chance to prove themselves and how they had a number of "provers" playing big roles in the world series.

      Yes, Renteria was well paid for what little he delivered until the World Series, I was a bit insulted when he complained about being insulted by the Giants offer, I let him go his contract because of what he delivered to us, but to complain like that publicly, he could have took the high road there, I was done with him right there.

      Exactly about Ross: word for word, I could have (and probably did at some point) write that.

      About Fontenot, I would note that he clearly was a backup player, whereas Scutaro was clearly a starter, but to your point, yes, Marco has a great contact rate, among the best in the majors, plus he gets a lot of walks, resulting in a high BB/K ratio, which is the mark of a good hitter. Good point about him not fitting in in Colorado, I was wondering why he didn't do well there, but that makes a lot of sense, thanks.

  12. It's amazing to think of how rarely Sabean has missed since the infamous Pierzynski trade. He got such a bad rap for that trade, but since then he has quietly won a lot of trades and I can't remember one that he's truly lost (the Beltran trade didn't get the Giants to the playoffs but Beltran still hit the last month and a half). That plus the drafting and all of the productive (and then some in some cases) minor league free agents he's accrued, this has become a front office that I have a lot of faith in.

    1. Personally, I think that Sabean did not make that trade. Magowan said in an interview that had the deal been run by him, he would have vetoed it. I would think that Sabean would have run such a deal by him, given the significance, just to at least get an opinion.

      However, during that time period, Colletti was yakking it up with the press about how great Sabean is, letting his lieutenants do jobs outside of their titles, like negotiating trades.

      It is my belief that Colletti did this trade, using the latitude that Sabean provided, and basically already agreed to it with the Twins before running it by Sabean or Magowan.

      Remember, Sabean won a lot of trades before that one too.

      Yes, this is a front office I have a lot of faith in (as long as Tidrow and Barr are around too...).

    2. The trade... the fateful trade. Baseball Prospectus called it a big win for the Giants. Who knew it would be such a disaster. The history of success with dealing away our top pitching prospects to that point factored into it some I think.

      Not sure if I can credit Agent Ned with that one. But this fact supports it some: Coletti signed Alfonso all by his lonesome. No medical exam on his back either, even though all of NYC knew about his back injury (I lived there at the time, and went to Mets games frequently). That was a bad mistake as well.

      Who knows for sure, but watching Coletti in action, I would not be dismissive of that theory. The Doyers are collecting bad contracts like they are candy right now.

    3. Yeah, I know it can go either way. Every GM can't escape a bad trade at some point in his career, right? Maybe this was it.

      But if Magawan went to the trouble to say that had the trade been passed by him, he would have vetoed it, why not explicitly say that Sabean was the one who did it? Because that would be the implication of him speaking out on it. Why purposefully leave Sabean's name out of his public shaming?

      But yeah, we probably won't ever know for sure (Pavlovic? Investigative scoop?), but I never thought it would be revealed that Zito was all Magowan either. And I'm still hopeful that we'll learn that Rowand is on Pete's hands as well.

      About Alfonso, I didn't know that, thanks, what I did read was that the Giants tacked on another year to seal the deal, and another GM slammed a chair somewhere (the early 2000's were for chair throwing, I guess :^) because he really wanted Edgardo.

    4. Not sure, and Peter the Pink can be a tricky one at times. He definitely was all over the place after Zito showed up against the Cards.

      The thing about Rowand though, the Giants were chasing big bats all over the place in 06-07. 06 was the Soriano and Lee chase, we even got steered towards Juan Pierre before Coletti stepped in. I think one way to explain Rowand is that the Giants needed some sort of offense, and experience, and that was what was available. The Phils were going to offer 3 years for sure, maybe 4. So its an over the top offer, and a bad deal. Oh well. That I think is on Sabean, but I think it taught a valuable lesson that he is still using - its the years, not the dollars that kill.

      And its a good idea to look at a players work habits. I am confident in Pence, Pagan and Scutaro having good work habits. Although I am firmly in the Pence camp, seeing him lunge a bit at sliders does give one pause...

    5. Yeah, right, he made a lot of public appearances with Zito doing well. I guess he wants redemption too.

      Yeah, I know the Giants were looking at bats (defense too), plus being a vet leader. Yeah, have to say it looks like Sabean right now, but one could hope. At least he seems to be learning that lesson, though I would note that a reason he's been going shorter for outside free agents is because the Giants have been trying to keep positions open for upcoming prospects, so that, I believe, is a factor too.

      Definitely have to look at players work habits. Pence is just very similar to Pablo in that they get lost, chasing sliders, but I'm warmed by his long-term track record of good hitting. I love seeing him hit, he looks like an old time baseball hitter when he's swinging the bat, one time he reminded me of Honus Wagner.

  13. I find it hard to believe that the Giants would have acquired Pence if they didn't intend to keep him around; and apparently--who knows?--the process of acquiring him came before knowing that they were going to lose Melky C. If they intended to keep him, they budgeted for him, presumably by planning to increase payroll, Furthermore, they can't let themselves be lavishly outspent by the D_d_ers, and lose in the division as a result. Fans wouldn't tolerate that. Finally, their bonus spending in the draft has been curtailed by the new CBA, and that leads them to have more money at their disposal. These considerations lead me to think that the 2013 budget will be elastic to a noteworthy degree over 2012. If so, the calculations above are valuable but I'm skeptical that there are implicit danger signs about loss of personnel.

    1. Hey, thanks for the comment.

      Not sure who you are reacting too, but Sabean said right after trading for Pence that he was told that the Giants have enough money to try to sign Melky and Pence to long-term contracts. So that is the Giants intention.

      But I have see some comments elsewhere about how Pence is a one-year loaner: he's not, the team wants to sign him long-term, and he said he wants to sign long-term because no team had wanted that with him yet, and after all his "want another day with you" sermons during the playoffs, I don't see why they can't come to an agreement, probably late this month, early next. The Giants first need to deal with Pagan, Scutaro, and even Melky (Huff and Sanchez will certainly be let go; Nady probably will return, he wanted to be here, was Giants fan growing up).

      The Giants said that they have the money to sign Melky and Pence. Pagan could not get more than Melky, so hence I think the Giants can afford him and Pence long-term under the current budget. Scutaro would not be that much more, $6-7M for 2 seasons, that's covered by the extra ESPN money right away, that wasn't available when they said that they were pursuing long-term deals with Pence and Melky.

  14. OGC - you still got your BP subscription? I would comment on this piece, because it annoys me, but I ain't got no subscription and I don't plan on getting one:

    1. I've never had a subscription. I had been thinking of getting one when they came out with the 2010 Annual asking for Sabean to be fired.

      Yeah, the piece annoys me too, but I don't plan on getting one either, any time soon, they have been anti-Giants for a long while, and it culminated with their 2010 hit piece on Sabean. They couldn't even be consistent, one would blast them for punting draft picks because then you might select a Matt Cain, but then their draft guy says that you shouldn't draft high school players in the first round. Which is it?

      I attribute it to an A's bias that they have, as the A's sucked up to them by consulting with them, but the Giants constantly rebuffed them and didn't give them the time of day.

      The ironic thing is that the Giants is PROOF of BP's study that teams with certain characteristics are more likely to go deep into the playoffs. I ran through the stats and the 2010 Giants was among the top in the categories that they wrote were the keys to going deep into the playoffs. In fact, the record of teams with a top ranking is that, like 9 of 10 won the World Series, and the 10th one only lost because they played one of the other 9.

      The Baseball Primer website often post links to baseball stories and allow people there to comment, so maybe this article is up there somewhere.

      Feel free to comment here if you wish, would love to hear what you have to say.



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