Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Giants: Arbitration Deadline Deals

As reported by Half/ and Pavlovic/Merc, the Giants have signed a number of players to deals in order to avoid arbitration.  The Giants under Sabean has worked assiduously to avoid arbitration, prefering to avoid the combative atmosphere that generally creates, with only A.J. the only one to go into arbitration (and he won, mainly because Colletti put the Giants offer way too low, not that I knew, but the media was reporting a much higher number than what the Giants offered and A.J. got his high number because it was closer to that media number.  From what I recall, AJ asked for $3.5, the Giants offered $2.25 and the media was quoting $3M range, but more under than over).
  • Hunter Pence:  $13.8M, which is basically where he should be.  His prior arbitration amounts worked out to roughly low $17M market value (based on the 40%/60%/80% of market value rule of thumb that is used by many sabers).  This amount works out to $17.25M.  Media reports that there is not likely to be a long-term deal to be worked out in spring, and I can see why.  $17M is a lot to pay Hunter, frankly, the Astros screwed things up by giving him that much so it has stuck.  I can see the Giants letting him go into free agency where his offers will determine what his true market value is, and then swooping in to sign him to a long-term deal.  Given how much he seems to love it here, I can see him giving the team a final try to beat whatever offer comes his way.  I would be mildly surprised if he gets that much, but with so much new money coming into the league, it is hard to get shocked by any salary nowadays.
  • Buster Posey:  $8M.  Not sure if there's ever a rule of thumb on a Super-Two.  I've used 30% before, and that would work out to a $26.667M market value, and if you used the 40%, you get $20M.  Looking at the two, roughly $25M works for me.  That's close to Howard's $10M that he got in arbitration (he did not work out a deal, so he asked for $10M and got it, while the Phillies offered $7M). 
  • Jose Mijares:  $1.8M.  For a first timer, that works out to $4.5M, which seems fair for what he did in 2012.  That is right around but under what the Giants signed Affeldt, Lopez, and Casilla to.  
  • Gregor Blanco:  $1.35M.  For a part-time starter, that's not too bad.  This values him at $3.25M, and if anything, I think that might be on the low side, as he did start a lot of games.  Still, that's not a sure thing in 2013, with Torres around and probably competition from Kieschnick and/or Peguero at minimum.  And he was up and down last season.
Still to be settled:  Sergio Romo and Joaquin Arias.  I don't know what the hangup with Arias is.  If I got my order right, Mijares was signed yesterday, Pence early this morning, then Blanco, then Posey, so it wasn't like they were working their way down the totem pole.  I imagine that he's asking for too much, if nothing is done today, then we should be able to see the offer and ask for figures and see what the spread is.  The Giants often settle somewhere in the mid-way point between the two figures.  I can't imagine he don't get signed before arbitration.

I have to think that Romo's side is asking for closer type money and the Giants are balking.  Though it could also be that they might be working on a deal to cover his two remaining arb seasons and go into his free agent years, much like Casilla.  His arb salary last season placed his market value at $3.9M.   Assuming he values himself closer to a Brandon League $7.5M deal, for a quasi closer, that works out to a $4.5M salary for 2013.  Maybe we can get him signed to a deal close to but above Casilla's 3 year, $15M deal, like $16.5M, extra half mil per season.

I have been wanting to see the Giants sign Posey to a long term deal and the media reports that the Giants are trying to get a deal done.  At $25M per, that works out to $10M in 2014, $15M in 2015, $20M in 2016 (total of $45M).  Assuming some discount for giving him guaranteed money now, versus risking that he get injured and not earn any of these amounts, maybe $9M in 2014, $12M in 2015, $15M in 2016, $20M in 2017 plus mutual option year for 2018.  That works out to a $56M deal.  Throw in a $4M buyout of the 2018 option, that works out to 4 year deal with option for $60M.  Add another year for $20M, that is a 5 year deal for $80M.  Both seems fair to me, given 2011.  I would lean more towards a longer contract than shorter with him.  I view him as our Jeter, someone to keep here for his career.


  1. I can see Pence being a more expensive Cody Ross situation, he is maybe making a tad more than what he'd get on the open market this year, just like Ross did for us in 2011. But with a solid year, he'll definitely be a 10MM guy for multiple years. Like we've discussed, we have the contact rate issue and the BABIP issue once Pence donned the French Vanilla. I imagine there should be some comeback towards his career numbers. I really like the fact Pence has been so positive and public about his desire to go long term with the Giants. I imagine his agent would encourage him to have a good year and have more leverage, so I doubt they are really pursuing much on the multi-year front either.

    I view Posey as our Jeter as well. (And btw, some still like to deny Sabean the credit for that one, here's a link to the NY Daily News - ) I think the record should get set straight on that. Sabean wasn't some cross-checking scout. He was the director of scouting, VP of Player Development and 1st in line for the GM job when Quinn poached him, and Steinbrenner was furious about it. Sabean patiently grabbed his guys as he could from the Yanks (as mentioned in that article). And here is a nice lil interview with Tidrow by the NY Post -

    I think you are about right on the 5/80MM mark. The important thing is Posey will need some security based off of last year's horrific injury. The Giants have a ton of interest in locking up the face of the franchise. It's a win-win, and I think Posey understands he's playing for the most cheerful adoring and rabid fanbase in baseball, and that experience is priceless. The money will be there. I think that's one thing the Giants have definitely proven out about, with the lockups of Cain/Bumgarner. They understand that value, and will not cheap out.

    That's one thing I've come to realize the more I've actually looked into their operations. And I think one thing a lot of the Gints blogs are lazy about is actual investigation into what the Giants are doing. The more I look into it, the more I like what I see.

    Romo is a curious situation. He has amazing statistical profile, and he closed out our season in style. But he is also a pretty big injury risk, with the trick knee and the small frame. I would hope they could compromise on a 2 year deal so he's locked, but I understand there would be some difference. I would rather the Giants spend money on him than Casilla if its an either/or, but I imagine it'll just be a process. I'm confused on Arias, I would have thought that would be a slam dunk.

    We've come a long way since AJ double play. One thing I found re-reading those old chron splash blogs was how bad the pen got ragged on in 2005-8. Alou chewed up arms with his pen management, and they didn't have a-list talent to begin with. The worst aspect of the AJ trade was taking Nathan out of the rotation and then the pickup of Benitez at the end result. The pen is definitely the glue, and important, and it cracks me up that fans can't see that, even with the results right in front of us.

    1. Pence is, for me, definitely worth over $10M per season. He should be getting a bigger contract than Pagan, both more years, more money, more money per season.

      Thank you for the links, I greatly appreciate them. I would note that Righetti was associated with the Giants post-Yankees and that his being in the area had more to do with him being with the Giants than any Yankee link. Same with Sabean's buddies. But still, the writer makes a good point about the link to the Yankees, particularly with regards to Tidrow. I'm now curious how Sabean got connected with Pat Dobson, who was one of his closest confidants until his early demise.

      Great articles, definitely recommend them to others interested in Sabean and Tidrow, the architects of the Giants roster and player philosophies.

      I think security has to be a key for Posey. That's also why I'm hoping Pence will work out some deal mid-season, or even better, by starting day. I think that he's probably worth around $12-14M per season, and while his position is not injury prone, since he seems to love it here, he'll work his agent hard to get a deal done here in SF. We'll see.

      The Giants have rarely cheap out, I think, if anything, they have a rep for overpaying.

      I totally agree that a lot of Giants blogs are lazy about looking into what the Giants are doing. That has been my focus basically since I started writing on the Giants for Yahoo and Fanhome. I was the dissatisfied former Sabean supporter and I was looking to show that we should look into changing the GM, back in the post-Kent era. And exactly as you write: the more I look into it, the more I like what I see.

      And it was never anything big hitting me over the head, really, other than the draft study I did, which showed how hard it really is to find good players via the draft. I would find a puzzle piece every so often, a saber article here, a piece of info there from an interview, and that led me to the business plan that I publish here at my blog, most of that was observation of the Giants MO under Sabean and finding out later that such tactics and strategy was actually pretty good.

      Yeah, it especially surprised me even more after the storm that happened over Affeldt/Lopez last off season then seeing how that benefited the Giants in 2012 and especially in the playoffs, yet they do the same, dang thing again this off-season complaining about devoting all that money to the bullpen.

      But that's the thing, whereas an offense to them is subpar if even one hitter in the lineup is not good, the bullpen is the magical place of unicorns and lollipops where you can find great relievers under any stone, at any time you want, if you look hard enough, or so their theory goes. What they don't realize (and anyone can if they just examine the lineups of the top offenses) is that even the best offenses have some holes in it. No team is so rich that their roster is bulletproof up and down, if they have a great offense, then their pitching and/or defense suffers, there is always a hole somewhere.

      But as I showed with my analysis on Pythagorean, holes in the offense is easily hidden by great pitching, and it is easier to come by great pitching than it is great hitting (4 starters and a closer vs. 8 starters in the lineup). Luckily, these other blogs are not in charge of the Giants (even though they write as if they should be).

    2. Pence might be willing to settle for Pagan's deal, but his agent has to be using that as a jumping off point in any negotiations that go on. Only thing to look at is he's 30 next April, so a 4 year deal would be 31-35 years. That might be the hesitation right there. His career average beats the league average well enough that he needs a long look for the lockup. I've always been a fan, but the ugly swings definitely do give a little pause. I expect him to rally though.

      The complaining about the pen, immediately upon having the pen strategy proven out staring everybody in the face as one of the real reasons for sitting on a 2nd trophy, that one really boggles my mind. They've worked hard to get quality arms in the pen. Once that is achieved, the goal should be to keep them, not discard them to save money. I agree, the Giants have a rep for overspending to get the deal done. The list is long, occasionally wrong headed, and its moved from the mid 2000s where it was almost exclusively the free agent market to a better strategy of retaining their own guys, either before the FA market or competing in that area.

      I have a similar background to you. I've worked as a financial analyst and as a consultant, and I've even had my own business. One conclusion I've come to about fans expectations is that sometimes you try things in life or business that just don't work out. There are a myriad of reasons, and instead of a shoulder shrug and "better luck next time" it's become a nitpicking nightmare for the Greybeards. Every mistake, some earned, is held up to the light, repeatedly. That fangraphs article rating them the #27 last year, it was all about 3 and 4 year old FA signings.

      My big beefs were Alfonso/Benitez and the punt picks. I've never been able to understand that punt picks, its draining your lifeblood, your system. But what we know now is the ownership had been making that call for a long time. They invested in pitching in part because of expertise. As well as familiarity, with Tidrow. And then it becomes a position scarcity, like you've outlined with the need for more pitchers than 1B. But its also a financial necessity, which is a bad way to own a ballclub. Sabean has always been tied up with ownership, and that sometimes gets murky. B

      ut we learn new things all the time. We know that Peter the Pink was the Zito call, without a doubt now that he proudly declared to the world after the Cards win this year. We know that he fired George Genovese, and later apologized for it. We know from Baggs book that Tidrow wanted Sabathia in the draft and was batted down by ownership. Hello Tony Torcato. So when you find out that information, your views do tend to change. I've even changed my view on that famous Sabean Vlad quote. So it goes.

      Campanari says it better than I, but yes, bloggers wanting to be in charge, and not having any say in what the Giants do, that is one of the big bothers. There are consequences to actions, and every decision you make fills in a hole. Sometimes the best move is to keep some room to move. Glad they didn't go Swisher, just like I saw good reasons for no Beltran, or no Crisp/DeJesus last year. They have room with Pagan signed and reclamation and farm options as well as Pence for this coming one.

    3. Rereading my comment, I didn't say that Pence would accept Pagan's deal, I said what you said, that it was a jumping off point.

    4. That is, my point is that Pence will want more than Pagan in all ways.

    5. Sounds about right. I'm not sure the Giants will go that route. Sabean has never valued OFs very high. I guess my point would be the Giants might want to offer something in the neighborhood of Pagan's deal, if Pence rebounds. I don't think they'll go to Rowand territory with Pence.

    6. The problem with the internet fans is that generally they are like those people with perfect memories: they retain every good or bad thing that happens, and ultimately the focus on the bad things ruins things. The 60 Minute focus on these types of people found that all of them have had tremendous difficulties in staying in one relationship, either they have never married or they have had multiple ones.

      Plus, while they have perfect memories of the Giants/Sabean's mistakes, they conveniently forget about their own gigantic mistakes. As many mistakes as Sabean has made in his career as GM, none will ever match what a lot of the MCC crowd made: they all were screaming for Smoak over Posey.

      They also have no judgement of the magnitude of the negatives as well, which makes things even worse. They focus on the minutia, like 25th man role players or prospects who were low odds of succeeding, but ignore the overall big picture that the team has the pitching to win consistently, which will get them into the playoffs, where their pitching is a huge competitive advantage.

      I'll bet that even if the Giants win a third World Championship (and I think that is probable in the window we have now), that crowd will still be beating the #FireSabean meme into a bloody dead pulp.


    7. And to correct you on one point I've tried to make over the years, the focus on pitching is good because of the flexibility that provides the team, not that the team needs more pitchers than 1B. 1B was just my example.

      It could also be SS or C or CF or whatever. Once you find two position players who are good at the same position, the team now has a choice: trade one or move the other to a position where he might not be as good defensively (or worse, horrible defensively). Both adds risk to your rebuilding process: you could trade bad or the move might cause problems for your player (I think Willie McCovey injured his knees playing another position off of 1B; or he could just be bad defensively there, lucky for McGwire that the 1B they went with his first season flamed out, he actually started out at 3B, who knows what playing there full-time might have done to him).

      With pitching, however, if you have two good pitchers, problem solved: you put both in the rotation. And you can fit up to five of them in the rotation. Also, pitchers who flame out as a starter sometimes find a second life as a reliever (see Joe Nathan or even BWeez, who was a starter when he was drafted). Similarly for pitchers who can't handle being a full-time starter anymore, they can move to the bullpen (Eck). There is a lot of flexibility in rebuilding a team when focused on pitching, the cream just rises to the top and you keep on collecting it, without the risk that you have to make a move which could cost you the positive gain to your rebuilding that the good player you found provided.

      There is the potential negative that pitchers are relatively fragile relative to position players plus many flame out suddenly (see AFW). So there is definitely some luck involved with this Giants era so far being, knock on wood, free of serious injury (though this period started about the time of our last flame out, Lowry).

      But is it pure luck, or is it luck as a product of strategy? I think the latter, particularly since Sabean and gang went against consensus opinion (as represented by Baseball America and the other teams) and drafted Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner ahead of where they were thought to be ranked. Cain was considered a supplemental first rounder, Lincecum was viewed as a future reliever, and Bumgarner was also viewed as a later talent, though was in range (BA thought he was a sure first rounder and could get selected as early as 10th, which happened to be the Giants pick). And my study of the Giants picks against BA's top player rankings generally showed that the Giants would select a player at least a round if not more earlier than where he was ranked, if every team drafted using BA's ranking (that did not always - and generally should not - hold up for picks earlier than ones that contending teams get, Posey and Lincecum were picked later than their talent would suggest).

      And yes, most of the people yammering on the internet do not regularly keep in mind the consequences of their actions. That's in line with my comment above about how they don't really remember their own mistakes, but remember all of Sabean's as if it were yesterday.

    8. My sloppy shorthand. I knew exactly what you were talking about and instead of saying position scarcity or something like that I was thinking of your example of the Texas 1B situation with Teixera, Agon and Hafner. Actually, there is some pretty good circumstantial evidence it is happening with them and SS right now with their crowded MI. They are obviously trying to shop to improve the team, but everybody wants either Mike Olt or Profar. They know the Rangers have logjams at the position... and you can fill in the rest of that one.

      The strategy of pitching first is definitely strategy. Its come out in NYtimes interviews for example, ( - I sited this one in my last ill-fated MCC fanpost), but in addition to the position scarcity, the known commodity of best sure thing hitters going quickly, the lack of resources provided by ownership historically and finally the most obvious that the Giants are just better equipped to go after pitching guys with Tidrow and Sabean at the helm. Barr is being brought in deliberately to supplement that expertise. And so far you really can't complain about Posey, Crawford and Belt, although the first was as you pointed out not credited to the GreyBeards, the 2nd was derided constantly and the 3rd was adopted as a mascot and symbol of the GreyBeards stupidity, not only by Gints blogs but also national snarkers such as Keith Law. Well, nothing is set in stone yet, but a world series victory is a nice way to start. They are both great defenders who should come around with the bat. One has scrapper skills, the other obp and power. Neither is perfect. But both are pretty darn good so far.

      And young. There's another leg of the argument folding down. The Sabean loves old guys is taking a rough death, as is the Sabean can't build an average offense. So it goes. They aren't perfect, they've made their mistakes, but a new narrative has been building for quite a while. Just because they choose to treat the OF the way other teams treat the bullpen doesn't mean its a bad strategy. Its just topsy turvy with conventional thinking.

    9. Oh sorry, should have known. Yes, I agree with you about their issues with SS, good example, thanks.

      I should add that SS is one of the better areas to be logjammed, because usually they can move to 2B or 3B easily, or really any position. They are at the end of the defensive spectrum that allows them to shift to other positions relatively easily. But then their value is reduced... And unlike pitching where it is relatively easier to find a good player, a good SS is not so easy to find.

      Thanks again for all the links! You would make a great researcher! I know, trying to teach them anything is worse than banging your head against the wall, unfortunately.

      Wow, great stuff from the article:

      It is by now no surprise that the starting staff is made up almost entirely of Giants draftees (the exception being Zito). Less expected is that fully half the position players in Sunday’s starting lineup — Posey, Sandoval, first baseman Brandon Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford — came up through the organization.

      Has the team’s philosophy changed? No, Sabean said.

      “Some of it has to do with where you draft,” he said. “To get the better position players, you have to cherry-pick at the top of the draft,” he said. “If you draft lower, you can take pitching, because there’s usually pitching later in the first round, or in later rounds.” (Never mind that the Giants took Lincecum with the 10th overall pick in 2006 and Bumgarner with the 10th pick a year later, or that Crawford and Belt went in the fourth and fifth rounds while Sandoval was an amateur free agent.)

      Sabean’s pitching-first philosophy is as strong as it ever was, and, as with 2010, his roster moves to support that credo have almost universally hit the mark. His acquisitions have mostly come through when needed, and when they have not (Cabrera, in the season’s second half, for example), Bochy has had the lineup depth to work around them.

    10. About your pointing out that with Sabean and Tidrow, the Giants are better equipped to find pitching, I think that's like a chicken or egg question, frankly.

      Perhaps Sabean selected Tidrow because he wanted to focus on pitching more than hitting. One thing that led me to think that is that Pat Dobson was one of Sabean's closest advisors (and friend I believe). Dobson was part of those great Orioles rotations in the early years of Earl Weaver's managerial reign in Baltimore (surprised he never got another job managing, even in Baltimore). The Dodgers of the 60's and the Orioles four 20-game winners were part of my "ah ha" moment in terms of advocating for developing a rotation full of good pitchers to enable playoff advantage.

      Well, while Posey to us was a no-brainer, there were many Giants fans who thought that Smoak was a better pick for us, so I think credit should be given to the Greybeards, as you put it, by these Giants fans. And, of course, they are loathe to do that.

      Yes, Crawford and Belt are looking good, and anyone obsessive enough to follow what Belt said in the 2012 season will know that the Giants handled him right, he admitted that he had it wrong and finally fixed what the Giants wanted fixed (though he did it defiantly and skirted taking responsibility for stonewalling by making it seem like he learned it on his own). All's well that ends well is a good way to put it, flags fly forever and all that.

      Yep, all their arguments are going by the way side, youth and position players being the last one. Though pretty soon they will complain about all the starting pitchers being past their prime. But other than that, the last thing they can complain about is the greybeards itself: hey, get a shave! :^)

    11. When the smoke cleared Belt had 472 PAs. Boom. As the BA Executive of the Year article revealed, the FO had to put some pressure on Bochy to leave him in the lineup. So Bochy is a prove-out guy. So what? I think the combo of baserunning and defense might have played its part as well, Belt is plus in those categories. The whole "Giants hate Belt" meme that got started is among the silliest to ever rock the interwebz. Yeah, they just hit on a 5th rounder who whizzed through the minors. Now they want him to fail.

      The Crawford hate, I have no idea where it came from, but it was strong, and completely off base. Same with Hector Sanchez for that matter. All 3 players are getting right near their 2K professional AB mark, and then we can really start to make some conclusions. Its a big year for all 3, but they can begin it with something few players ever get to do: a ring ceremony. In front of the Cards. And Beltran. Who was injured when his team needed him most. I can only imagine the vitriol directed towards Sabean if Don Carlos was re-signed and then pulled that. Always. Signing. Injured. Old. Vets. Take that one to the bank. I'm glad Bobby Evans set the record straight that they did explore talks with his agent, but they wanted to play the market. Then the market spoke. And that's the part that is insane to me - 2 teams bid, and he took what he could get. With a third team, one that traditionally doesn't skimp, what do you think that contract would have been? The Giants made a measured decision, and it was a hard one, to walk away from a great pure hitter with injury risk, fading defense and reduced baserunning skills. And got something very interesting, for cheaper, that outperformed him handily. The fact he was on the bench for the win, and will be on the field for the ceremony... that's pretty ironic actually. Its like the more that comes around, goes around. The Cards will be a very worthy adversary in the next few years, and it'll be a struggle.

    12. Thanks for the research complement. I've got a historical bent, and I've held some research jobs. Its funny to go back to the old info, such as the beats blogs, and see what was going on versus how I remember it. Its important to keep perspective that you're looking at it through the lens of knowing how it all turns out, but its also interesting to see who makes what prediction when. And over the last year I've approved of the Braintrust moves while delving more into the blogosphere. Its an interesting combo, one that drives me to that apologist label. Oh well, everybody likes to label.

    13. Not only that they want him to fail, but that first they were able to spot something special in him that they changed the way he hit, turning him into a first round type talent, then is blind to that talent now that he's become that good. Asinine.

      Luckily I did not see the Crawford hate, as that would have drove me crazy. He and Belt needed the development, and they had shown enough that, to me, it was a matter of time and experience that will get them to where they could be. I'm not too surprised that Sabean had to lean on Bochy, honestly, looking at his contact rate, he was pretty bad during long stretches, and I was wondering why Bochy was keeping him in. But with Huff mostly injured and useless, and Pill being the only real alternative, except when Sanchez started and Posey moved to first, Bochy did not have any real alternative other than Sanchez/Posey, and you need to keep Posey happy by starting him mostly at catcher.

      Very good points about Beltran and the Cards. But as long as our pitching holds up, I like our chances.

      Those are all very important things that most blogs don't seem to have much of, in order to have a good perspective. A historical bent, knowing what has actually happened before, not what you thought happened. Realizing that your view is bent by knowing what the future results were. Being humble enough to know that you can be wrong, and being willing to change your view once proven wrong.

      I've always viewed the "apologist" label to be a Naysayer term. I prefer "realist" to be our label. For as they say, those who end up on the right side of history generally get to name themselves and their actions, right? Hence American Revolutionaries and Patriots, instead of American Terrorists and Guerrilla Fighters.

    14. The compliment was long overdue, really, I'm just mad I didn't say it earlier. I've seen your comments - many times prior - about searching in the past and plucking up information. You are very good at it.

  2. Its also funny sometimes what you can find, when you go back and review the beats blogs. Here it is, in black and white, why the Giants gave up Wheeler. Crick's name is even mentioned:

    “Wheeler’s got a lot of potential. There’s some missed development time. Quite frankly, we go with Dick Tidrow’s advice and guidance. While he felt we were giving up a quality arm, he felt we did have inventory. Our sandwich pick, (Kyle) Crick, was very much like a first-round pick. We chose the pitcher because we’ve been pretty good at developing pitching on our end and we think we’ll continue to do that.”

    And here is where I get a little bit nuts on the 2nd guessing of Sabean. We all knew it was a challenge trade. The back end of it is nothing but possible failure for the Giants. They were 4 games up when they went for that, and flags fly forever. The 2009 and 2011 seasons ended not where we wanted them, but they were exciting chases. And that's actually something I was reminded of re-reading the splash blog as well - the Giants were in the hunt in 2006, although they faded down the stretch. Sabean does a great job of keeping the team competitive, almost always. As opposed to the perennial cellar dwellers and burn-it-down strategies of the Marlins. I think he doesn't get nearly enough credit for that, because everybody was obsessed about the bad contracts.

    The one benefit of winning it all, proving out as I call it, is the LP group will most likely never interfere with baseball operations again, as they did with the re-sign and build what they could around Bonds, sacrificing for the future in 2004-5 with the punt picks and sign all the old guys, nor the PR influenced Zito overpay. Yet another reason the Gints are set up well for the future.

    1. Yeah, me too. Now maybe you understand why I got a little overboard in defending Sabean sometimes.

      Yep, that was the catch phrase for a long while in the Giants media book, since Sabean became GM, the Giants have been in contention (for the title) every day except for X days. And people forgot that when Sabean inherited the team, they had lost 94 games the season before, and he turned it around in one off-season, with the team winning 90 games and winning the division title. Yes, he does not get enough credit for that.

      Yes, good point that two championships should make Sabean bulletproof for a number of years going forward, from the owners meddling that interfered in Bonds' last years.

  3. So OGC - one thing I'm gonna get into with this blog bidness once I get it set up is the business of baseball. Doyers get their deal with Time Warner, 7-8 Billion with a B. Apparently season tickets have rebounded from 17K to 27K already. This is a 20 year cable deal, that is crazy stupid money. So we have a new evil empire and its the original evil empire as far as we are concerned. First off, I think the add on fee will be a huge issue later on for subscribers who don't like sports. We're talking 5 bucks a month, 60 bucks a year per household? A la carte might have to get on the menu. I have always held time warner in low esteem, they tend to be very heavy handed with negotiations and I bet they will lose subscribers over this. Then its the game of selling to Directv/Dish and others. As a guy living in LA, I will be going MLB package or nothing, and I'm not paying for the right to watch Doyer games. I'll go if I have to avoid that. Interesting times. LA times articles are saying this might be the last big deal, hints of a bubble in the whole cable revenue stream, etc. Alls I know is its pretty sweet to own a baseball team as long as you don't go crazy like McCourt or the Wilpons with sidetracks.

    1. I look forward to reading on your takes on business at your blog. I'll be sure to RSS it (once I figure out what to replace iGoogle with).

      I think this is really going to help LA be a top contender for the life of the contract. They have an unfair advantage because a lot of that revenue will be excluded from revenue sharing. So even if the Giants catch up in generating this type of revenues - doubtful both because of the economy and because of the difference in overall population to draw from - the Dodgers would still be bringing more dollars to their payroll than we can.

      Yeah, I can see that blowing up the way you describe, the internet era is close to forcing cable systems to move to an a la carte business model - I've been ready for that for years - and it is not just sports, but all those niche channels, whether ethic, lifestyle, generational, gender, news oriented, and so one. With the internet and cable being supplied over the same pipes, won't be long before customers prefer to buy exactly what they want to buy access to, and not get 50% or more of their stations being ones that they have no interest in viewing, ever.

      Baseball ownership is usually pretty sweet, you have to be pretty much an idiot to screw that up, and even then (cough, McCourt, Steinbrenner, Orioles owners who was some big lawyer), the economics often saves them from their own stupidity.

  4. Shankbone, thought you would enjoy this bit of info I got from BP's latest book, BP Extra Innings. At the end of Part 5, 5-3, "What is the Effect of the Increase in Strikeouts?" by Christina Kahrl, she notes:

    All too often, sabermetrics can be an exercise in documenting the previously observed. For more than a century, perhaps all the way back to the game's earliest days, skippers understood that fewer balls go to right and left field than anywhere else, so they were only too happy to stuff unglovely sluggers in the distant corners of the diamond to reap some offensive benefit. If folks start noticing that teams are winning the World Series with designated hitters in the field [she earlier highlighted Burrell/Huff for SF 2010, Berkman for St.Lou 2011], we'll have come full circle from the elaborately exaggerated enthusiasm for the 2008 Rays and their defensive turnaround.

    Instead, the lasting lesson from those Rays and life in the age of strikeouts is that bullpen assembly and management is more important than ever. As tedious as the endless shuffle of men from the pen might be to witness, and as much as many of us might lament the loss of a 14th or 15th position player and the impace of that on in-game offensive tactics, the recent success of bad defensive teams with deep pens and strong lineups might provide a template that keeps us exactly where we are for years to come.

    1. Here we go, sabermetric love for bullpen assembly and the importance of it in winning the World Series. And all the Giants did was pay the going market rate for our best relievers.

      This also brought up a tipping point that I had not realized before, the balance between bench players and relievers before. Today, there is 5 bench and 7 relievers, but in the past, there were a lot more offensive options with 7-8 hitters on the bench and maybe only 5 relievers. The more relievers you put on the roster, the greater it limits your choices on the bench, which encourages teams to add more relievers, minimizing the bench for teams as this cycle repeated over time, until we have reached today's state.

      I would also note, once again, here, that as good as this information is, it shows how these baseball analytics (i.e. sabermetrics) organizations like BP or Fangraphs or THT, often need team experts to vette their articles. Just because the Giants utilized Burrell in left and Huff in right did not mean that they sacrificed defense overall.

      And if you look at the saber data on that, both Burrell and Huff actually had POSITIVE defensive value that season. I couldn't believe it either, as I had Burrell on my fantasy team once and it drove me crazy that the Phillies would steal an AB from him by replacing him defensively late in the game.

      On top of that, the Fielding Bible seasonal data has shown that the Giants have been among the leaders in defensive runs saved for many years running, and, due to this consistency, is near the top in defense when looking over the period of years.

      So the Giants are not really a strong example of her point in that chapter. The Giants chose to use subpar defensive players more probably because they chose to have superior defensive players in other areas of the lineup, balancing offensive and defense, as best as they could.

      And really, when you need to find a player to fill a spot in your lineup, unless you developed that player yourself, invariably, the free agent or trade pick-up will be lacking in one or the other area. That is just the nature of the beast unless you are willing to pay $15-20M per year for that free agent, or empty your farm system for that trade option.

    2. Back to Burrell and Huff, I think this might get back to the Righetti magic pixie dust theory on the pitching staff, where they are able to keep balls in the park.

      If they are somehow able to get their pitchers to do that, perhaps they have been good at teaching their pitchers to induce weaker contact, making it easier on their outfielders to get to balls in certain zones near them, enabling them to compile a positive defensive runs saved metric. Heck, inducing weak contact overall would also lead to reduced number of homeruns, so that's probably the magic right there.

      Of course, how they do it is another question...

    3. "All too often, sabermetrics can be an exercise in documenting the previously observed" - A big YES to me. A lot of the time advanced stats look like an exercise in who can sound the smartest and debate the most arcane point. I have tried to check out "the book" and Tom Tango and I just find it too obscure. Bill James is the granddaddy, and the gulf between the wannabe's who try and match his wit is huge. Using stats as a religion instead of a suggestion is a dangerous game, and I haven't seen good results. I'd point to defensive UZR ratings as used by Seattle and Oakland as big failures as an example. But I'm much more historical and scouting centered. I think there is a big disrespect of what these athletes are out there accomplishing. 750 guys break camp, maybe 1200 might get to play a season.

      Here's a thought - the peak into the Kimono. I'll dig this up when I have a sec, but John Miller asked Sabean about advanced stats the Gints use back at a fan fest in 2008-9. Sabean gave a frank answer. Instead of the latest +this or +that stat fangraphs has dreamed up, I'd like to see what MLB teams USE. As the Giants don't drink at the same watering hole and have had contentious relationships with BP or BA, and prefer to be monks about it, I doubt it'll come from there.

      A lot of evidence that the Giants scout each hitter, pitch to their weaknesses and adjust their defense accordingly. I have no doubt in my mind those balls Blanco got to on Fielder, which were straight up steals, was put into place first by positioning and then by his natural ability to close on balls. But some of this is so vague, you have a 10 yard adjustment, its seat of your pants stuff. You can get computer measurements to help out, and I think the Giants do, but a lot of it is... wait for it... human element. Its baseball, not science. I think some stats oriented folks just get way too hopped up on the #s part of the equation.

    4. I'll give the example of contact rate: from Shandler, its a simple easy equation. You take ABs, you subtract Ks and then you divide by the ABs again. Easy peasy, and it tells a story. 90% = elite 80% = good enough and 70% = better be hitting for power. It also will give a rough idea where BA might end up. Your use of it in Belt discussions has been enlightening. Quick and dirty, minor league stats are always a bit grain of salt. You don't know what level of defense is behind the pitcher, you don't know the condition of the field, there are a bunch of unknowns. There are hints, we now know which stadiums and leagues play to hitters or pitchers. But its a suggestion, and there have been notable exceptions to each rule, a lot of hitters come on strong, but others slip through. The one that I'd point out looking at the contact rates is Joe Panik is elite. I stuck up for him in that minorleagueball thread, he's getting ragged on as a utility guy after one year in the CA league. Well, BA just put him as our #2 prospect. Hmmm... What's gonna happen? Nobody knows, but armchairs need to tone down the judgements and be a little less critical says I. We'll see what's what later on. I think Brown and Panik have a good shot at being useful ballplayers, because of their contact rates and great defense. But prospects fail all the time, for a myriad of reasons. So its not a gigantic failure by the Giants if they don't turn out. They covered themselves well with the Pagan and Scutaro signings anyways.

    5. Working backwards, yeah, numbers is not the be-all or end-all, it is just what is available to us armchair analysts. I think you are right, many wannabes copy Bill James' style in homage to him, but really, as you noted, nobody can, he's one of a kind. Tango is a smart guy, but yeah, I agree, some of that stuff is too obscure for me too, and he is not as all knowing as how he presents himself in the The Book and on-line, I asked him about analyzing hit charts and he pooh-poohed me, and this was like 5 years ago, and lately I've seen a number of places start to do that too.

      That is why I like Shandler so much, BP was obscure too, they said about the same stuff as I learned from Shandler, but he made it understandable to me, which allowed me to be more able to present ideas and thoughts. He taught me how to fish vs. BP's giving you the fish (chopped up and sliced for you).

      Yeah, that is why I like Panik and Brown too, their contact rates have been good coming up. Noonan's, if I may plug him, was pretty good too in Advanced A a while back, so I'm still hopeful on him too. Even Peguero's contact rate has been pretty good as well.

      I think that the Gartner Hype Cycle pretty much captures a lot of the ups and downs for baseball prospects too. Prospects go from the heights of hype, down to the trough of disillusionment, or whatever they call it, and as you noted, all in one year.

      But like you, because his contact rate was still pretty good, I'm still high on him, one bad year is not going to do it for me.

      Yeah, I think both should make the majors and be useful players for us. Probably not the good players we all love to see starting at every position (because if you don't have Albert Pujols at every position, you are lacking! :^), but with Posey, Sandoval, Pence, Belt, we only need useful players at the other positions in order to win. Heck, we won last year with Blanco and Crawford not really hitting that well.

      And yes, it is not a gigantic failure either if they fail. That is what my draft results tries to teach, what is failure and what is success. And to my point about risk mitigation and your point on coverage, they signed capable players in Pagan and Scutaro to handle the transition period as we figure out who is good and who is not.

    6. Yeah, a lot of times, sabermetrics is a scramble to see who can act the most like Bill James. And I've seen nobody succeed, I'm mostly offended by most at one time or another. Or worse, feel condescended to, at many times.

      I wouldn't change Bill James, but sometimes I wonder if Sabermetrics would have been a gentler, kinder science if he were more like Mr. Rogers than a curmudgeon.

      And I hesitate to even call it a science. This is not Physics 101, with Newtonian math where you can calculate exact results depending on the vectors and accelerations and such. There are no absolutes, really, in baseball. I mean, other than that the strikeout is the best thing a pitcher can do.

      There are so many layers and nuances. You can have a player who hits 4 homers every game for you, no problem, 648 homers in a season, but if you don't have enough offense with him, and good enough pitching staff and team defense to counter the other team's offense, you could theoretically be 0-162. You can have a pitcher throw a no-hitter and still lose.

      Is a .300 hitter valuable? Not if he don't get many walks. But he can be if he gets a lot of extra-base hits. How about 60 steals? Not if he's also caught 60 times. Even 30 times is very iffy.

      Sabermetrics to me is more, as you put it aptly, suggestive. Good contact hitters generally also succeed in being good hitters for batting average. Their speed will ratchet up and down how high a batting average. Getting walks is good as well, generally, but not if you strike out way too many times while getting those walks (hello Bocock). But there are terrible hitters with good contact rates and great hitters with horrible contact rates or great hitters with no strike zone (hello Panda!). There are ways to be successful in baseball, but there are no absolutes, other than, as I noted, strikeouts.

    7. We are rarely going to see what teams actually use. Unless they are idiots (I would note here that Beane opened up his kimono for Moneyball). Good organizations don't expose their competitive advantage to competitors unless it is patented and therefore unusable by the competitor, for a long while.

      The Giants have discussed their love of their own proprietary defensive metrics and how that got them the trial run of Field/FX at AT&T, but smartly has not gone into greater detail about that, other than they are looking forward to using the data. Their video training system got some good press a while back, particularly with Belt as their prized pupil, but again, we don't really know what they do that is different, and these systems have been around for a lot time, I remember Mitchell Page talking about something like that for the A's long ago, so it is not new, what is new is how digital is making it more accessible and available, and with more to use.

      Like you, I'm more historical and scouting oriented, which is all relative, while doing as much number crunching as available. And this is much like business history. People have been generally smart about how to run things. Success breeds success. But with the right numbers, we can be even better.

      Like with OBP. Or with DIPS. But then you get all the wannabes who chime in without really knowing what's the fundamentals. It reminds me of a great series of strips that Bloom County had long ago.

      The set up was that there was a college protest. Sometime serious, but then we are in jail with one of the protesters, a bubbly young co-ed who has no idea what they were protesting but just wanted to be part of the action.

      That's the problem, there is a lot of people who want to be part of the action. So they charge in and scream, "OBP this" or "DIPS that" or "FIP FIP FIP!"

      What they don't know is that it was never said that BA was useless, just that it was not as useful as OBP in describing the offensive value of a baseball hitter. There is value in being a good hitter. You can't drive in runs with a walk.

      And the more DIP and FIP grab hold of the MLB orthodoxy, it will create a Moneyball situation where pitchers like Matt Cain will be severely undervalued because his BABIP is so low - because he's actually one of the rare pitchers who can prevent hits better than other pitchers.

    8. What the sabers do not seem to realize is that you cannot measure everything and anything. That's a pipe dream. You will never replicate what the human mind can do and reduce it to business rules and numbers that a computer could spit out. You need good human knowledge - in baseball, scouting - augmented by the best that numbers can provide, in order to have an advantage.

      That's why I've presented my thoughts and ideas at MCC as reasonable takes on things and not absolutes, as what most recent research has found, and if you don't believe it, show me refuting research or facts. I was rarely adamant that I was right about my views, because the art of sabermetrics is still nascent and there are no absolutes, just, as you put it, suggestive actions.

      I've also tried to not get too caught up with the minute details of things, trying to remember the big picture aspects, hence why when I defended Sabean on his extensions, I noted that the team was on an uptrend, he needs to keep that ascent for me to be happy, and focused on the pitching and the budding offense percolating upward, knowing that an average offense wins a lot with our defense (pitching/fielding) and you only need a couple of good hitters to do that and we had Panda here and Posey on the way up.

      Contrary to how I imagine the Naysayers describing me, I don't think I'm all that smart. My edge is being obsessive as well as compulsive, in some of the things I do. Plus knowing a lot of the history of the Giants (that I don't consider being smart, just knowledgeable). By being comprehensive in coverage, you can make links and ties across broad areas to reach conclusions and thoughts, plus eventually collect enough to present a big picture of everything.

      I continue to be amazed regularly when some new thing comes up and I realize that the Giants have been doing that, whether focusing on pitching and defense, or other things, like when THT studied the production of older players and found a spike in the mid-30's, and commented that Sabean was ahead of the curve in signing players of that age. Or building a pitching rotation of good to great pitchers, which it turns out is what the successful teams do to go deep into the playoffs. Or focused on having great closers, Sabean has always looked for that and clung to that, whereas Beane has purposefully traded them all away. Or the whole bullpen excellence factor in the playoffs, again, Sabean has tried to have good bullpens, mostly.

      That's how I ended up writing my business plan, I had so much stuff and I found myself repeating the vast majority of it over and over again, to present my views and thoughts. And why I don't go to many other places now, because if they don't get it yet, they will never get it. They are just stuck in that mode of thinking, and apparently is happy about that.

    9. I remember that THT article, it stood out to me because it was one of the few positive things written about Sabean in a long time. As I remember the tone was almost surprised, as in - Brian Sabean might have found a value approach?

      The closers are an interesting one, the Giants have had such a roller coaster in the last decade. Nen pitches through pain, blows out his arm. We don't get there in 2002-4, each loss a little farther away from the brass ring. A big problem was the pen. I think I've said this a few times, the underrated part of Sabean is he remembers his mistakes, most likely more than his successes. There is a very clear reason why he pays so much attention to that pen. But then you had Felipe overusing arms, burning people out. Nathan gets traded, they go with Benitez after trying some shuffling. That saber conceit that anybody can do it, I just don't see it. Now you should always be trying to develop more (and holy moley have the Giants gone after high octane arms these last couple years! Yes I can laugh about it now) and that was what is so sweat about Wilson and Romo.

      I'm gonna have to dig to get the Sabean/Jon Miller stats question.

      By the way, you most likely know this, but Eric Walker, who you are quoting in your Hall of Fame post, goes by the handle Owlcroft on MCC. I enjoy his posts, but he has some arrogance to him (which is noted frequently by other posters) and is definitely not a fan of Bruce Bochy. Just thought of that. I've never thought you were declaring yourself smart, I've always considered you one of the most respectful posters on the interwebz.

      On MLB network tonight they were going through the possible prospects who might make an impact this year. The Giants up on screen were Brown, Peggs, Gillaspie and Hembree. Al Leiter raved about Brown's speed, 80 speed, hall of fame speed. He said most likely 3rd-4th OF, which sounds about right. But its just funny to me, the guys who are deep into prospectin' don't have any use for Gillaspie, but there he is. I try not to be too dismissive, but you have to be analytical about why a guy might make it or not.

    10. Old, but kind of interesting, if you wanted a "giants way" from Bow Tie spelled out a bit:

      I also think of the video they made with Crick/Susac/Ricky O and others doing the same thing last year. It was a bit of a PR piece, but I still liked it (

    11. Sorry Shankbone, I thought I was clear but I was not saying that you was saying that I was smart:

      Contrary to how I imagine the Naysayers describing me, I don't think I'm all that smart.

      Unless, of course, you are saying that you are a Naysayer! :^D

      I know, that tone that they had on Sabean is standard par for the course: "Wow, Sabean might be on to something? It's inconceivable!" :^)

      I did not know Eric Walker was Owlcraft! Thanks for the tip! I did notice that Owlcraft was getting into it with some commenters before, else I would not recognize this handle. Well, not to condone it, when you have done what he has done in the industry - Sinister Firstbaseman, A's handbook, MLB consultant - some people might have it go to their head (and I know that slippery slope, I try to avoid it, but I know I sometimes fail).

      Then again, I imagine that some might view me as arrogant as well, because I do argue my points strongly if I feel it. I only do that if I feel that the research and evidence backs me up and that there is no counter research and evidence.

      I assume you have seen Walker's links I've put up. If he did that on just steroids, I imagine that he's done even more, exponentially more, on baseball itself. Maybe he has earned his arrogance, much like Barry Bonds?

      Well, I wasn't a fan of Bruce until I figured out his expertise with one-run games. Maybe Owlcroft hasn't seen that evidence yet.

      Thank you, I try to be respectful, and honestly, that is because I got dragged into internet fights before and I really hate that I got dragged in. I try to take the high road as much as I can, as time went, it just wasn't worth it. But I won't back down either.

      I still have high hopes for Brown to be more than a 3rd-4th OF. I see elements of good contact skills combined with a line drive, gap hitter who wants extra-base hits, and when he don't get those, he'll steal to get into scoring position. I've used the 60's Dodgers as a model for us (Koufax-Drysdale; poor offenses), so I suppose he'll be our Maury Wills (if he ever learns how to properly steal bases, we have nobody to train him right? Who was that speedster before, LA prospect/vet who was dropped by LA, picked up by SF his boyhood team, and he helped us Beat LA, I think his name was Goodwin, or started with G, we should just hire him to live with Brown in 2013, let Gary pick his brain and train every day to learn how to properly steal bases, I recall Goodwin being pretty good at stealing, but in any case, there must be somebody we can hire to do this, give him $100K plus housing to room with Brown and live/eat/breath stealing).

    12. Yeah, it's funny and it's sad that Gillaspie is the guy they bring up. That's a list of prospects who has had some hype for making the majors, unlike, say, Kieschnick, who I think has a better chance right now than Gillaspie.

      I try not to be too dismissive as well. Some players come up and it just clicks for them unlike the minors. I think Crawford is the latest who did that for me, he didn't have that great contact in the minors, then he comes up and he has done a pretty good job, and I'm real excited to see how he progresses in 2013.

      But if the analytics suggest that a prospect is not all that interesting, I think that has to be said too, I agree. And I hate having to squash anyone's dreams. I did that with a Giants prospect who ran a blog with BA, but who is a good and thoughtful writer, so I tried to explain to him that while he had a lot of wins, he was not that good at dominating hitters in the lower minors and thus it wasn't going to happen in the majors either. But he's a good writer and smart, so he should use that and move on. He's now in law school, and I'll bet he'll be in baseball using his law background, I'm sure, he's been an advocate for minor league players rights, so perhaps he'll pursue a class action suit at some point (my thought, not anything he's ever said).

      Thanks for the link. I don't remember that post, but I do remember Joan Ryan handling that, I loved her blog, but it stopped. I know that she was having personal issues that might have stopped her involvement (don't recall exactly, but it was family related), I just hope that she and her family are OK.

      I recall that Crick/Susac/Rickey video, I like when they do that sort of stuff, I've seen a lot of Gary Brown videos, seems like a cool, neat guy, helps me root for them even more, on a personal level.

    13. Owlcroft and his wife both post. They're informed and polite, have different opinions than myself but I enjoyed their contributions to that community. I have some disagreements about the steroid use, but fully admit i have nothing to back it up while he has done a lot of work on the subject. He wasn't a fan of Pagan or Cabrera, and I teased a bit here and there about it. I do think he brings some serious weight to that community, and he tries to stay out of petty bickering by going over the top with his credentials. His catch phrase is google is your friend, and he links to himself. Cracks me up.

      They both don't have a high opinion of the Gints statistician, Yeshayah Goldfarb. In an email or a conversation somewhere he mentioned "heart" and they don't approve of that measurement. I had a disagreement on that as well. I think its tremendously important in scouting, as well as prospective FAs to look at the "6th tool". Sure, it shouldn't be the factor, I'm sure teams were pretty happy with Gary Sheffield once he grew up a little bit, but it should be A factor. My sister lives in Berkeley (still, I grew up there) and I'm pretty sure their kids go to the same school. I'd love to get an interview with him, something that would happen a lot easier if I was still in the bay. (As a silly note, Ashkon of youtube fame did a bar mitzvah that my sister and niece were at, he left his wallet and she got it for him, said he was extremely nice, hard working and funny).

      So I think I'll have to give up my search for the exact Sabean/Miller link. I found a reference to it though on an old MCC post. You are on this one, and if memory serves, the poster is the guy you had issues with in reference to your draft study/what not. Its funny, he actually ran the minor league mock draft, something I've done now and Fla-Giant has as well. Stats he mentions are Win Shares above Benchmark Player, and then says they also have a stat called Win Shares Salary Projection. I thought there was something a bit more meaty, but I can't find the quote I remembered.

      If you look through the old old Joan Ryan blogs, there is goofus asking about her objectivity. MCC let Baggs have it as well, I actually asked him that question on a chat because I wanted a clear answer. Sometimes I think that community doesn't pay any attention to what gets written up, and decides an alternative reality narrative. That's my explanation for the Giants hate Belt, and Crawford can't hit. That, Grant & his sidekick's mock apologies to Sabean, the general debbie downer attitude of some to most posters, as well as the most prominent ones, and the curmudgeon following me around putting a wet blanket on everything just tipped it for me. The Giants have some stone cold heroes, some of the best comeback stories ever told on a team and individual level, and I'm not wasting any of my time being surrounded by people who don't want to acknowledge and celebrate that fact.

    14. If you haven't already, get a watch of the 2012 world series video. Its awesome. I really like the narrator Bratt a ton more than 2010's Schneider. Both teams were amazing, fun and filled with unique characters, but I think 2012 is a more rounded team for me. The defense they put down and their never say die attitude was truly special. Like you've outlined, we had it all this year: Zito redemption, Cain perfect game and closing out each playoff series, Vogelsong as one of the sweetest comeback stories ever, one that will be a movie someday. Timmy getting back off the mat for the playoffs. Shawshank Scutaro "The blockbuster". Angel Pagan stepping up and carrying the team after Melky does his thing. Romo being open and honest about what it takes to close, and then shutting everything down. Bumgarner struggling and then dominating. Pablo coming back and hitting 3 home runs, 2 off the best pitcher in baseball. Buster Posey, comeback player of the year, MVP, 2 time world series champion at the age of 25. Posey's tag of Fielder was the play for me that I'll remember. Just amazing, and a validation of the way the Giants are going to play ball. I love it, I love it, I love it.

      Like I've said before, this is a good ball club, a fun ball club, and filled with interesting things to follow. I'll observe and comment on things that go wrong, but most of the time its about the things that go right. The farm system will suffer because of success. They will trade off spare parts, to achieve success. As a draftnik/prospect guy, I have to come to grips with that. Things don't always go your way, and its a thin line between success and failure. The Giants ability to hit that 2 out of the last 4 years, its special, and should be treasured, not derided. Looking forward to next year.

    15. Back to regular arb news (full circle on the OP!): The Giants avoided arbitration with Joaquin Arias by agreeing a one-year deal,'s Chris Haft reports (on Twitter). The Beverly Hills Sports Council client will earn $925K in 2013.

    16. I really am looking forward to you putting up a blog and writing regularly! Not that commenting ain't fun, but I do like your writing. I suppose part of it is that you have the quirky sense of writing that I like and like to try to do.

      If you look only at numbers, neither Pagan nor Cabrera look particularly tempting. He has a complex metric measuring the production of each player and the two of them probably didn't measure up.

      If heart isn't important, then how does he explain the Reds and Cards series ending for the Giants? (Probably small samples :^) Or the sweep? Or even what Buster did in 2012, devastating injury in 2011 and to come back from that, less than a year after the injury, to win MVP. That takes a lot of heart.

      And I agree (not that you said it, but what we've been dancing around on), we both believe in touchy-feely aspects to baseball. People will never be able to measure that, not now, not in the year 3000 when the Giants win the World Major League Baseball (after the MLB globalize and include teams across the world) Championship. :^)

      Ha, as I said, you are a very good researcher (and analyst too!): yeah, its him. Really makes me sick, I was the one who made all the contacts with all the minor league teams, got interviews, and the *itch who ran the site then gave all that to him to run. But, water under the bridge, I know...

      And at minimum, Ishikawa has been infinitely more valuable than the two guys he touted as better (because they both never made the majors and have 0 WAR :^). This was our issue, Ishikawa, he never took me on with regards to that (in fact, I think he might have quoted it at some points - it was one of the last articles I published on his board after he took over). And really, we had been at odds with his first article which basically stole everything I had written for that website, but for some reason, while mine was behind the paid door, she published his public for all to see, so it looked like he was the one who first wrote on that. On top of that, he used his handle to say "I saw an interesting article" and linked to his article that had his real name but not his handle. Should have known at that point and stopped working for that site.

      Yes, he did run the Giants mock draft once... He is not a sabermetrician, he's a wannabe. He once promised this great research he was going to publish when we were working together - nada. He claimed he researched and found that no A ball player repeated and made the majors (that was him defending wanting to dump Ishikawa). I already knew that proving a negative would take researching every single prospect going through A ball, and thus no way he did that, but I soon learned he lied: Moises Alou repeated A ball - didn't seem to hurt his chances.

      I still can't believe people paid good money to read the drivel that he must have been slopping on his site. Of course, with the connections I have developed already, he did have some good info from the minor leagues, so that gave him some cred, I guess.

      That's OK, no need to go crazy searching, thanks anyway.

      Ah, Goofus, that's the name, he's the poster who used to randomly ask, in the middle of some really down comment threads, for me to provide some ray of sunlight on the festivities.

      Thanks for the tip on the video. I do have it, just haven't had time to view. Yeah, each team has their great stories, and as good as the first one was, I have to agree that 2012 was just as good a story, with a lot of great high points.

      Again, look forward to reading your blog, whenever you get to it.

    17. Wow, nearly $1M for Arias. That's basically what we paid for Fontenot and Theriot the past few seasons. Unless he makes a breakthrough in 2013 and hit better, he's going to be non-tendered next off-season.

    18. So I just looked a couple of your articles on the draft from 2004 on that site. This stands out: The first clear statement that it is came from a recent Baseball America article (February 14, 2005) on the Giants efforts to develop hitters. John Manuel quoted a member of the front office as saying, "You can always sign hitters. Position players are always available in free agency. But you can’t always find quality pitching, so we focus on developing pitchers."

      I look at some Mets sites, I mentioned this recently about Alderson/Towers in SD, mets fans not so happy with Alderson's drafts so far, etc, on DrB's. There is a contingent of Mets fans that is vocal about pitching, all pitching, all the time. The Mets could have had McCullers! You can always trade pitching! You buy players on the market, if you hit on a pitching prospect you sell him for bats! That's what Alderson did with RA Dickey!

      And yes, they are fully aware of how the Giants won the world series. They are all pitching all the time. So its not as if his message/strategy is completely ignored everywhere.

      One thing I want to research is the stock up the draft picks, prioritize it by the teams that got the most valuable picks and the most top 100 picks. The thing that opened my eyes is the BA articles on everybody's darlings the Rays and Red Sox, two teams that spent a lot of time, ahem, workin' on accumulating them draft picks. The Rays have had some disaster drafts, particularly 2008-10. The Sox went youth crazy and also had issues. And looming out there, watching, judging, is the aspect of them having to draft at the back end... The Padres under Alderson had a stock up (I think their best pick his years is Hensley). Its interesting to me though, its a crapshoot, but you have to figure a way to get an advantage, how do teams do this? Is there any real sure proven repeatable way to do it? The Giants two stock up the drafts, they have been mixed. One was the Bumgarner/Alderson year, where if you factor in the guys we traded for at 2B, was a gigantic part of our success. The other was 98, and that didn't go so hot.

      I'm also working on a bonus babies spreadsheet, top signings each org, I'm up to about 200 of the biggest, I'll do a WAR accountant's eyeshade analysis of it all. Spending top dollar on the very top talent seems to work, but it also has some big time failures.

      The one thing I've realized that was flawed about my analysis of last years draft is you really have to look at it as Bullets to spend, and then the back end is just flyers, flyers, flyers. I want to do a draft preview going into the 6th round this year. Why that? It works out to about the top 200 guys out of 1200 drafted. So its the best bet type scenario. Its also the guys who get the most bonus money. By the 6th you're at 200K, going down quick to 150K. Then its down 300 bucks at a time til you're at that 100K max in the 10th. That's one thing I didn't realize at the time, the funds were really tight, and I didn't see it until looking at results of what teams did, and what they spent, and where.

      About this guy who swiped your contacts and what not, I've never been impressed with his postings. I think its easy to look foolish when predicting prospects/draftees/etc, but his methodology looks especially amateurish in hindsite. I also can't believe people paid money for info on prospects, but obviously not very many people paid money for very long, eh? Your articles that I can quickly search for hold up quite well 9 years down the line.

      Keep up the good work OGC. The draft stuff is a lot of fun. The more I know, the more I don't know.

    19. Mano, your last article on that site (you had a lot of nice articles, too bad some are behind that pay wall now) - - you use the term greybeards! Damn, I thought that was mine for awhile now. Cracks me up big time. Salut.

    20. Hensley? I think you meant Chase Headley, Hensley they got from the Giants in a trade.

      Well, as my draft study showed, talent to be a good player is lacking starting from the first pick, it not only not always there, it's often not there. So there will always be a lot of big time failures, even with the first pick.

      And as we agree, that don't mean that you don't play the draft game, you need to do that to replenish your MLB team.

      The example I've been meaning to give (and maybe I have and don't remember) is a stat problem from a business book I bought when I was either in high school or college (I loved to go through the discount book section). It was a situation with oil drilling where the odds of hitting a gusher is low, and it taught me that the costs of finding the gusher includes not only the cost of that drill (which in baseball, many fans do, they just look at the cost of say Longoria and think what a bargain), but also the cost of all the drills that got you a dry hole (the bonuses paid out to all the Rays prospects who fizzled, continuing the Longoria example).

      Using my success probabilities, I think I came up with an implied cost of roughly $15-20M (at that time), to find each good player (I'm guesstimating this right now, have to research later, as I remember a larger number). This is partly why I wasn't as impressed with teams juggling around with bonuses in order to allow them to sign a bigger bonus player later: their slot pool is set, and if this was all relatively random, as long as they are spending the same pool amount no matter what, then their odds of finding a good player isn't improved, it just means that instead of one $6M bonus and one $1M bonus, you had one $4M bonus and one $3M bonus, either way $7M, but if it is random, it don't matter. And the way teams have drafted in the past, it really appears to be random.

      Yeah, ain't that the truth? That old saying really does hold true for most things, the more you know, the more you realize that you don't know.

    21. Did not realize that I used greybeards before. Still, I think you own the term now. :^)

  5. Here is the article on Arias:

    Also notes that Romo asked for $4.5M while the Giants offered $2.675M.

    His salary last season translated to a $3.94M market value salary. His asking this season works out to $7.5M market value, which is roughly where League got as a quasi-closer, so it looks like his agent did his homework. The Giants offer works out to $4.46M, a modest raise.

    Mid-point is $3.5875M or $5.98M market value. I think the Giants will try to work out a deal a bit above that, $3.9-4.2M range (that's roughly $6.5-7.0M market value). Assuming Romo is accommodating, he should sign in that range, given what he asked for; but he really believes he should get League money - he should remember that League has been doing it longer than he has (though to Romo's side, he's been doing it much better than League ever did, which would be a touche), then he could decide to hold out. Given his contrition about the Las Vegas incident, I would think that he would sign for something in that range, if offered. Obviously, if mid-point was OK for him, the Giants would be announcing both signings right now.

    Plus, there is the possibility that the Giants might be working on a two (or more) year deal with Romo right now. If that were true, maybe $4M for 2013, $5.5M for 2014, $6M for 2015, and I can't see the Giants going any further out than that right now, for a reliever. That works out to $15.5M. Add an option year for $0.5M buyout or $7.5M, and that works out to a 3 year contract for $16M. Plus probably a bonus for $2M the first year, making his salary $2M instead (seems to be some sort of tax advantage, the Giants seem to do that all the time).

  6. Here's one reason why I want to go with that 6 round top of the draft emphasis, you have the excellent Joe Ritzo previewing the SJ roster:

    Those 11 players are really the meat of what the Giants have been doing in the past 2 years. With one exception I really like all the selections, and the one guy I thought was a reach, Ty Blach, was the 5th round pick, which is a nitpick. I wish I didn't get into that argument with DrB last year, but these things happen. He had some good points, that I've taken to heart now. But I had to go back to see what the results were in BA's draft database to do a proper analysis.

    Speaking of BA, I'm sure you saw this back in the day, but here it is anyways: 2005-08 draft grades:

    Well, well, even with the 2005 punt picks we're sitting at the top of the heap, AND this is before the start of the 2010 season, we now know that Sabean trades off Culberson for Scutaro, and the Freddy Sanchez trade pays off immediately, making that 2007 an A+ in my book. 2008 now has Crawford added to the mix.

    So one reason I've been dissatisfied with the MCC prospect threads is a general malaise about the perceived weakness of our system now, with a fair amount of bitching about it, comping it to other systems such as the Cards/Rangers/Rays. Its readily apparent the amazingly rapid success of that 2006-08 is best in baseball. As is our reclamation project record of the last 4 years. Best in baseball. I declared that a couple times... Not very well received.

    Knowing where we pick in the next 4 years is huge, 2009-12. The system is derided for lack of high impact talent, but right now we have a) the most interesting rotation in the minors at San Jose, b) two high contact excellent defending prospects in the upper minors in Brown/Panik, c) a slew of high octane arms who might move fast as relievers and d) an obvious strategy of picking up flawed power bats and seeing if we can fix them.

    2009 has Wheeler, which leads to the Beltran drama, but also Brandon Belt, a straight up steal. I'd give that an A for drafting.
    2010 has Brown, but also Rosin as a throw in for the Pence trade as well as Hembree who might break through this year. It also has Kickham (who I found out was paid an overslot deal of 400K at the 6th round). I'd say that is good drafting as well.
    2011 and 2012 have been discussed enough, I think they are both very interesting drafts, one I loved initially and the other that had some... well... But I loved the top end of it, most likely more than any other prospect hound, so there is that as well.

    All signs point to an organization with a plan that is executing on many levels. So for me, the whole out of touch/too old school for a changing game meme is dead on arrival. Last link, and then I'm out, yet another top ten list of prospects, but from a source I hadn't seen before (I like outside sources a lot for these):

    1. Yeah, the vast majority of the interesting prospects generally fall in the first 6 rounds or so. Though you get the occasional prospect down below who rises quickly.

      Yes, I did see that BA rating/ranking, and it still feels good to see it.

      Yeah, they should just change their name to "Sturm und Drang Giants Talk", because they are always saying, "it'll never work!!!" and "things suxxx!!!", but ogc style, pages upon pages of this stuff. I've tried explaining my draft research many times and it has fallen on deaf ears. They are stuck in their own little biosphere, unable to adjust to the new world of Giants baseball. The sky has been falling for them and they just cannot get out of that mode. Sucks to be them, I've greatly enjoyed the Giants the past few years, and as I've said before, if they can't thank Sabean for what he has done for the Giants, they don't deserve to enjoy the success of the past few years.

      Given where we have selected, I think it's pretty good that we have two potential Top 100 prospects in Crick and Brown. It is about adjusting for the realities of the situation. You can't expect a High School player to hit MLB pitching. I know that's a horrible analogy but my brain isn't working so well this morning, but you need to account for the difficulties involved with the draft to properly understand how the team is doing against that. I know you get it, but most people don't.

      It's stupid to expect a baby to run, or a child to beat an adult, yet the Giants get berated for not developing top talent when drafting in the bottom third of the first round, where it is extremely hard to find top talent. When we find a good player like Brown or Crick or Panik, back there or further back, it should be celebrated.

      It is like comparing two fishermen, one fishing in the ocean and catching a marlin, the other fishing in a pond and catching catfish. The other guy is unable to catch a marlin in that pond, yet do we deride him for not matching up with the guy who caught the Marlin? it just don't make sense.

      Yes, Kickham got an overslot deal to sign, looking pretty good right now in terms of steals, he's getting pretty close to the big show.

      About 2011 and 2012, as you probably noticed, the BA was given after the draft had a full season to marinate, so give 2012 a chance to breath first and see what happens. Nobody cared about Belt at that point. And I think Stratton will surprise.

      About 2011, obviously still have some good prospects rising there, and I think you have to give it more time too, one because Susac is a catcher and they take longer, generally, and Osich I think is a huge wildcard, if he can stay healthy, I think he can have an impact similar to Dirty's rise, and could strengthen either the bullpen or rotation at the MLB level at some point. If he can stay healthy.

    2. I don't mind looking at outside sources for prospect rankings, but I haven't heard of this guy before and his descriptions I could have written from all the sources I've seen before. I like to see a different tact on things, a different view with a different set of information bits, some common that all have seen but something different to add to the overall story. This site did not provide that for me, at least from this one list.



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