Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Your 2013 Giants: Done and Done

Wow, I knew that the season was reaching a crucial point, but did not see it crashing and burning so fast.  As Boof aptly commented on another post, the season appears to be done.  And the Giants appear to be acknowledging this by bringing up Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick.

ogc thoughts

Everyone has their own milestone where they give up on the season.  But I prefer logic to have governance over that.  One of the great tools I've seen for managing a baseball season I learned from Dusty Baker (and I've seen references to other people using this tool, I'm only acknowledging my source) during one of his interviews long ago.

One Game A Week, That's All He Asks

Basically, the rule is to make up one game in the standings per week.  One of the best project management tips I have ever heard for breaking down a much larger project into an easily comprehended and calculated metric.  That helps players get out from under a huge deficit in the standings and be able to take a breath and not be as nervous/pressurized about where the team is in the standings.

However, the flipside of that is if you are more games behind than weeks left in the season, then your team is in a pretty bad position in competing for the division title.  And the Giants just passed that this past week, as they are now 10 games back (oops, 11 games...)  and there are only 8 weeks (roughly) left in the season.  While I never give up final hope until September and this rule is in effect, for me, now that we are behind by that much, looking ahead to next season while trying to be competitive should now be the focus.

I have seen a lot of people say that it has been over for a while - one in fact asked me to apologize for saying that the Giants still had a chance - so the above is the reasoning I use for guiding following my team.   There is no apology forthcoming.

Frankly, some of them are those I've seen before who said the team had no chance in 2010 and 2012, that the season was over, further, are people I've seen in late 2000's decade saying that the Giants were done and going nowhere, and they were clearly wrong, so why would I listen to them now?  And some were very rude to me but I've never gotten an apology nor do I expect one from people who are so delusional to think that people like me would now listen to what they are spouting off now about the Giants when they have been mostly wrong for the past six or more years about the Giants direction.  Just because they think the sky is falling and it actually does one time does not make them futuristic savants whose latest missives I should heed.

Not that you should heed my missives either, I wholeheartedly believe in sharing what information I know so that if I'm as delusional as others, I get pulled back from the ledge as well.  I think I've been in a good spot, the Giants weren't doing well, but there were some signs of improvement that I pointed out as positives for the future - and for all the Naysayers saying they called it, not all of you did because the pitching this last weekend was amazing and some of you thought they were done - that did not work out as I thought they might.  It happens.

I still have some hope of the Giants getting back into contention for the same reasons I thought that they still had a chance.  But we are so far back that we need to start at least figuring out some things for next season. 

Looking Forward

Lots of things happening, lots of things to consider.  Here are the ones I can remember:
  • Heston was DFAed and resigned with us, he's in AAA
  • Hunter Strickland was DFAed and still has a few more days before we find out what happens with him, but given he has been out since early April, I don't see any team dropping someone on their 40 man to pick up a still injured player.
  • Petit was surprisingly (to me) DFAed after his nice relief outing for us, so Shankbone's observation that Petit didn't have that great of stuff in spring training seems to be the best explanation of that move.
  • The Giants picked up Guillermo Moscosco from the Cubs for cash or a player to be named later, which is why the Giants dropped Petit.   
  • Giants activated Arias and optioned Dunning, who did a great job for us, to Fresno.
  • Brian Wilson had a nice session in front of MLB teams and a handful, including the Giants, are interested in his services and are serious contenders.  Still don't know if he's mad at the Giants enough to not sign with them - it seemed like he had burned that bridge already though - or if he's cooled down enough to be open to it.  However, a retweet by John Shea of a Tim Brown tweet noted that Wilson signed with Dodgers.  Hard to tell if that was a big middle finger to Giants or just the Dodgers love for ex-Giants (Colletti) and/or big stack of cash they have burning in their pockets.  Part of me was wishing he would return, but the poor homestand put the kibosh on that, he didn't work as hard as he did to return only to pitch for a non-contender.
  • Vogie still appears to be on track to return sometime in the first half of August. 
  • Abreu was placed on the 15 day DL while Tanaka was optioned to Fresno. 
  • Pill and Kieschnick were both called up,meaning Arias is the only backup MI.
Given that Belt has been struggling now for about a month, I would think that Pill will be platooning with him at 1B to give Pill some playing time.  I assume that Francoeur's and Tanaka's struggles with the bat is part of the impetus to calling up Kieschnick, but he earned his call-up by hitting really well recently, basically in July, and getting his strikeout rate down significantly, enough that it is almost good.  Roger was pretty bad in June and probably hence why Sabean said that he was not close last month.  Maybe Roger will start platooning with Francoeur in LF, it is interesting that the Giants kept Francoeur around given how poorly he's been hitting (part of it is that he's been having bad BABIP luck, he has a good contact rate with us right now, just not the batting line to reflect that; but his BABIP has not been good the past two years, perhaps that's not part of his skill set anymore, still, his contact rate has been great, maybe the Giants helped him tweak something, remember, players joining Bochy teams tend to add a win - altogether - per season).  That may have to do with the Pence trade possibility.

The beats say that the Giants are not looking to trade anyone specifically but are at the point where they have to listen to deals and see what they can get.  Sabean has already pointed out that Lincecum and Pence will get qualifying offers, which means that they get picks, and that sets the minimum bar for what the Giants would want for them.  Sounds like the Giants are unlikely to trade Lincecum however, while Pence is available for the right price, but the Giants appear to still want to resign Pence.

Rumors include:
  • Belt to Astros for Bud Norris (mere speculation, I think, due to Pill call-up)
  • At minimum, the Giants were "hard in"  on Norris previously, so that is something to note.  And the Astros are looking for at least a top prospect, so that means, for the Giants, starting with Crick probably, maybe Blackburn would be OK too, to start.
  • Lopez for prospects (more speculation since he's valuable to contender and a free agent after the season).
  • Reportedly, Reds are interested in Pence, as well as the Yankees, Rangers and Pirates. 
  • Scutaro has also been subject to speculation as well among fans, due to his age and contract.
I have not really cared for many of the trade suggestions/rumors.  I expect the Giants to compete in 2014 and trading away Lincecum, Pence, or even Belt would diminish our chances greatly, I believe.  That's because I still believe in Lincecum and Pence, and hope the Giants resign them.

Not that I think that they will be bargains either, I expect to overpay some.  In Lincecum's case, we just don't know what we are going to get.  I don't expect him to get any deal over $15M per season, and when it's that close to the qualifying offer, I don't see why the Giants won't just offer around that much if he turns down the QO and why he won't resign in hopes of rebuilding his free agent value with the team for one more season.  Meanwhile, I'm hoping he makes the transition in 2014 to pitcher from thrower, or if not, transition to a super utility reliever who pitches as short or as long and as often as he feels like it.  I'm willing to overpay 2014 in case he's that close, and I think he is.  If 2014 is another bad year, then I'll be willing to let him go.

Pence I think is way overpriced.  Not that great defensively, and really, his offense isn't THAT great, though good.  But the Giants offense cannot get any worse without hurting our chances in 2014 and frankly I doubt there is anyone out on the market that we can get equivalent production for cheaper cost.  So I'm willing to overpay to $13-15M per year for him for 3-4 seasons to retain his offensive production.

Belt I still believe in.  I understand some are frustrated, but just look at Matt Williams' arc, he took three seasons to figure things out, before busting out in his fourth season, so I would rather keep Belt to see if he can do that, he's actually hit much better than Matt did in their early seasons.  When there is the potential for a Votto-like player, I think you just have to be patient with him.  But Norris is pretty good too, so I would probably do that trade if it were available, but I have to think that they would want younger prospects for Norris.

Same with Sandoval.  I understand why some want to trade him (particular Shankbone), but guys who are potential 900+ OPS hitters don't grow on trees and while an offense with Posey, Pence, Belt is good, it would that much better with Sandoval.  I will put up with him and be OK with getting a draft pick for him when he leaves, that's too much risk to go long-term with him without a clause on his weight.

The two I am OK with trading are Scutaro and Lopez.  Scutaro the Giants really only wanted for two seasons, and he's hitting well, so if someone wants to overpay for him, great, take the deal, but it is only for so-so prospects, then that's OK, I would keep him.

Lopez makes the most sense.  He's a free agent and Mijares has done very well for us, so we have a ready replacement already.  Some are hoping for a bonanza like the A's got with Reddick, but really, that was just a fluke, like the Mets trading Kazmir, you have to be in the right time, right place, right players, right desperation/stupidity.  You don't hope to get such deals, you just fall into them.

Still, a shutdown lefty reliever like him was shown to be very valuable during the playoffs in 2010 and 2012, and a team might be willing to overpay some to get him.  He's the only one I would push to trade and do it for the best offer out there.  That would also free up space for one of our AAA relievers to come up and see what he's got.

With Moscosco in tow now, the Giants now have Bumgarner, Cain, Vogelsong, Gaudin, and Moscosco as the 2014 starting rotation, not great but not too bad either.  The Giants can now enter into negotiations with Lincecum wanting him to return, but not needing him to return. 


  1. As we all know by now, Wilson is a bum! But for me the turning point came after the high of the Pagan walk off inside the parker, and then he got hurt and could not play. It seems as if, after that the team started taking a dive, and they continue to fall into the abyss. I rarely have seen a team fall so fast. Their turn around with the dodgers must be 17 or 18 games over that time. The pitching, hitting and fielding are totally out of sync with each other. Also the power game is non existent. The last time crawford hit one out, my children were still in the womb.

    1. Yes, I should have updated my post, I had worked on it earlier and updated it again during dinner time, then finalized it at night. Was just jumping around, thanks for the comment update.

      Yes, Pagan going down is the true turning point, but it is hard to see that when you are in the middle of it and it was still May. For example, when Posey went down, the team actually played better for a good part of the season before sinking down when Beltran belly-flopped face first for us.

      Yeah, it was kind of a July swoon for us, wasn't it? Basically, they went from semi-contending to bottom cellar dwellers in the matter of weeks. Looking back, it was in two phases: first four games moved us from 3.0 to 5.5 games back, then we listed for almost 3 weeks, up and down, until the bottom fell out in the last week of July.

      Yeah, much like how the Giants went from being tied with LA to lapping them, up 8-10 games at the end of the season, they went from behind us by a bunch to leading by a bunch.

      Yes, that is the nail on the head, the pitching and hitting has not been in sync all season, and the fielding has not been good at all for the season as well.

      Well, the power game has been non-existent for a long while now, it is just that we had a play maker at the top of the lineup with Pagan, apparently, that I didn't appreciate until he was gone, and the power game that was non-existent somehow went a notch down lower still in the last month.

  2. Boy, have you ever had a million thoughts and just couldn't capture everything?

    First, Brian Wilson, read DrB's post on him, I think it hits the nail on the head for me: http://whenthegiantscometotown.blogspot.com/2013/07/thoughts-on-brian-wilson.html

    I'll always love Brian for what he did, but he's a bum now, just can't really root for him to do well, because if he does well, LA does well. The good thing is if he does well in his 8th inning setup role that appears to be the plan, I'll be OK with him doing well, as long as the closer coughs up some leads.

    And starters are starting to slip, Ryu and Capuano both have over 4 ERAs in the past four weeks, so the cracks are starting.

    But the bullpen has kept on chugging along, much like the Giants did in 2010 and 2012, they have been shut down good, heck, they very most probably have been even better than the Giants bullpen ever was, their collective ERA is probably around 1, well, excluding Marmol's ER, he's the one nice cloud in their bullpen right now.


    1. I wanted also to touch on Zito. As I've noted in a recent post, Zito looks more and more like the odd man out in the rotation. He's a free agent if the Giants don't pick up his option, and the way he's pitching, no way that happens, he'll have to end like he did last year, where the Giants had that great long winning streak with him starting.

      Unfortunately, he seems to have gave it all during that marvelous stretch, he has basically been horrible all season, except for the first couple of starts. Bochy couldn't even commit to starting Zito for his next scheduled start.

      So with Moscosco in hand and Vogelsong returning soon, I don't see how the Giants don't DFA him within the next two weeks.

      I saw somewhere, probably DrB's since that is the main place I hang out now, or maybe one of the beats, that someone commented that it would not be right to do that to Zito in the middle of the season, because of what he has done for us.

      While we'll always have 2012 and his marvelous run through the playoffs and outdueling the best pitcher in the majors in the World Series no less, we have also marvelously overpaid him for his whole contract, he's never had one season where he earned the full amount, based on WAR and the $/WAR rate existing for each season. He's been a great Giant in that he did what we asked of him and he never let that affect his motivation to play well for us, I will always, always!, appreciate that of him, he was the gamer that Rowand never was. Still, we have put up with a lot as well, it hasn't been sunshine and lollipops and unicorns with him much of the time he's been with us.

      He's been great in the role he has had, as the best 5th starter in the majors for us, when we had four aces in the rotation, for the most part, over the past few seasons of winning. And he has been very durable too, he might not have been the best pitcher around, but he was still way better than most any team's 6th starter, and that is value that don't show up in WAR either, except at the team level.

      But it is not like he's won Cy Youngs for us, like Lincecum has. Or came up with us and done great for us, like Cain, Lincecum, and Bumgarner has. He is what he is, and in the role he has had with the Giants, he's been among the best, but he's never lived up to his contract, so I don't feel we owe him anything more. I was gratified when the Giants kept him off the playoff roster in 2010, I was pleased that he continued to work hard for his money after that and particularly in 2012, but I think his time with us is ending, I don't see how the Giants don't make a move soon, Vogie at the latest, Moscosco for the next start at the earliest. His time as a Giant is nigh, thanks for the good steady pitching and for the high professionalism you kept in the face of great adversity (most times of his own doing) but I think it is time to go.

      He had hoped to retire as a Giant, but I expect some team out there to be willing to give him a flier in 2014 (Dodgers? Padres? He lives down there still, I believe, though not sure with his wife, she might have grown up here). So it is up to him if he wants to retire a Giant or not. Either way, he'll probably get a spot on our Wall of Fame at some point.

    2. Personally, thinking more about this over night, I think it's time to ensure our losing and thus our good draft position.

      So sit regulars down more and give the young players more playing time. I've liked Pill, and with Belt struggling, give Brett playing time at 1B, as well as some in LF. Also play Kieschnick in LF some too, he could split time with Francoeur some, though I would just DFA Jeff and start Kieschnick there full time. Trades would also facilitate this too.

      And that's in line with my Phoenix rebuilding plan, when you get lemons in a season, you need to capitalize on that by keeping the pedal on the losing metal. Especially when you are in prime draft position already, we have fallen so far and so low.

      The Giants amazingly has the 5th pick overall in the draft next season right now, but good play would ruin that. So maybe we keep Zito around longer to lose a few more games. Play the younger players more, particularly once September comes around and we can expand the roster to include everyone we called up this season. Take out starters, particularly Posey, more often earlier in the game, much like we did with Bonds, around the 7th. Keep the starting pitching on strict 100 pitch limits to limit their usage in this loser of a season.

      I still think that there is some chance of winning the division title this season, and wouldn't mind the Giants trying to get their engine started, but the team has to seriously consider tanking it this season, as best they can without alienating the full houses sold out, as a Top 5 draft pick don't fall in your pocket every season when you are competitive as we have been lately.

      So maybe they should seize the day, secure a top 5 draft pick, I've heard that this draft could be deeper than other drafts, so getting a top 5 pick would be almost like having the same draft picks like we were getting as a top contender, PLUS getting a top 5 pick. That is the way I would play it, if it were my decision, but I would understand if the Giants want to keep the fanbase engaged and paying.

      Still, a top 5 pick, remember, we got a Posey out of the last one, maybe we pick up another player who rises up fast, as Lincecum, Posey, and Bumgarner did, they could be contributing by 2015-16, now that the CBA encourages prospects to sign immediately and get some playing time that season.

      And it would be easy to do, keep Zito in the rotation for a while longer, put Vogie in the bullpen to rest his arm for 2014 after he gets a few starts to show that he's still got it, play the younger players more, particularly in September, give Noonan and Peguero more starts too, along with Pill and Kieschnick, maybe call up Villalona since he's showing power in AA and already on the 40 man, kick the tires on the kid and see where he stands with regard to MLB talent, give our older starting pitchers one skipped start and check out Kickham, Surkamp, Moscosco, even and especially Escobar, he has done great in AA so far, plus DFAing Zito in September to give them more starts as well. Youth brigade should do very well in keeping us down and ensuring a good draft pick.

      Remember, my draft pick analysis showed that the bounty of great picks peters out around the 5th or 6th pick, and we have the 5th pick, but the Cubs, Twins, and Angels are close enough that we could fall to 8th easily with any extended stretch of winning. Doing the above would help enable that while giving the fans the thrill of seeing some of our best prospects play and see what they can do.

    3. Lastly, at least for now, it is sad to me to see the Naysayers rise up during this period of poor play by the Giants. I see all the chatter among the Naysayers, their true colors come out when our team is at their lowest, they blame Sabean, they blame Bochy, they never realize that they had the same complaints when Sabean and Bochy were winning us the World Championships in 2010 and 2012, and yet they think they have the correct point of view with regards to the Giants situation. Some self-reflection would help them greatly, but they persist in thinking that they have the right answer when they have been so so so wrong over the past 6 seasons.

      I expect the Giants to be competitive again in 2014 and beyond. As healthy as they relatively were in 2012 and 2010, they were injury plagued in 2011 (Posey, Sandoval, and Beltran in particular) and 2013 (Pagan, Vogelsong, Sandoval, Crawford, Casilla, Affeldt). This season, as Noismala commented, hit the iceberg when Pagan was injured. And they sunk more as the injuries mounted after that, and it was like quicksand, the more they tried, the worse it got.

      But we have a great base right now going forward. Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Gaudin, Moscosco is a good rotation, assuming Vogelsong returns to prior effectiveness and Gaudin continues to be effective. That's arguably better than what we had with Lincecum, Vogelsong, Zito this season. And we might retain Lincecum and I think he's close to making the transition to the next great phase in his career, whatever it may be.

      And we won with that early in the season, even though Pagan wasn't hitting that well, Scutaro too, even Posey was having his (now seemingly) usual early season slow start, we were winning with Sandoval, Posey, Pence, Belt, Blanco/Torres, and Crawford hitting well in a row, keeping the line moving, then moving even better, in fact great, when Scutaro started hitting, we were averaging over 5 run scored per game during that stretch. Injuries took Sandoval, Blanco/Torres, and Crawford out of that great hitting mode, and they didn't play as well in the aftermath.

      If the Giants keep Scutaro and Pence, we'll have basically the same lineup in 2014, though I expect Torres to be gone and one of our prospects to be starting in LF, perhaps in platoon with Blanco, maybe not. And that includes Belt, who I would strongly consider moving to LF as 1B is clearly ending up with someone else there, whether Pablo, Villalona, Duvall, even maybe Pill, and especially with Posey starting there often, no matter what, as long as he is the starting catcher. That can be a very good lineup as long as injuries do not decimate it at the same time again.

      And the bullpen, as they usually do under Bochy, looks pretty good. Romo as closer, Casilla and Affeldt as co-setup 8th relievers/closer du jour, Mijares, for sure, and many among Kontos, Dunning, Rosario, Machi, plus maybe Hembree, Bochy Jr., Kickham, Surkamp, Cody Hall. Giants might pick up a free agent reliever also, to stabilize the bullpen even more.

      That is a good base for any team going forward, so they should take advantage of this huge lemon of a season, grasp a Top 5 draft pick as hard as they can without alienating the paying fans so that we get a good prospect for the 2015-2020 period, to go along with the good prospects we currently got going in the minors, as we don't need great players, we already have a pretty good core, we just need a bunch of cheap complementary players to contribute, though it won't hurt to find another great player among the players we got now.

  3. Forgot to mention that Pence said that he greatly appreciated that Sabean kept the lines of communications open with him regarding what is happening, and said that while he would prefer sticking around her this season, he understands that it is a business, would look forward to playing for a contender, and would definitely still be interested in signing a long-term contract with the Giants in the off-season.

    Of course, that is part marketing too, for some players know that you got to keep the door open in order to get the best contract, but Hunter seems to wear his heart on his sleeve, so I would not use my cynical jaded side to interpret his statements and accept them as heartfelt opinions on his part.

    As noted, the Giants have already signaled that they will QO Lincecum and Pence so that is the starting point for any team interested in getting these players out of the Giants. Sounds like the Giants are open to offers that they can't refuse, but would be happy to stand pat as well with what we have, for the most part. I think Lopez is the most logical one to go and that he will be gone to give our young bullpen more innings. And I don't expect any team to wow the Giants with any offers, but you never know.

  4. Pence 2012 Phil
    .271/.336/.447/.783 440 PA

    Traded for Schierholtz, Rosin and Joseph

    Pence 2013
    .277/.320/.455/.775 444 PA

    He's the same player. Can't see him worth more today as a 2 month rental.

  5. I like your point on Zito and the 5th pick. Let's let the RDF get every dollar out of Big Z!

    I'm not sure I like Ellsbury long term, but one thing they could look at is getting him to play CF and pushing Pagan to LF. Not much power but a lot of speed and defensive coverage.

    I'm really over Panda, I've been vocal about it. I think he's a big chunk of why the Giants are in the tank. Everybody seems to assume he's going to rebound to his 2011 season, I just don't see it as good odds or even odds. I see it as low odds.

    The 2014 draft looks good. Really good. I think Pence should be retained because we don't need to subtract we need to add. But I also think they need to hedge it, and devaluing his market value with the QO will help. It only takes one GM though, but I think they should be able to get the Pagan, not the Rowand. If Pence is a 2 WAR paid guy for 4 years - 8 WAR or so on a 40MM (is this old math yet?) I can live with that.

    Belt? We need that breakout soon, because he's in his last year of controlled cost in 2014, and then he'll be costing what Panda does next year, in the 6-10MM range, and then suddenly the equation is changed.

    I'd say the odds that Timmy is coming back are 60-40 and on a short term prove it, I think that's great. Don't want to give up on that talent.

    I still say the Giants need to roll the dice with more gambles like the 2011-12 offseason, where they got Melky and Pagan, two guys who had MLB experience but some dings.

    1. I know we disagree about Pablo. He doesn't need to return to 2011 heights to provide a lot of value to us. He mainly needs to stay off the DL, and I think he would be fine for us.

      Pence is going to get over $10M per year, easily. I just don't want to pay over $15M. I consider him to be expensive insurance for a repeat in 2014 and beyond.

      Belt has been slow but progressing each season, but if he's still struggling next season, perhaps he needs a new place to light a fire under him (preferably in the AL).

      And yes to the gambles, which Sabean usually partake in a couple each year (Gaudin, Rosario, Vogelsong, Blanco, Arias, Stewart, Torres, Uribe, Huff, etc.)

  6. http://www.csnbayarea.com/blog/andrew-baggarly/sabean-embarrassing-offers-didnt-entice-trade-pence-others

    Giants stand pat, and in fact, Sabean states that the Giants will pursue deals with Lincecum, Pence, and Lopez, and could possibly start negotiations before the season ends (usually a playoff run would preclude negotiations so as not to distract the players, but if we are out of it, there is nothing to distract).

    Both Pence and Lopez have said that they would like to return to the Giants, and often when both sides want the same, Sabean makes it happen with a market level contract. Pence in particular has repeatedly said that he would love to return to the Giants, starting from last year.

    Again, I don't want to see a big overpay for Pence, but I don't expect that to happen. Lopez probably will get a similar two year deal as he currently has, and I can live with that.

  7. I really think that it is time to trade Sandoval. It is clear that he will never get in shape. He will become even more of a defensive liability than he is right now. He really should have a lot of value to an AL team that can DH him and spot start him in the field.

    1. I can see your point. Shankbone and you and others share that opinion.

      Here's my counterpoint. Your observation and conclusions are flaw in your plan. Any other team sees this as much as any of us do and will devalue him accordingly in their minds. Defense is just part of the equation, it does not take much research to find out that Sandoval was benched during the 2010 World Series because he was so fat that it affected his hitting on one side.

      I agree that he will never STAY in shape, but I think he understands that tens of millions of dollars, perhaps a hundred million dollars, rest on him getting into shape this off-season, and like the 2010 offseason, he will haul his ass up the hill for nice videos that his team of agents will post on twitter for all to see and actually get into shape for 2014.

      So the equation for me is this. On the one hand, teams will pay for a fat player who potentially could eat his way off the lineup, even if he DH's, plus engages in risky behavior, whether it was being brought in for questioning for rape or being photographed eating a huge sundae almost exactly after the 2010 World Series was won by the Giants when he knew that eating such foods was why he was benched during that World Series. On the other hand, if Pablo does climb the mountain, we could get another 2011 season out of him.

      I choose the chance that 2011 comes again. A season like that would vastly increase our chances of winning in 2014. The prospects we get from teams hedging and valuing into the equation that he could get fat would not be good enough to help us until a couple of years from now, if ever, the quality is going to be pretty low in terms of offers. The time to trade him would have been last off-season, in the glow of the 3 homer sweetness in Game 1 of the World Series.

      Now, the remnants of his trade value make taking a chance that he shapes up for 2014 a much better proposition, in my eyes.

      In any case, I agree with those who say that being fat when he's not motivated to get thin is his normal state, that he's had enough seasons to put on his big boy thinking cap and realize that he needed to put on a bigger effort to keep the weight off after 2011, in order to get the big contract after 2014, at least from the Giants. His statement last offseason about taking two years to get himself into shape was just a fat slap in the face insult to all us fans who have been rooting for him.

      Signing him long term will be like handling dynamite that has been sitting around aging for many years, you don't know when it will explode like that gluttonous guy in Monty Python's Meaning of Life, and the betting line for me for him getting fat would be the 2015 season, and I would bet the under (before).

      I would give him the QO and get the pick, there will be a desperate team willing to sign him, hopefully LA will roll up the truck to get him, like they did with Schmidt, and then Pablo the Hutt will roll in on a truck to play 3B for them. If they thought Uribe was a disappointment for them at 3B, I expect Pablo to be exponentially worse, if he can't control his weight the past few years, when he was young and knew what was at stake, how can he do that regularly starting in year age 28, when his free agent contract would start?

      But it did register in his brain after 2010, so I expect a better year in 2014, certainly better than whatever prospects teams would be willing to give us for him.

      And if any team is willing to give up a huge package of prospects for him, commensurate with a 900+ OPS hitter, then I would jump on it.

    2. It's definitely a tough situation. Part of what is going on is that Pablo's poor physical conditioning and poor play has contributed to the Giants poor play in a major way this year, when we are supposed to be defending the ring.

      I bet the conversations among the BrainTrust are long and heated on this issue.

      The pro's of Pablo: a shot at 900 OPS hitter is something you don't give up on easy; amazing amazing hand-eye coordination and athletic ability; true god-given ability to hit the baseball; fun personality to have. I'm sure I'm leaving out some, he is definitely a special talent.

      The con's of Pablo: no self control; extremely immature both in personal decisions as well as letting off-field issues leak onto the field (reportedly its a new girl this year); the weight kills his baserunning, severely harms his defense and puts a big cramp in the bat.

      It looks like the Giants hedged correctly. They have a 8.25MM contract for 2014, if he does well he will have QO attached. If he doesn't, it might be a buy-low prove it opportunity. (If that part sounds familiar it is - Timmy).

      It gets harder every year to keep weight off. The oft-sited reference for Pablo is John Kruk. Baseball players come in all shapes and sizes. I think there's a little bit of bunk in that though, in this day and age there are nutritionists, professional weight training and a de-emphasis on post-game beers in the locker room.

      My main point is assuming he's going all 2010-11 off-season and coming to crush the 2014 season for FA purposes is no given. Its not even close to a given. I think its far-fetched. I put the Johnny Sanchez label on Pablo - immensely talented immensely headstrong guy who did not go the extra yard and did not conduct himself like a professional. And in the end... Sabean had to deal him away for pennies on the dollar. Still got a good deal though!

      The Giants culture is to always hold onto talent, value what's in front of their face. Also, we generally have less pieces than other squads. That's not a criticism, its an observation. Sabean really isn't a wheeler dealer, he's a patient conservative accumulator.

      I weigh each season, and if you look at Pablo's pretty unique career, there is actually more downs than ups now. He is an impulsive impatient hitter, which is pretty unique. So you have the Verlander moment, the Hardball Times Yogi Berra Award - those are the good things. The bad things - he has a hero complex, lots of first pitch swings, and lots of outs, because he won't work his way into hitters counts. I go back to the Fat Ichiro call - if he's doing damage while being aggressive, great. But if he's hitting singles and clogging the bases, he's an absolute liability out there. And don't get me started about his defense this year. We need more consistency and professionalism in all 3 aspects of the game: hitting, defense and baserunning.

      Gonna be some fun table talks for the Giants this year between Pablo and Belt. Pence too. And LF!

    3. Most teams that has been winning consistently over a period of time will have less pieces than other squads, generally. So I did understand that was an observation.

      Any lacking on that part, I would lay the blame on ownership for not shelling out the money necessary to allow Sabean to keep the draft picks and not make the decision to punt them.

      I do realize that 2014 being a make good year is not a given. But he did publicly state that he'll do that before 2015 and his agents should be making him realize what he is jeopardizing by being overweight, much like in 2010. He realized it then as well, so to me there are good odds of him being good in 2014.

      And really, your arguments - assuming that represents the view of other teams - really support my position: if Pablo is seen in such a poor light, no team is going to give up much for him, and if we are not getting much for him, even a slim chance that he gets fit for one season is more valuable than anything the Giants might get in exchange in a trade. I'm willing to give him up for a big package of prospects, I got eyes too and I've seen too many people struggle with this issue, I understand not wanting to keep him going forward.

      But if other teams see this too, then they are not going to offer much, and in that case, I would rather we keep him than take whatever pittance in prospects they offer. My point is that even if the odds are small, it should still contribute more to the Giants than making the trade.

    4. Yep, I'm trying to suss out what a team would see in Pablo. There is a lot to like, and a lot to be cautious about. Now most likely, especially in light of Sabean's comments that trade offers were extremely light to the point of insulting, teams would want to strip him for nothing. If that is the case, you have no choice: hope like hell Pablo gets himself into shape for his 2015 contract, per his public statements.

      In my view, as soon as he said he had two years to get in shape, he took himself completely out of the Gints long term plans and he was on shaky ground to begin with. That is a clear signal that the player is going to test FA. Most likely he is smarting from getting a hedge-it contract. Well, he got the contract he earned.

      I hope he is in shape and has a monster year. But the Giants have started making their plans - teams cannot turn on a dime - and they have over 4MM invested in the left side of the IF. So it'll be Dominguez or a placeholder FA for a year or two from 2015-16 until Jones/Arroyo et al come rocking in 2017. In a perfect world.

      Contingency planning in baseball is tough bidness. There just isn't enough talent to double up. You have to take your chances and sometimes you get burned...



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