Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Your 2015 Giants: Romo Rolling Home, Signs with Giants


Per MLBTR, where I linked to their photo above (just seems appropriate for this post), he signed for 2 years, $15M, with some incentives, up to $1M based on games finished (in case he becomes closer again, I assume).

ogc thoughts

Wow, did not see that coming.  Thought for sure that he was going down to LA, which I assume his family - still die-hard Bridegroom fans - has been getting on him to do.  Plus there was the Colletti-Giants connection, though that part died the moment Sheriff Ned got bounced upstairs.  That's why I've not mentioned him much, other than that the Giants still professed interest.

Honestly, I thought that he was gone.  Giants typically get their guys signed quickly, and when not, the players are usually pretty open about wanting to return but wanting to test out the free agent waters.  Romo didn't say anything about wanting to return, that I saw.  Plus, being a closer was something I knew that was important to him, and thus I also assumed that he wanted to get a closer's job somewhere than be a set-up guy here.  Or at least get closer-like money.

And perhaps he did, but after all this time and the Winter Meetings over, perhaps there weren't any interested in him being their closer or at closer money, and if he's going to be a set-up guy anywhere, why not return to where he's loved, respected, and comfortable?  And the Giants typically pay well to boot, and they did, going above what they had paid to Casilla and Affeldt previously.

Feeling Good

Overall, I'm happy.  It probably means Strickland will be pitching in AAA in 2015 - I assume Kontos, barring a horrible spring, got the Gutierrez (and last) spot in the bullpen - and I was kind of looking forward to how he does.  But it really makes our bullpen strong in that there are a lot of good to great duplicate pieces in Casilla, Affeldt, and Romo, each with their own skills and strong points, and gives Bochy the luxury of going to another one quickly if one should happen to have a bad appearance.   Plus as healthy as Romo has been in his career, his elbow has always been achy and could breaky at some point.

Plus, now Strickland can be in reserve in AAA in case anything happens to the Big Three of Casilla, Affeldt, Romo, particularly since they are all on the bad side of 30 and getting older, as our bullpen is getting on the old side.  He would also get more experience as the closer in Sacramento.  And perhaps upgrade our bullpen should we make the playoffs again, taking over for Machi perhaps or the 5th starter, as the case goes.

Now the bullpen is Casilla, Affeldt, Romo, Lopez, Machi, Petit, and probably Kontos, though perhaps Strickland (Kontos has no more options and would be lost, though, if he were not on our 25-man, and he's been good enough that I don't think the Giants would do that, trade him).

I'm also happy because I think that Romo is a good guy with a good head on his shoulder.  I can still remember the interview he gave to CSNBA the year he came up, he earned a fan for life at that point (unless, of course, he ends up being a Bridegroom).   And the Giants bullpen has been deadly in the playoffs with them.

BWeez Begone

Brian Wilson was just DFAed by the Bridegrooms, $9.5M thrown away.  I wonder if his crazed historonics with the Giants prevent his return here.  Then again, he'll probably want to live closer to home and perhaps join the up and coming Padres, who can face both the Giants and Dodgers.

8 comments:

  1. Even with the example of the Royals' fabled pen vs ours in the WS, and the prediction (on Fangraphs?) that in the foreseeable future the concept of the starting pitcher will slide toward extinction, many blog pundits are lamenting this signing, or accepting it on sentimental rather than hardheaded baseball grounds. They continue to believe that relievers are fungible. It's a pleasure to come here and find the good sense that one expects here.

    I have to say, this has been, so far, a sort of obnoxious offseason on the blogs, at least to me, with so many of the write-in posters and even the chief guru at times, forgetting that a couple of months ago the World Champion Giants rode in triumph, with Sabean their shaper. Now people are grumpy because Sabean signed no FAs save for this mere, aging reliever. They represent him as glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, or paralyzed with rage and/or fear, clueless and frustrated as Plan A and Plan B slip away while other teams snatch up all the glowingly desirable FAs and trade options. In October, he was HOF Sabean, but now, strangely, he has become Sabean without a plan, Sabean the hapless, Sabean the tactless, or Sabean who can't keep track of his budget, blunders into overpaying Romo, and so torpedoes his chance of paying for a first-rate SP or 3B or LF. Again, it's a pleasure to come to this site where of all I'm least likely to find, certainly from you but even from those who write in comments, this sort of brash, forgetful, self-therapeutic daffiness.

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    1. Yeah, I noticed that Sabean Naysayer attitude being surprisingly on high tide given the results that bore fruit not that long ago.

      But not too surprising when many of them have the position that it has been mostly the result of luck and not astute planning on the part of Sabean.

      It is also typical homerism that I see as well. If every position on the starting team - position, rotation, setup/closer - is not filled in with a young, cheap, healthy, and highly productive player, then therefore the team sucks and will end up last in the division, especially since all the other teams are making THE moves.

      I'll admit that I've normally erred on the side of positiveness, mainly with regards to health, but I'm at least trying to get to the middle in terms of expectations. I don't see any of the naysayers trying to be self introspective at all, they are right because, well, they are, and no matter how many times they have been wrong will ever change them from that opinion.

      I will say that Romo did get paid more than what the Giants had been paying their top relievers, but he was the closer for a long period of time, and I view it as rewarding him for that period of closing, plus a little extra if he closes again.

      But yeah, I'm getting tired about the complaints about fungible relievers too! If it is so darn easy to find a Romo or Affeldt off the waiver wire, then why doesn't every team have someone that good in the bullpen (or better)? Or really, why don't they have a bullpen full of great relievers? If they are as plentiful as the sabers say that they are, then I would like them to go ahead and list me all the non-major leaguers that they think could come into the majors and pitch well in set-up and above situations, and at the end of the season, lets see how many of them made the majors and how many of them were actually any good.

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  2. I don't mind the Romo re-signing; he has very good numbers in general. Maybe he will have gotten over whatever it was that let him get knocked out of the closer position - although being a 1 pitch guy without overwhelming power is tough.
    Nonetheless, he has been a very solid contributor to the Giants.
    I'm happy for him and happy to have him.
    McGehee - I see as the Tejada of 2015 (i.e. the veteran filler for the non-even number year). Which is to say, a nice experiment but I will be frankly astonished if he does well. I remember him well during all the years which the Giants played against Milwaukee - never a player that caused trepidation when he came to the plate. His defense also doesn't seem impressive in the least - and this is a potentially very serious issue with 2 groundball pitchers like Peavy and Hudson in the rotation.
    Hudson was very good in the 1st half, but his age and tiredness clearly showed in the 2nd. His splits also are particularly bad in a couple stadiums; that didn't change either. On the other hand, will he be worth the money the Giants paid? Certainly.
    Peavy, I'm much less certain, but I'm ultimately ok with him as a #3 or #4.
    Left is still a big issue as is the major choke point in center/leadoff with Pagan - the entire time the Giants have had him, they win when he isn't injured. Maybe just a coincidence, but there you have it.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Romo was aces soon after that hiccup and that's life when you are a reliever, a few instances will cause your numbers to blow up. From what Shankbone reported on his site, Romo was very upset over a breakup last season (I'm guessing around the time of the Colorado series), and given that his performance there was the anomaly, and he was great the rest of the season and in playoffs, I think he's back to being his capable self.

      But yeah, life when you have just that one killer pitch is when it goes, you goes, like that sinkerballer we had a few years back (name starts with M I think) who lost it and his career. Ultimately, teams of the Giants revenue range can eat $7.5M easily but if he's back to his dominant self, it's all good.

      I can see the comparison with Tejada, except that Miggy was actually good defensively at 3B, but I assume you mean a vet on the downside of his career and we don't know what we are getting. For $3.5M, it's worth a gamble of money and prospects that they have on their OK to Trade list. Honestly, that's pocket change for the Giants, and I still like Adrianza or Duffy to start there should McGehee falters. But as I noted on my post on him, he has a very good contact rate as well as BB/K rate, which is a sign of a good hitter, I think it's a good gamble, and if it don't work, easy to move on to Ehire or Duffy.

      Hudson's problems appears to do with his hip issue, which I guess you can categorize under "age" but I would note that without his great pitching in the playoffs in the NLxS series, we don't make the World Series. His problem was fixed when he got the right meds to help him get over his hip issue, and once that happened, he was good to go.

      He's a battler that any team would love to have on it and I'll bet that the taste of the first one was so sweet that he will "will" the team to push hard for another one, I don't think he'll be satisfied with one and at some point might give the Renteria speech ("my last chance, want to end as winner")

      I think it's a coincidence that the team wins when he isn't injured because each time it was followed by a number of other injuries that pushed the team down. For example, in 2013, the Giants were winning in spite of Pagan's poor OPS, and when Blanco took over, he was actually hitting better than Pagan once, for about a month or so, but during that period, that's when Scutaro, Sandoval, and Crawford all got injured and started to not hit (or go on DL in Pablo's case).

      And I would note that they did not have much problems winning their third championship without him leading off during the playoffs. So I think it's just a coincidence.

      What was not a coincidence, to me, was that the Giants started winning once Belt returned to the lineup, not for his performance, per se, but because it added that extra bat that our lineup needed to win with our pitching.

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    2. Oops, I assume most caught it, but when I started talking about coincidence about winning, I had switched to discussing Pagan from talking about Hudson. Sorry.

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  3. I agree with your point that McGehee isn't a huge financial or prospect risk - but the whole idea was to at least replace Pablo's offensive and defensive contribution. McGehee, I think it is fair to say, is no such thing.
    For Hudson, again, in no way disagreeing that he was a material contributor. The poor splits showed very clearly though vs. Washington and also vs. Kansas City.
    As for Romo - he started doing well again once he was no longer the closer. Yes, he did occasionally close, but the bulk of the closing was done - and done well - by Casilla and others. Sure, maybe there was a big emotional component there which will change in 2015. That would be great, but my point was simply that I don't actually care that much whether Romo can perform as a lock down 8th inning reliever vs. a so-so 9th inning one. If he can step up to be the lockdown wherever and whenever he pitches, so much the better.
    As for Pagan - it isn't Pagan's actual performance. Sure, if he's hot, he can carry the Giants offense. But his being there somehow does make a difference; I'll note that this isn't even based on just last season - there have been at least 3 long periods of time where Pagan was significantly injured, and the Giants offense in all 3 periods was poor compared to the times when Pagan was playing. I also disagree that the Giants didn't feel the loss of him in the playoffs as their offense in the playoffs was by-and-large pretty poor. Historic performances by Pablo and Pence covered that up to some significant degree, but the fact remained that the top 2 spots in the Giants lineup were notably absent in performance outside of a couple Panik bops, and the Giants scored relatively few runs considering they had TWO guys hitting over 400 the entire playoffs.

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    1. That's the point I've been making all off-season: people are focused too much on replacing Pablo's contributions when, really, it is replacing contributions from 3B, 1B, 2B, and LF (and CF to some extent as well).

      I've been using 2B/3B to try to show my point. 2B was a hole in 2014, and 3B was to a certain extent as well. Panik (admittedly, assuming he continues to hit well, but so far so good) would mostly replace Sandoval's contribution over the 2014 season, and thus we only need someone at 3B who would replace the lousy production we got out of 2B in 2014.

      What? Hudson went 7.1 IP with 7 hits and 0 walks, striking out 8, and giving up one run against Washington. I'll take that any day, week, month or year, you must be thinking about Peavy.

      You must be thinking of his Cards start. If you read my blog at all, you know I go by PQS analysis and Hudson, while giving up 4 runs, had a 4 PQS or what they call a DOM start, a quality start, he was just unlucky with the hits falling in at inopportune moments, but we still won that game. So he was fine then.

      And he was good enough in his first start against KC, you can't have gems in every start. Then his one really bad, or DIS start in that last start.

      I need more evidence that age is the issue.

      About Romo, I think it is clear that we are in agreement that we're happy he's back, I was just trying to answer your concerns about his one trick pony and explaining that his hiccup might have been an emotional one, not a physical one. And we agree that whatever inning he can shut down, wherever he can do it is great for us.

      About Pagan, I'm just trying to explain it from my viewpoint. I wasn't talking just about 2014 either. In fact, my comment explicitly pointed out 2013, so I'm not sure why you thought I was just talking about 2014.

      I've chronicled the aftermath of each Pagan injury on my website. For whatever reasons, we lose important hitters in our lineup each time Pagan is injured and out of the lineup. My point was that we were not losing because he's out of the lineup, we were losing because we were missing, like, half of the top 6 hitters (whether through injury or poor performance) soon after he went on the DL. If you can show me I'm wrong, I'll accept that my memory is not clear on this.

      Here is why I mentioned the playoffs. While the offense wasn't the best during the 2014 playoffs, neither was the starting pitching staff. It was Bumgarner and Hudson, mostly, then just Bumgarner in the World Series. Peavy and Vogie contributed here and there, but not significant contributors in my eyes. We were still 8-2 before the World Series, and 12-5 in total. It was as much offense as pitching, and we did it without Pagan leading off.

      And this time it was Sandoval. It wasn't him at all in 2010, and the next time the Giants get into the playoffs, it could be someone else, like Posey, who was pretty non-existent as a force in the 2014 playoffs. And Belt was pretty good himself in 2014 playoffs. Offense is like that, not very consistent with who produces, but if you got enough competitors together, some of them will produce, and hopefully enough to win with the stellar pitching we have normally had.

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  4. I think assuming Panik will replace Pablo's production is a huge leap. We'll both be happy if that happens, but that is unquestionably hope rather than numbers talking.
    As for 2B - let's not forget that Scutaro was a very good hitter in that slot, and a decent defender. The real situation is replacing Pablo with McGehee and Scutaro with Panik - I do not see how you can possibly say the Giants didn't lose something there.
    Panik is NEVER going to hit 3 home runs in a game, much less in the World Series. Love the guy, but I don't see that happening.
    As for Hudson - the numbers are quite clear: after the All Star Break, he was simply not the same guy. We're not just talking hard luck losses either, he had quite a number of games where he coughed up a lot of runs, particularly in September. Hudson was 2-8 after June, and gave more runs in September alone than he did in almost any two other months.
    Did he perform well in the playoffs? Yes. I will note, however, that I distinctly remember those games being ones where a LOT of balls were hit straight at people. Hudson did get a lot of ground balls, as he seeks to do, but as with his 2nd half of the season saw a lot of hard hit line drives and fly balls unlike the 1st half.
    Romo - again, I don't think either of us are down on Romo in any way. I just want to see him be able to close consistently; Brian Wilson was able to do that despite his penchant for dancing on the knife's edge.
    As for Pagan, what I'll note is that while there are always some players injured - that is just baseball - Pagan when he was playing, the Giants would be able to win even when other people were injured (Pablo's hamate tribulations come to mind). In 2014, Belt was injured May 10 - The Giants continued to win until mid June when Pagan went out; it was right about then that the Giants had a long series of losses and the blah began.
    As for the playoffs - again, happy that the Giants won, but I do think the outcome would very possibly have been different if the Nats or the Cardinals had different managers. The offense was generally good enough, but the fact remained that the offense was able to pull of last minute magic a large number of times - something which is simply not sustainable (sure didn't happen in the regular season that much).
    Be that as it may, the fact that the Giants had two 400+ hitters in the playoffs is the only reason they were able to win - the rest of the team didn't do much albeit did contribute on several specific occasions, and one of those 400 hitters is gone.
    Not saying Sandoval isn't replaceable - but the fact is that Pablo has had that type of impact before, and that type of impact is very rare in a single offseason much less in several.
    Could Panik do this? Anything is possible, but the likelihood is very low. If it happens, I will be happy and happy for him and the Giants, but this is not the same thing as realistically expecting it.

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