Monday, August 03, 2015

Your 2015 Giants: The August Gauntlet

{Note:  I had this written up for publication before Friday's game, but then the Leake trade happened.  Apologies in advance for any numbers not updated to current figures as of publication, I'll update where I can.}

Every year, the Giants have a schedule full of games in August, leaving only two days off the whole month.  That's why I've been suggesting a modified 6-man rotation during this period, to give our SP regular rest.  This season, people are also worried because the Giants are facing teams who are all contenders:  Rangers, Braves, Cubs, Astros, Nationals, Cards, Pirates, Dodgers, during the month of August (only the Braves are too far out of a playoff spot).  That would be 27 out of 30 are contenders.  Plus 18 of 30 (I'm including the Rangers first game of the series) are on the road.

The following was a comment I posted on Raising Matt Cain, and expanded (as I am wont to do) because I tweak.  Plus, then, you know, the Leake trade happened, so this post got delayed to today instead, with some final tweaks.


ogc thoughts

I'm not sure why people are so worried about all the good teams in August. We are one of the few teams who are actually above .500 against winning teams. There are only 5 NL teams above .500, and LA aint one of them.  In fact, they are 12-21, so they should worry more about August, they got 30 games (starting Friday and ending with Giants series) and 18 against playoff contenders.  Plus, we are one of three teams with a winning record on the road as well:  26-22.  It won't be easy, but it is not like the Giants have been cowed by either situation, in any case (of course, they went 1-2 against the Rangers, so now those stats are a little worse for the Giants).  And really, as long as the Giants are playing .500 on the road, I'm not going to worry too much, as long as everyone is healthy.

On top of that, once we got Pence, Peavy, and Cain back (but mostly Pence), we have been on one hot streak.  The Giants are 26-8 in Pence starts, 14-3 in his starts since he returned to the lineup again (once again, add 1-2 for the Rangers series, that's 27-10 and 15-5, respectively.  We need to remember that we have not fielded our entire core team until Aoki returned to the lineup a few days ago.  For most of the season, we were missing Pence, Cain, and Peavy, key players, then Aoki, our leadoff guy.  Now we are supercharged, having most of our original starters and key performers (McGehee replaced well by Duffy, Lincecum replaced well by Heston, Hudson replaced and hopefully well by Leake; so far so good, Leake had a nice outing in a hot and hostile, at least for pitchers, locale) back on the roster and playing well for the most part.

September Should Be Easy

In addition, September is a month of non-playoff contenders.  There are 32 games in Sept/Oct (I'm throwing in the last game of August since it starts a series mostly in Sept) and the only clear contenders are the Dodgers.

The rest are mostly out, though some possibility of the playoffs (Note:  all the numbers here in this section were NOT updated, they were valid as of 7/31).  The D-backs are 6.5 games out but at 2 games under .500, not really in the mix.  And the last time they were at .500 or above this season was April 24, and the highest above .500 has been when they were one game over, in April.  The A's and Padre's are 8 games out, theoretically possible, but trades should push the A's further out while the Padres has not gotten it together all season, so I see no reason why they will in the rest of the season, despite their talents, they are a struggling team (apparently, though, the Padres GM, not pulling any moves, believes that the Padres are still contenders;  I'm surprised he is not getting more crap for that deal to get Myers, giving up Ross AND Turner).  Plus, the A's are 12 games under .500 right now, while Rockies are 13 games under.  The Reds are 10 games out (9 games under .500) and traded Cueto already, and trying to trade others.

So out of 32 games, 7 are with the Dodgers, 6 against the D-backs, 6 against the Padres, 3 against the A's, 3 against the Reds, and 7 against the woeful Rockies.   Only true contender is the Bridegrooms and that's only 7 games.   D-backs are semi-contenders and that is 6 games.  The other 19 games are against the Padres, A's, Reds, and Rockies, with 13 against teams roughly 10 games under .500 or worse (I'm lumping Reds in here since they are at 9 games under and just traded away Cueto, plus perhaps others, like Chapman).  The Giants got a pretty soft schedule in September and it could get softer if the Rockies and Padres manage to sell off more good players in August before the final deadline.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers face the Giants, Angels and Pirates in September.  That's 12 games out of 32 (if you throw in the Giants August game, that's 13 games out of 33).  So while the Giants might face more contenders in August, the Dodgers face more in September, relative to each other.   And remember, the Giants have played well against contenders and on the road, LA has not (12-21 against teams over .500, 23-27 on the road; now 15-21 against teams over .500).

Altogether in August and September (plus start and end of series in July and October), the Giants have 32 games against contenders out of 61 games.  While the Dodgers have 28 games out of 60 games against contenders (and after this past weekend, Giants have 29 out of 58, Dodgers 28 out of 57).  And for the Giants, they face 16 games at home and 17 on the road, Dodgers 15 games at home and 13 on the road.  Thus they have a nice advantage over the Giants in remaining games with contenders at only 13 on the road vs. 17 for the Giants (but after this Rangers series, deadheat almost, with 14 games on the road with contenders for the Giants, and 13 games for the Dodgers).   The Giants and Dodgers have very similar schedules going forward, but the Giants have been beating .500 teams while the Dodgers have not.

Usual August Worry For Me

I am worried about August/September because of all the games with only two days off between July 31st to September 9th.  The team sometimes wilt under the onslaught of games, a gauntlet unyielding.  I would like to see all the starters get a game of rest each week, though I'm flexible to the situation of each player.

What that would mean is that Blanco and Adrianza get a lot of starts to rest key players in the outfield and infield respectively.  Each should get 2-3 starts per week, though perhaps Pence with all his rest can start all the games in the weeks with no off day.  Blanco would see play in each OF spot, Adrianza at SS, 3B, and 2B (especially 2B since Panik is dealing with back issues already).

Bochy has already said that Posey would get to DH one game in the AL series (there are two, Rangers now and A's in late Sept).  Once Susac returns, Posey could get more rest at 1B (or full game), whereas right now, with Sanchez, Posey is probably starting at C mostly.   What I don't want to see, though, is Belt getting a lot of rest, we need to have his bat going if we are going to make the playoffs, and go deep into the playoffs.

Pagan Playing Poorly

Pagan probably needs more rest than anyone.  He has had almost no power this season, continuing a disturbing declining ISO trend since 2012, his first season with us.  And rest might not even help much, the ASB hardly did anything for him:  .519 OPS since the All Star break.

Plus, he's reaching Rowand-esque levels that Bochy might even go with Blanco over him soon if he don't improve.   He actually had a great April, but after the May 4th game, he has played pretty badly:  .538 OPS since that game.  And he has not been any good since:  .577 OPS rest of May, .450 OPS in June (there's your swoon), .598 OPS in July.

Researching back to that game period, DrB noted in his game notes that Pagan injured his finger and missed the May 5th game.  Since that appears to be the point at which he got bad offensively, it is reasonable to assume that he's still battling the effects of that injury, but has been playing with it because Pence then Aoki were out on the DL.  This reminds me of Crawford's finger injury that ruined his good start in 2013, and he wasn't all that good afterward for the rest of the season, offensively.

Bochy is giving him some respect by continuing to play him (plus with Pence and Aoki out, what choice did Bochy have?) and leading off, but he's the one who needs to bat 8th whenever he's in the lineup, if he's going to be in the lineup, going forward.   Even Maxwell has out-hit Pagan since (.578 OPS since May 4th), that's how badly Pagan has played.

I think Bochy has no choice but to start Blanco in place of Pagan at some point relatively soon.  Pagan really should have been DLed because of his lingering problems with his finger, as well as his knees.  Hopefully the Giants can spare him the indignity of being benched by rightfully DLing him so that he can get his finger and knee healthy again.

In any case, he's not any use to us like this right now, sub-600 OPS is a huge hole in the lineup.  Perhaps the Giants can use this as an opportunity to bring up an OF, perhaps Williamson, though he hasn't exactly set AAA on fire so far, or more likely Lollis, who while not hot, is at least hitting for average and taking walks.   Probably too soon to bring up Cole from AA, as well.  Or perhaps do some of their famous kicking of tires among the players DFAed in recent days, not sure who is available, but you get to bring in someone and checked them out for two weeks while Pagan get healthier.

Modified 6-man Rotation

And I would like to rest the starting pitchers as well.  This is my white whale, and I doubt the Giants are going to do it this season either, but I would like to see Vogelsong get starts so that the SP get roughly regular rest of 6 days instead of losing a day of rest and getting only 5 days (by this, I'm counting each day, so if a pitcher pitched on the 20th and then 26th, I count that as 6 days of rest, whereas it seems like some calls that 5 days of rest, counting only the days in-between).

I looked through the schedule. It is actually bad to Sept 9, with only 2 days off from tomorrow to the 9th, covering 39 games. Then there are no days off during the last 13 games of the season either, starting Sept 22.  So I think it behooves the Giants to play around with the rotation in order to give regular days of rest between starts.

And the stats support that.  Baseball-Reference.com, which uses the 4 days of rest convention when the pitcher pitches on the fifth day after his last start, reports that the Giants starters have an ERA of 4.12 (42 starts) with 4 days of rest (i.e. every fifth day), 3.85 ERA (45 starts) with 5 days of rest, and 3.43 ERA (17 starts) with 6+ days of rest.

People complain that you don't want to take away starts from your best pitcher, but my plan would only take away one start from each starter in the rotation.  In addition, Vogelsong has pitched really well as a starter this season when he gets regular scheduled slots in the rotation (3.48 ERA once he was inserted as a regular starting pitcher with his April 23rd start), so there is not as much loss of performance from using him.  On top of that, each of the regular rotation guys would shift from 4 to 5 days of rest to 5 to 6 days of rest, an improvement of nearly half a run in ERA.  You win both ways.

Given our current rotation, if we insert Vogelsong (or other available starter) starts on Aug 5, Aug 16, Aug 30, Sept 5, and Sep 27, that only takes one start away from Bumgarner plus ends the season with Cain, Peavy, Bumgarner so that if the Giants can rest Bumgarner, Vogie or a rookie can take that last start so that Madison can start first game of playoffs, or if in wild card, can push Bumgarner to pitch WC game.

Then most probably Leake follows Bumgarner, as that is how the rotation looks like it will work out, plus I doubt the Giants will put Heston in such a spot (heck, not even sure who would lose their rotation spot in the playoffs, though my personal choice is Peavy because he's never had a DOM start in the playoffs, though if Cain continues to struggle, it might be a coin flip between the two).

This gives the team flexibility on how to handle the last start of the season, plus keeps all the starters on a 6 days between starts schedule, for the most part:  only 5 starts with only 5 days rest, 4 starts with 7 days rest (per BB-Ref stats, 5 days rest mostly, with only 5 starts with 4 days rest and 4 starts with 7 days rest).

NL West Division Title Chances

I like our playoff chances overall.  The Giants should either win the NL West division or claim one of the wild card spots.   They are on an upswing now that players are healthy and contributing.

The Giants are 2.5 games behind LA right now (but the analysis below, unless otherwise noted, covers the stats pre-weekend).  We have been surging with our restored lineup (it's returned to the team that I thought could run away with the NL West, as I wrote about in the preseason), but with LA picking up a couple of good starters in Latos and Wood (with rumors of them trying to get Gallardo from the Rangers too, they apparently were looking into trading Wood as well, but nothing ever came to fruition), it will probably continue to be a tight race to the finish.

And Latos and Wood are replacing Bolsinger and, for now, the flavor of the moment, but mostly Frias.    Bolsinger (2.83 ERA) and Frias (4.54 ERA) together have an ERA of 3.69, whereas Latos and Wood combined has an ERA of 3.94, though as some analysis have shown, Latos after his DL has a 2.96 ERA, which is more in line with his career numbers (3.43 ERA).  So while they are an improvement, they are not a huge improvement over what the Dodgers were getting with Bolsinger in there with Frias.

In addition, all of the Dodger's nice record is related to their dominance of Arizona, Colorado, and San Diego.  They are 26-11 against them, 31-34 against the rest of the majors (or 3-9 vs. Giants, 28-25 vs. rest).  In their last 60 games, they have 20 against the three, 7 against the Giants, 33 vs. the rest.  If they play the rest at the same win percentages, they end up 90-62.  Another way to look at this is since Bolsinger entered the rotation, roughly start of May, the Dodgers have been 44-37, and if they continue that win rate in their remaining 60 games, they end up 90-62.

Given that the Giants can't keep up 3-9 vs. the Dodgers (can they? :^) and Wood is an improvement, the Bridegrooms look like they will get to 91-92 wins.  However, the Giants are already playing at a 90 win rate right now, so if they just continue to do that, they get to 90 wins too.  And adding Leake seems a similar improvement over Hudson as Wood over Frias, so the Giants could get to 91-92 wins too.

Right now it looks like a dead-heat which could go either way.  But I would note again that since Pence returned to the lineup and the Giants have mostly the team they expect, the Giants are 14-3.  So while they are on an overall 90-win rate, that was accomplished when they were mostly crippled by the loss of Pence and then Aoki (Heston and Vogie were great substitutes for Cain and Peavy), and their true win rate is higher than that.  So that, to me, is our trump card and why we should end up winning the division, kind of like in 2012, when both teams were basically tied at the trade deadline, but then the Giants took off and won the division by a landslide.

Wild Card Wild Card

Meanwhile, for the moment, should they not win the division, I know people hate talking about this now, but it is a reality and a scenario that deserves consideration, the Giants are tied for the second Wild Card spot (the spot they had last season), with the Cubs now, 2.5 games ahead of the Mets/Nats (who are tied for NL East lead), but 4.0 games behind the Pirates for the first Wild Card spot.

The Giants should get one of the two spots, at worse.  The Pirates have picked up a few additional pieces, so while I see the Giants being competitive for that spot, I'm not sure they can make up the difference, for sure.  But the addition of Leake helps to even up with their trades, plus the addition of Pence back into the lineup was like a trade for us, relative to most of the season when we didn't have him.  Plus recent news is that the Pirates just lost their All-Star pitcher, AJ Burnett to a right flexor strain (similar to what disabled Cain) and he is likely lost for at least 4 weeks, and perhaps for the season.

And the Cubs and Mets finally picked up some pieces before the deadline (note:  I updated this info).  Cubs picked up Dan Haren, just before the deadline from the Marlins, to improve their rotation, plus Tommy Hunter from the Orioles to boost the bulllpen.  Also, Cubs reportedly are trying to trade Starlin Castro, as this is his second poor season in three, presumably so that Addison Russell can start there (he's been hitting poorly too but better than Starlin and for a SS, he would be OK offensively there).  Besides, Castro is 25 and Russell is 21, and with the Cubs on an upswing, and with a surplus of SS, better to try to capitalize on that now, where a team might want a Castro.  There is still the potential to try to trade him in August, as well, if he passes through conditional waivers.

The Mets have been trying to trade for a big bat, they almost got Gomez from the Brewers but didn't like his medicals (worked out for Brewers, who got even better players from the Astros) and nearly got Bruce from the Reds, and were working on a deal for rentals from the Padres, who clearly are trying to sell (and trying to dump bad contracts like Gyorko by attaching to trade), but got nowhere.  They ended up picking up Cespedes, who appears to be a player good enough to help a team get to playoffs, but not one teams like to hold onto.  Overall, they added two nice additions in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, then a closer/set-up guy in Tyler Clippard, then Cespedes.

So even if the Giants can't pull out the NL West title, they seem in strong shape to at least make the playoffs via the Wild Card at the moment.  The Cubs and Mets have added some nice players, but the Giants added Leake, plus the addition of Pence has been like getting an upgrade trade done.   On top of that, they added Cain and Peavy to the rotation, and Peavy has been very good while Cain has been up and down.

Leake PQS History Suggests Big Boost to Rotation

And Leake, as noted, has been better on the road.  And been substantially better on the road, both by ERA but also by PQS.

For his career, he has 78 DOM/20 DIS in 164 starts, or 48% DOM/12% DIS.  48% DOM is good but not great, and 12% DIS is good but not great as well.  So I decided to look at his home and road breakdowns, which I normally don't do, but since Cincy has such an extreme park, thought it would be interesting to see the dichotomy.

Looking at his home/road splits from 2012 to 2015, covering the years he has been in the rotation for at least 30 starts, he has been slightly better on the road.  During that period, in 116 starts, he had 55 DOM/16 DIS or 47% DOM/14% DIS, or basically his career averages.  But at home, he's been 26:11/57 or 46% DOM/19% DIS while on the road he's been 29:5/59 or 49% DOM/8% DIS.

As I've noted before, the key to avoiding a high ERA is to avoid disaster starts, and Leake has been very good at avoiding disaster starts when he is on the road.  The best pitchers keep their DIS under 10%.  Thus, even though his DOM barely rose on the road, by cutting down his DIS starts by 60% while on the road, Leake ended up with a great ERA on the road vs. his home.

In addition, he has taken his numbers up an important notch in recent seasons.  He has been right on the cusp of being a great pitcher, in the 50%+ DOM range, while on the road in his career.  And covering 2014-2015, he's been 30:4/55 overall, or 55% DOM/7% DIS, which is very good.  And the splits have been good, home and road:  15:2/26 at home, or 58% DOM/8% DIS;  15:2/29 on the road, or 52% DOM/7% DIS.

Plus, in this season, he has been great on the road with 7 DOM and 1 DIS in 11 starts or 64% DOM/9% DIS.  That is nearing elite status (above 70%) and is roughly where the Giants rotation was as a whole during the glory years from 2009 to 2011.   Leake at his current road level of production boosts our rotation above where it has been in recent seasons.  He could give the rotation a boost equivalent to what Peavy did for us last season.

Leake Salary Thoughts

He appears to be a reasonable contract to absorb in the off-season.   His arbitration salary is $9,775,000 this season, which works out to an equivalent free agent salary of $12.2M.  That would work out to roughly a $50M contract for a 4 year contract, $60M for a 5 year contract.

He had been hoping that the Reds would approach him regarding an extension, but they apparently never approached him, as he noted his hope that they would approach him, but reported that there was no contact.  However, at some point, Jocketty noted that the Reds kept Leake due to his consistency, and "We’ll see what we can do with him in the future as well" in terms of an extension.

There was an article about what he might get in free agency on MLBTR.  The author noted that he might get a contract similar to the one Danks got from the White Sox a few years ago, 5 years and $65M (average $13M per season).

I was thinking that a similar contract and player is Brandon McCarthy, 101 ERA+, 31 YO is much older than Leake (28 YO next season and 101 ERA+) and his 4.13 ERA is slightly worse than Leake's 3.86 ERA, but he got 4 years and $48M in spite of his injury ridden career (though worth noting he got that contract from the Dodgers, who throws money around like nothing).   This suggests that Leake probably could get a 5 year contract and over $12M per season (which fits with the Danks comp).

Another similar pitcher is Ervin Santana.  He is 32 YO this season, 99 ERA+, so slightly worse than Leake, with a 4.16 ERA, and he got a 4 year, $55M contract, averaging $13.5M per season.  And over his prior four seasons, 3.87 ERA and 99 ERA+.  And so 5 years still looking good, around $13M per season (teams tend to favor high K/9 pitchers more, and Santana averaged 7.2 K/9 the prior 4 seasons (and for his career) while Leake is at 6.1 K/9, though similar K/BB, with Santana at 2.64 for the prior 4 seasons and Leake at 2.69 for his career, and 2.84 over his last 4 seasons.  Leake is at that borderline, as teams prefer pitchers at over 6.0 K/9 and he's just barely over.

So a 4-5 year contract at $13M per season seems to be around the ballpark for signing up Leake if the Giants can get him for such a contract, I think that would be pretty good.   That would still leave plenty of money, with Hudson, Lincecum, and Affeldt probably not being re-signed in the off-season (at least not at current seasonal values), for the Giants to pursue an ace level SP like Price.

4 comments:

  1. And, of course, while busy getting this out, Joe Panik goes on DL and Kelby Tomlinson is called up.

    Nicely, Kelby gets a hit in his first AB (he should take a picture of his batting line in Baseball-Reference.com showing himself hitting 1.000) and score the go-ahead run for the team, but the sweet story ends bitterly with Vogelsong giving up a walkl-off 2-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

    Kelby and Ehire will both get to play until one takes over. Hopefully Kelby gets to start today so his wife and her father can see it, but in spite of Kelby's hit, Ehire started off well in the competition for starting time with a hit and 2 walks in 5 PA (3 AB).

    As you all should know, I've been rooting for Ehire for a long time now. I believe in his bat, and thought that he could have been the starter last season had he not gotten injured, opening up the spot for Panik to take over. I've also liked Panik's bat too, but certainly didn't see him hitting as well as he has since he figured out the majors. The favor might be returned this season, with Panik's injury, and we get to see what Ehire is made of.

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    1. You might believe in Adrianza's bat but I'm still pretty skeptical. He's hit well in AAA, over .310 during the past three years, but he comes up here and does nothing. Not even a good tease like Blanco used to give us before he became more reliable this year.

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    2. Well, you are not the only skeptic out there. And thanks for the comment.

      First, you do realize that Blanco is 31 and a long-time vet, while Adrianza is still a rookie and only 25 YO? Blanco was Adrianza at 25, though he at least got chances to regularly play and show off what he could do, but he wasn't hitting well enough in sporadic play. Blanco's issue, from the way I see it, has been that his managers have not used him well, he hits well when not under a lot of pressure to produce, but being the leadoff guy changes him, making him more tentative, it seems, and he don't hit, eventually, though he has and can do well over short stints, when the rest of the offense is going strong. Look at his splits, 1/2 vs 6/7/8.

      What people are missing with Ehire is also that his OBP in AAA was .400, which is excellent and elite no matter what level you are at. That is because he walks a lot, and at every level, despite being young for each league, which is another thing people miss when evaluating Adrianza's potential.

      A 9.7% BB%; average -1.5 years younger
      A+ 9.1% BB%; -2.3 years younger
      AA 9.0% BB%; -1.9 years younger
      AAA 11.0% BB%; -2.8 years younger

      Anything 10% and above is elite, and he was doing it while much younger than the average pitcher he was facing in the league. That means he has an excellent eye and command of the strike zone.

      But being young for each league, the pitchers could still strike him out with their experience and better stuff.

      Now you say that he comes up here and does nothing. That does not give full context to his full experience in the majors. You could have said the same thing about Panik in his first month as a major leaguer.

      But he kept on getting regular starts and eventually figured things out. He also had elite eye as well, walking a lot, and he did that while younger as well, like Adrianza. He also walked roughly 9-10% of the time in each league, while -1.6 to -3.6 years younger.

      If you count regular stretches of starts, Adrianza has only had two stretches of 6 or more starts while mostly starting: now and briefly last season before his first DL. He also had a stretch of 3 starts just before his second DL. So he has not been given the chance to find his consistency with his bat with regular starts. Vets find that hard, let alone a rookie like him.

      Still, last season, in 7 starts starting June 12, he hit .261/.370/.348/.718, with 3 walks vs. 3 K's in 27 PA, plus 1 HBP. And he is currently in a stretch of 6 starts, and he's hitting .316/.409/.421/.830, with 3 walks vs. 1 K in 22 PA. And he had 2 doubles in both stretches.

      He's showing what he showed in the minors, good walk rate, while having improved contact. Add his speed and ability to steal some bases, and you got a viable starting MI who bats 2nd. While that's not as good as Panik, if he can continue that while Panik is out, then the Giants don't really suffer much of an offensive hole while Panik is out.

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    3. And I find it funny how the public changes their view (not directed at you) to suit their opinions. For players like Belt or Crawford, the complaint is that they didn't get enough regular starts to show what they could do, people put up a storm of protest each time Belt missed one start, with cries of #FreeBelt. But how about players like Adrianza, who has shown potential in the minors with his steady stream of excellent walk rates, showing that he has some good skills as a hitter, but was just younger and less experienced than the pitchers he was facing, and hence showed worse batting lines.

      He's never even gotten a month's full of steady starts, yet in short stints, he's hitting as well as Panik has in 2014-2015, whereas Panik took a whole month of regular starts before it finally clicked for him.

      And I'm not saying Adrianza is going to be better than or even as good as Panik. All I'm saying is that Adrianza has shown enough abilities with his bat in the minors that it behooves the Giants to figure out what they got with him. If he got a bat anything close like Panik, they need to figure it out, because that could help our OF problem, as Duffy has a lot of speed that would be useful in the OF. If Adrianza and Susac can develop as I think they can, we can almost field a lineup full of homegrowns soon: C Susac, 1B Posey, 2B Panik, 3B Adrianza, SS Crawford, LF Belt, CF Duffy, RF Pence.

      Now Duffy could be iffy in CF defensively, we won't know until we try it. But he was a SS until he came up to the majors and was used more as a utility guy. In the defensive spectrum theory created by Bill James, SS and 2B can move to CF. In addition, people have moved to CF with speed and did well there, Gary Brown was a 2B and got moved to CF in college, and he thrived there defensively. And the Giants continually thought about moving Durham to CF from 2B. And I believe that Duffy has a lot more baseball smarts than Brown that would help with the transition. And while he don't have Brown's speed, Duffman had enough speed to put up 20-30 steals per season (extrapolating a bit). And as we learned with Freddy Lewis, just because you have speed don't mean that it is usable speed in the OF if you take horrible routes, but I think Duffy will study the heck out of such an CF assignment and be more than adequate there.

      In any case, Adrianza has shown some abilities with his bat throughout the minors, unlike, say, Brown, and similar abilities to Panik, but just not as good a hitter (and there is no shame in that, there are not a lot of guys who have been as good as Panik this season either). I like what Kelby has shown, and maybe he can fill the role that people envisioned for Duffy this season, as super utility bench player, he certainly has the athleticism that would enable him to play at many positions, and his bat has looked lively so far, and had picked up in the minors.

      Tomlinson's stats look very similar to Adrianza's except that Ehire did it about 1-2 years younger than Kelby did, while hitting similarly for the most part, if not better (though, again, younger).

      So we need to check out Adrianza in this stretch while Panik is out, kick the tires and see what we got with him before daring to DFA him again. He has the defensive chops that he could actually be very valuable strictly for his defense, so if he could even be semi-viable as a bat, he could be a very valuable starter, and we are getting to the point, with so many interesting starters, that they can be trading chips to get us that pitching ace that the Giants have been searching for to pair up with Bumgarner. And the Giants have clearly been looking for someone like that in the past year or so (though if Leake can make the leap he appears to be making, he could at least keep that role warm while the FO continues to search).

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