Saturday, January 20, 2018

Your 2018 Giants: Arbitration Signings All Done (as usual)

Been meaning to write but then the McCutchen trade went through:  the Giants signed all five of their arbitration eligible players.  That is what the Giants have mostly done in the Sabean era, avoid arbitration.  Only he who must not be named has ever took the Giants to arbitration under Sabean (he who left, really blew everything there), though Lincecum and Belt were close to it twice, before a deal was struck before the actual meeting, the scheduled day.

Here are the contracts along with the estimates made by Matt Swartz:
  • Will Smith:  $2.5M ($2.5M; exact)
  • Cory Gearrin:  $1.675M ($1.6M;  above by $75K)
  • Sam Dyson:  $4.425M ($4.6M; below by $175K)
  • Joe Panik:  $3.45M ($3.5M;  below by $50K)
  • Hunter Strickland:  $1.55M ($1.7M; below by $150K)
Total was $13.6M, which was $300K lower than the estimates.
ogc thoughts

Matt Swartz has really gotten this down to almost a science!  He was off by a little more than 2% overall.  That's a little bit more money the Giants can spend now before going over the penalty threshold.  More for CF!  Every penny counts!  Unfortunately, the range of estimates seem to be $3-4.5M, which would not be enough to get Jarrod Dyson right now, most probably, without paying for another year for less money, I suppose.

The Giants, per the beat writers, are apparently monitoring trade and FA opportunities.  They appear to be hoping for a desperate team willing to trade them a young buck for not that much in prospect return (or quantity over quality) or to sign a very short-term free agent to keep CF productive until Duggar is ready to take over, say, mid-season.  Kind of like the Molina/Posey scenario, where they sign a vet really late, then transition in the young player when he's ready, maybe trade away the free agent.

Smith Surgery Recovery Going Well

Latest news I've heard is that Smith has been throwing well during the off-season, he has no issues at all.  The original estimates had him out for sure at the start of the 2018 season, maybe miss a month, but now it sounds like he has recovered so well that he might even be able to make the Opening Day roster, but the caveat was that they still might start him off on the 10-day DL and not use in on consecutive days until the ASB.

That's great news because one key component we were missing in 2017 was a shutdown loogy who could get out the other team's tough LHH, like we did with Lopez.   Both Okert and Osich could not get the job done.  Should Smith run into any hiccups in his recovery, both would be competing for that spot again, but I see the Giants being willing to use Blach or Suarez in the loogy role, or even perhaps DJ Snelton, who wowed people last season, getting him into the AFL where he did well too.

Dyson Going Nowhere

I've seen a number of people trade away Dyson in order to get a CF.  He is probably our highest salaried asset who is also tradeable now, so I get that.  I've also speculated about trading off Strickland or Gearrin in order to clear some salary, as well as provide a good enough asset that the other team would want.  I just do not see that happening.

The Giants stated that they wanted to improve the bullpen.  As I've noted before, that statement did not make sense to me because we already had a Top Five of Melancon, Dyson, Smith, Strickland, and Gearrin already, leaving only one spot for Crick, Law, Fernandez, Okert, Osich, Maronta, and Slania (now Crick is obviously gone) to battle for.  Those Top Five had 2-something ERAs either in 2017 or in 2016, which would be hard to beat, so it seemed like they were going to try to get someone good for the last bullpen spot, even though they had a handful of good possible candidates with Crick (now Law) et al.

Moreover, Melancon's surgery recovery, while it has gone well, it is my impression that pronator issues is a different beast, where surgeons don't have a lot of experience in, because it is so rare, and so, much like Noah Lowry's problems and Mark DeRosa's problems with wrist surgery, although he says he is 100% and ready for spring training, I would not take the risk of trading away our other closer in Dyson.

Hopefully Melancon will be fine and Dyson and Smith can take on the Affeldt role of being THE guy to go in and get leveraged outs in the 7th and 8th innings.  But it was nice to be able to turn to Dyson when Melancon was not available anymore, and, who knows, maybe the Giants will go to Dyson for saves when consecutive games, in order to keep the usage of Melancon down.

Bullpen

Thinking about the bullpen here got me to realize:  the Giants have not really done that great a job of finding reliable relievers among their players.  Wilson and Romo in the past ten years, Crick probably last year, Nathan long ago.  We have lost some OK relievers in recent years, in Otero and Biagini (and previously in Foulke, Howry, and Valderama).

But they have done a great job of fishing through the flotsot and jetsom of other teams in finding their bullpen, as well as some key trades.  Affeldt was their main big money free agent signing until Melancon.  We traded for Lopez and later Smith.  And Romo was homegrown.

But we got a lot of them through cheap free agents or waiver pickups.  Casilla was a castoff from the A's.  Strickland was waived by the Pirates (he just had TJS so they thought he would slide through, I guess).  Gearrin, I think, was similarly recovering from surgery when the Giants nabbed him from the Braves.   Many more others we relied on before.  Plus Fernandez is a Rule 5 pick, if he sticks.

We had a huge number of possible in recent years, but they have been having their ups and downs.   Law and Okert I really thought were slam dunks, and perhaps will still prove out.   Crick is now gone, and Black and other speedsters fell by the wayside.  Moranta and Slania are still possibles, as well as Martinez, but we don't have that nice crop of "probables" that we had in Law and Okert before.

That's fine if the Giants keep on finding gems among the other teams' rejects, but a tough life to live as well.  As much as the Giants have been lauded for their pitching scouting prowess, they have not been all that great in identifying relievers.  Of course, better to find starters than relievers, but still odd that not that many have worked out in the bullpen, one of the benefits of focusing on pitching is that the good ones who fizzle sometimes become relievers.  That's what happened to the A's and Met's Four Aces of the early 90's, they all failed as starters but Isringhausen became a great closer, and some of the A's aces became okay relievers.

Panik Not Going Anywhere Either

All the talk about trading Panik for Stanton in a deal got a lot of people thinking that Panik was in play.  I don't believe so.  I think that was the Marlins trying to get other teams to bid more than the Giants were willing to trade, but as we found out, that didn't work, they weren't going to get all that much, as the Giants were taking on most of the contract.  Still, people think he can be traded.

There is no reason to trade him.  He's a cheap asset who can produce more than his costs pretty easily, even in his worse season in 2016 or poor defensive season (per advanced metrics) in 2017.  We also do not have a cheap alternative, as Arroyo was traded away, though perhaps Ryder Jones, another former SS, could possibly be tried there as well. 

The only way he goes is if the other team somehow has an Arroyo-type ready to play 2B who they can trade to us with a good defensive CF, because they want Panik and a Giants prospect (or prospects).  I don't see that happening, this would take a unique set of circumstances, and not easy to pull off.  So I don't believe Panik is going anywhere either.

1 comment:

  1. So far, in the majors, Ryder Jones has not found a way to get his bat on the ball. He was extremely over matched by major league pitching. Unless he can figure something out, all his fielding ability can go to waste, if he cannot make contact at the plate. His at bats were difficult to watch last year.

    ReplyDelete

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