Archive for the ‘San Francisco Giants’ Category

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies

Free agency as we know it is dead. Let us all gather ’round its desiccating corpse and offer prayers to the Angel of Arbitration – wishing for health, prosperity, and draft day magic. The top free agents due to test the market are..[scans charts and clipboards] two bat boys and a retired bullpen catcher. Those are the only people in baseball not currently signed to long, option-heavy contracts.

That isn’t entirely true. The free agent class of 2014 isn’t totally bereft. Why your team could be lucky enough to sign…Colby Rasmus. Or, the very good Chase Headley. A few pitchers like Max Scherzer or James Shields catch the eye but it at the plate the pickings are slim.

Except for one decidedly non-slim option. Pablo Sandoval is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season. Like the other top position players, injuries robbed the Panda of some effectiveness in recent years. But he remains the player most clubs will monitor during the 2014 season for all he’s accomplished and all the promise in his perplexing package.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

The San Francisco Giants are, as constructed, a decent team. Probably not as good as the Dodgers, probably a little better than the Diamondbacks (but with a lower floor on their win total.) They didn’t add much this off-season, save the addition of veteran starter Tim Hudson and slugger Michael Morse, but the talent they have is pretty good.

The Giants have areas of concern (left field), areas of adequacy (SS, 2B, CF), and areas of quality (RF, 1B, 3B). To their credit, they do not look anything like a “stars and scrubs” program until a single player gets hurt, at which point they’re cooked.

There is one position the Giants have a serious advantage. At one position, the Giants are the class of the league. Not because of any platoon but because of one man. The Giants have Buster Posey and he’s really great.

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“No, that wasn’t considered. We thought there’d always be only the one club in this vicinity and we’d be it. It would appear we weren’t far-sighted enough.”

That was San Francisco Giants club president Horace Stoneham, as quoted in the November 4, 1967 issue of The Sporting News, on the news that the Kansas City Athletics would be moving to Oakland and invading the Giants’ once-exclusive Bay Area territory. The move, spurred by volatile Athletics owner Charlie Finley, led to extreme reactions all around.

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Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals

Earlier today I described Michael Morse as a nice idea for the Houston Astros but ultimately not worth the effort. If healthy, he makes their team better but he isn’t likely to fetch much in the way of a trade deadline prospect.

The San Francisco Giants are not the Houston Astros. They won the World Series in 2012 and just have a lot of money tied up in their veteran rotation. They just gave Hunter Pence an enormous contract extension and Buster Posey remains in the prime of his life. Pablo Sandoval faces free agency at the end of the 2014 season. Unlike the Astros, the future is now for the Giants.

Adding Michael Morse on a cheap, one-year deal is most certainly a now move. They are not trying to ride a few hot months into a shot-in-the-dark B-level prospect. The Giant signed Mike Morse to hit home runs and make their team better. Today. Right now.

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San Francisco Giants Victory Parade

Follow this link if you want to see a list of starting pitchers with at least 380 innings pitched over the last two years who also struck out more than 380 batters. There are 16 names on that list. Tim Lincecum‘s name is on that list.

Follow this link if you want to see the same list but limited to players under the age of 30. There are just 10 names on that list. Tim Lincecum’s name is on that list, too.

Follow this link if you want to see a list of qualified starting pitchers who make batters swing and miss on at least 11% of all their pitches. There are eight names on this list. Tim Lincecum’s name is on this list.

This could go on all day. As someone who is, cards on the table, searching desperately for silver linings to Tim Lincecum’s two-year, $35 million contract, the amount of conditional context available to soften the edges of his last two seasons would make your head spin. (Starts with a Game Score of 50 or higher this season? 19, as many as Hiroki Kuroda, Justin Masterson, and Francisco Liriano. Compare Lincecum’s rate stats to Gio Gonzalez! Bequeathed runners Giants relievers allowed 12 of 18 runners Timmy left on base to score, more than double his career rate! Correct that and his ERA goes down by more than a quarter of a run!)

These carefully collected stats and data points don’t tell the whole story of Tim Lincecum’s last two seasons, of course. He’s pitched poorly at times. “At times” may or may not include the bulk of the 2012 season and at least a half-dozen different stinkers during 2013. But the rush to pronounce (artist’s rendering), with a sneer and crossed arms of satisfaction, that this deal is a gross overpay by the Giants fails to acknowledge several different realities. Reality being the operative word.

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Sometimes it feels like, once you reach a certain age and possess a certain worldview, that your cynicism (or deep skepticism) gets to be too much like Brian McCann, blocking any and all “feelings” from reaching the home plate in the middle of your chest under the flimsy conceit of “professionalism”.

For a moment, it appeared Brian McCann would triumph inside me. Last night, just as Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter emerged from the Yankees dugout to remove their long-time friend and teammate from his final home game, there was a brief flare up of reflexive dismissal, a feeling which quickly gave way to more sincere, human emotions. It was a very touching scene, triggering brief flashes of humanity deep with an icy cold exterior.

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Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants

This is my last Battle of the Bay column, and I want to extend a hearty and heartfelt thanks to both Drew Fairservice and Riley Breckenridge for letting me pinch-hit for Riley while he was out gallavantin’. This was a freaking blast, not least of which because it let me watch a ton of baseball games and pretend I was actually working. Can’t ever complain about that.

The Week That Was

Oakland Athletics: 2-2 (Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds as of July 23: 83.1%)

The A’s can do dumb shit like make three errors against the Astros, trail most of the game, and still win.  

Oakland dropped a series to the Angels, but they now have a chance to get well against a horrendous Astros club. They took the first game of the series last night, despite making 74 errors and generally playing like shit. You can do that when you play the Astros, I guess.

San Francisco Giants: 2-2  (Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds as of 7/23: 3.8%)

I’m often tempted to refer to this season as a trainwreck, but that’s far too interesting. This here is a much closer approximation of the Giants’ 2013 season.

The Giants won a series against former division leaders Arizona, which helped the Dodgers take the lead in the NL West. Also, Tim Lincecum and the Giants got absolutely brutalized by the visiting Reds last night. Would losing three of four this week be enough to convince Brian Sabean to sell?

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