Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Your San Francisco Giants: Team of the 2010 Decade

I was going to post this on a popular Giants community but then I realized that it would fall on deaf ears anyway and they would just attack with unkind words once more.

I'm Sad

Yes, sad to say, but even with the Giants SECOND World Championship in THREE years, I'm sad.  I know I'm odd.  I know I walk to the beat of a different drum.  I care whether my brothers are happy or not. And I consider my fellow Giants fans to all be my brothers (and sisters too, just don't want to repeat this every time).

And there are still clearly Giants fans who either are:  deluded, just can't enjoy themselves, or just can't let things go.  And I understand that last one, as I can't let it go either.

Grant (among others) railed into me a couple of years ago because I had the temerity to say that fans should thank Brian Sabean, or they don't deserve to enjoy that the Giants were in the World Series again (this was before the series started).  Afterward, he told me that I should be happy I was right - THIS TIME - and intimated that it would be different in the future.  After the Giants 2 of 3 mini-dynasty here, who's right now?

Team of the 2010 Decade

Part of being an analyst is finding something to either rally people together or to stick bamboo shoots under the nails of others.  I had already been feeling disenchanted with the Naysayers for a while when in the late 2000's decade, I thought of this term - Team of the 2010 Decade - as both an indication of what I thought the team could do if things went as they appeared to be going and a way to give the Naysayers something to feel uncomfortable with.

Honestly, I like to protect people.  I tried to protect my friends in the 70's when they thought that the Giants were going to have a good season, like they did before, and I told him point-blank:  no, they were going to be mediocre.  Not the worse, but not the best either.  I didn't want them thinking things were good when they were not.  I also tried to protect fellow fans today through the wonders of social media, that, hey, sure we've been going through a tough patch here in the mid-2000's, during Bonds' last years with us, but the pot at the end of the rainbow is coming near.  But I was a pariah for daring to be openly happy when Sabean got another two year extension.  And the future did look good to me, and I didn't want my fellow fans to lose hope and get their dauber down, because I felt that hope was around the corner, and soon.

We had Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, and there was Brian Wilson and Pablo Sandoval, plus Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were rising up the farm pretty fast, and Jonathan Sanchez could be pretty good when he's not screwing himself up.  And the latest studies back then said that pitching and fielding, with a good closer and bullpen were the keys to going deep into the playoffs (and nothing new has come out since), and winning it all, wining that elusive World Championship that we all had been pining for.  Plus, my research showed that a good defensive team could win even with a poor (not the worse but poor) offense.  Then, any lineup with Sandoval and Posey in the middle could never be that bad, you just need to find some average hitters to surround them with, and the offense would be good enough.

It all made pretty good sense to me.  I knew that there was a good chance that I could have egg on my face for saying that the Giants were going to finally win a World Series with this core group, but I thought that the potential was there.  Analysts need to tread near the edge sometimes.

Faster to First Than Anybody Else

I'll admit that I never dreamed that it would happen so fast, in fact, the first year of the 2010 Decade.  And I never dreamed that it would happen twice in three seasons (and who knows what would have happened last season, with a healthy Posey and a still consistently great Lincecum, along with a hot Beltran).  Given the vagaries of the playoff system - see the Phillies in 2011 - I felt good that they would win one eventually because they had great pitching, but when was not clear both because other teams had good pitching too plus while a team can win with a poor offense, that don't mean that they'll win every time.  Still, it was clear to me that they should win one eventually, so I wasn't totally surprised by 2010's championship.

And now it is looking pretty good that the Giants will be the Team of the 2010 Decade.  They certainly have put their stamp all over it with two out of three years already.  And the core keeps on improving and improving.

That's because player development continued apace.  Just when I thought that Posey might be the last significant position player to be produced, Brandon Belt emerged from obscurity to be our version of Trout for the Angels - not as great, but just as impactful, for a Giants team that now had poor draft position.  Getting any starter from the draft is hard, but to get one who looks like he'll be a star player for years to come, from as far back as the 5th round is nearly impossible.  Then Brandon Crawford showed off great potential in the majors after being rushed up, and his defense is such that we can afford to carry him even if his offense is not great, and yet he has shown the ability to be a good hitter to boot.

Give It Up to our Scouts

Furthermore, the team kept on picking up key pieces through cheap free agents and seemingly minor trades. Andres Torres.  Juan Uribe.  Freddy Sanchez.  Aubrey Huff.  Pat Burrell.  Mike Fontenot.  Ramon Ramirez.  Javier Lopez.  Jose Guillen.  Cody Ross.  Santiago Casilla.  Chris Stewart.  Ryan Vogelsong.  Melky Cabrera.  Angel Pagan.  Gregor Blanco.  Joaquin Arias.  George Kontos.  Clay Hensley.  Marco Scutaro.  Jose Mijares.  Some were out of the total blue, like Torres and Vogelsong.  Others, like Casilla, Stewart, Blanco, and Arias, you look at their past record and wonder how the heck we got them, as they had good peripherals, some even good OBP, and yet they were desperate for a job somewhere, anywhere.

Our Giants scouts appear to have a long memory now, remembering players who were once good.  Like Crawford, who had a bad junior year but was expected to be a first rounder before his junior season.  Or Arias, who was a key player in the A-Rod trade with the Yankees, with Texas choosing him over Cano.  Over and over again, whether in the draft or signing minor league free agents, it seemed like our scouts saw something that nobody else saw, and pounced.  THAT is what Moneyball is really about, about seeing something that your competitors can't see and acting on your beliefs before the price got sky high.

The Future Looks Bright, I Gotta Wear Orange and Black Shades

Now the team is beyond what I could ever dream about.  Posey, according to the experts, was going to be a great defensive catcher but only a good, not great hitter, meanwhile Weiters was considered the much better hitter and for power, and the lesser on defense.  They couldn't be more reversed of the experts opinion.   And Posey is the likely MVP of the 2012 season, having already been voted that by two different organizations and likely to win the traditional MVP award given by The Sporting News.  And this was his first full season.  He's the offense's equivalent of Tim Lincecum, in terms of performance.

We still have Pandoval, but with Belt and likely Hunter Pence, long term, we have a great core for the middle of our lineup, for at least 3 if not more seasons:  Sandoval, Posey, Pence, Belt.  I can see Belt moving to bat 2nd once he can hit regularly and not strike out so much, as he has a high OBP, good speed, ability to steal bases, plus can hit for good power to boot.  That is a great middle of lineup.

Up top, we have Pagan, I believe, as I think he'll sign with us for a fair contract, and then when Gary Brown is ready, we'll have the best leadoff guy we have had probably since Brett Butler manned CF for us.

Meanwhile, both Blanco and Crawford look like they can be good hitters for us at some point.  Blanco is very good at getting on base already in his career, and he can loft the ball often enough to get extra-base power going for us.  Crawford definitely will develop some power, and looks like he can eventually learn to hit as well, and be both a great glove and a good bat at SS for us.  And both project, with the above hitters around, to be our bottom of lineup guys.  They can be real strengths for us there, giving us depth in our lineup, with no easy outs, much like the Cards this season.

And whether or not the Giants re-sign Scutaro - my bet is that they do - they should be able to retain Theriot, who was good for us when healthy during the season, bridging us from Freddy to Marco.  And I'm hopefuly that Nick Noonan will be able to provide some good performances here and there in the near future for us at 2B.  Plus, Joe Panik still is looking good for rising up to the majors and taking the starting 2B job in a couple of years or so.

So the offense looks really good, and look really likely to be good for at least three if not more seasons.  On top of that, Posey I'm still hoping can be a great defensive catcher, Belt, Crawford, Sandoval, and Blanco are already great fielders, so I expect another good defensive year from the Giants in 2013.  If anything, it should be better, as Crawford was really lost for a while in early 2012 and I think Posey's ankle recovery made him less able to do certain catcher tasks

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching

That has been my mantra for many years now.  And the Giants got pitching.  I totally believe that 2012 was just a hiccup that Lincecum had and he'll be fine going forward.  Plus Cain and Bumgarner will be our steady Eddie's in the rotation.  And Vogelsong, I think, will surprise with his longevity as a good pitcher, despite his advanced age, as he knows how to pitch, and when his velocity goes down, he'll still be able to sling a good start.  And Barry Zito, contract aside, is great for us as our #5 starter, and when he is on, he's as good as any of our other starters.  And they are all capable of throwing a DOM start regularly during the season and during the playoffs, and DOM starts are how, as my research showed, (one and two) a team can rush through the playoffs and win the World Series championship.

So our starting pitching looks good, barring injury, for at least a couple of years (and I think we can resign Lincecum to a contract similar to Cain, but bigger in terms of dollars per year) plus good prospects coming up.  They have young guys available near-term, like Eric Surkamp, Chris Heston, and Michael Kickham performing well in the upper minors, plus Yusmeiro Petit possibly around as well.  Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton, and Martin Agosta, are more far off, but they look like they have good potential for reaching up here and doing well, as their strikeout ability is good.  And the four of them have potential to be top of the rotation type starters, from what I've read about their potential.  True, many prospects die on the vine, but with four potential top of rotation starters, have to think at least one will at least be a good enough starter for the Giants.

The bullpen looks good as well, even if Brian Wilson don't come back (hard to tell with guys with their second TJS).  Obviously, Sergio Romo, Lopez, Casilla, Mijares, and Kontos is a pretty good core there.  Plus, I think that they will be able to resign Jeremy Affeldt to a contract for another couple of seasons.  And I think Runzler will finally be healthy enough to take a spot in the bullpen, though that would make it four lefties in the bullpen in 2013.

In the farm system, I think that Heath Hembree and Brett Bochy will be ready to contribute real soon, as soon as there is an opening.  And I still like Dan Otero for contributions at some point, Jacob Dunnington too.  Plus, Clay Hensley was good for us until he got injured, which blew up his ERA, which was in the 2's until that happened.  But there is not enough space in the bullpen, so there could be a trade, or they might let Affeldt go, but there is a lot of bullpen talent and not enough space for all of these guys.  And starters could always move to the bullpen and do well, as Lincecum so deliciously showed us in these playoffs, and as Eckersley showed long ago.

Dynasty, Dynasty, Dynasty

Based on the above, I don't see why, barring a huge catastrophe of some sort, the Giants can't continue to be competitive for the World Series championship every season.  They won't necessarily win every season, but with their core players all in their 20's, they should be more World Series games (and championships) in their future, creating a dynasty not seen in the NL since the Big Red Machine of the 70's or in the majors since the Yankees of the late 1990's (which had a core of Jeter, Posoda, Pettitte, and Rivera, all of whom were acquired by the Yankees under their then scouting director, Brian Sabean).  The Giants should be the Team of the Decade, Team of the 2010's.

43 comments:

  1. I think you should state your opinion and not worry what other bloggers say. They may be correct, and if you differ you may be the one that is correct. They attack you, but you do not attack them. Now you gloat in sadness. What you say could be right on so stick to your guns. Some of what you say is absolutely right on, but you have to admit, some of what Sabean did was just pure luck. That is fine with me, the results make your case, and there is always luck involved in baseball. Why one can seem to safely attack your claim of dynasty is because of the playoff system. Yet even with several rounds, your dynasty prediction so far has been absolutely correct. Nice job, nice analysis, the bloggers who thought you were off your rocker owe you an apology.

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    1. I can't speak for ogc, but my sense is that he was hurt and provoked by the smug and often hostile arrogance of McC bloggers, and probably doesn't need to have pacific sanctimony directed against him when he expresses his feelings. What to my mind qualifies him to respond to the McC cynics is that, like them when they are at their best, he writes on the basis of statistical analysis rather than on over-the-crackerbarrel opinion-spouting; and he does so in areas where he, not they, has the analytic tools to have rational standards for argumentation. I don't see this as a matter of being "correct" or not, but of maintaining and respecting such standards, such as McC does only very selectively, but ogc usually.

      As to the "admission" that some of what Sabean did was just pure luck, one can respond that success lies with those who know how to take full advantage when luck presents itself. Sabean has so often shown himself to be such a person that the caveat of "pure luck" seems to me irrelevant. Were he predominantly depending on pure luck, of course, the results would not make ogc's case, or any case at all.

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    2. Everything that Sabean did has an element of luck, and that is what the Naysayers are hanging their hat on. All those picks selected, as Shankbone noted? Luck because the other teams made the mistake to not draft them, leaving them for the Giants to select. What they don't get is that people make their own luck by being prepared to act to your best benefit when other have made a mistake.

      If that is not classic baseball (a hitter mashing a pitcher's mistake, a team scoring a run after a leadoff walk or error to allow a runner), I don't know what is, nomisnala.

      All I ask of them is to take a look at the big picture, not, as Shankbone noted astutely, the small potatoes. As you say, the results are the proof in the pudding.

      I also ask of them to consider the consequences of claiming it is all luck: if it is, then how can any of them logically enjoy baseball? Following the path of their logic, if it is luck, how does one celebrate a World Championship: yea, we were the luckiest ones? I would think that would suck all the enjoyment out of the championship, it is not "we were the best!", it's "we were the luckiest one". No comprende!

      Again, I can't say that I saw two of three years. At best, I thought the Giants would make the playoffs in 2010-11, lose at some point but gain valuable experience that would pay off in 2012-2013. Then it becomes a matter if the owners would pony up the money to keep them all together from 2014 on, starting with Cain and Lincecum.

      My view was that I thought that the Giants would be competitive during the 2010 decade, enough so that, with the randomness that is a part of the playoff system, because they would be in it so often (volume method), they would eventually win that first one for us, maybe a second one. With 2 of 3, I'm playing with the house chips for the rest of the decade.

      And I don't really care for an apology (though I know that I should not hold my breath on that one), I just hope they would see the light. But it is kind of like that Star Trek episode with Frank Gorshin (Riddler!) being half black and half white, battling to the death with the last remaining human from his world that just died, all because one is black on the left, while the other is black on the right. I'm beginning to accept that they are tied to their position, like the guy the mobster in a typical gang movie just gave cement shoes to, sinking to the bottom. I'm realizing it is just futile on my part.

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    3. Campanari, thanks, you speak pretty well for me.

      Yeah, it is not a matter of being right, per se, but a matter of presenting what I think are the facts that are valid at the moment. I'm too aware that baseball in particular can have a 180 degree turn, based on the latest research knowledge to come out. For example, people believed in clutch performances, but in the saber community, there was no believe until recently when some evidence finally was found. (personally, I'm not all stats oriented, I blend that with my personal observations of baseball, and I've always totally believe that there are clutch hitters and those who are not, and that it was a matter of not properly framing the research question plus the lack of useful data, that was the issue, not that clutch didn't exist).

      And that comes from my background of science. I find that a lot of scientists are like us baseball fans, they stick to their preconceived notions very strongly even in the face of opposing data results. I know that science has overturned a lot of "facts" over the millenium, and on top of that, science have returned to their original position. Like how leeches were considered good medicine once, then it became quackery for a long time, until recently when scientists rediscovered what it was that was so good about leeches, but unfortunately, because it was so good at what it did, people started using it for other things where it was never proven to work.

      So my stance is this: this is the latest that I know about, and thus how we should feel about things, but do you have anything that refutes that and may change my mind? I'm ready to flip-flop my position based on good data.

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    5. Keep on posting OGC. You may be an optimist (re our pitching prospects and other things) but I love to read your stuff and respect your statistical arguments, and definitely feel your pain on McC. I was one of the original Lunatic Fringe, but never posted, and finally posted on how I thought a lot in the McC community were being closed minded re. things like clutch hitting, chemistry, and rbi's etc. I got pretty well trashed on my post. As if I was a quack selling magic, when really it's them that are the non-scientists. To say that something doesn't exist b/c it's not included in WAR (at the time anyway) is absurd and non-scientific. A true scientist has to respect a hypothesis until it's proven wrong. Maybe too few cat references. Anyway, go giants

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    6. Thanks John!! :^)

      Seems like both comments are the same, anyway, I agree that many of them are closed minded about things like that. You would think that a major saber's finding that clutch hitting does exist would get them to realize that just because you cannot measure it at the moment does not mean that the concept don't exist.

      But to their point, that is science, science is the identification of facts and universal truths, and since they couldn't measure it, it therefore didn't exist.

      You and I acknowledge that there is a lot of squishy, touchie-feelie stuff that we intuitively know and see, and just because somebody cannot measure it does not mean that we are making up stuff. In this way, they are very much like Vulcans, Spock's non-human half, unable to see everything that life - and humanity - can present.

      I know clutch exists, simply because I was as UNclutch as anyone. Clutchiness has more to do with being able to do as well as you normally do in pressure situations, versus those like me who look like beginners. That has to do with our internal operating modes, as discussed in Malcolm Gladwell's great article on the Art of Choking, people have these two modes of action, one intuitive and based on muscle memory and the other more step by step, like when we are learning new things. Pressure situations make some people like me use that step by step mode, whereas others can use their muscle memory and play normally.

      So really, people were looking for the wrong thing, they were looking for improved performances when they should have been looking for much worse performances. And that ties into RBIs, I think.

      And chemistry, that's impossible to define and thus impossible to measure, but that does not mean that it don't exist.

      Thanks again.

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  2. I pretty much agree with everything you have said here. Winning it all 2 of 3 years already makes this a Giants golden age as it is the first time an NL team has done that since the Big Red Machine won 2 in a row in the '70's. MCC is probably the most widely read Giants oriented blog out there and thus the most influential. They have already shown themselves to be totally unrepentant about their hate for Brian Sabean despite his almost unprecedented success right in front of their face gloating at them. They absolutely deserve to be taken to task for that attitude.

    I'm just going to inject a couple of points of caution looking into the future:

    1. Although the Giants are in a strong financial position, their pitching rotation is going to cost them about $75 M next year and several members have a lot of mileage on their arms even though they are still relatively young.

    2. Assuming they continue to play well, Sandoval, Posey and Bumgarner will all be breaking into the $20 M salary club over the next 5 years.

    3. The Giants will not have access to the top talent in the draft or the international market due to their projected draft positions and international bonus caps.

    4. The Dodgers appear to be able and willing to spend essentially unlimited amounts of money on players. Yes, they might make a lot of really stupid baseball decisions, but they will be able to compensate by just throwing even more money at the problem. It will be very challenging to keep up on a limited budget no matter how generous it is.

    Not that it can't be done. The current Giants scouting staff appears to be the most talented I can remember since the George Genovese days and maybe even more than that. I agree that the emergence of the Brandons is an encouraging sign for the future as well as the present.

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    1. Good points as always DrB.

      I'll admit that the above assumes generally good things happening, or at minimum, no bad stuff happening, that the status quo is continued (i.e. pitcher's health, Posey, Panda, Pence et al hitting as normal).

      1. Good caveats on pitching. Cain has had elbow issues before, enough for the Giants to take a year off a prior contract, plus he had elbow tenderness his first pro year. Lincecum, who knows what his yo-yo-ing diet has done to his body. Bumgarner has that cross-body throw that he must utilize to be extremely effective, but was enough of a concern that the Giants tried to modify his mechanics early in his career, but that experiment was a total failure. (they did something similar to Wheeler, I would add) And Vogelsong is already so old, who knows what might happen.

      2. Yeah, and I would add Belt as a possibility too, if he hits the heights we expect. Payroll will not be able to take on all those salaries. I would note, though, that Bumgarner is already signed to 2019 with the highest salary of $12M, so he won't be one of the $20M salaries. And, Posey will be arb from 2013 to 2016, and I expect a long-term deal like Longoria to be done, but not team friendly like that, but still big money. Still, getting guaranteed that much money suggests that Posey probably won't reach $20M by 2017, as that is his first free agent year and I expect the Giants to secure the rights to that via the extension, at a lower price point. But Posey is a wild card, he knows his money (econ major), got $6M in the draft (and set out rumors of $12M), so he'll never be cheap, but I'm hoping he's willing to give us some lower salary in exchange for a long-term deal that guarantees him life-time security. 4 years, buying out his arb years for $45M, then option his first free agent year at $15-18M.

      3. Yes, that is the downside of being one of the best teams around, year after year, you get lousy draft picks and less money to invest in international, my draft research showed that a team is severely handicapped by the draft in terms of finding talent. That is why we need to keep our top players around long-term, like Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval, Belt, and I would include Pence here too.

      One "loophole" if you will, is that the Giants international bonus cap can be maximized by spending nearly the whole cap on one player, if they like him that much. And there are usually not that many international top free agents garnering that high a bonus, nor do the Giants have to do that every year, maybe one year get the big kahuna, the next year, get a lot of bodies, depending on what's available in our scouts opinion (and development of relationships, it appears that they got Villalona and Cabrera for less than what other teams offered, due to their relationship with them pre-signing).

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    2. 4. I think the Yankees after the golden 70's period, when they spent and spent and spent, and got nothing, is the cautionary tale regarding teams that just go out spending. You can even throw in the Yankees in the 2000's, and their lack of success in winning it all there, though perhaps to your point, they were still very competitive in the regular season and got playoff spots.

      Again, winning is a double-edged sword in that the draft can't deliver prospects to you as regularly as when you are losing. On top of that, in the new CBA, they can't even buy their way out of that anymore, with all the slot caps, so that will hurt them (and the D-gers) even more.

      Teams will find that scouting will be more and more the competitive differentiating factor, as you need to be more effective in your scouting, you can't buy your way to success anymore.

      Historically, to me, teams could only buy their way to the playoffs, they could not buy a World Championship. I don't think LAD's billionaire will be happy with that and that Colletti will be fired sometime within this 2-3 year contract extension that he reportedly got in September. That buys us enough time, as I would fear that they would hire away Barr from us as their new GM.

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  3. Another solid post, OGC. Whereas I consider MCC daily reading, I never post in the threads there. First, there's waaaaay too many to get through. Second, the format sucks. Third, it's clearly a club there -- you need to be in the club to get the memes and references. Too tiring, so I read Grant and move on.

    Per the Giants 2013 roster -- this season is going to be interesting. I started playing around with the payroll and originally came up with a $137MM total for 24 players. For FA's I had Cabrera back at 1 year/8 MM. Scutaro at 2/10; Affeldt at 2/8; Pagan at 3/24; Theriot at 2/4; and Wilson (after being released) re-signed for 1/4 with incentives.

    With the Brandon League signing by the doyers (3/22), Affeldt is going to get more than 2/8...he's looking at probably 2/10 so Sabean is going to have to think hard about that. With Melky, this will come down to whether or not he can mend fences in the clubhouse (especially with the Posey contingent). It's a longshot, but I'm not sure there's a better option out there for LF. Blanco is not a starter; Bourne, Hamilton and Upton will much more expensive and Peguero and Kieshnick aren't ready to start.

    I also think we need to prepare ourselves for a 2014 rotation that has no Timmy or Zito in it. Thus, we will need someone from the Kickham/Surkamp/Heston grouping to step up and take a spot by then. I don't think the Crick/Blackburn/Stratton prospects will be ready. We may re-sign Timmy, but he also might not be a frontline starter anymore.

    Scoots on a two year deal makes sense as he can man the position full time in 2013 and then transition it to Panik in 2014 while mentoring all of the young IF (Belt, Panik, Crawford, Sandoval, Arias, maybe Noonan). Similarly, Theriot makes sense for IF depth.

    If Affledt goes (and this is more likely given the League deal) we still have Romo/Lopez/Casilla/Mijares/Kontos in addition to whatever Wilson can give us. Hembree is knocking on the door and there's always hope for Runzler who would be a third lefty. Bochy is probably another year away from cracking the roster.

    The organizational weakness is in the OF, where only Brown is a standout. He'll likely crack the club in 2014, right as my projected contract to Melky expires. If Melky continues to be a hit machine (not unlikely despite the discontinuance of PEDs) then maybe you resign him to a longer deal and Brown becomes a reserve behind Pagan/Melky/Pence along with Blanco. I'm less and less hopeful for Peguero and Kieshnick, but they may surprise.

    Lastly, don't sleep on my favorite prospect Andrew Susac. He's coming hard and could make Hector a nice trade chip in the near future.

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    1. Thanks, Jewy!

      I like Susac too, but while he had some nice moments in 2012, his offensive performance was up and down, so I did not feel comfortable touting him as a future contributor until he showed more. I wanted to concentrate on the prospects that looked very likely to contribute to the Giants in the near term, next couple of years. I think Susac is at least 3 years out, right now, though if he can have a good season in 2013, I'll certainly be much more positive about his chances.

      I was very excited when we drafted him and I am still expecting him to eventually come up and take over the catcher's position. When is the bigger question.

      In the OF, since you are going into deeper waters, I would note that Gustavo Cabrera is an excellent OF, though obviously at least 3-5 years out since he's just turned 16 YO.

      I would also point out RafRod. He was still only 19 YO and in Salem-Keizer and the Northwest League. His numbers don't look good, with a .652 OPS, but the average age in the league is 21 YO, meaning that most players there had two years of college experience over him, yet he was 44th in SLG, with only 6 19 YO or younger above him (one of which was our Chuckie Jones, another OF prospect who is also 19 YO and hit even better, .724 OPS) and his SLG of .364 was above the league average of .359, which I feel is a good sign of the power he has, that he can hit for power against pitchers 2+ years older than he is. Same for Chuckie too.

      Honestly, I've never been a Peguero supporter, just didn't see it, still don't see it much, but I was impressed that he came up here and stole all those bases, so he certainly has speed to burn, easily.

      Kieschnick, like everyone else, I hope for the best, but he's just need to stay healthy. That hurt Schierholtz, that's hurt others, in trying to stick in the majors.

      Personally, I think that OF depth in the farm system is fine with Brown coming up, as there are usually a lot of cheap OF options available each off-season that we could pick up. And the Giants have been good in the past few years of picking up somebody, whether Torres or Blanco, for the OF.

      I'm still not totally sure that Lincecum will be here. I'm hopeful, but I don't have a good feel for it. To be frank, after his implosion here in 2012, I'm more hopeful than I was before. This is a huge question mark to anybody looking to sign him to a long-term big bucks contract. I almost wonder if he subconsciously did this in order to make him affordable for the Giants and amenable to his agents and the MLBPA. Because, the way he talks, he sounds very happy and content here. But yeah, to your point, not sure if he'll be around.

      Zito I'm pretty sure will be here in 2014, particularly if Lincecum is gone, as the Giants have an option on him for 2014 that would only add $11M to the payroll. Any of the trio of Surkamp/Kickham/Heston would have to be great in 2013 and ready for promotion for the Giants to pass on Zito for 2014, and even then, they might let that guy pitch and be our emergency guy in 2014 - plus to prove himself again in AAA - to get the chance to replace Zito in 2015. I didn't think it would be possible that the option would ever be picked up, but DrB hit the nail on the head on that one, and I came to agree, that it looks more and more likely that Zito's option would be picked up.

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    2. Yeah, I couldn't believe the League deal. His numbers are very comparable to Affeldt, only 4 years younger. He says he wants a multi-year deal, but I can't see him getting more than what he got before, a 2 year deal with option year. Someone put out there $6M per year, and I think I can live with that, 2 year, $12M, plus option year and buyout of, say, $1M.

      But I think we can survive the loss of Affeldt. His value is his ability to pitch to both LHB and RHB well. Lopez, Runzler, and Mijares are true LOOGIES. But we already have two guys who can handle both hitters in Romo and Casilla, and if Wilson can come back enough, he could be a third in the bullpen. And Hembree could make another one by mid-season or earlier.

      Also, don't bet against a job for Bochy even as early as spring training, striking out 11.6 K/9 is pretty good, second in the league, and he was basically the average age there, where the average age was 24.7 YO and he turned 25 in August.

      I think the Giants will try to get him in the $6M range (MLB inflation) but will let him go if he gets a League-type offer from someone. I agree with Shankbone that LAD will target him, both because he's a Giants plus because they really need a LHP in there and mostly because he would boost their bullpen. But I wouldn't be surprised if anyone else - including the Reds - decide to get him, he's very useful.

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    3. That's what I get for jumping around. Yeah, Affeldt had I had for 2 years at $10M before League. Scutaro I still think should be at 2 years and $12M, his salary for this year, but up to $14M as reward for doing well. But I just didn't really see that happening, he's 37 YO, 38 at end of contract. But as Shankbone always says, it just takes one knucklehead to overpay.

      I go back and forth on Pagan. Some days, 3/$30M seems like it's way too much, other days, it seems right. Anything more, I think we need to pass. For a guy who had a tenuous hold on the starting job in CF for much of the season, and can be totally hot then cold, 3/$30M seems like too much to give him. Also, he's amazingly bad against LHP considering that he's a natural RHB. And he just might want to leave because AT&T just kills his HR power, wow, he didn't hit well here, though OK.

      However, he raved so much about the team during the season, and about how much fun he had, so who knows, maybe he'll take less to stay here.

      I like your numbers for Theriot and Wilson (well, maybe a little less for Brian).

      I think Melky returns at $3M IF Pagan does not resign with us. Given that I don't think a team will sign Melky until they have no other options left, I think he'll be on the market for a while, giving us time to see whether we sign Pagan or not.

      There has just been too many media reports about how the team's management is softening on his return, so I think if the Giants feel the need to sign him, they will. I think it all pivots on Pagan, and to a lesser degree, Pence, because if the Giants are not able to come to an extension agreement - meaning they know what Hunter wants and they are unwilling to meet them - they might want Melky around (sorry Gregor) as insurance that they end up losing both Pagan and Pence.

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    4. I think Gregor can be a starter for us. His .244/.333/.344/.677 is close enough to the NL average #7 hitter, .251/.311/.402/.712, and as we know OBP is worth more. That NL is worth only 0.03 runs per game more than what Blanco did, that's roughly 5 runs or half a win. I think his defense is worth a lot more, and for a bulging payroll, I think Blanco at even first year arb salary would be a much cheaper option there.

      He is not a prototypical LF, but have huge upgrades at C and 3B, even RF with Pence, so we can be below in other areas. I also noticed that he hit better batting 7th than 1st (.321/.371/.357/.728) and if he could maintain that, he'll be a way above average #7 hitter.

      Of course, if Pagan is gone, though, he might get leadoff by default, so he might regress...

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  4. OGC - I have read your blog, Leftys and Grants for a long time, starting in 2005-6 when things were pretty grim. I decided to participate a bit more online in the past two years, because I enjoyed sharing my thoughts and engaging others about our favorite team. It has been rewarding for me.

    Part of analysis is sticking to your guns. If you believe strongly enough in it, you have to chase windmills. That is what you did. I have a little more appreciation for what I term "the wars" now that I've engaged online. You and DrB are definitely veterans of message board discussions, which can range wildly from intelligent and polite to petty and mean.

    I've read through some of the old posts on MCC, and reaction here after the Pennant and World Series in 2010. I think its hard when you've invested time in a community, to take a lot of gruff. That hurt stays with you. And I think you are at loggerheads with Grant, and that might not ever change. My advise is this: take a step back, keep your cool and realize you have made other connections in the Giants Interwebz community. I think you have already done that, with your opening sentence actually. There is no use banging your head against the wall.

    Sometimes I think you and DrB in particular have decided to make yourselves Sabean's chief defenders on the internet. But after dipping into the reality of the internet, I can now say that is actually a pretty reasonable position to take. So Huzzah to you both, you were right, and The City has two big time cleanup bills because of it.

    Don't be sad, be happy. The Giants are set up to take on the next five years something fierce.

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    1. Thanks Shankbone.

      I see your points about being defenders, but here is how I view it, from logical steps. First, I've determined that I really like what Sabean is doing, that I think he's doing well, and I don't want anything to change. Second, honestly, I don't know how much public opinion sways the owners, but I do know that owners can be fickle (see the late King George). Not that our owners has exhibited that, but I see the arguments made negatively about Sabean, they all seem very reasonable on the surface. It is only because I have dug beneath that surface, to better understand why things are (like the difficulties of finding talent via the draft), that I feel that I have the right stance in the argument regarding Sabean. What if the owners only believe the surface story? Third, and I understand that this is just the way of the world, the Naysayers will always greatly outnumber the supporters, that is the way humans work, the ones with the negative views will complain, sometimes vociferously, and the ones who are happy are not going to get their feathers ruffled.

      That leads to fourth, given the above, I feel the need to go overboard sometimes in my defense to combat the negative view, to let Giants management and owners know that there are fans who get it and believe in the plan, and want Sabean around.

      Though I would add, as a compulsive person, I'm like a dog on a bone regarding certain things I view as facts, that has nothing to do with defending Sabean, all to do with what I think is right. (like Tucker and Rowand ;^)

      Grant don't really matter that much to me, honestly. I know I can't save everyone or the world. It hurt some that he would stoop to removing my link from his site, then give me a back-handed apology that's not an apology, then openly ask for DrB to return on my site, but not me, but that's on him really, a reflection of his values.

      But I think he's misleading a lot of people with his misguided and sometimes grossly wrong ideas (like Smoak over Posey). I love his humor, but to lead all these people to agonize over the Giants from 2010-2012 like he has when they should have been enjoying it to the bottom of their hearts like we have, is just cruel, really. But as you say, I'm learning, so I didn't bother (though, to be honest, I was going to post SOMETHING there, just to get them to raise the pitchforks. There is some fun in watching in their cliched reactions).

      Oh, I'm going to be very happy about what the Giants will do over the next five years, though more so once we get some key players signed up. I just wish more Giants fans were in on the fun, instead of grinding over Sabean being GM. Or maybe I should put it, understand that the fun is due to Sabean's great moves instead of thinking it was all due to random great luck, twice in three years (really, do these people watch and listen to the games?).

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  5. Now, about Grant's supposed analysis this year, something I am sure will get me in hot water at some point at MCC. MCC has a huge amount invested in the make fun of Sabean and Bochy meme. That will not change. So Aaron Rowand's contract will be brought up as a negative on Sabean as recently as yesterday, ignoring the fact the Giants have won the Series twice with that stank on their book. Jose Guillen will be brought up. Orlando Cabrera will be brought up. My favorite whipping boy Miggy Tejada will be brought up. All these things are pretty small potatoes to the big picture.

    The big picture is this: home grown team that has shined for the past four years. Yup, four years. It is supreme irony to me that all the players celebrated in style - MATT CAIN! Romo! Timmy! Panda! Belt! The list goes on... Celebrated in style and hugely beloved by all Giants fans, but adored over at MCC - all of those players are put in place by Sabean. The three headed monster of Cain/Timmy/MadBum was completely snagged by Sabean and Tidrow, the longest tenured, longest together duo in the game. But all these beloved players, they were somehow summoned from the ether, while these guys who suck were brought in by our stumbling bumbling GM, who talks tough and doesn't understand sophisticated math.

    This is of course completely petty and complete comedy. But some people would rather focus on the negative, and the small. And you have to realize that is not your job, you have to let that go. You have to keep your sense of humor about these things, because it just isn't worth getting angry about. And in the small community on the internet, that is hard to do. I urge you to laugh at that cartoon "Honey come to bed!" "I can't, somebody is WRONG on the internet!". That is what this is.

    Its a great time to be a Giants fan. Looking forward to another year. Cheers.

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    1. Ha, so true, so true. Yeah, I know it's not my job, but it is in my nature to be kind, and I hate to see these people suffering when they don't need to. But I'm getting there, by posting here instead of there, I've taken a small step (though I might still go over there and chase after the pigeons like a little kid).

      Yes, it is a great time to be a Giants fan, perhaps the best time, if my projections are right. Thanks for the great advice, yes, looking forward to them defending the flag and making it three in four (but Rowand! :^).

      Cheers.

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    2. Look at how silly it is... Grant has restated his official position on Sabean and he has closed out his statement with the Willie Bloomquist contract offer. Now that is truly classic. Holding a potential FA signing with unclear sources - that did not end up happening - against Sabey Sabes. Bam! Take that! You really can't get any more petty than that. Or silly. But that's what he's going for.

      I said it before, I said it again - brass balls for you to drop that Sabean stuff on the Pennant thread. I like you OGC, you're a good egg. Now I don't always agree with you... but that's another matter.

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  6. I think the myth that the Dodgers have an unlimited budget is already cracking.

    The idea that the Giants have to spend to keep up is ludicrous, and the fact that the Dodgers are already looking for ways to dump Ethier's big salary is a strong sign that all the previous hype was exactly that.

    c1ue

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    1. Hmmm... Or it could be Agent Ned wants a crack at Angel Pagan! They have to stop at some point, because their entire roster is loaded with aging and hurt malcontents. They can still get Arod for 3B though, they could sign up AJ at Catcher (or Mike Napoli) and there are a couple 2B options. But its getting hard to sign anybody else, which is hilarious to me. Arod and AJ would be complete cherries on the top of the cake for a team to absolutely hate. I cannot hate Matt Kemp though, he is an awesome baseball player and a 49er fan to boot, and a gentleman.

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    2. Good point about that regarding Ethier, that did not occur to me.

      I agree that the Giants do not need to spend to keep up, particularly since all they are doing are adding hitters to the mix, not great pitching, which is what a team needs to do well deep into the playoffs. I would be more scared if they were pursuing Greinke, though at the money he's asking for, he could become the next Zito if he don't watch out.

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    3. Meaning that dumping Ethier is sign that the money is not unlimited.

      But to Shankbone's point, that also makes sense too, as the Dodgers need a leadoff guy, so if they think they can get Pagan or Bourn, they need a spot free to start him, since Crawford will return by mid-season, making it Crawford, Kemp, Pagan/Bourn across the OF, with Pagan leading off and Crawford batting 2nd. Or maybe they put Kemp in RF, with the free agent playing CF, in order to put Kemp in a less demanding position, now that he got the big contract.

      Then Kemp, A-Rod, A-Gon, Hanley, plus their catcher and 2B (oh, do they miss Carlos Santana? :^).

      Yeah, they got a lot of spots they can still sign and play the free agent at. But actually, just checked, they got Ellis signed for 2013 already, so they got a starting 2B, at $5.25M, that's a starter's salary, unless they trade him too.

      And what is wrong with AJ Ellis? He's a pretty good hitting catcher, is that that bad defensively? According to BB-Ref, he added a little over a win defensively, as well as hitting well too.

      I just don't see the D-gers adding on a 2B and C free agents, not without trading them away. And I like their 3B Luis Cruz, I assume you are thinking that they would have to trade him to the Yankees to get A-Rod.

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  7. I should also note: there really is no reason to spend any emotional effort with the MCCers. The problem with the SABR statheads is that most of them aren't actually real statisticians.

    Real life statistical analysis requires, among other things, a baseline. What exactly can you use for a baseline in baseball? Even in just the past decade, we have had several sea changes in underlying behavior due to PEDs. Stadiums also change the statistical record when they move fences out or in, or humidor balls, or whatever.

    In this context, consider how useful even a decade long baseball record is when none of the underlying fundamentals are in fact the same, much less century long records.

    I also grin when I see comments about SSS - statistically short samples. What exactly is a sufficiently large statistical example? Baseball players themselves are changing: the 'book' on their behavior changes as does their own behavior, they age, they get injured, maybe their girlfriend's won't give them any because they want a ring, whatever. Even for a player in isolation it is impossible to determine what a sufficiently large statistical example should be.

    Then of course there are the other effects. How does playing in a worse/better division affect 'statistics'?

    Trout is a great player, but one glaring reason why his WAR was so high was because the outfielder class he was competing against was so poor. Posey in contrast had not one, but 2 or even 3 strong offense/strong defense catchers upping the 'replacement' level for catchers.

    Net net - I wouldn't worry about the statheads. The SABR views do have value, but they are far from scientifically sound or defensible. SABR is just another way to be biased about specific skill sets.

    c1ue

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    1. Thanks for your comments c1ue.

      It is not even that they are saber statheads, at least that I could handle, they just have a lot of what I think are wrong-headed opinions that they cannot really back up except at a very surface level. And when I bring up facts, they just go back to their Sabean Naysayers ways - AJ, Tucker, Vlad, Hillenbrand, Zito, Rowand, Garko, Tejada, Cabrera - and focus on all the negatives.

      But yeah, those are all very good points that drive me crazy about the sabers as well, particularly SSS. And yes, it is just another way to be biased, just like what they complain about the "old school", they have their own biases that govern their arguments.

      Yeah, I know there is no reason to expend any emotional effort with the MCCers, but like I said, I'm a bit different. But I'm learning, I'm learning...

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    2. Yup, no matter what the sample size is someone can come along and say it's not big enough which gives them an easy and inarguable way of dismissing your argument.

      Delete
  8. Offseason has begun:
    http://www.csnbayarea.com/baseball-san-francisco-giants/giants-talk/Giants-do-not-plan-to-make-qualifying-of?blockID=796599&feedID=10850

    Baggarly reports that Huff's option (no surprise) was declined, and that the Giants are not making any qualifying contract offers to any of their free agents. That $12-13M contract is too high to offer any of them except maybe Pagan.

    But I'm OK with passing on the potential draft pick, because I don't think that Pagan is worth $12-13M per year, even for one year, that is a huge overpay, in my mind, as I think he's more in the $8-9M range.

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    1. Oh, should have read more first, the qualifying salary is $13.3M!!! No thanks, that is too much to offer Angel.

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    2. I am completely on the other side of that argument, but its too early to start up. The Giants Won The World Series!

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  9. This is a head scratcher for me. Two givens: 1. Angel isn't going to sign for one year and 2. He'll get a multi year offer from somebody. That assumed, there was NO DOWNSIDE RISK to making a QO. All that would do is ensure we get a sandwich pick if Pagan leaves.

    The only theory I can come up with is that SabeySabes wants to do Angel a solid. By not making the QO, he's saying "Angel, we're going to forego the potential sandwich pick and the consequent downward pressure on your market value because we want you back here." In short, Angel will be able to test the full market value of his services without any team needing to factor in the cost of its first round pick.

    While a plausible theory, it seems to me to be an odd way to do business unless they're pretty sure Pagan is going to re-sign.

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    1. Downside: the chance that Pagan decides to take the one-year offer at $13.3, with the bet on his part that he will perform well enough in 2013 that he can become a free agent a year from now without having harmed his credentials He has had only two really good years, so if he can add a third in 2013 he will enhance his status, and #13.3M exceeds what he would be likely to get in 2013 if it is the first year of a multi-yr contract.

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    2. Definitely an interesting theory, and I wouldn't rule it out. The other one I can think of is Sabean is sweating every last penny, and can't risk the extra 3-6MM spread between what he wants to offer Pagan and the 13.3MM qualifying. And if that is the case, its time for me to start railing on the damn cheap owners, but I can't right now, because I'm re-watching Zito's bunt to make it 4-0.

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    3. I find the penny-sweating alternative hard to believe, since despite last offseason's declarations about a tight budget, management was willing to deal for the expensive Pence, presumably with an eye to keeping him. They've also, since then, been unpredictably enriched by lots of post-season money. And payroll as a proportion of total spending isn't quite what payroll was before the pattern of allocation changed, in that they aren't now allowed to pay draftees big bonuses. They have new cash in hand. The pressure on them to spend it rather than squirrel it away in a RDF has increased because fans' expectations have increased with the team's success, and because of their southerly rivals' vulgar strutting and flaunting of wads of bills.

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    4. Most likely true, and I need to give the RDF moniker a rest and see what they do next. Maybe its as simple as the Giants just don't see Pagan as a 13.3MM player, he's more of a 7-8MM player like OGC said. We'll find out pretty quick what the market dictates. This could simply be the Giants being disciplined about their free agent dollars, something fans have been clamoring for for years. That is the dirty secret behind Beltran - we're tired of broken down expensive vets... except this one! Give us this one!

      I like the guy, and he looks like he has plenty left in the tank, but the other worry is his age. He's 31, and that is starting to get removed from the sweet spot of 28-32 prime career time.

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    5. All of the above sound very reasonable and plausible. I don't have a real great idea.

      Here's a scenario to consider, though. Pagan is not a proven player, at least not like Pence is with years of full season, even production. And the Giants didn't even start him in 150 games (149 though) even though he was healthy throughout, they had enough question marks on him that they kept him out of starting 13 games. And still, even if you count this season, he only has two full seasons as a starter. At age 30.

      That's very similar (though not as good performance) as Gary Mathews Jr. and we know how that turned out.

      So who is the real Angel Pagan? If he's the .778 OPS that he ended up with, yeah, that's something worth paying for. If he was the .706 OPS that he was on August 2nd or even the .748 OPS he was as late as August 19th, I would say not even close.

      We all know he is a hot and cold hitter. People focus too much on the ending number, rather than focusing on where he was much of the time. People hate Guillen but he had a roughly .800 OPS for 6 weeks before his neck problem made him totally cold for two weeks, ending up with a poor overall OPS for us. Rowand his first season was still above .800 late in the season before his lack of conditioning (really, mountain biking as fitness? I expect more for $12M a season) dropped him way south. For all we know, Angel ended on a hot point.

      Look at his monthly splits: .760, .884, .608, .553, 1.003, .765. Out of 21 months where he played pretty regularly, that 1.003 was the highest of all the months. If you average straight only the months where he played significantly, that works out to a .750 OPS, which is actually very close to his .757 career OPS.

      Do I want to chance paying $13.3M for a .750 hitter? Not really. I really want the draft pick though, and to that point, yeah, it does not seem very likely that he will pick that option.

      But what if he was forced to? What if no team, just like no team did with Cody Ross, offer him a multi-year contract. Then he would definitely take that one year deal with the Giants.

      Of course, Cody had a down year and Pagan had an up. But like Huff, he had a bad prior season, though two good seasons out of three. And we all know about free agent years.

      Now, with teams more flush with money, especially ESPN, they might break the piggybank for Pagan, that nobody can predict. But as much as I like Pagan, he has a lot of questions marks that reduce the demand for his services.

      However, to quote Shankbone once more: all it takes is one team to do that.

      So I guess the question is, which teams look like: 1) they need a nice but questionable leadoff CF and 2) which of them can afford a $10M+ salary and 3) how close are they to the playoffs. Pagan is nice as one of the final pieces to take that next step, but I don't see any team making him their Rowand, big splash in the free agent market as a sign of their rebuilding and new relevance.

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    6. Forgot to add one last thing. Meanwhile, we have Gregor Blanco, who might not hit as well as Angel, but at the leadoff spot, OBP is more important than SLG (SLG, which is where Pagan has an advantage over Blanco), and Blanco is better than Pagan in getting on base so far in his career: .349 OBP for Blanco career, .333 for Pagan.

      Taking their career numbers and plugging into the lineup calculator, there is a roughly half win difference in production. Taking just offense, then while Pagan at $13.3M costs roughly 2 wins more than Blanco (and it'll be more because Blanco is not making $3.3M next season - assuming $5M per WAR) but offensively, Blanco is only half a win below in production, meaning that he is much more economical, assuming that they are roughly equal defensively.

      On top of that, Blanco is the equal, and perhaps better, at stealing bases.

      So from this perspective, the Giants might be willing to pay $8M for Pagan, they do not feel the need to overpay Pagan in order to retain him because they have Blanco around.

      Since I view Blanco as a starting OF in 2013 most probably, the comparison point is Pagan in CF vs. probably some free agent corner OF (there has been talk about moving Pence to LF). Corner OF who hit mid .700 OPS are dime a dozen, heck, if the Phillies let Schierholtz go, he would fit the bill, just to show relative value.

      So the Giants don't have a lot of incentive to sign Pagan unless it is at a price point that they are comfortable with. Obviously $13.3M is not acceptable to them, but perhaps $8M is.

      Then there is the Melky factor. He should be much cheaper and even if 2011-12 were boosted stats, he was already a mid-700 OPS hitter before that happened, and I believe that he'll perform more in line with 2011 than his career before if given the chance. But the icky factor puts him as an option lower on the totem pole, meaning the Giants prefer Pagan and paying him fairly, but might take on Melky at a much lower price point if necessary.

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    7. Here is what Shandler's Baseball Forecaster said about Pagan for 2012: Another year, another 30 SB, but be careful. Speed decline, especially in the second half of 2011, suggests those days could be numbered even if aberrant H% normalizes. Poor health says we can't bank on 500 AB seasons. ... You'll heed warning signs and look for premium wheels elsewhere.

      As the robot in that old series, Lost in Space used to exclaim: Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

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  10. I can't buy the scenario wherein Angel takes the QO. Just isn't going to happen...he won't forego two guaranteed years and approx 15MM more dollars to "cash in" for one year in SF. Nope, something else is afoot. There is no good argument that Pagan accepts the QO, so SabeySabes must be pretty sure Angel is going to re-sign here. That's the only scenario that makes sense.

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  11. I enjoy reading your blog, along with Grant's and Lefty's and some others. I think Grant is one of the best writers in the blogosphere (and funny as hell), and he readily admits that he's not a stathead. I urged him to restore your link when it was taken down a while back. Grant has also been publicly apologizing to Sabean after this world series.

    My own take is that I agree with your analysis (which you have asserted for several years now) that the Giants have done an excellent job of building a core of pitching and defense. I felt that in 2010, they got lucky with much of their offensive production. Huff was a third choice as a 1st base option, Burrell was released by the Rays, Ross was given to us by the Marlins, Uribe was signed as a utility player and had a great year, Torres had a career year, etc. This year, we had a much stronger offensive core, both homegrown and traded for, and the offense was able to carry the pitching staff at times during the year. All teams troll the waiver wire, free agents, and trade market for low risk pickups. The difference in 2010 was that we had to count on these pickups for a good deal of our offensive production, whereas in 2012 we had established hitters at most of our positions. Our only low risk pickups were Blanco, Scutaro, and Nady. Although Scutaro certainly had a career year, it wasn't outside of what could be expected of him on a hot streak, and it made up for some of the poor production we got from Pence.

    Given all of that, I agree with you. The future looks very bright.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, much appreciated.

      Good to hear that Grant is publicly apologizing to Sabean but if you read his BP interview on the Sabean hit piece that Shankbone provided the link to, he brings up luck again, which to me is not an apology. So he's not being very consistent if he is really apologetic.

      While I understand your arguments regarding 2010, here are my takes, for another perspective.

      Huff might not have been the first choice, but my analysis of his 2009 performance was that he was suffering from a lot of BABIP bad luck. In 2010, he reverted back to his 2008 regular luck that he had had during most of his career. So his performance was not lucky, it was lucky to get him.

      That said, our first choice (not sure who you considered the other choice) was Adam LaRoche, who might have still signed with us had Sabean not suddenly signed Huff because he was tired of LaRoche wishy-washy-ness. Given our need, I would have expected Sabean to overpay some because LaRoche was afraid of AT&T affecting his offense. LaRoche would not have hit as well as Huff but I think it would have been close enough, as he has a pretty good career numbers there (so I'm not sure why he was so afraid then).

      About Burrell during the season and Ross during the off-season, I view the good luck that we got from the production we got from them, as balancing the bad luck that we got from losing Sandoval for much of the season, basically for personal reasons. As Pablo showed before that and since, he's a pretty damn good hitter, and I see getting Burrell and Ross as quid pro quo on the luck balance for losing Pablo for much of the season.

      Uribe was signed as a utility player, but what he did for us in 2010 was not much different from what he was doing for the White Sox during his peak years from 2003 to 2007 (though better so there is that). The reason nobody wanted to pay him more was because he had a horrible last season with the ChiSox in 2008, after two seasons where the good luck in 2004 were balanced by bad luck in 2006-7, then the bad HR year in 2008.

      As a power hitting SS, he really should have gotten a bigger contract but his poor 2006-8 really spooked other teams, so he ended up getting scraps from us for 2009 and that's why nobody touched him in 2010 either. Good for us and our scouts.

      That, to me, is another example of how Barr is able to look beyond recent poor production, to find the player's true core talent level, and buy low on them.

      He really should have stayed with us, was those few extra millions worth two horrible offensive seasons in LA (extreme pitchers park, not like AT&T) and boos and derision?

      Delete
    2. Getting Torres was lucky, in a sense, but I feel that acquiring him was more skill on the part of our scouts than luck.

      He made substantive changes to his batting stroke and mechanics, switching from a slap hitter to a professional baseball hitter (really, any coach today who teaches a fast player to slap at pitches should be shot...), like how Pujols hit, like how Ted Williams taught in his seminal book, Science of Hitting.

      The Giants scouts must have noticed that (and his then current team did not) and jumped on him when they got the chance. And more to the scout's credit, Torres was never that good a prospect, yet the scouts noticed his change and recommended his pickup then.

      So, luck that it happened, yes to some extent, because such things do not normally happen for a player.

      But it did happen, he did make the changes, he did finalize his changes by the time the Giants pounced on him, and they got two useful seasons out of him.

      That, to me, is not luck, it was skill on the part of our scouts who saw the difference and got the team to act on that bit of competitive intelligence.

      Delete
    3. But I totally agree that the Giants were in a much better position in 2012 offensively, with a nice core group of hitters, which was supplemented by Scutaro and Pence. Our core of Sandoval, Posey, Pence, and Belt should be around for a while, and that is good.

      To your point about Scutaro and Pence, I just see that as luck balancing out, Pence hit lower than expected, but Scutaro hit better than expected. We actually came out behind: putting the two together as stats results in a batting line of .294/.333/.430/.763, but Scutaro himself, in the 2009-2012 period, hit .290/.354/.404/.758, so what we got was two Scutaro's hitting, instead of a Pence and Scutaro. So there was bad luck there and we won in spite of that.

      However, I would note as I did during the season that Pence hit his career numbers and better with RISP, he only hit poorly when nobody was on base and when someone was on first. If I'm to accept a lesser performance for a hitter, that's the best scenario to get, him hitting well with RISP while screwing it all up in non-critical times in terms of RISP (might be critical for him to get on base for a run and a win or to avoid a loss).

      Delete

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