Archive for August, 2004
I have been receiving more and more emails from ticket brokers wishing to have a link in my Ticket Window section. Many of the emails I received came via my AOL mailbox, which I have recently cancelled. As I intend to make a decision to either continue an exclusive relationship with my current vendor, or open the window up to multiple vendors, I wanted to give any of the people who have previously contacted me one more chance to throw their hat into the ring (especially since I have lost several email adresses in dropping AOL).
You can hit the email link and drop me a line if you have been put off before. By Wednesday next week, I will have made a decision one way or the other, so let me know if you’re out there.
Oh yeah. Eric Neel’s Albert Pujols column has a blogging news feature at the bottom. In the article, he mentions Aaron Gleeman, Lee Sinins, and at the bottom, you’ll find OBM! Yup, he noticed my short and sweet comment about the disparity between Ortiz and Reuter, and he linked me!
To all of you OBM first-timers, welcome. Check out my archives, my awesome selection of baseball bloggers, my Steroids and Baseball section, and Pin my Guestmap.
To Eric, thanks!
Woo hoo, ESPN!
The Giants took three of four from the hapless Expos, after splitting the first doubleheader of the PacBell era. After sleepwalking through a mistake-filled 6-2 loss in the first game, the offense came alive as the Giants pounded out a 14-4 win in the finale.
Barry Bonds hit his third home run in the two days, to bring him within eight of 700 for his career. JT Snow now has a 13-game hitting streak, and the Giants held on to the wild card lead by the slimmest of margins:
Giants 67-56 .545
Cubs 64-55 .538
Padres 64-56 .533
The Giants trail the Dodgers by 7 games in the loss column, keep that in mind when you hear all the Giants announcers talking about how the Giants still think they can win the division.
Jason Schmidt is day to day as he and trainer Stan Conte monitor his strained groin muscle. There is some flexibility in the Giants next week or so of games, so Schmidt could have his Tuesday start pushed back to Friday, but the Giants haven’t made that decision fromally just yet.
The Giants won their sixth straight game, beating the Expos 5-4 on a ninth-inning single by JT Snow. Barry Bonds homered twice, as Frank Robinson decided to allow his pitchers to actually pitch to him, (I guess that’s over now), and Snow had three hits to raise his batting average to .316 for the season, something I couldn’t have imagined.
But the night featured eight wasted workhorse innings by Jason Schmidt, who left with a 4-2 lead after irritating his groin at the end of the eighth inning. Alou once again inexpicably chose lefty Scott Eyre to start the ninth against right-handed Juan Rivera. Rivera walked to start a two-run rally that cost Schmidt his 16th win of the season. (How can this team continue to hemmorage runs in the bullpen?) Now Schmidt is day to day with a possible groin pull, and the Giants are terrified of the possibility that their Cy Young front-runner might miss significant time.
As for the pen, this is the third win they’ve blown for Schmidt, and they’ve all been by at least two runs. Schmidt, who is poised to lead the NL in ERA for the second year in a row, is 15-3, and with mediocre bullpen support should be 18-3, (it is very difficult for any team to score two runs in the ninth inning with any reliability) will need to rebound quickly from this setback, because he is the one indispensible pitcher in the Giants organization.
By the way, Sabean traded essentially nothing for Schmidt, and then signed Schmidt to a pretty beefy contract extension, (two years, $8.5 million per, $3 million dollar team option for ’06). This would be considered one of the better moves Sabean’s made in the last several seasons. See, that’s positive.
I apologize to the friends and family members of two of the most respected men in the business of baseball writing, Will McDonough and Doug Pappas. Both men passed away during the last several months, and I neglected to pay my respects to either one of them on this site.
As evidenced by the fact that I kept active links to both men in my Smart Guys section, I admired both men’s work, integrity; and was inspired by their efforts.
Doug’s focus on the business side of baseball, his depth of attention and his ability to see through the owners BS, and then write about it so well is the basis for all of my ranting and raving when dealing with Magowan and friends. Without Doug, I, as well as most of you, would know much less of the blatant dishonesty baseball’s ownership has been guilty of all these years.
As for Will, put it this way, I was born a Yankee fan, and I still read this Boston writer’s opinion.
The baseball world misses them both, and so do I.
The Giants appear to be done mucking around with their roster, especially since Magowan has decided to limit Sabean’s spending; but there’s still time if they do. Playoff rosters aren’t set til August 31st, and the fairly complex waiver rules should still allow the team to nab that third starter if they want. Jayson Stark details the waiver rules in this column, but I wanted to post them in their entirety so that OBM readers will always be able to access them when needed:
There are all kinds of waivers for all different occasions. But essentially, here is how waiver deals can be made between Aug. 1 and the Aug. 31 deadline for setting potential playoff rosters:
* Virtually every player in the major leagues will be placed on waivers this month, whether a team intends to trade that player or not. If nothing else, the sheer volume of names can at least disguise players whom clubs do want to sneak through so they can be dealt.
* If a player isn’t claimed by any team in either league, he can be traded until the end of the month to anyone.
* If a player is claimed, but only by one team, the player can be traded only to the team that claims him.
* If a player is claimed by more than one team, the club with the worst record in that player’s league gets priority — and the player can be traded only to that team.
* If a player is claimed only by teams in the other league, the club with the worst record in the other league gets priority — and the player can be traded just to that team.
* If a deal can’t be worked out or the team doesn’t want to trade that player, he can be pulled back off waivers once in August. If he is placed on waivers again before September, he can’t be recalled a second time.
* Or, if a team is just hoping to dump a player’s salary, it can simply allow a team which claimed that player to have him for a small waiver fee. If that happens, the team that gets the player has to pay his entire salary. That’s how the Yankees were stuck with Jose Canseco and the Padres were stuck with Randy Myers in recent years: They claimed those players, thinking they were just blocking other teams from getting them. Instead, their old clubs said: “You claimed him. You got him.”
* In the past, many teams claimed players just to keep them from being traded to contenders with a better record. This year, that isn’t expected to happen as often, because most teams can’t afford to get stuck with a big contract if they’re awarded a player they really didn’t want.
There, now you know what Sabean knows. Yummy.
That’s Kirk Reuter’s new nickname. The Giants could hardly have been needed a quality start more than tonight, on the heels of celebrating their excellent recovery from the “Pasting in Pittsburgh,” and Reuter’s back at it again, this time allowing three runs in the first two innings to put the Giants in a hole to start the homestand. I know I’ve been writing about it for a year now, but it’s worth noting one more time that since the Giants and Brian Sabean decided to re-sign Reuter and trade Russ Ortiz, the performance of the two pitchers has been markedly different. While Reuter can barely get pitchers out, (tonight, the opposing pitcher, John Patterson, coming in at 1 for 20, has a run scoring single right up the middle), Ortiz was just awarded the NL pitcher of the month for July:
That’s just this season. Since the start of ’03, it’s worse, way worse:
Ummmm….. I think Sabean dropped the ball here, don’t you?
Update: So, after I ripped into Woody, two things happened; first, the Giants won, coming from behind to beat the Expos and move into the Wild Card lead. Second, I got chastised by reader Kenshin, who wrote:
Allow me to first preface my comment with this statement: I enjoy greatly your writing and your objectivity.
That said, surely you must have something positive to say about the team once in a while. As Giants fans, we are lucky enough to cheer for possibly the greatest player of all-time and and a team thick in the midst of a playoff race. I understand our team has flaws and our GM has performed poorly as of late; however, it could be much worse. We all could be rooting for a team with no chance and no hope for the future.
OK, I stand corrected. Yes, the Giants are a terrific franchise, with lots of great qualities; and yes, we are lucky to have Bonds, Sabean, Schmidt, et al. Let me just say that I am grateful to root for a team with so much to offer.
On the other hand, a team with so much to offer has so much to attain. So much to be happy about is cause for so much greed, no? In my humble opinion, my grating, insatiable demand for better, more, faster, is part and parcel of a founding level of fanatacism, isn’t it? But looked at from another viewpoint, Kenshin is right, I am constantly bitching and moaning. Ahhh, the dillemma that is part of being a fan. I can’t change who I am. And I am a perfectionist.
Robb Nen says he wants to pitch next season. Will he pitch for free? Ha ha. Seriously, if he can contribute anything, I’d hope he’d be willing to sign some kind of minor league deal, with incentives. For the Giants to give him dollar one, he’ll need to do something first.
As in, the wild card is the purgatory of lost souls, which is how Felipe Alou characterized it after the Giants finished off the Phillies yesterday with a rare three game road sweep. The win capped a 4-2 road trip, which somehow propelled the Giants back into a tie for the WC, and sent them home for a pivotal seven games against the Expos and Mets.
I know, I forgot to mention that the Giants released Neifi-I can too hit-Perez. What can I say about the man whose bat says it all? Neifi is arguably the worst everyday hitter in the history of the game. One day soon, I will write a nice long piece and dig up all the worst hitters ever, and see who really is the worst; but in my mind, I don’t see how any player has ever gotten as many career at-bats as Perez and done so little with them. And it only took Brian-don’t give me that on-base crap-Sabean a year and a half to figure it out.
You can add Felipe Alou and Perez’s agent to the list of people who can’t understand why Perez isn’t making as much money as A-Rod. “I don’t think that he ever felt where they gave him a job and a 100- percent opportunity,” Perez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said, adding his client was surprised he was cut.
“He was just disappointed his year did not go the way he thought,” Kinzer said. “With Rich Aurilia leaving, he thought if he worked hard and kept his mouth shut, this would be his year. It didn’t work out.”
Uh, yeah. The Giants couldn’t find any team to take Perez and the $750K the Giants still owe him from that ridiculous $4.5 million dollar contract they gave him, a deal that was about $4 million more than he was worth; and his agent, (who earned every cent he ever took from Perez on that one deal), can’t figure out how his guy got such a raw deal. Go figure.
Anywho, my real job is calling me, but keep up the backtalk, you guys have really been at it lately. It warms me heart.
On the heels of their horrible, come from ahead loss to the Pirates Tuesday, the Giants lost again yesterday, a game in which they hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning for the second time in two days, (this time a two-run shot by Ray Durham); this time after having a first and second with no-outs 11th inning in which they failed to score even one run, and then new closer Dustin Hermanson allowed a single and a two-run home run without recording an out!!
To recap, Kirk-I am not Russ Ortiz-Reuter, handed a three-nothing lead before he threw a pitch, allowed the Pirates to tie the game before he recorded an out. Oh, and of course, the bullpen could not stop another basement-dwelling team from scoring throughout the rest of the game.
How many ways can this team lose? They’ve scored, in reverse order, 6, 7, 6, 4, 6, 3, 7, 11, 1, 8, 4, 4, 4, and 6 runs over their last 14 games, a total of 77 runs, averaging 5.5 runs per game. Over that stretch, they are a horrible 5-9, as their beleaguered pitching staff has allowed 89 runs, or 6.35 runs per game.
That is putrid.
Neil was kind enough to add some more details as a backtalker, so I thought I’d bring him to the front page:
One of the big reasons for discrepancies between Forbes’ figures (they say the Giants turned a $700,000 profit last year, btw) and official MLB figures is that Forbes doesn’t count depreciation, which is a huge paper “loss” that means absolutely nothing in real life: Players don’t “wear out” in five years, and to replace them you just need to pay scouts and minor-league managers and such, which are already accounted for as deductible business expenses.
I’m not sure if Magowan is still depreciating the Giants (he may have used that dodge up already), but there are plenty of other ways to fudge the numbers. See the late Doug Pappas’ essay “MLB vs. Forbes” for more on this.
As for the Giants’ free-agent budget, it’s really hard to tell what’s penny-pinching and what’s just stupidity – and what, like signing Michael friggin’ Tucker a day early so as to intentionally lose a draft pick, is both. I think it’s fair to say that Vladimir Guerrero could help any team, though, and especially one such as the Giants that sees so much of its offensive productivity trotting helplessly to first base night after night.
Of course, if they’d signed Vlad, they wouldn’t be selling all those chickens, so maybe it really was a shrewd business move…
Indeed. Over at Baseball Musings, David Pinto had this to say:
The Giants are one of five teams (Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox and Indians) who have gone the longest without a World Championship. These teams have an obligation to their long suffering fans that when they have a chance to win to go all out to win. I agree with John, the Giants should be putting a team around Bonds that can win the Series.
There’s no doubt that anything less than 100% from the front office of the Giants is a rip-off, given that the team has never won a title in SF, that the tenure of perhaps the greatest player ever is coming to an end, and that the fans have done everything they can do to support the efforts of the team. (the team sells out at the highest percentage of any team in baseball, both at home and on the road). That’s the fans job, come out and see the team in action.
Management’s job is equally simple; field a contending team, and more importantly, make the neccessary moves to position yourself to win a title whenever you can. The Giants were in first place in the NL West 5 weeks ago, with one of the best records in baseball. Now, they’re behind two or three teams for the wild card, and just about out of the division race, and they’ve done nothing about it at all! And don’t tell me about how they’ve come back to the pack because they’ve been getting their asses handed to them by the better teams. It ain’t true. They’ve been competitive with just about every team but the Padres (3-10) and the Pirates (0-4). They’ve split six games with the Cards, they’ve won 4 of 6 against the Cubs, 3 of 4 from the Marlins, 2 of 3 from the Astros, Braves and Brewers, contenders all.
This team was in position to be a post-season player, and Sabean and company sat on their hands and lied about how they couldn’t afford to pick up a big bat or a big arm. They deserve ten thousand no-shows tonight.