…. Slammed

That’s what I got for my last post. My response?

Matheny got $12 million for 3 years, Vizquel got $12 for three years, Alou got just shy of $14 for 2 years. Forget about the backloading and all that crap. The average cost of these players is $6, $4 and $4 million, or $14 million. So, yeah, you could easily have made a real pitch for Beltran, (as it is the Giants are still below last season’s payroll), instead of these “veterans.”

And, please, enough with the ‘calling a game’ bullshit already. The entire management team is involved in how the gameday pitcher will plan to go after the hitters. If Matheny’s so great, why were the Cardinal pitchers so mediocre? Are you trying to suggest that Schmidt was as dominant as he was because of Pierzynski?

Calling a game is another one of those “insiders” type of things that are used to explain why a “gamer” like Matheny can get $4 million a year even though there are probably fifteen minor league catchers who can hit just as well.

It’s just like Shawon Dunston’s ‘hustle.” There’s no way to defend the decision to spend that $14 million on these players pushing 40. It’s a mistake that the team will rue, as one or more of these guys will spend major time on the DL, forcing the Giants once again to pay players (Nen, Reuter, Snow, Benard) who don’t play or produce.

It’s a recipe for disaster to go into a season pinning your championship contention on even one key player who is in the decline phase of his career. To have a starting lineup with a 34-year old catcher, a 37-year old first baseman, a 33-year old second baseman, a 37-year old shortstop, a 31-year old third baseman, a 40-year old left fielder, a 37-year old center fielder, and a 38-year old right fielder…. well, that’s just ridiculous.

Are the players in question solid major leaguers? Sure, they all have track records of success to some degree. Sure, Matheny’s probably a joy to behold behind the plate. I’ve no doubt that Vizquel will run circles around Cruz. That ain’t gonna matter if he pulls a hamstring, or strains his groin or throws up a .690 OPS.

I’ll do the research in the morning, but there can be no doubt that these players, as a whole, will decline. The team was far more likely to see Torrealba bat .300 than they are to see Matheny do so. Alou’s runs created number will almost certainly be little more than what Mohr and Tucker combined to produce last season. See, it’s offense that separates the winners from the losers.

For $14 million, we did very little to strengthen the team at all. Great glove and all, these guys aren’t gonna hit any better than what we had. If they’re not gonna do that, then who cares how many errors we don’t make. It’ll never be enough. As I pointed out last week, the difference between the worst and the best defenses in the league is barely 75 unearned runs, make it a hundred, and you still can’t argue that any one player can overcome 400 outs made with his bat, with his glove. YOU CAN’T MAKE THAT ARGUMENT HOLD WATER. At least not here. Go congratulate Sabean if you’re gonna try, cause I ain’t listening.

Update: Kyle did some numbers-crunching, so I thought he should get some publicity.

Just so we’re all on the same page here:

Grissom – $2.75 mil
Benitez – $7.17 mil/year
Alou – $6.8 mil/year
Matheny – $3.5 mil/year
Vizquel – $4.08 mil/year
Tucker – $1.75 mil/year (last year and this)
Pierzynski – $3.5 mil last year
Hammonds – $1 mil last year
Guerrero – $14 mil/year

I averaged multi-year deals to the per year rate. Feel free to correct me if I have something wrong. Essentially, this offseason, the Giants spent $24 million and apparently have a little more they can spend.

Looking at this, I don’t see how they couldn’t have signed a Beltran and Benitez with a little backloading, and done without Grissom, Matheny, Vizquel and Alou. Mohr and Beltran replace Grissom and Alou and Torrealba and Cruz replace Matheny and Vizquel.

It gets a little more complicated, but I’ll bet if we do without AJ, Tucker and Hammonds last offseason, we probably could have arranged a contract for Vlad.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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