Archive for August, 2006

…. Backtalk

Obsessive Compulsive Giants gave me some backtalk, so I thought I’d slap him around. ;-D

I will simply say I disagree, except that I agree that the owners should have done more with the budget to support the team during the Bonds years. But, I’m tired of taking on people who are down on the Giants.

About the Yankees trade, which people seem to be so in love with, since you made a comment about that in regards to trading Schmidt:

“The Yankees got Bobby Abreu for a bunch of prospects but that’s because they could afford to pay his salary, if the Phillies wanted some good prospects, they would have had to pay some of the salaries that they gave up.

Of the four prospects – Matt Smith, C.J. Henry, Jesus Sanchez, and Carlos Monasterios – only C.J. Henry made the Top 15 prospect list in Minor League Baseball Analyst (by Deric McKamey) and he was a 1st round draft pick in 2005. But he’s having a thoroughly below average season in the Sally League, which is low-A-ball, if he can’t hit there, when can he hit? And his batting eye and strikezone judgement are way down, in terms of striking out a lot more. And the others are not even on the pre-season Top 15 prospect list, Smith is doing OK at AAA, Monasterious is doing OK in rookie league (but he’s not dominating rookie league), and Sanchez is hitting like Neifi in rookie league (so you can imagine how he might do up higher).

They are all very raw prospects (particularly the two still in rookie league), or in the case of Smith, he is an overaged (27) reliever prospect who walks too much and gives up too many homers, his main asset is striking out a lot of guys, but that is easier to do in the minors, not so easy in the majors And he just made AAA last year at age 26, he shouldn’t even be called a prospect because once you are past 27, you leave prospect status and enter into the “Make a Wish” realm, because very few players past that age become a long tenured major leaguer, let alone a “super young player.”

These are the type of “prospects” who were probably dangled in front of Sabean for Schmidt, guys who will probably never see the front of a baseball card unless they go out and buy a pack. “

If you really view that as a better alternative, then I will have to disagree, I would much rather see what Schmidt can do for us the rest of the season and then take our chances on resigning him.

Now if we could have traded him and, say, Benitez, to the Red Sox for Lester, Hansen, and Papelbon, then that would be a different matter. But that’s a no-brainer, I’m guessing that all the trade offers were more in line with what the Yankees offered the Phillies, nothing much in terms of prospects (and who knows, maybe one will turn out to be the next Francisco Liriano, but when they are that young, who knows how they will develop once they grow into their bodies; but the odds are strongly against it, may as well go out and buy a lottery ticket instead).

Not for nothing, OGC, but top-tier starting pitching would have garnered a far better offer from the Yanks, the Mets, or almost anyone than the pile of shit the Phillies were willing to take to get out from under the Abreau contract. The Mets talked about moving Lastings Milledge for Roy Oswalt, but wouldn’t make the same deal for Schmidt, because he’s older and far more inconsistent. So, fine, no Milledge, but don’t tell me that the Giants couldn’t have gotten more value than they’re likely to get in their compensation pick. And, by the way, Minaya’s refusal to make the same deal for Schmidt that he would for Oswalt only supports my contention that the only GM in baseball who would want these players, at these salaries, is the one that has them.

To acknowledge that you are the only GM in baseball that would have signed the players you have to the contracts that you did is to admit that you are simply incompetent. You’re telling me that Sabean and Magowan have been sitting around congratulating themselves for dumping Alfonzo for Finley? Sabean chose Alfonzo, chose to ignore the back issues, not to mention the precipitous drop in his offensive production. He signed him to another, ANOTHER albatross contract, like Snow, Benard, Neifi, Durham, Benitez, Reuter, and the countless others that I’m too tired to look up.

This team has traded superior pitching prospects for garbage, has rejected the chance to restock their farm system by purposefully acquiring and releasing players so that they don’t get their compensation picks, (a simply indefensible strategy, regardless of your opinion of the players they’ve acquired), and overpaid the wrong players, time and time again.

I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but OK, I’ll say it again:


Do you understand that? He built this team, –I’m running out of different ways to say how sad that is– he built this team. Did the Giants have some bad luck? Sure. No doubt, they had some bad, bad luck. Did Sabean make multi-million dollar decisions that flew in the face of reality and anything resembling coherent analysis? OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Down on the Giants? How could I be up on this team? How could anyone? Name a contender, anyone, and tell me who on the Giants they would trade for to replace their guy? At what position would the Tigers trade man for man with the Giants? How about the Dodgers? The Reds? The Mets?

In the past three seasons, our trades have gone bad, our free agent signings have gone bad, and the guys we bring up from Triple AAA may as well have come from Mars. Who is responsible for this beer league softball team? Sabean and Magowan. They’re gonna have their feet on the fire here, I can tell you that. Sorry if I’m killing anyone’s buzz.

UPDATE: I guess I’m either being read (aka, plagarized) by the “great” :-D

…. . Brian Sabean’s geezer game plan: The Giants just keep getting older and less imposing. Having lost nine of their last 10 games, they’re fading in both the division and wild-card races. And it’s time to address the current state of the team.

Since 1997, general manager Brian Sabean has made a constant effort to surround the ball club’s centerpiece, Barry Bonds, with experienced vets who produce consistently. Although this strategy has generated some ghastly moves (see: Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski, a trade that Twins fans have thoroughly enjoyed), the Giants have posted winning records in eight of the last nine seasons and made the playoffs four times.

But the Barry Bonds era is over, as the seven-time MVP is a former shell of himself. The franchise must stop this geriatric experiment and begin planning for the future. Brian, face the facts: Your team missed its world-title window when it blew the ’02 Series. Move on.

The Giants could have acquired a bevy of talented prospects by trading Jason Schmidt (as well as Moises Alou and Ray Durham) before the deadline. Instead they got even older, trading Shairon Martis, a hard-throwing 19-year-old prospect who tossed a no-hitter for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, for Mike Stanton, a 39-year-old reliever with a 4.47 ERA.

…. Stumble, bumble, fumble and glum

Brian Sabean insists that he didn’t dangle Jason Schmidt, but that he did listen to offers for the pitcher in the hours before the trade deadline. He also said something that I don’t think I’ve heard him say before:

…. “I would say half a dozen teams called, and we were in position to listen, given our present state of affairs. At the end of the day, getting what was talked about in return was not in the best interest of the organization. If we don’t re-sign Schmidt, we’d be satisfied with draft picks (as compensation).”

Satisfied with draft picks? Has Sabean finally seen the light?

As for the Giants, losers of a season-high eight straight, it appears that Benitez’s back to back blown saves have completely demoralized them; as some part of the team has faltered in some important way; starting pitching, bullpen, defense, offense, you name it; it’s fallen apart at exactly the wrong time.

It was also telling that, in the end, the rest of the league saw the Giants exactly as I do, an overpaid collection of “veterans” that is worth essentially nothing. Schmidt had perhaps the most value, but Sabean was about 5 weeks late if he intended to try and get anything significant for the pitcher.

Schmidt’s dismal run of starts since he peaked with his 16-strikeout gem — and, by the way, how many times do we have to see Schmidt go 130 pitches and then fall apart for three months before we don’t let him throw that many? — virtually assured the Giants of having nothing to sell. Ray Durham had a hot streak that made him look tempting, I’m sure, but he soon reverted to form with a hamstring tweak and a couple of errors.

So, now the team faces the rest of the season as currently comprised, not an exciting prospect. As this marathon runs on, the collective age of the team will, inevitably, drag it down, and only the cellar of the NL Worst will stop their fall.

UPDATE: Nine in a row now, as the Giants continue their freefall from first to worst. Livan Hernandez shut them down last night, as it becomes clearer every day that Sabean misjudged, misread, and miscalculated…. well, everything. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If the Giants were gonna pay Bonds the $90 million four years ago, if they were gonna keep him around, they needed to open the pocketbooks and build a championship-caliber team around him, even if it meant operating at a loss. Otherwise, it was a lie. It was a lie to the fans, to the team, and to Bonds himslef, who was given assurances that management was as committed to a championship as he was. Instead, they nickel and dimed, thinking they could replace top-quality players with pale imitations, essentially re-building virtually their entire relief corps with waiver wire cast-offs, and one, big, fat mistake.

From the last out of the 2002 World Series to today, they are worse at virtually every position on the diamond, with the exception of perhaps centerfield, (although Winn has returned to his career norms (.260/320/.420), he’s still better than Benard). Their bench is a joke, they have some stability in the rotation, the story goes, but I don’t see it. They strike out the fewest hitters in virtually all of baseball, they walk way too many, they constantly give runs up the inning after their offense scores; and, as Jim Adams has pointed out repeatedly, they are going to have to replace virtually the entire roster over the next two seasons, with arguably the worst collection of minor league position players in all of baseball to do it with.

To add insult to injury, because of the bad timing of their win streak, instead of selling off — in perhaps the best sellers market for pitching in recent memory –whatever starting pitching they could have for a passel of prospects, they were teased into thinking they could contend in what has become the worst division in baseball. The Yankees were happy to get Cory Lidle, you think they might have had some fun with the idea of picking up Mr. 16 strikeouts?

Oh well, I guess I’m in a crappy mood this morning.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
None of the opinions expressed should be construed as being endorsed by the
San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball, or any other organization mentioned herein.

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