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…. Backtalk

Giants Rain Man and I have doing some good back and forthing, so I thought I'd front page him. First, he said:

…. Here is how some more Projection Systems see the Giants doing in 2009.

Cairo sees 83 wins with 744 runs scored and 721 runs allowed.

Marcel sees 84 wins with 771 runs scored and 747 runs allowed.

Hardball Times sees 83 wins with 702 runs scored and 673 runs allowed.

Even Chone projects the 2009 Giants to win 77 games.

To which I replied, “Fuck the predictions, there is no way the Giants will score 100 more runs, blah blah blah…. Sabean sucks, blah blah blah, and then he came back with:

…. You need to start looking at things in terms or the end of the Magowan era and the beginninging of the Neukom era.

The following are leftover mistakes from the end of the Magowan era:

1) Barry Zito (7 years @ $126M with 5 years @ $101M to go)
2) Aaron Rowand (5 years @ $60M with 4 years @ $48M to go)
2) Dave Roberts (3 years @ $18M with 1 year @ $6.5M to go)

You are wrong to think that the following are more of the same:

1) Edgar Renteria (2 years @ $18.5M)
2) Randy Johnson (1 year @ $8M)
3) Jeremy Affeldt (2 years @ $8M)
4) Bobby Howry (1 year @ 2.75M)

None of these deals are long term like the leftover bad deals from the end of the Magowan era. But you are also wrong because each of these players actually improves the Giants.

You also need to open your eyes and see the plan that is already unfolding. The Giants have been rebuilding the pitching staff for awhile now and are just about done. They should be done and have an all-homegrown, quality pitching staff when the contracts of Johnson, Affeldt, and Howry expire. In addition, the Giants have also started the rebuild of the positon players and have already found one real MLB starter in Fred Lewis with a very strong likelihood that Pablo Sandoval is even better. In my judgement there is a better then 50% chance that they will also find two more real MLB starters from Travis Ishikawa, Kevin Frandsen, Manny Burriss, Nate Schierholtz, John Bowker, and Eugenio Velez. The position players in the farm system are greatly improved with a good chance that another even better crop will be ready to harvest by 2011.

Finally, I believe there is a good chance the Giants will be right and quality young position players that happen to have contracts their current teams start finding hard to pay for will become available at this year’s trade deadline and in the next offseason.

Bottom line, I see the Giants future as bright and I see them as very much being on the right track with a real plan that is starting to pay off.

Well, let's see…..

First off, you're forgetting the $4.5 million each for Aurilia and Uribe, but OK, you wanna separate the free agents that way, whatever. The money is still on the books, and Sabean's the GM. What matters to me is that the amount of cash –$30 million per– these guys are earning is enough to sign real players, like, say, Mark Texeira, or Manny Ramirez, and these players are not worth the money, no matter how you look at it. They are not worth the improvement because the team is not close enough to contending to be worrying about how good their fifth fucking starter is, or how good their third reliever is, or whether they get 50 runs or 75 runs from their shortstop.

Look, the Giants scored 640 runs last season. A real contender needs to score between 750 and 800 runs. In addition, the Giants supposed strength, their pitching staff, allowed 759 runs, which was ninth best in the NL, almost exactly league-average (758). The top four teams in runs allowed were the four teams that made the playoffs, and they allowed about 100 runs fewer than the Giants did.

So, to put that into perspective, the Giants are something like a 250 runs scored differential away from being a real contender. Which, by the way, makes some of those projections look, quite frankly, ridiculous. HardBall Times thinks the Giants are gonna score 75 more runs and allow 100 fewer? How, exactly? 150 plus runs scored differential jumps are hist

oric, they pretty much happen once every twenty years. Tampa Bay made that kind of jump from 2007 to 2008, and they ran out a team just packed full of young talent, young talent that had nowhere to go but up. The Giants are still one of the oldest teams in the majors, so that'll never happen for us. NEVER.

Anyway, just for the hell of it, Mark Texeira was credited with creating 127 runs last season. The Giants first baseman of record was (according to ESPN's stats page) John Bowker, who was credited with creating 18.5 runs. Let's say for the sake of argument that the Giants got 50 runs created from first base last season. (actual stats include 44 runs scored, 14 home runs and 72 RBI, ranked last, last and second to last among NL first baseman)

So, if you signed Mark Texeira for the same $21 million per that he got from the Yankees, and just ran him out there everyday, the team might be expected to score 700 to 720 runs. A jump that would, in fact, actually put them a player or two away from having a contending-level offense. Replacing Vizquel and Burris (30 combined runs created) with Renteria (57 runs created) isn't going to do anything like that. Replacing Correia and Misch (162 innings, 107 runs allowed) with Johnson (184 innings, 92 runs allowed) isn't going to do anything like that. But, if you first landed a real impact hitter, and then wanted to make those kind of minimal upgrades, you'd be on the right track. So, unless Sandoval is poised to run at a .320/.400/.550 line with about 35 jacks, this team has wasted another $30 million dollars.

And it has done so because Sabean is blind, he is wrong, and most importantly, he has lost his ability to properly assess the team he is in charge of running. He seems to think that this team is so close to contending that he should be fine-tuning his offense, when in fact he should be saving money to acquire a big bat, or more importantly, he should have SAVED the money he threw at these stiffs so he could snatch Manny Ramirez off the table RIGHT FUCKING NOW!! He can't, though, because he already spent the money, he doesn't see the forest for the trees, there is no plan, and we are in big trouble, because this team is nowhere near contention, and our GM doesn't know it.

Have you forgotten that is a team with most of it's decent talent at or near it's peak production? The only player on the team with anything like real upside is Fred Lewis, and really, what's his peak, .290/.380/.490 15 home runs and 100 runs scored? If you got that from Lewis this season, you'd be ecstatic.

We've got $70 million dollars in salary tied up in a bunch of league average, thirty-something mediocrities. No projection is gonna change that. No project can even see that. I do, every day, watching them. There is no upside in Rowand, Winn, Molina, Aurilia, Renteria, Juan Uribe, and Dave Roberts. The only upside we have in our pitching staff is the hope that the free agents we've signed aren't out of baseball before the end of the year. Bobby Howry? You're listing Bobby Howry as a positive? We're paying $4.5 million for a 35-year old who gave up 13 home runs and allowed 44 runs in 70 innings, and you're trying to pawn that off as a sign of progress?

Only in Giants land can a 72-win team with the worst offense in baseball go out and sign two 29-year old players, a 34-year old player, a 35-year old player, and a 45-year old player and proclaim itself a contending team with a planned youth movement.

UPDATE: As if on cue, here's Lee Jenkins making it clear why I get so many people who think the Giants can contend:

… The Sandoval-Molina-Lewis trio has potential, but it's not going to scare Brandon Webb or Jake Peavy just yet. The Giants can sneak up and win this division, but only if general manager Brian Sabean adds a slugger to the mix.

The rest of the article is one perfect scenario after another, Lewis hits more home runs than he ever has in his life, Zito is comeback players of the year, Renteria isn't doing Jenny Craig commercials, Johnson's arm doesn't fall off, Lincecum still dominates, Cain finally wins, etc. When everything has to go perfect for you to still be one big bat from contending, YOU ARE NOT A CONTENDER!

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