Archive for March, 2010

…. Real deal

Here’s what quality, well-run teams do when they realize that they have a once-in-a-generation player:

…. AL MVP Joe Mauer has agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension to stay with the Minnesota Twins.

The deal announced Sunday covers the 2011-2018 seasons and includes a full no-trade clause. It’s the culmination of a months-long negotiation between the Twins and their hometown star.
Mauer has won three AL batting titles and an MVP award. He is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game. Last year he hit .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs to help the Twins win the AL Central division.

That’s how you handle a once-in-a-generation talent. Teams that are run by real general managers, and owned by real men who know what the hell they are doing, understand this.

The Giants, on the other hand, spread rumors and innuendo about the physical limitations of their once-in-a-generation players, making it clear that they don’t trust them, and that they prefer to fuck them around for years, instead of locking them up.

…. Long time coming

And a long time gone….

…. San Francisco Giants (1954)
Years since last championship: 56

Reason for gap: Though the Giants’ long drought is no secret, it’s still somehow shocking to see the team so far down this list given its status as one of the National League’a great franchises. This is a franchise that has 17 modern pennants and five championships, the team of John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell, and Willie Mays. And yet, since they relocated to the West Coast, they haven’t been able to raise another flag. This is especially odd because the Giants have often had the talent to compete, have often had the financial support necessary, and have had the opportunity to win. Some aspects of the long slump are just a matter of bad luck, of not being able to win a key game in a postseason series. As Charles Schulz’s outraged response, a slightly different swing by Willie McCovey and we might not even be talking about more than a half-century without a Giants championship.

Notwithstanding the post-Bonds years, when Brian Sabean’s efforts to rebuild the team have been hamstrung by what must be an organizational edict not to sign any bats….

I figured I’d stop it right there. This is a BP piece, talking about the franchises that have gone the longest without a title. The Giants have the third worst streak in all of baseball, behind only Cleveland (62 years) and the Cubs (102 years). That is simply awful.

It reminds me that this team has no excuse not to make a run at a title, or should I say, had no excuse this past off-season not to make a serious commitment to building the championship caliber offense needed to compliment their championship caliber pitching staff. Fifty-six years. Longer than my whole life.

UPDATE: Joe Posnanski knows one of the reasons the Giants have gone so long without a title:

…. Houston’s new third baseman Pedro Feliz. You know the Astros signed Feliz during the off-season for $4.5 million — he was the big offensive acquisition for a team that finished 14th in the league last year in runs scored. Now, I should start by saying the Feliz is not without value. He is an excellent defensive third baseman. He has never won a Gold Glove, but I think he should have won in 2007 for sure, and he had a strong case the previous two years. He does not seem quite as mobile now — he used to be the best in baseball at charging the bunt; now, not so much — but he’s still awfully good defensively. And he has a great arm. And, by all accounts, he seems a very good guy.

Also, every now and then, his bat will run into a fastball.

OK, those are the positives. Now, the downside: Feliz is a terrible hitter. No, really, dreadful … historically dreadful. The last five years, Feliz has not had an OPS+ of better than 85 in any season. The last four years, his combined OPS+ is 80. His batting Runs Above Replacement? Minus-70.9 for his career. He isn’t just worse offensively than a replacement level player, he’s A LOT worse. His .293 on-base percentage … worst in baseball for the decade (4,000 or more PAs).

Feliz isn’t a bad big league hitter … he’s an atrocious hitter.

Brian Sabean collects empty hitters, RBI men, and hitters like Feliz, like they are made of platinum.

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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