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Archive for the 'Brian Sabean' Category


OOOOOO—-Ribe!!!

He’s gone, bolting for the Dodgers.

…. After losing postseason hero Juan Uribe to the Dodgers despite offering him a three-year, $20 million deal, the Giants have agreed to a one-year contract with Miguel Tejada with plans to make him their everyday shortstop, sources confirmed.

Tejada told ESPN Deportes the value is $6.5 million. He still needs to pass a physical.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am happy Sabean didn’t sign Uribe to a three year deal worth $20 million, because that is simply too much and too long. And Tejada is essentially the same player, perhaps a little less likely to hit a home run, but also a bit less likely to strike out.

On the other hand, Uribe certainly had a flair for the dramatic, and was a fan favorite. I liked him, even though he would swing for the fences virtually every time. I’ll wish him well, as long as he’s doing it against every team but the Giants.



…. Nice touch

Tom Verducci chose the 2010 San Francisco Giants as his Sportsmen of the Year:

…. In three homes over 52 seasons did San Francisco follow this serial in wait for a championship. The Giants lacked the historical and literary embellishments of Brooklyn, Boston and Chicago, and so their suffering went underplayed, though much suffering did they know. Five times in those years they played a Game 6 or Game 7 with a chance to win the series, and lost every one of those games, getting shut out in three of those five potential clinchers.

The agony began with a 1-0 loss to the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, which ended when Willie McCovey lined out to second base with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. In the 1987 NLCS, up three games to two, they were shut out in back-to-back losses to St. Louis. And in the 2002 World Series, up 5-0 on the Angels with one out and nobody on in the seventh, they managed the biggest collapse in a potential clincher in series history, followed by a 4-1 whimper of an elimination in Game 7.

This is all you need to know about the cruelty of Giants culture: Charlie Brown is a Giants fan. Two months after McCovey’s lineout, Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, from Santa Rosa, drew a strip in which Charlie and Linus sit brooding silently for three panels, only to have Charlie wail in the fourth, “Why couldn’t McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?”

…. Not only did the Giants give their fans a winner, they also gave them an unforgettable one, one with a Playbill’s worth of characters who exuded joy and thankfulness about what was happening. They are now characters, and not unlike the misfits and urchins Dickens himself gave us, who are established eternally.

Wilson and that frightfully awful beard. Aubrey Huff and the red thong. Lincecum and the hair. Cody Ross, the greatest in-season claim in the history of waivers. The prenaturally cool Buster Posey. The unflappable Matt Cain. The very roundness of Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe. The redemption of prodigal Bay Area son Pat Burrell. Watching these Giants, you half expected Jean Valjean to pop up in the on-deck circle at any moment.

Well done, Tom.



…. Roost

The chickens are coming home to roost. I actually raise chickens –well, my wife does– and I have no idea what the connection is between this old saying and the concept of something you were worried about coming to pass.

Anywho….

Here’s what I wrote on August 15th:

…. So, baseball fans, San Francisco Giants fans; we are stuck. If we win, this inept front office will be rewarded with new contract extensions, and we will almost certainly see more of the same. We’ll see Sabean give soon to be 34-years old Pat Burrell a four-year, $25 million dollar contract for three months of hot baseball. Career journeyman Andres Torres will celebrate his 33rd birthday with a three year deal worth something like $15 million. And Aubrey Huff will get a Christmas/34th birthday combo deal of something like 4 years, $30 million.

…. Of course, the team could collapse. They could go on a ten game losing streak at any time. Burrell could pull a hamstring. He is, you know, old. So is pretty much every player on the field, save Posey and Sandoval.

Which would you rather see? Giants winning, and staying with Sabean for another three or four years? Or the kind of total collapse that gets heads rolling?

Well, they didn’t just win, they won it all, which certainly means Sabean and his “winning ways” and his “veterans” will be around for at least another four years, I’d guess. And now, Aubrey Huff will be here for what will almost certainly be the rest of his career:

…. Huff agreed to a two-year, $22 million contract with the World Series champions Tuesday. The Giants matched a similarly structured offer from another club, knowing Huff wanted to stay. Huff receives $10 million in each of the next two seasons, and the Giants have a $10 million club option for 2013 with a $2 million buyout.

“He was obviously underpaid for what he did for us last year,” General Manager Brian Sabean said during a conference call. “He certainly did his part and received a just reward for it.”

If he stays for that third year, it’d be a three-year deal, but he would still reach the $30 million I predicted. It seems likely, however, that Sabean has reached a sense of understanding that he has been out of his mind with some of these contracts the last four or five years, as Pat Burrell and Cody Ross don’t seem to be in line for the kind of contracts I was worried about. At least not yet.



…. Going down with the ship

It would be refreshing to hear some candor from our estimable GM, but, obviously, that’s never gonna happen. You’re never gonna hear Brian Sabean admit making a mistake, or admit failure. He’s never gonna come out and say that another GM got the best of him, or that he handled a player or a situation incorrectly. He’s gonna puff out his chest, and, “Damn the torpedoes,” everyone around him until they either agree with him or shut up.

This is the trademark of an insecure, immature man.

So when Sabean trades Molina for nothing, once again demonstrating that Sabean was wrong in his evaluation of a players worth, of course we’re gonna hear his bullshit explanation of how the team needed to make this move, how the player just acquired had a lot of upside, blah blah blah.

Boring.

Sabean is boring, his team is boring, his bullshit excuses are boring…. It just goes on and on.

Look at the list of trades Sabean has made in the last several years, put together by +mia:

May 31, 2007 — Traded Armando Benitez and cash to Florida Marlins in exchange for Randy Messenger.

July 31, 2007 — Traded Matt Morris to Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Rajai Davis

August 9, 2007 — Traded Mark Sweeney to Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Travis Denker

July 20, 2008 — Traded Ray Durham to Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Darren Ford and Steve Hammond.

March 27, 2009 — Traded Jack Taschner to Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Ronny Paulino.

March 27, 2009 — Traded Ronny Paulino to Florida Marlins in exchange for Hector Correa.

July 27, 2009 — Traded Scott Barnes to Cleveland Indians in exchange for Ryan Garko.

July 29, 2009 — Traded Tim Alderson to Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Freddy Sanchez.

Add to that list the endless stream of players that go straight from the Giants to the after-life, the Edgardo Alfonzo’s, the Dave Roberts’s…. And then add to the list the young players Sabean waived or traded for essentially nothing who are now performing admirably…..

At what point does this Giants team ownership group realize what the hell is going on here? At what point does performance begin to matter? When will Sabean be held accountable for the team that he has built? This is a team with one of the highest payrolls in all of baseball, how the hell can this team be so poorly constructed?

I know I was wrong when I said they were in last place the other day, but let me ask you this:

If –at the beginning of the season– I would have told you that the reason this team wasn’t going to be in last place heading into the Fourth of July weekend was gonna be Andres Torres, how many ribs would you have cracked laughing at me?

This team is a laughingstock.



…. Child’s play

Buster Posey comes up and delivers a three-RBI night, and all the Chronicle writers want to make sure we all know that he is not here to steal Molina’s job, that he’s not here to stay, that he is only spelling some injured guys, no one has anything to worry about…..

It’s simply ridiculous, the way these sportswriters seem to be falling all over themselves to parrot the company line:

…. Buster Posey’s long-anticipated promotion might mean a lot of things but, for now, it does not mean the end of Bengie Molina as the starting catcher.

Molina met with manager Bruce Bochy on Saturday. Though most of the talk involved Molina’s batting stance, Bochy also reassured Molina about his job status.

“Bengie knows he’s going to be the guy catching back there,” Bochy said. “This doesn’t affect Bengie in any way.”

Bochy said Posey “primarily” is here to play first base. Molina, though slumping, will catch most games, including today’s, and Eli Whiteside will continue to catch Jonathan Sanchez.

“How much time (Posey) will get behind the plate, I can’t say,” Bochy said.

Molina said he was fine with Posey’s presence and told Bochy, “I can’t say anything. I don’t feel I’ve done anything this year. I haven’t earned anything. Whatever you want to do, go ahead. I tried to make the point that this is not Bengie Molina’s team. It’s their team. Whatever they’re going to do, do it. I’m not upset.”

Posey has maintained since he was drafted that he loves to catch and said Saturday that he hopes his everyday role at first base is a “short-term thing, but you never know.”

First of all, if he’s the kind of hitter everyone hopes he is, he should be moved to first anyway. Catching just destroys players, and, for most teams, a defensive catcher who hits poorly isn’t a liability. Molina isn’t a poor hitter, he’s just a poor cleanup hitter. Posey’s future should have already been decided, but that would involve the major league team having a clue, which, of course, the Giants do not.

Posey should make the choice himself. Get a first basemen’s mitt, and make the transition. His career will be longer, his offensive production higher, and his overall value as well.

As for the bumbling front office, well, does anyone think Captain Queeg can handle this well? He hasn’t so far…



…. Unsurprising

But still sad:

…. The Giants are negotiating with free-agent left fielder Pat Burrell on a Triple-A contract, I’ve been told, a no-risk deal that could bring the Bay Area product home.

Geoffrey brought this idea up on the 15th, and most everyone here cringed, so of course, the Giants are going to bring him home. More absurdity, another player puts on a Giants uniform minutes before riding off into the sunset.



…. Offensive

The Giants scored 4 runs in one inning to beat Livan Hernandez, and end their 5-game losing streak. After a 24-inning scoreless streak, the team put together a two-out rally, sparked by Todd Wellemeyer’s bat. The rally gave everyone a reprieve from the pressure of a May that was threatening the team’s aspirations of being a playoff club.

However, the win came with some bad news, as Renteria came up lame, and once again, the Giants will be forced to play shorthanded:

…. In the seventh inning, as the Giants tried to add insurance, Renteria sacrificed a pair of runners and felt his right hamstring grab halfway up the line. Two games after he came off the disabled list with a groin injury, the shortstop is headed back to an MRI machine today. He will not play tonight, and Bochy was bummed.



…. Keep it continuous

Another 1-0 loss drops the Giants into third place in the NL West, as Bochy promises a pointless shakeup, Mark DeRosa admits he probably won’t be ready next week, and Freddie Sanchez fails to ignite the offense.

The team has now scored 175 runs in 42 games now (third from the bottom), their average down to 4.16 per game, (a mere .07 runs better than last year). A 9-11 record in May, averaging 3.7 runs per game, puts them well on their way to Diamondback country. With just 33 home runs, fourth from the bottom, 126 walks, (second only to the woeful Pirates), a league-best 28 sacrifices/wasted outs; we are talking about an all-time disgrace.

All predictable, preventable, of course; and, for all intents and purposes, unfixable.

UPDATE: David Pinto brings up Cain’s hard luck:

…. Matt Cain allowed one unearned run against the Oakland Athletics and lost 1-0. This is the sixth time this season Matt allowed two runs or less in a game, and the Giants are 2-4 in those contests.

David doesn’t bring up Jonathan Sanchez’s consecutive 1-0 losses, especially his once in-a-generation, one-hitter loss.



…. Knowledge is power

Bill James is still the best. He has a new article up on his site (It’s a pay site, $3 bucks a month, and you should be going there), it’s not about baseball, per se, it’s sort of about himself, and his relationship to statistics. In fact, it’s the text of a speech he made to a group of statisticians. In the piece, he writes something that should be mailed to Brian Sabean:

…. Baseball teams play 162 games a year. I just realized last week that, sometime in the last 20 years, baseball experts have fallen into the habit of saying that a baseball team has about 50 games a year that you are just going to lose no matter what, 50 games a year that you’re going to win, and it is the other 62 games that determine what kind of season you’re going to have. This is not ancient knowledge; this is a fairly new one. A more inane analysis would be difficult to conceive of. First of all, baseball teams do not play one hundred non-competitive games a year, or anything remotely like that. Baseball teams play about forty non-competitive games in a season, more or less; I would be surprised if any team in the history of major league baseball ever had a hundred games in the season that were just wins or losses, and which the losing team never had a chance to win after the fourth or fifth inning. The outcome of most baseball games could be reversed by changing a very small number of events within the game.

But setting that aside, this relatively new cliché assumes that it is the outcome of the most competitive games that decides whether a team has a great season or a poor season. In reality, the opposite is true. The more competitive a game is, the more likely it is that the game will be won by the weaker team. If the Royals play the Yankees and the score of the game is 12 to 1, it is extremely likely that the Yankees won. If the score is 4 to 3, it’s pretty much a tossup. The reasons why this is true will be intuitively obvious to those of you who work with statistics for a living. It is the non-competitive games—the blowouts—that play the largest role in determining what kind of season a team has. Misinformation about baseball continues to propagate, and will continue to propagate forever more, without regard to the fact that there is now a community of researchers that studies these things.

In reference to the Giants, this Giants team, the pitching-dependent, offensively challenged team we’ve been ranting and raving about for the last two and a half seasons, these paragraphs explain what we’ve been experiencing. It’s like a light in a dark closet.

Of course we’re frustrated, being in nail-biters game after game, week after week. It’s because we can sense that something’s not right. There’s something about a team that wins by being perfect that fails to inspire confidence. Of course it doesn’t. As James explains so clearly, it shouldn’t. Winning teams dominate. Winning teams consistently win big. Winning teams are not built upon winning one-run games. Winning teams don’t win because they always win the close ones. They win because they blow teams out. Close games are far too often decided by one single mistake, on missed play, one error, one walk, just like Monday’s game. Teams dancing along that fine line are simply far too dependent upon luck to win enough of the time to be a real contender. And we can see that, even though the Giants are winning right now, they are not really a contending team.

“The more competitive a game is, the more likely it is that the game will be won by the weaker team.”

Great teams blow you out, and it’s the games in which they don’t that you have a chance against them. The Giants are not a great team. They have great pitching. They are one dimensional. They rely on making your offense look as bad on this day as theirs is regularly. That is no way to win a championship. It simply isn’t. You cannot bet on being able to hold down a great offensive team game after game after game. Eventually, a great offense is gonna get you, and if that great offense has some pitching, well, then you’re in real trouble.

Look at these eight games with the Padres. These two teams are exactly the same. So you get eight games of one-run baseball, each team doing everything it can to prevent the other team from running away with the game, tons of bunts, lots of runners left in scoring position. Eight games of let’s see who blinks first. Each team is playing the same way, so, on the surface, the games seem exciting.

But, in fact, they are anything but. They are frustrating. They are exasperating. They are, to me, anyway. Going back and forth between the Giants/Padres and the Yankees/Red Sox games is illuminating. Those Yankee games are exciting. Those games feature game-winning home runs, (something so rare as to have become pretty much a once a year event in San Francisco) and when a pitcher strikes out a guy with men on base, it’s an actual accomplishment. When you watch the Giants bat with men on, the exact opposite is true, it’s an accomplishment when the Giants get the runner home.

Don’t be fooled. Look closely at what’s happening with this team. They are gonna tease you all season long, but, in the end, it will take a miracle for them to make the playoffs. They simply do not have enough hitting to get it done, no matter how many shutouts they throw.

UPDATE: Really!?! 32 total bases, 6 home runs, and 8 walks allowed? Wow.



…. Futility, continued

Seven games, seven losses. All of them due to the offense, which could hardly look more anemic, more futile, more lost.

Pablo Sandoval is on a 10 for 62 skid. Matt Downs –5 for his last 30– has begun to show his true colors, (minor league Brown). Matt Cain failed to earn a win in a game in which he gave up two runs or less for the 37th time in his young career.

Side note: If you are his agent, how can you not get him out of San Francisco? How can you, in good faith, allow him to re-sign with a team that hits like this one?

Freddie Sanchez insists he needs more confidence-building at-bats against Triple-A bullshit pitching….

DeRosa’s gone on the DL, essentially ending his season.

Game after game, I run my calculator through the Giants runs scored and total games played, and I watch the numbers go lower and lower. After the first eleven games (April 17th), the Giants were scoring 6.18 runs per game. At the end of April, that number had already fallen to 4.59. As of today, the number is 4.29. Last season, the team averaged 4.05 runs per game. Is there any doubt, any doubt whatsoever, that we are looking at an offense that has not improved one single bit?

All of the stats are trending towards the bottom of the league. The team OBP, once aas high as .373, now stands at .331. The OPS (.699 last season) is at .731, almost exactly league average.

For the fifteen games in May, the Giants are scoring 3.68 runs per game, and running out a team-wide line of .235/.309/.367 .676 OPS. In other words, since the start of May, the Giants hitters of this year haven’t even been as good as the Giants hitters of last.

I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again….

This team is wasting a championship pitching staff, thanks to the massive front office failure.



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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
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