Archive for the 'Brian Sabean' Category
As tough as it is watching Lincecum struggle, it is easily the most surprising and astounding turnaround to watch Barry –the Hit Man– Zito turn around his career. Kudos to Zito for handling his difficult time with class and dignity, never sniping, complaining, or really doing anything to convey his dissatisfaction with anything that was happening to him during his first five seasons with the team.
Really, that is perhaps the most inspiring part of his story. Between the horrible pitching, the constant pressure on him because of his huge contract, the booing, the demotion for the 2010 playoff run…. Zito has been a model player in the clubhouse, in the press, and apparently, everywhere else. The result is a player whose return to success is easy to root for, and is really one of the best redemption story imaginable. A player who is celebrated for his ability to turn around what had once seemed to be the end of his career and not only play well, but to even contribute to a championship of his own.
…. “It gets back to competing,” (Bruce) Bochy said. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in this game: pitching, swinging the bat, playing defense – it’s all about competing. He’s as tough a competitor as I’ve been around.”
His success so far this season has been a breath of fresh air, and reminds us that comebacks can happen, that people can overcome adversity, and they can do it with grace and class.
Good for him, and good for the Giants.
UPDATE: Jonah Keri goes deeper on Lincecum in Grantland today:
…. Baseball Prospectus writer and pitching mechanics expert Doug Thorburn addressed this in a pair of articles last year: Lincecum’s delivery depends on perfect mechanics, and that trademark gigantic stride. As he wrote in an e-mail:
…. He was able to generate ridiculous momentum early in his career (a huge advantage), and he found a timing pattern with it that he could repeat, which was critical for commanding the fastball and keeping that split-change buried under the zone. That stride and momentum required excellent lower body strength, and when his delivery fell out of whack back in 2010, the solution was rooted in conditioning — he had lost his timing because he could not consistently generate his usual stride pattern. Last season, his momentum was noticeably down when compared to his peak, and he struggled to find his timing for most of the season — I thought it was telling that he did so well out of the ’pen, where he could go all out rather than conserve stamina.
Thorburn expressed some mild optimism that Lincecum could bounce back a bit if he can fix his mechanics, which could in turn allow him to better control where his pitches are going. But the beast of four years ago, the guy with the fastball that hit the high-90s and the split-change that was one of the most unhittable pitches in the game? That guy’s almost certainly not coming back. Research on pitcher aging curves by Mike Fast and Jeremy Greenhouse suggests that a pitcher this young shouldn’t be suffering from this steep of a performance decline, and that it can be very tough to improve once that decline starts.
The worst thing is that I agree with him. If the loss in velocity, now around 5+ MPH since his rookie season, is unfixable, he’s either heading to a closer role, or he’s done. Either way, I think it’s safe to say Sabean looks like Nostradamus by holding the line on Lincecum’s salary demands over these last couple of years. At any time over these last three years or so, Lincecum could have been signed to a five or six-year deal that right now would be terrifying to the team. Instead, they failed/succeeded in ensuring that whatever deal they were discussing, it didn’t work for someone, and the Giants are actually looking at being able to walk away from Lincecum should this season be another train wreck.
UPDATE, Part II: Well, today did nothing to dispel my concerns. Lincecum looked completely lost, missing his spots by a foot or more. The hitters bailed him out again, but, holy Christ, he looks awful.
Sorry for the lack of posts.
As the SF Giants head into their defense of last year’s World Championship, I’ve been paying attention on the periphery, as work and family have kept me on my toes. I’m happy to see Brandon Belt looking like he’s ready for a breakout season. He could help alleviate some of the drop off that’s expected from players like Scutaro, who can’t possibly repeat last seasons scorching .360 batting average as a Giant.
But reading today’s little piece about Pablo Sandoval “accepting” his body weight for the next couple of seasons makes me more than a little worried:
…. Pablo Sandoval came to San Francisco Giants camp fat this year, like he does pretty much every year, because there are two truths about Pablo Sandoval, and one of them is he does not do skinny.
The other is that he’s a remarkable hitter, preternaturally gifted like only a handful of players, maybe less. At 5-foot-11 (give or take – no, take – two inches) and 262 pounds (give or take – no, give – 20 pounds), Sandoval hits everything everywhere anytime anywhere. If anyone in baseball today is going to stroke a single off a pitch that bounces before it reaches home plate, it’s him.
…. “I’ve got this year and next year to change all the things,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to take me a while, but I can do it. I know I can do it. You need to learn. You need to grow up. You need to step up and know the difference between what you can do and what you can’t.”
Yeah, well, I’m a bit skeptical. As the article points out, Pablo’s missed at least 45 games each of the last two seasons, and whether you think the weight is the reason or not, allowing yourself to just walk around 40 pounds overweight all the time…. as a professional athlete, that’s just something Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy must be concerned about.
You’re talking about defending a championship, every team in the league is coming after you. After what happened in 2011, everyone associated with the Giants has to be thinking about heading into the season with a different attitude. Roll with it might work when you’re trying to win a title, it doesn’t work when you’re defending it.
Hat Tip to Baseball Musings
Tim Lincecum finally succumbed to the pressure of having to shut out your opponent every time out, falling to the hapless Chicago Cubs 7-0 tonight. Wow. After stifling one more team inning after inning, it finally dawned on Timmy what we’ve been talking about for most of the last two months…. That this Giants offense has fallen to the depths of Hades. Watching journeyman Randy Wells throw a two-hit shutout against him, Lincecum surely had to wonder about the no-hitters he would have on his resume if only he got to pitch against the orange and black.
Carlos Beltran has to rank as one of the biggest trade deadline busts of all time, with his fucking completely worthless 1 home run and 4 runs batted in in 70 at bats. Way to go, striking out your first two times up with a man on base. Awesome.
Pray to God Zack Wheeler doesn’t turn out to be a star, because it already feels like another Double Play moment.
It appears that Hensley Meulens’ job isn’t on the line, at least publicly, but it should be. The Giants are scoring 2.9 runs a game since the All Star break. They have the fewest runs scored, fewest hits, fewest home runs, fewest walks, fewest total bases, the worst batting average (.229), the worst on-base percentage (.282), the worst slugging percentage (.343), and the worst OPS (.625). Taking into account that they have had, by far, the fewest baserunners, their 5th worst GIDP total of 33 is staggering.
They are the only team in baseball with an OBP below .300. Considering that the league average is around .330, the Giants are a full 15% worse than average, and 20% worst than the Rockies, who are leading the league with a .348. Consider this: a .333 OBP means that a team creates exactly one baserunner per inning, that is, a team spends three outs for each baserunner. The Giants are using four outs to create each baserunner. That’s why it feels like they make huge numbers of outs with men on base. They actually do. Whenever the Giants get a couple of guys on base, they’ve already defied the odds. Trying to drive them in feels so difficult, because it is. Two men on, that’s already three innings worth of hits. For them to be able to bunch four hits in an inning runs counter to the odds they have established.
The odds are that the Giants cannot get two men on base in one inning. Hence the solo home run streak. Hence the way torture has turned into an ordeal.
There is only one hitter on the team that’s been with Meulens all season who is hitting, Pablo Sandoval. And he’s been away from Meulens for weeks at a time.
Every hitter on the team who has been with Meulens from day one is performing below their established abilities.
Time for a change. Meulens shouldn’t have lasted this long, but there is no way he’s back again next year.
UPDATE: Unbearable loss today. Bochy failed. Cain shouldn’t have pitched the eighth, and even after he made a lousy 2-2 pitch with a man on second and two outs, and then gave up the lead, the team had so many chances to win, it makes my teeth hurt.
Fuck me, what an absolutely horrible offensive team this is.
Not to be a dick, but a Wall of Fame that honors Willie McCovey and Marvin Benard is pretty much just a wall of guys that played here. Nothing against Marvin Benard, but he was a pretty mediocre ballplayer. Jason Schmidt was 79-37 for the Giants. Benard was one and a half years worth of major leaguer.
Somebody’s gotta draw a line somewhere. Benard had one really good season, one pretty good season, and huge number of fly balls caught at the track.
I mean, if we’re writing about having a ceremony honoring Barry Bonds by putting his plaque on the same wall that we’ve just put one for Marvin Benard…. well, if, I’m Bonds, I just might be staying home for that one.
Really, we need to be talking about a statue for Bonds. If you can’t see that, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Just like Yankee Stadium was the house that Ruth built, PacBell is the house that Bonds built. You don’t give Bonds a plaque on a wall. You give him a statue, just like his Godfather.
It is possible that the Giants simply aren’t good enough.
That their Pythagarean record was not going to be different then their actual.
That they would not be the team who did something most teams did not, win more then their runs scored/runs allowed differential said they should.
After today, anything is possible.
So much for the Giants being in the Phillies heads. The Phillies are delivering their own statement, as the Giants slump at the worst possible time. Continued offensive stagnation, Carlos Beltran watching strike three instead of swinging at a clearly borderline pitch, Jonathan Sanchez continuing the latest run of pretty shitty pitching by pretty much everyone on the staff…..
All in all, the deadline deals appear to have done more harm than good. It seems that the deals have caused everyone to press even harder, and with guys like Ross, Torres and Huff, hitting with men on base has become a legitimate nightmare.
They need to turn things around right now, because the season could spiral out of control any minute now. Somebody has to start hitting the baseball out of the park. Simple as that.
Oh, and that umpire was squeezing Sanchez tonight, just as much as the umpire last night gave Lee about ten different calls against us.
…. Fresh off a series of deadline deals meant to bolster the offense, the Giants pitching staff has completely spit the bit, en route to s season-high 5 game losing streak that has the Diamondbacks tied for first in the NL West. What a truly pathetic response to the efforts of Brian Sabean; who put his time, effort, and the future prospects of the team on the line. And, you bet the pitching has struggled, but Beltran has been a joke so far, with more strikeouts than hits. Cabrera seriously looks as old as Tejada, and Keppinger has been wasting his time hitting double after double only to sit on second base watching the endless flail-fest.
The league is ready for the Giants pitchers approach. Adjust, Rags.
Oh, and by the way, when does Meulens get some heat? Every hitter on the team is failing right now. Every. One.
All. Season. Long.
Brian Sabean rolled the dice yesterday, pulling off the biggest trade deadline move of the season, when he dealt the seemingly untradeable Zach Wheeler for Carlos Beltran. Beltran is having a terrific season, and instantly becomes the most productive hitter on the team.
I like the deal, although I would’ve preferred Jose Reyes (younger, faster, etc.). Beltran gives the Giants something they’ve been missing all year, a proven, consistent power threat.
Kudos to Sabean for realizing that this team has a legitimate shot at repeating, and making a bold move.
…. The 34-year-old, switch-hitting Beltran, who will be a free agent after the season, has returned from two years scuttled by knee surgery to hit .289/.391/.513 with 15 home runs, 66 RBIs, and a league-leading 30 doubles despite playing his home games in pitcher-friendly Citi Field. His resulting .325 True Average (a total-offense rate statistic scaled similarly to batting average and adjusted for park and league scoring environments) ranks as the second-best of his outstanding career and 11th among major leaguers with 300 or more plate appearances this season.
UPDATE: Well, it’s apparent that Beltran is pressing. That’s something like 5 strikeouts in 9 at-bats since he showed up. Somebody needs to tell him to take it easy. Maybe somebody should “get heeeem.”
I’m sitting here watching the Giants play the Mets, and I’m watching one over-matched hitter after another. It’s great, really.
No, seriously. I can’t help wondering how it is that Brian Sabean cannot find a replacement for Chris Stewart, who just worked a walk, after coming to the plate hitting .172. I’m not saying you give up on the guy. I’m just asking, how is it possible that there is not one single catcher, in any organization, that Brian Sabean couldn’t get for another Triple AAA prospect? There’s not one player in the whole entirety of Triple AAA who could do better than Stewart?
It’s not good for his career –his development as a player– to be up here hitting .172. He ain’t getting any better reaching base 17% of the time. And, not for nothing, the Giants simply cannot afford to have a catcher and a shortstop who can’t hit as well as their pitchers. Not when you’re leadoff guy is batting .230, your first baseman is hitting .240, our second baseman has scored 15 runs in 90 games, and Jose Bautista had more home runs then every outfielder on our team combined.
UPDATE: Although, damn, this team can pitch.
UPDATE: Not Scheirholz. For Chrissakes, the guy is finally looking like an everyday player. I’m talking about replacing a guy who is batting .172. How difficult can that be?