Archive for the 'NL West' Category
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.
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.
Tim Lincecum broke out of his slump yesterday, or so we’re told in this piece of puff pastry:
…. The Giants not only won the game, they also captured their third road series of the season. Beyond that, this might be remembered as the day Tim Lincecum took a giant step forward.
Lincecum allowed three runs in seven innings, ending a string of three starts in which he failed to complete six innings. After walking five in each of his previous four starts, he walked two in this 113-pitch no-decision.
“I think he’s pretty close to being back to the Timmy we all know,” catcher Bengie Molina said.
Yeah, the Timmy we all know. Like, the guy who was 5-0 with 80 strikeouts and 10 walks before being told he needed to focus more of his attention on holding the runner on first? That guy? I don’t know, maybe that guy should have been left alone. Just maybe. Because in Lincecum’s five starts since Bochy decided that his pitching staff was allowing too many stolen bases, he’s looked completely lost, as lost as he has since he’s been here. So, maybe, just maybe, Bochy and Righetti should have just left well enough alone.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s a question; why are so many of the Giants beat writers making excuses for the Giants? How is explaining to me that all free agent signings come with some risk part of Henry Schulman’s job?
…. The Giants’ position is this: Every signing carries some risk, whether the player had surgery or not, that is weighed against the potential reward.
If you want to look outside this organization, consider the Dodgers. They took a risk when they signed Jason Schmidt to a three-year, $47 million contract knowing he had shoulder issues but also knowing how he could carry a staff if he was right. For that money they got 10 starts and three wins. The A’s signed Ben Sheets for $10 million last winter after he missed a year with elbow surgery. Also, it was widely believed he has back issues. They took a risk. As of May 13, the reward remains uncertain.
The best a team can do is ask all the right questions and do all they can to determine how healthy the player is at the time he is signed. Did the Giants ask all the right questions with DeRosa? It’s hard to know for sure, because I wasn’t in the room.
Thanks, Henry. I was wondering if life’s risks apply to the Giants just like they apply to me.
But, if you really want to be helpful, why don’t you explain why the Giants shouldn’t get any heat from their fans? It’s not just the DeRosa signing. Freddie Sanchez is injured, too. In point of fact, because the team, because Sabean seems to think that the best players in baseball are old, the Giants have been dealing with this kind of wasted resources for a decade now. A decade of old, past their prime free agents and trade acquisitions. A. DECADE.
Who cares how much research the team’s medical staff did. GET YOUNG PLAYERS FOR A FUCKING CHANGE!
Old players get injured. Old players get injured. How can the Giants fail to recognize this? How can you, Henry Schulman, fail to recognize that this has happened again and again and again. How can you think we need you to cover Sabean’s ass again? Shit goes sideways? Really?
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SIGN OLD PLAYERS ALL THE TIME. THEY SPEND TIME ON THE DL.
You want to have some fucking credibility? Go after the owners. Go after the GM. Because they are failing.
Another sweep at the hands of the best record in the NL Padres. Another one-run loss, another offensive display of offense. Another bunch of bullshit excuses and explanations telling us how this shit just happens, it’s not our fault, everybody is trying real hard:
…. As for DeRosa’s signing, team sources said the Giants did an extraordinary amount of research. They consulted the doctor who performed DeRosa’s surgery and the medical staffs of his two 2009 teams, the Indians and Cardinals. When DeRosa and the Giants came to terms, he flew to San Francisco for a physical that included an examination by team hand specialist Dr. Gordon Brody, and X-rays and an MRI on the wrist.
At the time, the Giants believed the surgery worked.
“Anyone can get hurt in any game,” Groeschner said. “All the guys have a history of things. We’re aware of it. It’s something we research thoroughly. This is something than can happen when a guy plays baseball.”
The team’s position is that all signings carry risks that are weighed against a player’s potential benefit. The Giants understood the risk when they signed DeRosa. Right now, they are losing their bet. But in their view, the game is still on.
Yeah, right. Edgar Renteria, Freddie Sanchez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia (version 2.0), Randy Johnson, Ryan Klesko, Ray Durham (version 2.0) Mark DeRosa, I mean, come on. How about Dave Roberts or Mark Sweeney? Two guys that had never been everyday players signed to be everyday players for the Giants. How about Steve Finley? We only signed him about five years after he was washed up. Michael Tucker, anyone? How about signing Jeffrey Hammonds at 33 years old?
Here’s the line that Neifi Perez posted in 2002, .236/.260/.303 .563 OPS. Since Triple-A stats don’t mean anything, I’m guessing that major league stats must not make too much of an impression on Captain Queeg either, because the hitter that posted that line got a two-year deal for $14 million dollars, and a declaration from our estimable GM that Neifi was already penciled in as our starting shortstop and top of the lineup table setter.
The simple fact is that the Giants, that Brian Sabean decided that these guys, these washed up, has beens and never was’s had to be Giants, and he ignored, in fact, he flaunted his ignorance and his stubborn unwillingness to acknowledge what was known in baseball at the time; that old players tend to decline, that old, injured players tend to get injured, and that signing old and injured free agents to fill your entire roster has to be the worst possible way to do so. This is all on him. Brian Sabean built this team, has been building this team for going on fifteen years.
The number of acquisitions, trades and free agent signings that have worked out for the Giants can be counted on your fingers. The number that have been failures, not just so-so, but flat out colossal busts, is staggering. We’re talking millions, millions of dollars thrown on the ground as if there was no way to know what to expect with these players, as if we were still in the 1920′s, when all you had to go on was a game or two when your scout saw a player hit two home runs.
“…. team sources said the Giants did an extraordinary amount of research”
Yeah, well, that’s only part of your job. And, by the way, who’s getting fired for all the terrific “research” the baseball team has done with the last five or ten free agents we’ve signed?
Nobody. In the world of the Giants, it’s always bad luck. It’s always somebody else’s fault. There’s always a team that is chasing the superstar Brian Sabean wants, so he has to overbid, overpay to get them. There’s always a reason. And in the words of a fairly famous mentor of mine, “You either have reasons, or you have success. You can’t have both.”
Every time you read a Sabean quote, or hear him talk on the TV, he’s explaining how these things happen all the time, or he’s telling you how he doesn’t need statistics, or some other bullshit how he just has to be patient, that the hitters will come around. Here’s an idea: Go get some real baseball players, players who are young and good, and we won’t have to wait for them to finally get the rust out of their ancient bones, and we can stop hearing how unfortunate it is that another 35-year old is hurt again.
UPDATE: Just to be clear, I’m not blasting these players. These players are who they are. They are probably good guys. They work hard. They have integrity. It’s not their fault they are being asked to be the second, third and fourth best hitters on a team, instead of the sixth, seventh and eighth best. It’s Brian Sabean’s fault.
Buster Posey has now played essentially one full season in the minors. Here’s what he’s done so far:
158 Games 585 AB 120 Runs 194 H 46 2B 2 3B 24 HR 110 RBI 89 BB 92 SO .332/.425/.544 .968 OPS
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, those numbers are inflated, or better, will be depressed some 15%, maybe even 20%. That guy’s not ready? Really?
Bengie Molina, last season:
132 Games 491 AB 52 Runs 130 AB 25 2B 1 3B 20 HR 80 RBI 13 BB 68 SO .265/.285/.442 .727 OPS
Are you kidding somebody? How can anyone who knows anything about the game of baseball think that Posey couldn’t match that production? That Posey couldn’t have saved the team the $5 million we gave to the out-maker, and used it to land a real hitter?
Here’s the BP boys talking about Posey and Sabean:
…. Giants general manager Brian Sabean insists that Posey has work to do in the minors, but at least he doesn’t pretend any of that work involves his hitting. With last night’s outburst, he’s batting .355/.448/.579 for the Grizzlies. Instead, Sabean insists that Posey’s receiving skills still need work, despite the fact he’s played errorless ball so far, been charged with just one passed ball and nailed half of all stolen base attempts. Just admit you are managing his service time clock, Mr. Sabean, we’ll understand–kind of.
Well, first off, he is pretending that his offense is an issue, absolutely and constantly. And, even if he is only managing his service time clock, that is still pretty much inexcusable, given how poorly Sabean’s efforts to improve the offense went this off-season, highlighted –lowlighted?– by the fact that he brought back Molina to bat cleanup again.
This is a joke, that’s what that is. A joke.