Archive for the 'NL West' Category
A couple of people took the time to write well enough for the front page, so here we go:
Magowan had a unique set of skills that allowed him to navigate the impossible San Francisco political arena and actually accomplish something that benefitted the city, the franchise, the fans, MLB, and the corporations he works for and represents. Namely, the Park. Very few people had the money, the savvy, the contacts, the patience, the persistence and the vision to make that a reality. “Politics is the art of the possible.” Peter Magowan made something happen that most folks thought was impossible.
Giants fans quibbling about the Park are off-base, it is a hell of a thing and all of baseball has enjoyed it. You could make an argument that signing Barry Bonds was the greatest free agent move in the history of the game. That was quintessential Magowan: one player who was truly a difference-maker with long ties to the team and Bay Area, brought in at the moment of acquisition, in the midst of uncertainty. It was politics, PR, marketing, a great investment, and a sound baseball move all in one. Not many men claim a track record like that.
This site has documented Magowan’s fall from grace, and he’s earned the opprobrium, to be sure. But if we hit the rewind button and replay Game 6 –I know we have all done it far too many times– and alter history and WIN the fecking World Series in 2002, then Magowan completes his trifecta. Park, Player, Ring. (I’m not including “saving the team” in the list, and, at the time, that was enough for me to cut him a lifetime’s slack.)
But, while the failure to win the championship when it was in our hands will haunt the team the way McCovey’s line drive in 1962 did for forty years, Magowan cannot be blamed for that; bad luck, bad decisions, bad play, and a determined opponent get the credit. The wind came out of the sails after that Dark October, and a scrambling, desperate, penurious and out-of-touch mind-set took over the Front Office, and the Barry-less 2008 Giants is the result of that collapse of leadership.
Great accomplishments and great failures; quite a legacy. “He who never fell, never climbed.” If Peter Magowan takes his bow and walks off the stage; I’ll be standing and cheering, and I hope the rest of Giants fandom will be as well. But if you are mumbling “good riddance” under your breath as you do, I’ll forgive you.
And then there’s the insulting, anonymous, Smack you with Facts, who wants everyone to know that Magowan didn’t save the Giants:
He did not stop the team from leaving. The move was blocked by the MLB owners/commish in order to keep the team in San Francisco (which is better for the league, apparently). Magowan was just one among a group of investors who was willing to pop some $$ in and take the team from Lurie.
He is also the one willing to be the leading man, though he never had the most shares of the team:
National League club owners today soundly rejected a move of the San Francisco Giants to St. Petersburg, Fla., handing the Tampa Bay area its seventh setback in seven attempts to attract a major league baseball team.
The owners, in a secret ballot that required 10 votes for approval, voted 9-4 against allowing Bob Lurie, the Giants’ owner, to sell the team for $115 million to the Tampa Bay group, which would have moved the Giants to the Florida Suncoast Dome in time for next season.
The action, which is expected to trigger a lawsuit from St. Petersburg officials, left the door open for a group of San Francisco investors, headed by Peter Magowan, president of Safeway Inc., to buy the Giants for $100 million and keep them where they have been since they left New York 35 years ago.
November 11, 1992
When this was going on, I was new to San Francisco, having moved here in February of 1990. I remember the situation fuzzily, and I haven’t found any really informative local newspaper articles yet. However, this one was written by MLB stooge Murray Chass, so it must be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, SYWF must be given some measure of proper due here, classless and boorish though he may be: The move was blocked by MLB, and that was what opened the door for Magowan and his partners to make an offer that, to my memory, was a bit smaller than what the Florida team was offering.
It also bears mentioning that it was just a short while later that Tampa got the OK for the Devil Rays, so it’s possible that there was a lot of back room dealings that we’ve never been privy to.
Here’s another piece, from 2000, that all but knights Magowan:
He was born and raised in New York, but Peter Magowan now stands on the precipice of a legacy as the man who saved baseball in San Francisco.
He saved it by heading up the brick and steel ballpark on Third Street, by building something out of nothing, by giving the Giants a home by the Bay, by forever rendering meaningless the idea of the Tampa/St. Petersburg Giants, or the Northern Virginia Giants or the Anywhere but The City Giants.
He gathered his boys, put together ideas, won an election where you just can’t win an election, sold the park’s name to a phone company, didn’t use any public money and peddled 29,000 season tickets – all because he couldn’t bear the idea of the alternative.
If necessity is the mother of the invention, consider Magowan the neediest guy around.
“The alternative was that the Giants would leave, and the alternative was just not acceptable,” Magowan said with the opening of his life’s dream, Pacific Bell Park, drawing near.
Get this clear: Magowan doesn’t want to be known as the savior. He points to vice president Larry Baer, ticket guru Tom McDonald, chief financial officer John Yee, marketing men Mario Alioto, Russ Stanley and longtime Giants executive Pat Gallagher as key factors in the building of the stadium nobody ever figured would get built.
But Magowan, the team president and managing general partner, is the public face atop the stadium, as out in the open as the Willie Mays statue planned for the main gate, as looming as the Coke bottle in left field. He’s on the hook if this thing is a bust in five years, if it turns into a ghost town of debt; conversely, he stands to be a hero for the decades if, as he predicts, Pacific Bell Park stands majestically in its spot for a half-century, a beacon for the timeless game of baseball and a mecca for generations of Giants fans.
Magowan doesn’t think the Giants have just built a stadium but have saved the soul of The City. He saw the Giants and Dodgers leave New York in 1958. He never wanted to see it again if he had something to say about it.
“I don’t think Brooklyn has recovered to this day,” Magowan said. “People were that upset and disillusioned. We just couldn’t let that happen in San Francisco. We believed enough that it must not happen, to find a way. We knew that if we failed, it was all over. It was really all over. We would have put the team up for sale and, in my opinion, nobody in the Bay Area would have bought it. We couldn’t have seen them bought by out-of-towners, which would have happened.”
I remember that feeling, that sense, that the Giants were on the precipice of leaving, and it was ongoing for most of the first five years I was here. In that sense, Magowan did save the team. They were hemorrhaging money, they had seen two separate ballpark referendums go against them, owner Bob Lurie wanted out, and for the longest time, no one in San Francisco wanted in.
If Magowan and his group hadn’t stepped up and come up with the $110 million, hadn’t gone out and landed Bonds, and hadn’t pulled off the first privately financed ballpark in 30 years; then, in all probability, the Giants were gonna leave. Here’s another article that details some of the difficulties the ownership group faced.
Really, I don’t see how you can say the Magowan-led group didn’t save the Giants. There were mitigating factors, for sure, but there was nobody else to buy the team. MLB was pretty much telling Lurie to stop crying and make it work in SF, and Lurie seemed to think that he wasn’t going to be able to. If you say he didn’t save the team, I guess you have to answer this question:
What would have happened if Magowan and his team hadn’t come through?
Amid rumors, speculation, and assorted bloggings that Peter Magowan is thinking about retirement, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about the good and the bad since he’s been in charge. You guys pretty much ignored my piece on league-wide offense trends (only seven backtalks?), so I guess you’re only interested in ranting and raving about Giants topics exclusively.
I think he’s been terrific for the franchise, between bringing Bonds to SF, stopping the team from leaving, and building the best damn ballpark in the game, he and the rest of the ownership group must be applauded. A standing ovation wouldn’t be out of order just for that short list, really.
On the other hand, he has stayed the course with Sabean, even as Sabean’s made one disastrous decision after another, both in whom he’s chosen to have wear the orange and black, and the outlandish contracts he’s doled out in signing them.
Let me hear from you, write long and loud, and I’ll front page the best.
And then there’s Peter Magowan. Here’s Bill Simmons, talking about the end of the Phoenix Suns era:
…. I don’t know (Phoenix Suns owner) Robert Sarver. Never met the guy, never heard anything bad about him, couldn’t vouch for his financial situation. For all I know, he’s the greatest guy ever. But for the life of me, I can’t imagine why someone would want to own an NBA team if he cared more about breaking even than winning a championship. What’s the point? Why not sell to someone who cares more about a title? Like so many other NBA fans, I have a pipe dream of stumbling into enough wealth to own an NBA team some day. It will never happen, but really, it’s my ultimate pipe dream other than my daughter turning into a world-class tennis player and me turning into one of those deranged Tennis Dads who shows up for every match flashing hand signals and intimidating the judges. Anyway, if I were fortunate enough to own an NBA team, I would never, ever, EVER favor my pockets over a chance at a title. I just wouldn’t. It’s like going to Vegas for a guy’s weekend and refusing to lose more than $100. Why even go then? Just stay home.
For instance, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck once vowed never to pay the luxury tax like Sarver. When a potential Garnett deal started to take shape this summer, and the Celtics realized that their payroll could climb into the mid 70s (that’s millions) once they filled out the roster with free agents and buyout guys, instead of just blindly saying, “Nope, sorry, we can’t do this,” the Celtics spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out exactly how they’d make that money back through ticket sales, merchandise revenue, corporate sponsorships, 2009 ticket hikes, playoff money, extra courtside seats and everything else. They left no stone unturned. Eventually, the decision was made that the Garnett trade was worth the risk — they owed it to the fans, and if they couldn’t figure out how to capitalize financially on a rejuvenated Celtics franchise in a sports-crazed city that absolutely loved basketball once upon a time, then they had failed as an organization. They made the trade. And if you watch any of the home Celtics playoff games, you’ll see Grousbeck sitting underneath the basket next to the visitor’s bench. He’s the happiest guy in the building.
That could have been Sarver. Could the Suns have done more? Did they leave every stone unturned? Did they maximize the financial potential of those teams? Did they fail as an organization to capitalize on a potential dynasty? Looking at those moves from 2004 to 2007, you’d have to call the Seven Seconds or Less Era one of the memorably squandered opportunities in recent sports history.
Exactly. Did Magowan interfere with Sabean’s efforts to keep a strong nucleus around Bonds? Did he put the kibosh on the Guerrero signing? Did he do everything he could to get a championship while Bonds was clearly the cornerstone of a championship team for ten years in a row? From 2000-2004, Barry Bonds put everything he had into becoming the absolute greatest player ever, running out the kind of numbers you’d normally see in a video game. Did the Giants ownership do everything they could to take advantage of this?
You’d have to answer no. They failed as an organization to capitalize on one of the greatest players in history having one of the greatest runs of performance ever seen. They complained about not being able to afford the players who could have made the difference in 2000, in 2001, 2002 (notwithstanding the tremendously bad luck they ran into), 2003 and 2004, while flushing tens of millions of dollars down the toilet on “veterans” who could have been replaced for pennies on the dollar. They lowballed one great free agent after another, they traded the wrong guys at the wrong time for worthless replacements; they held onto Jason Schmidt when they knew he was washed up and leaving…..
The team was a player or two away from a legitimate shot at a title for a good six years, and the Giants spent most of that time downgrading at one position after another, all the while claiming money was the reason why. I’ll give Magowan all the credit in the world for keeping the Giants in San Francisco, for building the most beautiful baseball park in the world, and for bringing Superman home.
But, when he had a chance to bring a world championship to San Francisco, he pinched pennies, and broke the hearts of the greatest fans in the world.
Two people have written articles about Brian Sabean the last couple of days, one relatively positive, the other, not. The first one I’ll mention is written by William Gum:
…. Among current general managers, only Kevin Towers of the San Diego Padres has enjoyed a longer tenure with the same club than Sabean. He’s held his position longer than any other GM in Giants’ history. Sabean brought the Giants a wild card tiebreaker, a wild card, three NL West division championships and a National League Pennant. Most importantly, he turned around a chronic loser (six losing records in seven years).
…. Sabean turned the Giants around quickly, and gave the team a good decade of winning results. He obviously had a good strategy, built primarily around Barry Bonds and trading away his younger talent for proven veterans to fill out the lineup.
Gum is writing from I don’t know where, but he don’t know jack. There is only one reason the Giants have won anything in the last decade, Barry Bonds, and Barry Bonds alone. I have catalogued Sabean’s mistakes here ad infinitum, so I won’t again, but, please, Mr. Gum, read some of my archives before you start telling us that Brian Sabean has done a good job. Even if all you consider are finances, Sabean has flushed millions, tens of millions of dollars down the toilet on completely replaceable production at every position on the diamond, for ten years.
…. He certainly wasn’t afraid of moving fan favorites like Kirk Rueter and Matt Williams and Russ Ortiz.
Huh? Sabean gave Reuter a two-year extension worth $18 million dollars about ten minutes before Woody’s arm fell off, he traded Russ Ortiz away for a guy that was out of baseball in 18 months (while Ortiz went on to win another 40 games over he next three seasons).
The Williams deal represents one of the few trades that Sabean made that actually worked, along with the deal that netted Jason Schmidt. I can’t think of another one off hand, which tells you everything.
The other article was written by John Peterson, and is more firmly grounded in reality, as Peterson rates Sabean as the worst GM in all of baseball:
…. Brian Sabean is not a good general manager, no matter what anyone says. Still, he was once considered a top GM, responsible for assembling Giants teams that finished either first or second in the division from his first year, 1997, to 2004– a span of eight years. That is no small achievement. In 1996 the team went 68-94, but in ’97 they won 90 games. How did he do it?
First, he replaced 1B Mark Carreon and his inadequate .317 OBP with JT Snow, acquired for pennies on the dollar from the Angels. Snow went on to have his best year ever in ’97 and a long and respectable career for the Giants. Then he traded star third baseman Matt Williams to the Indians for cheap, useful young players Julian Tavarez, Jose Vizcaino and Jeff Kent. The Giants had young Bill Mueller waiting to take over at third, and Vizcaino and Kent represented solid upgrades over the current options at their positions, with the added bonus of significant upside. Kent quickly realized his potential and become a perennial MVP candidate, winning the award in 2000.
Well, while Snow had a long run with the Giants, I have argued long and hard that Snow was one of the reasons the Giants struggled in their efforts to obtain a championship. Tremendous character and glovework aside, Snow’s anemic bat forced the Giants to look for offense from positions most teams don’t have to, like second base or even short, something the rarely were able to do.
Of course, if I’d known how awful we’d be at first the last three seasons, I woulda been jamming the steroids into Snow’s ass myself
That said, Peterson has a much clearer vision of what’s really gone on with this team.
…. That Barry Bonds was so astoundingly good that he could carry a roster of aging scrubs long past their primes, is a testament to Bonds’ supreme ability and unnatural career path, not Sabean’s skill as a general manager. How could he have known that Bonds, who was already turning 32 in Sabean’s first year as general manager, would sustain an amazing level of production through age 35, and then instead of slowly declining, become a significantly better player than he had ever been for four more years, through age 39? Sabean could not have anticipated this; no one could. He was just lucky that Bonds’ insane career path masked a continually flawed and uninspired player acquisition and roster construction strategy. It is no accident that, when Bonds lost most of 2005 to injury, the Giants finished under .500 for the first time since 1996.
Sabean made bad free agent signings, bad trades, and bad decisions all around. Of course, in eleven years that’s bound to happen, but Sabean has had more than his share. Everyone knows about the trade of Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser and Joe Nathan for average catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Otherwise Sabean has not been burned terribly by the prospects he likes to deal for veterans. He prefers to pay free agent value or higher for his old players. I’m too lazy to count how many 32-to-36 year olds on the verge of breakdown Sabean has signed to long term deals, but he has taken it to a new level in the last few years. The team is now a catalogue of ancient players and bad contracts….
Now, there’s a writer who’s actually paid attention to the Giants over the last decade. Anyway, both pieces deserve your attention as a Giants fan. If you read them, and decide to backtalk, tell ‘em where they can go for the real scoop on the dealings of our hapless GM; OBM.
Tim Lincecum lost his first game, due to a couple of bad pitches, several blown opportunities by the hitters, and one egregious umpire error. He still pitched well, certainly well enough to win.
Today, they took the series, beating the Rockies behind a couple of solo home runs, some terrific pitching, and one helluva great play by Fred Lewis, who, by the way, just might be the real deal. Lewis is running out a terrific .337/.419/.533 952 OPS (which is good enough for 15th in the NL).
He’s still having problems defensively, he takes some pretty bad angles. Nonetheless, he’s hitting very well, leading the team in many categories, and is starting to look like a real player.
John Bowker, on the other hand, is not. After his first five games, Bowker had run out an astounding .538/.538/1.154 1.687 OPS, with 2 home runs and 7 RBI. No one thought he could sustain even a facsimile of that level, but, damn, he’s really fallen off the face of the earth. He’s 4 for his last 44 (including going 1 for 26 on this homestand), dropping his overall stats to a Triple AAA bound .193/.217/.404 .621 OPS.
Also on the Triple AAA train, (or worse, really), is Brian Bocock. Emmanuel Burriss‘ numbers, .235/.316/.294 .610 OPS actually represent an improvement over the completely overmatched Bocock, .157/.280/.171 .452 OPS. 60 at bats is enough (too many, really) to see that, since Burriss’ arms don’t fall off when a ball is hit to him, Bocock can resume his efforts at fashioning a major league career at his true level of ability, one that he can actually enjoy some success at, like, say, Double AA.
Nothing against Bocock or Bowker, but, these guys are really, really not major league caliber at this point in their careers.
Meanwhile, Ray Durham and Rich Aurilia are done. Let’s stop talking about what a great guy he is, –I agree. He’s always been one of my favorite players– as a player, he hasn’t been worth a ball of snot in three years. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he had what looked like a nice rebound season in Cincinnati in ’06, but if you look at his year by year stats, that was as big a fluke season as Ray Durham’s was in the same season. And let’s be frank, (Oh, by the way, FUCK YOU, Costas), A GM that would throw the kind of money Sabean threw at these two players should be tarred and feathered. I mean, a couple of 35 year olds having completely fluky rebound seasons could hardly have been more predictably bad these last two years.
Aurilia’s start to the season, .232/.293/.319 .612 OPS, is simply cover-your-eyes bad. Durham is about 4% better, running out a dismal .247/.329/.370 .699 OPS, although in Ray’s defense, he is coming on at the moment. As I said, he’s doing better than our good friend Rich.
But, with 13 wins, and a record above .500 if you subtract the $126 million dollar albatross, the Giants are light years better, and more entertaining than I could have imagined. Snachez, Valdez, Lincecum, Cain, Wilson, Taschner…. I mean, damn, we’ve got some pitching.
More to look forward to than anyone expected, me at the top of the list.
UPDATE: Eliezer Alfonzo failed a drug test, and will be suspended for 50 games. I’m still surprised when anyone fails a test, but I guess we’re still seeing that most of the players who are getting caught are the borderline guys.
Joe Sheehan thinks Tim Lincecum is one man team:
…. Tim Lincecum is to the 2008 Giants what Steve Carlton was to those 1972 Phillies—an ace among deuces, a man among men, the only thing keeping the team out of Triple-A.
So far this season, the Giants are 5-0 when he pitches, 6-13 (now 6-15) when he doesn’t. They’re +9 in run differential and have allowed just seven runs in the five games (1.4 R/G) in which Lincecum pitched. They’re -41 and have allowed 99 runs (5.3 R/G) in the other 19.
Lincecum is the entire reason for this. Supported by 12 runs in his four starts, he’s held the opposition to just three runs in those outings. Throw in a relief appearance in his season debut (an odd game in which Bochy initially held Lincecum out due to the threat of a rain delay), and he’s allowed just four runs in 29 1/3 innings, striking out 34 men. He has yet to allow a home run and has given up just five doubles among his 27 hits allowed. Yes, 27.
That’s because, despite a great strikeout rate, the Giants’ porous defense rates 27th in the NL in Defensive Efficiency, and that has helped Lincecum allow a .380 batting average on balls in play.
His numbers could and should be better if not for the Giants’ inability to prevent singles. The return of Omar Vizquel won’t help all that much; he’s not that much better with the glove then Brian Bocock is, and the Giants’ real problem is on the right side of the infield, where they have just one marginally average defender on the days that Rich Aurilia plays first base.
Tim Lincecum is 4-0, 1.23 despite getting virtually no support from his offense or his defense. He’s the closest thing to a one-man team in MLB—his combined pitching and hitting VORP is 15.3, and the rest of the Giants have combined for 10.7.
Barry Zito is the anti-Lincecum. The team is 0-6 when he pitches, he has allowed an astounding 41 hits (7 doubles, 2 triples and 4 home runs!) and 15 walks while lasting only 28.2 innings, (4 2/3 innings per start), which, of course, is killing the bullpen. On ESPN’s stats page, he is ranked dead last among qualifying pitchers, in virtually every category. He turns everyone into an MVP candidate, with hitters running out a .336/.397/.525 .922 OPS line. The team is 11-9 without him, and the team ERA drops by more than half a run, to 3.95, when you subtract his “contribution.”
The time has come to do something about it. Send him down, put him in the bullpen, put him on the DL, whatever. You cannot keep running him out there, HE HAS NOTHING. No control, no fastball, nothing, and he is killing, KILLING the team.
Hat tip to El
UPDATE: Wow. Zito’s gonna be demoted to the bullpen, which is, essentially, an admission of a failure of the highest level imaginable. Zito’s problems needs to be corrected this season, or we’re pretty much gonna see the end of Brian Sabean. There’s no way Sabean saves his job if Zito is what he looks like now, a complete, total, catastrophic bust.
Last year was Lincecum’s first year in the majors. Not only was it a learning experience for the major league staff on how to use him, but it was his first full professional season. So they cut his season a little short, both to save him and to try out others as starters. In addition, the season was lost at that point, nothing to be gained from starting him.
This is a new year. The arm strength to throw more innings was enabled by him pitching more last season, it should have prepared him to pitch a full season this year. They also have a season of handling him and now have a feel for what they can and cannot do with him. Plus, a year’s experience dealing with Tim, knowing when to believe him and when not to, seeing when they should take him out, and so forth on his behavior.
If you say that they are harming him, then list some studies where this has been shown. BP has done some work in this, but I wouldn’t say that their work is definitive yet. And most of the stuff you read on this is derived from BP’s theories.
And at what point do you stop babying him? Would you continue to shut him down every year to protect him? Would you really do that if the team was competing for the division title?
Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. Most of the work done on pitch count concerns hasn’t been done by the guys at BP. Some of it has, but certainly you wouldn’t say “most.” 100-pitch limits, pitch counts, and other methods designed to reduce the workload of young pitchers isn’t a brand-new trend, or some pie-in-the-sky sabermetrician’s made up bullshit. Teams have been limiting the amount of work done by their young –and old– pitchers for quite a while now. As for the “evidence” or studies that “prove” that pitch load limits work, well, why would that you need to “prove” anything like that?
Injuries to young pitchers are one of the most expensive mistakes/problems facing a team, and all of the value on the Giants can be found in it’s young pitchers. Limiting a young pitcher’s pitch load is a real, tangible, and important part of caring for the player, and the team investment.
My concern is that Sabean and Bochy have no idea about any of this stuff, that they don’t worry that pitch limits haven’t been “proven” to work, because they don’t think about it at all. Are there people out there who have all already forgotten about the destruction of the Giants pitching staff wrought by Felipe Alou?
…. (The Giants) signed Felipe Alou after they decided that Dusty Baker was too good, and taking away too much credit from them. At the time, I thought he was the best of the known choices, but in hindsight; it’s clear that Alou cost the Giants dearly. He destroyed the careers of Kirk Reuter, Jesse Foppert, Kurt Ainsworth, Jerome Williams, and Jason Schmidt. Schmidt was probably the most costly. Schmidt’s never been the same after that 143-pitch, 17-strikeout, 1-hitter in May of 2004. That month, Schmidt started 5 games, went 47 innings, allowed 23 hits, had 54 strikeouts, and a 1.53 ERA. Since then, he’s had a monthly ERA below 3.00 just one single time, and he’s been on and off the DL constantly.
What Alou did to Reuter beggars belief. Everyone in baseball knew that Woody was a 100-pitch pitcher. Everyone. Everyone on the Giants did, too. Krukow talked about it all the time. Alou let him go 110-plus four times in the first half of ‘04, including his second start of the season. During that stretch, Sabean was putting the final touches on Woody’s $18 million dollar extension –one that he wasn’t even up for, by the way– and when the dust settled, we had another player being paid millions of dollars to watch TV.
So, how much “proving” do we need ? Tim Lincecum is the single most valuable commodity on the team. You could argue that he is one of the most valuable players in the entire game of baseball, and in the first 25 games of the year, Bonehead has allowed him to go back into a game to pitch after an hour-long rain delay –something normal teams don’t even do with established veteran pitchers– and then two nights ago, throw an additional 10 pitches in the 8th inning when he was leading, and had already thrown 114 pitches.
Baseball Prospectus pitcher abuse points system, which measures all of the stress on a pitcher, not just innings or pitches thrown, has Lincecum ranked second in the NL. That is fucking unbelievable. The most valuable young player in the entire Giants organization is being run out there and put under the most stress of all but one pitcher in the whole National League. Under what circumstances should this be allowed? None.
There is no reason this team should be abusing Lincecum. I’ll say it again, Bochy’s only job is to make sure Cain and Lincecum and the rest of these young pitchers don’t get injured. Anything he and Righetti do that jeopardizes the health of their young pitchers should be a fire-able offense.
Allowing Lincecum to go past 100-110 pitches is criminally stupid and careless. Why wouldn’t you want to err on the side of caution?
And let’s not forget that the team still won’t force Lincecum to ice his shoulder after his starts. How can you let him make that call? Ice is put on the shoulder as an anti-inflammatory exercise. We’re talking about a universally accepted practice that has been proven to work. How is Lincecum able to make the decision that he, out of every athlete that’s ever lived, isn’t susceptible to having his muscles swell up and become inflamed after strenuous physical work?
Again, given that this team is years away from contention, nothing but protecting these players should matter. If that means “baby” them, then yes, “baby” them. What do you have to gain allowing Lincecum to throw 120-plus pitches? Nothing. You have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.
Only idiots would treat this young player this way. Uninformed, thoughtless, idiots.
UPDATE: OK, so you do have some “proof” that icing arms isn’t quite as efficacious as one might assume, although it seems clear that the views by Dick Mills represent the work of someone who is operating outside of baseball.
Nonetheless, it appears that it is I that has been “proven” wrong, and as such, I stand corrected. Thanks to Giants Rain Man for his efforts to keep me, and my readers informed.
In my defense, I will reduce my argument to the following:
Lincecum, as our most important player, needs to be treated like such. It appears to me that the boys in the dugout are not being as careful with him as they could, or should.
After last night’s 1-0 win, the Franchise ran his record to 4-0, while the Giants are now 5-0 in Lincecum’s games, and 5-13 in games in which he doesn’t appear. As I said last week, 1-0 wins are pretty rare, but it seems like a sure bet that the G-men are gonna be involved in quite a few of them.
Barry Zito fell to 0-5, and has everyone looking for answers.
…. Bochy responded to a question about Zito by saying, with lips clenched, “It was not a good night, not a good outing for him. I’ll leave it at that.”
…. Zito was not happy either. Nor did he make any excuses. “We came out and we capitalized on Webb’s mistakes,” he said. “They gave me a lead of 3-0, and I feel like shit. I let them back in the game. I gave them two runs in a shutdown inning, and then I went out in the fourth and gave up a hit to Webb.”
…. When Randy Winn was asked about the team losing confidence in Zito, he said, “I think that’s a little strong. I think he would say he hasn’t pitched the way he’s capable of. But if we get a few breaks today, a few bounces go differently, and we could have had a different outcome.”
…. Defeat’s harshest glare still fell on Zito, who entered the game with the National League’s lowest run support (1.23) and endured four unearned runs in his previous two starts. “It definitely doesn’t feel good to let these guys down,” Zito said. “These guys are playing their hearts out. They did what they had to do tonight. I didn’t do my job tonight. I think it’s important for me to let them know, ‘Stick with me. I’m going to get myself out of this.’ … That’s what a team does; it picks up for guys who are scuffling. They’re all great guys so I know they’re going to do that.”
It’s hard to argue that it’s not Zito’s fault, he has been terrible, but less than a run and a half of run support puts an awful lot of pressure on a pitcher. However….
Zito’s pitched 25 innings, allowed 34 hits (11 of them for extra-bases), 12 walks, just 10 strikeouts, and batters are running out an just shy of MVP-level .321/.377/.509 .886 OPS line against him. His 84 mph fastball, lack of location, and inability to make hitters miss combine to make him vulnerable in all situations. Right now, he is lost, and nobody on this team seems able to help him find his game.
Then again, maybe losing 5 miles off your fastball (for whatever reason) means he is lost and will never be found. I’m wondering why nobody seems concerned with why he’s lost his fastball. Mechanics could hardly be the sole reason for such a dramatic decline. Is he injured, and pitching through it?
I don’t know, but something’s gotta give. Even in a year where competing is a virtual non-issue, no team can just sit there and watch their most expensive player fail like this.
Well…. It’s hard to say. We’re in last place, we’re the worst offense in the game, we play pretty shitty defense…. In many ways, we’re bad.
On the other hand, we’ve got 8 wins in the first 19 games, and Tim Lincecum has been simply outstanding. Some of the other pitchers have been pretty damn good as well, Yabu, Valdez, Wilson, Walker, Taschner…. so, we’ve thrown the ball pretty well.
On the pitching front, I’d like to mention that it’s possible that Lowry’s injury is really bad, like, even career-threatening bad. You don’t hear that too often, but it needs to be considered. The injury itself seems like nothing, except it’s not. Anytime you have an injury to your pitching arm, and it turns out to be one that almost no one’s ever had, and then you start suffering setbacks…. well, it ain’t good, that’s for sure.
And then there’s Bowker. What a start, what a find. Can he continue? Unknown, at this point. But, at this point, he’s the best we’ve got. Here’s hoping.