Archive for the 'Rumor Mill' Category

…. Fools rush in

The NY Mets are providing everyone with a textbook example of how not to handle extending someone’s contract. All RA Dickey did for them was win a Cy Young Award, put together one of the dominant seasons in team history, and show up everywhere as a generally good guy. After David Wright’s massive contract, Dickey, who is entering the final year of his contract getting around $5 million in ’13, had his agent contact the team about an extension.

The Mets response was to dick him around, low-ball him, and then begin to let it slip out in the media that he’s old, that historically knuckleball pitchers are unreliable and unable to repeat their success, and now they’re tarnishing his reputation with a bunch of made-up lies and distortions about him being a prima donna.

Thanks for all the hard work and dedication.

If I’m David Wright, I probably pretty pissed off right now. Part of David’s negotiations included meetings with team brass to get assurance’s that the team would be investing in the short and long term to improve the team and be competitive, to bring a championship to NY –something that I consider to be a ridiculous bunch of crap as it is– but nonetheless, Wright was given assurances that he would be the cornerstone of an up and coming contender.

Excuse me, but contending teams start and end with great pitching, and Dickey appears to have become just that. Trading

a fan favorite, a 20-game winner, a guy who gave the New York fans a reason to come to the ball park, a guy who was pretty much the only Met player on SportsCenter for the entire season…. trading that guy for prospects ( especially this bunch of prospects) is ridiculous. And now that we already know the players the Mets get won’t be top of the line because of his age, not to mention all of the crap the Mets are leaking to NY media…. well, this is just an epic fail of the highest order.

The Mets got upset because Dickey let everyone know he was unhappy with being dicked around? Please. The whole reason Sandy Alderson was brought here was to help the team stop acting like a teenager was running it. Now he takes it personal if a guy who is being asked about his contract every day says he wishes it were done already? Unprofessional, petty, and vindictive to boot. He’s basically telling Dickey, fuck you, I’ll send you to the gulags. That’s an embarrassingly poor response by someone who should be able to take the high road.

UPDATE: Over at Grantland, Rany Jazayerli brings a little more detail into the Dickey situation. In doing so, he echoes my thoughts on the subject, albeit without the potty mouth:

…. Given the market for Greinke, you’d think that a true ace pitcher — say, a pitcher who won the Cy Young Award this past season — would be primed to cash in. David Price, who won the award in the American League, is three years from free agency, and already the clock is ticking on how long the Tampa Bay Rays can afford to keep him. The National League winner is just a year away from free agency, and ought to earn $20 million or more per season on a long-term deal. How fortunate for his team, then, that he’s willing to sign at a discount, asking for just a two-year extension

for about $13 million a season. Any rational organization would have that contract on his agent’s desk before the words were out of his mouth.

…. Dickey is hardly a one-year wonder. While he has never pitched quite as well as he did in 2012 — few pitchers have — he was one of the 15 best pitchers in the NL in both 2010 and 2011. Consider this:

R.A. Dickey, 2010–2012: 91 starts, 617 IP, 2.95 ERA, 468 Ks, 150 walks
Zack Greinke, 2010–2012: 95 starts, 604 IP, 3.83 ERA, 582 Ks, 154 walks

In Greinke’s defense, he was the better pitcher in 2009. In Dickey’s defense, Greinke signed for three times as long and nearly six times as much money as Dickey requested from the Mets. To repay Dickey’s Cy Young performance this season, not only did the Mets turn down his request, they embarked on a misguided character assassination campaign against Dickey in the media. Dickey addressed his contract situation at the Mets’ holiday party? HE HAD THE AUDACITY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM REPORTERS?! The nerve of that guy.

Again, if I were David Wright, I would be serious second thoughts about signing on for the rest of my career with an organization that appears to be this far from competent.

…. Albatross

I’m not surprised to read that the Giants would like to get out from under the $46 million they

owe Barry Zito. I’m surprised that the team would leak that information, since it just makes Sabean’s efforts much more difficult.

I could see the Giants taking some real long-shot prospects and a couple of bucks to send him to the Yankees. And I can almost see the Yankees taking a flier on him. Almost.

…. Fredhead

Here's an idea my Cardinals buddy and I tossed around a bit yesterday. (My friend has a dog he named Fred, who looks like a miniature bear, hence the name)


With the St. Louis Cardinals losing 20-game winner Adam Wainwright for the season, we were wondering if they should just jettison their chances for this year and retool. A quick glance at the team's roster is –quite honestly– frightening. Not unlike what the SF Giants did with Bonds during his last six seasons or so, the Cards have put together a roster that is as thin as tissue paper, and pretty old.

Lance Berkman? Sure, Holliday is a stud. But this is a one man team right now, and without superior starting pitching, they are going nowhere. Here's Jon Heyman wasting his time trying to convince himself that the team :

…. The Cardinals' rotation, which looked fabulous on paper before Wainwright's injury, is now down to probably slightly above average with Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia. The fifth pitcher, who may be reliever Kyle McClellan, has yet to be determined.

Yeah, right. Westbrook is in his 30's and his career won loss record is under .500. Garcia has a total of 180 innings pitched in the bigs, and Kyle Lohse –who is 32 years old and also under .500 for his career– ran out a 6.55 ERA last season in an injury-abbreviated season. Carpenter is a very good number two starter, but he's three seasons from transcendent, 35 years old, and he's gonna throw his 2,000th inning sometime this April or May. That's not a rotation, that's a train wreck.

The answer is simple. Cold, calculating, heartless, even, but simple, nonetheless. Trade Albert Pujols right now. Get the biggest package of prospects, major-league ready or close, and retool. I'd even go so far as to suggest they trade Carpenter as well. His value will never be higher than it is right now, in the pitching-thin environment that is the 2011 off-season. And if you're talking about Pujols, there's really only one team to target in this trade scenario, and that team is the New York Yankees.

The Cards should call up Hank Steinbrenner directly, because he is an idiot just like his dad, and offer Pujols and Carpenter for Mark Texeira and a slew of pitchers from the Yankees suddenly stocked farm system.

Pujols appears to be, at the least, too expensive for the team to be able to re-sign after this year. Not discounting the possibility that he may just want to go somewhere else. This team is not going to contend this year with the pitching they feature. In fact, I'll put it out there right now; they are gonna finish the year with about 75 wins.

Maybe the Yankees trade two of their top pitching prospects and a hitter.

From the Yankees perspective, they are the only team that could possibly afford $30 million a year for a single player. Pujols is what, 25% better than Texeira? For the Cards, Texeira is bit younger than Pujols, and locked into a contract that is pretty much the deal that they are offering Pujols right now. This is a fantasy, for sure, but it makes some sense if you really think about it.

If the Cards conclude that they are losing Pujols at the end of the year, and there's not much indicating that he's gonna sign off on a deal that is significantly less than what he's worth, I'd throw it out there.

What do you think?

UPDATE: My friend texted me to tell me that today on Sportscenter, someone suggested that the Cardinals trade Pujols now to avoid losing him for a couple of draft picks. Gee, I wonder if the boys at ESPN should talk so frivolously about such a serious subject? Especially since we all know that it would be impossible, right?

Although, Chris Carpenter appears to be throwing a monkey wrench in

my grand program. ;-)


…. 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.


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…

…. 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.

…. Ass coverage

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?


You want to have some fucking credibility? Go after the owners. Go after the GM. Because they are failing.

…. Back to earth

Zito had his worst game of the year, pretty much at the worst possible time, in a first-place showdown with the surprising San Diego’s. Struggling to find his rhythm the whole game, Zito was embarrassed by his buffoon of a manager, who tried to take him out during the fifth inning after he had gone to 2-0 on Oscar Salazar, with the first ball a wild pitch. Of course, Righetti had just visited the mound prior to the at-bat, so Zito had to finish the hitter. It was a pretty ridiculous sight, really. Out pops Bochy, practically running to the mound, only to be sent back to the dugout by the second base umpire.

Of course, the Chronicle manages to make Bochy’s gaffe seem like it was planned:

…. Zito said his “timing was off tonight. I didn’t have any command of anything.”

That was particularly evident during Oscar Salazar’s fifth-inning at-bat. Zito air-mailed his first pitch to the screen, allowing Yorvit Torrealba to waltz to second. The next pitch was extremely high and outside.

After that pitch, Bochy headed to the mound to check on Zito, but because pitching coach Dave Righetti had conferred with Zito just before Salazar came to the plate, Bochy could not speak with the left-hander. Bochy had to return to the dugout.

“When he threw those two pitches, I was concerned about him,” Bochy said.

Yeah, right. Everyone in the ballpark saw Bochy signal for a relief pitcher. Then again, why not lie to cover up your embarrassing mistake? The GM gets away with it constantly, and the local sports reporters only seem to insist on the truth when they’re harassing the greatest player in baseball history:

…. “The surgery I had was a failure.”

In October, DeRosa had an operation to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, an injury he sustained soon after joining St. Louis in a trade from Cleveland on July 1.

On Tuesday, DeRosa was examined by Giants doctor Gordon Brody and had an MRI exam. The diagnosis, according to DeRosa: “It’s completely ruptured again.”

The article goes on to mention that the Giants are, laughably, hoping that rest will make it all better. Of course, nowhere in the piece is any mention of the criminally bad contract that Sabean so generously gave to the known to be injured DeRosa. Now the team has two $12 million dollar players who cannot play, and a GM who simply does not know what he’s doing:

…. Hot-hitting prospect Buster Posey remains at Triple-A Fresno because Giants officials are not convinced he is ready to catch in the major leagues yet, GM Brian Sabean said.
The longtime GM also stressed that the decision to promote Posey has nothing to do with service-time concerns, nor will it.

“Let me dispel all that, all right?” Sabean said. “When we think Posey’s ready, just like when we thought (Tim) Lincecum was ready, and this starts from ownership, he’ll be in the big leagues. I’ll speak to the Lincecum thing. If we don’t bring up Lincecum, how do you know he’s on his way to winning the two Cy Youngs or more so helping us win 88 games last year? Now, in other places where you don’t have a deeper or more consistent budget, I can buy the strict clock. But we can’t be on a strict clock. Shoot, we’re trying to get back to winning ways and get to the playoffs, and everybody understands it.”

…. Sabean said the 23-year-old is “still learning how to catch. Some of that is game calling. Some of that is the consistency that he’ll need as, we hope, an offensive catcher.”

Besides, Sabean said he doesn’t put much stock into Triple-A statistics.

“Triple-A baseball isn’t very good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big leagues.”

How many ways is this man ridiculous? Posey needs to be more consistent as a hitter? This, from a man who re-signed a catcher who made 450 outs last year. No pitching in Triple-A? Triple-A stats aren’t worth much? Lincecum won two Cy Young Awards because Sabean waited as long as he did to bring him up?

Whatever. Once again, we have a bottom feeder offense, 142 runs scored, and only the dismal performance of the two worst teams in baseball –the barely better than Triple-A Astros and Pirates– keep the Giants from having the worst offense in the game once again.

So, when you hear Sabean talking about anything at all, remember that it’s all bullshit. He’s got one of the wort hitters in all of baseball at just about every position on the diamond, and we’re supposed to listen to him tell us that a guy throwing up a .343/.436/.525 line isn’t hitting enough. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t have the slightest idea how to evaluate hitters. He has been selling Giants fans the same bullshit bill of goods for going on fifteen year now. I wrote this eight years ago:

…. Over the last 30 days the Giants offense is DEAD LAST in the National League, meaning it is dead last in all of baseball. This, while Barry Bonds is posting a .565 obp and a .900 slg. Do you have any idea what that means? That means the Giants are even worse than their stats.

I heard the Brian Sabean show yesterday, and he said that he intends to show patience and trust that his hitters are going to start hitting. You know what Ray, that’s the single stupidest thing I have ever heard Brian say. You’ve got Marvin Benard taking swings in the last of the 8th in a one run game, and you’re telling me that I am supposed to trust that he’s gonna come around? Shawon Dunston has a spot on our bench? Damon Minor? Reggie Sanders? Sanders’ lifetime BA is .263, last year he was about 30% more productive than in ANY YEAR OF HIS LIFE.

…. which is more than you could say about JT Snow. There is nothing masking the fact that he is one of the most unproductive major leaguers drawing a salary. He is an out-maker, simple as that, and he gives nothing back for all of the outs he eats. Don’t talk to me about how many games he saves with his glove, that’s pure hyperbole. Bill James and a whole slew of baseball analysts have done reams of research into run prevention, and JT’s defense is worth maybe five runs a year, let alone five wins.

Eight years later, and the Giants are still comprised of one good hitter and bunch of out-makers. They’re still old. They are still slow. They are still injury-prone. The GM has signed more ancient mariners to more bad contracts, and the team is still just as boring and still barely competitive.

…. Rebirth

Barry Zito started a season 4-0 for the first time in his career, after yesterday’s 5-2 win over the Rockies. The win pushed the Giants to 13-9, their best start in four years.

This team has enough pitching to win a championship, right now. This team, right now, needs one big bat. That’s all. One real hitter. RIGHT NOW.

Who is that hitter? I think you all know what player I would love to see the team make a behind-the-scenes, blockbuster, change the landscape of the entire National League play for:

…. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, Prince Fielder is the best young player in baseball. Today, he became the youngest player ever to reach 50 home runs in a season, supplanting Willie Mays, who did it in his age 24 season. Fielder is 23, and looks to be a superstar for a long time. If only the Giants had a player with anything even close to the kind of upside Fielder seems to have.

I wrote that three years ago. Can you imagine Fielder at first and Sandoval at third? That is a dream team at the corners for a decade. Fielder’s situation in Milwaukee appears probematic, mostly due to the outrageous $125 million dollar extension the Phillies gave to Ryan Howard. Even John Shea agrees with me:

…. first basemen Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez will be free agents after the 2011 season and were long shots to re-sign with their teams even before Howard’s stunning deal.

Now that the bar is set far higher, the question is: When will Fielder and Gonzalez be traded? Before the July 31 deadline, with their trade value peaking? The offseason? The following July?

For the Giants, it’s worth monitoring. If it’s midseason, and they’re serious about advancing through the playoffs, and their offense is lagging, and Aubrey Huff isn’t proving to be a difference-maker, they’d be wise to enter the conversation.

Neither Fielder nor Gonzalez makes much in his current contract, relatively speaking. Fielder gets $6.5 million this year and is eligible for arbitration after the season. Gonzalez makes $4.75 million in 2010 with a $5.5 million club option for 2011.

Put either in the middle of the Giants’ lineup, and opponents suddenly would fear more than the pitching.

Madison Bumgardner and a handful of prospects might be enough to pry Fielder away from Milwaukee, right now. Now is when Sabean should be approaching Doug Melvin. Now, before the season moves forward, before Milwaukee knows whether they will contend. Strike while the iron is hot, says the old saw.

The Giants have the best pitching in baseball. Right now. Fortune favors the bold. Be bold, Brian Sabean, Bill Neukom and the rest of the managing partners.

Don’t tell me you’re thinking of buying the Golden State Warriors. What? If you have that kind of extra cash, spend it on your baseball team. Buy the best young hitter available. You got millions of dollars burning a hole in your pocket? Spend it on bringing a championship to San Francisco for the first time ever.

You put Fielder at first, Sandoval at third, and Posey behind the plate, and the roster of wanna be’s, never-wases and has-beens that Sabean is so fond of are suddenly palatable. Three dynamic, young stud hitters surrounded by some relatively inexpensive, league average hitters, and this team can win a title. This team can win multiple titles with a big three like that.

Be bold, Brian.

UPDATE: 14-9. Seriously. Make a move, Sabean. You cannot allow another season to roll by without taking advantage f this pitching staff.

…. Real deal

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

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

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

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

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

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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
San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball, or any other organization mentioned herein.

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