— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) November 2, 2013
I responded to Bill asking if he was sure that Torres had an option. It was confirmed by the other beat writers, so clearly Torres did, and I had no idea. Not only did he have an option, he had a buyout!
Per me: #sfgiants and Andres Torres held a $3 million mutual option for 2014, after he earned $2 million in ’13. Buyout is $500,000.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) November 4, 2013
Son of a! Not only was his option buyout $500,000, it was $200,000 more than the buyout for Ryan Vogelsong‘s was. That’s bonkers to me, as much as I love Torres. Baggs says the Giants are working to bring Vogey back for less than the $6.5MM he was set to make in 2014 if his option were to be picked up:
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) November 3, 2013
Makes me wonder how much the Giants are going to save. One 2013 Andres Torres, if that? Maybe just enough coin so that the Giants can give Javier Lopez a nice pay day.
In 2013, Vogelsong had one month with a FIP below 4. In 2011 and 2012, he had one month each season where he had a FIP over 4. That’s just one stat people might talk about going into 2014, assuming the Giants and Vogelsong get a deal done, which I expect they will. Also because I’m not ready for the Giants and Vogelsong to part ways, and I’m not sure many of us are, either.
Even after the Cardinals lose a game that didn’t finish until after 1:00AM PST, the Giants are limping into St. Louis and have rolled into the underdog role even more, and it’s hard to say that we expected this to happen:
Pablo has left foot sprain, won’t start this series. Could miss up to a week, but Giants don’t think he’ll go on DL.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 31, 2013
Ok, so Pablo Sandoval‘s out for a bit, that should give Joaquin Arias some more starts. He hasn’t looked as great this year as he did last year in his limited role, but as long as he’s doing well defensively that should be cool, right?
Sandoval isn’t sure when he hurt it. Had MRI this morning. Pagan to play for sure Sunday, possibly tomorrow. — Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) May 31, 2013
Angel Pagan coming back may make the defense better in that Andres Torres will get a break to get all the demons out of his head, although I wonder if Andres doing well in the outfield is the only way to exorcise those thoughts.
Gaudin now officially listed to start Sunday. — Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) May 31, 2013
One more to add on to Sandoval, Pagan … Scutaro is pretty sick and Bochy said he would check with him after BP to see if he starts. — Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 31, 2013
So if Marco Scutaro‘s sick, that would make three regulars in Pagan, Sandoval, and Scutaro out and Nick Noonan would be getting the start(s) depending on how Marco’s feeling, but this flu bug has really been running amuck in the Giants clubhouse. Whomever gave this to them owes us. I don’t know what they owe us, but they owe us. Lineups for the Giants:
Tonight’s #SFGiants lineup: Blanco cf, Scutaro 2b, Pence rf, Posey c, Belt 1b, Torres lf, Crawford ss, Arias 3b, Cain p
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 31, 2013
and for the Cardinals:
#STLCards lineup vs SF: Carpenter 2B, Beltran RF, Holliday LF, Craig 1B, Molina C, Freese 3B, Jay CF, Kozma SS, Miller P
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 31, 2013
Normally a blatantly obvious “key to the game” but this is especially true against the Cardinals: If the Giants can get to the bullpen of the Cards early on, there will be much rejoicing. The rotation and the lineup for the Cardinals is scary good, while their bullpen wasn’t as great as it was in the beginning of the season. No reports of game start being delayed from what I’ve seen yet. 5:15PM PST scheduled start since they’re two hours ahead of the west coast party peoples.
The twenty-five errors the Giants have posted in May have cast a dark shadow only the Giants could cast over themselves, and say what you (accurately) will about fielding percentage, but having the lowest FLD% in the NL in May does not seem to be an incorrect evaluation of the Giants poor defense if you’ve watched them play. Still, the Giants, with their win today, are 14-13 in May and cannot finish the month with a below-.500 mark for May, which hopefully does serve as a confidence booster despite what they (haven’t) put out.
The Giants fell behind, as they usually seem to do, and when Andres Torres saw the ball bounce out of his glove on a single to LF, I was wondering how bad things were going to get. A four-game sweep was the least of my concerns. But yet, Barry Zito danced through danger. Six walks, including a first inning that saw second and third with no outs after a double steal with Coco Crisp at the front of it. The A’s didn’t even score that inning, but BZ clamped down on Oakland rallies and even being at 101 pitches through five and struggling to get ahead on hitters, came out for a solid sixth inning to save the bullpen that much more work (and most importantly, got through it unscathed).
The Giants, saving the bulk of their scoring towards the latter half of the game (a familiar pattern at home), had Brett Pill (line drive), Brandon Crawford (handsome double), Pablo Sandoval (2-RBI single), Hunter Pence (single up the middle), and Brandon Belt (2-RBI double to LCF) all get involved for contributing to a lead that the Giants would never give back, ending the inning up 4-1.
It took Ramon Ramirez, George Kontos, and Jeremy Affeldt to get through the seventh, still up 4-2 after one of the dudes RamRam walked came in during Kontos’ stint, but hold the lead they did with Affeldt throwing his two-seamer for a swinging strikeout to get the Giants ready for their half. Nick Noonan would begin the inning with a nice push bunt for a hit while Gregor Blanco decided to make Adam Rosales hate the seventh inning with this pop up:
And then Brandon Crawford would ground into a fielder’s choice, but then Rosales decides to try and make the impossible out at first and instead send the ball to somewhere not in the first baseman’s mitt:
This would be all the scoring done in the game, but not all the interesting parts were done as the frustrations of Andres Torres came to kill his bat after his strikeout in the eighth
Love the expression of the lady in the lower right corner of the shot.
Sergio Romo would close it out on thirteen pitches, and only one whiff of all of those, coming on a slider to Yoenis Cespedes. Still, he got the job done, and the Giants would get to salvage a game from their four-game set with the Athletics.
Mike Krukow was harping on home plate umpire Dan Iassogna’s strike zone, saying Zito should have got more borderline pitches, and I wanted to check out if he was right.
I’m sure you’ll have to click on that to get a better idea, but Iassogna’s strike zone was pretty good, and he called most of the close pitches on the sides correctly. Might have been a couple that are technically strikes, but if someone showed you that you would be getting that strike zone for the game you’re about to watch, I think I’d have a hard time finding people that wouldn’t take that.
The Giants are off for a weekend in St. Louis where it is raining right now in a game between them and the Royals, and my Yahoo! weather app is telling me there will be thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday (but there is a little sun logo behind the cloud, so maybe there’s hope), so hopefully those storms will only happen after the baseball games have run their course.
Also a positive for the Giants who have had to use their bullpen a lot lately, in the next eleven days, they will have three days off.
Cliff Lee has been a stellar pitcher for many years, and he was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae that was the “Those pitchers the Giants will face aren’t going to lose to them,” and we all remember what went down. Or do we?
Yes, yes we do. That run really was something else. Lee certainly is more than the 2010 World Series though, and he’ll look to remind the Champs tonight at AT&T.
Anywho, the lineups for today’s Phils-Giants game. Remember when they had those “Four Aces” and people wanted to tab that rotation as something unstoppable? Times sure have changed for the Fightins. The visitors will bring this out:
Lineup phils vs giants twitter.com/JSalisburyCSN/…
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) May 6, 2013
Delmon Young is playing Right Field tonight, which kind of reminds me of a certain play by him in LF in a certain postseason series…
The Champs, winners of six a row, bring out an Angel Pagan-less lineup:
Tonight’s lineup against Cliff Lee: Torres CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Peguero LF, Crawford SS, Belt 1B, Bumgarner LHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 6, 2013
I’m really not a big fan of the “you’re fast, so you lead off” thing that managers fall in love with, especially for a guy in Andres Torres, whom only has a better OBP than Brandon Belt right now (.306-.283). Not saying you should bat team leader Buster Posey first, but you do have other guys on the roster I’d be better with and have Torres at 7th or 8th in the lineup.
Here’s what Cliff Lee’s pitch usage looks like for the 2013 season:
Fastball-slider-curve to LHH, and then adds the change for the RHH, with a lot of confidence in each of his pitches in nearly any situation but that curveball in batter ahead scenarios. Clifton Phifer Lee has gone at least six innings in all but one of his starts this year, although the offense has already given him two starts of zero run support.
Meanwhile, at the farm:
Madison Bumgarner really likes to establish his dominance with that two-seamer, and hitters have to be ready for the curveball, cutter, or even the change in addition to that fastball when Bumgarner gets ahead. Like Clifton, Madison K. has gone at least six innings in all but one start, but the run support has always been between 2-4 runs for him.
Game time is at 7:15PM PST as the Giants begin their homestand against the Phils, then the Braves of the NL East.
Last night was a nightmare for Andres Torres and his fans after he whiffed on a soft line drive to him in the 4th inning, Barry Zito couldn’t get back on track, and the Padres were leading the Giants 6-5, putting up that many runs in that fourth inning. Painful, so very painful, and that doesn’t even include the grounder to Marco Scutaro that you’d expect would have started a 4-6-3 sending the game to the 13th inning. This leaves us wondering why Gregor Blanco never played last night, how long Torres stays with the big club, and some calling for Casper Wells to be had by the Giants after he was DFA’d by the Athletics. Thank goodness Jean Machi was able to throw 3 innings last night to save Sergio Romo or Jose Mijares from doing more work than they needed to, but certainly Ryan Vogelsong will probably be given a little bit longer of a rope today, even though the bullpen is still relatively well rested.
The lineup for the visitors:
Sunday’s #SFGiants lineup: Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Blanco LF, Crawford SS, Vogelsong RHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) April 28, 2013
Giants fans everywhere relieved to see Gregor Blanco in the lineup even though it’s a righty on the mound and he should be in the lineup.
How it lines up for the home team looking to sweep:
#Padres lineup: SS Cabrera, RF Venable, 3B Headley, 1B Alonso, LF Blanks, 2B Gyorko, CF Amarista, C Hundley, P Marquis.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) April 28, 2013
You will probably hear a bit about how pitcher Jason Marquis has a 2.94 career ERA against the Giants that goes all the way back to 2001. He had a 2.03 ERA against them last year in 13.1 IP, so you might hear the word “ownage” tossed around on the broadcast. Neither Ryan Vogelsong or Padres starter Jason Marquis have faced the Giants this year, although Vogelsong got to see the Padres four times last year and in 22.0 IP he sported a 2.05 ERA, 21 K’s, 6 BB, but we’re still kind of wondering what Vogey we’re getting this year after some inconsistencies and bad luck hurt his box score. Vogelsong has lasted seven innings in each of his last two starts. I’m sure the Giants would be more than happy with that, especially as they get ready to go to Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks on Monday for a three-game set there.
Looking at the four game losing streak, people are going to have questions for certain stats that are pretty telling for why a team lost a game. The stats for each game of the stretch:
Errors: 3 (Crawford, Sandoval, Belt), 1 (Scutaro), 0, 2 (Torres, Scutaro)
Team LOB: 7, 10, 6, 5
RISP: 2-for-9, 0-for-10, 0-for-5, 3-for-7
The Giants have also scored first in three straight games, but haven’t been able to hold on, so like Scutaro was saying yesterday, the team is having trouble getting the offense, defense, and pitching in sync right now, and I’d say that’s a fair analysis, although plenty of positive signs with the bats yesterday. Hopefully that continues today against Marquis and the Padres.
Game time is 1:10PM PST, MLB.tv is having a free preview day, so as long as you’re not in the respective team’s markets, you should be able to catch the game for free today.
With Spring Training happening now, prospect lists are coming out, from Baseball America and MLB most notably, fans start to compare farm systems and search within themselves how much that farm system matters to how they feel about their team. If you’re the Cardinals, you take pride in knowing the club you have at the major league level is of very good quality, and your farm provides plenty of promise. If you’re the Padres, you hold out hope for the future, because your farm has been good for some time while fans in San Diego have been left with a 2010 rush but not much else recently. If you’re a fan of the Giants, you’ve been given proof in postseasons and parades that the team at the major league level is worthy of being taken seriously, while the system may not be as top-heavy as it has been in the past, so you wonder how long the current MLB club can hold on until you will need reinforcements from the farm, not just on journeymen AAAA players.
While many of the Top 10 prospects of national lists have an estimated time of arrival in 2013, the MLB should expect to see plenty of new, highly-touted arms and bats before the end of the season, we’re not sure who from the Top 10 lists (or really any list) of San Francisco Giants minor leaguers that haven’t had their shot will crack the 2013 rosters AND be a useful piece.
Sure, Francisco Peguero could be useful here and there if one of the corner outfielders find the disabled list, but I haven’t seen a recent report that suggests he has the profile for an everyday spot. Gary Brown, the former number one prospect of the Giants could be that guy, especially with his strong second half he put up in Double-A Richmond. Roger Kieschnick‘s name got whispered last year by some fans, and he’s on the 40-man.
Conor Gillaspie has 48 PA across three different seasons, and you just hope he’ll be a good backup when the time comes, and you hope the same for the featured Fanfest kid Nick Noonan. All we’ve heard about Kensuke Tanaka is from Marty and his “Japanese feet.” Brock Bond has a cool name. That’s pretty much it when it comes to Giants prospects and who makes their living on the dirt.
The big names are all years away, although Chris Heston could be of use if one of the five go down. If he’s no good, then the Giants will probably draw from the AAA well, none of the others being prospects, mmmmaybe before checking in on Michael Kickham. Eric Surkamp is the wild card in all this, who says he’ll start resuming activities in July. Keep all this in mind as you consider whose contracts and service time with the Champs could be coming to a close after 2013.
If there’s anything we’ve seen with Sabean in the last few years, it’s that he’s got this, and this year he may not have to even trade any fringe major leaguers to shore up the ‘pen. Prospect Heath Hembree, still thought by Jonathan Mayo to be a potential closer, could start the year in Fresno and then force the issue after the first month of the season if someone in the bullpen goes down or gets consistently lit up. Perhaps Bochy sees that the front office calls up son Bret Bochy. Jason Martinez of MLBDepthCharts (who also wrote a “window of opportunity” article for ESPN that you should read) also has minor leaguers Jake Dunning and Fabio Castillo as other names to watch that haven’t had a taste of the Major League coffee yet.
Whose Swan Song Might 2013 Be
The Giants have about $70MM of their nearly $140MM budget committed to their rotation this year, but this could be the last year San Francisco pays to have two guys in Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito on their roster. Unless Ryan Vogelsong magically disappears this year, his $6.5MM option will be picked up, and the Giants will still be left wondering who to fill in to the 4th and 5th spots of the rotation with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner still leading a formidable 1-2 punch out of the gates. Do they commit the money that comes off the books to pitching? Posey? (<–the right answer. your argument is invalid.) Other offense?
The Giants got Hunter Pence for his bat, but his price tag is also very high, but one wonders how much it goes down if he continues what he did as a Giant in the regular season in 2013. If it doesn’t, though, do the Giants put out? Andres Torres, Javier Lopez, and Jose Mijares might also be tipping their caps to SF when the last game ends.
The Future is, and has been, now
Since the Giants have had a stable of young arms (plus Zito), people wondered what would happen if a team drew San Francisco in a best-of-series. 2010 was pretty much what some thought could happen, even if it did with a group of misfits. 2012 was a different set of happenings because the Giants went from three guys they could rely on with Jonathan Sanchez either walking everyone or finding his release point in ’10 to now in three guys and omg what about Lincecum and Zito? Still though, if you have a good to great rotation, and a strong top three for the playoffs, life might not be so bad for you (part of the reason why teams like the Nationals and Tigers should scare you). After this year, the questions arise: Who will be that #4? #5? Who will pick up the offense for an aging Marco Scutaro? (I’m pretty certain he isn’t going to be hitting what he did from acquisition & playoffs throughout his contract time.) Can Gary Brown be an answer?
This doesn’t mean that this is the very last year the Giants will compete in forever, but I believe if Lincecum is let go (which could be the right move in the long-term), and another offensive piece is not found/brought on, 2014 will be a difficult year with some of the top prospects starting to knock on the door for 2015. Therefore, if any big injuries happen to the rotation, or to the offense in 2013, Giants fans could find themselves grumbling for a couple of years before they can realistically start dreaming of parades again. Hopefully, health will be on their side, and everyone’s side, for that matter.
The job-less life leaves me to do whatever I want, when I want. Naturally, I’ve set up a routine to do the things I want to do, when I want to do them. I’m in a phase now where I exercise at the same time cable television decides to air their Japanese TV dramas, because where else am I going to get my language practice these days (put your hand down, internet). So today, after my usual set of things, I assume nothing happened in baseball, and especially nothing with the Giants when all of a sudden:
Ramon ramirez agrees to deal w/ SFGiants
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 5, 2013
Of course he did. Re-live the old glory, maybe he’ll get a 2012 WS ring for being a part of the Pagan trade. Speaking of…
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) February 5, 2013
Ha! Take THAT Sandy Alderson. Now the Giants have Angel Pagan for 4/40, Andres Torres for a year and $2MM, and now a non-major league deal for Ramon Ramirez, what do you got to sa–you know what, let’s move on. I don’t need you mentioning anything else from here about what you hav–
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) February 5, 2013
ISAIDSTOP! Always with the Wheeler wheminders.
Nineteen pitchers and twenty-three offensive guys threw pitches or had at bats for the Giants in 2010, so with the gang “all back together,” you might be wondering how many 2010 guys are still sporting some black and orange. Assuming we answer that using Jason Martinez’s projected 25-man roster for the 2013 Gigantes, the answer is twelve. Twelve out of the forty-two 2010 players are still there for a whopping 28.6%, with nine of them coming from the pitching side of things. Can’t remember which starter from 2010 still isn’t there anymore? Shame on you:
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) February 5, 2013
So, while there may be a sizable minority in terms of bodies (I didn’t calculate in terms of games played or innings pitched), I guess as long as there are guys like Buster Posey, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval around, there will always be a little 2010 in the SFG, no matter the year. In the February 2013 squad though, you should definitely be seeing more 2012 than 2010, and that’s not the worst thing in the world.