We can talk about the slide the San Francisco Giants are on, or we can look at individual performances that involve sample sizes that are way too small to project anything going forward in this post. I’m going to choose the latter because the former is a tired subject that makes me want to only pay attention to soccer and how the Dodgers are doing. Due to the injuries of Marco Scutaro, Brandon Belt, and the off-and-on-ness of Angel Pagan, the Giants bench has had to do more than its fair share of work. I think the good people of the world have figured out that Juan Perez, Brandon Hicks, Ehire Adrianza, Joaquin Arias, Hector Sanchez, Tyler Colvin, and Gregor Blanco are not meant to be full-time starters, but are better suited for back-up roles when they’re at their best. The best of the bunch is probably Blanco and he can have his stable moments, but big picture, bench player. In June, each has been able to contribute to at least a few games, so while I was playing with some spreadsheets I thought I’d share some of the numbers I found on June’s offensive production for these gentlemen and divide them into good performances, acceptable for a bench player, and being in the region for many fans calling for your demotion. You likely already know about Hicks, and possibly Blanco, but what about the other four?
The Good Bench Performances in June
In eighteen plate appearances, Juan Perez has done enough to stay, collecting two doubles and even hitting a home run (proof below that it happened) that are driving up his wOBA to an acceptable .359. His 38.9% K% is more along the lines of what we’d expect from him, and he also has zero walks in his few chances.
Gregor Blanco has had the lion’s share of starts in Pagan’s absence, and this month, he’s held his own with a .380 OBP, .349 wOBA, and three extra base hits. A wRC+ of 127 is cool, too, but please come back soon, Pagan.
Ehire Adrianza in twenty-seven plate appearances has been decent this month, despite collecting only one extra base hit, his wOBA is at .343, has his OBP is at .407. His ground ball percentage is 28.6% for the month and his K% is 11.1%, so we’ll see which one of those two is less sustainable (not that the other numbers are not sustainable).
The Acceptable Bench Performances in June
Joaquin Arias, who has an overall wRC+ of five this season, Arias has a wRC+ of 94 in June, a .350 OBP, and a .302 wOBA in twenty-plate appearances. There are some good numbers that come up, but for June, I’d say this is about what you would realistically hope to get out of a bench player.
Tyler Colvin I think is on the tail end of “acceptable” here, with a .290 OBP, .282 wOBA, and an 81 wRC+ with a couple extra base hits. If you wanted to say this wasn’t good enough to be in this tier, I wouldn’t blame you. He’s a bench player, and even though he’s making seven figures (an even one million dollars, Dr. Evil), you could do worse.
The June Swooners on the Bench
As long as Andrew Susac is in the minors and Brandon Belt is on the roster, Hector Sanchez will get playing time with Buster Posey getting his occasional time at first base with Tim Lincecum on the mound. Don’t get me wrong, Sanchez is a good back-up, I’d rather have him than other back-ups that the Giants have had in the past. However, June hasn’t been kind for Sanchez in the form of a .233 OBP, .237 wOBA, 50 wRC+ and a 30% K%, along with plenty of foul tips to the mask that are undoubtedly causing concern.
Brandon Hicks. A 38% K%, the .140 AVG in June has your attention, a .226 wOBA and 42 wRC+ also have some people impatiently tapping their foot and crossing their arms waiting for a move to replace Hicks. His April was something unexpected, but then he regressed to the Hicks that teams probably knew all along about. In all likelihood, the lightning has been used up, and especially in the midst of a losing spell, Giants fans don’t want to wait around to see if there’s any more left.
For those interested, I used this chart to help me organize my thoughts. Thank you, Fangraphs.
The Giants continue their series with the Diamondbacks today at 7:10 PM PST.
No. Not that Huff.
Let’s go chronologically through the moves, though. First, you have Joaquin Arias, 29 year old utility infielder that debuted eight years ago when he put up a .545/.583/.636 line (in twelve plate appearances). That guy got two years and two-point-six million dollars from the Giants. Let that be a lesson to you, kids. If you can play defense all over the infield and hit a little bit, you can still be a millionaire. If Arias had put up another year like he did in 2013, he probably would have been due for a raise again, and so in the end, the Giants probably saved some hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which may help them afford the reliever they pay millions later. Potentially good move.
Kobe Bryant also got two years from his team recently. Coincidence? Yes. Coincidence.
Then there was this late Friday afternoon:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 25, 2014
Cue all your Aubrey Huff jokes. Go ahead, get them out of your system.
Ok, now that you’re done, here’s a video of David Huff pitching against the Astros:
Can throw a fastball in the low-90’s, so he’s got that going for him. He’s started fifty-four games in his career, while pitching in sixty-nine games, pitching in the bigs since 2009. Began his career with the Indians, was with the Yankees for a little bit, the Yanks designated Huff for assignment on Wednesday, and then the Giants made a move for him. You’ll remember that in 2013 it was quite obvious the Giants had no depth at the starting pitching position. If everybody’s healthy in 2014, they’ll have Huff and Yusmeiro Petit waiting in the wings to spot start. Assuming Mike Kickham gets better, he’ll be in line as well.
Also, Jose Mijares signed with the Red Sox, so he gets to watch another ring ceremony at the beginning of the season if he breaks camp with them. Just doesn’t get a ring this time. Best of luck to you, Mijares.
Giants also exchanged numbers with Joaquin Arias. He wants $1.5M, they offered $1.1M.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2014
Settling on the mid-point for $1.3MM doesn’t seem like the worst compromise for the
penny-pinching now money-saving Giants. Arias has been a good utility guy for the Giants, but the clock may be running out on him, both for offensive ability reasons and if Joe Panik can be a useful utility infielder, perhaps Arias becomes less relevant. One of the bigger differences in the arbitration number swap comes courtesy of Brandon Belt and the San Francisco Giants:
Brandon Belt asks for $3.6M from the Giants. Team offers $2.05M.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2014
As a proud member of Team Not My Money, either of those numbers for Belt are great, and would set up nicely for a multi-year deal to buy out his arbitration years, and maybe even a free agent year. Imagine the possibilities with $3MM in 2014, and then maybe somewhere around $25MM for the next three. With $2.05MM as the base in 2014, that sets it up for even cheaper, and that’s nice, also.
We’ll see if the Giants go to arbitration with Belt (I’m going to assume they work something out with the other guy, Arias), but if they’re $1.6MM apart, maybe they can use this as fuel for the multi-year deal. I remember when the Giants did this when they were millions apart with Tim Lincecum back in 2012. It was kind of sweet how they did it, even if it did eat up a large chunk of the payroll, which Brandon Belt will not.
Is Belt the greediest guy in the arbitration playhouse? Absolutely
Biggest gaps: Masterson $3.75M, Bailey $2.9M, Fister $2.75M, Kimbrel/Trumbo $2.45M, Wieters $2.25M, Clippard/Freese $1.9M, Samardzija $1.8M.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 18, 2014
not. We shall see how this all plays out in the coming weeks.
Monday provided the good times for teams to decide whether they would hold on to players on their 25-man roster, essentially tendering them a one-year deal that could go through the arbitration process, or non-tendering them, making them a free agent. Beat writer Hank Schulman gave a one-tweet rundown of whom you needed to get ready for:
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 3, 2013
So, with that said, let it be known that the Giants decided to tender Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, Tony Abreu, Yusmeiro Petit, and Joaquin Arias, while saying ta-ta officially to Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero. Some thoughts on the tenders (mmm… tenders…):
Belt: The most divisive first baseman on the planet because some thought he was going to be the second coming of Buster Posey and hasn’t been that (yet). Still, being an above-average MLB 1B with above-average MLB numbers make him a no-brainer to keep around. Plus, there have been rumors going around that the Giants would like to get a multi-year deal done with Belt, presumably to buy out his arbitration years through 2017.
Blanco: A joy to watch in the outfield and has decent enough splits against RHP to warrant him being in the lineup against them. Paying a couple mill to someone that can hit RHP and provide you with speed seems worth the money to me.
Abreu: A journeyman that played with four teams at the MLB level in five seasons. Defense isn’t rated as anything positive, and his offense is good against LHP, so while the Giants have no platoon going on with Marco Scutaro or Pablo Sandoval, Abreu’s bat can give some reason to give one of them a day off. For those that want to argue against Abreu’s ’13, his career numbers don’t suggest the 29-year old can keep it consistent.
Petit: He was one pitch away from a perfect game, but let us not forget he also had six outings of six or more strikeouts. In three outings he offered zero walks. In his eight outings, only one time did he not go five innings, and that was in his last start of the season. I do not mind the Giants taking a gamble on Petit to see how much longer he can mystify hitters, but I will admit, I’m not expecting much.
Arias: His value is with the glove, and his ability to play multiple infield positions, and not with the stick. You expect his .346 BABIP against RHP to stick when it’s been a career .298? Me neither. The Giants would be paying probably a little over a million if they held on to him to be depth on their bench. Pinching pennies, but you can get someone younger to do that for half the price. Looks like the Giants have their middle infield bench set as long as nobody else beats out Arias and Abreu for those spots.
To be frank I thought Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero were already gone so that’s why this move came as kind of odd to me. That’s what you get when you don’t go on your phone from 10pm-5pm every week day.
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.
Lineups have been posted for tonight’s Giants-Dodgers game, and Brandon Belt is still a little sick, so…
No Belt, maybe still sick … Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Arias 1B, Torres LF, Crawford SS, Bumgarner LHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) April 2, 2013
That’s right, Joaquin Arias is really playing first base tonight — for the first time since July 9th, 2010 when he was with the Rangers!… and with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu toeing the mound tonight, Andres Torres will continue to be that platoon guy in LF. The Dodgers roll out their vs. LHP lineup
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 2, 2013
Speculation is that Carl Crawford’s out since there is a LHP on the mound, yet Andre Ethier is still out there… but you wouldn’t want to bench two guys right off the bat like that, even against a lefty… I mean, are the options on the bench really that much better than Ethier?
This will be Ryu’s first career MLB regular season start, and the Giants did not face him during Spring Training, but I’m pretty sure they have video on him. Here’s a snapshot of what Baseball Prospectus’ scouting staff thought of him:
The Tools section say “5” which equals a MLB average pitch, while a “6+” suggests a better than MLB average pitch, and you’ll notice it’s that changeup, so keep an eye out for that tonight as we all collectively scout him. My plea to you is that if Ryu struggles, don’t seriously consider him “done” or “overrated” or whatever falls into line with that. It’s one start, and first game jitters could very well hit him, and maybe even Madison Bumgarner.
For those that have been off social media or the San Francisco Giants home website, the Giants, along with a slew of other teams, have avoided salary arbitration with some of their players, all of them one-year deals announced today, for SF at least. Every year, fans go through a period of confusion as to what all this salary arbitration means. Plenty assume that avoiding salary arbitration means that a team has kept a player from signing with another team. However, avoiding salary arbitration is not the same thing as free agency. For more extensive reading on it, I’ll direct you here. If you follow Henry Schulman on Twitter, you’ve seen he’s been pretty good about being civil in educating them on the process. What you need to know is this: the players listed are due raises from what their 2012 salary was, and guys with names like Pence and Posey are probably going to see bigger raises than Mijares and Blanco, in terms of the dollars. Also consider that since Pence has been around longer as a bigger name, his salary will be more substantial. To put it in Hank’s words, with my own added emphasis: “Player$ love thi$ proce$$.” I’ll list the players, their service time, their 2012 salary, then their 2013 salary for you.
Hunter Pence — 5.156 years, $10.4MM in ’12, $13.8MM in ’13
Buster Posey — 2.161 years, $615K in ’12, $8MM in ’13
Jose Mijares — 4.024 years, $925K in ’12, $1.8MM in ’13
Gregor Blanco — 2.164 years, $516K in ’12, $1.35MM in ’13
The remaining Giants left to deal with are:
Sergio Romo — 4.097 years, $1.575MM ’12
Update: Romo and the Giants have exchanged numbers for the other side to look at. Romo’s side has filed $4.5MM, and the Giants have filed $2.675MM.
Joaquin Arias — 3.071, ?? in ’12
This has predictably opened up a conversation about a long-term contract with Buster Posey, and there are plenty of options: year-to-year, buy out the rest of his arbitration years (through 2016), super long-term deal that buys out some of his free agent years at a high price. The Giants and Posey’s camp have expressed interest in a long-term deal, but it remains to be seen if something gets done.
As this Alden Gonzalez article mentions, the Giants and Romo+Arias have until February to get something worked out, and both sides would really rather not go to arbitration court since some not nice things can be said and feelings could get hurt. Sometimes, sides can agree on something at the last minute, like when the Giants and Tim Lincecum did right before a hearing once upon a time.
My numbers might be different than other people’s, but I have the Giants 2013 payroll commitments at $133,149,999.66 between 17 players, 16 of them active for the Giants (Huff being the odd man out). Larry Baer has said they’re looking to be closer to $140MM, and they’re on track for that.