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Showing posts from 2014

What's Up With This Lackluster Giants Offseason?

Pablo Sandoval is now a Bostonian.  Jon Lester is a Lovable Loser.  Yasmany Tomas got lost in the desert.  If there's any truth to all these insane MLB rumors floated by everyone and anyone, those 3 players were the focus of our San Francisco Giants.  The Giants went 0 for 3. And if it's true that they planned on landing at least one of those players, it looks like they didn't really have any back up plans in case they missed out on ALL of them. Here it is, mid-December, and the free agent list has thinned to the point where we're now looking at guys like Emilio Bonifacio and Chris Denorfia to be the Giants big splashy signings.  That is, if they're willing to sign with San Francisco. It's been a weird offseason so far for the reigning World Champions.  They went after their star third baseman pretty hard but he opted for a new experience.  They kinda tried for Yasmany Tomas and reports say they came in 2nd for the bidding but if they REALLY wanted the guy

Adios Pablo - A Giant Chapter Has Closed

Pablo Sandoval, the beloved Kung Fu Panda, is now a Boston Red Sox. And Giants fans are PISSED. Ok, at least a lot of vocal Giants fans on various social media outlets.  Which is their right, of course. They feel betrayed, angry, hurt.  I get it.  He was a homegrown player.  He, in a lot of ways, served as the face of the franchise alongside Tim Lincecum during the post Bonds dark years.  Back when we had Bengie Molina batting clean-up.  Back when he was "Little Money" to Molina's "Big Money". Before he was "The Panda". But why all the hate?  Why all the taunts?  Why so quick to the "we hope you get really fat and suck from here on out" type of messages and angst? Pablo Sandoval is a professional athlete.  Key word there: Professional.  Pro Sports is first and foremost entertainment.  More importantly, it's a business.  It's an entertainment business.  How many of these angry Panda fans have ever left one job for another job f

A Giant Dynasty

They did it.  Again. The San Francisco Giants are your 2014 World Series Champions.  I'll go out on a limb and say that THIS Giants parade, this Giants trophy, this Giants championship may be the unlikeliest of them all. In 2010 and 2012 (2010 in particular), the Giants had amazing pitching from top to bottom. Lincecum was pitching like Cy Young Timmy, Cain was Cain, Bumgarner was a ridiculously talented and unflappable rookie, and even Jonathan Sanchez was awesome.  The bullpen was lights out and featured 3 relief arms that all eventually would be closers for the Giants in the playoffs (Wilson, Romo, Casilla).  The Giants had the pitching, they just had to make the playoffs.  And when they did, trophy #1 came a calling. In 2012, the Giants again relied heavily on their pitching.  Lincecum was NOT Cy Young Timmy but Cain was having arguably his best season and was the definitive ace.  Bumgarner had proven he was a stud.  And Ryan Vogelsong, after re-establishing himself as an M

A League Championship Series Devoid of Stars

Well, the Giants did it.  I don't really know how, but they backed into the playoffs, immediately got hot and beat the Pirates in the one game Wildcard playoff, outlasted the Nationals, the best team in the National League (and my NL Champion preseason pick) in the Division Series and after a wacky walkoff win today, lead the Cardinals 2-1 in the NLCS, leaving them two wins away from their third National League pennant in 5 seasons. Just the way everyone drew it up, right?  Yeah... right. So how did it happen?  How did THIS team get back to the NLCS?  I'm not a big believer in the whole postseason experience thing.  The 2010 Giants didn't have postseason experience and they didn't face a single elimination game en route to their championship. The Kansas City Royals haven't lost in the postseason yet and the last time they were here was 1985.  That being said, you HAVE to chalk at least some of the Giants success up to their experience!!  They haven't gotten

The Giants Are Limping to the Finish

Well, things are looking bad aren't they?  I mean, as bad as they can be for a team that is almost assuredly going to the playoffs. Yes, barring a total collapse this final week of the season, the Giants will be playing October baseball.  Granted, that October baseball looks almost certain to be a date with the Pirates for the one game wildcard play-in game.  And the way the Pirates are going (super hot) and the way the Giants are going (not so hot), San Francisco's October baseball appearance could be one and done on October 1st. Has there been a more enigmatic San Francisco Giants team? The Giants shot out to MLB's best record in baseball the first 2 months of the season.  They did so mostly by beating up on the NL West in April (inclusive of those Dodgers) and by having a 20 win May against some good teams.  They started June off well and swept the Mets and had a 43-21 record.  Then the wheels fell off.  They seemingly couldn't beat anyone the rest of June and

Are the Giants Playoff Contenders or Pretenders?

I haven’t written an entry for several weeks because I’m still staggered at how Brian Sabean and his staff looked at this 2014 team they put together, looked at the pool of NL contenders, and decided that standing pat at the Trade Deadline was an amazing idea.  I get that it wasn’t a buyer’s market and all that.   What I do know is that a lot of teams made a lot of moves at the deadline and the Giants (and thankfully the Dodgers) were not one of them. I wanted Ben Zobrist but at least I understand why the Giants did not get a second baseman.   Joe Panik has caught fire since being given the every day job and the Giants don’t have the budget (chuckle, they have it, they just don’t want to spend it) to have an All-Star at every position like the Dodgers aspire to have.   Panik is a cheap option now and hopefully into the future.   He doesn’t need to be a bopper, he just needs to be an adequate #2 or #7 hitter.   I think he can be.   He strikes out rarely, handles the bat well,

MLB Deadline 2014: What should the Giants do?

The Giants began the 2nd half with plenty of question marks as to what they needed to get better and after the opening series with the Marlins, the needs are still muddled. The Giants are horrific against left handed pitching.  In the final game of the Marlins series, they got shut down by Brad Hand, a guy who had 2 career wins in 39 career games and a lifetime ERA and WHIP of 4.73 and 1.54 respectively.  Tomorrow they get some dude named Cliff Lee.  The Giants have a lot of lefties in their line-up.  Surprisingly, Giants lefty hitters actually have been holding their own against lefty pitchers this season.   But that doesn't mean Bochy trusts those match-ups so that means more Hector Sanchez and more Joaquin Arias (or if we're lucky Ehire Adrianza).  That's bad news for whomever is the starting pitcher that day for the Giants. So does Sabean improve the bench to limit that exposure?  Does he get an everyday 2B he can trust and Bochy can plug in to the line-up daily?  D

Sabean's Conundrum as the Trade Deadline Approaches

Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are both now Oakland Athletics.  I guess it's better than them both being Dodgers or Cardinals or any other competitor of the Giants for a playoff spot.  However, it does basically price out David Price (a pun!) from the Giants shopping cart. Did you see the names that went to the Cubbies for Samardzija and Hammel?  Legitimate, top tier prospects.  The Rays, if they even choose to move Price, will look for a similar package.  Do you know what top tier prospects the Giants have to offer?  None.  Zilch.  Zero. Hence the problem with our Gigantes and the trade deadline at the end of the month. Last season the Giants prospect cupboard was a quasi barren wasteland.  All our "real" talent was in the low minors we were told.  It was relatively accurate.  Kyle Crick, our top prospect, was in Single-A ball.  So was Clayton Blackburn.  And Ty Blach.  Edwin Escobar was making a name for himself first in Single-A and then later Double-A.  Joe Pani

The Giants Are the Best Worst Team in Baseball or Something

On June 8th, after completing a 3-game sweep of the New York Mets, the Giants were standing as the best team in baseball.  They were 42-21, had a 9.5 game lead over the Dodgers, were dominant at home (22-9), and could seemingly do no wrong.  The bench was a problem but everything else was effing great.  Fans were not just asking if this team was really a 100+ win team, but if this was the best Giants team in the history of ever. Well, it was fun to dream. With the final game in the books for the Giants in June, they have erased that entire 9.5 game lead they built, they no longer look frightening at home (24-21), and they seemingly can't do anything right.  The bullpen has fallen apart with the biggest move being Sergio Romo losing his closer's job.  The starting pitching had an ERA of about a billion in June which didn't help things.  Then Tim Lincecum threw his 2nd career no-hitter and turned the starting staff around a bit.  But then the bats completely fell silent.

Is Yasiel Puig the new Barry Bonds?

Yeah, I said it. Barry Bonds was hated by most baseball fans.  He was hated by some IN baseball.  You would never hear anyone deny his talent however.  Even his harshest critics claimed Bonds was a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer before all the steroid nonsense came about.  But boy, did Bonds get it from every direction.  Fans, the media, teammates, ex-players... Bonds was always a hot topic.  He was vilified and respected.  Hated and beloved.  But no matter what view you had of Bonds, you simply had to watch. Bonds was a circus attraction.  From the beginning of his career when he was getting in yelling matches with Jim Leyland in Pittsburgh to his final season in San Francisco where he broke the all time home run record, Barry Bonds was THE main event.  During the peak of Bonds's career, the Giants were a huge draw in road stadiums.  How could a man so hated bring so many to the park?  Well, he did. AT&T Park was built practically by and for Bonds.  While other team

The Giants Need A Bench

It's mid-May and the Giants are in first place.  They are tied with Milwaukee (!) for the best record in the National League.  They are still hitting home runs all the time which is completely new.  Their starting pitching has turned the corner save for the consistently inconsistent Lincecum.  The bullpen has been a strength all season thus far.  And they're 17-12 against their NL West brethren, including a beautiful 7-3 mark against the Los Angeles Dollars, er, Dodgers. So what's wrong with the Giants? Well, they're about to get tested and here's why:  Their bench has been ridiculously awful.  To put into perspective how bad the bench has been, Hector Sanchez is hitting .236 with a .262 OBP and a .662 OPS and he's been San Francisco's best bench player.  Granted, Sanchez has had some big hits.  But those overall numbers are bad bad bad.  Like Neifi Perez bad.  And that's the BEST our bench has to offer. The rest?  Yikes. Mr. Utility Joaquin Aria