Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hot Stove Update: All Quiet on the Western Front

Sorry for the slowness in getting a post up.  The hot stove is so cold right now, it might have to be re-lit altogether.  Hopefully the Upton signing gets things going.

The biggest news potentially affecting the Giants is a report that the Dodgers new TV deal will likely be for, get this, $6 BILLION over 25 years.  In other words, the deal allows them to cover the highest payroll in MLB by a healthy margin without selling one ticket to Dodger Stadium!  Come to think of it, that may be necessary for them as they are going to have to keep ticket prices low to get anybody to go to that place!

The Dodgers seem to be the assumed frontrunners for Zack Grienke.  Grienke is a good pitcher and a darling of the sabermetric crowd, but he also has never quite performed up to his peripheral stats.  Estimates have him getting  in the vicinity of 6 years/$150 M which seems a bit rich for him to me, but pitching is in short supply on the FA market and the Dodgers need pitching badly.

The Angels seem to be conceding Grienke to the Dodgers or some other team out there which will put them in a world of hurt as they do not currently have anything past their top 2 starters Weaver and Wilson.  Speaking of the Angels, they signed Ryan Madson to an incentive laden deal coming off TJ.  They are reportedly shopping Jordan Walden.

Speaking of BJ Upton, here's a progression of his HR's over the last 5 seasons:  2008- 9, 2009- 11, 2010- 18, 2011- 23, 2012- 28.  He's maintained a high K rate so he will probably remain BA challenged and that will cause his HR's to plateau, but he will probably remain a 25/30 guy over most of his contract which is worth something, especially to fantasy players.

It seems all but assured that the Giants will not tender Brian Wilson a contract so as to avoid the arbitration process which would guarantee him over $6 M.   That is the right decision.  I would say there is less than a 50% chance of Wilson re-upping with the Giants after that.  We'll see, but it's the right call for the Giants to non-tender him.


  1. Ha ha, good movie, I've heard.

    Eh, you never promised to post daily.

    The Dodgers seem to have the Candlestick syndrome now where they draw when they are winning. Their tickets, if I recall right, are higher than average, it is the Angels who had to drop prices down a lot in order to fill the stadium, a strategy their new (then) billionaire owner decided on to boost interest in the team when competing with Dodgers for attendance.

    In any case, someone commented on my site that they can't spent the whole amount, but the main point to me is that they get a lot more money than any other NL team now, and can spent accordingly to that level now. For example, they can probably have over $50M of dead salary now, and still outspend every other team in the NL, which like how the Yankees have been doing it over the years.

    I don't see how Greinke don't end up with Dodgers unless the Yankees swoop in (or even Boston). The money just don't make sense for any other team, at that price range.

    Regarding Jered Weaver, a recent article analyzed whether he's on the decline too, to add to the Angel's starting rotation woes. (I think it was Fangraphs, but my memory is now sketchier).

    Upton over that time has moved from an OBP hitter to a HR power hitter, while still stealing a lot of bases. Makes him ideal #3 hitter, based on the lineup regression analysis and The Book's lineup analysis, now that I'm thinking of it.

    Yeah, BWeez looks to be non-tendered now, $6.8M is the actual number, so close to $7M than six. There seems to be some bad public blood right now out there, and hurt feelings on his part, but I had a gut feel that he had one foot out the door after all those stunts he did after the 2010 World Series (or even earlier that season), as people like that gravitates to the SoCal area eventually.

    And at 31 YO next season and his second TJS, I'm OK with a small base paired with an incentive deal where appearances give him bonuses, but that's all.

    The Giants do not owe him lifetime employment, and he got $8.5M this season, and let's not forget that he got $6.5M for his 2011 season too, $15M in total, as he was already clearly not his usual self in 2011, walking a lot more and striking out a lot less.

    And it was not all for the team alone, he got his ring, which he'll have forever, he got immense publicity as the guy on the mound when the Giants won and in the following photos of the scrum on the mound, he got his Taco Bell deal (I think, or was it another fast food chain?), he got all those late night guest shots, including the one where he dressed as a ship's captain that garnered a lot of attention. He has already set up his post-career job as color analyst pretty well.

    1. Two rings, for the second of which he led a cheering squad, not pitched. You say, ogc, that you would be OK with a smaller base plus incentives; one might ask, why isn't Wilson OK with that too? Since his surgery we have had lots of brave pronouncements from him about how ready he would be, or even improved. Does he not believe himself? Perhaps the incentive clauses are so stingy that no matter how well he does he still can't get up to $7M. But if that's not it, then his bravado is stripped bare. Also: one is told that Lincecum's fastball velocity has declined because that's what happens with age; and since Lincecum is younger than Wilson, should the same not be true of Wilson--leaving aside the Tommy Johns--who depends so heavily on his fastball as a strikeout pitch, not as a pitch largely used to set up some specialty pitch?

      As to the D--g--s, aren't they paying League and Jansen to close? Are they going to pay League $7M/year to be a set-up man?

    2. I was referring to his stance, which is that he sacrificed his body for the team to win in 2010, when I was talking about the ring.

      Well, some players feel an entitlement from the game, and it appears he is one of them. Just because he thinks he can meet the incentives does not mean that he is happy to have to do that to get the money that he feels he deserves for pushing himself in 2010.

      Wilson would be an idiot if he joined the Dodgers after two TJS and expect to be the closer. Also, I doubt he'll be ready for the start of the season, most players don't recover from their FIRST TJS until after a year, and he thinks after his second one he can do it in under a year? He should expect to come in mid-season as a set-up guy, but League has not proven to be a great closer consistently yet (hence why he only got $7M to be a closer) and assuming he does as well as he thinks he will, could steal the position when League runs into trouble at some point in the season. That's how I would think, given what Wilson's apparent stance.

  2. Dodgers have all that money, sure. But they still only get to field 25 guys. And even at that, the bench can only be so strong. Guys like Victorino will sign elsewhere (for less if necessary) rather than sit on pine in Chavez Ravine.

    And then they'll have the problem of a full house when something shinier comes along. No talk of Hamilton to LA. That's for a lot reasons. But, chief among them is they're all full up in the OF.

    Agreed on Grienke. Don't know who else is going put out $150 million for him. I understand the guy's value. But, really, only one great year. Everything else is solid. And not even Cain solid. It's a crazy overpay.

    Unless the Dodgers start collecting rings (and with a 10-team playoff format, that's pretty unlikely regardless of who they run out there) they are going to disappoint. Nobody really likes it when you buy a championship. But, when they pay for a championship and don't get it, well then they'll really start to irritate and embarrass the fan base.

    Wilson should really make nice with Giants. OGC is right, LA is kind of a fit for his act. But, the Dodgers pen is not in bad shape. They don't really need him. Not sure they're as welcoming up in Anaheim.

    I like his thing, schtick, whatever he does. But he annoys a lot of other people. A pitcher with a suspect arm and tired act is not going to get a lot warm invites.

  3. So Chris Haft leaked out that Cody Ross upset the apple cart by upping his demands last minute when the Greybeards thought they had a deal. Its kind of funny to me the two OFs leaving told totally different stories, Don Carlos and Cowboy Cody. Ross' story was "they didn't even make an offer". Players get some leeway with Sabean & Co being very quiet to the media. The only ship has sailed guy who came back is Bengie, as far as I remember. So on the cheap RH hitter front, maybe we start looking at Ryan Ludwick. In a market where Gomes gets 2/10MM Ludwick most likely goes to 2/15MM I imagine. His defense (playoff magic notwithstanding) is pretty bad, but he does have nice RH power. It would most likely be a go-South deal.

    The Doyers are getting Greinke. I hope they get all record setting, so they can go do it again with Kershaw in a year. There will be a limit to this tomfool spending, and its gotta be 250MM. So get used to the Doyers being 100MM or so ahead of our guys. And this is why I want a few more 100K gambles on HS arms instead of college seniors. The Giants will need to go a tad less conservative on their budget and development to get the best talent.

    Wilson is getting older, and that 2nd TJ should scare. I loved him turning into Mo Riv for the 2010 playoffs, and will treasure that forever. I'd be careful with discarding relievers, but the shadow of Nen cuts both ways - an injured expensive reliever is completely useless. If he wants to go be a Doyer he's gonna hear it big time when he comes up 9 times a year. I think people were forgiving with Uribe due to his low profile and bad performance. Wilson actually gets in a game, it would be pretty crazy. Good Giant, I would prefer him not to go there, but if he does... We got quite a track record of busts going right now, and the odds are he will bust as well.

    1. Yes, Bengie is the only one, but I view his circumstance as different, as the Giants did not yet sign a free agent to take his position, they had an unproven prospect who they already thought still needed some seasoning in the minors before bringing him up. When he realized that he was asking for too much, it was too late, and he was lucky the Giants had not signed Yorvit Torrealba yet, I think Bengie stole his contract.

      Ludwick leaves me cold, particularly at that price and lack of defense.

      Good point about Greinke's domino effect on Kershaw, but I would note that it also boomerangs on our efforts to try to sign Lincecum to another short term deal into his free agency years. Though maybe that's because I'm still hoping to sign him whereas a lot of people have already written him off.

  4. Speaking of Upton's deal benchmarking, does LA's TV deal mean we can get something like that, if not close, at least half way decent, like $3 billio for 25 years?

    I mean, that seems like good news to me.

    And the Giants can draw from a huge fan base (thus big TV ratings), from northern and central California, to Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, etc. and our local competitor is not as fierce as the Angeles (and no San Diego and Diamondbacks lurking a little further out).

    1. I'm wondering the exact same thing. After two WS, and with coverage of the whole BA and huge swaths of the west coast, should the Giants not have similar offers coming up?

      Is their partnership with comcast more lucrative, but just more under-the-table? We should not be $100 mil behind the lowly dodgers. Doesn't concern me much, but we shouldn't have to worry about cash to lock up folks like Scutaro after his greatness last year.

    2. I know the feeling too, saw it the same way.

      Unfortunately, the Giants signed a long-term contract at much lower rates a few years back, before 2008, and it expires in 2032. So it's going to be a long while to get that level of richness. And we don't know how much they are getting now, though apparently there are escalator clauses:

      What I wish I would see in these articles is how much they USE TO GET and what the net-gain over previous contracts. Most only quotes the most recent contract, but few that i've seen discuss how much the team used to get, so that we can get a sense for how much of a jump and potential extra spending they would do.

      In any case, I think it is fair to say that the Dodgers could double our pay roll and not blink an eye.

    3. The Giants are one of several teams that have partial ownership interest in the cable/satellite TV network that broadcasts their games. The stake is about 30-35%. Nobody knows how much they make from this ownership stake so no way to compare with the Dodgers' contract. As ogc pointed out, they are locked in for a long time, but have some escalator clauses built in. All in all, it sounds like a pretty good deal for the Giants that protects them from inflation.

    4. You never know, but you have to assume they are astute businesspersons and to lock themselves in for 24 years (2008 to 2032) - that's a long time and things can change quite a bit - you assume they would protect themselves and if LA got a market rate deal or slightly above (can't imagine too many lopsided deals with that much money on the table), the Giants' can't be that far off (of what the market would give them, adjusted for the difference in audience sizes).

      There should also have been more money to throw around (maybe with an initial lower teaser rate) in 2008 than 2012, though with the zero-interest rate policy, you never know.

  5. The winter meeting is only a few days away, and the Giant's roster stands at only 35 players. It seems like the Giants have purposely left roster space open for the rule V draft. The question is, are there players that you would pick in the Rule V draft?

    I am also glad that the Giants are maintaining some roster flexibility by not protecting players who are unlikely to be drafted. I think the Giants lost Jon Coutlangus and Brian Burres several years back because they were put on the 40 man, and the Giants had to waive them later when they needed the roster spots for injury replacement players.

    Anon #1

    1. The Giants typically select only 1 via the Rule 5 draft, and often skips it altogether, like many other teams.

      The 35 is for a couple of reasons, in my opinion. First, they are still hoping to sign Pagan and Scutaro. That's two spots. I expect them to sign an OF and MI, in any case. Plus, I would think that they would want Theriot back, if nobody grabs him. That's three, leaving two. One Rule 5 pick leaves one spot to take a flier on a non-tender perhaps, or another free agent who falls through the cracks and is cheap in January.

      I was upset about Coutlangus and Burres (plus Buscher 3B-Twins and Misch LHP-Mets and Paterson LHP-AZ) when they happened, but ultimately, the Giants didn't lose anyone good. Maybe they could have used them in throw-ins, but you aren't really going to pick up a lot of good veteran talent trying to trade these guys.

    2. I saw a list of Rule 5 prospects recently on BA. I could see the Giants taking a flyer on 1 or 2 hard throwing relievers.