Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hot Tips

Gary Brown is finishing his AFL stint strongly.  Last night he went 3 for 6 to raise his BA to .333.

Joe Panik went 0 for 5.  Observation:  Prospects with at least AA experience performed better in the AFL.

LOL Yankees dumpster diving players waived by the Giants.  Eli Whiteside is now a Yankee.

Free content article on BA, a cautionary tale about emphasizing HS prospects in the draft and how that approach may have contributed to the decline and fall of the Boston Red Sox.

Also on BA, a list of 2013 minor league FA's.  No real surprises from the Giants and nobody they can't live without.

There has been a flurry of mock drafts for 2013 now that the draft order has been set.  Here's a few just to give you an idea of what type of player may be available to the Giants at #27(I think they are going to get a good player):

Big League Futures V.1:  Jonah Wesely, LHP, HS.  Big hard throwing LHP.

Big League Futures Composite Mock:  Marco Gonzalez, LHP, Gonzaga.  Don't know much about him.

Bleacher Report:  Oscar Mercado, SS, HS.  I'd be ecstatic if the Giants drafted him, but likely will go higher.  No single outstanding tool but solid all around and can stick at SS.

Through the Fence Baseball:  Brett Morales, RHP, HS.  Hard throwing HS arm.  Love this kid, but some other mocks have him going higher, although he is the only prospect listed at #27 on multiple mocks.

Draftsite:  Brian Ragira, 1B/OF  Stanford.  Love the power potential.  His swing reminds me of Hank Aaron.  Very wristy.  Stanford tends to ruin hitters, though.

Any other news out there?

PS:  Ricky Oropesa goes 3 for 4, HR(2), BB.  BA= .250 in today's AFL game.


  1. Waiting for that hot stove to heat. GM meetings start in Indian Springs, I guess we're not getting a live presser this year with Sabes and Bochy. I'm kind of bummed about that, I love those pressers.

    Maybe they're waiting to have somebody to announce? I think Pagan is going to get outbid, Scutaro is in a very narrow MI market that could go either way, and the Doyers are going to throw an insane amount of money at Affeldt. We'll see, and I'm comfortable the Greybeards are making the right play on all of this.

    The Yanks got a pretty good loogy off of waivers from the Pads, Josh Spence. He isn't a hard thrower, but he's young and effective. The AL East is really into waiver claims, the Blue Jays are out of control on that front.

    I would be absolutely psyched to have Mercado fall to us, but I doubt it. California prepster SS's Chris Rivera and JP Crawford are very interesting to me. Here's a BA article on them:

    That Jonah Wesely character hits every branch on the Giants tree as he falls down. That would be a great pick.

    Here are my other three guys that I think might be there, might be great. I think we have to look college first, Cape Cod Summer League player of the year, keep a close eye on this guy next year: Phil Ervin. He's from Alabama. He bats RH. He's 5'10. He's a gap hitter who had a power eruption at the cape with wooden bats... See where I'm going? Yeah, silly. But still...

    On the HS front, besides those CA prep SS's, I think the GA preps need some looks: Frazier/Meadows get all the hype. A very interesting alternative is Josh Hart. Even more interesting to me is this 3B Travis DeMeritte. They are on a stacked East Cobb team. BA has a video somewhere, can't find it right now.

    The Giants will get somebody interesting. Seems like a weak college class again, some interesting HS guys. I won't hold my breath on them grabbing a HS guy as they really are in win now mode, but you never know. I think that Boston article, as well as the note that the Rays have not produced ONE major league player in the past 5 years of drafting is a big deal, and shows that these draft machinations might be severely overrated.

    1. What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that teams with intimate knowledge of a player has a huge advantage over other teams. If a player is being traded, there is generally a skeleton in his background leading the team to trade (though there will always be the bone-head trades).

      Picking up players via waivers gives you a good look at a particular player you are interested in with very little risk. This can allow a team to build up a database of how their internal evaluations compared to prospects years later, giving them potentially data that they can use to make better decisions going forward (and perhaps as a way to evaluate scouts savvy and skills, as well).

      Don't know if that is why the AL East is doing this, but that's a thought that has popped up for me.

      Yeah, I'm disappointed that there was no presser, but with signing our free agents a high priority and maybe extending Posey and Lincecum, plus prepping for the GM meetings, which is only, what, 10 days after the end of the World Series, don't leave much time for doing that presser. Hopefully, as you suggest, they are waiting to announce some good news in conjunction.

      I would note that the Rays magic with the draft disappeared around the time that they started competing for the division title and winning a lot of games. It's what I've been saying for a long while now about the draft, teams competing for the playoffs get lousy draft picks and winning consistently means that the talent spigot from the draft is very restricted.

      The lack of success with high school players was one of the conclusions of BP's draft study, that HS players are high risk picks. The Rays made a nice story with their 2% Solution, but that's not going to get you anywhere in the draft, which is where all the leverage in obtaining talent is.

      The only machination with the draft that I have seen to be successful is deliberately burning down the team, resulting in years of horrible losing, but gaining great draft picks that seeds future success. That moves you from 10% success rate in finding a good player to 40%+ with a Top 5 pick. That's an increase of 4 times the success rate, that trumps 2% anytime.

      Few teams can continue to win without losing. The Yankees did it using the infinite money with infinite monkeys method, which I credit their last championship. The Braves I give credit for not really losing much (slightly, 2006-8) before winning again, but it helped that they picked up Heyward, who probably should have been a Top 10 pick, but he deked the teams into thinking he's going to college because of his two college professor parents. Then again, one championship over those years, maybe there is something off with their formula. The Giants only needed 4 losing seasons, only two really bad ones, most take a longer and more tortured stretch (think Giants 1972 to Sabean taking over). And Sabean was lucky and good, with finding Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey in consecutive drafts, plus throw in the Brandons too.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. I think Lincecum is worth the risk if he's willing to take a lower (but still large) salary in a long-term deal. Say 3-4 years at $22-25M per. With his poor season in 2012, he risks a huge loss in contract size value if he stumbles again. Meanwhile, the Giants survived the Zito contract at roughly the same salary level, he could potentially replace Zito on the books if he does go south. But given what he has produced for us in his career already, I have no problem with that.

      Meanwhile, his performance as a reliever shows that we can still get great value out of him if we need to make him the closer (imagine him pitching 2-3 innings to get a save like in olden times, but his rubber arm allows him to close out every other game).

      And if he has a good year in 2013, who knows how much his agents will ask for.

      It is a risk, but not a crazy risk in my opinion, a calculated risk because we do have options should he falter again, but I think DrB's explanation of what went wrong is close enough to the truth that I think he will be the Timmy of old in 2013. I see this as a buy low opportunity where the size of the contract will be tempting enough that Tim and his agents won't want to risk another season similar to 2012 facing his free agency in the 2013 post-season. Win-win for both sides, and hopefully the long-term contract will relax Timmy enough to pitch like he can and has.

    4. A $75-$100 million for Tim coming off '12? Not a chance. Anything comeback short of a '08-'09 performance in 2013, and I STILL wouldn't go even $80 million.

      Tim failing in a Zito contract situation for the Giants obviously wouldn't be as disastrous for the Giants given his personal and team success. But something happened in 2012. And the chances of it continuing, or even returning after a single resurgent season are very high.

      Tim had great success humping up and throwing hard for 2-4 innings in the playoffs. That is a long way from being starter who is predictable and secure enough to invest 8 figures.

      This is the reason why the Giants didn't offer more than $100 million after the '11 season, BEFORE Timmy fell off the cliff. Why would they want to offer that kind of money now?

      Sabean would probably be best served not devoting any thought to extending Tim. If Tim's people want to come up with something that is in the Giants interest, then of course listen.

      I don't feel any of the urgency I felt when it was time to extend Cain.

      Tim's hardline stance on becoming a FA has now helped the Giants. Let's not go running over and bailing Tim our now that he's value is way down.

    5. I would never give Lincecum a $70-$100m contract for 3 or 4years after the horrible year that he had. You are also saying that you wont worry if Lincecum turns out to be Zito?? I would, and I know the Giants front office will as well, at the end of the day is a business, you pay for what the player is doing now not for what hes done. Thats what smart teams do. Look at the Cardinals with Pujols.

      Even if Lincecum returns to his old form he couldnt ask for more than $22-$25m a year. He would ask for a 6-7yr deal but I would rather give him that kind of contract after am sure that 2012 was an off year rather than put at risk $70-$100 million.

      And yeah he was great in the bullpen, but no reliever is worth $20+.

    6. OK. It's OK to disagree, even vehemently. It's not OK to pick out one sentence or fragment of a sentence and take a shot from behind an Anon handle. A word to the wise: I will hit the button on that kind of stuff!

    7. OGC is saying 3-4 years at 66-100MM. Its a compromise - you get the years, Timmy gets the money. Especially at the short end of 3/66MM, that is something at least worth exploring. The Gints topped out at 5/100MM. Unclear if that included buying out the two years of 2012-13, but I think it did.

      The legendary firemen from the 70s got up to 120-130 IP and 3.0 WAR, as a rough guess. Sure, at the 5MM/WAR always thrown out, you're losing money on Timmy. But what if WAR = 6MM and nobody knows it? You're getting close at least, and you are doing something no other team in baseball is doing...

      Its just an idea, I don't think its plausible from the Giants perspective that you pay SPs the big bucks, Timmy's people in terms of maintaining his market value, but I think its a cool idea. Big Time Timmy Jim showed up at the end! How much of a gambler are you? I think trying to get Timmy locked up for less years is an interesting proposition, gambling against him being able to adjust again/come back in shape/whatever he needs to do. Biggest question of the season.

    8. Also, to Anon (who didn't get the button's point) - the Giants have more to worry about with Timmy than just turning into Zito. He is an absolute legend, he is an absolute crowd favorite, and he is an absolute fan favorite. Game 1 of the NLCS when he hit the stairs to go warm up, just hitting the stairs from the dugout, to warm up was one of the biggest cheers I've ever heard, and I've been to that park for a lot of big events and big games. Timmy is gigantically important to marketing, to the identity of this team, and that counts for a helluva lot. Obviously he has to leave it on the field as well, but this is no normal FA situation, this is The Franchise.

    9. that didn't go so smooth - the Anon (get a handle already) who didn't get DrB's button - and I meant to say absolute CASUAL fan favorite.

    10. Wow, I stirred the bee's nest, didn't I?

      Sure, such a deal is a risk, but any large deal is, Bonds, Cain too. I sure got nervous when Cain was ordinary for that long stretch after his Perfecto. I worried each and every year of Bonds contract as well.

      What people are forgetting is that if Lincecum returns to his 2008-9 heights, he's not getting $22-25M per year, he's going to start the bidding at $25M and is shooting for $30M, probably looking for a 7-10 year deal in the $200-300M range. Tim could go on and have a HoF career over that life of contract, but I wouldn't take on that 7-10 year risk, and I would not want the Giants to either, as he could flame out too. Plus, I'm afraid that the Dodgers WOULD take that risk, so it is not all about the Giants, it is about the NL West competitive balance.

      We have a window here to try to get him for a lower, more manageable contract size. I only refer to Zito as an example of how as long as a player can still provide good value in performance, his contract is not a huge albatross. People don't realize that Rowand's contract was actually a bigger failure because we got so little value out of him. BB-Ref has him at 1.9 WAR over the five year contract (actually four years since he didn't play this year, so let's call it an even 2.0 WAR for the five, had he played for us). Zito has basically given us 1.5-1.9 WAR almost each season, which covered about half the contract, but more importantly, was still a good value for the team. Sure, it would be better to get closer to the contract value, but at least he wasn't the hole that Rowand was.

      My point about Lincecum is that if he can deliver 3.06 ERA as he did in the second half of 2012 (until his last two starts, when I assume he tired out), that is good enough to get from a $22-25M salary. Cain delivered roughly 3-ish ERA over 2010-12, roughly 3.5 WAR, which in today's dollars are roughly short of $20M value. That's close enough that it is not a huge problem.

      However, even if he does not prove to be OK in 2013, say, and we do have to move him into the bullpen, we can still get a lot of value out of Tim's contract despite him not starting like he has shown he can. He did not hump it up in the playoffs as a reliever. People assume that (so did I) but I read somewhere that his velocity was not raised when he was relieving. He was just either more comfortable starting or, what I suspect, is that he was too tired to start, but relieving gave him enough rest to pitch like he can.

    11. This gets back to what DrB has been noting here all season, that Tim is suffering from poor physical conditioning for the rigors of an MLB season. He lost a massive amount of weight last off-season, after adding a massive amount of weight the previous off-season. That has to have affected both his mechanics as well as his stamina. Then his failures preyed on his confidence, people need to remember that 2012 was his first extended period dealing with failure, he only had roughly a month all the other times, else he has been dominating most of the time. But by mid-season, with the All-Star break refreshing his mind and body, and his conditioning was finally getting close to OK, he was able to come out of the break and led the rotation in ERA until his last two starts where he clearly did not have it.

      Again, I think he ran out of gas due to poor conditioning, but with rest during the playoffs, he was able to pitch well. In his one start, he had 3 days of rest, but did poorly, which I credit with his lack of confidence starting. But yeah, just my guessing.

      The way I see it, if Lincecum was done, he would not have had a Tim-like performance for most of the second half - 3.06 ERA, 79 K's in 79.1 IP, 2.3 K/BB - and would not have been able to pitch well in relief. Now's the window open for trying to get him to sign a shorter deal, not as risky in size and years and annual salary.

      Both sides take a risk, but a big contract like that would be a huge guarantee given how iffy he looked in 2012. His confidence is clearly shaken and he might be open to a deal. Pitchers are most reliable in their early 30's and a new contract like I suggest would cover that. If we wait for the huge contract, it would stretch into his late 30's, no thanks. Even if he's done starting, we could still get great value out of him relieving. And we keep him out of the hands of the Dodgers.

      And there is where I think people are missing the other side of the equation: what if you are wrong and this was just a blip in his career? What if he did have another 2008-9 season? There is no way the Giants win any bidding war with LA, either team. They are too fiscally constrained, whereas both LA teams have billionaires willing to put their money where their mouth is. Are you really willing to risk that? Are you that sure that he is done?

      And don't believe for a second that the Dodgers new owners wouldn't love to stick it in the Giants face, signing away their 3-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (assuming he returns to 2008-9 greatness). Colletti did the same before by signing Schmidt. I was happy with that because I was sure that Jason was done and that the Dodgers just wasted their money. But Tim was actually still pitching well at the end of 2012 and that could continue.

      If so, that is a swing of 5-10 wins from us to them with that move if he does have a great year in 2013. He would be the face of their franchise for years to come. Do you really want to risk that? Do you really think there is no or little chance of that? Cause that is what you are saying by not giving my idea consideration.

      My idea is a great compromise. We take on some good risk of a lower value performance, but as long as he does not crater, he should still provide good enough value as a reliever that the contract is not a total hole in the ground, like Rowand's. Who knows, maybe he becomes the next Eckersley, except that he can pitch more innings. Eckersley at his peak was roughly 2.5-3.0 WAR, and if Lincecum pitched more innings than Eck, that could get him into the 3-4 WAR range, which is right around what we are paying him under this proposed deal. Meanwhile, if he returns to normal, we got a great bargain covering his remaining good years, given his body type. We also keep him out of the hands of our enemy for another 3-5 years.

    12. He gains too. He gains guaranteed financial security, not that he's not gotten a lot already, roughly $60M pre-tax, but what I suggest is still a big chunk of change, not something to brush away. And he stays with a team that he appears to love and an area that appreciates his uniqueness. He's not going to get away with long hair at whichever team he ends up with, and I have to wonder if a team makes him cut his hair, it will be Samson all over again.

      He has also stated his preference for shorter deals. Maybe we're lucky and he goes for just a 2 year extension at $22M per (his salary for 2013, and given how poorly he did in 2012) plus option at $25M. I would take that too in a heart-beat. But I think his agents will want 3-4 years plus option. I'm OK with that too, it is large but mitigated risk, and there are risks to letting him leave too, as I've noted.

      People note him passing on 5 years and $100M when the Cain deal was going down, but that was low for him given what he had accomplished up to that point. His agent would be failing his fiduciary responsibility to Lincecum by not recommending he pass on it. His performances up to then warranted more money, but the Giants didn't want to risk that much. And so they compromised on the short-term deal. Now his 2012 might be able to bring the two sides together on a deal where both sides take on significant risk, but not overwhelming risk.

      And I'll say it too: I think he's going to be back. Maybe not 2008-9 back, but a 3-ish ERA is all we really need from him in our rotation. That is still a great performance and one that will get us back into the playoffs and World Series in the coming years. He might walk too many now, but he's striking out a lot too and that makes up for the walks. So I want the Giants to try a deal now.

      I understand the risks, but as I've tried to elaborate, the risks can be minimized on the Giants side. As Shankbone has noted, he's also a marketing icon too, so there is value to that, unlike with Zito or Rowand. And there is the risk that he's still as good as ever, that 2012 was just a blip, and if so, you might see Timmy wearing a Dodger Blue hat and signing a huge contract next off-season.

      It would kill me if he teamed up with Kershaw and Billingsley and deliver a mulitple World Series championships in the coming years. I'm already scared enough that Greinke might be their missing piece, but imagine if they got Timmy too. We need to weigh all the possible scenarios. I think the greater risk is letting him go now without investigating an interim term deal that is amenable to both sides.

  2. Shankbone,

    This Phil Ervin dude indeed sounds very interesting. I also saw a video and brief write up of Hart over on John Klima's site. I like him too. I'l be starting some profiles on draft eligible players who might be available for the Giants in the near future.

    1. The Giants like their college guys, and he looks special. I liked the footage I saw from the Cape, there is some on youtube. Nice simple swing, no leg kick games.

      Also gotta keep our eye on Michael Lorenzen, speaking of college guys. And Trey Williams, over at "College of the Canyons", if his attitude issues get worked out.


    what do the giants have to get bauer? the snakes are nuts

    1. Kevin Towers needs to take his meds. And stop trolling everybody. But the Upton rumor might be legit, because the owner doesn't like Justin. The Giants can't ever touch em though. Billie Beane might be able to pounce.

    2. Bauer may look like Timmy and throw like Timmy, but he ain't Timmy.

    3. timmy jr who would benefit working with tidrow and the other coaches in the giants system

      cant tell me that his stuff isnt good and cannot improve...i have a feeling that the snakes wanted to remake him and he just didnt respond


      bacci the wannabee pitching guru

    4. Bauer is an interesting thought. The Giants certainly have the most experience working with that type of windup and delivery. Whether Timmy's success with his mechanics is transferrable to other pitchers or whether he is a one hit wonder remains to be seen. I have to say I'm just a bit on the skeptical side.

    5. Timmy was successful on his own, didn't need any tinkering from the Giants, heck, if I remember right, they said that he's so unique that they didn't want to mess with anything.

      However, to bacci's point, maybe Tim's dad can work with Bauer should the Giants somehow, miracle of miracles, get him.

      But he won't be cheap and he won't be an easy fix if Towers is giving up on him. And there is basically zero chance that the D-backs would deal with us unless we are giving them Posey or Bumgarner or Sandoval (or list an actual good players) for Bauer. I think we would sooner see Beane kiss Sabean's butt before we see them trade a good prospect to us.

  4. Actual News: Manny Burriss outrighted to Fresno. Off the 40. Clay Hensley given the same option, decided to go FA instead. I thought Hensley was gonna be one of the projects this year. Good luck Clay! hope you are over your injury, because you pitched some good ball in April/May.

    And you know Manny Burriss is gonna be back. You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him.

    1. Ha ha!

      I was a bit surprised by both moves, actually, until I thought about it.

      Burriss still sees the MI situation in flux at 2B, plus the move towards team speed, and he's been expanding his flexibility, taking on many positions. I think he's hoping to take the super-utility position with the Giants in 2013, plus the chance to battle for 2B should Scutaro leaves. He's still young enough that another year with SF, where he is comfortable, won't hurt his chances elsewhere. And he has good enough plate discipline that the Giants hope that he can break through at some point. And he's catching up in age to the league average, so he might be breaking out in a year or two with OK enough batting that he would be valuable as a super-utility guy.

      Hensley, however, sees a full bullpen of guys who made the playoff roster where he didn't. And relievers in the minors - Hembree, Otero, Bochy, Machi, Petit even - who are pushing for a role with the big club. Already, there's Romo, Lopez, Mijares, Casilla, Kontos, which leaves only two spots. Wilson will probably get a spot at some point, making one spot really a "keeping it warm for the Beard" spot. That leaves one spot.

      And if Affeldt signs - seems like a pretty good bet right now - then that one spot is gone and then all that is left is the Warm Beard spot. The numbers don't look good for Hensley right now and he smartly took off now and start looking for a spot somewhere else.

      He wasn't the best but he had a great 3-ish ERA until whatever happened to him at the end of August. He walked too many, but that seems to be an aberration, he had better control previously, and he does strike out a good percentage. So another team will find him useful, he only got $750K from the Giants, so he should be able to land somewhere else for the same price, good bullpen men who can fill out a bullpen are hard to find. And he's only 33 for next season. And who knows, if he can't land elsewhere, he might just return to SF on a minor league deal and wait for the call.

  5. There is a report on CSN Bay Area that Hunter Pence will return to the Giants in 2013. Thank you Hunter Pence for that spirited pep talk in Cincy that lit a fire under this team all the way to another WS Championshp!!


    1. You can book it that Pence will be a Giant in 2013. He is in the last year of arbitration eligibility so cannot leave as a FA unless the Giants non-tender him. I think you can bank on the Giants tendering him a contract. The only question is whether they negotiate a multi-year deal to avoid arbitration, a 1 year deal to avoid arbitration or go through arbitration. Given the Giants track record, it is highly likely they strike a deal before an arbitration hearing.

    2. This was just a silly rumor spread by the media. Some "expert" somewhere took a look at non-tender candidates, sees Pence horrible SF stats and huge $13.8M estimated Arb value, and speculates that the Giants might non-tender Pence. Several rounds of "Pass the Secret", media-style, happens, and it becomes big news that the Giants are, surprise, surprise, are tendering Pence. I still think they are working on an extension too.

      Here is the money shot quote from Sabean: "We never would have traded for a guy that we remotely thought we would be non-tendering," Sabean said. "So any speculation about that doesn't make any sense. By that point in the season, you pretty much know where a guy is going in terms of the arbitration clock and the money."

      I think a deal averaging roughly $15-17M per year for 3-4 years might be enough to get him to sign, hopefully. His arb salaries have been equating to a free agent salary of $17M per year, so maybe $14M, $15M, $16M, then $17M/option year, with some sort of signing bonus and option buy-out.

  6. Not sure which thread to put this, but report is that Giants near 3 year contract with Affeldt:

    Was tweeted by Nightingale of USA Today Sports:

    The #SFGiants are confident they will be resigning Jeremy Affeldt, likely to 3-year deal.

    I would note that his last extension deal with the Giants was for 3 years, 2 + option year, so perhaps another similar deal?

    1. Wow! The boo birds over on MCC and Fangraphs are going to be howling if Affeldt gets a 3 year deal. That might be the best part of the deal right there! LOL! Saw another note on MLBTR that lots of teams are asking the Giants about Belt, but are being told he is not available.

    2. Yeah, did not think of that possibility, but they will be pissed!

      If so, though, then they apparently did not pay close attention to the 2012 World Champion Giants and how having those relief pitchers helped them win their second championship. Sure, Beltran might have helped score a few more runs. But it turned out that we did not need those runs, but we did need our shutdown relievers.

      I have seen some complain that Leagues contract is for a closer, but they need to remember that Affeldt is considered of closer quality when the Giants signed him and he has done well for us.