Monday, December 3, 2012

Hot Stove Update: Angel Is In the Outfield!

The Giants took a big step toward completing their offseason work by signing Angel Pagan to a 4 year/$40 million contract including a $5 M signing bonus and salaries of $7 M, $9 M, $9 M and $10 M.  While the ideal contract might have had a 4'th year option, and while I would have been satisfied to see Gregor Blanco move to CF and take over as leadoff hitter, I like this deal a lot.

Pagan is the prototypical AT&T Park player.  He's not going to hit a ton of HR's anywhere he goes, you don't have to worry about a dropoff in AT&T Park.  Despite the low HR totals, he is not a slap hitter by any stretch.  He is able to drive the ball to the gaps and AT&T has large ones.  Last year Pagan drove them with regularity hitting 19 doubles and 8 triples in his home park.  I'll take that over a guy who hits 20 HR's in other home parks but might have his total cut in half in AT&T any day.

There will always be a few grousers in every crowd.  There are some scattered naysayers who contend the Giants overpaid due to euphoria from winning a WS and that this contract will end like the Rowand and Huff deals.  Yeah, it might, but this is a much better deal than either of those.  Rowand's pre-Giants value was almost entirely tied up in his ability to hit HR's.  AT&T took away that value and he had nothing to fall back on.  Anybody could see it from the get-go.  Huff was 4 years older and in a lot worse shape physically.  Pagan's deal is for a full $20 M less than Rowand's despite some inflation in $$/WAR since the Rowand signing.  It is also for less/year than Huff's.  Anyway, neither Rowand's nor Huff's contracts stood in the way of the Giants winning World Series' after their signings.  In fact, I believe both players were on the payroll in 2012.

There have been a few complaints and expressions of concern about what this means for Gary Brown.  A few thoughts:

1.  Gary Brown could stand at least a half year more seasoning at AAA, maybe even a whole year.
2.  I seriously doubt Hunter Pence wears a Giants uniform in 2014.  Pagan would then move to RF with Brownie taking CF or vice-versa.
3.  Pagan's contract should be easily tradable barring a complete collapse of production, in which case the Giants would need Gary Brown even more.
4.  It's not unthinkable to include Gary Brown in a trade for a bigger bat in LF or for pitching in 2014 or 2015.

The WAR value of Pagan's contract over the next 4 years is right at 8.0.  Over the last 4 season including one partial season and 1 down year, Pagan has put up 14.1 WAR.  No contract is risk free, but this is as close as it gets in today's MLB.

Good job, Sabes!

Around the League:  Red Sox signed Mike Napoli for 3 years/$39 M which looks like a really risky contract for a team still trying to put out the hot spots in the smoldering wreckage of their last binge signing guys on the downside of their careers to big contracts.

Rays signed James Loney to a 1 year/$2 M contract with an extra $1 M in incentives.  Loney is a guy whose once promising career really seems to be going backward at an alarming rate.

52 comments:

  1. Angel in the outfield, indeed! Agree with your points DocB, this ain't no Rowand rewind or Huffy recycle.

    I'll say it again, Pagan carried this team (along with Posey and Scoots) on his back in Aug/Sept when it really counted. Yes, his stats for the full year were middling, but his value to the team was not.

    I was firmly in the OVERPAY PAGAN camp and damned if the Giants didn't overpay. 4/$40M is one year too long, but the AAV at $10M is great. Plus the flexibility if Brown does or doesn't pan out is great. If Pagan, Blanco, Pence and Brown all become productive, that's a hell of an outfield at ATT. And I am in the camp of thinking Brown will take longer and have a big adjustment to hitting MLB pitching - so this gives Brown a full year of AAA and maybe some Sept. MLB call-up experience in 2013.

    All good and very impressed with Sabes. I just might get to like this guy after all these years.

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    1. Let's not forget Francisco Peguero and Roger Kieschnick, both of whom have some skills (Frankie Pegs: speed and defense, Roger K: power) that could earn them some playing time at some point during the year. It wouldn't totally shock me if one of them stepped it up and earned a job in spring training. Although at the very least, a healthy Peguero, Brown, Kieshnick outfield in Fresno doesn't sound too bad to have as depth.

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    2. I think you'd have a hard time finding a scout who believes Kiesch profiles as even a second division starter or that Pegs profiles any better than that as a ceiling. As you say they're good depth and I wouldn't mind either as a 5th OF type, but at this point neither should be counted on for more than a UT career and I'm a bit of a skeptic that Kiesch will manage that on anything more than spot stints.

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  2. The Giants are going to eventually need more power coming from the outfield, especially if Pence is no longer on the team after next season. But it is going to be a lot easier to find a power hitting corner OF or two who could be supplemented defensively by Blanco/Brown than it would be to find a quality CF at the rate the Giants are paying Pagan.

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  3. DrB, I think your analysis of the Pagan deal is spot on. Any contract contains some risk for the employer, but, given the context, this deal is about as good as we could have reasonably hoped for.

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  4. wonder what the phils were offering? wonder why only the phils and giants were going after angel...length of contract?

    its a solid move...angel is the anti rowand as he has learned to tailor his swing to att

    im sure his relationship with mays helped in the negotiations

    windy is a very happy girl...the marketing dept is also ecstatic as windy is busy on twitter and enjoys meet and greets

    would like it if the giants reached out to torres with a minor league bid with the incentive of being the 4th of...think about it...torres and pagan on same team? happy clubhouse

    bacci...looking forward to the of bump

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    1. The best part is this likely means we don't have to worry about the Little Evil One patrolling the OF at AT&T in a Giants uniform. LOL!

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    2. you have no idea how relieved i am. really was gonna become a full time a's fan had that happened.

      only negative...means somewhere, sometime the giants are again gonna be terrorized by hairston...ugggh

      bacci

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  5. Excellent deal I think. You have to compete on the open market and the Giants secured a good annual salary and punted an extra year to get it. I'd rather have Pagan at 4/40MM than Upton at 5/75MM, Bourn isn't going to be cheaper than that. Victorino is looking at 3-4 years as well.

    If you look hard at the 2011 year for Pagan, he was injured more than half the season. The other 3 years he's hitting 306/350; 290/340; and he ended 2012 with us at 288/338. If he can keep his 3Bs up, his slg will be somewhere in the mid 400s, for a leadoff/CF type that is quite good. He has the ability to go play RF or LF, in our park I don't think that is a knock. He wouldn't be a traditional masher but he would be a superior defensive corner OF. So they have coverage for Pence if they want to let him walk, they have coverage for Brown if he busts, but they also have versatility.

    Just another solid move from the Gints front office, they continue to impress, big time.

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    1. The tweet reporting is that Victorino is getting three years at $39M. Also that the Giants wants two years with Scutaro but might go to option year if necessary. And Scutaro apparently will give the Giants the final shot at him. Giants also looking to get Theriot back here too, in utility role (which he would have in 2012 if Franchez wasn't injured all year). Pavlovic tweets that the Giants have "wiggle room" in the budget if one more big name is available down the line.

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    2. Wow, at those rates I'm happy with Pagan. The Riot is a nice little backup. That wiggle room is these Swisher wants to play for the Giants rumors right? I suspect agent games, but lets see what happens.

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    3. Rumor has it that he apparently turned down Indians 4 year, $44M offer for BoSox 3 year, $39M. Given how poorly he has played in recent years, that $5M difference looks hard to match, so I guess he preferred the BoSox over the Indians.

      Swisher rumors have already been squashed, Giants view him as big-ticket item and there is no room in the budget for that (though Pavlovic had tweeted that the Giants could look at that later, once Scutaro is done).

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  6. I am not familiar with $/WAR but if $40 million is about a WAR of 8, it would mean a WAR is about $5 million.

    I assume replacemet means .500 and a 'win above replacement' means 82 wins, instead of 81, out of a 162 game season. Here, I assume a team of all replacement players will play .500 ball.

    So, to get to 90 wins, you would need (90-81) x $ 5 million, or, $45 million total.

    And to get to 100 wins, you would need (100-81) x $ 5 million, or, $95 million.

    It doesn't seem quite right. There is something missing here.

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    1. I think it would make a little more sense if a WAR means you get $5 milllion extra, i.e. $5 million more than the replacemet would get.

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    2. This is the price of a Win on the open market. The $5M/WAR is meant to stand for how much WAR costs on the open free agent market. So teams need to be able to produce wins cheaply via prospects and astute trading in order to keep costs down, and thus why team payrolls don't add up to this $5M/WAR.

      I don't think it is meant to roll up to a team's spending, as your example would imply that a .500 team can be built with $0 payroll. I have never seen anyone add things up in this way, though, to my surprise, that nobody has done this since it is logical.

      But really, the way to approach this is to start with a base amount cost for a replacement level team (and actually, a replacement level team is not a .500 81-81 team, I think replacement level is meant to be much lower, not sure, pulling from memory, but I think 54 wins is where replacement level is suppose to start) then add to that from there. Working from that 81 wins is then 27x5 or $135M and clearly that's not right.

      And that's about all I know about WAR :^)

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    3. Remember a replacement player is not the same as an average player. A team of replacement players would be expected to win somewhere between 50-60 games. Cost/WAR is the cost of 1 WAR on the open market. Teams can lower these cost by employing undervalued players, whether that be farm system products pre-FA or dumpster dives like Gregor Blanco.

      An average player is worth about 2 WAR. If you want to get from 60 wins to 100 wins while relying exclusively on the open market, it may well take $200 M to get it done. Think Yankees!

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  7. Replacement isn't = league average. Hypothetically a team of league-average players would play at .500, I guess; but a replacement player is a minimally sufficient one.

    Pagan, over the last four years, has been worth about as many WAR as Victorino, but recently has been better than Victorino. Looks to me, from Baseball Ref, that Pagan has been worth more in WAR over the last four years than the costly Upton (who's younger but hasn't been improving) or Swisher, and has been less than two WAR under the soon-to-be Mighty Mogul Josh Hamilton--and that only because Hamilton had one monster year, in 2010. If Pagan holds up, this is an excellent deal for the Giants; and he doesn't strike me as the kind of player who starts to dog it once he has job security, as some others appear to.

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    1. Nice analysis, what you say makes a lot of sense, and I did not know that those players' WAR was so close to Pagan. Yes, he does look like a great deal.

      I would note that he admittedly dogged it in 2011, so he does have that in his past, and very recent past, but that he said he learned from that and worked hard in 2012. From the way he talks in interviews, I cannot imagine that he would backslide and dog it, to your point, now that he has job security.

      I also think the Lincecum quote is applicable here too, once you get the taste of winning the championship, you want it again, it makes you hungrier for it. So I can buy the rumor that Sporting News had that Pagan accepted less money to stay with SF, that he was looking for the max years, as the Phillies look done and declining, whereas the Giants are still riding the crest of their talent. As I've been saying since the late 2000's, Giants, Team of the 2010 Decade.

      And given all that Pence said about the club, I have to think that Angel, being a very public face of the team during the season, must have been a part of that. You don't come back from two big time eliminations like that without good team leadership, heck, you don't recover from Melky getting suspended right when we are tied with our arch enemies, the Doyers, and win the division running away without great clubhouse leadership, and Angel appears to be part of that. And leaders like that don't dog it, they usually bring up another gear.

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  8. How many wins would a team made up of 100% minimally sufficent ones achieve?

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    1. It would depend, wouldn't it, on the competition? "League-average" entails an inference about the competition, but the notion of a replacement player ("a theoretical player who could be acquired for league minimum salary"--Panas, *Beyond Batting Average,* p. 135) doesn't.

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  9. Hey Dr. B, is this the woman who used to work in your office?: http://instagram.com/p/S1Jo6tLxNM/

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    1. thats his grandmother

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    2. For those as confused as I, Ricky Oropesa tweeted this picture of him and his grandmother. It is Ricky's mom who worked in DrB's office (worked? did she leave?)

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    3. Ah, it was/is his Mom. That's where I was confused.

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    4. I still work with Ricky's mom.

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  10. scoots will retire a giant

    3 years 24 mil

    1 mil per and one year more than i wouldve offered...but what the heck...its only money

    bacci

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    1. FYI for everyone, this appears to be the same as the rumor that I saw somewhere yesterday. There is no chatter on Twitter right now regarding a deal nor on any of the news outlets, so I guess this is one of bacci's "I have spoken" comments.

      In fact twitter notes from Baggarly says that Giants pushing on two years but will consider adding option year if necessary.

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    2. I really like Bobby Evans. Seems to be a good guy, a bit better with the PR aspect than Sabey Sabes. They'll listen on Swisher eh? Not sure how this one plays out...

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  11. Good synopsis, Dr. B. Whole-heartedly agree. My one problem with the way the OF looks to be setting up right now is that I don't think they're really maximizing the defensive production of the group. If they're going to have a Blanco/RH platoon then they shouldn't be (relatively) wasting Blanco's defensive value in LF while playing both Pence and Pagan in positions where they're averagish or worse. I'd move Pence to LF, put Blanco in CF and Pagan in RF. If that's too hard a sell at least put Blanco in RF and Pence in LF. Of course, depending on the RH platoon partner that might cause some shuffling vs LHP but I think on the whole you'd still be getting the maximum return that way. As hitting LHP is one thing Brown's always excelled at, a future CF platoon of Brown/Blanco somewhat mitigates Blanco's offensive problems by getting the most out of both those gloves. A minor quibble though.

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  12. Victorino 3 @ $39 (the magic contract numbers for the Red Sox lately). The Pagan deal just looks better and better.

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    1. Bwahahahahah! That's all I have to say about the Boston Red Sox and Victorino's contract. Is it just me, or did the Red Sox learn absolutely nothing from their experience with signing FA's in the past?

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    2. Let's hope it goes full circle, and the Red Sox dumps these contracts on the Dodgers next year.

      Anon #1

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    3. I'm a Hawaii baseball fan & I think its a horrible contract for the Red Sox. The flyin Hawaiian struggled at the plate last year.. I'm wondering if he'll even be a starter for them for the entire 2013 season..

      LG

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  13. Wow. Larry Baer taking the budget to 140MM and beyond. My lunatic fringe card is dying a lonely death in my desk at this point.

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  14. Is it only I, or do others too find ludicrous the huffing and puffing about Scutaro's contract? Here's a guy who has never in the last five years provided less than a fWAR of 2.4 (2.8, 4.5, 2.4, 2.8, 2.5), and so is a model of consistency who should at a conservative rate of $4M per WAR be getting a salary of $8-10M per year. If he wears out slowly as he gets toward the age of 40, he is likely to be worth, in these accounting terms, something pretty close to what the Giants are reported to be offering him. Suppose that he wears out faster and the Giants end up "overpaying" by $5M or even $10M over three years, as Cameron suggests on Fangraphs that they might? With a budget that is at "$140M and beyond," will that be crucial? Given that in the normal course of business players get injured and ipso facto get overpaid, the worse the injury the greater the overpayment, and that players often underperform and ipso facto get overpaid, the worse the underperformance the greater the overpayment, what is the fascination with how much Scutaro takes home? The Giants haven't been protesting that what they're paying Scutaro is keeping them from getting whatever Big Bat is looming on the latest blogger mirage.

    I don't know why bloggers, with their second or third or fourth-hand information, enjoy clapping on a green accountant's eyeshade. Mere officiousness? Too much time on their hands in offseason? A mild psychopathology that's induced by baseball fanship? A need to interject oneself to compensate for one's actual impotence to affect team decisions? I am thinking of YOU, McCovey-ites.

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    1. Campanari throwing some EMOTION out there! The problem I have with WARs is that it is some sort of eye shade silliness. Its a great tool to quickly compare players. But its not perfect. And what MLB teams do is 10 times more intense. But mainly I wish the WAR spreadsheet squinting would just go off and do their taxes, because it has no reality on the open market. The market is the market, and its supply and demand, and there are limited numbers of talented individuals who hit and field baseballs. Oh, and those WAR calculations? Have not got the field baseball part down to any degree of confidence. Scutaro looks good to me. I do like to guess at value. I guessed 2/20MM because of the dearth of good 2B. We'll know soon, apparently the Cards are in as well. But the Giants may have had enough of the window shopping! Laying down the gauntlet. We might move on after tonight. You have our best offer.

      The 4 years in the wilderness were a bit rough. But overall, I like Sabes style of negotiatin'. You target, you make your best fair offer, and then you move. I really like our front office, and I really like Bobby Evans. Give em hell Bobby!

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  15. Couple of notes:

    1. Victorino just got 3/39, which is laughable after the Pagan deal. I sort of wonder why Pagan chose to sign before Bourn and Victorino set a market for him a bit... Oh well, our gain!

    2. I agree with campanari, we need to bite the bullet and get Scutaro signed. He plays 2nd base, which isn't a position you automatically think of as susceptible to major regression (it's where washed up SS and 3B go!), he's not a power hitter where you'd be thinking he'll lose power as he ages and he has enough bat control where even if he does regress, you can hit him 7th or 8th (assuming Crawford develops into a more legitimate hitter).

    I say sign Scutaro and find us a RH Bullpen gem in the trash heap and we're ready for 2013 ladies and gentlemen!

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    1. Would be interested in what the market is on Grilli for the "RH Bullpen gem." Bring home another wayward arm a la Vogelsong.

      I mean, $140 mil, $150 mil...it's all in the same neighborhood.

      If we're going to play around with the idea of a little dynasty here, we need serious pen.

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  16. OK, so I'm drunk on the latest Giant signings, I have one last insane Winter '13 fantasy:

    The Johnsons (Magic and Charles) fall WAY out of character and get into a NASTY little tiff at some charity function. At which point Charles opens his wallet and allows the Giants to ink Hamilton, 5-year $125 mil.

    Yep, that about sums up my wildest (and yet still technically possible) fantasy scenario for this off-season.

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  17. BREAKING NEWS: Scutaro is expected to sign the 3/20 deal with the Giants. At 37, the 3rd year is a risk, but they did what they had to! For the way contracts are inflating lately, 3/20 seems reasonable, even a bargain to me.

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    1. I have it as a bargain. Yes, I know his performance down the stretch is unsustainable. The Giants are not paying for his performance down the stretch! They are paying for a guy they expect to produce about 4 WAR over 3 seasons or about 1.3 per season! I will be surprised if he does not earn his pay over the course of the contract.

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    2. Now we need Andres Torres as a 4th OF. Between he and Blanco, we could ride the hot hand and not lose much on D and probably not pay much either... Thoughts?

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    3. What's the risk? Judging by his record over the last five years, which as I say above has been remarkably consistent in terms of WAR, he will justify the contract before the 3rd year begins. The knee-jerkers on other sites have been exclaiming that this is Huff redux, but the longer-term records, personalities, and skill sets of the players disprove the comparison to Huff.

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    4. Amen, Campanari! That article by Dave Cameron on the Scutaro contract might be the most idiotic thing I've seen him write and I was around when he ranked the Giants as the #23 organization and the Mariners #6 before the 2010 season!

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    5. It's a bit like Affeldt. Scutaro has been paid about 6MM a year for the past 3 years. We're just continuing down that path. The Sabes special lives.

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    6. It would be perfectly reasonable to argue that a 37 year old player should never get a 3 year contract. I get that part. For Cameron to say that Scutaro's contract is based on his 3 month performance with the Giants is just wrong. No he's not! If his contract was based on THAT performance, he'd be getting about $20 M per year! It's not even based on ANYTHING he's done in the last 5 years in which his worst season was 2.4 WAR. THAT would be worth about $12.5 M per year. He's getting paid to produce about 4 WAR over the next 3 seasons which averages out to about 1.3 WAR/season which is a very reasonable estimate of what he will produce over that time frame.

      One more point: Scutaro may be 37 yo, but he's never had a serious injury. A 3 year contract for him is less risky than the 2 year deal for Freddy Sanchez who's shoulder was already held together with bailing wire at the time of the signing.

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    7. Bobby Evans did all this contract negotiation. I think he did an excellent job with all 3. He held strong on AAV, and gave away a year extra to each player as a concession to the FA market.

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  18. Glad to see Scutaro coming back! Yes, 3 year contract is risky for a 37 year old, but maybe he could be a mentor to Joe Panik during the 3rd year. Baggs had a great perpective on the signings saying something like the SF Giants spend $78 million on Affeldt(3 yrs $18mil), Scutaro(3 yrs $20mil), and Pagan(4 yrs $40mil) while they spend ($60mil) on 1 player Aaron Rowand, the last time the meetings were held in Nashville.. Overall, I think these signings were good solid baseball moves made at reasonable costs. I'm also pleased they are talking to Theriot about a utility role..

    LG

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  19. I just came from the CSN Bay Area home page.

    I saw on their Talk Ticker portion (about 10:30AM PST, 12/6/12), below the coverage on football and basketball one article on 'The A's using brains and brawn at the winter meeting' and one article quoting Boras 'The A's belong in San Jose.' For the Giants, it was 'Don't expect return of Ross the Boss.'

    For the A's, more articles and all positive.

    For the Giants, only one article and the tone was negative.

    Is this normal?

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    1. Oh, wait, there is actually one more article on the Giants - Wilson agent talking to everyone except the Giants.

      All negative, nothing postitive.

      By the way, I meant to post this under the latest thread, not this one.

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