Saturday, February 9, 2013

News and Notes: Spring Follies

We have reached the silly point in the offseason where there are few, if any, moves left to make.  Everybody is starving for baseball, but there is none being played.  Pretty much ANYTHING counts as a story no matter how trivial and unrelated to baseball activities.  Players quotes about being "in the best shape of my life" are popping up all over the internet.

One guy we are NOT hearing that about this spring is Pablo Sandoval.  Pablo came to FanFest weekend sporting a respiratory infection and was promptly sent packing to Scottsdale with parting instructions to work on his weight and conditioning.  Bruce Bochy asked Pablo point blank how much he weighs and was reportedly "satisfied" with the answer, but acknowledged Pablo has some work to do.  That may be difficult with the WBC interruption and all.  A quick glance through Google Images of Pablo in his VWL Magallanes uniform.....well, let's just say he is not thin!

Perhaps the biggest news in the Giants organization is Angel Villalona finally getting a visa to come to the U.S.  He is on the 40 man roster, so will be in major league spring training camp in Arizona.  Angel V played in the DSL last summer after being cleared of murder charges in his native Dominican Republic.  OGC has a  nice summary of the history of this story over on  What he looks like in spring training, where he is assigned for the 2013 season and how he performs will be one of the more interesting story lines of the upcoming season.  

Just a quick review of his DSL line:  .303/.430/.497, 7 HR, 23 BB, 40 K in 155 AB.  As ogc pointed out, at age 21 with stateside experience, Angel was a man among boys in the DSL, so those numbers have to be looked at in that context but at least the power was there.  As someone said in the comments of a previous post, he's probably at least a 3 year project at this point, but that would put him in the majors at age 25 which is not terrible at all.

In other news.....

Tim Lincecum showed up with a new preppy haircut and professorial looking glasses.  About the only thing missing from the look was a plastic pocket protector!  I really don't care what Timmy's hair looks like.  I just hope he put on a few pounds of lean body mass since the end of last season, but it would be awesome if he rocked those glasses out on the mound!

There were some guarded comments to the press from all parties about the catching situation and whether there are problems between Timmy and Buster Posey.  Buster referred to it as "speculation", said he and Timmy have a "great relationship" and "ultimately we both want the same thing, and that's to win."  Then he added that it's Bruce Bochy who makes out the lineups and referred further questions to him.  Bochy responded by saying he didn't see it as an issue and pointed out that Buster and Timmy worked well together in October, "they'll carry that into the spring."  Timmy's comment:  "If you are there for the right reasons and to win, it shouldn't really matter.....I feel like last year with us throwing together in the playoffs a few times, it'll help springboard us into that comfort level."  Notice that Timmy is referring to "comfort level" in the future tense here.  That may be parsing things a bit too fine, but you get the feeling that there is at least an ember of fire behind all this smoke.

My take is that both Timmy and Barry Zito proved they could pitch very successfully with Buster putting down the fingers and framing the pitches during the postseason.  That's about as big as it gets.  Bochy may well run a set catcher/off day/1B rotation with Buster to help save his legs for the long haul which may match him up with certain pitchers more than others.  Pitcher performance with the two catchers should not be an issue going forward with the proof being in the 2012 postseason.  Oh, and the Naysayers need to understand that Buster will not and should not catch 162 games.  If Bochy puts him at 1B some of those off-days, it's not a choice between Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez but a choice between Belt and Buster Posey.  

Speaking of which, word is out that Brandon Belt will be taking flyballs in LF during spring training.  The Giraffe says he put on 4-6 pounds of "muscle" during the offseason, which I think is another way of saying he's in the best shape of his life.

Brian Sabean held a presser yesterday.  A bit of a dust storm blew up between Sabes and Brian Wilson's agent, Dan Lozano.  Sabes insists that Wilson is looking for more guaranteed money while Lozano fired back that money has not been discussed.  Sabes strongly implied that the Giants have made an incentive based offer that has not been accepted which is circumstantial evidence that Wilson's camp is indeed looking for more guaranteed money.    Sabes stated flatly that the Giants will not be signing any more guaranteed money contracts before the season starts.  Gotta think that at this point, BWillie's ship has sailed out of the bay.

Sabes also stated that the Giants have "lost contact" with Ryan Theriot, mainly because The Riot is looking for more playing time than he is likely to get with the Giants.  Sabes went on to say that there are a few roster spots up for grabs with bullpen, a utility IF and extra OF slots still undecided. Tony Abreu, Wilson Valdez, Kensuke Tanaka and Nick Noonan would appear to be the candidates for the last IF position.  I gotta think Tanaka has the inside track, although Abreu did score a 40 man roster spot.  The last OF slot should be between Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick and Cole Gillespie.  Gary Brown will not make the 25 man roster unless he is starting, which is highly unlikely.

Barry Zito said he wants to finish his career as a Giant and is open to a contract extension.  This would seem to raise the possibility of a contract extension with the $7 M buyout for 2014 as the starting point for discussion of a per-year salary as an alternative to buyout vs picking up the option for $18 M.

Hot Tip:  Check out Inside the San Jose Giants podcast with Joe Ritzo over at  Nice discussion, although it moves a bit slowly, of what to look for on the SJ Giants roster in 2013.

Is anybody going to FanFest today?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments section.  5 days until pitchers and catchers report.  Can't wait!


  1. Sabean vs Lazano huh? Going with Sabean all the way. Bobby Evans does all the contract work anyways. Agents will try all sorts of trickery to paint public opinion. I have come to really appreciate Sabean's frankness as well as the no-BS attitude. The only leaked stories have been ownership hijinx, Sabean keeps things quiet.

    Surprised that Javier Herrera doesn't have an non-roster invite. They are giving Peggs, Brown and Roger K a long look methinks.

    1. As much as it pains me to do this, as Lozano spammed my blog with four bogus comments, but I have to say that Sabes is technically in the wrong here. The sequence as I understand it is that the Giants offered the base plus incentives deal and Wilsons side turned it down. At that point Sabes assumes that means that they want more guaranteed money. Lozano is saying that they have made no demands as to wanting more money and are waiting until Wilson is ready for MLB action to sign. So he is technically correct.

      However, anybody in Sabeans shoes would assume the same if Lozano does not clarify his position. So I am on Sabeans side on this, he may be technically wrong but what else is he suppose to think if Lozano does not clarify? Dumb agent, you do not want to piss off many teams by trying to make the team look bad, especially if you specialize with high end players, as there arenot that many that can pay those salaries.

      What they are doing is that they believe that Wilson can come back all the way. They hope to pull off something like the Rocket did, sign for full value, that when prorated is still more than the guaranteed base the Giants offered. So let's say they think he can get $10M if healthy, if he can come back by mid season, then he gets $5M. If he signs the low base deal at $3M, say, then most probably the performance bonuses kicks in only if he pitches more than half a season. In this context, then I can see why they chose this route.

      Of course, they did not have to be so harsh about and act so publicly mad. Plus, most pitchers do not come back from their second TJS as successfully, so they are risking that base, which has not been released yet, so all we can do is speculate. They could have simply went the high route, thank the Giants for the offer but say that they think Wilson will get back sooner and can get more in that case. Reminds me of Renteria sitch.

    2. So, to make a long story short, they want more guaranteed money which they know they won't get now so they aren't demanding it. They just happen to think they can get it by waiting.

  2. Oh, and good luck with the logical argument for Posey/Belt and Sanchez. I'm sure the whole "giants don't understand obp" will be out in force early and often. I bet Monell gets an extended look, if he has made progress with his defense he might get the call if hector gets hurt.

    If Belt really is going to get reps in LF, there is another reason for ignoring the FA market this year. While it looks like Blanco might be a better part time player, he has shown flashes of more upside. This LF situation looks to me like the Giants trusting their farm and drafting prowess, as they did with Belt, Crawford and Sanchez last year. Naysayers will be ready to rock the criticism the moment any of those lads falter, but they get to start the season getting a ring and will all reach 2k professional PAs this year, they might just bring their game to a new level. Gonna be fun to watch.

    1. That's the funny thing, for the Giants FO, from the perspective of the Naysayers, it's damn if you do, damn if you don't. And they don't seem to realize that.

      If the Giants rely on their young prospects, Sabean is excoriated by the Naysayers for not signing a good vet instead. If they sign an old vet, they are raked over the coals by the Naysayers for not trusting their young prospects. In their eyes, the Giants and Sabean cannot do anything right, yet somehow, the Giants, in spite of the flaws that are so evident to the Naysayers, have won two championships in three seasons.

      Luck, again, is the key byword secret password to get into their club. They don't realize how much they diminish the accomplishments of all of the MLB by claiming the Giants won two championships in three years by luck. They don't realize that by sticking to their intransigent position they are stating that they enjoy watching sporting events that don't really matter because, well, luck is the main reason for world championships.

      Again, it is not luck. Luck does not develop a great rotation and bullpen that keeps the other team from scoring very many runs. Luck and randomness is the team scoring to win with that pitching, but that twists the true nature of offense, while there is luck involved, just look at the distribution of any team, there is a curve involved, luck is involved in creating the exact shape of that curve, but the offense itself is a product of the players 1) talent level and 2) their production in the face of the pressure of the moment. Anybody who has had to play in front of any decent sized crowd will know what I mean by this.

      So, yeah, luck that Ross had his homer streak, luck that Conrad muffed the balls, luck is involved everywhere, that was the whole point of DIPS and the distribution of hits. What was not luck was our pitchers and fielding keeping the score low enough that our offense could beat the other teams. It was constructed to do that, to enable a low scoring team to win games that other teams would lose.

      And again, two championships in three seasons, plus competitive in the last four seasons, how do you define that as luck without undermining the value of having a competitive team, of players great performances? They have spit upon the performances of those two great teams with their insistence that luck was the reason they won. They really bring home the whole "you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink" analogy vibrant with life.

    2. Lefty Malo called it "the schitzophrenia of the lunatic fringe"... I really didn't the depth of that feeling until I looked back on previous posts at some popular blogs, especially the beat reporters. Best 4 baseball years of my lifetime I says! Sure there have been some follies, but overall it's been straight up golden. Eventually the run will end and they will be vindicated. One abrupt change for me once the prove outs by ownership (Cain, Bumgarner and Gustavo Cabrera) is that we have to look at our draft position and realize the farm as trading block for fill ins is the first priority. I think they will enforce their no-trade guys still, but it's going to be hard to get the best prospects, and it takes too long for them to develop. So the Gints will turn to their reclamation and trading as the primary building block.

  3. Off Topic here, but did you see who got the carribean championship clinching homerun in extra innings for mexico against the dominican republic? Former giants draft pick Doug Clark. I thought he had a chance with the giants when he was drafted. Good to see he's still playing some baseball.