Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Training Game Wrap 2/14/2013: Cubs 4 Giants 3

Matt Cain got roughed up in his first appearance of the spring taking a comebacker from Alfonso Soriano off the knee and later a 3 run dinger off journeyman catcher Dioner Navarro.  The important information is that Cainer is apparently alright.  He said he could have gone another inning, but the Giants felt he had threw enough pitches in the first inning.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 0 for 2, BB, SB.
Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3, 2B.
Francisco Peguero- 2 for 3, 2B
Guillermo Quiroz- 1 for 2, SF, 2 RBI.
Angel Villalona- 1 for 3.
Matt Cain- 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K.
Edlefsen, Fitzgerald, Casilla, Mijares, Rosario, Runzler and Hembree- 1 scoreless IP each.

Pablo Sandoval appears to be ready to go right now.  Understandable since he played winter ball almost up to report day.  If he can stay healthy all year and keep his weight in check, I think we could be in for a real treat watching him this year.  He's been around awhile, but is just entering his age 26 season.  He has no more hamate bones to break.  Hitting behind Pagan and Scutaro and ahead of Buster should be a prime spot in the batting order to do serious damage.

Frankie Pegs makes an early statement that he is not conceding the 5'th OF spot to Gillespie.  I think the Giants would rather have Pegs playing every day while they will have no such compunctions about Gillespie.

Is it possible that Quiroz could take The Hector's backup catcher gig?  Or maybe the Giants carry 3 catchers?  Bochy didn't sound too happy with Hector's conditioning.


  1. I'st possible the Giants carry three catchers this year, although the guy I could see it being is Johnny Monell. He could be a valuable left handed bat off the bench and even if he's not the greatest defensive catcher he still might be more useful than a 5th outfielder.

  2. hector gets married and gains a few pounds.....surprise

    dont think hector is gonna lose his spot

    interesting...both cain and kershaw had bad first outings...who cares....they both will spend their spring working on pitches...we are gonna see a serious dual on opening day

    the battle for the pen continues. if the giants can figure out how to keep all their arms, they will have the depth they need to make another run


  3. Really hope Pegs make it, and not as the 5th but 3rd OF. We have to contend with Pence and his one year contract. Pegs being the next of what is getting to be a long line of rookies to get to the dance could ease that--if he could have a solid .300 type year, we could move him to RF and then Pagan to LF when Brownie comes up next year. Wishful thinking, but as long as the boys in blue keep spending money, we need to think about player development.

    btw, Dr. G, I am with you that trading Gilli wasn't a huge issue. But I am worried a tad about depth at 3b (either if we don't resign Pablo or he goes down). Is your thought that we'll just give a longer contract and then wait for the next guy (and if so, who is that)?


    1. Arias can play 3B if worse came to worse. Scooter played some 3B right after the trade last year. In the minors, Duvall seems like he might be able to hit a bit if he can get his throws to first to stay down. Beyond that, the talent is pretty far down in the lower minors.

    2. I wonder if AnVil can still play third base?

    3. I have an eyewitness who will go unidentified who said Villalona looked pretty bad trying to run the bases yesterday, and he still looks quite large.

    4. From the reports this spring, it sounds like AnVil was more like TubBy when he made his comeback last season. According to reports, he was up to 290 pounds last year. He reported in at around 250 pounds this spring, which is also the most recent weight I could find for him when he last played pro ball, so he is currently around the weight where he was when it all went sideways.

      But frankly, did he ever look good trying to run the bases before? I don't know, since I've not seen him, but at that size, few are going to look graceful (hence why I love Panda, he looked very graceful scoring at home plate - without smashing into the catcher - avoiding the tag, I've rarely seen fit guys score like that, let alone large boi like Panda). And at 250, he's going to look large no matter what.

      I would think that 3B would be a stretch for him right now. He claimed before that he would take grounders at 3B because he intended to get back there again, but given that he allowed himself to balloon to 290 while away, you have to wonder about his commitment and motivation. I thought his lawsuit showed some gumption, but to get that fat, one has to wonder if he did that only because he can't make $10K per year doing anything else in the DR. So I can see him trying to get back into shape to play 3B, but right now, not so much. Let's put it this way: I'll be impressed if he actually back his past words up and move back to 3B.

      I see your point about 3B depth. You have to consider the Giants M.O. of playing multiple positions. I think Pablo going down long-term would mean Scutaro would move to 3B to start there. Then one of Arias, MI2 (probably Tanaka, but maybe Abreu), or prospect, like Noonan or Panik, would share 2B until someone takes it over.

      Though Bochy don't like moving players around, so if it is temporary that Pablo is out, I think Arias would start at 3B until Panda returns. Noonan has also played some 3B, so he could be in the mix for a temporary loss of Panda, if he's doing well enough that the Giants might want to give him the opportunity to show what he can do. Bond is a dark horse here, since he played some 3B, but he's not on the 40 man.

      Wild card there would be Duvall, because he should be in AA and if he's rocking the league like Belt and Sandoval did, he'll be knocking on the MLB's door if Pablo is down mid-season.

      Ultimately, Panda is an elite hitter, and it would behoove the Giants to sign him to a long-term contract but with essentially a weight bonus clause where if he makes the weight, he gets a significant percentage of the annual contract value as a bonus (at least 25%) plus maybe a weight clause for the end of the season too (also at least 25%), probably balanced between the two. If he can be motivated any other way to keep his weight down, I see no other way. Else, might be better to trade him and get a big package of prospects who can be the talent in the second half of this decade and keep the payroll down, probably after this season.

  4. Man you guys are cracking me up - 3rd catcher, 5th outfielder, 12th pitcher. Most other teams are worried about who is going to start after their first two guys.

    Agree with Bacci, Hector ain't losing his spot. But having some backup depth in AAA is good too.

    Pegs, Keichneck, Runzler, BochyJR, Hembree, Surkamp need to spend an full year in AAA proving they can stay healthy and put up consistent, if not great, numbers. Sabes has said the Giants are slowing down the minor league train to the bigs. This is a good thing.

    Love hearing John's stories on the air again, can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday working in the yard, cold beer and listening to tales being spun.

    1. Depth in AAA...

      It seems we compete not just with players from the 25 men roster, but also some from the 40.

      It's sort of, though not exactly the same, like the practice squad in footbal.

    2. I generally agree that Runzler (injury), Bochy (AA promote), Hembree (injury) and Surkamp need to be in AAA. A little worried about pitching since come next year we have as many as 3 spots to fill (of course we can pick up option on Zito and still have 2; who knows what happens with Timmy). That means we probably need guys like Kickham, Heston, etc. to mature so they can take on 4/5 position (not that you really want to go into 2014 with two rookies on the back end). Only way you address rookie issue is if you bring up someone (ie, injury or trade related) and that tends to happen when something goes bad.

      As for Pegs and Keichnick (is that how you spell his name?), I actually disagree. We should be carrying 5 OFs and we have 2 true starters and Blanco. I don't see why we're better off with Gillespie than either Pegs or RK starting, and I just don't know that Blanco gets it done as a full time starter. Pegs has nothing to prove in the minors at this point and RK seems to be close to that too. I like how Bochy started Belt on a platoon and think doing that with one of the OFs until one takes fire isn't a bad way to go.


    3. I think Pegs could use another season at AAA. I'd really like to see him dominate there like he did in the lower minors before handing the keys to a starting gig in SF to him.

    4. Kieschnick. His relative Brooks played reliever/PH for I think the Brewers for a while (Cubs too).

      Pitching is generally a worry for almost any contender, as the gravy train slows once you start winning and getting worse first round picks. It didn't help that we got two position players two years in a row.

      While we might have up to 3 spots open, that is contingent on all of these things happening: 1) Zito finally crash and burns; 2) Vogelsong gets too old fast (like Willie Mays) and declines a lot; 3) Lincecum leaves for big money elsewhere. I can see any of the three being likely to happen, but all three, not really. So I expect us to at least have Cain and Bumgarner up top, plus Vogelsong/Zito in the middle with two spots to fill. I expect the Giants to leave one spot open for Surkamp, Heston, Kickham (maybe Petit if still around) to battle for and keep the pressure on whoever does win the #5 starter spot.

      Given that losing Lincecum opens up $22M in the budget, I think the Giants would try to pick up a pitcher who can fill in the 3/4 spot, so that the variability in results will be lessened. 3/4 starters are not dime a dozen, but they usually are available each year. And the Giants might even pick up cheaper pitchers and let them compete with our young pitchers, much like how they picked up Wellemeyer for the 2010 season or Randy Johnson in 2009.

      I agree with DrB, I would want Pegs starting and most probably starting in AAA. I was excited by what he did in September, and I want to see what he can do now that he's healthy. Of course, if he can win the starting LF job, all the better, then Blanco and Torres would be the backup OF.

      Still, I like Cole Gillespie's minor league stats, so I would be more inclined to start the season with Blanco, Torres, Gillespie battling for time in LF (and rest starts for CF and RF), so that we can see what Gillespie can do in the majors if given more chances. Meanwhile, Pegs could prove himself in AAA and if nobody has taken LF by mid-season and Pegs is rocking AAA, move him up and DFA one of the others.

      I think that both Roger and Frankie still have something to prove in AAA. Roger needs to show that he can hit like that all season without getting injured. Pegs need to show what he can do healthy, he wasn't that great last season, but his leg issues slowed him down until September, when he was electric. But that's one month, not enough proof for me.

      Belt wasn't started on a platoon. He started every game, but he was so bad that Bochy mercifully started platooning him (and it was not a true platoon since he sat for RHP as well as LHP).

      I think we are fine with Blanco/Torres/Gillespie/Belt in LF. Blanco hits RHP well, Torres hits LHP well and if he don't do it, Gillespie will get the shot. In fact, I think the Giants is thinking of using Gillespie as the platoon partner initially with Blanco, else how could they have attracted him to the team compared to what other teams are thinking? I think they know what they got with Torres, he's backup if Gillespie and Blanco/Pagan fall through. Looking at his AAA stats, I think he can be on par with Blanco in terms of hitting.

      Belt hopefully will make the final leap in performance and earn full-time play and hit either well, though I expect that he'll sit many LHP starts when Posey is at 1B.