Friday, December 6, 2013

Hot Stove Update: Mariners Make It Rain In Seattle For Robinson Cano; More

After quite literally being laughed out of New York, Jay Z and Robinson Cano get the last laugh as the Mariners reportedly came to terms with Cano on a 10 year/$240 M contract.  The money being thrown around this winter has become so laughable, there seems to be little point in worrying about whether a contract is "bad" or "good".  They are either all bad or all good!  What does matter is that the Seattle Mariners needed to get better, especially at the plate, and Cano was the best player available on the free agent market.  Yes, his numbers may take a hit moving from Yankee Stadium and its short RF porch, but he will help the Mariners.

Once again, for all the complaining about big market teams and how much money they have to spend, the free agent system works to push MLB toward parity, maybe the best parity in all of sports.  And, as free agent contracts become more and more expensive, more and more people have interest in the game and more and more money flows into it.

Seattle is holding the #6 overall pick in the draft, so they lose a second round pick instead.  As for the Yankees, they pick up a supplemental round pick that they may lose due to signing more than 1 QO FA.  I have to think the Yankees took a look at what Boston did last year and made a decision to spread their money around on several big contracts rather than on one gargantuan one.  They played hardball with Cano and Jay Z and had to know this is how it was going to turn out.

In other news, Curtis Granderson signed a 4 year/$60 M contract with the Mets where again, he will have to contend with a real baseball stadium rather than the ridiculously shaped Yankee Stadium that has helped him hit all those HR's the last few years.  It just seems the Mets are not in a position where Granderson is going to be of much help, even if he puts up similar numbers as he did for the Yankees, which seems unlikely.  Maybe this is just a first step and the Mets will be contenders in the last year or 2 of the contract?

Scott Feldman showed why Brian Sabean was smart to get his offseason shopping done early signing a 3 year/$30 M contract with the Astros.  Feldman had a pretty good season last year, but has had an up and down career.  He is not the guy I would want to see in a Giants uniform on a 3 year contract.  I'll take my chances with Ryan Vogelsong and his 1 year deal, myself.

Another signing that shows why Gregor Blanco is not going to be so easy to replace is Nate McLouth, a guy who had almost identical numbers last year, signing a 2 year/$10.75 deal with a third year option for $6.5 M with the Nationals.

The Florida Marlins signed Rafael Furcal to a 1 year/$3 M deal with incentives which seems like an awful lot for a guy whose career seems to be running on fumes.

The Yankees signed Kelly Johnson to a 1 year/$3 M contract which, if he is the replacement for Cano at 2B, seems downright laughable.  Obviously, the McCann/Ellsbury signings help cushion the blow.

The Rangers signed JP Arencibia to a 1 year/$1.8 M deal with some incentives.  He will likely back up Geovany Soto at catcher.

Have I missed anybody?


Yanks re-up Kuroda and sign Beltran for 3 years/$45 M.  No surprises there, but I'm not sure Beltran can stay in 1 piece for 3 years.  Napoli is staying with the BoSox which also was expected, 2 years/$32 M


  1. Looks like we'll be counting on Javier Herrera to duke it out for a LF platoon job in Spring Training. (I wonder if he got an invitation ....)

    On a lighter note, did you see Baggarly's chat on BA today? Most interesting points to me were that scouts generally don't rate any of the Giants' lower minor-league starters as having ceilings higher than #3 (which is a bit depressing) except for (of all people) Ty Blach, who at least one scout thinks may be a Tom Glavine in the making.

    1. I would answer that in 3 parts:

      1. #3 MLB SP's are pretty darn valuable!

      2. The Giants have a whole lot of 'em, so it is likely that at least 1 or 3 will pan out and reach that ceiling. Maybe at least 1 will exceed expectations.

      3. At least one, Keury Mella, has a chance to be at least as good as Cricky. Watch that kid this year! Two more, Kendry Flores and Joan Gregorio can move higher if they maintain their gains in velocity and performance. I also think Stratton is a fluid situation.

      I can see where the scouts are coming from but they are giving a short scouting soundbite that does not capture the fluidity and subtleties of the situation.

    2. No one...lower minors...higher than #3...except Blach.

      The best Crick can be is a #3? Something is missing here.

      Good to hear the Glavine reference w.r.t Ty. First you envision and then, it could, it might just happen.

    3. I don't think anyone will be sold on Crick till he can cut down on the free passes. He gets a lot of Edwin Jackson comps, and this year aside, Jackson has pitched like a flame throwing #3/4.

      Ty getting a lot of praise doesn't shock me, either. He's not a soft tosser and is left handed, bonus points already. His change flashes and can be a plus pitch. Has a solid frame and impeccable command and control.

      I might have to argue with them on Mejia and Escobar. I've read a few tid bits that hinted at Mejias velocity being up in the AFL. I pray that's true, cause a tick or two more on that fb sends him into a whole nother prospect level. Escobar has a #2 ceiling, imo. LHP with his command and control and the ability to chuck a FB that can fluctuate by almost 10mph at will is rare. He's like a Latin Paxton with better results, yet gets no love.

      When it comes to our farm I've learned two things: 1. If you're a fan it's cool to be overly pessimistic about our prospects. 2. If you're an evaluator it's cool to be overly critical and piss on our prospects

    4. It's not like Crick walks a bunch of batters every game. He has had many games where he walked 2 batters or less while fanning 8 or more. He does get a wild hair up his nose, as Kruk would say, at times that inflates his walk rate. Yes, he will have to cut down on those but he has shown the ability to dominate both in K's and his keeping the walks down.

    5. Interestingly, Baggarly says the scouts are considerably higher on Gregorio than on Mella, despite the stats.

    6. I have not seen Gregorio or seen video of him. If the scouts like Gregorio better, then that is terrific news because Mella was darn impressive in the video I saw. His numbers for Arizona were darn good too!

  2. The Mariners signing of Cano is pure lunacy unless their FO follows it up with other bold moves like a David Price trade.

    Agree with Doc that having several potential #3 MLB SP is not a bad thing. #4 SP like Nolasco & Feldman got multi year contracts at $10 mil a year!! Interesting chat with Baggs.. Getting excited about Ty Blach.. I have no qualms about their drafting, but I wouldn't mind them going back to drafting more SP in the 1st and 2nd rounds. The Giants have done well in the past developing pitchers for their rotation as well as using other picks such as Tim Alderson as trade bait. Seems like a SP like Stratton is much better trade bait then a struggling position player prospect like Gary Brown.


    1. This is a general comment about the Giants last 4 drafts and not directed at LG in particular. It's probably more in response to a dude named Ryan who really lit into them a couple of posts ago.

      1. It's too early to write off the first rounders from the last 4 drafts, including Gary Brown. Arroyo actually looked really good in a first look.

      2. While the Giants first rounders may not have dominated as we would like, they have done very well with subsequent picks. Crick was a supplemental first rounder. Then there is Williamson, Blackburn and Blach in rounds 2, 16 and 5 respectively.

      Considering they have been picking late in the first round I think the Giants have done just fine in their drafting process. I particularly like that they appear to be still digging for upside in the later rounds instead of just drafting to fill out minor league rosters.

    2. What's up dude !?

      Not 'The Dude', but just a dude. Hey man, I tried to soften the blow. And I apologize for mentioning the name that shall not be mentioned. My bad.

      Stratton was probably the right pick. A line drive off the melon and maybe some loss of feel or confidence in his pitching and the pedestrian A ball numbers were the result. No reason why he can't rebound and increase his stock. Brown and Panik seemed a little like reaches. They seemed like picks for positional needs rather than grabbing the best talent available. They seemed like guys that could have been grabbed outside the first round. Arroyo had a nice summer in the Giants org, but he was also seen as a reach or unexpected pick. He could turn out to be a great hitter, but it's a little disconcerting that he's not profiled to stick at short. The Giants seem best at scouting and developing pitchers, I've felt they should probably stick with what they know best for the high value picks. Grabbing guys like Belt, Crawford, Susac and Williamson a little later seems very prudent.

      All in all, I think they missed a couple steps and the result was not having any prospects ready to step in last season and occupy a rotation spot. Sabean was left with a 3 pitcher void going into this offseason which really dictated his hand. Is it safe to say Lincecum is an overpay?

      All in all the pitching prospects are young, they have potential for real trade value, some will wash out and some will stick. Maybe one or two become fixture/s for a long time.

    3. Scouts accurately predicting prospects are like economists predicting recessions (they've predicted 9 of the last 5). We know Crick, Blach and Escobar at a minimum are "high ceiling" guys (1/2). We also know that we have guys who are 3+ (ie, solid 3s with a decent chance to excel) and there is a lot of them between A-AA. And you've got two young guys who are 1 starters at the top of the line up. There is NO way we are not stocked at pitching (and our RPs are pretty damn good too).

      As for the farm and drafting, you guys are either young or have short term memories. I will summarize the futility of the Giarts' farm system in the mid 70s to early 80s in two words. MIKE IVY. Seriously, who cares where we draft them--we have a full boat of SPs, RPs, 1 back up catcher with a team that has two good ones, two back ups 1b (Ricky O and Angel), a credible prospect at 3b (Duvall), a fair number of middle infielders who could be starters and back ups (EA and Noonan might make credible reserve types, and Panik is still well thought of and might replace Scutaro) and at least a couple decent OF prospects. Yeah, we're short on the latter, but with everything else and good FO decisions, we are far from where we were even 10 years ago with a bunch old dudes with bad knees and no one in the wings. Some of our OF could be special too (Mac and the kid who got injured if he comes back).

      I realize it isn't perfect, but I really don't see any other team having can't miss prospects who just keep coming year after year. Sure, some teams have them now, but in a few years they won't. We had several years running with promotions from the Farm, so we just have sit back for a bit and let our powder dry for the next "window". We just have to wait a couple of years for them to mature, but with the youth of our team, that is fine (especially when you consider that we have young back ups at many of the position players already on our radar). I will take that over the prodigal son that hit one monster of a 3rd deck pinch home run, and not much more, any day.


    4. Back to LG's comment re. Mariners and Cano. The Mariners really don't have a problem with their pitching. They need hitting and more hitting! I would not trade Walker in a package for David Price if I was Jack Z. I would go hard after Choo and which would give them a great OBP guy to hit in front of Cano. Morales should not be hard to re-sign since no team is going to want to give up a draft pick to sign him. That gives them at least 3 pretty good hitters and Seager is more than decent.

    5. Ryan,

      It's hard enough to develop prospect in to major leaguers let alone time it perfectly to coincide with when contracts expire. It looks like the Giants ended up with a 1 or at most 2 year window where they did not have ready replacements. Sabes did a nice job of avoiding long term commitments that would have blocked those prospects when they were ready. I believe he was willing to go extra $$$/year with Timmy to avoid the longer term deal at possibly less money.

    6. Ryan asks if it is safe to say that Lincecum was an overpay, and to that the answer is double: first, no, it is not safe, since his salary = something a bit under 3 WAR, which it's perfectly possible he will make, as he has repeatedly done in the past; and second, it is irrelevant unless the Giants' budget limits them. It is not particularly incommensurate with the market that has developed this offseason for pitchers who have had uneven careers. This is apart from DrB's observation that Sabean smartly avoided long-term deals by valuing extra some short-term deals, and Sabean's saying that signing Lincecum indicated a seriousness that helped him sign Hudson.

      Can we all stop with the silly claims of "overpay"--who is clairvoyant enough to know how many WAR a player will be worth in 2014? Stop, that is, unless we can allege some negative effects of the Giants' paying what they do; and no one I have seen sneering or pouting about overpay has in fact alleged any negative effects.

    7. Lincecum's salary projects to a little OVER 3 WAR but your point still stands. He hasn't made 3 WAR either of his last 2 seasons but I think he has potential to improve in 2014 if he maintains his nutrition and conditioning program.

  3. With Beltran a Yankee Gardner is now available. Which pitching prospect would be a potential trade piece for him?

    1. No thank you on Gardner. Just another slap hitter who can't stay healthy.

    2. OK, he only missed significant time in 2012 but the slap hitter part still stands. Discount his SLG% moving out of Yankee Stadium and the AL East and he's.....Gregor Blanco!

    3. Sometimes, the grass is not greener over there. Blanco doesn't seem that terrible after all.

    4. So another teams trash is the equivalent of our starting left fielder. How is that supposed to get me excited about Blanco again?

    5. Well, not all trash is created equal. The trash in Beverly Hills is probably more profitable to dig through than the trash in, say, San Bernardino. Brett Gardner is a good player who can help a lot of teams, but so is Blanco and they are very similar players.

    6. Agree. I don't want Gardner just for the record!

    7. Speaking of trash, did you see that Frankie Pegs got a major league deal form the Orioles? Seems like other people are putting a nice value on the Giants trash these days!