Friday, February 21, 2014

Spring Training Update: News and Notes

We're still in the "Best Shape of His Life" phase of spring training, but things are starting to settle in with the first live BP.  We already know the answers to several key questions that needed to be answered by the start of the season.  Here are some semi-random items.

Pablo Sandoval does indeed appear to be in the Best Shape of His Life.  That's actually not saying much, but you give Pablo even a slight edge and who knows what his ceiling may be?  By all reports I've seen, Pablo looks terrific and seems to be in it for the long haul as he now has a support system consisting of his brother Michael who seems to have taken on a role of Life Coach or some such thing, a personal trainer and his other brother Raul who has become his personal healthy cooking chef.  As for Pablo, he attributes his newfound fitness and health approach to simply having grown up with the help of some tough love advice from several teammates including Buster Posey, Matt Cain and Hunter Pence.  IMO, a healthy, productive Pablo is a big key to the upcoming season and we're off to an encouraging start to that part of the journey.

On a lesser note, Hector Sanchez is also reported to be in the Best Shape of His Life.  This is also a key because IMO, not having him available at the beginning of last season contributed to Buster Posey's overwork and grinding him down physically which contributed to his offensive collapse in the second half.

Early reports on Tim Lincecum sound encouraging.  He spent the offseason doing a lot of throwing.  It always makes me nervous when Timmy tries a new approach, but maybe that's what he needed.  As long as he maintains the other aspects of his nutrition and fitness program that he started last year, he should be OK

Michael Morse seems to be in perfect health and was already taking pitchers deep in live batting practice.  A strong offensive rebound would be a huge boost to the Giants playoff chances and a sweet thumb of the nose to critics of his signing.

Reports on Marco Scutaro are more mixed.  His finger seems to be fixed and he says he feels good, but there is some reason why he is taking it slow at the beginning of camp.  Oh well, as we said in a prior post, Spring Training is way too long anyway.

Ehire Adrianza made a statement in his battle with Tony Abreu to gain a roster spot.  He went deep in live BP from the left side of the plate of Yusmeiro Petit.  You may recall that he took Andy Pettitte deep late last season from the right side of the plate.  Abreu has been thought to have the offensive edge in the battle due to possessing more power, but Adrianza may be chipping away at that notion.  Adrianza is working out at 2B to expand his usefulness off the bench.  He has played the position at times in the minors and it should not be a difficult adjustment.  Just a thought:  The Toronto Blue Jays have a desperate situation at 2B and may be a trade fit or either Abreu or Adrianza.  Personally, I hate the thought of losing Adrianza's long term upside to the organization.

This is interesting:  Sergio Romo is in the final year of control of his contract and there are apparently no discussions regarding extending his contract into his free agency years.  Romo is 31 years old.

Brandon Belt is a happy man in the wake of signing his first $ million contract, $2.9 M to be exact.  Even if he does not have the breakout season many are expecting, Belt stands to make many more $ millions in the game.  While both sides are vocally open to a long term extension, Belt's situation is much more complicated than Buster Posey's or Matt Cain or Hunter Pence's due to the wide variation in his possible career trajectories.  Whether he signs a long term extension or not, Belt's contract is under Giants control for the next 4 years, which is a lifetime in baseball.  Pablo Sandoval's situation is likely a much more pressing concern and the Giants have a tough decision to make about how much they trust Pablo's newfound self-discipline.

Barring injury, there are just 4 lower level roster spots open for competition this spring, which is the way is should be.  They are 5'th OF, second reserve IF and 2 RP slots.  Juan Perez is the clear frontrunner for the 5'th OF slot with Roger Kieschnick in the mix.  The second reserve IF slot probably comes down to Adrianza vs Abreu and they both are out of options, so a trade for one of them is a strong possibility.  The two frontrunners for the last 2 RP slots would seem to be Heath Hembree and Jean Machi, who is also reported to be in the Best Shape of His Life.  They will be trying to hold off a large contingent of other bullpen hopefuls.

Lastly and sadly, Covechatter uncovered some discouraging news on Gustavo Cabrera who, according to Andy Baggarly, recently had a checkup in Arizona.  Baggs take is that there is almost no chance Gustavo plays at all this season.


  1. Losing Gustavo has probably been the saddest prospect story I've heard in a while. It's probably tied with Angel for weirdest. What's going on with Giants Internationale?

  2. Will it be longer than just this season - losing one season, especially a learning season at the beginning of one's career, is critical, though not necessarily insurmountable?

  3. Some fella over at another G's blog dropped this link to a pretty great interview with Brian Sabean just a day or two ago. It's a very good interview, and as the poster said, honest too.

    The reason I bring it up is that it sounds like the front office is very cognitive of what they have in Sandoval, and how difficult it would be to replace him. If I were a betting man, I'm going to say the Giants get a deal done with Sandoval within the first two weeks of the season, if not before the end of Spring, and it'll be a biggie for basically market value with his injury risk taken into account.

    5/110. Calling it now, and I'd be stoked with it.

    The guy is one of the premier hitters/players in the game, and the Giants like to keep their own greats in the Orange and Black. And, his discipline just looks different this time around. This time it feels to be the real deal!

    1. Wow. I think a lot of fans would feel safer in the 4/80 ballpark, but there's not much difference in AAV between these two estimates.

      I wonder how much they'd like to see out of Adam Duvall in Fresno, or if they've seen enough, before making the big decision.

  4. I heard Scutaro's back is bothering him again. Not a great way to start the season. Wonder how soon Joe Panik will be ready for the show?