Friday, December 12, 2014

Armchair GM Part Deux: Where Do the Giants Go From Here?

Whether you are disappointed in the failure of the Giants to do anything at the just completed Winter Meetings or relieved that they did not, you have to be wondering where they go from here.  While the Giants were sitting around waiting for Jon Lester, other teams were busy making moves and setting others up.  The free agent market is noticeably smaller than it was 5 days ago.  The trade market probably is to, but the trade market is less transparent than the FA market.  The current conventional wisdom is that the Giants are now trying to sign James Shields.

I really like James Shields, but he is 33 years old and reportedly asking for a 5 year contract.  That would take him through his age 37 season.  He is also tied through a Qualifying Offer from the Royals to the loss of a first round draft pick.  Unless his asking price has dropped, and there is no reason to believe it has, the Giants need to just say no and look elsewhere.

So, where else should they be looking?  Let's pull up the old armchair and put ourselves in Brian Sabean's seat again.  What would we do in this situation.  Again, the rules ground rules:  1. Buster Posey is staying at catcher.  2.  Brandon Belt is staying at first base.  3.  Brandon Crawford is staying at SS.  4. Tim Lincecum is not going to be the closer.  5.  The Giants are not going to go past the Luxury Tax threshold for 2015 payroll.

The linchpin of my first Armchair GM plan, Chase Headley, is still out there.   Sabes may have burned his bridges with Headley by proclaiming that the Giants are not necessarily "head over heals" for him, and that there are other options available.  Well, there may be other options available out there, but you have to squint really hard to see them.  There certainly are no other viable FA options available unless you are planning to move somebody to a new position.  A new name popped up yesterday, Asdrubal Cabrera, but Bobby Evans quickly tamped that down saying that ACab prefers to play up the middle and there is not a fit right now.  Jed Lowrie has said he is willing to move off SS.  Gordon Beckham is available and could probably play the position.  There are still some fairly farfetched trade ideas floating around for David Freeze, one of about 3 guys Pablo Sandoval is now blocking in Boston, maybe a Cody Asche as part of a Cole Hamels trade?  There was mention of signing ACab to play 2B with Joe Panik moving to 3B, but hellzbellz, if Panik can play 3B, I would much rather give Matt Duffy! the 2B job and run with it!
 Unless the Giants are serious about really going large on Max Scherzer or think they are really close to a trade for Cole Hamels, they need to get past their ace pitcher obsession and recognize that anything less than Pablo money is a good deal for Headley.  5 years/$75 M?  Get it done, Sabes!  I mean, if you are going to spend $75 M over 5 years, who is a better bet?  A 34 year old pitcher or a 31 year old third baseman?  Yeah, Headley has his well documented warts, but Shields and Pablo don't?  Headley has put up a higher fWAR the last two seasons than Pablo and his peak fWAR was significantly higher too.

Pitching is the next priority.  My 3 mid-level targets, Jason Hammel, Justin Masterson and Brandon McCarthy are all off the board now.  Hammel's contract, in particular, looks like a nice one for the Cubs.  The Giants currently do have 5 starters penciled into the rotation:  Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Petit and Lincecum.  Adding another starter would probably push Petit back to long relief/6'th starter and given this bunch, there is a good chance he would be back in the rotation by season's end.  Are there any other cost effective deals to be had out there?

Edinson Volquez is still out there.  He's had his ups and downs but is still just 31 years old and still throws 93 MPH. He also is a strong GB pitcher who would fit nicely with the superior IF defense the Giants would have with Chase Headley at 3B.   MLBTR thinks his price is about 2 years/$18 M.  He would probably jump at a 3 year deal.  A contract in that range is not going to cripple the Giants even if it completely busts.  It's a risk worth taking.

Aaron Harang is another pitcher who has been up and down seemingly forever.  He's 37 years old but might be available on a 1 year deal, 2 at the most.  He's more of a flyball pitcher, but AT&T Park is also friendly to flyball pitchers and the Giants have good OF defense. Again, a decent risk.

I've always liked Kyle Kendrick.  Nothing fancy here but he is a reliable innings eater who has kept his head above water pitching in a bandbox.  I think he would do well pitching in a Giants uniform and he would not be expensive.

Moving on the the OF, I know it's not a popular idea, but what OF out there is going to outperform Gregor Blanco?  The Giants already have brought in Justin Maxwell to compete for a platoon/4th OF role and challenge for a starting job.  Ideally, you want a bigger RH bat, but the market is very thin.  Alex Rios is still out there and would probably take a 1 year contract to try to rebuild his value coming off a thumb injury that destroyed his second half last year.  On the other hand, Rios D is slipping badly so what does he really give you that Michael Morse does not.  My pick in the first Armchair GM post was Michael Morse on another 1 year deal and I'm still going with that until he gets a multi-year deal form some AL club.

This fills the Giants immediate needs and leaves some room to add at the trade deadline.  There may be some kids who could help out by midseason too.  The probability is that 2015 will be another down year in the odd-even cycle anyway.  Don't paint yourself into a future corner with something that is not going to change that this year anyway.

Where would you take the Giants now if you were the GM?  Remember, keep it real!

95 comments:

  1. After the Lester dream has finished and we are back to reality there is a lot less inventory due to trades and FA signings. One thing remains is we have to pick some players to possibly put us where we left off last year. I wasn't too hot on Headley before I thought the Giants would sign Lester but now I think he is necessary. I say 4 years / $56M gets you in the conversation. Maybe add in a option to close the deal. I believe the SP role will be filled by a trade. Cole Hamels seems unlikely and so does Doug Fister. The Mets seems convinced they are trading Dillon Gee. He has looked good when I have seen him. Sounds like he would fit right in. I also like the idea of another 1 year with Vogey for when the Lincecum experiment crashes and burns. Leave LF where it is for now. If in contention by deadline maybe we can add a bat later. So my suggestion is Headley, Gee and Vogey and Play Ball!

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    1. The Mets are reportedly willing to trade Colon, Niese and/or Gee. Everybody keeps asking for Wheeler or Snydergaard that those ain't happenin'. Any of the guys they want to move might be available on the buy low. Good call!

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    2. Make that DeGrom, Wheeler and Snydergaard teams are asking for.

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    3. This is probably never gonna happen, but it cant hurt to call and see what the Nats want for Jordan Zimmerman. On a more realistic note any chance someone like Clayton Blackburn impress the Giants enough to let him be the number 5 starter and have Bum,Cain, Hudson,Lincecum, and Blackburn start the season, and if middle season something better comes up via trade then pull a move.

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    4. I highly doubt Blackburn is ready to start the season with the big league club. I am with you that he is the future but I think mid season or September callup at best.

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    5. I think mid-season for Blackburn at the earliest. He needs to get toughened up a bit in the PCL.

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  2. There are trades out there for the Giants to make and there have been FA signings for the Giants to land. However, Sabean has not thrown in the extra money to win the biddings and, from what I have read, doesn't want to trade the players that other teams want. Smart or stubborn? Time will tell...Although I have to say, he long ago earned my trust so I'm just waiting to see.

    Personally, I think the Giants NEED a Shields or a HAMELS, and I would have no problem deaing any Giant prospect or pair of prospects for him (but would look for redundancy) ..or spending a little extra money (not years) on SHields....Madbum, Cain, Hamels/Sheilds for the next 3/4 years would be the way to go..and then you can fill in the back end...

    Otherwise, we're going with Madbum and Cain , and filling in three spots..I am not enamored with what is out there--Peavy, Volquez. Vogey?? Or even trading for somebody like Gee..

    After that, there isn't much out there in FA at LF and 3B...Only Headley at 3B and maybe Cabrera/Denorfria in LF?

    If the Giants went in deep for Hamels, they would have nothing to deal for any other position...and I really don't see them doing it,, even if I might

    So, to me, it's either, Shields, Headley and a ho-hum OF by trade

    or Shields, and trades for Of/3B

    SteveVA

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    1. Shields in not the answer. Too old for the contract he wants. Probably looking for 4-6 years. Do you want to pay him close to $20M a year when he is 38,39? I didn't think so. That contract would be good for 2 years at best.

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    2. Six years no. But I'll do it for three years and an option, maybe 4 years. If it's 5 years or 6, I have no problem saying no.

      SteveVA

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    3. I would be okay with 4 years too but I doubt Shields will. I prefer him over Santana. However, I am more interested in trading for a pitcher and keeping the draft pick. This will be Shield's last chance to get that big contract and we will look for it.

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    4. I am with you on this scenario...And agree about the trade...But really not interested in trading for a so-so Vogey like pitcher..Want a pitcher that can be counted on for three years or so...Hopefully Sabean can find that pitcher if Shields (years) and Hamels (prospects) are too rich..

      SteveVA

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  3. I feel that this is just a repeat of the trade deadline. Giants were buyers, but didn't have enough ammo to do something big. Giants were hungry to make big moves at the deadline and came out with Peavy and the rest is history. I get that same feeling now after the Winter Meetings. I feel better about solving problems internally. Panik at 3B, Duffy at 2B, and Blach as SP. Give Vogie a 1yr deal until Blach is ready. Only player to loose the 1st round pick for is Mad Max and I don't think G men have the money for him. Save money for draft picks and Yoan Mocada. Giants should STAY AWAY from free agency right now. I don't question what the Giants were doing at Winter Meeting. They had a plan and it didn't workout the way they wanted it to go. What I was thinking was fans overvalue SF as a destination! 3 rings so what? Free agents for whatever reason DO NOT want to play in SF unless it's the end of the line for them. That's what I take away from what happen this past week. Headly is asking everyone for 12 million a year and he tells the Giants he wants 18 mill to sign and 6 years instead of 3...that's not true, but it just is how I feel about what Giants have to deal with in free agency. It was a tough week, but I trust Sabean and his sneaky trades.

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    1. Sadly, that's what we have seen with a few free agents - championship DNA, future hall of fame manager, future hall of fame GM, bunch of chemistry oriented players on the team, a great fan base, relative freedom from saber stats, reputable ownership, a great park, great city, great weather, higher CA taxes...

      Maybe it's be different with the next batch of free agents.

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    2. Who said FAs don't want to play in SF? As far as I know, only one FA, Lester, preferred another team. I think Sandoval was a special case so I believe that Lester is the only one I know of. Has anyone else turned us down this year for equal money?

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    3. I don't know how much we offered Tomas. Is there a report that we made an offer equal to the D-Back offer but he chose them? If there is, I didn't see it.

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  4. I've said it multiple times already, and I'll keep saying it. I think the Giants need to work with Boston and try to find a match. Would they be interested in Hector, Adrianza, and a couple mid-level prospects in order to part ways with guys like Brock Holt and Daniel Nava? Would the Giants need to add a Blackburn, Mejia or Blach to get Garin Cecchini? I really see them as a team that could do business with Sabean again. I mean, what would be standing in the way? They have 3-5 guys that are totally blocked in the system now.

    My only issue (and it's a big one) with leaving LF alone is Pagan's injury history. Blanco is literally the only reliable insurance the Giants have for Pagan right now. Unless Carbonell turns out to be an impact player (which could happen), I think you've got to reinforce the OF a bit more than with guys like Brett Jackson and Justin Maxwell. That's where Nava and/or Holt could factor in. Heck, even a Chris Denorfia signing wouldn't be a bad idea. What about the names we tossed around last year, Ruggiano and Stubbs? Both guys play fairly good defense and hit lefties well. I think that situation has to be addressed before all is said and done.

    If Sabes isn't careful, all of his reasonable options will fizzle out...

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    1. I wonder if Sabean sees things in Juan Perez an Brown as Centerfield/4th OF depth, that we don't see (and that he seemingly doesn't as he buried Brown last season). But there seems to be very little urgency in the OF. He must be comfortable with internal options there, because although a 5-10 mil 1 year contract for Morse or something like that from the late spring FA pile may be had (and wouldn't be surprising), Sabean doesn't chance getting no-one if he isn't comfortable with what he has.

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    2. He sees that it is going to be very hard to find a better starting option in LF than Blanco, so all they are looking for is a 4'th or 5'th OF and they may already have that in Maxwell.

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    3. That kid they got in the rule 5 draft is gonna make the team.He's gonna share time w/Blanco and Brown.

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    4. From what I've read, the problem the Giants have been having with 'reasonable' is that nobody else is being reasonable. According to Evans, teams are wanting the good, young players -- Panik, Susac and Strickland -- for guys who are not MLB ready.

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    5. Gfan3: If you are talking about Justin Maxwell, the guy they signed to a minor league deal, then I agree with you. If you are talking about Brett Jackson, that this the longest of long shots.

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  5. Probability...2015 down...odd/even year cycle???

    Fatalism?

    How many odd years in a player's prime do we have?

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    1. Well, the current homegrown core already has 3 rings on their fingers, and is already starting to break up. At some point, you have to realize that winning back-to-back is crazy hard and it might be better to regroup and go for another run next year or the year after.

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  6. Not sure what the payroll constraints are exactly, but it does seem like the Giants swung and missed on a lot of guys. What's so obvious to me this time of year is that this free agent game is not about winning - it's about money. Anyone who forgets that needs a wakeup call. Take a good look at Jon Lester to the Cubs, that isn't a "winning" decision, that was purely a money decision.

    What do you think of this (probably not popular, but maybe more realistic?). Maybe the Giants stand mostly pat where they're at. Maybe add Headley or Rios, but for the most part keep their roster how it is. Maybe bring back Vogelsong if possible for insurance and start the season... Next year, after the Lincecum contract is up there are guys like Cespedes, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Zach Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman, Samardja, etc. that will be available.

    Why not let some young guys play and see what you have, give the farm system another year to ripen and wait? Seems like next year is a more balanced class of FA to me... Why over spend just to get in the mix this year when it's pretty clear to me that there's a lot of players that will be money pits for the finals years of their deals if we get involved?

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    1. Personally, I think the Giants should go into every off season thinking what do they need to do to win the World Series and try to do it...but also have reasonable fall backs...Going for Lester means they have concerns about the rotation, and I aqree..This must be filled and there's nobody in the minors near ready (I watched Blach a few times in Rich, and he ain;t close)..

      And I don't like playing young kids playing just because they are young..You play them when they show they are ready and there's a spot for them (ala Panik) or they bust through the door (ala Strickland)..Don't think there's a single position player out there ready for Major play and ABs except Duffy at 2B (NOT 3B!!) and SUSAC at C....Why I deem both tradeable for the right return....

      As for waiting for nest year's FA class, why will the approach of Sabean and the Giants (as well as the rest of the ML) be any different??

      SteveVA

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    2. I really like Duffy, but I question whether he is ready to compete for a full-time role. I haven't had a chance to really look at Duffy's arm, I am pretty certain Panik does not have the arm for 3B. I gotta say, unless Duffy tears the cover off the ball in ST, he starts 2015 in AAA.

      Susac is ready to play.

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    3. Best of all worlds to me is PANIK at 2B, somebody external at 3B and Duffy as the main utility guy, I don't think either of Duffy or Panik (or Adrianza) are 3B by any stetch of the imagination..

      steveVA

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    4. With arbitration salaries included, Giants' 25-man payroll should be $143M-ish. This stuff gets really complicated; but for CBT purposes, that equals $147M in salaries. Then there are other other costs: 40-man roster salaries (let's figure $1.5M), a cushion for MiLB call-ups to MLB (about $1.5M), and the big whopper is MLB player benefits about $11M needs to added.

      That's $161M of the $189M CBT threshold. $28 million remaining to spend: 3B, LF, #3, 2 bullpen spots, injury insurance/depth.

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    5. $143 million-ish for 25 players.

      That averages out to be $6 million a player. Stars of course deserve more. Anytime we get league minimum, it's a plus.

      We need to fill 3B, LF, #3 starter, 2 bullpen spots - that's 5 players...roughly $30 million, in line with your number of $28 million. And that will put us at the $189 million threshold.

      Done properly, we should have a good team, capable of going all the way once we are in the post season (because of our experience and coaching), but by no means a dominating one, say capable of winning 100+ game (though as a fan, I always believe - here, instead, I am referring to consensus projections) at $189 million.

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  7. I am curious what it would take to bring Peavy back. While I wouldn't want to invest too much years/money in him, he seems like a workable starter and good team guy. If he'd give a bit to stay with Bochy, I'd go for bringing him back. I would be OK with bringing Vogey back, but I think Peavy has a bit higher ceiling right now.

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    1. Peavy died in the playoffs. He was really good in August/September. It looked like batting practice in the playoffs. No swinging and missing. It was only a matter of time before that big inning happened on him. I would only want him on a 1 year deal.

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    2. I wasn't asking about Peavy as a 'top rotation' guy, but rather as filling back end. When we're looking to fill out the rotation, a "really good August/September" is probably better than average. While I'd rather add another "ace", that's starting to look unlikely. So a Peavy/Vogey for 1 or 2 years looks like an OK (not exciting, but OK) move to me.

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    3. I just think if you want a back end guy to go with Vogey. If you don't look at his W/L then he had a decent year. About what you would expect for $6-7M. I am not comfortable spending $10M+ for Peavy. Rather trade for someone like Dillon Gee.

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  8. So, with the CBT threshold = $28M to spend in total. Our absolute cap, meaning any wiggle room for deadline acquisitions, MiLB deals, and call-ups would need to be included UNDER that amount. Ruh-roh, things get tricky... I agree that the "nice" value $10M arms (Hammel and Masterson) are off the board. I'm not sold on most of the remaining FA's: Headley, Denorfia, Kendrick, Harang, Volquez, Beckham, Lowrie, Asdrubal, Rasmus, Aoki, Ichiro, Rios... Trades: Freese, Holt, Middlebrooks, Viciedo don't impress me. I think Cecchini would be overpriced, since he still has options remaining (Nava does not). No thanks on J Upton + C Johnson.

    Some answers might not seem 'sexy.'. Trade targets: Plouffe, Valbuena, Asche, Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Jay Bruce, or Nava. I'd go after hard after Plouffe or Valbuena, personally. I do like Asche and think he could project very well. I'd also *hope* we can re-sign Melky Cabrera, but I guess that just wouldn't happen in this universe. lol. CIN would surely want Crick + Okert in our package for Bruce, I'd have to think hard on that. I love Bruce, but his injuries seem like his asking price should be more aligned... Dunno.

    Much of my belief is I'd rather see 'our guys' get a shot. Duvall at 3B instead of spending on a ho-hum Lowrie or trading for Brock Holt/Josh Satin types. Give Blach/Blackburn/or Heston a shot over signing Harang/Capuano/Kendrick, ya know? Upside *could* be greater, and cost savings is there to help fill our other needs. But, I'd gamble on Brandon Morrow and use our arms as depth/insurance.

    Some serious digging would put us at guys like: the Cuban LHSP Yoan Lopez and 3B/LF Jung-Ho Kang. MiLB free agents 3B Wilson Betemit/Kaleb Cowart(?), RHSP's Kris Medlen/Felipe Paulino/Rafael De Paula(?), RHRP Matt Albers, LHRP's Sean Marshall/Jonny Venters/Luis Perez, OF Jose Tabata(?). Not sure I really want any of them for our 25-man, but I'd sure take a couple on split contracts for depth.. Betemit, sure, if he's healthy enough.

    LF: Melky Cabrera
    3B: Luis Valbuena (trade Keury Mella + Jarrett Parker?)
    #4: Vogey puts us up to $27M, which I don't love. So... Morrow at $5M.

    I dream of trading for TB LHSP Matt Moore: Crick, Hall (or Kontos or Machi), and Duvall + Mella/Mejia/OR Ysla? + Adrianza?). I truly think he is THE ONLY #1 or #2 who *could even remotely* be considered available to us in MLB. For a trade package "as if" he were totally healthy right now. We actually could match up perfectly for TB's future needs, IMO.

    Moore + Melky + Valbuena leaves $7M in wiggle room. Sign a couple MiLB deals and have some cushion for the trade deadline. It's the only way we can get all we need. Can't get Melky or Moore? Morrow + Morse + Valbuena/Plouffe/Asche? We actually *could* sign Shields + Betemit to platoon w/ Duffy at 3B + Nava/Jennings LF. YMMV. Cheers.

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  9. I like Plouffe as well but I read the Twins might want to extend him. Doesn't hurt to pick up the phone though.

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    1. Yeah. I believe it is Shankbone that has been touting Plouffe for many moons. And he's right. Plouffe just had a season slightly more productive than Sandoval's and a good bit better than Headley's. The issue is, that now, the trade wouldn't come cheap.

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    2. True, but he has 4 years of control left. That is worth trading Crick, etc., etc., etc. for.

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    3. fWAR's:

      Headley- 4.4, Plouffe- 3.5, Sandoval- 3.0.

      Headley was 3.6 in 2013 while Sandoval was under 3. Headley's career year was 7.2 in 2012 while Sandoval's was 5.5 in 2011.

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    4. I could be wrong, but I don't see the Twins trading Plouffe until Sano is definitely ready, which is probably is not now.

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    5. You have talked me into Headley. I fought it all that I could. Can we just sign the guy already? That way we will know what we can spend on SP and possibly LF.

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    6. Yes, Roger, I'd agree. I'm down with moving some big chips to land Plouffe. However, I think it could cost much less to get Valbuena. And CHC sure could use a LHB OF like Parker (+ Crick or other/s). Like some other teams, we'll have to consider the 'cost of doing business.' We know not a lot of FA hitters will sign in SF. So, even if it's an "overpay," we really could justify it for (I believe it is...) 3 years of cost-control.

      DrB, you're quite right. It surely depends on how one evaluates these things. Perhaps I could've typed, "in my judgement?" If I take Plouffe, Sandoval, and Headley to a common denominator, like 660 PA's... Obviously, still, accounting for defense makes quite a difference in total value/performance. But I've seen how Headley outdid his average/career defensive performance in 2014. So, I might deem them all a bit closer in "actual" value. YMMV.

      Plouffe: 152 H, 45 2B/16 HR, 78 R/91 RBI, 60 BB/124 SO, 249 TB. .258/.328/.423/.751, .331 wOBA, 110 OPS+. rWAR 3.9.
      Panda: 170 H, 27 2B/17 HR, 70 R/76 RBI, 40 BB/88 SO, 252 TB. .279..324..415..739, .328 wOBA, 111 OPS+. rWAR 3.3.
      Headley:142 H, 25 2B/16 HR, 68 R/61 RBI, 63 BB/152 SO, 218 TB. .243/.328/.372/.700, .315 wOBA, 102 OPS+. rWAR 2.1.

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    7. I guess you can juggle the number to make 'em say whatever you want. I was just going by what they, you know, actually did.

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    8. Correct. I do not believe in projecting more PA's. I take their numbers at face value. For example, some players are injury prone and miss a lot of time. When evaluating them for a future contract I am not going to assume their numbers for a whole season because chances are they won't play that many games.

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    9. Plouffe has been a white whale for a bit, because he hasn't realized potential. He flashed more of it this year. And he's most likely too valuable at the moment, but if the Twins tank and Sano rakes in the minors... I like the fact he can fake LF to boot. He's not a great defender but he's made strides. Mainly its targeting a guy with a rare trait (power), hitting and fielding issues that might be solvable and athletic enough to play a couple positions. And his age. But I don't know if the Giants 1-2 of young pitching would be enough.

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    10. I don't believe in the 'one year' stats for evaluation players. If I did, I'd think Robbie Thompson was one of the greatest hitting 2B in Giants history if I used 1993... But I know that year (.312) was a freak year. And the fact is that he was a career .257 hitter who, frequently, fell below that threshold and was, more realistically a .245-.255 range guy. And don't get me wrong, I really like Robbie Thompson. But he was what he was and evaluating him on a peak season (if only by accident) because I used JUST ONE season would paint a rather incorrect picture of the man.

      So, Plouffe (last year) had his peak. Nobody knows if it's sustainable or not. What I do know is that his 3-year rolling WAR has been 1.6 with a low of 0.3. Which isn't all that great.

      What I do know is that Headley's 3-year rolling WAR has been 5.1 with a low of 3.6.
      What I do know is that Sandoval's 3-year rolling WAR has been 2.6 with a low of 2.3.

      Which leads me to believe that, Plouffe is being over-weighted on his one-year production and should be 3rd on the list, not first because he has yet to demonstrate he can sustain quality production on a career-level time-frame.


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  10. Hey, I found our next starter..."With new mechanics, Zito to audition for teams in January". 7/$126M should do it. Get'er done Sabes.

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    1. Giants should seriously kick the tires on Zito.

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    2. Only if those tires are the low profile performance type. I think we are done with his old slow white walls.

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    3. Well, January rolls around and we take a looksee at Zito, we'll know the time has arrived to panic.

      That being said, I wouldn't be surprised.

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  11. I prefer a Vogey over a Peavy. One year commitment, pitched pretty well, has success in the post-season. Wants to be a Giant for sure, all they have to do is offer it up. 1/8MM is nothing for this team. Then I'd go troll Lowrie (might want 3 years, don't like that part) or Asdrubal Cabrera. Try to get a 2 year deal but they're both wanting more.

    It may be out of LF but if Colby Rasmus' market doesn't heat up, maybe he takes a one year prove it deal to rebuild value. Only problem is he's a lefty bat.

    I'm glad Sabean said they're not that excited about Headley. He reminds me of Alfonso, a mid market FA who derives too much value from OBP and not enough from SLG and BA.

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    1. Here's some numbers on Headley, Plouffe, Sandoval and Alfonzo:

      Headley:
      2014- .243/.328/.372, 13 HR, 9.6 BB%, 23.0 K%, .130 IsoP, 103 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR.
      2015(Steamer)- .258/.344/.406, 15 HR, 10.6 BB%, 22.7 K%, .148 IsoP, 112 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR.

      Plouffe:
      2014- .258/.328/.423, 14 HR, 9.1 BB%, 18.7 K%, .165 IsoP, 112 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR.
      2015(Steamer)- .248/.316/.411, 8.3 BB%, 19.8 K%, .162 IsoP, 105 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR.

      Sandoval:
      2014: .279/.324/.415, 16 HR, 6.1 BB%, 13.3 K%, .136 IsoP, 111 wRC+, 3.0 fWAR.
      2015(Steamer)- .291/.347/.464, 17 HR, 7.4 BB%, 13.6 K%, .173 IsoP, 124 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR.

      Alfonzo:
      2002(Last Year WIth Mets)- .308/.391/.459, 16 HR, 11.0 BB%, 9.8 K%, .151 IsoP, 129 wRC+
      Career- .284/.357/.425, 9.8 BB%, 10.1 K%, .140 IsoP, 107 wRC+.

      1. Headley matches up well with Sandoval who just got $95 M. I know you think Boston overpaid, and I agree, but if you can get Headley for $20 M less, that's a good deal in this market.

      2. I'm not seeing the differences between Headley and Plouffe other than a longer track record for Headley. True, Plouffe is cheaper in terms of salary, but there would be a cost in players/prospects in trade if he is available at all, which I doubt, at least until Sano is ready.

      3. I am not seeing the comp between Headley and Alfonzo at all. It is quite clear to me that Alfonzo's steep drop off after coming to the Giants was due to physical issues rather than anything you could discern in his stats. I think he had a bad back.

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    2. I just can't get excited about spending that kind of money for these types of slugging percentages, even if we are in a new offensive era. Maybe Sando does get a bump in ISO like that from the AL East bandboxes, who knows.

      Alfonzo did have a bad back. He was a 400 slugging guy. That's the comp I'm thinking about. Plouffe is cheaper in salary. That is one of the main attractions, the other is the chance he's got more in the tank that isn't in the stats or projections.

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    3. Whatthehell does a bad back have to do with a .400 SLG and what does .400 SLG have to do with the regression he had with the Giants? Just because some random player you can think of falls off a cliff because of a bad back doesn't mean every other player with a .400 SLG% is going to do the same! Had Alfonzo maintained even his post-prime production with the Giants that he had in NY, he would have been well worth the money and the roster spot.

      Yes, I know Plouffe is cheaper in salary. The problem is that I don't think he is available and if he is, there is a cost in players/prospects in trade, plus, if he is as good as you think he is, his salary will start to rapidly escalate after he gets to SF.

      So, yeah, sure, I'd be about as happy with Plouffe as Headley if they can get him, but they have to get him first.

      We know Headley is available and we know his price is probably significantly less than the Giants were willing to pay Pablo for approximately equal production. That is why I am advocating they get it done and done soon before someone else takes him off the market and they are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

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  12. The Phillies might finally be in full fire sale mode. I would inquire about Asche for 3B (Phils may think it is time to turn 3B over to Franco), and one of Dom Brown, Darin Ruf, or Marlon Byrd for LF. I'd see what the Phils want for Hamels, although trading for him might preclude obtaining anything else. Heck, I'd even kick the tires on Utley, who is right here in the City for the offseason. Not sure if he would consider playing at 3B, however.

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    1. Good call on a trade for Byrd. That would be an almost perfect solution to LF.

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  13. I saw Byrd play us last year in RF and he was a statue out there. There were some bloop hits that it took ages for him to get to. I would almost rather have Morse because of the chemistry he has with the Giants and similar power. Lets not trade for Byrd.

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    1. Well, we all know that UZR is not perfect, but Byrd grades out as an approximately league average defender whereas Morse is strongly negative.

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    2. MLBTR is reporting that the Orioles inquired about Byrd and were told they would have to take Ryan Howard and his contract as part of the deal. No thanks!

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  14. Based on other creative trades going down, we should be able to make a trade without giving up our top tier prospects. The problem isn't our inventory.

    I agree about bringing Morse back. He'll end up injured half the season anyway, but I'd like one of those solid months out of him.

    Panik moving from 2nd, is like Belt moving from 1st. He just made the defensive play of the year in a WS, and he did the impossible, filling Scutaro's shoes doing the impossible in filling some of Melky's insane roid year production.

    How's Duffy's arm? Can't he get some play at 3rd?
    If Hector's still on the roster I'm going to expect he gets a whirl at 3rd. Baby Panda?

    What about Mark Mincozi? Is he still breathing? Did people forget about him? He's played more games at 3rd, than 1st, and an argument could be made he earned a shot last year, but was either blocked, or hurt.

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    1. So, what trades have gone down that the Giants could have matched or bested with prospects?

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    2. Fangraphs on Mark Minicozzi and career minor leaguer projections.
      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/on-mark-minicozzi-or-complementing-projections-with-reason/

      Actually, Mark might be the number 1 in the depth chart right now. I'd take a 90-95 OPS+ at 3rd if it came cheap. And I like rooting for minor league journeymen in the bigs. I think that would make him the only player I saw at Augusta make to make the major league club.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/dallibr01.shtml

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    3. Mark Minicozzi is an organizational player. He'll play wherever they need him. He might get an emergency callup if he is very lucky.

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  15. DocB,
    I heard JP Morosi speak on the radio yesterday. He was surprised that the Giants got shut out at the winter meetings and suggested that the Giants will speak with Tampa Bay about Evan Longoria. I do not know if they have the chips to make a trade like that, but sounds interesting.
    Panik, Crick and Susac as a starting point, but I don't think that is enough, but I would try it.

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    1. Longoria has one of the most team friendly contracts in baseball. I highly doubt the TB would trade him, and if they did, they would have offers lined outside the door. I just don't see it happenin'.

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  16. I would prefer five years of Headley at $15M AAV, through age 37, to seven of Longoria through age 37, at a slightly lower AAV of $11M in 2015 to $19M at the end, as in Longoria's very team-friendly contract, but with the loss of Panik and the Giants' two top prospects, Susac and Crick. I don't know how age and injury will affect either man up to age 37, of course, so it may be in retrospect, Headley to 37 will turn OT to be much worse than Longoria to 37, or vice versa. And at the moment Longoria is markedly more desirable than Headley. But if you take into account what Panik, Susac, and Crick might well do for the Giants, either as Giants or as trade chips in the relatively near future, I think it would be foolish to lose them for the difference between Headley and Longoria in a long- term contract.

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    1. For OT, read out. Also, as DrB says, if the Rays decided to trade Longoria, the competition to get him would be fierce, so the player cost to the Giants, were they to win the competition, would be great. Headley, at the moment, costs only money.

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    2. For Longoria, you are paying with prospects now and salary later in his contract in order to get for his age 29, 30 and 31 seasons. It's a big deal that he is 17 months younger than Headly, and that his salary for 2015 and 2016 is only ~$11 million/year.

      I agree with DrB that a trade is unlikely, and with you that it would be hard to give up Panik Susac and Crick. Maybe it's something where tires should be kicked now to lay the ground work for midseason possibilities.

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  17. Panik is at his absolute highest value right now and could be a good trade piece as a sell high candidate. Plus I think Duffy is ready to slide into 2B if need be. Longo would be a great pairing with Posey and Pence for many years to come.

    I would also consider a package centered around Belt to land a lynch pin like Longoria.

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    1. silly

      why would tb want to give up longoria for anything?

      and how do you know that panik has reached his ceiling?

      and why would you want to break up what appears to be a great tandem in craw and panik?


      well doc, you asked for it and you got it

      this is what passes on knbr for great sports talk radio

      bacci

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    2. The Reds are doing a full sell off. Todd Frazier would is a nice player to check in on.

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    3. Yeah, Bacci. When you start getting trade proposals for Evan Longoria, you know the discussion has pretty much run its course.

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    4. If the Rays are not going to trade Longoria, who is very good and cheap, why should the Reds trade Frazier, who is very good and cheap? Frazier is younger and cheaper. Every year he has put up a better fWAR than the year before. Anonymous check on Frazier, who do you think the Giants can offer who would get the Reds to trade Frazier to them?

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    5. The Reds do seem to be in more of a full teardown mode than the Rays, but I agree, Frazier would not come cheap, if at all.

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  18. Sign Cabrera,Lowry,or Beckham to play 3B.Duffy can come off the bench.Fill in at 3B,SS,2B when they need day off.Good bat off bench.Sign Capuano, and Correa.Give kids a little time in AAA.Keep draft picks draft dope young pitcher or Kyle Tucker or Kyle Murray.Let's do dis.

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  19. Great job here, doc. Get it done, Sabes, indeed :-)

    Edinson Volquez is a guy that looks right for the price. Good arm, eating innings.
    A two year deal would be nice but I can see enough of a market making 3 a necessity. It sounds like they'll go for Shields, but come in second, so Volquez it is. He's probably the next best arm available after Shields unless Hiroki Kuroda wants to bring his act to SF.

    I can't believe Sabean would stick his foot in mouth and make a public comment about Headley. Okay, I can believe it, that's his schtick.

    So yeah man, Gordon Beckham at third. Leave LF open and hope to improve it at the trade deadline. Improve the rotation at the deadline if you can also. That's right, the team in April is never the same team in August/September/October.

    Giants have some serious savings here. Go get Moncada. Boom, get it done, Sabes!

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    1. Signing Moncada would be off the hook.

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    2. I wrote a separate post on Moncada a couple of weeks ago. Because of penalties for going over the international bonus pool limits and the fact that his entire contract plist the penalties would have to be paid within 1 year, I believe it is highly unlikely the Giants would sign him.

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  20. Melky just signed w/Chi Sox.Three more bullets to dodge.Does anybody have any thoughts on Correa,and Capuano?

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    1. Neither Kevin Correia or Capuano would be upgrades on what the Giants already have in the rotation. Maybe as long relief/6'th starter options?

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    2. Gfan, Personally I'm not at all interested in either Correia or Capuano (or Harang). I'd sooner try our young arms (Blach, Blackburn, or Heston) than pay money for some "floor" guy with little upside. Capuano confirmed reports that he spoke to at least 2 NPB teams while in Japan for the Samurai All-Star Series. Maybe that says as much about his future as is needed?

      I'm bummed we couldn't have Melky back. But, in all honesty, I didn't really figure we would re-sign him. I just *wish* we could've. That's just me though. And I think 3/42M should offer very strong value. *sigh*

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    3. I look for Melky's career to take a significant downward turn over the next 3 seasons, so I'm just as happy the Giants "lost out."

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  21. Giants fans here are real options in free agency.Headley,Shields,Scherzer out.We don't want to lose our #19 pick.Defending champs don't usually draft that high.Capuano,Correa,Kendrick's
    Beckham, Lowry.
    Don't forget we get Pagan,and Cain back.Sign Vogey,and pick 2 of the 3 pitchers.Let those 3 compete with Petit for the last two spots.The odd man out.Goes to the pen.Gives up depth.When Crick,Blackburn or Blach are ready.They'll come up.

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  22. Melky 3/45 seems like a nice little deal for the White Sox.

    That's a nice price for the Giants, history be damned.

    Probably the park and Melky's version of history makes the G's go 4 years to get him. But that bat would have solidified our lineup.

    Giants ice-cold, downright freezing in the off-season. No hot stove to be found.

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    1. Meh. Melky has a great throwing arm, but his range in LF was barely passable in 2012 and it's only getting worse as he ages. He also has to hit over .300 to contribute with the bat. He would have cost the Giants a draft pick, so bullet dodged.

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    2. My bad. Didn't realize Melky was QOed.

      Nevermind.

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  23. I really wanted Lester despite the risk. Once he signed elsewhere and the options are pretty much to lose a draft pick for a pitcher that is less than Lester, even though cheaper, I think we should just resign Vogie and call the rotation good for now. Upgrades can be had at the deadline if we are close. I know this goes against you Doc but I don't want Headley at a AAV of 15 million plus over 4 years because I think his back is going to blow up way before tha contract is up. I would go with Lowrie or Beckham at 3rd or just stick Arias over there and see if regular playing time got his average up. If we could get Morse to resign for a year or two at under 10 mill per I would go there and let him keep LF warm until a prospect of trade develops. He loves Hunter so maybe, and we can always trade that bat to an AL team. I don't want to trade Susac, Duffy or any of our young pitchers yet because I don't think they are at the right value yet and expect many in the system including Hector Sanchez to have a much greater value at the same time next year. Lester was the prize to me that set up the off season, once he was gone I think we need to hold our cards close and see how the first half of the season develops before we see the flop.

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    1. I'd be OK with a Morse, Lowrie, Volquez triad to fill the holes. That might leave enough left over to re-sign Romo too. Then look for upgrades as needed at the trade deadline.

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  24. Headley re-signs with Yanks.

    Giants, staying the course, are pretty sure he'll reconsider.

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