Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hot Stove Update: What are the Giants Looking for at the Winter Meetings?

The Giants have to be feeling pretty good about their position going into MLB's Winter Meetings.  They already took care of the one piece of business they absolutely had to take care of, signing a strong SP.  No, it wasn't Zack Greinke, and it would have been great if he had gone somewhere out of the NL West, but the most important part of that deal is not that he went to the D'Backs, but the Dodgers lost him.  The Giants immediately went to their back up plan and signed Jeff Samardzija for a very reasonable contract.  The Dodgers?  They are in the process of signing a pitcher to a 3 year deal who is as old now as Samardzija will be in the final year of his contract with the Giants!  Bwahahahahaha!!!

So, with the most important business completed, the Giants head into the Winter Meetings still carrying a huge wad of caishish, and with the freedom and flexibility to go in almost any direction.  Here are some of the options:

1.  Spend approximately equal money on another second tier SP.  Johnny Cueto's cost might be a bit rich, but a Mike Leake would work just fine for me, so would Wei-Yin Chen.  This would still leave a few shekels left over to sign a reliever like Joakim Soria or better yet, a nice lefty like Tony Sipp.  Not sure about CF, but they need someone who can D it up out there.

2.  Sign a power hitting OF.  Bobby Evans reportedly said the Giants are looking for a power hitter who can play LF and maybe CF.  Let's see, he could be talking about one, Jason Heyward, but he isn't really a big HR hitter.  There is another guy who fits that description a lot better and that would be…..Yoenis Cespedes!  Cespedes is a bit of a hot dog and he's streaky has heck.  On the other hand, he's athletic as hell and his numbers are generally right there at the end of the season.  Who does THAT remind me of?  A guy the Giants acquired to play RF a few seasons ago, that's who!  I suppose if they went for a Cespedes, the Giants would go for a lesser SP than one of the second tier dudes.  Maybe a Doug Fister or an Ian Kennedy?  Maybe a trade?

3.  How about splitting the difference and going for a couple of third tier guys like Scott Kazmir as the second SP and Ben Zobrist as the OF with the added bonus of Zobrist's tremendous versatility?  Zobrist was in SF this weekend talking with the Giants, so stay tuned on that front.

We've been disappointed before, but gotta think the Giants won't leave the Winter Meetings without at least one big deal done.

OK, this will never happen, but here is DrB's new dream scenario:

1.  Sign Cespedes to play LF.

2.  Trade whatever it takes from the farm system to pry Billy Hamilton from the Reds to play CF.  He's got game changing speed with on-base upside and can D it up like crazy in CF.

3.  Sign Ian Kennedy or some equivalent pitcher.  He is kind of a Jeff Samardzija lite.  Coming off a down season but maintained a strong K rate.  He seems like a guy who is likely to bounce back and would probably benefit from being coached by the Giants pitcher whisperers.

Hey, I just made that up!

What is YOUR dream scenario for the Giants at the Winter Meetings?


  1. I am pretty similar with you on a dream scenario involving Cespedes (Reminds me of Gary Shefield, the way he hits lasers when he gets hot) and former ace/strikeout artist Ian Kennedy to round out the rotation. I would also like to kick the tires on a possible trade with Tampa for one of their lefties Matt Moore or Drew Smyly. I remember Moore being electric back in 2013 before his TJ in 2014. Smyly has always had good stuff too. Any thoughts on either of those 2 arms?
    Clint in Anaheim Hills

    1. TB seems to be looking to trade at least one of several pitchers. Moore has the highest ceiling, but is also probably the highest risk. Smyly is versatile and could pitch multiple innings out of the pen. Then there is Odirizzi, Colome and Erasmo Ramirez. Pretty much any of those could make a nice 4'th starter for the Giants with Odirizzi maybe being a #3. Colome is a hard thrower with a high ceiling too.

  2. According to FanGraphs, here's the batted ball percentages of Kazmir and Leake last season:

    Kazmir: .273 BABIP 1.15 GB/FB 19.8 LD% 42.9 GB% 18.9 soft% 55.4 medium% 25.7 hard%
    Leake: .260 BABIP 1.94 GB/FB 21.6 LD% 51.8 GB% 16.5 soft% 55.0 medium% 28.5 hard%

    Based on the hard contact and batted ball %s, Kazmir have a slight edge in allowing weak contact while Leake have the advantage on making hitters pound the dirt. It's a give and take situation whether the Giants will sign one. If I want to bank on Blackburn and Beedah to come through in the next 2 years, I'll prefer Kazmir on a short 3-year contract as he's done a great job pitching to his strength which is his changeup that's one of the best in the game (saw him throw a 94 MPH cheese up then follow it with a crazy 79 MPH change with a lot of sink on it and the same arm speed). That's not taking away Leake's ability to pitch to the Giants strength which is the IF D and his relative age compared to Kazmir. I would not be mad if the Giants pick either but I'll be mad if they didn't get both as well as Maeda.

    The Giants can squeeze in some money for an OF as well say, Alex Gordon. There's a saying that if you can't beat em, join em. He will not play CF though. A trade would be nice for filling in the CF spot. Maybe Juan Lagares if he's available? An elite defender who can't hit a lick? A thing that will make Bam-Bam earn his money's worth IMO.

    1. Starting pitchers under contract:

      Peavy will be gone after 2016.
      Cain is signed through 2017.
      Bumgarner through 2019.
      Samardzija through 2020.

      We then have rotation guys on the 40-man roster -- Heston, Crick (probably not), Blackburn, Blach, Stratton & Mejia. Of which Heston and Blackburn have the best chance of spending time in the bullpen as long-relief or potential 5th starter.

      So I just don't think we're going to pick up 3 pitchers this Hot Stove season. I can see a second pitcher and a call-up/role switch of Blackburn or Heston. But I can't see three pitchers.

      As it is I'd be happy with either Kazmir or Leake. And love it even more if we could snag Cueto at $25 million (or under) a year, luxury tax be damned.

      As for Maeda... Yeah... Not so sure.

    2. I'm just saying pick 1 of the 3. Not 2 of them. The Giants already have Shark backing up Bum in the rotation as well as Blackburn that's on the cusp of making the rotation. If that's the case short-term contracts on SPs will become handy as it can stopgap while waiting for the prospects to develop.

    3. Oh. I thought you meant you wanted two of the threee pitchers -- Kazmir, Leake & Meada -- when you wrote:

      "...I'll be mad if they didn't get both as well as Maeda."

      I think you meant something slightly different, such as 'I'll be made if they don't get one of the three.'

  3. Dream Scenario: Sign Cespedes, trade for Tyson Ross.

    Hamilton is a nice player to dream on as well, and I'm sure the Reds would be perfectly happy to deal him for the right price.

    Cove Chatter

  4. Dream Scenario: don't sign any outfielders, leaving room for Mac Williamson to start in LF. Make a trade for a young starting pitcher (Braves, Rays, ???).

  5. Would you give Leake the Pence deal like Samardzija?

    1. No. I don't think he is worth that. There are plenty of other options our there better than Leake that can be had for less.

  6. I'm not sold on power so whomever they sign needs to be a great defensive player followed by at least being a good contact hitter who can move the chain along. Not that I'm saying ignore power. It's just you have to build your roster for the park you're in.

    Therefore I think it's kind of obvious that a good defense (to catch all those FBs falling into the warning track and preventing doubles/triples) would save the Giants more earned runs than they'd get from someone who is a clean power hitter yet will end up hitting just a handful of HRs at ATT.

    Kind of like the Michael Morse problem. In 2014 he gave up almost as many runs (-9 DRS) as he hit HRs (10) as a LF. People loved his dingers. But for almost every HR he hit he fouled up a play in the OF and gave up a run. Which sabotaged his over-all worth.

    With that said, I think Cespedes, would be a fine signing (assuming the rumors about him being a clubhouse tumor aren't true) because he's got excellent defense and decent power. The power would be useful on the road, and his defense would play well for the 82 home games a year.

  7. Well we now get to face Aroldis Chapman more as he just got shipped to the dodgers...

    1. yea Chapman is in hot water for what is it Domestic abuse?

    2. Trade is on hold. Chapman has become radioactive.

  8. You said dream scenario... So it somehow involves acquiring DeGrom from the Mets for me, but that ain't happening. I'd love Cespedes, but he's rumored at 6/140MM. If its more like the Shark/Pence moneys I think that would be a great addition. I can't see the Giants paying 6/140MM even if they do love the hackers. But maybe his poor OBP will keep his price down. Giants need right handed power to balance out the 3 or 4 lhh they play.

    I'd like Chris Archer or Jose Fernandez or Carlos Carrasco in trade. The Gints don't have the firepower for those types of trades. Going down a tier, I wouldn't mind the Giants trading Tampa native Arroyo for Matt Moore, a pretty big risk but also some upside.

    While on the subject of lefties, it'd be hard to get him, but I'd love to get Andrew Miller from the Yanks. I had that guy as a trade target for years. Years! That'd be a nice answer to the Bums getting Chapman.

    1. I should have said semi-realistic dream scenario.

    2. Why not Andrew Miller? Any thoughts on what the Evil Empire would want in exchange?

      I like another SP or stud RP and think the Pagan/Blanco/Perez LF-CF option works. Spend $ on pitching!

      Let's Go Giants!


    3. Miller is expensive. I'd rather see the Giants spend their moneys or prospects on SP and OF and sign a relatively low cost lefty reliever who may be just as effective as Miller like Tony Sipp.

  9. I know the Giants lost their first round pick on Samardzija, but would they lose their second pick if they sign Upton as opposed to Cespedes? If so, wouldn't there be more incentive to go after Yoenis?

    1. I don't think the second round pick is a factor in further FA signings.

  10. I think the Giants should pass on Leake. Chen or Kazmir are better and can be signed for less years.

    My dream scenario is probably to sign a pitcher like Kazmir, Chen or Maeda to round out the rotation. Then I'd like to see the Giants add Zobrist or maybe Heyward. A CF might be nice too if there is a good fit. I think all that can be done for about as much or a little bit more than the overall value of the Greinke contract (though probably a lot more if Heyward is signed).

    1. Agreed, like to Chen rather than Leake as the next option.

    2. What's with all the Mike Leake hate? He's the youngest FA SP. Very steady performer. Samardzija has more ceiling, but Leake has been more consistent. He would actually be my first choice for a second FA SP signing.

    3. Leake would be a fine pickup now that we have Samardzija. I just think people on here didn't want Mike Leake to be the only major SP pickup this off-season which is understandable. I think Leake and Samardzija will perform like #2's @ AT&T but I think they might be exposed as #3's on the road. Overall I think if the Giants added Leake they would have a solid rotation. Bumgarner, Leake and Samardzija in my opinion is much more dominant than Kershaw, Anderson and Iwakuma. Iwakuma's fastball averages about 88MPH these days and they signed him through his age 37 season. Anderson has a decent injury history. Bumgarner, Leake and Samardzija have been healthy their whole careers and are great innings eaters. At times all 3 look dominant.

    4. I wouldn't say it's Mike Leake "hate." For me, it is more the fact that there are better options out there. Leake has never put up an fWAR higher than 2.3 and is projected to be more of a 2 fWAR pitcher going forward. Chen and Kazmir are both guys who are projected to be 2.5 fWAR pitchers and I think they can be had for fewer years than Leake.

      So, in summary, would I take Leake? Yeah, if it wasn't possible to get someone like Kazmir or Chen. But I'd prefer those guys first.

    5. Leake has been consistent, with more than 200 IP twice in the last four years, and fWARs of 1.4, 2.0, 2.3, and 2.0. Steamer has him at 2.0 for next year, and the Fangraphs FA tracker at a bit less. Chen, however, has been about as consistent, with just under 200 IP in three of the last four years, and fWARs of 2.3, 2.0, 2.5, and 2.8. Steamer has him at 2.6 fWAR for next year, and the Fangraphs FA tracker at a bit more. Those numbers suggest that, though he's older than Leake, he's somewhat the better pitcher.

    6. I agree , Leake fits perfectly into our rotation.

      Richard in Winnipeg

    7. A downside with Chen is that he is a Boras client. Maybe that makes Leake cheaper enough to be more desirable than Chen, if the Giants can use the saved money to sweeten the pot for OF help.

    8. I know this is an "intangible", but Leake seemed to fit in well with the rest of the team last year. He's a solid starter (not sexy, but reliable) who also hits well. I'd be fine with Kazmir or Chen as well, but I'm fine with Leake.
      Dream signing: Fowler. Solid CF, hit's well, and seems like a good guy. Both Cespedes and Upton are fine players, but have a reputation of being bad at 'team play' (I know that when he was in AZ, the rest of the team hated Upton). And while it doesn't have a 'SABR' number, chemistry does matter.

  11. Sounds like you are concerned about leadoff Dr. B and I am as well. Hamilton would be fun to watch but the injuries and average hit tool bother me. I would like to see the Giants get Dee Gordon instead for Panik and a few high end prospects or possibly Susac or even Belt. Sign Alex Gordon for LF and Pedro Alvarez for a year to split time with Posey at 1B if Belt was part of the deal. Sign whoever we can for the 5th SP spot for under 5 mil.

    Out of that scenario above I think Alex Gordon is the most likely and makes the most sense. Nobody is talking about it but leadoff is a huge hole we have right now. This team is based on good pitching and getting on base and if Blanco or someone of equal or lesser value is batting leadoff it will hurt this lineup. Alex Gordon would be a decent option at leadoff and better than other FA or inhouse option IMO. Sign a pitcher like Chen or hopefully Kazmir and I think we would have the best team in the West. I like Cespedes too but in this lineup he would be another middle of the order bat which we have already. Leadoff for this lineup is more important than extending the middle of the order.

    The Royals last year and the Giants the year before have shown us that good defense and contact hitters up and down the lineup is a good strategy for building a world series contender. We have most of the elements right now and Alex Gordon gives us the stellar defense and a good onbase %. Think about this -

    Gordon LF
    Panik 2B (Duffy if Panik still has back issues)
    Posey C
    Pence RF
    Belt 1B
    Duffy 3B (depends on Panik)
    Crawford SS
    Blanco/Pagan CF


    I would be pretty excited to see that team on opening day. Budget may be a little more than they want to spend but not a lot of holes in that lineup and all sorts of younger players that should fill out the bench nicely. Get it done Bobby!

    1. The Marlins are not going to trade Dee Gordon.

    2. And you already traded away Panik in your second paragraph.

    3. I think he is referring to Alex Gordon, Dr. B. (Love your blog, by the way!)

    4. Thanks, Roger. No, in his first paragraph he proposed a trade for Dee Gordon.

  12. My dream scenario now that 1st choice David Price is off the board and 2nd choice Johnny Cueto seems to expensive

    1. Sign Kenta Maeda 5/70 + $20 mil posting = 5/90

    Otherwise, I'd like Tyson Ross but he'll be expensive, like Christian Arroyo, Tyler Beede +

    2. 3 team trade to get Marcell Ozuna. Something like Andrew Susac and Adalberto Mejia to Philly, Philly sends Cody Asche and others to Miami.

    3. Extend Gregor Blanco: 2/10, protection and insurance for next year if Ozuna flops in CF

    4. Sign all the Cubans: CF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Vladimir Gutierrez, Yaisel Sierra


    LF Angel Pagan (S)
    2B Joe Panik (L)
    C Buster Posey
    RF Hunter Pence
    1B Brandon Belt (L)
    3B Matt Duffy
    SS Brandon Crawford (L)
    CF Marcell Ozuna


    Madison Bumgarner (L)
    Jeff Samardzija
    Kenta Maeda
    Jake Peavy
    Matt Cain


    Chris Heston - swing
    Josh Osich (L)
    Javier Lopez (L)
    George Kontos
    Hunter Strickland
    Sergio Romo
    Santiago Casilla (CL)


    C Trevor Brown
    OF Gregor Blanco (L)
    OF Kyle Blanks
    IF Kelby Tomlinson
    IF Ehire Adrianza (S)

    My thinking is Maeda has high floor and enough helium to be a good #2/3 starter, good pairing with high risk, high reward Samardzija

    Ozuna in the #8 hole where you get potential 25 hr with low average, if CF defense is above average will be a big win

    Signing all the Cubans while over the limit this year will mean having enough talent and prospects on the farm to get a solid mid-season acquisition if we need

  13. According to some recent MLBTR updates, it looks like Arizona may try to fill out their rotation via trade, not FA again, and they do say SF is looking at defensive outfielders such as Fowler and Parra as well as big bats.

    Here is my updated dream scenario, and it looks a lot like Dr. B's:
    1) Sign Parra (instead of Cespedes) - He's a GG outfielder that can play all 3 spots, and starts the year battling with Blanco for LF. Also, even though it doesn't play as big a role, it looks like Parra was traded this year, so no #2 pick lost, and should come cheaper than Cespedes. I think with returned health we should have an uptick in power next year as is, with Belt, Pence, and Panik healthy, and Panik, Duffy, and Crawford hopefully still developing power.

    2) Trade Parker (sell high) and Beede for Hamilton from the Reds - I agree with Dr. B that he has OBP upside and hopefully Meulens, Decker, and Bochy can work some magic. He and Parra provide insurance for Pagan not only this year, but now we have 2 more guys that can D it up in CF, along with Blanco, for the future.

    3) Since AZ may be looking elsewhere, keep tabs with Leake, and if he doesn't get anywhere with them and he wants to stay on the West Coast, try to sign him to a decent deal, or sign another starter like Kazmir, Chen, or Kennedy. With my proposed trade of our top pitching prospect, I would be inclined to sign Leake to a 5 or 6 year deal at a decent AAV.

    Start Mac in AAA, and we have an OF of Blanco/Parra (LF), Pagan (CF), and Pence (RF). We now have a potential future CF in Hamilton for when Pagan leaves, and he gets to be a super Dyson-type sub for us this year (pending uptick in his play and/or injuries). He could help keep Pagan healthy by coming in after Pagan's 3rd at bat (or earlier pending the score) to keep Pagan fresh.

    With Bumgarner, Samardzja, and Leake, we have 3 guys signed for a while that should be good for 200+ innings per year (one an unquestioned ace and 2 solid guys with potential). We can see what we get from Cain and Peavy this year, and by having 3 solid guys signed for a while it lets us wait on Bickford, the Johnsons, Coonrod, Mejia, et al, and we have Blackburn and Blach at AAA (pending spring performance/injuries) waiting to help in 2016.

    1. You might want to check out Parra's defensive metrics for the past 2 seasons.

  14. Updated dream scenario:
    1)Sign up Cueto for 4yrs 108 or 5yrs 125 to round out the rotation and get that second ace to pair with Bumgarner.
    2)Trade Susac and Pagan to Atlanta for Nick Markakis. Let Blanco handle CF and leadoff.
    Clint in Anaheim Hills

    1. I'm not interested in Parra because I think Blanco makes him redundant.

    2. Cueto looking for 6/140 and looks like he will eventually get it with how FA is going.

    3. I'd love Cueto at 6/140. He's been a consistently excellent starter and the Giants would with him (IMO) probably have one of the best pre-season rotations in MLB.

  15. Maeda's posting will be today and Jerry Crasnick tweeted the Giants will make a big push towards him. That's great news for me.

    1. I don't really know much about Maeda. What can you tell me to make me as excited about him as you?

    2. Before I answer, it's Jayson Stark who tweeted it out not Crasnick.

      I like Maeda possibly more than Leake because he will not cost a pick even before the Shark signing, proven track record in Japan, success against international competition (watched his start against MLB delegation that played vs. Japan last year and he's awesome from a box score and scouting standpoint), and even though he lacks the stuff that Darvish and Tanaka got, his pitch mix, close to plus command and his MLB-caliber ability to get hitters off balance really well can make him a #2-3 starter kind of like what Hiroki Kuroda did with the Dodgers and Yanks in his time in America. I actually comp'd Maeda to Leake on my latest blog post as they are similar in size, command but Maeda got slight edge on stuff.