So Long Matt Moore…

we hardly knew you!

Count me among those who liked trading Matt Duffy for Matt Moore. Or at least understood it.

I will never forget Moore nearly no-hitting the Dodgers. And I will never forget him beating the Cubs in Game 4 of the NLDS (if you only count the 8 inning he actually pitched).

I am disappointed about trading Moore away for a couple of reasons. (1) The Duffy lovers are going to cry “Aha, we knew it,” even though Duffy has done NOTHING since being traded from the Giants. (2) I really, really thought Matt Moore was going to be good.

When the Giants acquired Moore it felt like the kind of move smart teams make. The Giants traded a young overperforming, controllable infielder who was never a top prospect for a young, cheap start pitcher who was always supposed to be a stud. Turning a Matt Duffy super utility guy into a potential Cy Young candidate is what winning teams do.

I went into 2017 fully expecting Moore to have a very good season, potentially pushing himself into the “second best starter on the team” conversation. It didn’t happen.

Which brings me to why I begrudgingly like this trade. A part of me was excited to watch the Matt Moore 2018 resurgence, but the facts support the reality that that wasn’t likely to happen. The Dave Righetti special sauce never really panned out for Moore. It also seems unlikely the Matt Moore resurrgence will happen in Texas (not in the ballpark and not in the division!). We’ll never know if he could have turned it around and that makes me a little sad.

What does not make me sad: creating room to sign a hitter. And creating room in the starting rotation for Chris Stratton. Barring a real surprise/spring training injury, Stratton now projects as the 4th starter.

Chris Stratton is another one of those guys who has the “smart-team” smell on him. The Stratton curveball is a weapon the Astros/Dodgers/Pirates/Rays/Cubs would turn into gold. My hope is the Giants can figure it out for themselves and reap the reward.

And while we don’t know who this magical hitter is just yet, creating more space to sign someone truly helpful is very encouraging!

Unless some other moves come down this weekend, my hope is to get some ideas out about this hitter Monday. Stay tuned.

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Signs of Life #sfgiants

The Giants went 3-3 against two 2016 and 2017 playoff teams (although writing this just might jinx the Cubs…haha). That 3-3 is pretty good, especially considering the odd nature of this weekend’s series in Washington DC. The team didn’t play for 2 straight days, then experienced another rain delay, and then played 3 baseball games and extra innings in just over 24 hours.

If you back the clock up to August 1, when the Giants hit an unofficial reset button, they are 7-5, and 5-4 against playoff teams (I’m including the Diamondbacks).

They are not setting the world on fire, and they are not going to dig themselves out of any holes (think: get back to .500), but this is encouraging nonetheless. If nothing else, they are playing baseball more typical of the good Giants teams we’ve seen in the past: better starting pitching, better defense, just enough offense.

Some thoughts:

  • Last week Jarrett Parker looked like the greatest Giants outfielder of all time not named Bonds or Mays. This week, he looked a lot more like Jarret Parker. This is who he is: he’ll bunch together some good at bats, and he’ll bunch together the strikeouts. I’m still interested in him as a power bat off the bench, but this week helps bring balance to the force and remind everyone that Jarret Parker is not the answer to the Giants OF problem.
  • Chris Stratton had a great start on Sunday. He’s sort of the Jarrett Parker of the Giants system when it comes to pitching. He’s a little too old to be super intriguing (Madison Bumgarner is almost exactly one year older). But late bloomers are a thing. And he could contribute if he can find consistency. More likely than not, he will have some good starts like yesterday that involve a lot of strikeouts, and he’ll have some rockier starts that involve a lot of walks. But this is where my pro-Righetti bias shows in full force: I have way more faith in the Giants developing Stratton into something useful than I with Parker.
  • Joe Panik having the best day/series of his season (6 for 12 with 2 walks, 3 RBIs, and a home run), and then getting thrown out/doinked on the head at home plate is very emblematic of the season. The Giants don’t get to enjoy much of anything for long in 2017.
  • The Giants have two key guys now, Panik and Brandon Belt, who have struggled with concussion issues. This is not something baseball teams normally have to worry about with non-catchers, which means this is not a good sign for the Giants already fragile core.
  • We need to talk about Pablo Sandoval. He has not taken the world by storm, but he doesn’t look bad either. And then, that home run he hit yesterday, off of a top Cy Young candidate, was something else. If I were good enough of a scout to know if he was still useful I wouldn’t be writing this blog, but it does look to me like there is something left in the tank. Now, there are limitations with Pablo (his inability to switch hit anymore), but I’m intrigued to see how this year plays out and if there might be a spot for him in 2018.
  • Finally, we need to talk about Matt Moore. I have always been high on Matt Moore, and he was a large part of my fantasy baseball strategy and when some doofus drafted him right before I was going to draft him I was upset. I was so confident he was going to have a great year. I’ve felt a lot better about that doofus stealing Moore from me as the year has gone on, but THE mystery of 2017 to me has been Matt Moore. I don’t know what to make of his start last night. Maybe it’s nothing, but those are the kinds of results I expected to see all year-long. Did you see how everything was down and sharp and nasty. Where has that been?! For now, it’s going to be start to start until he regains consistency, but yesterday was a positive step for sure.

Enjoy watching Giancarlo Stanton for the next couple days!