Week in Review (5/7-5/13)

Results:

9-1 L @ LAD; 2-1 W @ LAD; 6-2 L @ LAD; 5-1 L @ Ari; 5-2 W @ Ari; 7-3 W @ Ari

3-3 (17-17, 6.0 GB in NL West)

Kind of roller coaster week. After game one against the Dodgers it looked like the Giants might done for 2012…then a great recovery in game two…then collapse again, the defense and offense in shambles. Then Matt Cain restores order. Finally, the bats break out and, in the end, the Giants come home for seven games, fresh off a .500 road trip.

A couple of thoughts on the Brandon Crawford situation. The kid’s taken a lot of heat this week, and rightfully so. He is supposed to be amazing with the glove, and we’ll take what we can get with the bat. But when the defense is really bad, and he looks lost at the plate, it is impossible to watch.

Here’s the reality though. Yes, the defensive lapses have to stop, but everyone knew what we were signing up for having him play everyday. In essence, the Giants punted the shortstop/8th hitter spot in the lineup. We all knew this. What is completely unacceptable is to then also have a position, in this case second base, that is actually worse! Through 34 games the second base position has produced exactly one extra base hit. That is beyond awful. It’s almost impossible to do.

I think it is an inspired move to bring up Charlie Culberson. Is he the answer? Probably not. But there is no way the Giants can continue to roll out Crawford AND Emmanuel Burris. These guys should NOT be in the same major league lineup. With Culberson and Crawford you are a long way from Kent and Aurillia, but at least they can run into one every now and then (see Crawford’s double today). Who knows if, or when, Freddy Sanchez can play again. Until then I’m all for CC getting plenty of looks.

Hitter of the Week:

Melky Cabrera went 13 for 26 this week. That’s .500. 9 hits in the Arizona series. He now has 17 multi hit game this season. That’s half the Giants’ games. Jonathan Sanchez is on the DL where he continues to walk hitters. Melky is earning himself some money right now. Stay hot.

Pitcher of the Week:

Ryan Vogelsong didn’t have a pretty start against the Dodgers, but he gutted it out and helped the Giants salvage a game in LA. I have seen enough to be hopeful that he will be able to approximate what he did last year, and that is really good news. Once Timmy gets it all back together I can see this rotation putting together a nice streak (like an 8-2 or 9-1 run).

Looking Ahead:

7 home games this week: 2 vs. Colorado, 2 vs. St. Louis, and 3 with  Oakland. Take advantage Giants!

(-SB)

Week in Review (4/16-4/22)

Results:

3-2 (7-7, 4.0 GB in NL West)

5-2 L vs. Phi; 4-2 W vs. Phi; 1-0 W vs. Phi; 4-3 W @ NYM; 5-4 L @ NYM

Another fascinating week in Giants land. Madbum and Cain were awesome. Late game dramatics. Late game fall aparts. Questions about the bullpen and a near miss disaster at home plate involving Buster Posey. Aubrey played second base.

My early season opinion continues: this is a team that lacks an identity (especially on offense) and the story of the season will be determined by who steps up and helps create that identity.

In the meantime, there is a double-header today…which means we could be thinking a lot more highly of this team by the end of the day (or not). On to the awards:

Hitter of the Week:

Welcome to the season Buster Posey. He went 11 for 20 (.550) and even stole a base. However, only one of those hits was for extra bases. The Giants hit one home run last week (by Angel Pagan who also hit .320 for the week), and if they are going to sustain the offense they need to hit home runs. It starts with you Buster!

Pitcher of the Week:

Ummmmmmmm: Matt Cain. Done. Great baseball game, but Matt Cain has to wonder about his luck. I know wins don’t really matter statistically, but come on Giants!

Looking Ahead:

Lots to look forward to: two today. Then on to Cincinnati. Then home for the Padres. That’s an 8 game week. Could be a huge swing in the teams fortunes if they end April on a strong note (like a 6-2 run). Timmy will pitch twice this week, so we will see if he can make some adjustments. This week should also tell us a lot more about the bullpen situation. Plenty to look for over the next 7 days!

(-SB)

Pros and Cons (From the First Week of Baseball)

I know it’s early and all lot of this is small sample size, but let’s take a look at the early happy things and early sad face things about the Giants this young baseball season.

PROS

Melkey Cabrera: I admit, I hated the trade when it happened, not because of trading Jonathan Sanchez, but because I thought the Giants could have gotten a lot more for him than a guy who I saw in Atlanta as mediocre at best, however I like what I see so far this season. He could easily slide back into mediocrity, but for now he’s one of the Giants most consistent hitters, and I approve of that.

Brandon Crawford: Huh? I know he’s not exactly setting the world on fire with his bat, but I’m really enjoying watching him play. He looks more relaxed than last season, I love his glove and I like what I see with him at the plate. Won’t be a great hitter, but I look forward to seeing his development more this year.

Homegrown talent: For too long the Giants homegrown talent has been all pitching, but a few times this year we’ve seen an infield of Pablo Sandoval, Manny Burris, Crawford and Brandon Belt, with Hector Sanchez in the game as well, all Giant draft picks. They all aren’t the hitting equivalent of Lincecum or Cain, but it’s nice to see that between these guys, and players like Gary Brown and Joe Panik in the minors, the hitting part of the Giants future is looking nice.

Pablo! Yes, he put on a little more weight, but he’s still hitting well and fielding well and is there a more fun Giant to watch? I don’t think so, and in addition to all of that, he’s our most consistent hitter! Yay!

Starting Pitching: Bad first starts, amazing second starts from Cain and Bumgarner, good two starts for Zito and a good start from Vogelsong. Now get your head in the game Timmy!

CONS

Angel Pagan: At least he’s healthy while Torres is on the DL, but the guy looks lost at the plate. Sure he’s fast and can play CF, but so can Gregor Blanco and that guy had an amazing spring.

Second Base: Freddy Sanchez on the DL, and is probably on his last legs, Manny Burris and Ryan Theriot are the other options and both don’t provide much to this club. Thankfully Joe Panik looks like our future second baseman, but he’s probably 2, more likely 3 years away, what do you do in the meantime?

Brian Wilson: Out for the season it looks like, and who knows if he’ll ever pitch for the Giants again. I love, LOVE Wilson, but his velocity is down, his strikeouts are down, he looks like he’s really struggling out there and now another arm injury. I hate to say it but his time might be coming to an end in the Black and Orange.

Tim Lincecum: I don’t think anything is wrong with him and I’m confident he’ll put it together, but he’s getting lots of money and is due for lots more in a few years. I really, REALLY hope this isn’t the beginning of a downward spiral into middle rotation status, but he needs to start showing some more velocity and control out there.

(-NW)

Week in Review (4/6-4/8)

Results:

0-3 (0-3; 3.0 GB in NL West)

5-4 L @ Ari; 5-4 L @ Ari; 7-6 L @ Ari

So, that was pretty much the worst way to start the season. A couple of stats…the Giants were 55-9 when they scored at least 4 runs in 2011 (they are 0-3 when scoring 4+ runs in 2012)…they went 20-0 when scoring at least 6 runs in 2011 (they are 0-1 when scoring 6+ runs in 2012). NOT GOOD.

Some thoughts (in bullets)

  • We are going to have to be patient with Buster Posey. He hit an incredible opposite field home run in game 3 and seemed pretty comfortable at the plate. He looked fine receiving the ball too. He did not look in “action” plays that a catcher has to make around home plate (his error in game 1 and his two miscues in game 3 were telling). It’s sad that it essentially cost the Giants two games, but this is going to be a process for Buster and we have to give him some grace.
  • Brandon Crawford looked nervous. Maybe his thumb sprain is still bothering him, maybe he got a bit overwhelmed with the start of the season, but the dude has one vital role: play excellent defense. He showed it a few times, but he also blew some plays that a big league shortstop HAS to make. Come on man.
  • Melky looks great (good riddance Jonathan Sanchez), Pagan does not.
  • Belt needs to get it going in Colorado or I’m afraid they will send him down again.
  • Honestly, I’m not worried about the starters. Those guys will figure it out.
  • The Diamondbacks are not this good, but they are pretty good.

Hitter of the Week

Pablo Sandoval is a treasure. I wanted to give this to Melky for his strong debut, but Pablo is first out of the gate here in 2012. Big hits in big situations, a huge home run, using all fields, getting on base. Love it.

Pitcher of the Week

Uhhhhhhh…Sergio Romo still has the magic and it was fun to watch him work out of the 8th. He is poised to have one of the greatest 3 year runs of any reliever in baseball.

Looking Ahead

3 games in Colorado, then home for the home opener (and series) against the Pirates. Colorado is not usually where you want to go to get your pitching on track and Barry Zito is not the guy you want to see on the mound to stop the bleeding, but that’s where we are at. I hope they can take 2 of 3 from the Rockies and then go home and get right against the Pirates. Get a win guys.

(-SB)

Two Cents About Matt Cain

You see, the title is funny because Matt Cain is so rich now. Get it? Anyway…

…There’s already been plenty written about Matt Cain. Some of my favorites are available here and here and here. Read them.

If you are opposed to professional athletes earning exorbitant amounts of money, this conversation is not for you. If you are wanting to debate the merits of a won-loss record, please don’t talk to me about Matt Cain.

How much a player is worth, and how you determine worth, is an important conversation, but it has nothing to do with this post, and, in my opinion, it has nothing to do with Matt Cain.

Matt Cain is important to the Giants. Is he the Giants best player? No. Is he even their best pitcher? No. (Side note: the Giants will be paying 3 pitchers roughly 20 million dollars a year to a throw baseball every 5th day and it’s quite possible that none of them are the teams best pitcher…wierd sport).

But, Matt Cain was the great right armed hope of Giants’ future back in 2006. The Barry Bonds era was coming to a screeching halt. All that was left was a fascinating and bizarre march to the all-time home run record. Winning had nothing to do with those last two years.

But there was hope. There was talk of a future built around pitchers and players the Giants had drafted and no more sagging veterans to prop up Barry’s ego. Matt Cain was the first. Later there would be Timmy, and the Panda, and Brian Wilson, and, of course, Buster. But Matt Cain was the first.

And it did happen. In a weird, hybrid kind of way, it happened. Young players, mostly pitchers, drafted by the Giants led the team a World Championship. The only one in San Francisco history. Not Mays, not McCovey, not Clark, not Bonds. Matt Cain and company.

Matt Cain has never given up a run in the playoffs.

To lose Matt Cain would have meant a lot of things, but mostly it would have shown that the Giants lied to us. It isn’t really about pitching. It isn’t really about drafting well, developing players, and keeping them around.

At some point, there is going to be someone who walks. It might very well be Tim Lincecum. I hope it’s not. They can’t keep everyone who comes through the system and succeeds.

But Matt Cain was the first of this wave, of this new commitment and direction, and he could not leave. Couldn’t.

And that is why, even though the numbers seem ridiculous, he had to stay. Had to.

Thank you Giants.

(-SB)

Making the Cut

It’s baseball time boys and girls! Along with that joyous occasion comes a variety of exciting things to keep our attention! Fantasy baseball, the trade rumor mill, funny bloggers and roster speculation!

The standard MLB roster is 25 players, both pitchers and catchers, below is the list of Giants who’ll be a lock for the roster:

  • Pitchers: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Santiago Castilla, Javy Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Guilleramo Mota.
  • Infield/Catcher: Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez (possibly starts the year on the DL, which would free up a roster spot),Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey.
  • Outfield: Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera, Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco.

That’s 20 players, 19 if you put Freddy Sanchez on the DL, which is what I will be doing for the sake of this post. So what other 6 players make the cut?

First of all, one of those spots will go to a backup catcher, either Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart. Honestly it doesn’t matter which one as they are fairly equal and up to the task, so that takes us down to 5 players. My guess is that they add 1 reliever and use the other 4 for IF/OF spots, mostly because Sanchez is hurt and Crawford is not exactly the best hitter in the world, I think Bochy will keep the middle of the IF rotating and getting other batters in play, especially in later innings and having that flexibility will be key. So with that said I don’t see how Mike Fontenot doesn’t make the Opening Day lineup. He can play SS, 2B and 3B and is an average hitter who has experience filling in last season, which leaves us with 4 spots. Doing the rest of the hitter spots, I can see Manny Burris starting the year in the big leagues as the starting 2B while Sanchez is out. He’s hitting great in Spring Training, .417 actually, which doesn’t mean anything in the regular season, but he’s out of Minor League options (meaning if he gets sent down to AAA he is put on waivers first and any team can claim him) and the Giants have said, and have shown in the past, that options are considered big time, plus the Giants have always have had lots of love for Burris. Down to 3!

I think Ryan Theriot is another close lock. He can play multiple infield positions, is cheap and has a good glove. Plus baseball fans love nicknames, and Ryan “The Riot” Theriot is one of the best! In all honesty though, the Theriot signing is one of my more favorite moves of the Giants this past offseason. He’s not an amazing player, and has never hit for power (17 total HR’s in 7 MLB seasons) put he’s an above average hitter (.282 lifetime BA with a .344 lifetime OBP) and a good glove, could go a long way to solidifying the middle. 2 left! I’m going to skip over to the bullpen, since the last position will be the big Belt debate that I want to give some focus to. The last bullpen spot will either got to Clay Hensley or Steve Edlefsen. Clay is a free agent signing with a 7 season career 3.96 ERA with 329 K’s, and a 1.35 WHIP, not lights out numbers by any stretch, and last season he had a 5.19 ERA with 46 K’s, although that is one year removed from a 2.16 ERA and 77 K’s. Edlefsen debuted with the Giants last year and had a 0.96 ERA with 8K’s in 11 games, not exactly a large sample size. I could see Hensley making the roster out the gate, only to get released and replaced with Edlefsen, although Edlefsen has a 2.50 ERA in Spring, while Hensley is 4.50. Could go either way.

Finally the last roster spot. Who should this go to? Brandon Belt. The boy needs to play, is having a good Spring and has done everything he can do in the minors. I would put him at first and use Huff in the OF with the occasional spell at 1B and pinch-hitting. Who will probably end up getting this spot? Brett Pill. He can play 1B, 2B, probably fill in at 3B if needed and can play either corner OF spot. Versatility. Plus Bochy isn’t going to bench Huff, not unless he really really struggles this season, in which case Belt will probably get his chance, unless Bochy decides to move Posey over to 1B and call up Hector Sanchez to catch. Honestly though Pill isn’t the worst choice, he had a very nice end of last season and is having a solid spring. My biggest frustration isn’t with him, it’s with the lack of Belt playing.

The Giants have had awful luck recently with hitting prospects, pitching not so much, hitting? Yes. Travis Ishakawa, Todd Linden, Dan Ortmeier, Lance Niekro, John Bowker, none of them panned out. Posey did, but Bengie Molina had to be traded to make room for him. Belt looks like another one, yes he strikes out a lot, but he needs repetition to get that right. I’d much rather have Belt at AAA getting playing time than grabbing pine in San Francisco, but at some point he needs a consistent chance.

(-NW)

10 Things to Watch (out) For

Pitchers and Catchers have reported, spring is right around the corner, the rest of the team is on the way, baseball is back people! Time to start firing up the baseballmonk again.

To celebrate this grand occasion here are the 10 things I am watching as camp gets started:

  1. The Ankle: No body part is going to get as much attention during the baseball season as Buster Posey’s repaired ankle. Part of me wants to believe the dude is going to go on a rampage this year and prove that he is an upper level superstar. The other part of me (tempered by my physical therapist wife) knows that it’s going to be a process with some ups and downs. Either way, Buster will be sick of hearing about it by yesterday.
  2. The Contracts: Still nothing on the Matt Cain front. Still a possibility Lincecum and the team tear up the 2-year deal and go longer. My guess: nothing happens and we hold our breath next winter. But the question remains: will this be a distraction?
  3. The Lineups: It is obviously foolish to read too much into the lineups early in the Spring, but there is a lot to look out for from day 1. How will Bochy handle shortstop? A platoon? Crawford with some backups? What about right field? Is that Nate the Great’s spot? Or is Melky the favorite? Will Brandon Belt be in left? Or at First Base? Or in Fresno? Is Angel Pagan really the leadoff hitter? Can Melky Cabrera really be a middle of the order guy? How long before the team pulls the plug on Huff? Or will he bounce back?
  4. The Belt situation: The way I see it Brandon Belt has to have a huge spring, again, if he wants to start the season in San Fran. Even just a good spring means a ticket back to Fresno until someone gets hurt. It’s a shame, but I don’t see it playing out any other way.
  5. Brian Wilson: So far, positive reports abound. 2012 is going to be a fascinating year for B-Dub. He either cements his position as one of the best in the game, or quite possibly, he looses his job to Heath Hembree. Seems harsh but that’s how it is in baseball.
  6. Health: Goes without saying that this was an issue last year and it started in spring with Wilson and Ross. Every team needs to be healthy, but the Giants, especially, cannot afford a repeat of 2011. Ominous beginnings with Ryan Vogelsong straining his back.
  7. The Non-Roster Invitee Battle: The Giants have spun magic over the past few years with these invitations: Juan Uribe, Ryan Vogelsong, Guillermo Mota, etc. This year, in my opinion, there is really one guy to watch: Brian Burres. Will the Giants magic rub off on him?
  8. Barry Zito’s magic beans: Seemingly every year Zito shows up with a new trick, delivery, potion, mustache, you name it, that is going to be the secret to a resurgence. Every year he teases us with signs that the talisman has paid off, and then crushes our hopes with a strong dose of suck. This year he’s done something to his motion to get extra, late movement. Great! Now throw the ball in the strike zone please.
  9. But seriously, short stop: I’ve been writing about this all winter. I am concerned about Posey and Sanchez. I’m not confident in Huff bouncing back. I’m not blown away by our offseason acquisitions. But, to be honest, the one thing I am genuinely concerned about is shortstop. It may turn out fine, but it could be a disaster. Crawford, Theriot, Fontenot. Wow. Pray that someone has a career year.
  10. The Prospetcs: There really isn’t anyone on this list that is in danger of making the club out of the gate, but who doesn’t want to see how Gary Brown, Erik Surkamp, Heath Hembree, and others do this spring against big league competition. I hope they all do great.

Lots to watch for, tons to talk about and analyze, but no matter what baseball is back and that is what really counts!

(-SB)

Cody Ross, Pitchers with Long Hair, and Other Baseball Thoughts

  • I‘m going to miss this guy…oh wait, he’s going to be my neighbor now! So glad Cody will be on the Sox (wearing his sox high) and not, say, the Rockies. I will buy a seat in right field just so I can scream “thank you cody ross” at him 100 times during the game.
  • There’s been a lot of goodbyes from the 2010 Championship squad, as Grant has pointed out, and I think Cody (along with Pat Burrell) represent just how special that season was..but then so does Andres Torres, and Juan Uribe, and Edgar Renteria, and it goes on and on.
  • I run into a lot of Philly fans out here on the East Coast and hands down the two guys people hate the most: Cody Ross and Tim Lincecum. It’s a toss-up who is hated more. They hate Ross because he symbolizes how “lucky” we were in 2010, and they hate Timmy because he symbolizes how awesome we are at pitching how weird San Francisco is (his name is usually followed by a joke about weed, loose morals, or something along those lines…like the Phillies have been full of such solid dudes over the years).
  • Speaking of Tim, I’m pretty pleased with the contract he signed. The 5 year, $100 million deal would have been the best case scenario for the Giants, but I really like being able to take two years and see what he’s got before going all in. Especially if the Cain rumors are true.
  • So this is it, pretty much, for the off-season. Here’s your 2012 SF Giants. They could have done better, they also could have done worse. I still think that while it would have been great to see Beltran return, in the end, the shortstop situation is the big miss of the winter. Maybe the Giants brass know something about Crawford, or Panik, or someone else, but I this and sorting out the OF/1B as the two big issues of the early season.  

(-SB)

12 “What If’s” For 2012

I’ve been distracted from the baseball off-season by work, by holiday travels, and now by the 49ers. But the Yankees big splash this weekend reminds us that there are big moves still to be made and rosters can change dramatically in the final month before pitchers and catchers have to report (hello February 18th).

In that vein, let’s look at the Giants and 2012. In 2010, it looked like the Giants had not done a whole lot to improve the offense (Aburey Huff? Mark DeRosa? The return of Benji Molina?), and yet there was a part of me that kept saying “what if?” What if Huff played like he did in 2008? (He did). What if Mark DeRosa’s wrist was healthy and he could be a solid bat playing all over the field? (He wasn’t). What if Benji got hurt in the first week of the season and they HAD to use Buster? (He didn’t so they traded him). What if the pitching was even better than 2009? (It was).

So, what are the “what if’s” for 2012? Thanks for asking! Here you go…

  1. What if Buster Posey is healthy, able to play the whole season, and establishes himself as a truly elite player? In many ways, most of which are foolish, this is truly the heart of the Giants’ off-season strategy. And this is really two what-if’s in one: health is obviously huge, but we still have never seen a full season of major league baseball from Buster. No one knows what that looks like. Let’s hope it looks pretty awesome.
  2. What if the contract situations of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain work out like Albert Pujols’ did? Before Adam Wainwright hurt himself, the big concern in St. Louis all winter last year was that the unresolved nature of the Pujols’ contract situation would be a distraction for the team throughout the season. All it did was produce a Championship. The reality is that the Giants may not be able to resolve both Cain and Lincecum’s situations before the season starts. Let’s hope that if that’s true it works out like it did for St. Louis (minus the big contract with the Angels part of that scenario).
  3. What if Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are the second coming of Kent and Bonds? Which raises another fun question: which one is Bonds and which one is Kent? That aside, it’s also fascinating to note that we have never seen good-Pablo teamed with healthy-Buster in the middle of the order. Pablo got hurt early this year, and then Buster went down. At the end of 2010, while Buster was winning the ROY Pablo was sucking it up all over the place. We’ve never really seen them together at the height of their powers. They could be a dynamic middle of the order duo (like Bonds/Kent, Manny/Papi, etc) but we just don’t know yet. Let’s hope we get the chance to see them together for all of 2012!
  4. What if Brandon Belt puts it all together? If he does, the Giants will have a 3-4-5 triumvirate of offensive prowess. Belt from the left, getting on base and hitting for power, Posey from the right, spoiling pitches and going the other way with authority, and Pablo, from both sides, hitting balls an inch off the ground 400 feet. That would be fun to watch! Let’s hope BB can step it up.
  5. What if Melky Cabrera has a career year as he shoots for a big contract? I still like the Sanchez for Cabrera deal. I still think Melky has a lot to play for in 2012, he’s young, and he was a highly touted prospect who the Yankees were not willing to part with for a period of time. Maybe he’s got some late-bloomer-Alex-Smith in him. Let’s hope Melky goes off by the bay in 2012.
  6. What if Brandon Crawford finds some magic hitting beans? I get legitimately excited about the Giants potential offense in 2012 until I get around the short stop position. I’ve professed my hope for, and despair of, Brandon before, but if can just summon some league averageness and keep it alive for a season we’ll know the magic is back. Let’s hope BC goes all-Andres-Torres on us next season.
  7. What if Ryan Vogelsong really is a good pitcher? I love the Vogelsong story and I’m glad he’s back for the next two seasons. Dude deserves it. But there’s a voice in my head questioning his ability to repeat that performance. Let’s hope this turns out to be a “my-bad-for-ever-thinking-that” what-if.
  8. What if Brian Wilson’s declining numbers are just the by-product of never being fully healthy and not a sign of things to come? His declining strike out and rising walk rates are classic warning signs of a pitcher whose stuff is evaporating. There is a big part of me that’s deeply concerned about this. There’s a smaller part of me that is hoping the injury problems in Spring Training and at the end of the season are the culprits and that everything will return to normal next year. Either way the dude sure has kept a low profile this winter. Let’s hope that small part of me is right.
  9. What if Madison Bumgarner is actually the ace of this staff? This is my favorite what-if because I think I’m be right. We all love Timmy and Cainer, but MadBum is on his way to surpassing them and 2012 might be the season he proves it. Lets hope I’m right and it’s more because of Maddy’s greatness and not because the other two are struggling.
  10. What if the Giants strike gold with Angel Villalona? He’s still not in the US and he might not be for a while. He could also be at Spring Training. He may not be in the bigs soon but what if somehow this ends up with Angel hitting bombs at that giant glove in left field? How do you tell that story? It’s a total long shot, but so were so many other things in that 2010 World Series run. Let’s hope Angel is innocent, ok, and ready to play some baseball.
  11. What if the Giants can pull mid-season magic out of their hat again? Who knows what this might look like. Maybe Gary Brown comes up early and goes nuts. Maybe Joe Panik turns out to be the answer at shortstop. Maybe Pat Burrell comes out of retirement? I mean who knows? Alex Smith is playing for the Super Bowl next Sunday and Aaron Rodgers is going to watch that on his couch. Anything is possible in this mad, mad world. Lets hope for something completely unexpected.
  12. Finally, what if the Larry Baer in place of Bill Neukom move turns out to be much ado over nothing? It doesn’t feel like much ado over nothing, but it could be. Baer seems like a schmoozy-PR guy and Neukom always struck me as a tough decision maker who doesn’t like to lose. You tell me who you want in charge of your organization? I’ll take Bill and his bow-tie every time. But maybe it’s not a big deal at all. Let’s hope Baer has something more than what we’ve seen so far.
Well there you go…12 “What If’s” for 2012. What else would include on this list?
(-SB)

On Mat Latos

Two recent events have conspired to plant a seed of thought…and I will admit this is not fully formed yet. These events are:

  1. Pujols signing with the Angels
  2. The Padres trading Mat Latos to the Reds for some good stuff in return

So, the seed of thought is this: The Giants should consider very strongly trading Tim Lincecum. My soul hurts typing that last sentence, but I am starting to consider that it might be the best idea. Hear me out…

1) Lincecum still has 2 team controlled years (expensive arbitration years, yes, but he’s not a rental). Latos has four years left, part of what made it easier for the Reds to give up so much, so the Giants are at a bit of a disadvantage here. BUT…

2) Tim Lincecum is better than Latos and has hardware to back it up (CYAs plus a Ring). Also, Timmy has never been injured.

3) The Giants should lock up Cain and Bumgarner is under control for a while. Hopefully they’d get at least one good arm (plus a significant bat) in return for Lincecum. They should be fine, especially in the long-term, in the rotation. (Side Note: they could really do this if they still had Wheeler in the system…just sayin’).

4) As I said last week keeping Cain and Lincecum is going to be incredibly expensive, and while I’m in no way opposed to keeping them both, at some point Buster is going to get paid, and Panda, and MadBum, and Wilson (if they want to keep him) and it goes on and on. Someone is going to get left out at some point.

I have no idea what the Giants could/should get back. I don’t have any fake trade ideas. But seeing Cardinal fans take a deep sigh of relief when the club didn’t tie their fate to El Hombre for the next decade and then observing the return the Pads got for Latos makes me curious. It makes me think. It opens me up to the possibility.

I don’t like to say it, but they should think about it. At the very least.

(-SB)