3 Thoughts on the Winter Meetings #SFGiants

1. I meant to write about this during the playoffs, but didn’t get around to it. But, the Dodgers are scary. And we just saw why. They now have smart and savvy people calling the shots, along with boatloads of money. Imagine if the Yankees hired Billy Beane. That’s who the Dodgers are now. It’s the most special of all the sauces.

This is not to say that NL West race is over, or that the Giants are screwed. The Giants seem to have their own special sauce, and it takes great, thank you very much. And, as always, it’s important to remember that no one wins the World Series just because they made some moves in December.

But the Dodgers just got a lot better.

A lot.

2. On finishing second. It is frustrating that the Giants seem to be making a habit of being everyone’s second choice (see Lester, Jon, and Tomas, Yasmany, and Abreu, Jose). Every rumored name we keep hearing about (Brandon McCarthy, Ervin Santana, you name it) is getting snapped up by some other team.

Two points to make here: First, the Giants are thinking about the Jon Lester’s of the world, which means the team has resources and a willingness to spend. They didn’t lose out because they’ve had poor offers, they’ve lost because someone else was more appealing for whatever reason. Second, the Giants are very disciplined in this process, which is a really good thing. $120 million would have brought back Pablo and been a very stupid thing to do. They didn’t do it. Sometimes that no compromise attitude means losing the bid, but it also means staying within the game plan, and if I had one fear this off-season it is that the Giants would stray from the game plan.

3. What now? At the beginning of the offseason I wanted Pablo back and a couple of pitchers, primarily Ervin Santana. Both are gone. The hot rumors of the day seem to indicate that the Giants are pursuing James Shields. Also, Chase Headley is still available. If they get both of those guys for a combined total less than Lester’s money, that would be a huge win and represent an upgrade over my original hopes.

-SB

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3 Thoughts on Today’s Wild Card Game #royals #athletics #mlbplayoffs2014

Maybe it’s because the Giants are in the Wild Card Game this year, maybe it’s because I know a lot of A’s and Royals fans, maybe it’s because I’m having a hard time getting into the football season, but whatever the reason I am pumped for two ridiculous baseball games here over the next two days.

Knowing as many A’s and Royal’s fans as I do I’m bound to tick off someone here, but I’d like to offer 3 thoughts on tonight’s game:

1. Big trades led to this moment. The A’s made several big trades this year, but the controversial move of sending Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for Jon Lester will only be able to be fully appreciated and evaluated in light of tonight. If Lester pitches the A’s through this game, and if the A’s go on to make some noise, perhaps even get to the World Series, no one will moan and complain about this trade anymore. They shouldn’t complain about it anyway. The irony of the A’s moves this year was that they actually built a roster that could succeed in the playoffs (as opposed to strong regular season teams that weren’t designed well for short playoff series). Now, it’s time.

The Royals traded Wil Meyers to the Rays for James Shields. There were other players involved, but this was the heart of the trade. Big Game James gets an opportunity to live up to his name and bring joy to Kansas City that hasn’t been felt there in a long time. Many people thought it was a bad trade, but it made sense for one reason: this moment. No one will question the trade if the Royals win tonight and go on to make some noise in the remainder of the playoffs.

2. Someone will be very sad. All season the Royals fans expected the “other shoe” to drop and the bottom to fall out. You can still sense their reluctance to give their heart to this team. One thing, though, about not making the playoffs for 25 years (as depressing as that is) is they haven’t faced the sadness that A’s fans have faced since 2000. The A’s have lost in every conceivable way in the postseason over the last 14 years, and losing this Wild Card Game would only bring a new level of misery to the east bay.

3. And the winner is…I wan to pick the A’s so badly, I really do. I can see a world where they win this game, and go on to exact their revenge against the Angels and Tigers. It would be so, so sweet. But, all year long I have loved this Royals team. They remind me in many ways of the 2010 Giants. Strong starting pitching, unbelievable bullpen, just enough offense at just the right times. I think the Royals get an early lead and their nasty bullpen makes it stand up.

3-2 Royals.

-SB

An Ode to James Shields

There is plenty to be frustrated with as a fantasy owner. There are always decisions to second guess, players to curse, and outrageous fortune to question. This year I have spent a lot of time questioning my sanity regarding two players: Hanley Ramirez and Yovani Gallardo.

I took Hanley with the third pick in my winners league. Albert Pujols and Troy Tulowitzki were off the board. I had banked on Tulo being there at three, so I was thrown off by that, and my gut instinct was to go for Adrian Gonzalez. That would have been early for Adrian (a sure-fire first rounder, but more in the 8-12 range), but my gut said do it…my head said “Hanley”, so I picked Hanley. Hanley may still have  a great year, but Adrian! Regret.

I took Yovani around round five or six on both of my teams. Drafted him to be the ace. Drafted him with full confidence that this was the year. Look out Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, 2011 belongs to Yovani. Again, there is a lot of year left and plenty of time for him to turn in a solid effort (he has already begun the turn around in many respects). But there have been some ugly, ugly moments thus far. Regret.

With those regrets in mind I would like to point out how right I was about James Shields. He had a rough year in 2010 but he was incredibly unlucky and still struck out 187 guys. He was going very, very late in drafts…going at the same time as fringe closers and second catchers. After yesterdays masterpiece Shields is 5-2 with an ERA of  2.00, a WHIP of 0.93, 73 Ks in 76.2 IP. He’s striking out 5 times as many guys as he is walking. He’s keeping the ball in the park. Nasty. No regrets and definitely a sanity restorer!

(-SB)