A Lot of Catching Up To Do!

Well, I guess a few things have happened in the past couple months!

We’ve said goodbye to Bruce Bochy (and maybe Madison Bumgarner too), watched the Dodgers blow it again, and witnessed the Washington Nationals ascend the mountain top for the first time.

And, oh look, the Giants have a new General and Field Manager. And a lot of people are quite upset about it.

I have thoughts. Let’s get right to the heart of the issue: Gabe Kapler’s (and, to be fair, Farhan Zaidi’s) poor handling of sexual assault allegations against their players when they were with the Dodgers.

Let me offer a few quotes from the local writers regarding this issue:

From Baggs:

It cannot be understated that the Giants front office is a workplace still reeling from CEO Larry Baer’s video-captured altercation in March in which he wrestled for control of a phone and knocked his wife, Pam, to the ground in a public square. Baer returned to his former role and corner office, with a somewhat muted public presence, following a three-month suspension from Major League Baseball.

Not everyone in the organization was happy to have Baer back. You can bet not everyone in the organization is happy about Kapler, either.

Here’s the thing: whether you believe that Kapler should be exonerated or you believe his past actions are disqualifying, Zaidi knew hiring him would leave a great many of you pissed off. And he decided it was worth it.

What’s more, the Giants decided it was worth it.

From Grant:

The Giants could have chosen almost anyone, from Hensley Meulens to Mike Scioscia to, I don’t know, Casey McGehee, who would have taken the brunt of whatever managerial criticism came up. The front office would have taken the criticism for choosing the players and the manager would have taken the criticism for motivating and deploying them. This is the natural order of things.

Instead, the Giants chose the one guy who can’t be separated from the front office. There is no Kapler without Zaidi, no scenario in which he becomes the manager with anyone else in charge, so the manager’s successes or failures will become the president of baseball operations’ successes or failures.

Which means Zaidi has to be pretty damned sure about this. Pretty, pretty, pretty damned sure about this. That’s a pool of 7.7 billion people to choose from, and approximately one who could blow up on him like an ink pack in a bank robbery.

And finally, from Marcus:

Why Kapler at all? 

Especially now. He’s basically a .500 manager with two years of experience. The Phillies went .500 this season despite adding Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto to what was already an 80-win team. The data shows Kapler just might not be ready as a manager. But he wasn’t even on the market long enough to collect his first unemployment check. 

Add on to that a sexual assault scandal and he figured to be an especially untouchable hire for a Bay Area franchise. Four years ago, while with the Dodgers, Kapler — along with Zaidi — mishandled allegations made against Dodgers minor-leaguers. Kapler was director of player development at the time, in 2015, and Zaidi was the Dodgers general manager. They offered a mea culpa on Wednesday, concessions made after finally looking into their actions a couple of weeks ago. But why would they put themselves in position to have to prostrate before the fan base?

This is Zaidi’s doing. This is how much he believes in Kapler. Better yet, this is how much Zaidi believes in himself, his eye for talent and his vision for the Giants. He picked arguably the most tainted hire of this bunch, overlooked candidates he acknowledged were worthy of the job. Kapler is his guy. This was a Farhan Flex.

That alone offers significant insight into the future of the Giants.

And now my take. One of the side effects, it seems, of the new, brainy, data-driven front office movement in baseball is a lack of humanity. This post-season, rather than celebrating two incredible baseball teams, a lot of of the headlines surrounded the bad behavior the Houston Astros (poster-children for the new-age team).

And that has only continued now in the offseason.

I’m not trying to reduce this to a “nerds don’t get people” simplistic view of complicated issues, but there is a risk with this new perspective (and it’s not limited to baseball). The more we value and view people as numbers, the harder time we seem to have with human interactions and the truth that they can be very messy.

Some have validly complained that the brand of baseball being played today is boring (flattened by the uniformity of data), and it’s a valid complaint, but a deeper problem is the lack of emotional intelligence and the decline of the value of humanity.

So, there’s that!

And then there’s the issue that Gabe Kapler might not be a very good manager. Dave Roberts beat him out for the Dodgers job a few years ago and while Dave seems like a really good dude, several of his poor decisions are responsible for the Dodgers inability to end the season with a win.

Kapler seems to have suffered from too much information and a lack of ability to inspire human beings with all his magical data.

I was not super excited when the Giants hired Bruce Bochy. It seemed to be a very uninspired hire. As baseball was moving into the future, the Giants were hiring a relic of the past.

It turned out ok, and in large part because Bochy is a genius with people (and bullpens).

Now they’ve finally made the cutting edge type of hire I longer for 12 years ago, and I’m not excited about it. The moral baggage is certainly part of that, but Kapler had an eventful two years in Philly and not for good reasons.

The Giants always seemed to be interested in getting someone who had previous managing experience who needed a new opportunity to make the next step. There is a long history of guys making this type of jump, Bruce Bochy being exhibit A.

The difference to me is that Bochy had MANY years of experience. He had seen bad teams, good teams, losing seasons, a world series, great players and MVPs, and a bunch of scrubs.

Kapler hasn’t seen much of anything at this point. Other than looking like he could still play, there’s not much impressive in resume.

All year long we’ve been waiting for Farhan Zaidi to make a signature move. Would it be signing Bryce Haper? (No). Would it be trading Madison Bumgarner? (It wasn’t).

This is it. Hiring Gabe Kapler. Undoubtedly many other moves are going to be made. There’s a bullpen to reconstruct after all. And some starting pitchers to find. And the question about how to move on from an aging core.

But if you were looking for a move that revealed the deep soul of Zaidi and what he wants the Giants to be moving forward, you now have it, and it’s the chiseled chin of Gabe Kapler.

I hope it works out, but I am not inspired.

Regime Change

The Giants officially announced and introduced their new MAN: Farhan Zaidi. You can read all about it here and here and here.

I have a couple of thoughts:

  1. Time will tell whether this was a successful decision or not, but in my opinion this is one of the most significant hirings in recent Bay Area sports history. It’s up there with the Bob Myers/Steve Kerr partnership and the Jim Harbaugh arrival in Ninerland. This is a bold, definitive, franchise altering move, and not in a flashy way, but in a very, very substantive and smart way. Again, the Giants may not win a World Series during Zaidi’s tenure, because it’s a really hard thing to do, but if they fail, they will fail by trying to be smarter and better than the other 29 teams, not because they are stubborn and nostalgic. I LOVE Brian Sabean and will defend him to the end. He led this team well for 20 years, but it was time for a change (and when it’s time for a change, think Speedy Oil Change…I miss baseball). Anyway, this was the kind of change they needed desperately.
  2. Because the Giants have had so much front office stability for the last two decades it’s been fairly easy to predict and/or understand the moves the team has made. All bets are off now, we are in 100% new territory, and part of the fun of this offseason will be learning what Zaidi cares about, how he makes decisions, and what kind of team he will try to build. The last regime was about as polar opposite to Zaidi’s wheelhouse as you can get, so don’t expect this offseason to answer all of our questions. We will get glimpses, though, and I, for one, am ecstatic to have a fresh perspective watching over our beloved franchise.
  3. For the past year I’ve been assuming that the Giants were going to (a) Go hard after Bryce Harper, and (b) Extend Madison Bumgarner, which would (c) lead to another era of trying to build around 1-2 star players (see, the Barry Bonds era). Now, who knows?! It’s sounding like the Giants won’t pursue Harper to any great degree and that Bumgarner will be a major trade chip, probably at the July 2019 deadline. Get used to this kind of thing, as it will probably be the new norm. The team we’ve seen for a while will look radically different, probably sooner than later.

Enjoy the ride, this should be fun!

The Thing About Giancarlo Santon

After a long hibernation, a season of solitude and silence, it is time for baseballmonk to speak.

First, props to Houston for beating the Dodgers. That was awesome and your contributions to making 2017 a slightly brighter place are deeply appreciated.

Second, man the Giants were bad. When last we spoke, it was early September and I started previewing the roster through the lens of what was, at that time, the biggest question/mystery of the Giants future: would Jonny Cueto opt out? September was a bleak time.

Third, the Giants brass, to their credit has (a) realized this was a bad year, (b) realized that some trends in the game have passed them by, and (c) seem hell-bent on at least shooting for the moon in pursuing Giancarlo Stanton.

And so, I have thoughts.


First, a philosophical thought. I have NO REGRETS about the Barry Bonds era. Bonds essentially saved the franchise from moving to Tampa Bay, got a new stadium built, provided endless highlights, and darn near won a World Series along the way.

During the Bonds era the Giants philosophy of roster building was centered on two core ideas: (1) Bring in enough veterans to keep Bonds happy, (b) pay Barry a bunch of money and spread whatever was left over around.

After Bonds “retired” the Giants went in a totally different direction, a much more strategic direction (pitching and defense) and won three titles.

Now, a couple of differences between now and then. During the early Pac Bell Park days the Giants scrimped on some money because they were paying down the park. They are no longer in stadium debt which is sort of like getting a couple “free” players back every year.

Another significant difference: also in the early years of Pac Bell (I know it’s AT&T now fools) they were learning the dynamics of the park and they discovered that basically only Barry Bonds and a couple good right-handed hitters could make the place remotely resemble a “hitters park.”

So, the pitching and defense (and develop and sign) philosophy made a lot of sense and paid off handsomely.

And part of the payoff has been the increased ability to spend money. This a major change for fans who have followed the team for 3 decades. For many years the Giants were a “mid-market” team, but the TV deals and the #3Rings propelled them to the upper echelons of MLB. They are a big market team now, no questions about it.

All of that to say, I get wanting Giancarlo Stanton, I really do. And if he comes to the Bay I will be happy to watch him take aim at the Coke Bottle for the next decade. Totally cool with that. But, are we cool with a return to an approach that didn’t work as well as the one that produced an unprecedented championship run?


Second, a more practical thought.

The Giants front office spoke a lot at the end of the season about getting more athletic, improving the defense (especially in CF), bolstering the pitching depth, and adding power. In particular (note #3 in this article), the Giants identified needs at 3B, CF, and the bullpen.

Again, I will LOVE Stanton in a Giant’s uniform. But he does not play 3B or CF, nor does he pitch out of the bullpen. Yet. Just kidding.

Yes, he is a good athlete, and HECK YES he would bring the power, but Stanton is not the final piece to any puzzle that makes a picture of a good 2018 Giants team.

Let’s walk through a couple of scenarios. And let’s make a couple of assumptions. It’s clear that if Denard Span is on the 2018 Giants he will play in left field. There’s a good chance he and Hunter Pence would form some sort of platoon over there. Let’s also assume that while the Giants are bringing back Pablo Sandoval for “free” they do not want him to be their everyday third basemen. Ok, let’s go.

First, let’s say the Giants and Marlins swing a deal where essentially the Giants take Stanton’s contract. No other players change hands. (This would never happen, obviously, but hang with me).

Here’s your 2018 SF Giants:

  • Span/Pence LF
  • Panik 2B
  • Posey C
  • Stanton RF
  • Belt 1B
  • Crawford SS
  • Arroyo 3B
  • Steven Dugger/Hernandez/Parker CF

Even without giving a single player the Giants would enter 2018 with a question about Arroyo at 3B (something I’d be all for, for the record), and a bit of a mess in CF.

Second, let’s examine the most rumored package for Stanton: Joe Panik, Tyler Beede (SP), and Chris Shaw (1B/OF). Let me just say that while I love Joe Panik, if the Giants get Giancarlo Stanton the baseball gods have looked favorably upon them. There’s no way in the world the Dodgers and/or Cardinals could not easily beat this deal, maybe even several times over. What this would mean is that either the Dodgers/Cardinals were not really serious, did not want that contract, or Stanton, for some reason, did not want to go there (he has a full no-trade clause).

Anyway, here’s your team:

  • Span/Pence LF
  • Arroyo 3B
  • Posey C
  • Stanton RF
  • Belt 1B
  • Crawford SS
  • Kelby Tomlinson 2B
  • Somebody CF

We can argue the optimal order of this lineup until the cows come home, but that’s not the point. The point is, you’ve now thrust Arroyo into a major role, and have a gaping hole at 2B, not to mention the CF problem.

This is why you are seeing this deal rumored as well: Third, the Giants send Panik/Beede/Shaw and Denard Span for Stanton, the contract, and 2B Dee Gordon. 

Ok, this is interesting:

  • Gordon 2B
  • Arroyo 3B
  • Posey C
  • Standton RF
  • Belt 1B
  • Pence LF
  • Crawford SS
  • Somebody CF

Somethings I like about this. Dee Gordon, though not my favorite player by a long shot, could be a good leadoff hitter for this team. He also plays a more than decent 2B. He might get 30 triples playing in AT&T. This also allows Hunter Pence to be the everyday LF, something I think he can do for a year. AND (I am so passionate about this), it breaks up the glut of left-handed hitters in the bottom half of the lineup.

I also, for the record, am not opposed to Steven Duggar getting a real shot at CF next year. But, I don’t think they will do that.

Which means: something else is going to happen. #HotTake.

There is no way the Giants go into 2018 with a both Christian Arroyo and Steven Duggar as key cogs in their every day lineup. If they do this I would be shocked (pleasantly surprised too, but also shocked).

What will this other move be? Do the Giants move Brandon Belt for a CF? Perhaps the Red Sox lose out on a couple of guys (like Eric Hosmer and JD Martinez) and get deperate for more power so they go after Brandon Belt (who would be great in Fenway if he can deal with the fans). Imagine this lineup for a moment:

  • Gordon 2B
  • Arroyo 3B
  • Posey C
  • Stanton RF
  • Pence LF
  • Crawford SS
  • Somebody 1B
  • Jackie Bradley Jr CF

That is a much more athletic and much better defensive team than what we’ve seen in a while. But, now there is a hole at 1B.

Which brings me, finally, to my thesis: Giancarlo Stanton would look so good in a Giants uniform. No doubt. But, he is not the silver bullet. He is not the answer to everything. The Giants are a couple moves away from really getting to a good place.

(Also, none of this addresses the pitching/bullpen issues.)

So, hope and pray for Giancarlo, but know that he will not solve all of our problems.

Early Thoughts on the Off-Season

Here’s a simple preview of your 2017 SF Giants (other previews here):
C (2)
Posey
Brown

INF (6)
Belt
Panik
Crawford
Nunez
Gillapsie
Tomlinson

OF (5)
Williamson
Span
Pence
Hernandez
Parker

SP (5)
Bumgarner
Cueto
Moore
Samardzija
Cain

RP (7)
NEW CLOSER
Law
Strickland
Smith
Okert
Kontos
Suarez


Now, let’s analyze that a bit:

  • The Giants are getting rid of $50 million in payroll, but will see current players take $30 million in raises, so the general operating principle is that they will have approximately $20 million to spend. One way to think about next year is as simple as described above: Add a pricey, shiny new closer and call it good.
  • The top 3 closing targets are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon. Who do you want? It seems like Chapman will not be the target, as the Giants don’t like guys with major character issues. That leaves two elite options. The Dodgers will want to keep Jansen, so are you willing to get into a bidding war with LA? At what point do you walk away from that war? That leaves Melancon, who the Giants seemed to have really wanted at the trade deadline. He would be the cheapest (maybe? likely?). I like this option a lot, but I also lived in Boston when he had the worst year of career, so there’s that. But, after those 3 there’s not much else.
  • If the Giants sign Melancon at say, 4 yrs/$64 million (yeeps), what else do you do? I am most interested in seeing the Giants add veterans (ala Conor Gillaspie) to the bench. I could see them improving the backup catcher and infield position. In other words, a couple of the weak links are: Kelby Tomlinson, Ehrie Adrianza, and Trevor Brown. One example (not saying this is the right guy), would be signing Aaron Hill to take the Tomlinson roster spot. Hill doesn’t need to start, doesn’t need ABs, can passably play a few positions, and has some pop from the right side. These are not sexy moves, but they create organizational depth, which is desperately needed.

Well, that was pretty boring, now for some craziness:

  • Listening to John Smoltz this postseason has made me think: is there a potential starting pitcher out there who could transform into an elite closer? The Giants were rumored to be in the trade market for Andrew Cashner at the deadline, and he certainly has the pure stuff to be interesting? Two other names: James Shields, should he opt out, and Clay Bucholz. In no way, should this be a plan A, but if the Giants can’t get a deal done with one of the “Big 3” then they will have to get creative. All three of those guys would seemingly want to remain a starter, and Shields may not even opt out given he sucked so badly this year, and this is a thin starter market, so they may stand to make good cash as starters, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • It sure sounded in the postseason press conference like the front office is very intrigued by a Mac Williamson/Jarrett Parker platoon, or one of those guys winning the job outright. I am too, especially if it allows the Giants to spend the money to get one of those good closers. But I would also be open to the team bringing in a veteran to at least push them in spring training. Are you ok with this being plan A? If not, a plan B option: Matt Holiday!
  • I would love to see the Giants bring in Jared Saltalamaccia as Posey’s backup.

2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Nunez 3B
  2. Panik 2B
  3. Posey C
  4. Belt 1B
  5. Pence RF
  6. Crawford SS
  7. Williamson LF
  8. Span CF (or do the flip here with the pitcher)

What I like about this lineup is the balance: Left, right, left, all the way through, and more power potential as well.


Finally, some thoughts on Matt Cain:

  • No matter what, the Giants are paying the man $20 million next year. As with 2016, you have to think they are going to give him every opportunity to take that 5th starter role. I know people are really excited about Ty Blach, and I am too, but I think the Giants will give each 8-10 starts (in the majors for Cain, in AAA for Blach) before deciding what to do. I think the Giants need to set, before the season starts, what the expectations are, what success means for Cain, and then stick to that: don’t jerk these guys around.
  • During Joe Blanton’s meltdown in Game 1 of the NLCS, I tweeted this:
  •  I got a little bit of heat in return. Here’s what I mean: I don’t have any problem with Matt Cain turning into a serviceable big league reliever. Nothing would make me happier than Matt Cain having a long, successful, final chapter to his career as a starter or reliever. Either way: don’t care. But, I don’t think it’s quite as simple for Cain as: become a reliever/become dominant again. Joe Blanton transformed his career by turning his slider into a devastating pitch. He doesn’t throw hard, he doesn’t have another nasty pitch. It’s all about the slider. Matt Cain’s success has been primarily related to his ability to command his fastball at the top of the strike zone. The weak contact he induced from that pitch was his secret sauce, a deep source of angst for many in the SABR community. Other than that fastball he’s never had a pitch that translates to obvious bullpen success. This is not saying he couldn’t figure it out. But Joe Blanton strikes me as a one trick pony. That trick is pretty good, but when it doesn’t work, there’s no where else to go, and it can get ugly as it did in the 8th inning on Saturday night. Maybe if Cain goes to the bullpen and he can get his velocity in the 93-95 mph range, and that fastball life comes back, then I will look pretty silly. However, Cain doesn’t profile to me as the kind of guy who automatically transitions well to the bullpen.

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

3 Ideas, Or Life Without Pablo #SFGiants

1. The Straightforward Approach:

The simplest way for the Giants to move forward is to get more pitching this offseason, perhaps bring in a cheap vet or two to fill some holes in the field, and let the season play out, leaving room to maneuver come July. Some possible names:

  • My favorite pitchers this offseason for the Giants are “second-tier” guys who won’t break the bank but could do really well in San Francisco. Guys like Ervin Santana, Francisco Liriano, and Brett Anderson.
  • This approach could also include the Giants returning guys like Peavy, Vogelsong, and Romo.
  • For the lineup you’d probably see Alex Rios, Alberto Callaspo, and maybe even Chase Headley.

Not all of those guys will be here next year, but if you hear these kinds of rumors and/or see these deals get done, it means the Giants are playing it straight.

Pros/Cons: the ultimate pro here is the idea of bolstering the pitching staff. If the Giants do that I think they can play Matt Duffy at third (or whoever) and Gregor Blanco in left and be ok. It keeps things flexible, allowing the Giants to play Buster Posey at first more, and use Brandon Belt in left, getting Andrew Susac into the line more as well. The cons are that this is not going to feel exciting to a fan base mourning the loss of its beloved Panda.

2. The All-In:

The all-in will get fan’s blood pumping, utilize the World Series cash, and if everyone is healthy potentially provide a roster that could be the best in the NL. Who does this include?

  • Jon Lester.
  • Yasmany Tomas.

One or the other (or both!) of these fellas means the Giants have thrown all caution to the wind and are desperately pursuing that elusive repeat World Series title.

Pros/Cons: on the positive side this would more than make up for losing Pablo in the eyes of many fans. It is the kind of headline grabbing move(s) that teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers love to make. The two biggest cons are (a) this is not how the Giants typically operate. One fear I have is that their success will lead them to deviate from the kind of moves that have made them so successful. Going all-in could pay off, but it would also change the mindset of a franchise that has done too many things well recently to chuck the plan. (b) This kind of move would make it impossible to keep all of the Belt/Crawford/Panik/Bumgarner/etc core around. Someone will eventually have to go.

3. The Curveball.

The Giants could go a totally different route and make some interesting trades.

  • What if they built a package around Brandon Belt for Cole Hamels?
  • What if they worked something out with the Reds and acquired Jay Bruce and/or one of their pitchers (like the dreaded Mat Latos)?
  • What if they cashed in any and all prospects to get a Jordan Zimmerman, or a Justin Upton?

The point here is that the Giants have money and they don’t have to spend it in free agency. They could take contracts off the hands of other teams.

Pros/Cons: the pro here is that the Giants get better in 2015 without having to play the silly free agency game. Brian Sabean has made some poor trades as we all know, but he’s also pulled off several incredibly lopsided trades in the Giants favor. Perhaps he has another rabbit up his sleeve. Negatively, the Giants would mortgage the future for the present. The Giants have an underrated farm system, but it is not as deep (or at least not perceived to be as deep) as other teams. There are many other organizations that could put together attractive deals for all the names listed above. Can the Giants do the same?

Conclusion: All of my recent posts should reveal where my thoughts are on this one. I think Pablo gave the Giants a gift by turning their offer down. The Giants now have flexibility to spend money in many different spots. I’m all about the straightforward plan, reinforcing the starting staff, and keeping things flexible for Bruce Bochy to sort out in April and May. There’s no reason to go all in at this point, and the Giants can make a trade in July when they have a sharper sense of what they really need.

So, bring back Romo, sign Santana or Liriano, take a flier on Brett Anderson, and if there’s still room, go find a glove to fill in at third base.

-SB

Sad Pandas #SFGiants #PabloSandoval

You are sad. It’s ok. You are a human being. A human being who allowed yourself to grow attached to men wearing shirts that say “San Francisco” on them.

There will be no more Panda sighting on the shores of McCovey Cove.

I’ll admit to being bummed. Although, I am not as bummed as if Pablo had of signed with the Dodgers or Padres.

But, I also admit to be kind of excited. What does this all mean? If Pablo came back, this offseason would have been pretty boring. Maybe a Peavy or a Vogelsong return, but that would have been it.

Now, it’s crazy town. You’re going to hear about Jon Lester. Yasmany Tomas. Chase Headley. And who knows what else. At least it will be interesting.

3 Thoughts:

1. Several other writers have pointed out the uniqueness of Pablo. How do you really measure his value? He represents such an interesting figure in recent Giants’ history, and yet signing him to a long-term deal could have been devastating. Can you imagine not being able to sign Crawford or Bumgarner because of Panda’s contract? On the other hand, who the heck is going to play 3B? This was a true conundrum from day 1.

In the end, the Red Sox have probably screwed themselves up both now and into the future. Which means they are going to trade Pablo to the Dodger after the 2016 season and then win the World Series in 2017 because baseball. (By the way, I live in Boston and sports radio here has been saying “heck no” to the Panda for weeks. They think he sucks. I think this is hilarious).

And the Giants may have screwed themselves too, but we have four more months of rumors and craziness before we can really know. Remember, it is rarely the team that “wins” the offseason that wins the real season.

2. The word is Pablo wanted a change. Pablo wanted money. Pablo wanted to be courted. Pablo wants to be BFFs with David Ortiz. Pablo wants to DH. All of that may be true.

I have my own theory.

As much as people in the Bay Area love the Panda, and as much as he as meant to this team, he is not Buster Posey. It was Posey’s presence who moved Pablo to 3B in the first place (remember he was a catcher). It was Posey who led the team to their first title in 2010 while Pablo sat on the bench. It was Posey who got paid the longest and richest contract in franchise history.

The Giants are Posey’s team.

The Red Sox are David Ortiz’s team (with Pedroia a close second), but I think Pablo wanted to be seen as vital. As a hier apparent. As “the man.” He was never going to be the man in San Francisco. He might not ever be the man in Boston but he could be. And that, as much as anything else, is why he left, in my opinion.

3. What next? The hot rumor of the day has the Giants going after Yasmany Tomas and Jon Lester. Tomas is another conversation for another post, but Lester gets your attention in a second.

If they didn’t have the money for Pablo how do they have it for Lester? It’s different money in terms of value, but it still begs the question. If the Giants get Lester then that’s pretty much it for the offseason.

I’d love to have Lester, don’t get me wrong, and it would certainly fulfill my hope to fortify the rotation, but I also think the Giants now have the flexibility to do several things:

  • Ervin Santana and Chase Headley?
  • 2 pitchers?
  • Bring back Romo?

I’m all in for Santana and Headley. But, it’s going to get weird now, hang on tight.

-SB