Giants: Dodging The Delmon Young Bullet

Delmon Young signed with the Phillies today on a one-year, $750,000 contract that includes performance bonuses that could make the contract worth up to $3.5 million.

Whew. Deep breath, everybody.

Young was mentioned infrequently as a player the Giants could target, and on the surface one can see why. He plays outfield (“plays”), he crushes lefties, he seems to fit the Pat Burrell model of gargantuan dude who hits dingers. But there are several reasons why Young wouldn’t have made sense for the Giants. One is that he can’t play defense at all. He fails the eye test, the stats test, the sniff test, you name it. He’s a DH only at this point, which makes the Phillies’ assertion that he will play right field all the more hilarious. Mark your calendars for May 6th, folks. That’s the day that the Phillies will come to San Francisco for the first time in 2013, presumably with Delmon Young in RF. Remember what Vlad Guerrero looked like in right in the 2010 World Series? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Continue reading

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Those Last Roster Spots

January is a slow baseball month. Last January, the Giants signed Brian Burres, Todd Linden, Wilmin Rodriguez, and Gregor Blanco. Obviously the Blanco signing turned out to be pretty important in regards to how the season went, but the point is that the major signings are over. Sorry folks, the Giants aren’t trading for Justin Upton or Giancarlo Stanton and they are going to sign Michael Bourn. The time for major roster moves has come and gone.

As I laid out in a series of posts last week, the Giants have up to three roster spots still available. There’s a spot in the bullpen, a spot for a sixth infielder, and a fifth outfielder available. Let’s run down the candidates for each spot. Continue reading

In The Land Of Hope And Dreams: Giants Are World Series Champions Once Again

A Civic Center Plaza kind of crowd. (Jen Mac Ramos)

Take a time machine to 10 years ago. Find your 10-years-ago self and tell them that the World Series that year was awful, you know it, but in 10 years, everything will be okay.

“NO. STUPID RALLY MONKEY,” your old self might say. “SCREW THE ANGELS.”

You’ll calm your old self down — or try to at least — and say, “In 10 years, the Giants will have won the World Series twice in three years.”

Your old self won’t believe it, continuing the curse everything about the Angels.

Say that to your 2007 self, too. And maybe even your 2010 self.

It still feels improbable.

The Giants won the World Series twice in three years? No way. Not possible. Come on.

That’s just crazytalk.

There’s just absolutely no way that’ll ever happen.

Right? Continue reading

The Value Of A Pence

Giants fans cheer for Hunter Pence in his first at-bat in a new uniform. (Photo by Mac)

1.

Hunter Pence arrived shortly after the game ended on Jul 31, greeted by the fans still at the park. Cameras followed him around and reporters talked to him and interviewed him in the clubhouse. It was #PenceWatch.

It was one of those “new eras” in San Francisco: the arrival of a somewhat big name player joining the Giants roster.

Now, it was only a matter of whether or not he’ll be loved as a ballplayer in the black and orange. Continue reading

Giants Recap: Double the Play, Double the Brandon

Brandon Belt. (Photo: SD Dirk/flickr)

Today, the Giants managed to win a game that seemed destined to go to extras in nine innings. I don’t know how, but it happened.

It was boring for the most part, I’ll have to admit. Edinson Volquez was not particularly great, but for the Padres, it helped that the Giants’ offense was on his side.

Madison Bumgarner, well, this wasn’t his best outing but he hung in there and only gave up two runs in seven innings, walking two, and striking out nine.

Then, the double plays. Continue reading

Giants Recap: Giants Win Eminently Lose-Able Game

(Photo: Dinur/flickr)

I’m not certain that there is such a thing at all as the perfect pitcher. There are of course candidates, seasons of perfection from Koufax and Pedro and Randy and so forth, but it seems more like an ideal to strive for than an actual thing. Madison Bumgarner thus is certainly not the perfect pitcher; he did Cliff Lee things at the age when Cliff Lee was doing them in Single-A, but he has his problems. And the biggest of those problems is that he throws too many strikes.

Think about that one for a second. “Listen, Madison, there’s that one thing that pitchers are usually supposed to do above all else. You’re, uh, you’re a little too good at it.” Kinda puts any complaints about Bumgarner into perspective, doesn’t it? But it can be a problem, and it was tonight in the early innings, when the Athletics swung wild and free because they knew Madison Bumgarner was going to set up camp in the strike zone and not leave without federal intervention. Continue reading

Giants Recap: Nothing Brings ‘Em Out Like A Vogey Quality Start

(Photo: rocor/flickr)

Another day, another very good Ryan Vogelsong start. If he keeps this up, I’m going to run out of things to say. It’s weird, considering how different they come across, but something in Vogelsong’s approach reminds me of Jonathan Sanchez. You never saw Sanchez say “hell with it, try and hit this”; he’d stubbornly nibble and nibble, trying to hit the corners and get the batter to miss breaking balls. It was kind of commendable, that refusal to give in, but of course he couldn’t find the strike zone so it never really worked out.

Vogeltron does the same thing, but he has the strike zone’s home phone number. He outperformed his FIP last year by nearly a full run and he may well do it again, throwing pitch after pitch that’s just crap to hit. The Texas Rangers lineup is essentially a bunch of Game of Thrones characters armed with baseball bats instead of bastard swords, and then they produced an assortment of dribblers, pop-ups, and a handful of loud outs. I don’t know if it’s sustainable, but holy crap is it fun to watch while it is. Continue reading

Giants Recap: Efficient Edlefsen

Anthony Bass has said that he has modeled his delivery on Tim Lincecum*.  So tonight’s game is kind of like Tim vs. Tim. May the best Tim win (as long as he’s our Tim).

*True story – I actually won a ticket to tonight’s game from SI writer Jim Trotter on Twitter for knowing this, but had to forfeit on account of not actually being in San Diego for the game

And. . . . neither one gets the win. Continue reading

Giants Recap: Every Day I’m Sweepin’

(Photo: rocor/flickr)

Essentially, the story of this game is Ryan Vogelsong. Not because he was amazing – it was, basically, a quality start with a little mustard on it – but because A) the rest of the Giants scored their runs in hilarious fashion B) Ryan Vogelsong turns in these “6 or 7 innings, 2 or 3 runs, no problem” starts with such stunning regularity that I’m beginning to take him for granted.

Don’t let me take Ryan Vogelsong for granted, readers. Remind me that the fact that he is a major league starter in 2012 is an awesome story. That he is a major league starter of this caliber in 2012 can only be a testament to the ineffable grace of the Baseball Gods, praise be unto them. Every time Aubrey Huff grounds out to second base, or one of the indistinguishable shortstop options (Failed Prospect Guy, Handsome Guy, and Useless Guy) flails at a pitch somewhere in the vicinity of his eyeballs, or a reliever explodes into fleshy shrapnel and that shrapnel is hit into the gap for a double – Ryan Vogelsong. Yeah. Continue reading

Giants Recap: A Winning Road Trip!

The Giants will be arriving home with a 4-3 record on this road trip following a win against the Miami Marlins.

I feel like this could’ve been a routine Matt Cain game: pitch well enough to go deep into the game without many mistakes, hope the offense gets enough runs to win, hope the bullpen doesn’t implode fireworks.

Melky Cabrera had a day that would make The Melkmen proud: 4-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI. Not bad, Melky, not bad.

Otherwise, y’know, there’s Ryan Theriot making routine plays look really hard. But he is the man behind the TOOTBLAN, so it’s probably fitting.

And Buster Posey is Captain America who ain’t havin’ base stealers. There is no doubt about it at this point.