Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dodgers Trade Theriot

Ryan Theriot has been traded to the Cardinals for a minor league RHP. The Cards view Theriot as a SS, possibly taking one team out of the Jason Bartlett sweepstakes.

The Giants are rumored to be heating up Jason Bartlett talks, Chris Ray and Ramon Ramirez are the names I'm hearing tossed around.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jason Bartlett Rumors

Looks like the Jason Bartlett talks have begun to heat up.... and the Giants are one of the teams on the radar (along with the Cardinals, Padres and Orioles). The Rays are reportedly seeking bullpen help in return for Bartlett who will probably be replaced by Reid Brignac at SS.

Rumor has it that one of the deals tossed around is Santiago Casilla and a minor league pitcher for Bartlett.

I think that would be an ok deal for the Giants. Seems a bit much for a 30 year old SS who doesnt play D.

A little more on Bartlett; he posted a 1.5 WAR (1.8 off and -0.3 def), which was better than JJ Hardy, Derek Jeter, Elvis Andrus and Orlando Cabrera. He also has much more offensive potential than he showed in 2010, coming of an all-star season in 2009. He really is the best of the bunch when it comes to available SS.

Juan Uribe signs with Dodgers

Juan Uribe has recently agreed to a 3 year $21 MM deal with the Dodgers. As a Giants fan, my first reaction is that the Giants should have matched or beat the offer to retain him. Let's take a closer look:

Uribe will be 34 in the last year of the deal and is coming of career highs in HR and RBI while playing in his most games (148) since 2002. Even with the power increase, Uribe was only good for 1.8 offensive WAR, which is about average for a ML starter. Uribe is unlikely to replicate these power numbers or the number of games played again in his career. In his age 34 season, Uribe may be a backup earning $7MM to take 250 ABs.

I think the Giants can fill the position with someone who is similarly effective offensively for less money, and that money can potentially go towards contract extensions for what is sure to become a very expensive starting rotation. Jason Bartlett (more on him in a moment) also posted a 1.8 oWAR, and while being slightly worse than Uribe defensively, Bartlett is a bit more mobile on the basepaths, and hits for a higher contact rate and also draws more walks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More on FIP

Apparently, Tom "The Tiger" Tango thinks I'm a moron (and he's probably right) for the way I broke down FIP. Click Here for the comments

First, I want to say that I do agree that he is justified in wanting to stay away from things that are opinion when dealing with something that we can measure. However, I thought the idea of creating stats like FIP was to measure (as accurately as possible) how good a pitcher really is, without the effect of his defense. Treating a ball that is smashed off the wall the same as an infield single that gets bobbled does not accomplish this to the best of our means. No matter how many times he says, "its a feature, not a bug"; I'm going to think he's wrong.

What makes greatness?

"Be great and you will be lonley"-Mark Twain

Greatness does not always follow talent, in order to be great talent requires copious amounts of dedication, perseverance and hard work. I know I sound like a Nike commercial right about now but it is true.

Kobe Bryant, Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Steve Young. What do they all have in common besides boatloads of talent? An incredible work ethic.

LeBron wants to hang out with his buddies, have fun and be one of the guys. MJ wanted to step on throats and rip out people's hearts every night because he was so driven to succeed. LeBron thinks he SHOULD succeed, Jordan feelt like he NEEDED to. There is a difference there. I could write novels on what it takes to be great, but I wont... Just know that MJ has it and it doesn't look the LBJ does.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dodgers Update

The Dodgers completed their starting rotation by signing Jon Garland to a one year $5MM deal with an $8MM option for 2012 if he pitches 190 innings in 2011. The Garland signing means that the LA rotation will probably go Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly, Kuroda, Garland. If you combined these 5 starters stats from 2010, the Dodgers would have had one of the lowest starting pitching ERAs in baseball, even lower than the Giants or Phillies.

Garland was 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.315 WHIP in pitcher friendly Petco Park in 2010. His K/9 and BB/9 were both elevated above his career rate at 6.1 k/9 and 3.9 bb/9. He posted a FIP of 4.41 and his BABIP was at .267 (21 points below his career mark of .288) suggesting that he was more lucky than good and benefitted from a good d and/or pitcher friendly ballpark. Garland also posted a high 51.9% groundball rate (45.2% career), again suggesting he may regress a little bit in 2011. Bill James predicts him to go 10-14 with a 3.81 ERA mostly due to a reduction in K's and groundballs and a rise in BABIP. Garland's career numbers certainly support this prediction, but still put him in line to be a very good 5th starter, perhaps one of the best in the NL.

Russ Martin has had his name thrown around as a non-tender candidate. Injuries, declining performance and that fact that he'd be in line for a salary of about $7MM could lead Ned Coletti to deem him expendable. George Sherrill is another name who may not be offered arbitration, however Sherrill could return on a minor league deal.

Apparently the Dodgers were the team the Giants had to outbid for Aubrey Huff.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So here is a breakdown of the possible SS for the Giants in 2011. Top row are 2010 stats, second row is per 162 game averages and the third row is Bill James' predictions for 2011. Click the image for the full sized version.

Since Kevin Towers says he refuses to deal with Sabean, I think Drew will remain a D'Back. Reyes would also command a very high price and it seems unlikely to me that he winds up in SF. Uribe may require a larger than desired investment (probably 3 or 4 years at about $12MM per), but I think his power and defensive versatility and his relative youth compared to Tejada and Scutaro easily make him the best option for the Giants at SS. Let's just hope he is "lot of happy" about the ring and wants to come back. I would love to have Jose Reyes hitting at the top of the order, but injuries to the legs of speedy players frighten me. Reyes would probably also cost Jonathan Sanchez plus prospects, and I dont think Sabean is moving any starter unless someone bites on Zito.

Outside of Uribe, that leaves Bartlett who will be 31 next year, Scutaro (35), Tejada (37) and possibly Orlando Cabrera (36) as the main candidates for the position next year. Uribe will only be 31 next year, and looks like he can be productive for another 3+ seasons. His power numbers are surprisingly on the rise since he's been playing in SF; he recorded the most HR and RBI of his career, while posting his lowest BABIP ever. He was largely unlucky last year and still posted very good numbers, if he stays healthy (and he traditionally has) his numbers should improve somewhat. Uribe is not the perfect player by any means, his K rate is a bit high and his walk rate a bit low, and it seems like he's trying to hit homeruns when he needs t0 move runners over, but here's why I think Uribe is the best choice: He is still technically in his prime, and while Bartlett is also, Uribe is the better defender and hits for far more power than Bartlett does. Both are versatile on the defensive side, but Uribe is better at SS, the position the Giants desperately need to fill.

Giants offseason update 11/24

Henry Schulman reports now that the Giants have signed Huff, their primary interest is to find a shortstop. Brian Sabean says that progress on a new deal with Uribe is slow because of significant interest from other teams in the market due to a weak IF free agent class. The Giants will get a sandwich selection in the draft if Uribe signs elsewhere because they offered him arbitration.
Sabean admits to discussing trades for shortstops, including Jason Bartlett and Marco Scutaro. Jose Reyes is a name that has been rumored to be available, but the Mets have a steep asking price of 3 or 4 prospects, which will probably keep the Giants out of the running. The Giants have also been rumored to be interested in Miguel Tejada who might be a better fill at 3B than at SS due to his declining range as he ages.

I would prefer to bring Uribe back; even if he doesn't match last year's power totals, his .256 BABIP was much lower than his .282 career mark so his average should improve a tick. Uribe was above replacement level defensively as a SS last year, and has also posted a positive dWAR over his career. He can slide over and play second or third in a pinch, and he also provided us with the "Lot of happy" quote and the jazz hands home run trot.

Coming Soon: A Stat breakdown of all available candidates for the Giants SS in 2011.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Postseason Awards and Giants Musings

So all of the hardware is handed out, and since I usually suck at predicting things Im going to continue to gloat about getting 7/8 of the postseason awards right this year. And saves are a stupid stat so I should be 8/8.

Anyway, the Giants re-signed Aubrey Huff today, and Brian Sabean participated in a conference call with reporters to announce it, here are some details. (The deal was two years for $22MM, club option for $10MM in 2013 or $2MM buyout)

  • Sabean said he got permission to match the offer that another team threw at Huff. The initial reaction was that the Giants overpaid to keep Huff, but it looks like there was at least one other team out there willing to splurge on Huff Daddy.
  • Talks with Uribe are moving along, but more slowly due to the amount of interest for a power hitting middle IF
  • Pat Burrell was told he will be addressed after SS is filled. Sabean said he had contact with a FA SS from another club, maybe O. Cabrera?
  • Giants also claim to be tight on $ and may non tender one of their arbitration eligible players; Torres, J. Lopez, S Casilla, J Sanchez, R Ramirez, M Fontenot, C Ross and C Ray. I'd say that Ray and Fontenot are the best bets to be non-tendered.
My first reaction to the Huff deal was that he was being overpaid, but upon looking at some stats (and hearing that Sabean matched an offer to keep him) I think that Huff was a reasonable signing considering the other 1B options. He did post one of the top 10 WAR seasons since 1960 by a Giants 1B (8th with 5.9 WAR)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Giants Hot Stove Rumblings

Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy gave a press conference today and here are some of the juicy items to come from it:

Sabean has talked to agents for Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe and says there is mutual interest on both players. However, the market could be kind to these two and they may be prohibitively expensive (especially Uribe)

It is still possible that Pat Burrell returns in a reserve role as a 4th OF. The team also has mark DeRosa coming back next year, so if Burrell returns it could be the end for Nate Schierholtz as a Giant.

Edgar Renteria is mulling retirement and should make a decision in the next couple of weeks.

Pablo Sandoval has been told to skip winter ball in order to focus on conditioning this offseason. The team has told him he will be sent to Fresno if he doesn't meet certain guidelines during the offseason. He is also expected to report to spring training a month early.