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Where we tend to talk about the recent past a lot

Updated: 2017-11-17T17:01:42-08:00


The Giants submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton


That means ... well, it means that they submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton. The Giants have officially submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. This doesn’t have to mean anything. This might mean everything. As always, it’s worth noting that both Don Corleone in Godfather II and Clarence Worley of True Romance submitted trade proposals, too. They ended with dead people. This specific trade proposal doesn’t have to end with 50 extra dingers on the 2018 Giants. Still, it’s not like every team has submitted a proposal, so it’s a start. The Giants are willing to pick up a sizable amount of Stanton’s contract, one source said. Such a deal, however, would exacerbate the team’s luxury-tax concerns, likely resulting in the trade of at least one high-priced veteran, perhaps as part of a package going to the Marlins, perhaps to other clubs. This could be Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, or Brandon Belt. All three would interest teams if the contracts were paid down a bit. Heck, Belt’s contract is going to look like a bargain compared to Eric Hosmer’s, so he might not even require salary relief. All three of them would create significant holes if they left, though. I’m skeptical that the Giants would move any of the three if they had to pay too much money. Seems like that’s a balancing act that would leave them further in debt and only incrementally better. No, focus on the last part. “Perhaps as a part of a package going to the Marlins.” Stanton is owed $29.5 million for the next 10 years, on average. It doesn’t matter for luxury tax purposes that he’s actually owed $25 million next year. And if the Marlins decide to include $50 million back with Stanton, that means he’ll still count for $24.5 million against the competitive balance tax in 2018, which would put the Giants over by something like $10 million before they even consider additional free agents. So it doesn’t matter that much to the Giants if the Marlins include $50 million or $75 million, at least when it comes to getting under the cap and resetting the penalties. The extra $2.5 million in this scenario would help the Giants incrementally next year, which is when they’re most concerned about the tax, but that’s about it. That extra $25 million sure means a heckuva lot to the Marlins, though, mostly because it’s $25 million. What if we’re not talking about cash coming over with Stanton, though? What if we’re talking about a bad contract going back? Instead of the Marlins sending over cash, then, imagine if they take back Denard Span, who’s owed $11 million next year with a $4 million buyout. If the Giants are roughly $15 million under the cap right now, and they shed Span’s contract, they’ll already be teetering on the edge of going under the penalty for 2018. That’s without the Marlins sending over piles of cash. Now imagine if the contract going back were worth $17.7 million annually, like a certain closer, or $19.5 million, like the right fielder Stanton was replacing. Both Mark Melancon and Hunter Pence have no-trade protection, so those are unlikely, but you get the idea when it comes to possible deals for high-priced veterans. I’m thinking any proposal starts with Span rather than “give us $50 million,” just because of the logistics of getting under the tax. The more money the Marlins pile on has to be spread out over 10 years for the purposes of the tax. Span’s contract helps the Giants in 2018 by removing a lump sum from next year’s payroll, which is what they need. This doesn’t mean that Span would be the only salary relief the Giants get in a hypothetical deal. There still might be money coming over, too. But he’s a player the Giants have already publicly discussed replacing, and he doesn’t have a no-trade clause. The more I think about it, the more it would shock me if Span weren’t a part of a trade proposal. It’s the easiest way for the Giants to get Stanton and still have a shot to get under the tax. [...]

Lorenzo Cain is exactly the player the Giants need next year, but ...


He’s also an extremely bad fit. Lorenzo Cain might be one of the most underrated players in baseball. Since the start of the 2014 season, he’s been the 11th-most valuable player in baseball, according to rWAR, just behind Joey Votto. And, perhaps more relevant to our weird bubble, just ahead of Buster Posey and Giancarlo Stanton. He’s hit a cool .300 over those last four seasons, playing a brilliant defensive center field, stealing 96 bases, and doing everything well. If the Giants could create a free agent target in a lab, it would be a speedy, rangy center fielder they could slap at the top of their lineup. Here, friends, is that center fielder. Except there’s a catch. There always is. Cain will be 32 next year, and he’s expecting to get paid as if he’s going to repeat the seasons he had when he was 28, 29, 30, and 31. Which he might! But I would like to exercise some caution about paying a lot of money for center fielders in their 30s. Once upon a time, there was a center fielder who also did everything well. He hit for average, stole 29 bases, and played a fine defensive center field. He was going to be 31 the next year, but he still got a four year, $40 million contract because, c’mon, how poorly could he really age? Poorly! By the time his contract was up, Angel Pagan was completely unplayable in center field, and he was mostly unplayable in left. In 2015, he had one of the worst seasons in Giants history. We’ll always remember the good times. But there were certainly some uncomfortable moments toward the end. Now, Pagan isn’t a perfect comparison to Cain, but it’s a good enough comparison to put him as the no. 2 comp for Cain’s “similar batters through age 31” section on Baseball-Reference. Pagan’s defense wasn’t at the same level, even in his prime, so there are differences. Still, you know what can happen to fast and athletic players once they’re on the other side of that hill. Once upon a time, there was another center fielder, this one a Gold Glove winner. He hit .309 with power, and, look, it’s Aaron Rowand. I don’t know what happened to him in 2007, but it turns out the All-Star season was the anomaly, and both his glove and bat aged poorly. He was never as fast as Cain, and his offensive game was built more around power, but the larger point is that it’s rare for center fielders to glide gracefully into their 30s, doing the same things they’ve always done. It is possible for a center fielder to age gracefully. If Cain ages as well as Mike Cameron did, a four-year deal would work out just fine. Man-buzzard Steve Finley was immortal. And it took years and years for age to catch up to Torii Hunter. If you think that Cain isn’t in their class, re-read that first paragraph. He is most definitely in that class, and we shouldn’t be stunned if he’s still performing at a high level in 2020. There’s still a risk, though. And while it’s a risk that some teams can take, consider where the Giants will be in 2020. They’ll have a roster with ... A 33-year-old Buster Posey making $21.4 million A 34-year-old Johnny Cueto making $21.8 million A 35-year-old Jeff Samardzija making $19.8 million A 33-year-old Brandon Crawford making $15.2 million A 32-year-old Brandon Belt making $17.2 million A 35-year-old Mark Melancon making $19 million That’s over $115 million, and it’s is before you get to the part where Madison Bumgarner will be expecting a new contract and Joe Panik will be in his final year of arbitration. I’m not saying that the Giants are doomed. I’m just saying this is a roster that’s already tapped when it comes to over-30 long-term deals. If you’re going to cover your eyes and add Giancarlo Stanton to this mix, that’s one thing. He’ll be 30 in 2020 and at the height of his brawny powers. The expectation would be that he would still help that season, with 2023, 2024, et cetera, being the bigger worries. With Cain, though, you have to treat him like a normal free agent, which means t[...]

The Giants have been especially aggressive in their pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton


It doesn’t have to mean anything, but it sure looks like they’re trying. The Giants probably won’t trade for Giancarlo Stanton. But it sure sounds like they’re trying to. Over the last couple of days, I’ve heard from multiple people some variation of, “The Giants are trying really, really, really hard to get Stanton, but they’re trying to play it cool.” If you don’t believe me (I’m not usually in the “sources tell me” business, so I’m not offended), note that this has been something Bob Nightengale has been tweeting for weeks, including on Tuesday morning. The Miami Marlins are not close to trading Giancarlo Stanton but the #SFGiants have been the most aggressive team in trade talks.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 16, 2017 I don’t talk about prospects a lot because I leave that to the smart people like Roger, but let me point out that I’m utterly obsessed with Ramos. I think labeling him as the no. 4 prospect in a bad system does him a grave injustice, and he will one day be in the top half of a top-100 prospect list. The ball sounds different off his bat, like someone dropping a slab of mortadella on a clean deli counter. He has tools. So many tools. And he’s ours, ALL OURS. But, yeah, expect to trade someone like that if you want Giancarlo Freaking Stanton. I always return to the Miguel Cabrera trade, which reminds us that if you have a chance to trade for an under-contract young superstar, you shouldn’t overthink the prospects involved. For example, this was a real paragraph a long time ago: Joe Girardi managed him with the Marlins and speaks highly of (Miguel Cabrera). The Yanks have already touched base about Cabrera with the Fish. It sounds like the Yankees will trade Melky Cabrera, but are very reluctant to trade Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, or Ian Kennedy. In retrospect, trade all of them and the five prospects after that because he’s Miguel Cabrera, you fools. While Stanton is young enough to make a Cabrera comparison apt, it’s still a very much imperfect comparison. Cabrera was inexpensive, and Stanton ... isn’t. Still, the odds of getting Giancarlo Stanton in his prime and wishing you had Heliot Ramos instead are longer than having Heliot Ramos and being glad you don’t have Stanton. I love the prospect. This isn’t a deal for Chase Headley, though, and there shouldn’t be any pet prospects. Don’t forget that the best prospect the Giants have dealt since Francisco Liriano went over in the Casey McGehee deal. Feels like that should be mentioned somewhere. So I’m very much into the idea of a Ramos-for-Stanton deal if it helps bring the contract down to the point where the Giants feel comfortable with it. But while I’m smitten with the young feller, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins keying in on him above every other prospect they have their eyes on. He’s the apple of my eye because my team’s farm system has two apples, a pear, six plums, and a bunch of dingleberries. The Marlins aren’t quite as limited. However, this brings us to our next development, and has to do with something that I’ve overlooked too often: Stanton has an awful lot to say about where he goes. And he might want to be in California, where he can count on good ol’ In-N-Out instead of whatever slop Five Guys is peddling these days. A baseball source said yesterday that he’s been told Stanton will not accept a trade to either the Red Sox or the Cardinals, another team linked early and often in trade rumors. Perhaps there’s some flexibility in that stance, but Stanton’s preference is a factor. It seems funny to you that Stanton might want to come to the Giants. This is because you actually spent time — time you will never, ever, ever get back — watching this horrible team as it spun around the toilet and mercifully went down, never to resurface. But from his perspective, the Giants might be a legacy franchise with a strong commitment from their ownership. He might have heard how great t[...]

McCovey Chroncast #70 - Season 2 Finale



The gang gets back together for one final show in 2017. What's in store for our favorite baseball team?

The last podcast of the calendar year deserves special treatment, so, this one last time, you’re getting Bryan, Doug, Sami and Roger all together to talk the postseason, the nascent offseason, and the year that was in the Giants farm system. What prospects might actually pan out?

We also revisit the NL Manager rankings that Bryan and Doug put together before the start of the season. How well does the list hold up? And, of course, we answer your Twitter questions.

There’s a nonzero chance this podcast becomes old news very quickly, as the GM meetings have already begun. But if that’s the case, then you can bask in simpler times, when the Giants still had Brandon Belt on the roster and fans of his talked about him being on the roster.

The Chroncast will be back in 2018 to go over all the important Giants news. Thanks for listening!

Follow the McCovey Chroncast on Twitter and subscribe to us via Stitcher or iTunes or our RSS feed. Or you can just listen through the player below:

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The Giants are reportedly interested in trading for Jackie Bradley, Jr.


It’s not as ridiculous of a rumor as it seems. From the Department of Rumors That Make Sense, we have Jon Morosi reporting that the Giants are interested in Jackie Bradley, Jr., a slick defensive center fielder who can hit a little bit. He’s young, cheap, cost-controlled, and talented, which ticks off all of the boxes the Giants are looking for in their search to replace Denard Span. It’s all those qualities that make it extremely unlikely that the Giants can meet the price the Red Sox will demand. That doesn’t mean there isn’t hope, though. First, explore what kind of player Bradley is. He’ll be 28 last year, and his career OPS is .726. Last year, his OPS was .726. There’s something of a pattern, it would seem. Except that raw OPS doesn’t tell the whole story, because if you average out his last three seasons, he’s been good for a 107 OPS+, which is really, really good for a player who is a sublime defender in center field. It’s how he was worth nearly three wins last year, despite being roughly as productive with the bat as Hunter Pence. Bradley is under contract for three more years, and he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors projects he’ll get roughly $6 million, so he’s not exactly a low-cost prospect, but he’d be a heckuva lot cheaper than Lorenzo Cain, and he’s likely to age far better. Bradley would fit what the Giants are looking for. One caveat is that he’s a left-handed batter, so he probably wouldn’t hit 26 home runs again. But he has the athleticism and glove the Giants desperately need in center. Don’t focus on what he can’t do (hit .290 with 35 homers) and focus on what he can do (catch baseballs all pretty-like). Then factor in that he was a fine hitter in 2015 and 2016, with the potential to do that again, and I’m in. It would be a risk, but the rewards would be very real. The other caveat is that the Red Sox don’t have to trade him. Like every other team, they love young, cheap, and talented. They have three fantastic defensive outfielders, which seems like a lot of fun, and they can have them all for the next three years, at least. Why would they screw that up? Because Bradley would be the domino that falls if the Red Sox achieve one of their other offseason goals. They’re rumored to be interested in J.D. Martinez, who would push one of their outfielders out, and Bradley is clearly more expendable than Mookie Betts or Andrew Benintendi. They’re also rumored to be interested in Giancarlo Stanton, and I am absolutely HERE for what talk radio would be like if the Giants were involved in a three-way deal that netted them Bradley and allowed another team to get Stanton. Here’s something that’s been kicking around my head for a bit, though. In Jon Heyman’s free agent predictions, Eric Hosmer is projected to get at least $160 million over 7 years, which seems like, oh, $100 million too much. Hosmer is a nice player. He is not a $160 million player. Yet here’s an article from Heyman that suggests the Red Sox are likely to target Hosmer. Let’s compare Hosmer to a mystery player named Brandon Belt. Wait, I wasn’t supposed to give that part away, but, whatever. Hosmer’s unadjusted statistics make him worse than Belt. Average season, 2012 to 2017Hosmer: 578 AB, 18 HR, .282 BA, .344 OBP, .435 SLGBelt: 425 AB, 15 HR, .271 BA, .362 OBP, .465 SLG That’s without adding the context that Belt played in one of the toughest parks that left-handed hitters have ever seen. When you add that in, it’s why Belt has been worth more than seven wins over Hosmer in their respective careers, despite the disparity in playing time. And don’t forget that Belt’s missing at-bats are because morons won’t stop hitting him in the head, which is hardly his fault. What I’m getting at is that the Red Sox would probably love to pay Martinez and Belt a combined $225 million instead of shoveling a lot of [...]