2007-04-04T16:58:25.193-07:00(image) Barry's outdueled by Peavy
2007-01-06T09:41:00.206-08:00Zito brings more than wins to Giants organizationSAN FRANCISCO - It seems only appropriate that baseball's highest paid pitcher has the highest uniform number ever worn in Giants history. Yesterday while Barry Zito was introduced in a press conference, you could see precisely why Magowan believes the 28 year old lefty was worth a seven year committment. He's young, marketable and all in all is everything Barry Bonds is not; He's the anti-Barry and San Francisco should love him for it.Ask anyone around the league what comes to mind when they think of Barry Zito. It likely involves a yoga mat, surf board and a pookah shells necklace. The guy is as California as they get. In the press conference, after mentioning the charity he created that benefits hospitals for soldiers wounded in military operations, he explained how one of his first acts after signing his 126 million dollar contract was to contact the rest of the Giants rotation to introduce himself.Hear that Giants fans? It's the sound of something we haven't heard in a long time. Class.Let's be honest. We all know Bonds' entourage, lounge chair and half hearted late season play were all suspect before, but it was alright because he was the dominant figure that he was. Now, with age catching up to him, Bonds' usual antics just look even more ridiculous when compared to Zito.Maybe, just maybe, that is why the Giants overpaid.Peter Magowan and Larry Baer are not stupid. Notice I don't say Brian Sabean due to my personal belief that he has less say in the big contract decisions. After Bonds was re-signed, he seemed more out to defend his own name than the decision itself.Regardless, Giants management deserves more credit than they have been given so far. The Barry Zito signing brings them three priceless rewards that are included in the young lefty's large price tag.One, they had to make a splash this offseason to replace Schmidt and Zito gave it to them. They inched closer to their original gameplan of getting younger and averted the non-stop negative publicity from the Bonds agreement the month earlier.Two, Zito will sell tickets not only to Giants fans, but from Oakland as well. I promise you that Zito's quote on A's fans "coming accross the bridge" when the A's are out of town was something that was fed to him. It is no secret Oakland plans on building a stadium further south which will open a completely new fanbase to China Basin. Who better to usher them in than the former member of their big three.Most importantly though, the Zito signing made a statement to future free agents that the San Francisco Giants organization is willing to spend dollars to win. Beyond the cash that teams like New York, Boston and Texas spend to cement premier players to longterm contracts, players are just as attracted to a winning organization when pursuing their options. Certainly a Zito-Cain one-two punch is something to build on.So what are we supposed to see in Barry Zito? A kid who works hard, has class and who wants to win. Whether that is worth 126 million dollars has yet to be seen. Either way, it's nice to know the Giants signed a ball player that values not just winning, but how its done.[...]
2006-12-20T18:57:58.770-08:003 years ago, Bonds was worth $20 mil. Now? Another story.SAN FRANCISCO - It seems that I pissed a number of people off by asserting that signing Bonds to a 20 million dollar contract was the worst move that Sabean could have made this off season. For some reason, there are still fans out there that believe that the aging outfielder could lead us to a post season. Hell, I was one of them for a long time. There comes a time however when you have to see the writing on the wall, and separate what is from what was.It was only a four years ago that Bonds was the most feared player in baseball. There was no right way to pitch to him. When pitchers tried to paint the corners, he had the eye to take it. When they tried to blow it past him, he had the bat speed and when they made a mistake, he never missed. His 2002 campaign was simply the best baseball I have ever seen anyone play.While he was a little off color, none of us cared. We were too busy being mystified at the offensive threat he was with Jeff Kent behind him. He may not have been perfect but Giants fans understood that we had one of the best players to ever play the game in our corner and he was all ours.It was in these years, that fans created this immediate defense when confronted on Bonds. People would complain about his attitude, or the lounge chair, or whatever recent anti-Bonds tirade was in the news. Giant faithful could simply reply, "Yea, but he's also the best offensive player you'll ever see in your lifetime". Barry Bonds was one of the best that had ever played the game and we revered him for it.With the Giants announcement last week of their intentions to sign Bonds to a 1 year, 20 million dollar contract, Magowan much like many fans still, continues to hold on to what Bonds used to be. It is the automatic defense that all of Giants nation was used to yelling back when those who just didn't understand his greatness would attack Bonds as a player. In his eyes, he still can see the 46 homerun, 106 RBI slugger that took the club to the Series in 2002.What Magowan did not see is that for many of us, the smoke has cleared. What Bonds is is now is unavoidable.The once great slugger has a bad knee which has cost him his bat speed and coverage in the outfield. He no longer can play a day game after a night game and brings the most damaging PR story of the season before pitchers and catchers have even reported to spring training.For those of you who still are coping with this realization, that is completely fine. Just do those who see reality a favor and refrain from arguing that the Giants can make the playoffs with an injured and aged Barry Bonds. There is no need to try and sugar coat the motivations of Giants management. This season is about the record, it’s about money and Peter Magowan's inability to let go of the player he both hated and admired for his extraordinary talent.So now that it looks that Barry is coming home to play one last season by the bay, I will say this. I will be there with my fellow Giants faithful for the final time Barry Bonds plays in a San Francisco Giants uniform to pay tribute to what he was, what he is and most importantly, wonder what he could have been.[...]
2006-12-15T13:55:39.826-08:00Fans forced to endure 1 more dark year of Giants baseball
2006-12-05T08:44:37.876-08:00Bonds' asking price a reported 1 year, 18 million with a one year optionI can't tell what's more insane.Jeff Borris' outrageously overpriced offer or Brian Sabean's refusal to call it so.Either way, someone needs to tell me how a 42 year old player who can't play a day game after a night game, has virtually no range in the outfield and brings one of the most negatively publicized story in the history of baseball into the locker room can demand a 1 year, 18 million dollar salary with an option for a second year.Even more so, why is no one writing about this?!For the sake of my own sanity, I am going to put aside the somewhat old school notion that a player has a responsibility to his team to do whatever it takes to help the team win, on and off the field. God only knows the kind of free agents the Giants might have been able to pull in if they signed Bonds early to a 10 million dollar contract. I've written about this earlier; in the free agent market, the image of a winning ballclub is worth just as much as the offer. Need proof? Take a look at what Walk Jocketty who just signed an extension for one of the best pitchers in the league for yesterday.So we've established Bonds is selfish. Obviously not a big surprise. What we didn't know is how selfish.Bonds' agent Jeff Borris is reportedly asking for an 18 million dollar contract with a second year option that could be worth another 18 mil. To put this in perspective, two MVP caliber candidates year in and year out Albert Pujols and David Ortiz are making 14 million and 6.5 million respectively next season. Barry Bonds, who had as much fantasy value as Brad Hawpe of Colorado last year, is asking to be paid more than both. Right now you are probably wondering who Brad Hawpe is. THAT'S the problem.After striking out with Soriano and Lee, agent Jeff Borris is eyeing his opportunity to advance negotiations in that for the time being, his client is the best power hitting outfielder option for the Giants. Why else do you think he has been active in spewing out the discontent he had for the Giants negotiations and continually repeating the fact that there is "interest from multiple clubs", none of which he wishes to disclose.If Sabean's smart, he will realize three things this winter.One, the only team that showed any real interest publicly was the Baltimore Orioles. The Chronicle recently reported that two high placed officials of the club said the team was not interested. What does this mean? Borris' interest from other teams is purely fictional. Any team that might seriously want to pursue the slugger at this point would have to think they could handle the press that comes with him. No other club has already come forward, making Borris' market even less believable. Just look at the source.Two, taking into account Bonds' numbers last season, an 18 million dollar asking price is ludicrous. Enough said.And finally, there are other options. In the game of baseball, there is more than one way to score runs. Preventing runs and solid hitting creates runs on both fronts. Hell, read Moneyball if you need proof. Sabean may not be seen in the best light in the book, but he needs to revisit its theories. There are a number of players he could get for a third of Bonds' asking price who could be just as valuable in doing what wins games: increasing opportunities to score runs. With Bonds on the team last season, they still ranked third to last in onbase percentage.Earlier today, I read that GM Walt Jocketty always tells his wife before going to the mall that even though they have money, it doesn't mean they should spend it. For all our sakes, lets hope the Cardinals GM has Sabean's number on speed dial and owes him a favor.[...]
2006-11-28T08:40:36.973-08:00The Worst Part of a Downslope? Everyone knows it.
2006-11-07T10:02:55.056-08:00One good contract season used to mean a contract for a few good years for an MLB pitcher. With the abundance of cash baseball has brought in the post-steroids era coupled with the revenue sharing plans, teams have had deeper pockets and an even stronger drive to edge the competition.Following the 2005 campaign, Giants pitcher Jason Schmidt expressed regret when the San Francisco elected to pick up his 10.5 million dollar option for 2006. Back in 2001, he had signed a 4 year 31 million dollar contract with the 2006 option. Given his age, the same deal would have been closer to 50 million today.It is most appropriately called the Steinbrenner effect. It's an acknowledgement that losing dollars is part of the process of winning. With a huge influx of dollars each season, the team can afford to take on long contracts and still guess wrong on a few. What does this type of competition breed? The over-appreciation of players.A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood, and Jarrod Washburn were players with good years, but never dominant in their own right. Collectively they signed contracts last offseason for 140 million dollars over 13 years. Spending Cy Young candidate dollars, each player came up well short:2006 SeasonA.J. Burnett 21 GS, 10-8, 3.98 ERAJarrod Washburn 31 GS, 8-14, 4.67 ERAKevin Millwood 34 GS, 16-12, 4.52 ERAWith Toronto, Boston, Angels and more recently the NY Mets spending more dollars to keep up, the competition alone will continue to raise the value of pitching this offseason. What most don't realize however is that this is just the beginning.Signing a new collective bargaining agreement just last month, both the owners and players association have agreed that the profit sharing system is working. It is allowing lower market teams to retain bigger market dollars. Certainly the Kansas City Royals will never be able to bid like New York, but they at the very least have the opportunity to sign a few long term deals. The affect is likely to be seen most amongst mid-market teams. Seven years with seven different World Series champions is unseen in any other market.With any trend in spending, newer practices are being seen in retaining their younger players. Mets GM Omar Minaya was quick to act this season, signing both David Wright and Jose Reyes to multi-year deals to keep from losing them to free agency. Minaya knew first hand how prices could sore in the free agent market, signing both Carlos and Pedro Martinez to long term deals in 2005 and 2006 respectively.Contracts are getting longer, less players are filing for free agency and all the while, one has to wonder how Billy Beane gets his team to the playoffs every year with a 62 million dollar payroll.Perhaps the answer is in the draft, which is precisely where Giants GM Brian Sabean needs to start in his rebuilding process. Their farm system is known for producing great pitching but poor offensive players. They made a splash however signing 16 year old prospect Angel Villalona out of the Dominican Republic with a $2.1 million signing bonus.The idea? Develop young talent and utilize their production in the years before the qualify for free agency. Billy Beane has been using this theory for years. Every free agent player is assigned a class, A, B or C. If a team signs a Class A player, his former team receives a compensation first round pick from the players new team in the upcoming draft.Beane may have lost great players, however he was able to replace them better than any GM in the league. Losing up to 4 class A free agents this offseason, the next draft will pivotal in determining Sabean's future in San Francisco.Bidding wars are going to continue and the free agent market is going to get worse. If the Giants are planning to get young, they need to start now. The question is whether the fans can be patient enough to see that it will take a few years. Going for quic[...]
2006-10-27T23:18:02.850-07:00(image) Conte now Dodger Blue
2006-10-17T11:33:42.803-07:00(image) SAN FRANCISCO - Lou Piniella, Jerry Manuel, and now Bud Black have been named as possible replacements for the recently departed Felipe Alou. There's one Giants fan here however who is wondering why not Ron Wotus? Coaching behind both Dusty Baker and Felipe Alou, his successes have far outweighed his failures. If you take a look at his managerial career, there is no doubt that the longtime Giants bench coach has earned a shot for the position.
2006-10-16T13:47:46.446-07:00(image) SAN FRANCISCO - Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Girardi has just become a top candidate for the San Francisco Giants position (and every other open managerial position for that matter). Long assumed that he would take the reigns in Chicago, several reports show that Lou Piniella will be the new manager of the Cubs.
2006-10-06T07:02:09.586-07:00This letter was written by Peter Magowan to season ticket holders:Dear Chris First off, let me thank you for your ongoing support and loyalty to the Giants organization. While our season did not turn out the way we had hoped, I want to let you know that I share in your frustration. Our performance over the last two seasons has been unacceptable, and I take responsibility for our failures.As many of you may have heard in the media earlier this week, the Giants are going to take a new tact in building our club. The Giants’ mission this winter is to develop a team that relies less on veteran stars and more on players who are younger, healthier, have productive track records and have bright futures. We believe that this approach will enable us to build a strong team for many years to come.Given this new direction, we believe it is imperative to have a manager with whom we could have a long-term commitment. As such, we decided not to renew Felipe Alou’s contract. This was a difficult and emotional decision for the Giants. Felipe is a man of unquestioned integrity who has a wealth of baseball knowledge and experience. His contributions to the Giants have been invaluable and we hope that he will remain with the organization as an advisor to Brian Sabean.At this time, Brian and his staff are putting together a short list of managerial candidates. We will be working diligently to hire a new manager as soon as possible. I ask for your patience as this process may take some time, since some of the potential candidates are still involved in the post season.As you know, the Giants have 11 potential free agents this winter, so we have quite a complex puzzle to put together. We again ask for your patience, because it’s quite likely that the construction of our team will not be complete until after the first of the year.I am sure the burning question in most of your minds is what will happen with Barry Bonds. His contributions to the Giants and his impact on the game are unparalleled. He has been the cornerstone of what has been one of the greatest eras of San Francisco Giants baseball. We have literally watched history unfold with Barry over the last 14 years and we will always appreciate what he means to the Giants and to the game.Given our new direction for the club, I frankly cannot tell you right now whether or not Barry will be a Giant in 2007. However, I assure you that this decision will be made only after considerable thought. As with all of our free agents, we will carefully evaluate Barry’s role in fielding a winning team.Moving forward, we are determined to develop a strong and competitive team every year. As has been the case in the past, we will commit the resources necessary to achieve our goals. This will allow us to add players through free agency and trades to bolster a strong core of players we intend to develop from within our own minor league system. Our recent signing of Angel Villalona signals that the Giants will sign the top amateur talent from around the world.Again, I want to thank you for your loyalty to the Giants over the years. In many ways, you are the San Francisco Giants and are the cornerstone of any successes we have shared in past years. I realize that our performance has tested that loyalty over the past two seasons, but I assure you that our main focus is returning the Giants to their winning ways.Sincerely,Peter A. MagowanPresident and Managing General PartnerSan Francisco Giants [...]
2006-10-04T12:58:33.613-07:00Columnist Ray Ratto raves the Giants need Bonds
2006-10-02T13:29:39.460-07:00Giants decide not to renew Felipe Alou's contractSAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants have decided to not renew manager Felipe Alou's contract for the 2007 season, team Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean announced today. The club has extended an offer to the longtime Giant to remain in the organization in an advisory role to the general manager and the baseball operations department. Alou concluded his four-year stint at the helm of the Giants with a 342-304 record, that included a division title in 2003. A member of the original San Francisco Giants team in 1958, the former outfielder is sixth on the win list for SF managers. He became the first skipper in franchise history to make the playoffs in his first year at the helm (2003), while keeping his clubs in contention for the post season until the final week of the season each of the last three years. He also became just the second Giants pilot to win 100 games in his first season, when his 2003 charges became just the ninth team in Major League history to lead their league or division wire-to-wire. "Tough decisions are always painful, and this one is especially painful," said Sabean. "Felipe (Alou) is a man of unquestioned integrity who has put his heart and soul into the Giants. He endured some injuries to key players over his tenure here and always kept the club in contention despite some difficult circumstances. The Giants were very fortunate to have a man of his stature at the helm of our club over the last four years and I personally thank him for his loyal efforts and significant contributions." In 13 years as a Major League manager, the 1994 National League Manager of the Year posted a 1,033-1,021-1 ledger and became just the 53rd manager since 1900 to register 1,000 wins. The Haina, Dominican Republic native is the first manager of Latin descent to win 1,000 contests in the big leagues and only the second foreign-born skipper to reach the milestone (Harry Wright, England, 1,000-825). A Dominican icon, Alou became the first Dominican-born manager in Major League history when he assumed control of the Montreal Expos on May 22, 1992. He was the fourth Latin American head man born in the Caribbean Islands, following Mike Gonzalez (Cuba), Preston Gomez (Cuba) and Cookie Rojas (Cuba). A true pioneer, Alou is just one of 11 managers in the history of Major League Baseball born in Latin America. "The Alou name has been synonymous with the Giants for over 50 years and that won't change despite the fact that Felipe won't be our manager next year," said club President and Managing General Partner Peter Magowan. "Even though he won't be in a Giants uniform, Felipe will always be a Giant. With the help of his son Moises and the Giants Community Fund, the Alou name and the Giants will be forever linked in Felipe's hometown of Haina as we will refurbish four youth fields at the school he attended as a boy." Concluding his 51st year in organized baseball, the three-time All-Star was the second Dominican-born player to reach the majors, following Ozzie Virgil (1956 with the New York Giants). Primarily an outfielder, his 2,101 hits are fourth all-time among Dominican players. He enjoyed a distinguished 17-year playing career with the Giants (1958-63), Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (1964-69), Oakland A's (1970-71), New York Yankees (1971-73), Montreal Expos (1973) and Milwaukee Brewers (1974). Alou is one of just six managers to have had the opportunity to manage his son, having Moises as a player with both the Giants and Expos. For the past two seasons, the two were reunited in Giants uniforms and on September 24 joined the Griffeys as the only father-son duos in Major Le[...]
2006-09-28T07:44:39.576-07:00An MRI taken on tuesday has reportedly shown that Bonds will require surgery as early as next week to remove bone chips that have been bothering him all season.
2006-09-27T13:03:44.193-07:00Another lifeless season of Giants baseball comes to a close
2006-09-24T15:19:30.666-07:00One bad pitch signaled the end of Cain's game and another reminder that their season is coming to a close.
2006-09-23T12:57:20.626-07:00Pitching blows it again in 13-12 lossMILWAUKEE - By now it is no secret that the San Francisco Giants are not a playoff caliber team. Going into a much anticipated road trip, the starting pitching fell apart, forcing a strain on the bullpen that, as last night showed, finally hit its breaking point.Not even 6 RBI's from Bonds and a total of 11 runs scored was enough to hold off the Brewers who many will agree are not exactly the New York Yankees.Ron Wotus was quick to pick up where Felipe Alou usually leaves off, attributing the loss to luck. "The run that beat us was a groundball that found the seam," said Wotus, in charge because Felipe Alou was serving a one-game suspension. "If he hit it at somebody the run doesn't score." As usual, there was no mention of the inherited runners that Chulk took on after Kline gave up a single and a double to place runners on second and third. After issuing a couple of singles and walks himself, Chulk ultimately put himself in a position to be scored upon whether the ball was hit to someone or not.It has become clear that managers have come full circle. As opposed to scolding our much hated former closer Armando Benitez, they have decided to apply his philosophy to every player in the clubhouse.So Giants fans, from now on, we can rely on Finley misplaying another flyball, Feliz striking out once again and Noah Lowry's giving up 5 ER's in the second inning to all be validated with that now famous phrase, "I did my job".Bonds ties N.L. homerun recordLaunching number 733 into center field in the sixth inning, you would have thought that the game would have gotten coverage on ESPN. You would have thought that of the 21,796 fans attending the game, someone would have noticed that Bonds had tied Hank Aaron, a former Brewer, for career homeruns in the National League.Nothing.What is even more complex is you can tell Bonds doesn't care. This is almost how he wants it to happen. At no point has he expressed remorse for the lack of media coverage. Bonds' only regret was that he hit it at Miller Park and not Milwaukee County Stadium, where Aaron played for years. "It would have been kind of cool in the old ballpark because it is where he actually played his games," Bonds said. "Nevertheless, it is still in Milwaukee and it is still great."Barry Bonds is simply the best player this generation has ever seen. Whether he took steroids or not, the degree to which he was able to identify pitches and turn on them is unlike anything the sport has ever seen.Love him or hate him, last night was sad. Why?A benchmark in America's pasttime was hit last night and no one in America got a chance to watch it.[...]
2006-09-23T12:59:42.873-07:00After a horrid road trip, it is clear the Giants are not a playoff caliber team. It begs the question, whose to blame?
2006-09-22T12:41:31.096-07:00Fighting from the start
2006-09-21T09:42:16.693-07:00(image) Too little, too late
2006-09-20T12:34:04.063-07:00(image) Giants fans, bust out your Dido albums, grab a few brews and lets get this year's end of season depression night over with. It's December 31. After losing four in a row, outscored 52-17, the team's season and the fan's year may as well be over.
2006-09-18T19:00:57.970-07:00Bottom 2nd: Colorado