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Preview: Inside San Francisco Giants Baseball

Inside San Francisco Giants Baseball



Daily chronicles and discussion forum for San Francisco Giants Baseball



Updated: 2015-08-19T16:33:50.622-07:00

 



Opening Dismay

2007-04-04T16:58:25.193-07:00

(image) Barry's outdueled by Peavy
SAN FRANCISCO - On a day when even a Royals fan believes that anything is possible, the Giants managed to fall into almost every low expectation given to them this off-season. Zito pitched like a number two, Bonds showed warning track power, the bullpen got lit up for four runs and Feliz, with his new short stride, still struck out. But hey, this was just one game...right?

Barry Zito had a welcome to the National League moment in the 6th inning of last night's game, getting pulled to allow Lance Niekro to hit down 3 runs with a man on. While his line stats do not reflect that bad of an outing, 5 innings, 4 hits, 2 ER, it certainly was not a great one, which is precisely what the ballclub will need from their starting pitching this season.

Is it unfair to place the future of this ballclub on their starting five? Absolutely. But with a weaker offense and a hittable bullpen, you better believe this club will only go as far as Zito and Co. take them.

Behind the mound, the other Barry actually showed good range for an outfielder. Even on a bum leg last year, his gold glove instincts could get him to the ball quickly. Feeling healthier (and happier according to Mike Krukow), it will be interesting to see how quickly he attacks the record.

The supporting cast looked average as usual. Durham struggled to get comfortable in the box along with Winn and Roberts. In the meantime, armed with his "strideless" swing, Feliz continued to swing at balls in the dirt. After committing what would be a run allowing error in the 4th, you can see why the media has gotten used to saying religiously, "excluding Vizquel, the Giants defense is mediocre at best". And yes, Durham made two great plays, but let's not confuse him with Ryne Sandberg out there.

This year is simply all about starting pitching. The young man pitching tonight is quite simply the most exciting player on this ballclub for the potential of what he could be. With the right approach, this is one Giants fan who believes Matt Cain can be one of the top five pitchers in baseball.

So all-in-all Opening Day, even if it went badly, signaled the beginning of a new season and a new chance. The beauty of baseball is that it's a long season, so anything can happen. So the offense was shutdown, the defense had holes and the starting pitching only decent. You can always say, it was just one game...

...right?



The Anti-Barry

2007-01-06T09:41:00.206-08:00

Zito 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.[...]



Separating "What is" from "What was"

2006-12-20T18:57:58.770-08:00

3 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.[...]



A Giant Disaster

2006-12-15T13:55:39.826-08:00

Fans forced to endure 1 more dark year of Giants baseball

Schmidt is gone, Bonds is back, and as much as he tries to spin it, there is no doubt that Magowan, Sabean and Co. are to blame.

They have undoubtedly now thrown in the white flag with this signing. Magowan simply could not allow Bonds to take less money and break the record elsewhere (if there even was another interested party).

With Bonds around, baseball remains in the steroid era and in this regard, the Giants are now its mascot. Magowan is turning his head the other way to turn a buck and what's worse, everyone knows it.

(image) So with that said, I want to extend an invitation to our ill fated owner to sit next to me in the stands at Fenway Park during Father's Day Weekend next season. Before last week, I actually would have gotten a chance to enjoy the game. Now? I'm forced to go incognito.

What's sad is that it's not that I can't take crap. It's that for the first time in my life, I'm actually ashamed to be a Giants fan. I'm ashamed to show public support for a team that is looking to shake every dollar out of a player with absolutely no sense of morals or loyalty. Bonds is loyal to Bonds, so what do I owe him?

Thanks to Magowan, every Giants fan outside of the Bay Area is the elephant in the room? Don't believe me? Go to a road game this coming season and then tell me you actually enjoyed the game.

So here's to the last year of a dark era in Giants baseball and the wish that one day, the Giants will get "younger and healthier".



Bonds asking price outrageous

2006-12-05T08:44:37.876-08:00

Bonds' 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.[...]



A Time to Rebuild

2006-11-28T08:40:36.973-08:00

The Worst Part of a Downslope? Everyone knows it.

As winter meetings approach, it has become evident that Bonds left the Giants with more than an empty number 3 spot in the lineup. His departure has unveiled an average ballclub with worse problems than lack of a power hitter; free agents simply do not want to play for San Francisco.

And why should they? While their minor league system has developed a knack for producing great arms with Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez, they have had just as many problems keeping them consistent. Munter, Taschner and most notably Noah Lowry have all struggled to find the success they had towards the early part of their careers.

On the offensive side of the ball, the star threat is Kevin Frandsen. That's a problem. Not to knock the kid, but I don't see the next Jeff Kent in the young second baseman.

Looking back two seasons ago, before Bonds' decline, we were lucky enough to sign a hall of famer in Omar Vizquel to a three year contract. Here was a player in his late thirties who had more gold gloves than you could count with one hand who was just looking for one thing: a ring. When asked why he decided to come to San Francisco, he replied, "I wanted to play with Barry Bonds and win a ring". Great players go to teams that they feel can win. It's that simple.

This offseason, Brian Sabean is paying the price for taking the team downhill for the past three seasons. No amount of money can attract winners. Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and who knows how many others can see the writing on the wall. That's why we haven't signed a big name and is precisely why the pursuit for Manny Ramirez at this stage is irrelevant.

You invest in a player of his caliber to attract more players to signing with your ballclub. Sabean's window of time has closed without getting any real results.

So as not to critique without offering a viable solution, I will say this. It is obvious that the Giants have neither the free agent market or the minor league talent to make a big money run at the pennant this coming season. Sabean's best option is to go with the original game plan.

Develop young talent. Hold off the temptation to sign Bonds, Feliz and Durham. It's time to give Freddy Lewis, Kevin Frandsen and co. an opportunity for some major league experience. Taking the opportunity to save money for a chance, let's see how a younger team does in the weak National League West.

The dollars that come in from the All Star game coupled with the money saved could be more than enough to land a variety of free agents early next offseason in a market that shows much more promise. If the Mets turnaround after signing Carlos Beltran two years ago says anything, it's that it only takes one big splash. Pedro, Delgado were sure to follow. That, coupled with the emergence of their minor league stars Reyes and Wright, brought a new life to the ballclub.

With a salary cap in the 90 million dollar range, there is no reason a revolution can't happen in San Francisco. It's not only time for fans to regain that sense that the Giants are a winning organization, but for free agents as well.



Changing Faces

2006-11-07T10:02:55.056-08:00

One 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[...]



Stan Conte signs with Dodgers

2006-10-27T23:18:02.850-07:00

(image) Conte now Dodger Blue

Will the circus truly ever end?

In a surprise move, Stan Conti has been named the Dodgers head trainer after 15 years in the Giants organization.

While it is evident that the hiring had much to do with Ned Coletti, the former Giants assistant GM, it begs the question, who will be leaving next...



(image)
(image)



Giants hire Bochy: Mediocrity continued

2006-10-27T09:18:16.553-07:00

Botch(y)ed

(image) n. Definition.
1. The art of plugging a hole.
2. The world's worst philosophy.

Learn to love it Giants fans. It looks like we've got another era of sub par baseball, or at least for the next three years. The Giants will formally announce this afternoon that Bruce Bochy has signed a three year deal for an estimated 6 to 7 million.

Somehow Magowan continutes to allow Sabean to follow the same path over and over again. Forced once again into hiring a manager whose managing experience made him a top candidate, Sabean has chosen to look at the two N.L. pennants of the past two seasons as opposed to the fact that Bruce Bochy has a career record under .500 (951-975) and a notoriously poor rap for managing in the playoffs.

As Giants fans know, this sort of move is not new.

I can imagine what Brian Sabean might do if he hadn't had the monetary success he has had in baseball. Rolling around in his '94 Accord trying to save some money, Sabes would have been sure to have a problem or two with his ride. He's a loyal guy so it would be likely that he went to the same shop every year with some new problem.

The handyman, a loyal friend, would say to him, "Hey Brian, every year you come back with something new that is wrong with this car. Last year the breaks, two years ago the exhaust and now, the bleed valve is out. With all the money you've spent, you might as well just get a new car".

Without a second thought, Sabean would look at his friend with a grin and say, "Why throw it out when you can patch it up--good as new".

Bruce Bochy is the new breaks. He makes the car driveable but the handyman knows like everyone else, soon enough it will break again. The former Padres manager has not seen real success since 1998, the last N.L. pennant he won in an actual competitive division.

The truth is, Brian Sabean simply lacks the courage to buy a new car. Longtime Giants bench coach Ron Wotus and the highly respected Bud Black, who has a World Series ring to his resume, were more than viable choices. They could have been the face of the new younger Giants that we are constantly reminded of by management.

This was Sabean's opportunity to start fresh and get out from the strangle of mediocrity. Instead, he hired its poster boy.



Was Bochy the right move?

2006-10-27T16:00:19.413-07:00


Is Bochy the right man for the job...

(image) ...or did Ron Wotus deserve a shot? Bud Black?


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Why not Wotus?

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.


Major League Career
11 professional seasons
Appeared in 32 games for Pittsburgh in '83 and '84

Experience
19 seasons in the Giants organization
9 seasons on the Giants staff
Two time Minor League Manager of the Year
554-412 record (.574) in minors

Previous Interviews
Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005
Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000

What others are saying:

(image) "Oh yeah, he's got my endorsement. He knows the organization inside and out. He's well known. There is no doubt he is a great baseball man, and usually a good baseball man makes a good manager. He has people skills, he knows the game well, and he is on top of what happens or may happen in a game. He is a very studious person. And I know from when I took over in Montreal, it helps when a manager knows the organization"


(image)

"His knowledge of the game is second to none."




(image) Asked if he was surprised Wotus' name had not come up earlier when Los Angeles showed interest last season, Sabean said: "I'm perplexed. Maybe it has something to do with our low profile in how we conduct ourselves as an organization. We don't go around beating our chests. But all you have to do is look at Ron's résumé.''



Girardi back on the market

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.

Looking to redefine the team by getting rapidly younger, there can be no better fit for the position than Girardi. After a 78-84 season with a Florida Marlins ballclub that was certain to lose 100 games, the former catcher managed to have the team in playoff contention in September. This was a spectacular feat given that the Marlins had baseball's youngest team and lowest payroll at $15 million.

Years ago, when Tony La Russa was still managing in Oakland, he continually praised Girardi, who was then catching for Chicago, for his baseball intellect. La Russa knew he would make a quality manager long before he took over a ballclub.

With both Piniella and former Giants catcher Bob Brenly dropping out as candidates, that leaves Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Manny Acta and Jerry Manuel as the other candidates Sabean has publicly shown interest in.



From the desk of Peter Magowan

2006-10-06T07:02:09.586-07:00

This 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 [...]



Ratto: Bonds has upper hand

2006-10-04T12:58:33.613-07:00

Columnist Ray Ratto raves the Giants need Bonds

Sporting Green columnist Ray Ratto recently wrote:

So, Peter Magowan says, and we swear he really did, that Barry Bonds is no longer going to be the centerpiece of the Giants....I mean, who's he kidding? If Bonds comes back, he is by definition the centerpiece...What Magowan meant to say was, "I like him around despite everything, but I don't want to pay him very much." But because when he speaks, he tends to lead with his pancreas, it came out like, well, absolute nonsense...Bonds is coming back unless someone offers him more money, pure and simple.

But let's be honest here, as much as it may pain them to try it. The only way not to make Bonds not be the centerpiece of the team is to get rid of him, and since we know that isn't going to happen, we'd all be better off if Magowan didn't try to run out laughable arglebargle like "He is no longer going to be the centerpiece of our team."

Once again, Ray Ratto makes two large assumptions and based his argument around them, rendering his writing, to use his own words, "absolute nonsense".

The first assumption is that Magowan needs Bonds more than Bonds needs him. Are you kidding? Barry Bonds will forever be a baseball legend (to what degree we will keep out of the discussion), however the Giants franchise will be around forever. There's a reason they have the saying, the name on the front is more important than the name on the back.

Ratto takes to the idea that the Giants need Bonds to sell seats, prompting the Magowan line, "He is no longer going to be the centerpiece of our team." Bonds sells seats next year. Winning sells them EVERY year. This is precisely what the owner was saying. If anything, it's sports writers like Ratto who twist it around and overthink it in an effort to be sell papers.

Everything begins with the contract. Whether Bonds will sign an incentive-laden contract is irrelevant. No team will want to touch the media frenzy that comes with him. They can completely distract a team. Ratto seems to think otherwise, "Bonds is coming back unless someone offers him more money, pure and simple".

Thanks for that other assumption you made--that there is another team. Who were you thinking? Oakland? Doubtful. Seattle? Not a chance. New York? They have enough personalities to deal with.

What do they all know? They would have to take a siginifant chance on a player that makes T.O.'s baggage look like carry ons.

Magowan does not want to pay Bonds like a centerpiece player because he no longer is one. It's that simple. If he comes back, the contract not only needs to detail how much he makes, but signify what his new role will be.

A reconstruction is taking place. Let's hope Sabean and Magowan have the guts to continue to follow that game plan. In the meantime, do us all a favor Ratty and start using facts before drawing conclusions.



Giants Official Press Release

2006-10-02T13:29:39.460-07:00

Giants 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[...]



Can S.F. play spoiler to L.A.?

2006-09-29T19:44:39.766-07:00

(image)
(image)
Absolutely.










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Bonds to have elbow surgery

2006-09-28T07:44:39.576-07:00

An 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.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Art Ting, the same physician who performed the three operations on Bonds' knee.

Bonds is currently unsure how soon the surgery will be performed. "I don't know. I'll know more once the doctors look at the pictures. It doesn't look likely. It will probably be like Monday."



A Picture is Worth One Thousand Words

2006-09-27T13:03:44.193-07:00

Another lifeless season of Giants baseball comes to a close
They finally got their wish. They've officially pissed me off.

You would have thought they had hit my breaking point when they lost eight in a row to Pittsburgh and Washington, two of the worst teams in baseball.

Yes.

Pittsburgh and Washington.

They are a combined 135-179 on the year. The Giants were unable to beat once in nine games two teams that are a combined 44 games under .500.

At the time, they had just returned to the top of the National League West, a place they had not been since the beginning of the season.

What happenned?

They say in a full season that the more talented teams eventually rise over others despite the luck involved in the game itself. I am without a doubt a firm believer in Sabermetrics, however this time around, I believe there is another variable that has contributed to this clubs losses.

(image) Put simply, they have not been ready to play. Whose job is it to make sure they're prepared? None other than Felipe Alou. Not once has he stopped to challenge this team when it was in the middle of a slide. Not once has he done anything to address the clubhouse dynamics issue.

The team itself can win! That is what pisses me off the most! They've shown they can win, but have not had the guidance from the top to mold their talents effectively. This should have happenned in Washington, Pittsburgh at the latest. However after losing three more to the Nationals at home, IT STILL didn't happen. What resulted? In ability to provide any sort of winning consistency, which spread through to the remainder of the season.

Felipe, I'm sorry but it is time for you to step down. Two consistencies that you have seen are in the San Diego and Los Angeles ballclubs this season; their guys are hungry and ready to play.

You did nothing last year and again this year, something Giants fans shouldn't forget anytime soon.



Giants swept in Milwaukee

2006-09-24T15:19:30.666-07:00

One bad pitch signaled the end of Cain's game and another reminder that their season is coming to a close.

Giants have now lost 9 of 11 on this roadtrip.

More to come later...



September 23rd: Bonds ties N.L. record

2006-09-23T12:57:20.626-07:00

Pitching 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.[...]



Whose to blame?

2006-09-23T12:59:42.873-07:00

After a horrid road trip, it is clear the Giants are not a playoff caliber team. It begs the question, whose to blame?



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Interesting Stat

2006-09-22T12:41:31.096-07:00

Fighting from the start

Giants starting pitching has given up 16 runs in the 1st inning in all 6 games of this roadtrip.



September 20th: Alou throws tardy fit

2006-09-21T09:42:16.693-07:00

(image) Too little, too late
COLORADO - Immediately following a walk in the eighth inning, Felipe Alou finally realized his team needed a kick start. After adding five runs in the top of the inning, losing four games in a row and falling out of playoff contention, then and only then does he take action.

Alou addressed Chulk in Spanish, which he speaks fluently, but he declined to say what exactly. "I used a word I very seldom use," Alou said. "It was the first time I used it this year on the mound."

Todd Greene spoke triumphantly after last night's show of offense, including his two run triple in the eighth. "If our starting pitchers hadn't pitched well, we would be 15 games out right now. They picked us up all year. It's time for us to pick them up, give them some runs early and give them some room to breathe."

Schimdt's critics were hushed last night, as he battled through 4.2 innings, walking seven. While not his best performance, he has been battling back issues as of late, showing determination in pitching through discomfort. "I don't think something is right," said Felipe Alou. "We all appreciated his effort."


Brink of elimination

Unless the Padres collapse and L.A. loses a few, the Giants chances are slim to none. With Morris struggling, tonight seems to be the last straw. His season has been an advertisement for mediocrity and at times, disastrous.

A loss tonight is the nail in the coffin.

Time to hold your breath.



New season, same story

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.

In that night of depression we are forced to mull over what could have been. The Giants record when scoring four runs or more? 62-27. We sit and ponder how our starters could jump 21 points in only 8 starts and STILL rank 5th in the National League. They were that good.

For the third year in a row, we ponder how 90 million dollars was not enough to get us into October. Every time it seemed like they gained momentum, they were verociously knocked back to where they started and once again, under .500.

Stories like Matt Cain's tremendous second half turnaround and Ray Durham's revitalized season, while inspiring, were never enough to carry the team forward. Dragging through the season, they were simply plagued with mediocrity.

So pull up a chair Giants nation and wait for the final series against the Dodgers. Lets see if we can't at least upset the Dodger faithful.

Then and only then, can we finally bid farewell to our dismal season and cheer; Happy New Years.



Season over, Felipe Alou late as always

2006-09-18T19:00:57.970-07:00

Bottom 2nd: Colorado
- G. Atkins lined out to third
- M. Holliday singled to right
- T. Helton singled to center, M. Holliday to third
- J. Baker homered to deep left, T. Helton and M. Holliday scored
- S. Munter relieved N. Lowry


You're in the playoff hunt, Lowry has already given up 6 ER in the first inning. It is common sense; you give him a short leash in the second. Line out? Alright, it's an out. Single to right? Ok, one more and he's gone.

That single came.

Felipe Alou did not pull him.

3 run homerun.

Have a nice retirement Felipe--thanks for everything.