Thursday, November 20, 2014

Strength and Weakness In The Giants System

Sickels has his SFG discussion up and the preliminary prospect list

For us prospect hounds, its a time of year to reflect on the good and bad of the previous season.  There are definite strengths, and there are definite weaknesses.

First, the bad: the heralded pitching prospects didn't catch fire.  From the top of Sickels top 20 for the start of 2014: Kyle Crick still has the BB bug, he didn't get a lot of innings because of pitch counts knocking him out early.  Innings are a big deal for GMs.  Big deal.  Just being able to eat 200 innings has a ton of value.  Edwin Escobar struggled in the PCL - again, a big test for pitchers, not a quick finishing school - and was traded for Jake Peavy.  Adalberto Mejia continued his pattern of early struggles followed by good adjustments in AA.  Clayton Blackburn had to battle injuries, he pitched pretty well when healthy, but has a soft tosser label to live down now.  Chris Stratton had a pretty meh performance including a 5 plus ERA in the California, got a promotion to the Eastern.  Heath Hembree continued to be hit for the 3rd straight year in the PCL, got traded for Peavy. 

The next guys are Ty Blach, who had a very low K/9 but finished 5th in ERA in the Eastern.  He also had the most IP of any highly rated pitcher.  Martin Agosta battled injuries and struggled.  Joan Gregorio did as well, and ended back down in Augusta again, doing well against inferior competition.  Keury Mella flashed plus potential with one of the best fastballs in the system, but also had injury concerns.  Derek Law wasn't quite his shutdown self, it turned out he needed TJ.  Josh Osich pitched OK at Richmond, missed some time.  Kendry Flores proved hittable in the California, took a step back but still has a stellar K/BB (although down from his amazing 2013 #s).  Gave up a lot of HRs, it happens in the CA. 

Hitting?  Mac Williamson had to have TJ, a lost season for the big right handed bat.  Angel Villalona struggled with injuries, contact and the big bad eastern.  Gary Brown put up much the same meh numbers in the PCL.  Juan Perez clocked the PCL by comparison.  The two yoots drafted high in 2013 struggled with Augusta, Christian Arroyo having a hand injury and Ryder Jones wearing down.  Both rallied at S/S S/K, but it was a set back. 

Now the good: Joe Panik happened.  The maligned 1st rounder came up, took over the keystone and the Giants rampaged.  That basically takes all that news up above and shoves it in the recycle bin.  In addition, Matt Duffy came up, took on the hardest role in baseball: pinch hitting, as a rookie, and passed with flying colors.  Andrew Susac turned out to be legit, he isn't going back to the minors.  And Hunter Strickland had a great ease in (with amazing, amazing lacks of BBs) and then ran into a little bit of "welcome to the show" in the playoffs.  Brown had limited action, Adam Duvall hit a couple HRs while not getting trusted with 3B at all, Erik Cordier pitched some in cleanup.

I pegged (loudly) the Giants as a sleeper system.  Well?  Their minor league players arguably had the biggest impact out of all 30 teams.  Where are they ranked?  Sickels generally slots them in the teens, most others put them in the early to late 20s.  So it goes...  Ratings are imperfect.  Despite high profile struggles, the Giants kicked ass this year from the farm.

Sickels has 38 names, I don't have much to argue with on it, I would note that Tyler Horan and Brian Ragira bring power to the table, I'd add Mikey Edie as a must follow, I think that the youngest pitcher in the system doing well in the DSL is worth a note because he posted great K/9 and K/BB, even if those stats should be taken with a gallon of salt.  I like a couple lefties as good deep sleepers, I like a couple of the catchers as good backup candidates, I like some very longshot righties based on their performances and I like a couple randoms. 

Here is the year by year acquisition list:
*= IFA signing, ^=milb FA or waiver, my additions are in bold, my deletions are in strikethrough

2014: Beede, Garcia, Davis, Webb, Coonrod, Ewing, Slater, Carbonell*
2013: Arroyo, R. Jones, Ragira, Horan, C. Jones, Miller, Cordier^, Strickland^, Edie*
2012: Stratton, Williamson, Okert, Blach, Duffy, Gustavo Cabrera*, Mella*, Ysla*, Santos*
2011: Crick, Susac, Black, Law, Tomlinson, Blackburn, Hall, Mejia*
2010: Brown, Parker, Kickham, Duvall, Gregorio*
2009:Heston, Flores*

Big names getting long in the tooth: Angel Villalona, Chris Dominguez, Gary Brown, Jarrett Parker, Adam Duvall.  Villalona and Dominguez have plus power but huge contact issues.  Brown might need to hook up with another org for a breath of fresh air.  That pains me.  Parker has contact issues, I see him going the route of Roger Kieschnick, getting claimed in a couple of days if the Giants try to sneak him off the 40.  Duvall cannot play 3B, which severely limits his value for the Giants.  He could be a interesting trade guy for an AL team. 

The IFA pitching pipeline: Took a step sideways.  Flores gets to AA, Gregorio gets protected most likely, he most likely goes to High-A again, Mejia has to sit out, Mella might get to High-A.  Santos has a chance to zoom.  Ysla goes to SJ as well?  This is a lot of IFA pitching in SJ.  Sleepers I think should get a mention: Victor Concepcion as the youngest (along with Webb).  He's undersized.  As is Eury Sanchez.  Both strike out a lot of batters. 

The IFA hitting pipeline: Gustavo is BACK!  Mikey Edie impressed, look for him in rookie ball.  And Carbonell is most likely in Richmond.  That's 3 exciting fast OFs.  Fun times! 

The lefties who might be loogies: Mike Kickham, Ysla, Mason McVay, Matt Lujan, Christian Jones.  With Escobar traded, Mejia suspended, Ty Blach is the great hope.  But Steven Okert has been progressing huge.  The Giants don't look nearly as strong in the lefty department as they did last year.  They neglected lefties in the 2014 draft.  Need some more, stat!  Weakness

The pen guys: Law, Black, Hall, Cordier, Coonrod, I think Davis eventually.  The Giants have easily a half dozen who could pull a Black or an Okert and come up next year.  This area's covered, and they continue to cover it every year.  Strength

The starters: Crick, Blackburn, Beede, Mella, Blach are the top 5.  Hard to see clearly beyond that.  Need more lefties!  The righties are out of control, but 3 of 4 have great fastballs.

The power: all eyes on Mac Williamson and Richmond. 

The 2011 guys have to be protected, time is up for 2009, almost up for 2010.  We'll see how many of the 2011 guys make the show now, it is looking strong.  The 2012 efforts are pitching heavy, big year for them but ironically the best 2 guys might be Duffy and Williamson.  2013 is too soon to tell but it might be a 2010 type effort where the Giants went with 2 youths instead of 2 OFs.  2014 looks strong, but its early, a lot will change.

Strength: Catchers: Posey/Susac/Hector Sanchez/Aramis Garcia along with sleepers Jeff Arnold, Ty Ross and Ben Turner matches up with MLB and kicks teeth in.

Weakness?  OF?  I don't know, I am pretty excited about the next wave of Williamson, Horan, Carbonell, Cabrera, Edie as well as Austin Slater and a favorite sleeper Hunter Cole.

Strength: Scrappers.  Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo backed by Blake Miller, Brandon Bednar and Ryder Jones?  That's a pretty sweet set, even if the Giants did pay premiums at times.

Weakness: Power types.  The Giants take a shot every year.  They generally use their 2nd-4th pick, and it hasn't turned out yet.  All those guys long in the tooth are evidence.  But Williamson is up next, they keep at it and at some point they'll hit.  The newest one Skyler Ewing has great contact rates with his pop.  Horan and Ragira have swing/miss but they did succeed in connecting for good HR totals, as has Duvall.  The 1B only is a tough one, its possible that Ragira will struggle like fellow Pac12 guy Oropesa. 

We have to acknowledge at that draft position its a long shot.  But power is the rarest commodity, and you need to take your shots. 

Weakness: 1B and 3B are undefined right now.  But you have Ragira/Ewing and Jones/Arroyo/Miller (and Matt Duffy right there right now) as well as utility guy Bednar who hit quite well.  You desperately need a win in the OF, and the Starting pitcher.

Strength: lots of ready to slot in: Duffy, Susac, Williamson - you only have 12 spots.  There appears to be a lot of depth.

There are some good follows next year.  Tyler Beede and Kyle Crick with the control.  The OF in the Eastern.  Where Duffy and Susac slot in.  The SJ staff.  The first Sacramento staff.  And seeing how the 2014 guys do into the new season.  Austin Slater is a great deep sleeper, he hit the daylights out the ball.

Overall, same as last year: underrated, sleeper, fun to follow.  You gotta like these kids.

The Lunatic Fringe... And Rule 5 Today

The Giants coaching staff is absolutely awesome.  Think about how many treasures there are: Ron Wotus, who I selfishly don't want going to the Rays this offseason (they are going to interview 10 candidates?  Way to target it up).  I also don't want Wotus to be put into a bad situation, and I think the Rays are headed south fast.

Raggs and Gardner?  Best in the business.  Raggs got asked about being a dynasty, immediately said that the UCLA hoops was one, the Russell Celtics are one.  That's humble, that's correct.  You're just not going to see those types, especially in baseball with so many more teams, talent diluted, competition fierce.  The Yankees of Ruth through Mantle were able to poach most of the best talent to constantly restock.  8 out of 16 from '23 to '39.  2 during the War.  An amazing 10 out of 14 from '47 to '62.  That's 20 of those famed 27, and it was done by snagging the best talent out there.

Since?  2 in the 70s during the Martin-Jackson-Munson years.  The 4 in 5, and then a tack on in 2009 when the Phillies choked and gave A-Rod a ring.

What's my point?  I don't know.  The Giants coaching staff as well as their management core are their huge advantage.  Consistent, experienced, flexible.  And at the heart of that is Bochy and Tim Flannery.  Flannery adapted one of Sabean's best phrases into his band.  Here's his facebook page.  No doubt in my mind Flannery is not only the best 3B coach in the majors, he is also the most colorful.  His last post on ball before he turned to his music resonates: " 8 years ago I came with Boch up here for a last ride, It's not over yet, but I believe I held up my end of the deal.
I want to just say Thank You for all your amazing support, your beautiful words, thank you for knowing my personality when I get nutty, and for understanding, I've given you everything I have, and I'm so humbled, and honored to be part of the best Giant baseball in history, ever."


The Lunatic Fringe were the hard core, and they've been reduced to a puddle.  The Giants have turned out to be the real deal.  I love Flannery's optimism.  You read that site, his posts on failure versus optimism... well, if you read my posts enough, you will know its right up my alley.

Appreciate these guys.  Their dedication and comradeship is a wonderful story.  I cringe when I see calls for Bam-Bam to be fired during one of the Giants patented dead ball era runs.  Roberto Kelly is a fixture at 1B.  Gints coaches are good stuff, and a big part of the success.

Rule 5 today!  Giants roster is sitting at 37.  The guys who may be taken off: Chris Heston, Juan Gutierrez (a likely non-tender).  Mike Kickham's leftyness might keep him on the 40.  I'm not sure if the Giants take Gary Brown or Angel Villalona off.  Jarrett Parker seems like a removal if they need the space.

The Rule 5 is basically dead, only about 1/3 of b-ball takes part in it.  The Giants don't, and they won't - they have all the guys they need on the 25, they're contending for titles, they don't have time to carry that type of rookie.  But what it has spawned is a unofficial supplemental Rule 5 like waiver claim jockey session.  The Giants have taken a few shots in the past 2-3 years, and have come away with Hunter Strickland for their efforts.

Who will they protect?  The big name is Joan Gregorio.  There aren't any guys in the top 20 rankings that need protection yet besides Juan G.  Its 2010 HS guys and IFAs, and 2011 college guys.  

I can't see the Giants protecting Chuckie Jones, but he might be a bubble guy.  Josh Osich is a bubble guy to me, but he's a lefty so that increases his chances.  Derek Law is a no brainer.  Cody Hall should get a 40-man attaboy.  And if the Giants value what they've poached lately, Ray Black is a no-brainer.  Gints gonna stock up their relief guys, the help that is on the way.  Crick/Blackburn have another year because of their shiny HS youth.

Look for the Giants to keep 2 spots open though, for Sandoval or a ham/egg replacement, and one spot open for some reliever they really like.  That's how they roll.  Under cover brothers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Draft Order Revised, New Mocks

So with the Mets taking Cuddyer as well as the draft gamin' Jays taking Sir Russell Martin... Your San Francisco Giants have moved from the 22nd pick to the 20th pick.  They don't move up with the potential supplemental pick if Sandoval gets respect elsewhere however, both the Rockies and Jays had worse records than them.

Here's a mock already updated with the 20th pick.  DJ Stewart to the Gigantes?  Can't see that happening as a big percentage guess.  I want to know more about UCSB's Dillon Tate.

Here's another mock, a 2 parter.  Part one and Part two

They have the 20th pick as Ashe Russell, prep righty.  The 21st pick as Cody Ponce, college righty and the 22nd pick as Ryan Johnson, lefty bat prep OF. 

Notice the description involving the Gigantes, referencing Gary Brown as well as the Giants weak potential.  And he won't be ready until 2019-2020.  Then go down to the description of Kyle Tucker, mocked to the Dodgers at 28.  He's going to be playing with Joc Pederson, who is lumped with Matt Kemp as a success!  Something doesn't quite lineup here.  But I do think that Tucker and Johnson are a fun comp to check in on.  OFs who are left handed hitting with pop and most likely profile for RF.

Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman remain my white whales in early going.  And there are a lot of interesting lefties to look at.  The Giants are not usually sold on HS OFs, we'll see how it all shakes out. 

Pablo Wants Respect, Deals Start to Fly, Russell Martin First Big Signee, Oh wait some Guy Named Stanton

Pablo's brother puts up the code for "biggest contract" - Pablo wants respect.  Boston is making their push now for Sandoval, he apparently has given the Gigantes a chance to match their offer. 

The Giants shouldn't match their offer.  Maybe Michael Sandoval is actually referring to weight clauses in the contract.  If Boston throws a bunch of weight incentives (its legal to incentivise a player under the new CBA, illegal to penalize for weight issues)...  Maybe the Giants just go with a straight up deal.  He is who he is, I think weight clauses at this point are a waste of time.

Sandoval, his brother and his agent had best look into the "respect" paid in Boston to free agents who don't hit.  Or not. 

Stick to your guns Greybeards.  Don't go chasing over the nine figure mark and don't offer a six year guarantee.  He's a 110 OPS+ 3B who will rollercoaster his way around.

Russell Martin gets 5/82MM.  That's a ton of money.  Martin had quite the walk year, slashing 290/402/430 while getting all the stats nerds a twitter with his pitch framing and pitcher whispering.  I'm not quite sold on the pitch framing data.  Well, I'm not quite sold on its effectiveness versus what is happening on the offensive side.

Martin just had his best offensive year, usually he is about league average.  Catchers are rare though, and he has been a good one since the Doyers non-tendered him.  The Jays get his 32-36 years.  And that fifth year is what it took to get him there.  So they're all in.  I am still not impressed with that front office, and I still think they don't have the pitching to contend.  But this is a highly publicized "smart" way to improve on that pitching.  Just don't be shocked when he's hitting 220 next year.

The Braves are retooling.  I think Jon Hart is a pretty dope GM.  He has dealt off Jason Heyward now, snagging Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.  I like this trade for the Bravos.  Heyward was not going to sign a lockup contract to their liking, they are looking at either a 30ish pick in the 2016 draft or making a bold move.  Heyward is most likely the best defensive RF in baseball.  He is also not filling in the power, only two 800 OPS years in 2, struggling in the 700s the other 3.  His OPS+ scores are more mediocre than Pablo Sandoval's.  And his splits... 
Versus righties: 281/374/466
Versus lefties: 221/301/349
He batted 169/252/225 against lefties in 2014.

Ouch.  Andre Ethier might have him beat.

The Cards have been trading off their farm at a fair clip.  This is the 2nd big name from their 2009 draft class to go.  Tyrell Jenkins was their 2nd supplemental pick, 50th overall in 2010, he's a live arm, they definitely have a few.  But I think their starting pitching depth isn't quite as formidable as pundits are saying, and Miller was an important piece.  There is some big risk in what the Cards just did.  They appear to be letting their prospects get some 'prove out' shine before sending them on.  Miller might be legit after some early hickups.  I really like this trade for the Braves.

Mike Stanton got alls the moneys.  Opt out after 6.  Full no-trade, a first with Loria.  Crazy amount of moneys, he is a well respected guy well on his way to superstar status.  Can the Marlins get that magic number down below 15% of payroll?  Highly unlikely.  No team has been able to win with the big big guy anchoring.  Go get em Giancarlo!

Oh wait, I hate the Marlins almost as much as the Dodgers and Cardinals... Well, he's a fun guy to watch.  And let's look at that trade Florida made with Toronto: which team is better set up for the future and ready to go compete?  I'd say Florida assuming their Cuban righty comes back strong.

EDIT: The contract is heavily, heavily backloaded.  Stanton gets less than 10MM a year for the first 3 years.  This was done to help them win, add pieces.  There is something so sketchy about Loria.  Stanton's opt out would have him leaving more than 2/3 of the value of the contract on the table.  Would he still do it?  We don't know what will happen in the future, six years down the line is a crazy amount of time in baseball. END EDIT.

Trade candidate?  I'm curious about Michael Saunders.  He has a new agent, he might be trying to make peace with the Mariners Front Office.  He has been hurt, hasn't really put it together in the show, but he is pretty talented.  He's a bit of a different hitter, high strikeout guy, lefty bat.   Injury prone though, that's a big knock.

Still wouldn't mind Trevor Plouffe from the Twins.  They have a highly rated farm system that got knocked around by injuries worse than the Giants vaunted starting pitching.  Giants lost a trade chip with Mejia being out with the PED suspension. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Felipe Pushing Tomas? Dodgers Front Office Moves Will Come At A Cost

If you want to read one article, just one article, on Andrew Friedman that isn't so fawning...

Here it is:  https://sports.vice.com/article/moneyball-or-sleazeball-andrew-friedman-and-the-future-of-the-dodgers

This fleshes out some of the things I've been hinting at, but also goes after the major league portion of the "undervalued" commodities: frickin' sketchballs.  No 6th tool?  No problem.  I would hope the Giants would kick a wife beater to the curb.  A guy puts a homophobic slur in his eyeblack?  Gone the next day.  The Greybeards have a bunch of boy scouts in the minors.  They spend a ton of time looking at character.  All I have to say is... Good.

That's that in a nutshell.  I have a feeling Giants fans will have a couple extra gears to catch with the new rivalry, it was already pretty sweet to begin with, then the evil empire spending money hand over fist...

I do think that Kershaw and Kemp are stand up guys, fun to root for and genuine good guys.  As far as pro athletes can go.  There are usually a couple of Dodgers that command respect even by the rival fans as things go along.  There are some punks on that squad as well though...

Have a feeling there will be more soon.

In other news... Felipe Alou is pushing hard for Tomas!  Is this a Sabean bluff to get Sandoval to stop shopping his frickin' offers?  Who exactly has talked to Felipe Alou about this?  Source I've seen is Gammons twitter but I've heard it from several friends and blog friends so I'm not exactly sure.  This on the KNBR chit chat?  Felipe Alou is a legendary Giant.  He is 79 years young.  He has had his name on some of the IFA guys in recent years.  Who knows... Do the Giants have the confidence this Tomas guy will be the nuts?  One of these guys is going to bust at some point. 

Oh, I found the Friedman link because I was looking at Tomas.  Here's a cool, non-stat and non-scout quoted fun piece.  I love the guy.  THE CUBAN!  Get him.  Get him now.  Who knows if he can play 3B, but Jay Alou says he can, and agents never bullshit you.  Get him!  RDF be damned!  Go flirt with the luxury tax already.

Winter Meetings Boring For Los Gigantes, Moncada Will Go Large, Notes

The Giants are waiting patiently for Pablo Sandoval and his jackass agent to shop, shop, shop around.  Obviously Panda wants them to match whatever offer he gets, so they will take their time.  Boring!  The Red Sox are alternatively "all-in" and then not so hot to go chasing Pablo through age 34 plus.  Boring!  The White Sox might be dark horses.  Toronto wants to pretend they're big time.  Those Cubs might come snake in.  Color me bored.

I say go large on him, because he's good mojo.  But the offer I thought might win it looks awful generous at times: 5/85MM with 5MM signing and a sixth year team option at 20MM/5MM buyout.  I hope the Greybeards are more stingy with RDF moneys.  Of course... it only takes one.  And if Boston does come with 6/120MM the Giants should tell him to go get his moneys.  Its a complicated vision of "what you're getting" with Panda.  There are definite intangibles, and the Giants have definite unique value from him as well.  And the fact he's a 280/340/420 guy the past 3 years and most likely going forward looms large.  Maybe 4/60MM and an option is more realistic. 

I think he's going to walk.  After some silliness in the press from this agent of his.

This Moncada character is going to go large.  Like 20MM, which is effectively 37-38MM for teams, because you have to pay 100% tax on the overage past your IFA pool.  That just doesn't seem like the Giants MO, even though John Barr was there diligently smiling, being a nice guy, putting in time.

Other notes: The Yanks apparently have decided that minor league FAs are the new moneyball, and they are plowing in huge signing bonuses, which pisses off other teams.  Here's the latest example: split contract, 175K in the minors, 510K for the show.  The Giants lose their first unrestricted FA of the year.  Not too surprised really. 

FYI, there are 645 minor league FAs.  Here is BA's tracker.  Gints have 24 guys on the market: Tony Abreu, Jason Berken, Mitchell Boggs, Mike Broadway, Jorge Bucardo, Andrew Carignan, Jose Casilla, Tyler Colvin, Jose De Paula, Tyler Graham, Javier Herrera, Brandon Hicks, Tyler LaTorre, Mario Lisson, Shane Loux, Mark Minicozzi, Jesus Navarro, Nick Noonan, Edwin Quirarte, Guillermo Quiroz, Adam Reifer, Sandy Rosario, Skyler Stromsmoe and Eliezer Zambrano.

Of those, Bucardo and Casilla are the youngest.  The Giants efforts with Herrera and Lisson from the past two VWLs haven't caught fire the way Gregor Blanco did.  Well... Sometimes things don't work out.  And as the Giants are more filled up it gets harder to break through.  Just getting the opportunity to get to 2nd and King becomes harder. 

The Mets are trashing Jon Niese in the press.  And they have too many pitchers.  I wouldn't mind Los Gigantes taking a shot on that lefty.  Or Fat Colon.  But they really are about the same as Ryan Vogelsong.  I love Dave Stewart's quote on the Mets pitchers though: “We don’t have any interest in those kind of guys,” Stewart told the News. “If we’re going to get something back for Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings, it’s going to be young, controllable pitching. Guys that aren’t making any money right now, who have a chance to grow within our organization.”  The problem as I see it with Niese, Gee or Colon is they are 5th starters.  There seem to be a lot of 5th starters floating around right now.  Young controllable pitching is still the name of the game.

Sickels started the Giants rating discussion, so there will be a preliminary list and then a top 20 after that.  Sickels was one of only a couple to have Susac rated highly.  He generally gives the Giants the benefit of the doubt, kicks them up a few notches over other rankings. 

The Mets sign Michael Cuddyer!  They give up the 15th pick of the draft, the Giants move up one.  Are draft picks overrated?  Well, we're coming up to 50 of these things this year.  The biggest win at the spot is Chase Utley.  The past 5 need some time, but they don't look hot.  The other wins: Jim Rice (a lousy HOF pick), Chris Carpenter, Richie Hebner.  The pretty OK wins includes some Gigantes: Scott Kazmir, Royce Clayton, Leon Durham, Stephen Drew, Scott Garrelts.  Six positive cup of coffee types (with Devin Morasco as a chance to break into pretty OK), 8 negative cup of coffee types, and 27 never played in the show types (including the 5 latest picks). 

Draft picks are overrated.  I love draft picks.  Michael Cuddyer?  Is he the piece that gets the Mets somewhere fun?  He can hit when he's healthy.  He's a lousy fielder.  I was afraid the Giants would make the plunge a few years back.  The Mets got a decent deal, but that is a hefty price to give up.  Of course, their recent picks haven't been that inspiring.  Seems like they gave up about a 15% chance at a player, another 15% at something of some value and 70% chance of a big fat zero.  Plus the signing bonus.  Mixed bag, but the Mets have need for more hitting and depth, so it makes some sense.  That 15% shot though...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Sandoval Negotiations Begin - End Of Year Presser

I watched the presser today, and I have to say - it looked like guys who just finished 4th by going on a 2 game winning streak.  What gives?  You won your third world series!  Smile!  You don't have to rub it in everybody's faces, but this is too much downplay for my tastes.

Pav's Description, Hank's Description, Bagg's Description

Big thank you to the beats, they are extremely friendly on the interwebz, they work hard to get information to die hard fans, and they do a great job.

Hank talked with the agent, Gustavo Vasquez.  The latest is that Pablo wants 6 years, and he is willing to compromise on the AAV.  There may have been some language confusion, but more likely Vasquez wanted it out there that Pablo wants a long term deal, six years minimum.

My thoughts on Vasquez: most likely out of his element, he's got a big fish on the hook with Pablo and he wants to get the maximum deal possible.  His handling of the deal early in the year, taking it into the press, was pretty clumsy. 

Brian Sabean, on the other hand... Well every hard core Giant fan knows what Sabean is about.  He's a cut to the chase, make your best offer now guy.  He might not have put the final number down yet, letting Bobby Evans soft talk it.  But you know he's going nuts, he hates dealing with agents, and he really hates getting his offers shopped.  He is a strong bird in the hand guy, he wants things settled early. 

What will happen?  Well, Sabean will string along through the first part of the GM meetings.  And then that'll be it.  And here is the "beware" for Vasquez, if he wants to represent Pablo's best interests: you shop Sabean's offer too much and he'll just drop it and move on.  Sabean has a hard earned rep in the game as a fair guy, a guy who really rewards "time in the game".  He wants to do what's best for Pablo - so he is making a big public statement about the other FA deals being on hold.  But the flip side of that coin is he will flip the switch, and move onto the Plan B and Plan C.

I think Sabean really wants Pablo back.  I think he regrets Jeff Kent leaving.  Ownership had its hand in that one as well.  Sabean has hinted he would have paid Pablo more back in ST, but that was what they were comfortable with, the 3/40MM.  And frankly, coming off that horrible 2013, that was a fair offer.  Does the Pence look like a bargain now if Pablo took it?  No, actually it doesn't.

I keep coming back to the fact his 3 year average is 280/340/420, give or take a couple digits.  He has a fun personality, he has good defense, and he is the best bad ball hitter in MLB.  But he's also a roller coaster ride.

What will other FO's do?  I say look out for Chicago, both the AL and the NL, as we focus much on Boston.  And at this stage, I do think they're taking the best offer.  Pablo desperately wants to be loved, and he doesn't want to walk away from SF... but at the end of the day, its mainly about the money.

What happens when the Giants cut talks?  I bet the smart, savvy FOs have actually looked at this, and are negotiating with that in mind.  If you look at it from Boston's perspective, with all their talk about avoiding long term deals, and trading off their disaster deals to the Dodgers... do you really think they're about to blow up a 7/126 on the Panda?

Because of his value to the franchise, the mojo of the team, the bad ball hitting, the postseason success and the potential for a break out or two during the contract... I would go 5 years, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20.  EDIT: 15,16, 17, 18, 19 5/85MM - wrong start point the first time END EDIT I think that is crazy, but I would do it.  I'd give him a 5MM signing bonus, I'd give him a 20MM team option with a 5MM buyout.  The agent gets to crow about 100MM, the Panda gets the Pence and the potential of the 6th year he wants, and the team gets a good 3B for the next few.

And I'd put a 72 hour deadline, no counteroffers, that's it we're maxed out.

And I'd most likely lose, big time.

I was at about 33% the Panda is coming back.  I'm voting it a downward trend.  You don't lock up your guys before the year, most time they walk, even with the Giants having the history with their guys.

We lose our Panda Mojo for the postseason.  He did contribute a big amount to the 2013 malaise though.  Here are a couple trade ideas:

David Freese of the Angels.  They are already shopping him and Howie Kendrick for pitching.  Freese is projected as a 6.3MM arb case and a FA in 2016.  He has some, ahem, post season dramatics of his own.  280/348/417 career, he's been below that the past 3 years.

Trevor Plouffe of the Twins.  Improved his defense a lot this year!  4.3MM arb case, FA in 2018.  245/309/415 career, he hit 258/328/423 last year.  Long time trade target of YGLTK, he put up an impressive WAR score this year.

Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates.  Don't laugh.  Arb projected at 5.5MM.  FA in 2017.  235/307/435 on his career, mad bombs, mad throws to 1B, he would most likely drive Giants fans nuts.  At least the last Pedro, Feliz, had some sweet D...

Mets have Daniel Murphy, who has somewhat mastered 2B but might be able to swing the hot corner.  8.3MM, you think the Wilpons want to spend that type of dough?  FA in 2016.  Murphy could play LF, and 1B, and 2B!  He would overload the Gigantes with lefty hitters though, but he can really hit.  290/333/419 on his career, coming off a 289/332/403.

Casey McGehee?  3.5MM projected, he hit 287/355/357 for the Marlins.  I doubt they'd let him go, they have a valuable asset and they're cheap.  FA in 2016.

Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians.  2.2MM, FA in 2018.  He put up 280/343/427, a pretty impressive slash, he's only 25, that would take a king's ransom.

A's, Dodgers, D-backs, Padres, Rockies aren't trading with the G's.  Most likely neither are the Cubs, Astros.  No fit for most teams, especially ones that compete like the Cards.

The guys we have!  Arias, Duvall, Duffy.  Sabean is plain spoken, and fun: "We don't have any internal options".  Matt Duffy deserves a shot.  I will say that Sabean values defense, and Duvall hasn't shown any aptitude yet to play 3B.  Arias can sure pick it though.

Its gonna get real, and it might get real clumsy to boot!  This agent might outkick his coverage, enjoying all the attention.  I hope the Giants don't have any intention of going over 100MM on this one, that is excessive but barely do-able.  The heart strings get tugged, but that takes two to tango.  Hold onto that rope you just referenced Sabean!