Dear Giants and A’s: Thanks, it’s been fun

| October 8, 2012

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably already figured out that I’m not covering the Giants and A’s anymore.

As of a couple weeks ago, I’m working for the Orange County Register. And as of today, I’m covering the Angels. I had a little cameo on the Dodgers last week.

So, what’s that mean for this blog? Well, I’d say it’s now dead, but it was pretty dead already. I really hadn’t been posting much of anything for a while because, when I was working for the Giants and A’s magazines, I didn’t think it would have been a good idea for me to be giving too many opinions about those teams. Now I can give all the opinions I want on them, but I’m probably not going to have many, since I’ll be focusing so much on the Angels.

I will keep it here, though, because, well, you never know.

In the meantime, I hope that you keep following me, just to keep an eye on the competition down South. If not, thanks for following.

Don’t panic over Melky

| August 16, 2012

Hey, this blog still exists?

I know that both of my loyal readers probably gave up on this blog since I haven’t written anything on it in months except for those posts that looked strangely like paid advertisements. Hmmmm. Anyway, I’m back because, as often happens, I started to make a point on twitter and couldn’t sufficiently explain myself in 140 characters.

The point is this: The loss of Melky Cabrera is tougher blow for the Giants emotionally (among the players and fans) than it is realistically.

What? You’re an idiot, Fletch! Do you realize how much better Melky is than Gregor Blanco? And do you realize that one game can be the difference between making the playoffs and not?

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The Giants’ underrated missing piece

| September 2, 2011

Through all the talk about why the Giants’ offense has fared so much worse this year than in their championship season, I think one name has been conspicuously absent: Pat Burrell.

It seems like most Giants fans understand the obvious impact of the loss of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and the struggles of Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, but it doesn’t seem like anyone ever mentions how much the Giants miss what Burrell did last year.

You know what position produced the highest OPS on the team last year? Left field. Burrell may have spent only four months with the Giants, but he had 18 homers — including seven that gave the Giants a lead — and a .872 OPS. (In almost the same playing time, the deified Posey hit 18 HRs with an .862 OPS.)

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Zito vs. Zambrano

| August 16, 2011

Prompted by Buster Olney’s suggestion in his blog this morning that the Giants and Cubs ought to consider a Zito-for-Zambrano swap, I threw it out there on the Twitterverse. I also made the caveat that the Giants would have to chip in to even out the money. I got a lot of strong reactions … both ways. (By the way, I really don’t think this is going to happen, so this is just a fun little theoretical debate.)

Here’s the tale of the tape, so to speak…

  Zito Zambrano
Age 33 30
ERA in '11 5.62 4.82
ERA, '09-'11 4.27 3.99
Remaining salary (starting in '12) $46M through '14 $18M through '12


As for the salaries, I’m starting with 2012, since obviously they aren’t going to make a trade now, with Zito hurt. I’ve also assumed that Zambrano won’t have his option vest by finishing in the top four in the Cy Young voting in 2012, and I’m assuming that Zito’s 2014 deal will be bought out for $7 million. So that means Zito is guaranteed $46 million and Zambrano $18 million. It’s not quite as even as I thought. The Giants would have to trade Zito and $28 million to the Cubs for Zambrano, to make it a wash.

Based purely on the physical — Zambrano’s age and performance when he’s behaved himself — it seems like you’d be better off with him. However, the behavior thing is a big deal. It’s not just like Barry Bonds clubhouse grumpiness. We’re talking fights with teammates and going AWOL.

Anyway, what do you think?

Would you trade Barry Zito for Carlos Zambrano, with the money being equal?

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What might Jonathan Sanchez have left?

| August 15, 2011

Giants fans have certainly been wondering what the future holds for Jonathan Sanchez. I obviously don’t have a crystal ball, but I was curious about what type of futures pitchers typically have after having numbers similar to Sanchez at a similar age.

For starters, Sanchez is 28 years old and he has a career ERA+ of 98 over 173 big league games, 117 of them starts. That means he’s been a slightly below average pitcher over a significant number of games. His age is also a key number here. He’s not a kid anymore.

So here’s what I did. I somewhat arbitrarily picked 1960 as a starting point so I could have a reasonable number of pitchers in my sample. I used baseball-reference to round up all the pitchers who, through their age 28 season, had made at least 100 starts with an ERA+ of less than 100. I came up with these 182 pitchers.

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Are the Giants just unlucky?

| August 6, 2011

First of all, it sure seems like they are lucky, in the larger sense, that they have the record they have, despite the runs they’ve scored and allowed. We all know about the unfortunately named Pythagorean Wins Theorem. (It’s unfortunate it has such a stat-geeky name, when it’s really based on the most basic thing of all: the more runs you score, and the fewer you allow, the better you’ll be.)

But are the Giants unlucky that they have scored so few runs?

I started to think about this when I realized today that their average with two outs and runners in scoring position was — wait for it — .169 with a .553 OPS. That’s just absolutely horrendous. It’s so awful that it’s unsustainable. No team can be that bad. Maybe the Giants were just unlucky that they weren’t getting hits at the right time.

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Barry Zito prediction: Fresno

| August 1, 2011

(UPDATE: Zito went on the DL, with a recurrence of the foot injury that landed him on the DL last time, but feel free to read the following anyway…)

This is total speculation, so let’s get that out of the way. All I know for certain is that Bruce Bochy said before the game that there would be a “change” in the rotation involving Zito, and that he would announce what that meant for Zito later tonight or, at the latest, tomorrow.

The choices are…
1. Someone goes to the DL and Zito go to the bullpen.
2. The Giants go with 13 pitchers.
3. Zito accepts an assignment to the minors.
4. The Giants release Zito.

I think that the Giants had picked No. 1, they would have announced that already, unless they really believe someone is going to get hurt tonight. I don’t think No. 2 is a very good option, because the Giants need all the bench players they’ve got with the number of struggling starters they have.

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