Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Sunday, November 23, 2003

All Sabean Wants to Do is Change Relievers, While He’s Driving in His Car

On December 7th, teams have to decide if they are going to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. It’s at this point, Brian Sabean has predicted, the market will be flooded with cheap middle relief help. Great idea, in theory, but if the free-agent market is a used CD bin, Sabean will have to sift through piles of Geggy Tah discs if he hopes to find anything of value. Thanks to the great new site, The Transaction Guy, there’s a list of arbitration-eligible players available here. Some of the more interesting relievers who might not be tendered a contract, grouped under hastily assigned labels:

Relievers who will be resigned by their current team, assuming the team isn’t run by cheap morons:
David Riske
Francisco Cordero
Chris Reitsma

Relievers who would be good additions, but might be too expensive:
Ben Weber
Chad Bradford
Cliff Politte
J.C. Romero
Scott Strickland
Kelly Wunsch

Relievers close to the right mix of cheap and promising:
Danny Kolb
Amaury Telemaco
Luis Vizcaino
Justin Speier
Kris Wilson

Really bad ideas, unless they have good seasons in 2004, in which case they were good risks all along, and remember I told you so:
Jaret Wright
Luther Hackman
Mike Lincoln
Pete Walker
Rocky Biddle
John Riedling

Options if Scott Eyre is non-tendered, and Chad Zerbe doesn’t float your cork
Trever Miller
Scott Stewart
B.J. Ryan

If Riske and Cordero are non-tendered, or available in trade, the Giants should at least sniff out the action. Both would be better setup options than Felix Rodriguez, but they would be expensive. The rest of the list isn’t anything that exciting, to be sure, but if you combine those options with the list of relievers already on the market, the Giants should find a reliever or two worthy of replacing Joe Nathan and Tim Worrell. A lot hinges on the iffy health of Robb Nen, so it might not be a bad idea to spend a little more than normal for a setup man. Come to think of it, maybe trading Nathan away wasn’t the best idea. A few of the above players will be offered arbitration, and the market will be a little thinner than I’m making it out to be.

2) There were a couple of interesting minor league free agents signed by the Giants in the past month. The initial signing of the offseason was first baseman Rob Stratton, who aspires to be Rob Deer without all that boring contact. He’ll be organizational filler, but a fun guy to watch as he alternates between hitting moon shots, and changing weather patterns in Madrid with artistically violent swings. Dig that secondary average.

The Giants resigned Brian Dallimore, official AAA utilityman of Waiting for Boof, which surprises me a little. I’m sure a lot of teams would offer better chances to stick on a major league roster, much less crack the 40-man roster. That’s not the Giants’ concern though, as he’s a good option to stash away in AAA, assuming there isn’t room out of spring training on the major league roster. For the unfamiliar, Dallimore hit .294/.346/.408 in his 2002 season, and .352/.427/.448 for the Fresno Grizzlies in 2003. He’s more of a poor man’s Craig Counsell than anything, but stands to make the major league roster if Pedro Feliz is traded or starting.

Adam Pettyjohn is a very interesting signing. He was a top prospect in the Tigers system before missing a good chunk of time to injury. Any time a pitcher is out for an extended period of time, the question is usually, “elbow or shoulder?”. The last thing you’d expect is a rare disease that involves the removal of the pitcher’s colon. Yikes. Rany Jazayerli of Baseball Prospectus wrote a nice piece about him and his recovery here. Pettyjohn returned to action last year with a little success, and jumped at the chance to pitch in Fresno, where he went to college. As an emergency option, he beats the heck out of the Brian Powells and Mike Johnsons the team was stockpiling in Fresno last year. Pettyjohn has a chance to claw his way back, and could even be in the fifth starter mix with a strong spring.

3) The Giants have announced they will add Dave Fleming to the regular broadcast team. From his limited action in 2003, he seemed very capable, and I’m looking forward to listening to him over the radio. Here’s hoping Jon Miller can teach him some great things. Like how to shave. Maybe a little something about the birds and the bees. Have you seen what the guy looks like? I haven’t felt this old since that cashier in Old Navy called me ‘sir’.

4) Sure, Peter Gammons is sort of the Jackie Harvey of the baseball world, but I like him, damnit. He obviously loves the game, and his winter reporting is always entertaining. In his latest Diamond Notes, Gammons writes the Giants are willing to trade Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo because of their salaries, but are also considering dealing for Derrek Lee and Jim Edmonds. In other words, if Gammons is accurate, the Giants have no plan to speak of. They’re kind of roaming around the mall parking lot, trying random car doors.

Trading Durham would be a mistake because he’s worth what the team is paying him, and there isn’t a reasonable contingency plan. Trading Alfonzo would be a mistake because he has no trade value right now, yet might still play up to his contract. Derrek Lee would be a fine addition if the Giants are willing to top the Orioles bid of Geronimo Gil, a Benny Ayala signed glove, and a player to be named, but I can’t see the Giants giving up talent for a rent-a-player, just as I can’t see them signing Lee to a long term deal. And I must have a little general manager’s blood in me, because I love the idea of acquiring Jim Edmonds even though he’s old, expensive, and injury-prone. A bad mixture, no doubt, but he would sate my thirst for a cleanup hitter, no matter how irrational an option he might be.

It must be November, because I’m getting worked up over a Gammons column. And if you don’t have the new Rjd2 album, you don’t know what you’re missing.

5) Allow me to introduce the first annual Make Your Own Joke, Because This One Is Too Damn Easy contest. Up for bid on eBay, a game used Neifi Perez bat. I think this is how Triumph felt when he met William Shatner.

posted by G at 11:49 PM

     Monday, November 17, 2003

A Move as Unexpected as Dee Dee Ramone’s Rap Album

1) Brian Sabean doesn’t just keep his cards close to his vest; he’s playing Operation in the corner and pretending he wasn’t even dealt a hand. Of all the holes left by free agency, only the catching position had a cheap, major league ready replacement ready. Yorvit, we hardly knew thee. I don’t think the Giants were actively pursuing a catcher, but were contacted by someone in the Twins telemarketing department, whose job it was to extend the antennae and gauge the interest of every catcherless team. Sabean had, like the rest of us, written Yorvit’s name in pen into the crossword puzzle that is the Giants’ 2004 starting lineup.

I always pictured Sabean lacking a specific overall philosophy for constructing a roster, other than “get good players and win with them”. Maybe a poster in his office with a kitten dangling from a tree branch, the caption reading, “Hang in there!”, but no overarching manifesto. That may tie into the bit about the cards and vest, but in an interview on sfgiants.com, Sabean dropped hints about such a framework. He talked about the concept of the middle of the field, and how it was important to secure talent up the middle. This interests and excites me for several reasons:

a) Talent is hardest to find up the middle. If you have above average talent at shortstop, second base, catcher, and centerfield, and only average talent at the other positions, you should have a very, very nice lineup. With Pierzynski and Durham, the Giants have two very good players in positions where other teams probably don’t.

b) Neifi Perez is still under contract, and plays one of the positions Sabean was talking about. At no point did Neifi’s name come up in the interview, and Sabean listed shortstop as a hole which needed filling. I have no idea why he was signed to a two-year deal in the first place, but the impression was given that Neifi is not a solution.

c) I was able to entertain myself for several minutes by thinking up “Animal Farm”-like slogans for Sabean to hang around the Giants offices. “The Middle is the First and Last!”, or, “Those Who Stray From the Middle Get Rightly Left Behind!”.

I was also pleased at the flexibility shown by Sabean. He wasn’t looking to upgrade the catcher’s position, but something fell in his lap. Or, fell in his lap, and then demanded to be ably compensated. The more time that passes, the more excited I am about the trade. Pierzynski is a left-handed hitter, which is something the Giants needed. He’s one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, and, barring an unlikely non-tender in the future, under the Giants control for the next three years. The best part is he’s just entering his prime, as he hasn’t turned 27 yet. Improvement isn’t necessarily likely, but it wouldn’t be surprising.

Boof Bonser has potential. His fastball wasn’t what it was when he was drafted, but he had handled the aggressive promotions well. His lack of control would have driven me up the wall if he were eventually promoted, but he was a nice fall back option if Kevin Correia had polytechnical difficulties and needed some time in the minors to straighten things out. Joe Nathan would have been a cheap bullpen slot for one more year, but then he would have started to become expensive. Francisco Liriano is a fragile arm who might be able to withstand the rigors of being a starting pitcher in time, but the odds aren’t there. The value of these three might have been best measured in a trade package, as it’s conceivable, maybe likely, the trade value of all three will never be higher.

2) One of the interesting subplots with the trade is the subtext regarding Joe Nathan. Before the deal, Sabean was asked if Nathan was a possibility for the rotation, and the answer was almost dismissive. No, with a capital ‘N’, ha ha, next question, you silly person. Then, in the same interview discussed above, Sabean insinuated, if you liberally read between the lines, the guys we gave up ain’t all that, and we fleeced the Twins. “We scout our own players better than anyone”, was the rough sentiment, and “It wasn’t hard to cross that bridge”, was the exact quote.

I can’t imagine Sabean trading Nathan knowing his shoulder was about to devolve into powdered toast, but there was something the front office wasn’t too keen on. It might have been a mental or physical problem, but the tone surprises me. This was a player who would have been discarded long ago by most organizations, but the Giants stuck with him. I wouldn’t have put him on the roster to start the season, but the team did, and they were rewarded. To give up on him now, and to basically say, “ehhh, whatever”, is odd. Sabean didn’t seem adverse to doing some dumpster divin’ for some free agent bullpen help to replace Nathan, that’s for sure.

3) Some interesting quotes from ex-Giant Benito Santiago in the Contra Costa Times, as relayed by Joe “Wawease” Roderick. Yeah, you were the team, Benito. Just like Jeff Lynne was The Traveling Wilburys, and Bruno Kirby was “The Godfather II”. Decent additions, all of them, but not that far from replacement level. The quotes from Santiago are good enough to take apart one by one, but it’s not worth it. I forgot about him in my initial post of the offseason, but don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Benito isn’t coming back, that much is certain. I still don’t know if I’d roll the dice and offer him arbitration. His value on the free agent market would tumble if the signing team had to forfeit a draft pick, but I can’t see him accepting arbitration and staying with the Giants as a backup. He’s too proud for that. The risk of him not finding a better offer is still there, and there’d be nothing more damaging to the Giants budget than having to pay a surly backup catcher $4 million. The sweet siren song of the draft picks a Type A free agent would bring might be too much to resist, though. If Greg Colbrunn could refuse arbitration and net the Diamondbacks a compensatory pick, I don’t see why Santiago wouldn’t follow the same path.

4) While I’m in sneering attack mode, I’ll toss out my theory that Bruce Jenkins was cut from his high school baseball team by a coach named Moonfoom Buttersnoops, because the guy just can’t handle goofy names. Okay, the guy’s name is Boof. We get it. Every time Bonser would find his way into Jenkins’ Column of Ellipses-Sprinkled Crap, there would be a crack about his name. No, not even a crack, an insinuation that allowing a player named Boof into the big leagues would crumble the foundations of organized baseball, and cause Abner Doubleday to rise from the grave and set Pac Bell on fire. Time to find another white whale, Bruce.

5) The Officially Sponsored Roster of Waiting for Boof has taken a hit recently, with the addition of Pierzynski, and the discovery that Raul Ibanez has spent his last three seasons in a park which dramatically inflates hitting statistics. An update:

c: Pierzynski ($3.0M)
1b: Travis Lee ($1.5M)/Feliz, or Snow if he’s cheap enough
2b: Durham
3b: Alfonzo
ss: Neifi
lf: Bonds
cf: Grissom
rf: Sheffield ($10M)

sp: Unspecified non-tender ($1.5)

This will leave the Giants about $7M to $10M over budget, and isn’t realistic, but it’s the way I would probably go. Another one I thought about was splitting Sheffield and Lee’s salary into Rich Aurilia and Mike Cameron. I still might prefer that one, actually. Email me your suggested rosters, and tell me how you’d spend money that isn’t yours.

6) Just to reiterate, I am not contemplating a name change because Boof was traded. The trade moves the blog’s name from pithy to ironic, and that’s fine with me. I am, however, thinking about changing the name to Wwaiting for Aardsma just for the heck of it.

posted by G at 12:15 AM

     Friday, November 14, 2003

Super Important Hot Stove Breaking News Flash Update Spectacular

A.J. Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and unnamed minor leaguer

It seems like a fair trade on the surface. Nathan was excellent last year, but his shoulder is wonky, and will likely always have a touch of the wonk. His major league service time is about to translate into arbitration dollars, and his trade value isn't going to get higher. Boof is a high-risk, high-reward guy, but he'll be missed as a trade chit and emergency rotation possibility.

Pierzysnki isn't patient, but he's a good hitting catcher. He's young, relatively cheap, and a good bet to be better than Yorvit as a hitter. I'm going to go on a limb here, and predict this is the first move towards obtaining Richie Sexson. I think the Brewers would covet Yorvit more than anyone on the roster, and that'll be the starting point for the deal.

And, thanks for the concern, but the name of the blog didn't convey any sort of special attachment to the goofy-named ex-Grizzly. It's a play on "Waiting for Godot", a play where the protagonists wait for someone who never shows up, and my snarky way of saying we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for a Giants prospect. My biggest fear was that the guy was going to make the Giants roster, because then I'd really be screwed and have to consider a name change. "Waiting for Merkin" was a possibility, though that would sound like a blog for some freaky fetish site. Not because that's a problem in and of itself, but because it would just get lumped in with already established sites like, "Waiting for a Bullwhip and an Apology".

My first reaction is a positive one, with excitement that Yorvit is now a valuable piece of trade bait. Just how valuable, I have no idea, but he should be able to anchor a decent package.

edit: The unnamed minor leaguer is Francisco Liriano, who is a decent prospect. At least, decent for a guy who averages four innings a season. This was a lot to give up for Pierzynski, but the Twins are going to kick in another player or cash. I don't think this trade can be properly viewed until we know what else Sabean has up his sleeve. I am surprised at the amount of talent given up for a guy everyone knew the Twins were going to trade, but he is a solid player.

posted by G at 12:40 PM

     Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Frickin’ November: Or, How I Began to Feign Interest in the NBA

As the first annual Waiting for Boof Offseason Free Agent Survey Spectacular comes to an end, it’s time to examine the wild, wild world of middle relievers and bench jockeys.

Yeah, you’d better put some duct tape on those socks, lest they be blown the hell off your feet.

I’ve gone through the list of six-year free agents list in Baseball America, and cross-referenced it with the final 2003 minor league statistics. The most promising of the bunch are here, where they’ve been separated into categories of interest. If writing a baseball blog is the baseball fan’s equivalent to owning a 12-sided die, commenting on a list of six-year minor league free agents list with any pretense of authority is like writing a novel based on Rush’s 2112. Not only is it incredibly geeky, it’s astoundingly pointless, and likely to be awful by any measure. The scarlet ‘N’ on my forehead isn’t the problem, it’s just that I have no idea if Shigetoshi Hasegawa will be a better reliever than Dan Miceli in 2004. None. So, it stands I would have even less of a clue if Sean Fesh will be a better guy to have in the emergency kit at Fresno than Matt Duff.

Speculating on bullpens and middle relievers is useless, especially in November. Guessing as to what the bench will look like is even worse, mainly because the non-tenders aren’t going to be revealed for another couple of weeks. My 1500-word treatise as to why I would prefer Mark Johnson as the backup catcher over Alberto Castillo just wasn’t meant to be.

With that behind us, it’s time for the ultimate in hot stove action: the mock roster construction. The Giants have announced they are looking to cap their salaries at around $75 million. I don’t want to believe them. If you promise to take a kid to Disneyland, and you end up having to go to Bakersfield on business instead, that’s going to be one disappointed kid. However, if you tell the kid they’re going to go to Bakersfield to visit wrinkly old relatives, and you instead take them to Disneyland, now you’ve got the happiest kid in the world. The Giants know there’s going to be some stiff competition for the premium free agents, so they aren’t going to promise anything. It would just disappoint if they came away with nothing, and it wouldn’t help their bargaining position to announce they’re going to get some offensive help regardless of cost. Here’s hoping Vladimir Guerrero will play the part of Disneyland, with Brian Jordan playing the part of the aunt who could pass as a Shar-Pei.

As I've written before, the cost for the returning 17 or 18 players, after arbitration, will be around $64 million. If the Giants are being honest about their cost-cutting, there’s going to be about $10 million to play with. I’ll use that as the starting point, but still delve into the fantasy world of the big spenders. I’ll put the whole roster up for the first one, and then truncate the list to just the holes being filled. My salaries are guesses, so adjust in your head if you think I'm being embarrassingly naive.

The Evenly Spread Lineup

c: Yorvit Torrealba
1b: J.T. Snow, $2M
2b: Ray Durham
ss: Neifi Perez
3b: Edgardo Alfonzo
lf: Barry Bonds
cf: Marquis Grissom
rf: Raul Mondesi, $3M

sp: Jason Schmidt
sp: Kirk Rueter
sp: Jerome Williams
sp: Pat Hentgen, $3M
sp: Jim Brower/Kevin Correia

rp: Robb Nen
rp: Joe Nathan
rp: Felix Rodriguez
rp: Matt Herges
rp: Brower/Correia
rp: Scott Eyre
rp: Jason Christiansen

bench: Alberto Castillo
bench: Cody Ransom
bench: Todd Hollandsworth, $2M
bench: Andres Galarraga, $1M
bench: Pedro Feliz

Comments: That’s what you’ll get trying to plug several holes using one meager nest egg. The Durham/Snow/Bonds/Mondesi/Alfonzo front of the lineup could work out, but the Grissom/Yorvit/Neifi back is a great bet to be awful. If Schmidt doesn’t come back 100%, the rotation moves from shaky to Rangery.

Operation: Protect Barry

1b: Pedro Feliz
ss: Neifi Perez
rf: Gary Sheffield, $10M, or Vladimir Guerrero, $14M

sp: Scott Erickson, $.5M
sp: Brower/Correia

bench: Guys more cheap than good.

Comments: Eh. The rotation is really, really thin here. I love both Vlad and Sheffield, but if getting them means ignoring the rest of the roster, I’m against it. If the Giants decide to pick one up, and drop another $6-10M on starting pitching, it would be the way to go, no doubt.

Time to Change the Sheets
1b: Rafael Palmeiro, $6M
ss: Miguel Tejada, $12M
rf: Vlad, $14M
sp: Bartolo Colon, $11M
sp: Andy Pettite, $10M
rp: Keith Foulke, $5M
bench: Who cares?

Total roster cost: About $120M.

Comments: Why the heck not. It isn’t my money. It wouldn’t be the most expensive roster ever, that’s for sure.

Time to Change the Sheets: Edited for TV
1b: Javy Lopez, $7M
ss: Rich Aurilia, $3M
rf: Shannon Stewart, $6M
sp: Miguel Batista, $3M
sp: Greg Maddux, $9M

Total roster cost: About $95M.

Comments: With the fan support, constant sellouts, and shrinking window in which to succeed with Barry Bonds, that doesn’t seem like an outrageous payroll. If Miguel Batista isn’t your thing, then you can switch him out with Sidney Ponson, or someone of that caliber. If Lopez scares you, which is completely understandable, maybe Raul Ibanez would work, freeing money to upgrade RF or SP. If the Giants weren’t run by a large ownership group, but rather one ego-driven individual, I could see a roster like the above.

The Official Sponsored Lineup of Waiting for Boof

c: Yorvit
1b: Raul Ibanez, $3M
2b: Durham
ss: Aurilia, $3M
3b: Alfonzo
lf: Bonds
cf: Mike Cameron, $5M
rf: Grissom

bench: Hollandsworth, $1M
bench: Castillo
bench: Brent Butler, $.3M
bench: Galarraga, $.7M
bench: Feliz

sp: Schmidt
sp: Rueter
sp: Williams
sp: Greg Maddux, $9M
sp: Correia

bullpen: Nen, Nathan, Rodriguez, Brower, Herges, Zerbe, Christiansen.

Total cost: Around $87M, which is about $10M more than we are told to expect.

Comments: The lineup is a little more balanced than last year, and Maddux makes a huge difference in the rotation. Cameron helps the defense, and Correia can develop without too much pressure. Hollandsworth fits the role of a left-handed hitting outfielder who can cover centerfield. If Kenny Lofton would accept a part-time role, he’d be my first choice, but that doesn’t seem likely.

There are a lot of options on the free agent market, even if the Giants do decide to spend only $10M to fill all their holes. I’m not against Brian Jordan, necessarily, so long as he’s surrounded with other, more impressive additions. I was ready to write the Giants off after the incredible 1-2 free agent punch of Neifi Perez and Marquis Grissom kicked off last offseason, but felt confident after the signing of Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo. The seasons eventually turned in by Alfonzo and Grissom made me look like an idiot, but that’s not the point. I’ll wait until the roster movement is done to rip into ownership for not spending enough. It might be a front, or it might be a legitimate threat rendered irrelevant with intelligent spending.

As soon as the batch of players not offered contracts by their current teams comes out, I’ll update my desired roster.

Note: I used Sports-Wired.com to find career minor league stats for the free agent list I made here. If you can tolerate pop-up ads, it's an invaluable site.

posted by G at 10:24 PM

     Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Starting Pitchers

Ages ago, a bright young ABC executive had an idea. The idea was based on a need. The need was for great, attention-grabbing entertainment. The executive pitched the idea to the suits at the top, and they loved it. It was different and fresh, and it just might push the network over the top. With this, “Cop Rock” was born. Things didn’t work out as planned.

Sidney Ponson, the Theory was the best starter available at the trade deadline. Sidney Ponson, the Single Playoff Start didn’t work out as planned. So it goes. Kurt Ainsworth’s genetically re-engineered shoulder would have been nice to pencil into back end of the rotation, and Ryan Hannaman would have been a good prospect to hold onto. However, there’s nothing more useless than complaining about past trades, especially when speculating how the future roster will shape up. Somewhere, there is still someone choking on their own saliva thinking about the Russ Ortiz trade, as if Ortiz was the unbeatable dynamo the Giants were lacking in 2003.

Jason Schmidt, Kirk Rueter, and Jerome Williams are going to comprise 3/5ths of the rotation, barring injury. The decision facing the front office now, is who to plunk down in the last two openings. There are plenty of routes worth taking. If the Giants choose to spend their remaining ten million on offensive replacements, they’ll most likely stick with some combination of Kevin Correia/Dustin Hermanson/Jim Brower/cheap free agent, and trade for someone mid-season. Or, the team could get creative, and trade Kirk Rueter or Felix Rodriguez to free up salary for both offense and pitching. There are a lot of attractive pitchers available in trade, so long as the receiving team is willing to eat some salary, which the Giants won’t unless they can unload salary of their own.

The available group of pitchers can’t be neatly crammed into two neat classifications of useful and worthless. This will only help teams who, like the Giants, might have to shop at the Fourth Starter’s Outlet Store, hoping to find irregular and discolored starters at the fraction of the normal price. A quick and dirty sub-grouping:

Stop the salivating:

The top-tier, including Andy Pettite, Kevin Millwood, and Bartolo Colon. There is no way the Giants will pick up anyone from this group, unless Barry Bonds decides to defer $13M without interest over the next 35 years. Signing pitchers to huge, multi-year deals is a good way to shaft your team down the road, and the Giants are keen to that frame of thought. Pettite, Millwood, and Colon aren’t exactly a dominating group, either.

If you squint, you can make out a #3 starter:

The guys who could break out, and have a great year just as easily as they could have an average, or worse, year. This is a very small club, with Sidney Ponson, Kelvim Escobar and Miguel Batista the only ones available.

Reclamation projects: Used to be a good option, but they’ve stunk it up or been injured recently:

At least one of these pitchers will have a bounce-back year, performing for a team on the cheap. Esteban Loiaza and Wilson Alvarez are two recent examples. If the Giants want to save money, while letting pitchers like Boof Bonser and Correia develop, they will have to hope to guess right. The group is led by Jeff Suppan, Rick Reed, Pedro Astacio and Pat Hentgen. If the Giants blow their money on a Gary Sheffield/Vladimir Guerrero-type hitter, I would be more than willing to see how Hentgen would do as a fifth starter. Otherwise, why bother?

Reclamation projects: Used to be iffy, but had a promising 2003

Maybe there’s a reason to have these guys compete with Jim Brower, as long as the price is right. Wilson Alvarez, Brian Anderson, and Jose Lima would all be interesting people at the back end of a Pac Bell rotation. Both The Godfather and In the Army Now were interesting in two completely different ways, so that’s not an official endorsement.

Relievers who aren’t going to start again, but it’d be interesting to see them try.

Keith Foulke and LaTroy Hawkins are going to command healthy salaries, but few will want to try them in a role they have never had success with. Foulke is dying to start, so maybe he’d take a reduced contract for the opportunity. Fun to think about, but not likely at all.

Possible non-tenders

Not being entirely sure who is eligible for arbitration around the league, and with only a passing desire to spend the time to find out, I have no idea what this group will consist of. Damian Moss, go away.

Trade possibilities

The only pitchers available are the ones with contracts their team wants to unload. If the Giants aren’t going to pay for a free agent, they certainly aren’t going to give up players and money. If Curt Schilling were in another division, it would be tempting to break the bank and farm for him, but there’s no way the Diamondbacks would trade him to a rival. I wouldn’t be opposed to Jeff Weaver, provided the Yankees paid a healthy chunk of his salary.

Pitchers who make a ton of sense for the Giants

Greg Maddux. I don’t care if he’s in decline, I’m just comforted by the name. He’s pitched over 200 innings in 15 of the last 16 years, reaching 199 innings in the only year he didn’t. He isn’t likely to get more than a four-year deal, and he’s listed the Giants as one of the eight teams he’d consider. If the Giants sign Maddux, they can afford to skimp on the offense a little. I know this is just a fanboy hope trying to pass for serious analysis, but it would be a beautiful thing to see Maddux in a Giants uniform.

Back in elementary school, there was a popular gag which frequently made the rounds. A kid would ask an unsuspecting peer if they would ever kiss a rabbit between the ears. Everyone loves bunnies, so the answer was usually sure, which would prompt the joker to turn out his empty pockets. The pockets would represent the ears, see, and the makeshift bunny was, in fact, something inappropriate. What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up with the element of surprise, trust me. If the Giants don’t sign or trade for a pitcher good enough to complement Jason Schmidt, claiming financial strife as the reason, it would seem an awful lot like they were turning out their empty pockets. The fan, of course, would be the sucker who was rudely propositioned. Except it isn’t a joke this time; it’s something more sinister and callous. If you think about it, the analogy works on several levels. Or not.

The team is going to need to replace Sidney Ponson, or at least their idea of what it was in Ponson that made them mortgage the future for him. The market isn’t saturated with talent, but there are pitchers who would help the Giants out there. Counting on Kevin Correia to be a key member of the rotation would be a big risk, just as giving 30 starts to a hodge-podge of sub-mediocrity would. The Giants need to win while the Bonds window is still propped open, so there is some roster patching to be done. Let’s just hope we don’t have to settle for the scraps of the free agent market.

posted by G at 12:13 AM



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