Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Sunday, December 14, 2003
 

Don't Consider Yourself At Home



1) The Giants farm system is thin. Very thin. It just ran to the bathroom to throw up the Saltine it had for lunch. Now is not the time for the team to throw up its hands, and decide spending money on the amateur draft is futile. It shouldn't be too hard to keep pace with financial juggernauts like the Brewers or Royals with regards to player development. Paying signing bonuses to draft picks isn't the same as dumping the money down a sewer drain; it's an investment. Considering the Giants draft position was at the bottom of the first round, the Giants would have been able to sign a pick for less than a million dollars. Instead, they intentionally forfeited the rights to the pick by signing Michael Tucker.

The value of the draft pick wouldn't have been realized this year, so the general idea behind the Great Draft Pick Giveaway isn't that ridiculous. If a team really, really has to adhere to a strict budget, but it hones in on a player it can't do without, the idea of sacrificing a piece of the future for the crucial extra million isn't automatically wacky. But:

a. The player in question was Michael Tucker. Decent fourth or fifth outfielder, but hardly the keystone of any roster.
b. The team was, at the very least, playing footsie with an expensive Darren Oliver, who would be a waste of a roster spot at the major league minimum.
c. The Giants average over three million fans a year. They just negotiated a nice, new local television contract. They are likely going to drop out of the top ten in total payroll this season. They can't afford a draft pick? Awful.

The most offensive point above isn't the team claiming it can't afford to spend $900,000 on a first-round draft pick, but that the reason they can't afford the expenditure is so they can chase after terrible players like Oliver. In case you were wondering, my disgust regarding Oliver is not an example of the Formerly Overpaid Mediocrity Theorem, but rather the Darren Oliver Theorem, which posits:
Darren Oliver is terrible.
Oh, and your season tickets will be more expensive next year. You know, to pay for all of these star-powered salaries.


2) It is worth noting that at this time last year, Neifi Perez was the starting second baseman, Ray Durham was the starting centerfielder, and my head was about to pop like a warm pimple. Sabean was an idiot, the sky was falling, and the Giants were assured of no better than a third-place finish. The lesson learned was that you shouldn't start frothing at the mouth before the roster is complete.

That written, things aren't looking good. The two players most often linked to the Giants are the aforementioned Oliver, and Jeromy Burnitz. Yee haw. Luckily, the two players have some variety of Shelley Long Syndrome, where they tend to wildly overestimate the demand for their services. If Burnitz comes to the Giants for one year and $1M or less, I'll be glad to have him, but he's reportedly looking for a three-year deal. Oh, but of course. There's a contract for you over there, Jeromy. Right behind the harmonica-playing sunflowers, and next to the dancing panda who solves crime. Aren't things wonderful here in Fantasy World, Jeromy? Tack on a fourth or fifth year if you'd like, we don't mind. La la la la laaaaa.

Of the remaining free agents, only Juan Gonzalez would make a major difference in the lineup. There aren't any more shortstops left on the free agent market, and unless Sabean can hoodwink the Expos out of Orlando Cabrera, Neifi will be the starting shortstop. According to the abacus pusher here, though, that isn't such a bad thing. It is easy enough for armchair pundits like myself to try and identify good offensive players, but the world of defensive evaluation is still wide open. Could Neifi be an above average shortstop, once defense is taken into account? The mind boggles.

Any significant upgrades the Giants will make are likely to be via trade, unless Greg Maddux decides he's willing to pitch for, ahem, Darren Oliver money. There isn't much left to trade, though. The best guess is the Giants will get one more starting pitcher through free agency, overpaying for a guy not much better than Dustin Hermanson or Kevin Correia. At least, that's what I thought before reading this article from sfgiants.com, where Sabean is quoted as saying, "we'll leave (the Winter Meetings) doing something," and the "something" doesn't involve a starting pitcher. It is all so very confusing.


3) If you are in the mood to give the front office some credit, here's a theory for you. Sabean is wearing his master strategist cape, and accurately predicts the NL West will be weaker this year. Schilling's gone, the Padres pitching isn't quite there, and the Dodgers are trying to keep costs down for the new buyers; it's a war of attrition. The plan is to hold the fort, and to not spend more money than is necessary, while building a nest egg for the 2004 offseason. The list of free agents who will available is impressive:
Nomar Garciaparra
Troy Glaus
Pedro Martinez
Derek Lowe
Trot Nixon
Magglio Ordonez
Carlos Beltran
Javier Vazquez
Eric Chavez
Carlos Delgado
Richie Sexson
Derrek Lee
Lance Berkman
Richard Hidalgo
Jeff Kent
Orlando Cabrera
Matt Morris

It blows this year's class out of the water, unless you're looking for a shortstop, which the Giants might be. These players aren't represented by morons, so more than a few will try and re-sign before they are eligible for free agency. If they don't, however, the market will be diluted with big talent. The following Giants are under contract for next year, not including deferred money or signing bonuses:
Herges, $1.5M
Rodriguez, $5M
Rueter, $6M
Schmidt, $8.75M
Pierzynski, ~$4M (arbitration eligible)
Alfonzo, $6.5M
Durham, $6.5M
Bonds, $15M
Tucker, $1.75M
Williams, $.5M
Torrealba, $.5M
Approx. total: $54.5M, with others being available for arbitration
Contract totals courtesy Ahead of the Curve and the mysterious MLB Contracts
The Giants can hope for some luck, as well. If Todd Linden develops, that's a cheaply filled slot. If one of Noah Lowry, Kevin Correia, or Merkin Valdez progresses, that would be another one. Jesse Foppert should be back. Baseball America likes the chances of both Valdez and David Aardsma to quickly reach a major league bullpen, so they could be cheap Nen replacements. Assorted pieces can be found to fill out the roster, and if the Giants are serious about developing a nest egg from this season's savings, they could be in the market for one or two of the above players. If that's the plan, the only downside is that Bonds is no guarantee to continue his run as the best player on the planet and could even be expected to steeply decline, leaving this season as the best chance the team has in the near future. Also, the divisional competition might prove more daunting than expected.

If this is the strategy, though, it isn't a bad one. Depending on the free agent targets, it might be a great one, and you can ignore the indignation found in the first section of this post. It is a drag to start thinking about 2005, though. I want it all now, damnit! Now, now, now! What good is gratification if it isn't instant?

posted by G at 11:32 PM





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     Wednesday, December 10, 2003
 

Top Ten



With Baseball America set to release their list of Giants Top Ten Prospects, I'll try and come up with one of my own before they influence me too heavily. This list comes with the following disclaimer:
I am nothing more than an amateur prospect hound. The only thing I know about these players, other than their stats, is whatever I can pick up from the obvious sources of Baseball America, ESPN.com, and sites like On Deck Baseball. This list is for entertainment purposes only. Wagering is expressly prohibited. Cash value: 1/100 of 1¢
It's a little embarrassing to go through with this list, as I've recently learned minor league organizations are foolish wastes of money. Hopefully the Giants will find a way to sell these prospects, and get their money back.


10. Craig Whitaker, RHP

Highest level: Rookie

Season stats: 8 K/4 BB in 5 IP, 1.69 ERA

Notes: He hasn't really proven anything professionally, but the scouts love him. It has been suggested that the "Moneyball"-effect hurt the draft status of high school pitchers, and that the Giants were lucky to get him in the supplemental round. As a trade chit, I think he'll be a major asset. As a major league pitcher, it is way too early to start projecting him.


9. Todd Jennings, C

Highest level: Short-season A

Season stats: .296/.346/.391 in 233 at-bats, with 3 HR

Notes: He produced eerily similar stats to his last two years at Long Beach, which weren't that impressive. However, it was his first time using a wood bat, and his defense is considered to have tremendous potential. He didn't take a walk in his first 90 or so at-bats, but racked up 15 in his next 140 plate appearances, which was somewhat encouraging. Of all the players on this list, Jennings was the one I was least sure about including. Lance Niekro has hit over .300 consistently in the high minors, but he's a first baseman who can't take a walk. It is actually illegal in several states to discuss Jennings without referring to him as an "athletic catcher", so he seems like the better pick.


8. Daniel Ortmeier, OF

Highest level: High-A

Season stats: .304/.378/.471 in 408 at-bats, with 8 HR

Notes: Ortmeier has produced consistently since being taken in the 3rd round of the 2002 draft. He hits for average, and has a decent idea of the strike zone. In last year's top 10 chat, Jeff Fletcher thought the Giants were looking at him to be a centerfielder, which would lead me to guess he has a fair amount of range. It would be a little surprising for him to be anything more than a backup in the majors, but in this system he's a top position prospect.


7. Matt Cain, RHP

Highest level: Low-A

Season stats: 90 K/24 BB in 74 IP, 2.55 ERA

Notes: He's 19, and was shut down early with arm problems, but was dominant when he was healthy. For a teenager to slice through the Sally League, exhibiting good control and great strikeout numbers, is about the most you can hope for from a high school draftee. If he's healthy, he could be pushed aggressively like Boof Bonser was before he was traded.


6. Noah Lowry, LHP

Highest level: Majors

Season stats: 97 K/47 BB in 118 IP, 4.72 ERA (AA), 13 K/6 BB in 19 IP, 2.37 ERA (AAA)
5 K/2 BB in 6 IP, 0.00 ERA (Majors)

Notes: He doesn't have the upside of a Cain, but he's one of the Giants few remaining prospects likely to see major league action this year. He's a softish-tossing lefty, capable of reaching the low-90s, and has a nice out pitch with his changeup. He's the next line of defense, should the Giants lose a starter to injury.


5. Nate Schierholtz, 3B

Highest level: Short-season

Season stats: .400/.449/.489 in 45 at-bats, 0 HR (Rookie), .306/.382/.460 in 124 at-bats, 3 HR (Short-A)

Notes: I'm worried I'm jumping the gun on Schierholtz, just like I did with Julian Benevidez two years ago, but there's always optimism when a 19-year old makes a debut like this. He hit for average and he hit for a little bit of power, all against older competition. He doesn't strike out much, which is probably the biggest difference between Benevidez and himself, but he doesn't walk all that much. Last year, he would walk four times in every game after I had given up hope on him ever exhibiting an ounce of discipline. He's as exciting a player as the Giants have in their system, and it will be interesting to see if they start him in San Jose.


4. David Aardsma

Highest level: High-A

Season stats: 28 K/7 BB in 18.1 IP, 1.96 ERA

Notes: Aardsma was one of the highest-ranking prospects before the 2003 draft, but a dead arm lead to unspectacular numbers in his last season at Rice. Before the college season started, he was expected to be one of the first college pitchers drafted, but entered the draft as a fringe first-rounder. I was able to watch him in the College World Series, and confirm the common scouting reports that start with the good fastball, and always mention an inconsistent slider. He dominated in his professional debut, with the Giants limiting his workload after a long college season. The way Brian Sabean hinted at "internal options" in the interview following the Joe Nathan trade, it would seem Aardsma would have a fast track to the majors as a reliever. The Giants haven't decided if his future is as a starter, but he could reach the majors quickly, just like fellow 2003 first-rounders Chad Cordero and Ryan Wagner. I do hope he's at least given a look as a starter. He seems to have a bright future, but, remember, first-round picks are generally worthless. Well, not worthless, but certainly not as valuable as a fifth outfielder.


3. Kevin Correia

Highest level: Majors

Season stats: 73 K/30 BB in 86.1 IP, 3.65 ERA (AA), 23 K/2 BB in 19 IP, 2.84 ERA (AAA)
28 K/18 BB in 39.1 IP, 3.66 ERA (Majors)

Notes: The reason I trust the Giants scouts, Correia was a big surprise to me in 2003. Not to Director of Player Development Dick Tidrow, though. He tabbed Correia as being close to the majors after an iffy start to his pro career in Salem-Keizer. Then the organization dropped him in AA, about two levels higher than I would have guessed, and pushed him up to the majors when they needed to fill a hole. He has a lot of movement on his fastball, and certainly performed well in his audition in the majors. He'll be in the rotation, unless the Giants sign another starter.


2. Merkin Valdez

Highest level: Low-A

Season stats: 166 K/49 BB in 156 IP, 2.25 ERA

Notes: The guy who could turn the Russ Ortiz trade from an embarrassing miscalculation to a lucky break. He started off the season like he was ready for AA, but hit a rough patch trying to pitch through a leg injury. After he healed, he resumed his dominating ways. Jayson Stark quotes a scout as saying he hit 98 mph, and had "a big arm". I'll guess he'll start in AA this year, and would be a candidate for an emergency start or two this year. He seems far away, but so did Dontrelle Willis at the start of last year. When a pitcher starts a season in AA, there's a chance he could make it to the majors the same season. He's the best pitching hope in the Giants system, as well as the best hope for the beleaguered souls suffering from crotch-pattern baldness.


1. Todd Linden

Highest level: Majors

Season stats: .278/.356/.412 in 471 at-bats, 11 HR (AAA), .211/.231/.316 in 38 at-bats, 1 long-ass HR

Notes: His walk rate declined dramatically over his AA season, but he struck out less as well. He's a switch-hitter with solid defense, and potential for good power who has held his own despite some aggressive promotions. Though his year-end stats don't look that great, it's worth noting he started the season hitting like Neifi Perez with his eyes stapled shut. It was May before he recorded his second extra-base hit. He's still young, not turning 23 until after the 2004 season begins.


Just to take a stab in the dark, here is my prediction for the Baseball America list:

10. Niekro
9. Ortmeier
8. Whitaker
7. Jennings
6. Schierholtz
5. Cain
4. Aardsma
3. Correia
2. Linden
1. Valdez

posted by G at 11:38 PM





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     Monday, December 08, 2003
 

Look Out! It's a Flurry of Transactions!



1) In the spirit of the Bernard Theorem, and the Armchair Scout Theorem, I present the Formerly Overpaid Mediocrity Theorem:
If a player is of mediocre or worse talent, and grossly overpaid at any point of his career, he is likely to be irrationally designated as useless, regardless of future salary or performance.
Jeffrey Hammonds is a good example, but my favorite example is Raul Mondesi. Yes, his contract was one of the worst contracts of the past decade, and in his typical season he is no better than an average rightfielder in terms of production. But he’s not a bad player. If he’s the worst player in a given lineup, the lineup in question is mighty impressive. Sometimes, however, it seems Mondesi is considered the blackest of lineup voids, micturating over any hopes his team might have to score runs. He just might be King Jackass of Dick Mountain, but that’s not what I’m talking about. All things being equal, Mondesi is a useful player.

Michael Tucker is not a bad player. As a left-handed hitting outfielder who can cover centerfield, he fits the Giants perfectly. My initial reaction of the signing was to alternate between shaking my fist at the heavens, and crossing out the “I ♥ Brian S.!”s lovingly scrawled on my Pee-Chees. Then I came around. Tucker is a useful player to have on the bench.

I dislike the contract for other reasons. It’s too long. One year would have done just fine, and the second year is unnecessary. Another problem is the amount of the contract, which averages $1.75M, or at least one million dollars too much per year. For a team trying to pinch pennies, they could find better ways to spend their money than on a fourth/fifth outfielder.

Overpaying someone by $1M or so isn’t the worst of offenses, at least in most cases. It probably won’t force the Giants hand regarding a decision between Bartolo Colon and Todd Ritchie. If the $1M is the difference between signing Vladimir Guerrero or not, then it would be the worst personnel decision in recent memory. That isn't the case, though, and it isn’t likely anything more than a silly waste of money. It isn’t my money, and I’m glad to have Tucker on the bench.

If the Giants have to give up their first-round draft choice for signing Tucker, the deal moves from slightly bearable overpayment to unbelievable idiocy. For the moment, I’ll assume the ink on the contract wasn’t dry until after the arbitration deadline. Maybe the Royals officially declined arbitration before the deal was announced. I can't imagine even the wildest scenario where the Giants could not wait until the 8th to sign him, so I’ll just guess there is some sort of technicality I am not aware of.



2) There was no reason to not offer arbitration to Sidney Ponson. The Giants were right to not want to sign him to a long term deal, as he has already gone through shoulder problems, and is about a cheeseburger away from chaining Carrie Fisher to his locker. If he gets a 3- or 4-year deal from any team, which is what I would expect, it will be a mistake both in price and length.

However, if he were to win his arbitration case, he could have been traded. When David Bell surprised the Mariners by accepting arbitration, they shipped him off to the Giants. If Ponson won his case, receiving something in the neighborhood of $8M, it would be hard to imagine him being an untradeable commodity. Eric Milton is going to earn $9M this year, pitched less than ten innings last year, but was still able to be traded. For warm bodies, even. If he declined arbitration, the Giants would have received two compensatory draft picks.

The Giants also declined to offer arbitration to Rich Aurilia, Tim Worrell, Benito Santiago, Marvin Benard, Andres Galaragga, Jose Cruz, Eric Young, and, just to be sure, Charlie Hayes.

Where was the risk? I'm sure Ponson and his agent are aware this is his best chance for a multi-year contract, and they would have rather taken a Kelvim Escobar-size deal than a one-year payoff. I wouldn't have taken the risk with Santiago, Worrell, and maybe Aurilia unless I had a team lined up to trade with. Ponson, though, was an embarrassing mistake.

There have been teams who have not had a first-round draft pick in recent years, and have compensated in other ways. They have signed international free agents, or gone after players who fell in the draft due to signability concerns, paying them all first-round money. If the Giants are contemplating something similar, the decisions to not offer arbitration make a bit more sense. Just a bit, though.



3) Signing Snow is like going to a wild party with your ex-girlfriend, surveying the single women at the party, and, after determining they all look like Adrien Brody, leaving with the ex-girlfriend. It’s familiar, it’s defensible, and there are much worse options. Feliz will start against a good number of left-handers, and another hole is filled.

Just like the man who opens a Sharper Image catalog, and decides he can't live without a laser-guided pool sweeper, I woke up on Saturday deciding the Giants should sign Rafael Palmeiro. Raffy would have provided a boost of confidence to anyone looking for ways to increase their scoring, giving an immediate lift to any offense. He is more capable of rising to any occasion than any other major leaguer.. Just ask your doctor about it.



4) That notion is dashed now, but the rumors keep coming. The Sacramento Bee reports the Giants are pursuing Miguel Tejada. The author of the piece admits it's possible he's being fed disinformation, which is classic.

"Boss, this is probably a load of crap. Can I run with it?"

Not that I blame the guy. Reporters are useless this time of year, unless they are being used as pawns by owners, general managers, players, and agents. Here's hoping the rumor has a kernel of truth, however, because if the Giants are looking into Tejada, they are at least entertaining the idea of stretching their budget.

Tejada has the potential to be a terrible contract. He's not that much of an improvement over Rich Aurilia, but is seeking the deal of a superstar. If the Giants are looking for a post-Bonds superstar, they should look elsewhere. Yet, Tejada is an awesome player just entering his prime. Even if the contract he receives cripples the team in years to come, it would be a spectacular signing for the short term. The piddling moves the Giants are making leave me hope there is still the potential of a major acquisition. Tejada isn't my first choice, but he would leave me giddy about 2004, just as long as I could forget about 2009.



5) The roster, as it stands currently:

c Pierzynski, $2.5
1b Snow, $1.5
2b Durham, $6
3b Alfonzo, $5.5
ss ?
lf Bonds, $15
cf Grissom, $2
rf ?

bench
c Torrealba, $.5
3b/of Feliz, $.9
ss Neifi, $2.75
of Hammonds, $1
of Tucker, $1.75

sp Schmidt, $8.5
sp Williams, $.5
sp Rueter, $5
sp Hermanson, $1
sp Correia, $.3

rp Nen, $9
rp Rodriguez, $3
rp Herges, $1
rp Christiansen, $2.3
rp Brower, $.9
rp Eyre, or his closest free agent equivalent, $.8
rp Replacement for Worrell on market, $1

TOTAL: Approx. $73

So, either two holes are going to be filled with the remaining $2M under the self-imposed salary cap, or the front office will go over their budget. Man, it had better be the latter. The only way a Tucker/Hammonds platoon is palatable is if Tejada is in the lineup, and the only way Neifi getting 600 at-bats is palatable is if the team signs a real rightfielder. I have the nagging feeling the remaining money is going to be spent on a mediocre starting pitcher, and the lineup will enter the season as it looks right now. What a waste of Bonds that would be, regardless if the team made the playoffs again.

On Friday, Baseball America is going to publish their annual Top Ten Prospects List for the Giants. On Wednesday, I'll post my top ten list, so as to avoid being influenced too heavily.

posted by G at 1:52 AM





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     Tuesday, December 02, 2003
 

Ready For You To Wow Us, Sabes. Any Day Now.



1) When the Diamondbacks signed Mark Grace, I laughed. They still had Erubiel Durazo, Greg Colbrunn, and Alex Cabrera, but paid good money to fill a hole that didn’t exist. I probably chortled at one point. Derisively, even. The morons had first basemen coming out of their ears, and they blew money on nothing more than the lazy security of a name brand.

Now, my life is a campy horror movie. When I close my medicine cabinet, sometimes it isn’t my reflection in the mirror. Instead, it’s a fanged imp of retirement age, wearing a Diamondbacks golf shirt and shrieking, “Count the rings! Count the rings, baby!” My only choice is to hop in the tub and suck my thumb. Stupid Mark Grace and his veteran leadership.

So it’s with great reservation that I even mention my confusion regarding the Richie Sexson trade. I don’t get what they’re doing, but they’re welcome to it. Sexson is a very good player in his prime. He’s a great player to have in the middle of any lineup. Every team in the majors would find a place for him, even if it meant sticking him in the outfield.

However, the Diamondbacks had internal options for first base. This is similar to the Giants trading for A.J. Pierzynski when they already had a cheap catcher in the wings, with one huge, looming difference. The Diamondbacks gave up Curt Schilling to get Sexson. Ouch. Ivan Rodriguez would have been a substantial improvement over Yorvit Torrealba, but the only way any Brian Sabean would part with Jason Schmidt to get Pudge is if he were popping peyote buttons like Necco wafers. The analogy isn’t without its flaws, but the general point stands. The Diamondbacks gave up Curt Schilling. Curt Schilling. Curt Schilling isn’t on the Diamondbacks anymore. Yaa-freakin-hoo.

The revised Arizona plan is a house of cards, counting on the following twists of good fortune:
a. Matt Kata will hit like he did in his first 100 at-bats, and be an average hitter for his position, even though his minor league stats only suggest a career backup.

b. Steve Finley and Luis Gonzalez will refuse to decline.

c. Randy Johnson will bounce back to his 2002 form, in his age 40 season.

d. Alex Cintron will continue to be an above-average hitter for his position, even though his minor league stats only suggest an average major league shortstop.

e. Robbie Hammock will continue to be an above-average hitter for his position, even though his minor league stats only suggest a career backup.

f. Brandon Webb will continue to pitch better than his minor league stats would indicate.

g. The team will compensate for an average lineup -- if you’re feeling generous -- by relying on multiple young pitchers, which doesn't translate into instant success too often.

Now, minor league stats aren’t everything. Players who did not stand out in the minor leagues, yet remained consistent producers in the majors, are not anomalies worthy of a Dateline lead story. And just because players are entering their late 30s/early 40s doesn’t mean they are automatically going to turn into A-ball rejects. Some of the above players will exceed expectations, or at least remain as good as they were last year. I don’t see any reason why Brandon Webb won’t be just as successful, for instance. The point stands, however, that those are a lot of serious question marks.

Junior Spivey and Chad Moeller are better than Kata and Hammock now, and might still be in three years. Sexson is a monster hitter, no doubt, but Lyle Overbay wasn't Jeff Cirillo, wholly corrupting his team's offense. Overbay was the least of the Diamondbacks worries, and he even fit the blueprint of a team trying to achieve the simultaneous goals of winning immediately and cutting costs.

The rotation isn't necessarily bad, not by any means, but it sure doesn't have the same punch as it would with Schilling. That would be Curt Schilling: Ex-Diamondback. Curt Schilling isn't on the Diamondbacks anymore. In case you didn't hear. Nope, he was traded. Go figure.


2) At MLB.com -- or Pravda, as some unknown genius once dubbed it -- there is a daily Hot Stove Report, where a reporter culls the latest rumors from around the league. A sample entry might look like this:
Padres: The club is looking for a veteran starter to slot behind Jake Peavy, and have talked to free agents Greg Maddux and David Wells. GM Kevin Towers has also looked into the possibility of trading Ryan Klesko, which would open left field up for someone who doesn't play defense like a thumbless Keith Richards.
It makes for an interesting read, but there is rarely anything on the Giants. Until tonight, that is. The lurking horror, and I quote:
Giants:The club has interest in free agent outfielder Chris Singleton, who last played with the A's.
As a reserve, Singleton is the square peg in the round hole of the Giants bench. As a starter, he's the worst idea since Gary Cherone joined Van Halen. A right-handed hitter, whose only skills are good defense and the ability to put up decent numbers against lefties, is not what the Giants need at all.

Edit: Factco, a division of Westwood Blues, Inc., alerted me to a certain opinion among "scouts" and "executive-types" that Chris Singleton is a left-handed hitter. Whoops. I would be happy to have him on the bench, spot starting for Marquis Grissom in that case. As a starter, he's still a terrible idea.


3) The Giants' plan should have been built around the acquisition of a pre-arbitration first baseman or center fielder. It would have been a nice trick to move Yorvit Torrealba and Pedro Feliz to the Brewers for Overbay, but the Brewers insisted on getting Chad Moeller in the Sexson deal. That pipe dream is no more. Working with the Cubs in an attempt to get Hee Seop Choi would have been a good idea, but he's now off the market. Choi and Overbay were the only two pre-arbitration first basemen worth giving up talent for, and there isn't a single pre-arbitration center fielder of any interest.

With that plan no longer likely, the Giants should at least look into cheap and realistically available players like, Mario Valdez, Ben Broussard, or Fernando Seguignol. I wouldn't put money on any of them to outperform J.T. Snow, or even Pedro Feliz for that matter, but if they free up salary for someone like Carlos Beltran or Kaz Matsui, it might be worth the risk. Nabbing one of those lefty bats makes sense if the front office is committed to trying Feliz as a starter, as it would provide a nice contingency plan, if not healthy competition.



4) Chris Singleton. They have to be kidding me.

Edit: Unless they are talking about the bench. Boy, did I choke that one.


5) Some people can't find joy in watching Barry Bonds and, say, Randy Johnson match up. Their back doesn't arch in that split second when you know Bonds is committing to his swing. That instant when you realize, hoo boy, that slider is going to stay up in the strike zone, so what now? I pity those people.

Which introduces one of the worst pieces of writing I have ever read. It's a column from someone who is paid to write, and it sucks on multiple levels, if not in multiple, unseen dimensions. The author starts by asking the following rhetorical questions:

a. How many kids love Barry Bonds?
b. Does he stir the blood?
c. Does he excite the passions of baseball among us?


To which the obvious answers should, but don't, come:

a. A whole bunch.
b. Hell yes.
c. Double hell yes.


Then he waxes poetic about how he locked his best friend's bike to a tree because said friend drew a moustache on his Willie Mays poster. I wish I could make this stuff up.

And he starts new paragraphs.

For no reason.

None.

Feel the weighty drama as he isolates every other sentence. It's like, you know, Hemingway, man!

Or maybe Faulkner, I'm not sure.

I got the whole rip-on-the-stupid-sportswriter-'cause-he's-sooooo-inferior-to-me thing out of my system a while ago, but every once in a while, there's a moron who makes me fall of the wagon.

And I fell hard.

Very hard.

Off that wagon.

That figurative wagon of which I just wrote.

Right up there.

If I may steal a speech from the rightful successor to Citizen Kane: Mr. Vitez, what you've just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent column were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in your audience is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

posted by G at 12:43 AM





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