2.17.2005

Brian Sabean on KNBR morning show

Here are my notes, the interview is clickable on KNBR's website:
  • Ray Durham is there already, most should show up on time, Yorvit maybe 1-2 days late
  • Kirk Rueter cannot be counted out, he's a proven vet. The challenge with the pitching is the order of the rotation and 11 vs. 12 pitchers.
  • Jesse Foppert did well in Puerto Rico as a starter, however off-speed pitches were not sharp. Will compete with Williams and Lowry, though they have leg up, for starting rotation. Will focus on starting then, if not in rotation, see if he can handle relief role. Rags and Gardy are open-minded and Alou says got to keep them if they earn it. Comes down to picking the best 11-12 pitchers.
  • Jerome Williams has been diligent this off-season, particularly after New Years, in getting into better shape. He always have slow start, going back to his minor league years, with no conditioning. This year he is prepared, and he will need to be at the top of his game to beat out Foppert, though he is expected to be in the starting rotation.
  • Jeff Fassero will depend on whether Giants keep 2-3 lefties, and 11-12 pitchers. Lefties don't go away, before took release, now maybe death. He didn't get enough credit last year for Rockies as he was bouncing between starting and relieving. He has worked with Felipe before.
  • Bonds has a history of quick recovery and of getting ready quickly, so the Giants expect him to be ready for opening day, though they are cognizant of his age.
  • Tucker and other outfielder will be coming in and keeping the starters fresh. Ellison was mentioned by the KNBR morning crew and Sabean said that he could play CF for anybody now but the question is whether he can hit (shades of Calvin Murray and Cody Ransom!).
  • Asked if having lots of pieces interchangeable is a strategy, Sabean said that it is. You're only as strong as your weakest link. While the team is aware of the ages involved, they are not as worried about age because the strong bench will allow the starters some rest to keep their legs fresh, Felipe will have a lot of choices to chose from.

My thoughts on this.

  • Did not explicitly say it, but if Rueter does not do well in spring, it sounds like they are open to moving him out of the starting role if someone else earns it. "The best 11-12."
  • Also sounds like the pitching rotation will not strictly be from best to worse, since the order is a challenge; they are probably going to factor in varying styles of pitching, i.e. don't put Schmidt and Tomko in consecutive starts since they rely on fastballs a lot, separate with other pitching styles.
  • I like that Sabean has made it clear that Williams and Lowry will have to earn their rotation spots and that Foppert is in the mix. Competition is good for pushing players who may be subsciously or openly complacent with their performance.
  • I don't know if I mentioned before, but I like Fassero's performance on the road last season, 3.23 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .253 BAA. Unless he sucks in spring training, I don't see how they can keep him off the 25 man roster.

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