I was reading through the latest Giants Mailbag
on sfgiants.com and thought it would be good to provide my view on what's said there.
- Question on Eyre and payroll: interesting data point here, it reiterates the $85M payroll figure that has been bandied about frequently but mentions "maybe a little higher depending on offseason moves." That's a pretty good nugget of information, there's some hope that they might go higher. It also mentioned that Sabean said that if Eyre went elsewhere, he would look for a LHP on the free agent or trade markets. The bullpen is pretty full right now with Benitez, Hawkins, Walker, Fassero, Munter, Taschner, and Accardo, unless the Giants are not planning to count on one of the youngsters for whatever reasons, so we'll see how that goes.
- Question on Benitez and his arm: a pitcher's velocity is not just all arm, it is a combination of his arm, body motion, and legs that combine into his velocity. In the case of some elite pitchers like Nolan Ryan, he relies greatly on his legs to deliver his velocity, if I understood things correctly. Obviously, since Benitez came back too early to be 100% with his legs, his velocity should suffer in some way. Plus, as noted, psychologically one can't help but be tentative in pitching after suffering such an injury. I think it was a great show of how good a pitcher he is that he was able to come in without his best stuff and still do OK (3.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .192 BAA, nearly 9 k/9, only 6 h/9 but a high 5 w/9 (all rough calcs in my head)). Given how he attacked his recovery regiment to get back early to the team, I have no doubt that he would be able to continue to recover during the off-season and come back with a strong season in 2006.
- Complaining about Nathan trade: just get over that. Every GM will make a terrible, fall on your face type of trade eventually, that's the risks of trading, it is not a reason to lose faith. You want a GM will to take calculated risks on, else you don't get the Jeff Kent's and the Jason Schmidt's type of trades. What's more fearful is the trend of the past series of trades: Ortiz, Livan, Nathan, F-Rod, all bad trades thus far in the ledger and probably won't get better. The Winn trade does look like a win, so that's a good sign but it's way too early, and the Hawkins trade is still yet to be seen, it could still end up looking more horrible as having him cost us the chance to resign Eyre, not just losing Williams and Aardsma in the trade. Basically, we essentially traded Eyre, Williams, and Aardsma to the Cubs for Hawkins as the money freed up for them allowed them to sign Eyre (to a surprisingly similar contract, which, based on past performances, don't make sense, Hawkins has been far superior in past performance).
- Question on Matt Cain in the 2006 rotation: Giants management has already said that Cain is in the 2006 rotation, which makes sense, he doesn't have much to prove at the AAA level and he can get valuable experience pitching at the MLB level, plus additional coaching from Rags and Gardy plus get to speak with Schmidt regularly. The writer notes the need for adjustment but as I noted in a prior post, he's already shown some ability to adjust as he has already faced two teams twice - Colorado and Arizona - within a month and was still able to pitch well against both teams, including an impressive outing IN COLORADO, going 6.0 IP, 3 hits, 3 walks, 1 R/ER, 4 strikeouts. Plus he pitched well against Arizona in the BOB in his first outing against them - 7.0 IP, 3 hits, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 R/ER - again, impressive because one would think that they would have pretty good reports on Cain from their AAA affiliate which played against him all season long, so the scouting reports for both Arizona and Colorado should have been pretty good and yet they couldn't do much against him. First time out, total of 12.0 IP, 6 hits, 5 walks, 1 HR, 3 R/ER, 6 K's; second time around, total of 12.1 IP, 9 hits, 5 walks, 2 HR, 4 R/ER, 7 K's. The lines are virutally identical, the first games included his game in the BOB, the second games included his game in Coors. He's extra special, as I noted in my KNBR post.
- Question on resigning Snow: as I've noted frequently this off-season, both here and elsewhere, Snow's power disappeared this past season - he couldn't hit for power on the road for the first time. Even in the years he was injured and didn't hit particularly well overall, he still showed some power on the road - not in 2005. So the Giants are not going to risk another season with him starting, they are looking for power LHH to replace him, as has been widely reported, he is only a backup plan if the Giants come up empty. Now about the statement that "Snow will likely be signed for 2006 just as an insurance policy and late-inning defense" on the bench, there is no way in hell that happens, even if Snow agrees to whatever the minimum is. There are only 13 position players spots given a 12 man pitching crew. Obviously 8 will be starters, leaving 5. One is taken by backup catcher, another by Alfonzo, another by Niekro (unless we get a good 1B; doubtful given Sabean comments and slim payroll left to use), another by Linden (or he is lost as he is out of options), then we need either a backup SS or CF, as we don't have a backup for either with this roster as currently composed. There goes all 5 open spots and we still need a backup SS or CF. So Snow is not going to be signed unless he's taking a minor league contract and playing at San Jose probably (so he could be near home).
- Question on Epstein being our AGM: too laughable, he's not taking a step down after leading the Red Sox to the World Series victory.
- Question on Cervenak: he's too old to be a good prospect, he's only coming up if Feliz is injured.