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@JohnOrfanides @RDyer @Sabean Wannabe @Donner Party 

"McCarthyism" is a term that describes making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without evidence or proof.

It also describes the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.

The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the "red scare" lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by a campaign of fear that spread paranoia throughout American institutions.

Originally coined to criticize the fake anti-communist rants of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, "McCarthyism" soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts to create fear for political gain.

The term is now generically used to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as racist and demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries.

Sure, McCarthy was right.

1 week, 5 days ago on Conversation @



That lack of depth is the theme I've been pounding since Spring Training. 

Two things that make this extra frustrating: first, the people running the Giants are smart and have a recent track record of success. How do they start the season with a team constructed like this?

Second, San Francisco has the wealthiest ownership in baseball, and they have millions in revenue coming in each year. It's probably time to stop making jokes about the money other franchises are spending to both build up their minor league systems and put winning big league teams on the field.

Each season the San Francisco front office creates an artificial player salaries "budget", and tells the media and the fans that they just can't go above that number. And, for some reason, everyone buys that fairytale.

3 weeks, 2 days ago on Conversation @


@Robert Haymond @TomGreybalt @RDyer 

As someone who is not totally unfamiliar with writing some wet analysis, I know how hard it is sometimes to separate enthusiastic support for the Giants and also do reality checks about what's really happening.

I'm guessing Robert, Maxwell, Tom and I have the bond of being devoted fans of the San Francisco Giants. And there is no one approved way for every Giants fan to express their feelings for and commitment to the team. 

For me the idea is to balance respect for the bond and respect for differing opinions and disagreement.

3 weeks, 3 days ago on Conversation @



Great catch serfdog! The correction has been made. And I now have gotten a grip!

3 weeks, 3 days ago on Conversation @


@TomGreybalt @RDyer 

TG, you are either making up numbers or unclear how to get the stats. Because the Giants' slash line for the 1-8 losing stretch was actually .289/.337/.400. (Although you did get the ESPN 2014-to-date stats correct.)

It's easy to isolate any designated games to get this information. So the real numbers better support your argument (above), but that argument entirely misses the point.

As modern baseball metrics have demonstrated, batting average ("hitting better") doesn't equal winning more ballgames. The ability to score runs often does not equate with a higher team batting average, as we saw clearly during San Francisco's recent 1 and 8 losing stretch.

Glad you think that line-up construction doesn't matter and shows baseball ignorance. So that leaves me in the company of people like Tony La Russa, Bill James, and Bruce Bochy-- all of whom think that line-up construction is extremely important. You and I will also disagree on the critical importance of a Major League bench (because it's really important).     

As for the "Giants anti-fans", I am continually amazed why some people feel they have to repeatedly declare that they are the real, true Giants fan. And other so-called Giants fans aren't (so let's get 'em!).

And it's so easy to spot those fake Giants fans: they question, they honestly analyze, they discuss. Anyone with an opinion contrary to the mindless Orange Party line can't possibly be a true fan. Because real fans don't need to think, they're fan robots.

Like those fake Giants fans Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow!

It's true! I've heard them criticize the Giants on radio and TV! I have also heard them say even more traitorous things, like Yasiel Puig is the most exciting young player in the National League, or the Dodgers new ownership has done great things for LA fans.

Can you believe that! And I thought they were real SF Giants fans. You know, like you.

4 weeks, 1 day ago on Conversation @



I'm glad you brought up "ill informed". Turns out the Giants actually didn't hit "BETTER" during their recent 1-8 slide.

In the 64 games the Giants played prior to the 1 and 8 tumble, they scored 278 runs-- that's an average of 4.34 runs scored per game.

In the 9 games referenced in my blog they scored 35 runs-- an average of 3.88 runs per game.

If you take those 9 games (with the Nats, Rockies, and White Sox) and add the last four games (three against Arizona and one against the Padres), that's 46 runs scored in the last 13 games-- an average of 3.54 runs per game.

All of which is the opposite of "better".

It's amazing to me how Giant fans have bought into ownership's party line that Pablo Sandoval's weight is a problem that has to be solved before they sign him to another long term contract.

Sandoval put up his powerful offensive career numbers in the six seasons prior to 2014-- when his weight was supposed to be a problem holding him back. And those are the numbers that will earn him a big contract in 2014.

And I actually respect the right of Giant's ownership to be tough negotiators. They're not in the business of giving money away, and this is a savvy and smart organization. But that doesn't mean we have to buy into their attempts to bring Sandoval's price down.

A week ago, Tom Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors rated Pablo Sandoval at #5 in his "Top Ten 2015 Free Agent Power Rankings". Let's hope the Giants sign him before that happens.


4 weeks, 1 day ago on Conversation @



The Giants don't need former Microsoft CEO and billionaire Steve Ballmer in their ownership group.

The Giants already have the wealthiest ownership in all of baseball. According to, lead owner Charles Johnson is listed as the 167th wealthiest man in the world, worth $8.1 billion. The rest of San Francisco's ownership group are multi-millionaires. They could buy and sell the Dodgers' ownership group in between courses of caviar at lunch.

Having money is not the issue for the Giants' owners group. Spending it is.

1 month ago on Conversation @


@Sabean Wannabe @RDyer @SheaONeal 

Answer: As I said in an earlier response in this stream, I think at times the Yankees have been the historic poster team for player overspending. Having said that, pretty soon a number of teams will pass the $300 and $350 million payroll mark. Because MLB average and top payrolls only go in one direction-- up.

And that's because, as local sports talk show host Marty Laurie has famously said many times, baseball owners are printing money. Team franchise revenues have never been better-- and not just for certain teams, but for all teams.

I think we agree that blank checks don't automatically create winning teams (and for that matter, blank checks can't instantly create the kind of team cohesiveness and strength we saw in 2010 and 2012).

But high revenue, high value teams have a responsibility to their fans to field competitive teams and not just take the money and run.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Sabean Wannabe @RDyer @Donner Party 

I have to disagree with you SW, and if you look at the comments you'll understand what I'm saying.

I only object to personal attacks when a commenter personally attacks me (or another commenter). See the "About the Giants Cove" section to see the parameters of this blog.

Any number of commenters have disagreed with me, argued against my brilliant pronouncements, or come up with a better argument. And that's cool. 

Talking baseball is what this is about. 

But when a commenter has to support their point of view by calling someone an idiot (or being personally disrespectful in any way), then, as Danny Glover said in the film "Silverado", "That ain't right".

I'm also enjoying that other refuge of the inadequate debater, accusing me (or anyone else) of being a Dodger fan, or a [fill-in-the-team] fan. 

Classic 8th grade playground bullying.

It's like McCarthyism in the 1950s-- disagree with what I believe, and I'm callin' you a dirty commie!  

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @



More blogisphere bashing as a substitute for cogent discussion and exchange of opinions.

I am at "the shallow end of the IQ pool", my perspective is described as "your foolishness." And once again, apparently the worst thing you can say to another Giants fan is to accuse them of secretly being a Dodgers fan (cuz that'll really put 'em in their place!).

Wow. Go Giants.

As I noted above, I urge you to try this just once: give your opinions without feeling that your opinions are so weak that they need the additional help of you personally trashing those with opposing opinions.

Having said that... 

Shea O'Neal, Yes! You are correct! I was equivocal in my comments about the sports media picking the Giants to make the playoffs. "A number" of national baseball analysts did pick the 2014 Giants to make the playoffs.

There. I said it. [And that was a nice catch, dude.]

As for my growing audience waiting breathlessly for my tomes...  you all shall be rewarded as I continue to shower you with my brilliantly crafted words!

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @


So true. We've seen the proof of that statement with a number of New York Yankee teams over the past ten+ years. Most recently the LA Angels and Texas Rangers have tried signing a group of high end players who just never seemed to get it together, both individually and as a team.

I think the new LA Dodger ownership group came in with a mandate to immediately upgrade the Major League club and their poor minor league system. And they've done that-- they made the playoffs last season and the Dodgers' farm system is greatly improved.

But the final proof of what ownership and the front office does is results. 

Look at the Giants in 2010 and 2012-- they had some of the best pitching in the Majors but they also came together as a team in each of those years to tear through the playoffs and win two World Series.

Simply throwing big money at a bunch of high end ballplayers does not create a winning team. At the same time big revenue teams like the Giants and the Cubs have a responsibility to field winning/competitive teams. The Giants did not do that in 2013, but look at 2014: the addition of two moderately-priced free agents (Tim Hudson and Michael Morse) has fired up this franchise and created a winning culture in the clubhouse.

And I know we're just past the one quarter mark of the season but the 2014 Giants are a real team-- a team that could have the legs to play in October.

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Donner Party
Wonderful. Back to that tired school yard posturing and personal attacks. 

Try this just once: give your opinions without feeling that your opinions are so weak that they need the additional help of you trashing the other person.

We're back to the "I'm a better Giants fan than you are" level of talking baseball. Better yet, "I'm the best Giants fan and you, you're...  you're...  a Dodgers' fan!"

Wow, that'll show me.

So since I have a different opinion, the above commenter also "hates" me. But, and this is the part I really like, he has discovered another way that will allow him to hate me even more. How cool is that!

One thing we both agree on: for your own well-being, you definitely need to consider staying clear of my writing. (But I still hope that you don't give up.)

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @



Once again I urge commentors to actually read the blogs they're commenting on.

First, I didn't say that the Giants didn't "miss" Angel Pagan when he went on the DL last season. Of course they missed him. What I actually said was his loss, a) didn't cause, and b) isn't an excuse for the team finishing 16 games out of first place in with a 76-86 record.

Every winning team has injuries (some to key players) and that's why front offices build their teams deep enough to continue winning. The Giants' approach the past several years is to not be deep, so when players are injured there's no effective replacements ready to step in.

Actually your comment about "few analysts" picking the Giants is incorrect. A good number of sports media people picked the Giants to make the post season not only this season, but also last season. Better review the picks made by ESPN,,, MLBTV. 

It's always good to check before we write.

As far as the "big money, no heart" approach of the LA Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants have the richest ownership group in Major League Baseball. Giants Principal owner Charles Johnson is the 74th richest person in America ($3.5 billion), and he could buy and sell the entire Dodger ownership group in one afternoon. 

The difference between the Dodgers and Giants is the Dodgers spend their money and the Giants don't.

And I always say this about the business of baseball: MLB franchise owners get to decide how they spend their money-- it's their money. But the game is now very big business-- the San Francisco Giants have the fifth most valuable franchise in baseball, worth over $1 billion; I just think they need to stop pretending to be small market.

Finally, MLB managers get to be criticized like anyone else in pro sports. Doesn't mean they're bad managers, it just means they're capable of making mistakes. And when they do they can be called on them. 

And, no, you don't have to work in Major League Baseball to write and talk about the game. And you don't have to be in the film industry to criticize movies. In the real world virtually nothing works like that.

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Sabean Wannabe @Robert Haymond@Daniel_Stern 

SW-- I appreciate your participation in the The Giants Cove blog. Without opposing and different viewpoints things can sometimes get stale.

But having said that, let's stick to a coherent discussion of baseball and the Giants, etc. and skip the personal attacks. Your reaction to someone disagreeing with you is to personally attack them (like accusing me of lying to my readers, or using another name to post comments on my own blog). [Sorry about that, Robert. You deserve to be accused of something much better than being me.]

And let's say what we have to say and move on. We all get it. You hate sabermetrics, for some reason you believe no one has the slightest clue whether or not the Giants talked to Masahiro Tanaka, and so on.

I want you to keep posting, but let's be respectful, and skip the caps as a way to show that you're really right and everyone else is really wrong, Your opinions and ideas stand on their own and don't need any of that.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Sabean Wannabe @RDyer
Why do these discussions always have to go to the "You're not a real Giants fan like I am" stuff? It's so tired.

Opposing viewpoints and opinions are what these forums are about, not proving who is or isn't a real fan. So if you disagree with me, that means my opinions are lies ("give your readers full disclosure") and no good. Wow.

The "accumulation of statistics" isn't remotely the definition of "sabermetrician". But I get it-- you really don't like sabermetrics. Cool. I still think you're a good Giants fan.

As far as St. Louis, they're one of the best run, top MLB franchises and have been for a long time. I'll tell Daniel Descalso to immediately return his World Series ring.

Again, we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree about St. Louis.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Sabean Wannabe @Robert Haymond 

All the teams that showed initial and ongoing interest in Tanaka were well publicized. The final three teams were the subject of a number of articles and postings. 

As shows, there's a lot of competition among national baseball journalists to get that kind of news and put it out. They have many inside contacts.

The Giants were not involved at all in the Tanaka bidding and did not make an offer. As I wrote at the time, Tanaka would have been a franchise changer for San Francisco.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@Sabean Wannabe
SW, what I am is pro offense. Offense for a team that has been at or near the bottom of the MLB offense barrel the past twelve years.

I understand it's easier to downgrade Sandoval now because of his current slump, but a team like the Giants can't casually toss one of their few offensive pieces into the trash and expect to score runs.

There's also another thing. We can't keep thinking in a linear way-- that it's either one thing or another (Sandoval or Dominguez). 

What makes the Oakland A's and St. Louis top franchises is they have legitimate back-ups when players get injured or slump badly. I would like to see the Giants bench and their minor league system start providing quality depth behind the starting eight.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@maxwell623 @RDyer@Daniel_Stern@Robert Haymond

The cost for extending or signing established MLB players goes in only one direction: higher. 

The Hunter Pence signing was a great example of that. Pence is a slightly above average "established" outfielder. The Giants kept him with a 5 year/$90 million extension. 

So the going price for a slightly above average established outfielder in 2013 was about $18 million a year.

Sandoval's career average per 162 game numbers are a little better than Pence's (Sandoval has a .817 OPS, Pence a .813 OPS). Third base is a more important position to fill than right field (more fielding skills are required, there are less third basemen than outfielders available).

Sandoval also has the flexibility to play first base, which broadens his value even more. [Maybe I shouldn't have used "broadens".]

So $20 million a year for Sandoval is about right in 2014. If he becomes a free agent, expect him to get a little more. Again, he achieved his current value while being "overweight", so to all of a sudden think of his weight as a major problem seems strange.

Here's my feeling: the Giants absolutely need to sign Sandoval. He is their #1 offensive player, he plays a position that is hard to fill on the free agent market, and San Francisco has no talented offensive players with power moving through its minor league system.

Lose Sandoval and you lose a big piece of what little offense the Giants have had the past five years.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@maxwell623 @Daniel_Stern@Robert Haymond  

Hey everyone. Great discussion stream on several interesting subjects. I just wanted to chime in about Pablo Sandoval.

I guessing I'm in the minority in thinking that Sandoval's weight issue is simply a PR ploy by the Giants to:

a) drive down Sandoval's potential contract extension; and/or, 

b) give the Giants faithful a reason to be OK about it when the front office doesn't sign Sandoval to an extension and just cuts him loose into the free agent market in October.

Either way the team saves money. The weight issue is one the team has been straw dogging for a couple of years and I think it's simply a deliberate distraction.

I linked this excellent article by Tracy Ringolsby before, but here it is again:

Basically it points out that Sandoval is by far the biggest offensive piece the Giants have had for years-- bigger than Buster Posey. And Sandoval put up all those numbers with his so-called weight issues.

I agree he should be fit, if not for baseball for his own health. But there is no evidence that it has diminished his capacity for producing runs. (Despite his slow start this season.)

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


There are two questions here.

First, I write what interests me about the San Francisco Giants. I am not interested in the usual sports blog mindlessness, like "Sabean's a bum, he should be fired"; or, "Wow, did you see Hicks' home run yesterday... !" And so on.

I am interested in analytically discussing the team and the franchise-- where they've been historically, where they are right now, and where they're going. 

I am also interested in baseball's advanced metrics and how they're changing the game; which teams are on the cutting edge and which teams are still living in the 1960s. (Hint: you and I are fans of one of those teams.)

You ask about "page views" like it's something nasty. I'm guessing everyone who has a website or posts a blog would like as many "page views" as possible. That specifically is why people post their material on the internet instead of keeping it under their pillow-- so as many people as possible can view the pages.

Going against my attorney's advice, I plead "guilty" to the charge of wanting people to read my blog.

As far as Dominguez. Panik, etc. the Giants are in a unique position. Half their starting position players are older and they currently have a non-contributing bench. San Francisco also has a poorly built farm system with a handful of promising pitchers and even fewer promising position players. 

The team can get value from someone like Dominguez by not waiting for September and bringing him up now. Not only could that help refocus the bench into being an offensive asset, the Giants will also be able to determine if one or two of their young Triple A position players might actually develop value as a starter or as trade material.

There are a number of Giants' minor league players at the Triple A and Double A level who are about to get "Gary Brown-ed." Players who start out as promising, don't get developed, then simply get older and fade away.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


Sorry about being so down on the 2014 team. I can tell you it's been distracting to me-- I want a team of substance that I can believe in. Not a slapped together 25 man roster where you cross your fingers and hope substandard players accidentally have a good year.

As far as first place, in 2013 the Giants were in first place as late as May 26th (you know, when they ended up finishing third, 16 games out of first place). In 2011 they were in first place as late as August 9th. So being in first place on April 27th in 2014 is meaningless (although, better the Giants than any other team!).

As far as Santiago Casilla and Hector Sanchez falling out of favor, I was reporting what a Comcast sports guy recently mentioned sidebar in a tweet about another subject.

Apparently Giants' management is not happy with Hector Sanchez performance, especially behind the plate. And I'm thinking Santiago Casilla probably thinks he should be closing instead of Sergio Romo.

Not that San Francisco would get any real front line players for either Sanchez or Santiago, but if one or both of them could pull in several decent minor league prospects it would be worth it.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


@paulfromturlock @Robert Haymond
I agree that some number of other "unbalanced" teams (i.e., teams with either dominant pitching and poor run-scoring, or dominant run scoring and sub par pitching) have won the World Series.
But the majority of teams getting to the World Series over the past 100 or so years did so because they had talented, well-constructed 25 man rosters. The idea that "all you have to do is somehow get into the playoffs, then anything can happen" is something teams tell their fans to keep selling tickets, jerseys and beer.

I also think the Giants' 2010 and 2012 World Series teams were different. The 2012 team had a better offense and scored more runs throughout the season. The 2010 team squeaked into the playoffs with a win over San Diego on the final day of the season.

But I agree, both the 2010 and 2012 teams had outstanding starting and bullpen pitching-- which made all the difference.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Giant Fans Down to Two Choices: Swallow the Kool-Aid or Hit the Panic Button


@Robert Haymond
Totally agree.

The Giants organization has the business and entertainment parts of the equation down. The ownership group and management are smart, talented, and creative-- in the top tier of the most successful pro sports franchises in the nation.

I look forward to the baseball side of the equation catching up. Not with incremental successes, like the 2010 and 2012 World Championships, but as part of the organization's foundational DNA. The Giants can (and I hope will) rehabilitate their minor league system and field a dominant winning team every season.           

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Giant Fans Down to Two Choices: Swallow the Kool-Aid or Hit the Panic Button


@Acme1 Finast
No doubt the Dodgers have to play and execute this season. The NL West is more competitive than it's been in a long time.

To your points:
> Alexander Guerrero has been a star shortstop with power for five seasons in the Cuban leagues and the transition to 2nd base will be a challenge. But he'll make that transition (as I wrote above, as long as he does it by the All Star break).

> Don't know what two Dodger starters "have won 6 games in three years".
Here are the Dodgers' 2014 starters and their win total over last three years:
-- Clayton Kershaw 51 wins;
-- Zack Greinke 46 wins;
-- Dan Haren 38 wins;
-- Hyun-Jin Ryu, 34 wins. 14 wins in with the Dodgers in 2013, 20 wins in 2011 & 2012 with Hanwa, South Korean leagues;
-- Josh Beckett 20 wins;
-- Chad Billingsley 11 wins.

> The Giants don't have "5 starters who average 14 wins per season." They have three, including Tim Hudson.
Here are the the career win-loss averages for all five Giant starters:
-- Matt Cain - 9 years 12-11;
-- Madison Bumgarner - 5 years 14-11;
-- Tim Lincecum - 7 years 14-11;
-- Ryan Vogelsong - 9 years 9-11;
-- Tim Husdon - 15 years 16-9.

> Dodger catcher AJ Ellis did hit .238 in 2013 (with 10 HRs and 52 RBI). You can isolate one season of any number of MLB players to try and make them not look good (like the Giants' Brandon Crawford batting .248 in 2013).

Besides, we know a player's batting average is not the most important measure of their offensive worth. But back to Ellis:

1) A J Ellis expertly handles one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. That's worth a lot.

2) In 2012 Ellis had a .786 OPS (and a .270 average); in 2011 he had a .769 OPS (and a .271 average).

3) Ellis had a .682 OPS in 2013-- which is not League-leading, but it's pretty good.

The Giants are my team and I hope they do well in 2014. But I also follow all of Major League Baseball and my enthusiasm for San Francisco doesn't mean I have to pretend the Dodgers, or any other team, is a bad team.

5 months ago on The 2014 National League West Deconstructed (Some Assembly Required)


My favorite image from your comment: you celebrating and enjoying the moment when the Giants make the 2014 postseason, while I sit whining, dejected and still upset with the organization. 

It's a great personal topper to your arguments: you, happy. Me, sad.


You believe the Giants have done great things with their farm system, and you also provide the front office with a specious excuse to cover them when they have poorly drafted and developed players.

I simply disagree. I respect your energy and knowledge, I know you're a great fan. I also don't wish you to be whining and miserable no matter what happens.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on SF Giants Elect to Spend Good Will, Save Money



"Tell that to the two banners hanging on the flag pole at the stadium." 

That illustrates one of my points-- the Giants organization is thrilled to have their fans still jumping up and down about 2010 and 2012. It's all about looking back because there's not much to look forward to. Other than pretending this team will be competitive in 2014.

"The core of this team is still built around homegrown players. What more do you want?"

I want the Giants to conduct competent first year amateur drafts that don't end up with the 26th rated minor league system in the Majors for the past ten years. 

Wasted time on mediocre home grown players like Brett Pill who can't make it at the Major League level are what has smothered this team. Instead of spending money, management's solution is to roll the dice and hope that mediocre draft picks and veteran players might get the job done.

Draft some "home grown" players with actual talent and develop them-- that's what more I want.

"Money can't buy you everything..."

Here's where we agree:
"As far as spending $438 million, many other successful teams have shown that you don't need to spend anywhere near that much to achieve success. But you do have to commit some significant amount of money and resources to get the job done."

So the Giants exchanged Michael Morse for Andres Torres and Tim Hudson for Barry Zito, and that's what's going to turn 2014 around? The bench is terrible, the starting pitching and front line hitting is thin-- there's no depth or back-up plan. The Giants haven't spent nearly what they should to build a winning team.

Covechatter, I am guessing you and I both want the exact same thing-- winning baseball from the Giants and to make the playoffs every year. But because they won two World Series the past four season, because they proved they could be a championship franchise I also expect management and the front office to build a championship organization that will continue to win.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on SF Giants Elect to Spend Good Will, Save Money


@Sabean Wannabe

It may sometimes feel like articles over the past year or so repeat or overlap, but it's actually a variation on a number of themes that illustrate the overall organizational decline of the San Francisco Giants.

Since the franchise isn't failing in only one or two areas, there is an array of subjects to analyze and compare to each other. Often the same bad approaches or philosophies are common to any number of the team's problems, so they start sounding somewhat familiar.

But one aspect of your comment is a good reminder to anyone who writes about pro sports franchises (or any other subject): you can only catalog so much negativity before it gets to be too one note.

The same goes for the unbelievable number of sports blogs that simply say, "The Giants are awesome, and I'm the best Giants fan ever!" over and over again without any interesting critical thought or comment.

Having said that, for me where the Giants are and what they're doing determines what gets written. It is important to chronicle the demise of a baseball franchise that shouldn't be in decline, that should be excelling. 

5 months, 4 weeks ago on SF Giants Elect to Spend Good Will, Save Money


@Robert Haymond


I want the Giants to to well in 2014, but I disagree with the decisions ownership and management has made this off-season. 

I am also disappointed with how the overall franchise has evolved over the past fifteen years. The Giants are a non-analytical, old school, shoot-from-the-hip organization with outdated approaches to player drafting, trading, and development, as well as understanding how to build a 25 man roster that fills the roles required to support a winning 162 game campaign.

The idea that you get a couple of good hitters, then one or two guys to hit extra base hits, then complete the everyday line-up by slotting three or four non-run producing batters right before the pitcher is both out-dated and uncreative.

Then you hope that you win one-dimensionally with pitching.

And you know what? The sad thing is, if the Giants accidentally do better this season, it's just that: an accident.

5 months, 4 weeks ago on SF Giants Elect to Spend Good Will, Save Money



So true. When I was a player/manager on a local softball league team I tinkered with various line-up schemes for several years. 

The one that seemed to be particularly productive was replicating the linear line-up twice within the same batting order. That is, batting the three best OBP hitters 1-3 followed by the best power hitter on the team at #4. Then, three more good OBP batters follow at 5-7, capped off by the second best power bat on the team in the #8 slot.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Major League Baseball Line-up Revolution: The Mobius Theory


Great analysis, clear and on point. [I will concede, as you did, that you also have done "a bit" of research and know "a bit" about sabermetrics.]

Two points. First, there is no handicap inherent in the Mobius Strip line-up at the start of the 1st inning.

In the 1st inning, teams using a Mobius line-up are guaranteed to have the three best hitters in their line-up come to the plate. As opposed to the linear line-up where, if the lead-off and #2 hitters make outs, potentially only one of the team's best three hitters gets an AB in the 1st inning (many teams bat their best hitters 3-4-5).

And I have no problem starting every game of the season that way.

Think about it. Pretty much by definition, the top three hitters on any MLB team will likely have the best on-base percentage numbers on the team. The Giants traditional lead-off hitter, Angel Pagan, had a .338 OBP in 2012, and a .334 OBP in 2013. But in those same years Marco Scutaro went .385/.357, Buster Posey .408/.371, and Pablo Sandoval .342/.341. So nothing is lost in terms of ABs and OBP by not having the traditional linear lead-off hitter batting first in the line-up.

In fact, Mobius provides an improvement to the customary linear line-up in the very first inning.

As far as pitcher ABs in the 7th spot of the order with Mobius there are two factors.

First, it's rare for a pitcher to have even three (and often two) ABs in a game unless they're pitching extremely well. Last season in 30 GS Matt Cain had 52 ABs-- 1.733 ABs per game; Bumgarner had 56 ABs in 29 GS-- 1.93 ABs per game; and Barry Zito had 34 ABs in 29 GS-- 1.172 per game.

So the #7 slot in a Mobius line-up (just like the #9 slot in a traditional line-up) is not filled by a pitcher the entire game. With the bullpen revolution over the past twenty-five years and starter pitch counts, pinch hitters abound and complete games have disappeared faster than Dennis Rodman's integrity.

Second, the point of a Mobius line-up is to configure a team's batting line-up to maximize runs forward. Which takes suspending and questioning what we've accepted over the years. I think the long-accepted "rules" of the traditional MLB line-up are a barrier to exploiting run production and won't stand up to being vetted against new ideas.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Major League Baseball Line-up Revolution: The Mobius Theory



In looking at the Mobius model it's helpful to forget player names-- this is more about constructing a hitting attack that surrounds a team's most productive two hitters on a team with the team's third, fourth and fifth best hitters.

On most teams the so-called "best" hitter is in the third slot. The Giants can't do that because only two players (Posey and Sandoval) have consistent power, so Posey hits 4th and Sandoval 5th. In a better constructed line-up Posey would bat third.

Look at the traditional linear line-up: in the first inning the #3 hitter has just two batters ahead of him. But for almost the rest of the game the worst hitter in the line-up, the pitcher batting 9th, is only two batters away from the #3 batter. And the second worst hitter in the line-up, the 8th place hitter, is only three batters away from the #3 batter.

One of the ideas central to Mobius is to get the two most unproductive hitters in the line-up as far away as possible from the most productive hitters in the line-up, for as many innings as possible.

So in the Mobius model, the best hitter, batting in the #2 slot, now has three of the team's best hitters in front of him throughout the rest of the game (or until late in the game when pinch hitters might be used).

On the back side, the best hitter now has the second best hitter in the line-up batting behind him at #3, followed by two potential run-producing hitters at #4 and #5. Then the weakest hitter and the pitcher bat, and the cycle starts again.

The central point here is to give the best run-producing hitters in a team's line-up the most opportunities to create runs by insulating them as much as possible in the batting order from hitters more likely to consistently make outs.

[I'm going to drop a sentence from this into the blog-- your on-point comment prodded me to explain the goal more clearly.]   

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Major League Baseball Line-up Revolution: The Mobius Theory



Noah-- The Mobius line-up doesn't require a wide difference between the batters. Certainly the player roles for offensive-rich teams like Detroit, the Dodgers, St. Louis or Boston are more clearly identified. But that same reasoning applies to the traditional line-up format.

Even in a haphazardly constructed hitting line-up like the Giants have, I think there's plenty of difference between, say, Buster Posey and every other hitter. He is by far their best offensive piece.  

For precise line-up teams like Oakland and Tampa Bay, Mobius should make their approach even more productive.

And Sandoval and Belt are pretty far apart as players-- Belt tending to a higher OBP and lots of walks while Sandoval is more of a free swinger. Plus, Sandoval has the second best power bat on the team after Posey (something the Giants can't squander in their line-ups).

To your point about maybe putting different players in different slots than I did in my Mobius/Giants example-- I agree. Pagan could bat 8th, and Belt and Pence could switch. But the odd thing is, I think the Mobius line-up works just as well for poor run producing teams like San Francisco as well as it does for the big run producing teams I listed above.

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Major League Baseball Line-up Revolution: The Mobius Theory



CC- You're not offensive at all. But I think you missed my point here. You said "...I'd expect you to look a little deeper than run support and W/L record."

My whole piece was about the importance of not paying attention to a starting pitcher's W/L record. The majority of fans, players, and MLB front offices still look at that obsolete stat as the ultimate measure of a starting pitcher. 

Also, reread my first three paragraphs-- my point was that run support is not "a new concept", it's just a concept that is routinely ignored by most of the MLB establishment.

The breakthrough came in 2010 when Seattle's Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award with a 13-12 record. But the majority of the MLB establishment still believes in the traditional numbers-- they don't get that Mike Trout was the real AL MVP the past two seasons (not Detroit's Miguel Cabrera).

Awareness of isolating and evaluating individual player performance is slowly making headway in the game. But only slowly.

Two more points. 

You can pick out four, five, or six bad starts by every starting pitcher in the game each season to rationalize that, without those starts, they would have had a "great" season. But you know what? Those starts count-- just like the good ones.

In 2012 Zack Greinke of the Dodgers started 34 games (last season Cain started 30). Greinke had six games in which he gave up 32 earned runs. So for 28 starts Greinke pitched great.

Greinke's 1.20 WHIP is slightly higher than Cain's 2013 number, but Greinke went 15-5 in 2012. Which demonstrates what run support can add to the equation.

And Matt Cain didn't get poor run support and sub-par defense in just his four worst starts of 2013-- he, and virtually every other Giants' starter, got terrible run support all season long. It's the #1 reason the Giants finished 16 games out of 1st place last season.

[For the record, Matt Cain's career quality start rate is 66%-- 175 QS, 265 GS].

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Case Solved: Why Matt Cain Went 8-10 in 2013



Two things to add to the discussion.

First, Brian Kenny of MLBTV's "Clubhouse Confidential" did a long term study of high end, "big" MLB contracts-- more than 5 years, contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.

Kenny did this to develop a five point template to judge if any potential high end contract is likely to be good or bad for the team buying. 

In doing the research Kenny found that about 50% of those big contracts work out very well for the clubs involved, and about 50% don't work out well for the clubs involved.

So for every anecdotal list of "bad" large contracts, there's an equal number that worked out great. Miguel Cabrera (8 yrs/$152.3m), Felix Hernandez (7 yr/$175m), Buster Posey (9 yrs/$167m), Adrian Gonzalez (7 yrs/$154m) and so on.

Second, it's nice to be concerned about how much the Giants are able to spend on player contracts, and I'm sure they really appreciate it when anyone on the outside says the team can't (and shouldn't) spend more money.

But there's no need to worry about the Giants' so-called "budget" and how much profit the ownership group gets to split up every year. They're doing just great and they don't need anyone to watch out for them.

Giants primary owner Charles Johnson could buy and sell the LA Dodgers ownership group in one afternoon. Johnson is listed in as the 74th richest person in America-- worth a cool $5.4 billion. Various other members of the ownership group also have seriously deep pockets.

The decision to spend or not to spend money by the Giants organization has nothing to do with available money, and everything to do with revenues being higher than expenditures every year. Because that means even more profits.

7 months ago on Michael Morse and the World of SF Giants GM Brian Sabean


@Robert Haymond  

Your points are well taken. Part of the process of analyzing the organizational process and viability of the San Francisco Giants involves being critical. Not necessarily negative, just critical.

I have laid out my criticisms of how Giants' management and ownership have underrepresented their financial resources and responsibilities, how the organization is run the way MLB franchises were run in the 1980s, and joined others (BaseballAmerica,FanGraphs, etc.) in pointing out how badly the team's minor league system has been the past 10 years.

But...  it's a drag to continually wallow in negatives and doing that frankly doesn't jibe with my experience as a baseball fan/analyst and as a Giants fan/analyst. I want the team to do well, I celebrate when they do. I want the baseball side and the business side to work. For ownership, for fans, for the players.

So every now and then I reset my compass and express hope for a more positive future and some trust in the Giants organization to get there. 

I don't see that as a "failing" more just wanting to keep in touch with the positive side of things.

7 months, 4 weeks ago on The Giants' 2013 Hot Stove Can Still Sizzle


@Sabean Wannabe @RDyer @LoneStarGiantFan  

"Richard, lay out some examples for us?  Who do you want the Giants to spend their money on?  Remember, any impact player is likely to cause the Giants to lose the 14th pick in the draft.  That means you can't turn around and complain in a few years about the Giants weak farm system."

Sorry Sabean Wannabe, I'm not going to republish a blog I wrote on November 12, 2013 (just scroll down to read it) in which I already laid out:

1. The three players the Giants should consider signing.

2. The issue of signing a player like Shin-Soo Choo and losing their first draft pick in 2014. But here is the "draft pick" sentence in that Nov 12th  posting:

"Whoever signs Choo will have to give up their top draft pick in 2014, but there's always a price to pay for quality. 

"And the potential worth of a 2014 draft pick five years from now doesn't compare to what Shin-Soo Choo would bring to San Francisco over those same five years."

On your last point, "That means you can't turn around and complain in a few years about the Giants weak farm system." 

Again, I completely disagree. You need to review the Giants draft picks over the past 10 years. They stink. 

Which is why you should also check out Fangraphs and BaseballAmerica, both of whom have rated the Giants farm system in the bottom 5 or 6 of all 30 MLB teams for years.

That didn't happen because the Giants gave up a first round pick here or there, it happened because the people that do San Francisco's draft research have done a poor job. 

(And please don't mention the 5 or 6 players who came up through the Giants system to the big club over the past 10 years-- that's out of 460+ drafted players, a terrible average.)

That's why teams like the Red Sox, St. Louis, and Tampa, who have routinely finished high in the standings over the past 10 seasons (and therefore only qualify for lower draft picks) have outstanding minor league systems that produce ten times the number of MLB-level players the Giants have.

If the Giants don't sign a player like Shin-Soo Choo because they're worried about one draft pick, that further illustrates how inept the organization has become.

Again, Giants management has spent 20 years portraying themselves as a so-called small market team that can't afford to spend like the so-called big market teams.

Here's a citation for you.

On November 16, 2013, SF Chronicle sports writer John Shea talked about how the Giants have "spent freely" and that they are a "big-market, high-revenue" team able to sign a big ticket free agent (SF Chron 11-16-13):

"General manager Brian Sabean said the pitching depth needs to keep up with the Dodgers' and other playoff teams', including the pennant-winning Cardinals'. After spending freely on Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence, the Giants have little reason for getting outbid for the top pitcher on the market Masahiro Tanaka.

"He'll cost more than $100 million including the posting fee and contract, each likely to surpass $60 million. For the big-market, high-revenue Giants, it's doable, especially with the arrival of their generous holiday gift package - the new national TV deals."

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far


@LoneStarGiantFan @RDyer

I love your tenacity and knowledge LoneStar. So as a holiday gift for you...

Yes, the Giants are currently on a pace to spend $150M+.

In 2013 CBS Sports reported the Giants were 6th overall in team payroll at $140.2 million. Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, the Dodgers, and the Yankees were ahead of them.

So if San Francisco ends up at $150+ then their payroll would have gone up about $10 million (depending, as you point out, what they do about another pitcher and an outfielder). 

And they're probably going to still be about 6th overall in 2014 payroll.

Brian Sabean has been GM for 17 years, with 2 World Series wins. That Sabean formula he uses each season-- start each season with less and count on rebuilding at the halfway point-- is old school 1970s baseball. That's what an actual small market team used to do out of necessity. 

Which is not the Giants. Sure, it worked twice in 17 years but I am definitely not a fan of that tired formula.

As for the blog, I generally dislike rules.  But I like treating contributors with respect.

I just think we can have passionate discussions, even huge disagreements, without the immature school yard name calling and the "see, I'm smarter than you" posturing. 

It's one of the reasons MLB (and other sports) blogs aren't taken seriously.

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far


@tzill @RDyer @maxwell623  

tzill dude--

Apparently, unlike you, I respect the fact that you disagree with me.  And I respect your opinion. I assume, like me, you are a Giants fan, and ultimately we both want our team to achieve success.

Because you disagree with me I don't think that makes you a "whiney lunatic fringer", or that what you say is "drivel", or "stupid", or "ridiculous". To me, it's an opinion I just don't happen to agree with.

Why is it when we disagree with someone, it's not enough to state your opinion and your take on things and leave it at that. Apparently it's also really important to state that the person you disagree with is somehow "stupid", or their opinion is bullshit. 

It is critical that I tell you that I know more than you, which means you're an idiot.


For me you get a pass, because I am assuming you are just a passionate Giants fan who has (temporarily) forgotten to be civil. (And believe me, I have also been a dick at times. It happens.)

In response to the other aspects of your post, the answer is "no". I am not satisfied with the Giants simply going forward with the same team that finished 16 games out of 1st place in 2013, plus the addition of a couple of older starters that other teams didn't want.

Marco Scutaro is very likely no longer a full-time player, so at some point the Giants will have to deal with the second base problem (hopefully better than they dealt with left field problem last season).

And I am happy that Matt Cain had some good years. Last season he was 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA and 158 SO in 184.1 IP. Hopefully, he will bounce back to form.

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far


@tzill @RDyer @LoneStarGiantFan  

Again, thanks for joining the dialogue. Because of your posts, I'm going to stop obfuscating because my elbows and knees are starting to hurt like hell.

The Giants ownership group must be wildly happy with your comments-- millionaires getting support in the blogisphere in support of them pocketing profits instead of reinvesting that money into their Major League baseball team.

That's their dream.

And you are absolutely wrong. Everything the team does that generates revenue exists only because they own an MLB franchise-- that's who they are. 

So the $30 million mortgage payments for AT&T Park that will end in a few years, the big money land deals with their parking lots, the increase in season tickets, and all the media revenue each year-- all of that only happens because they own a Major League baseball team called the San Francisco Giants.

They are not random businessmen making investments in "startups". They are the owners of the Giants making money off the Giants. 

But you are right about one thing: they do not have an obligation to put their massive profits into the team's payroll. They can distribute that money as profit to the investors each year.

Also, I'm the one who noted that I averaged the contract information from Cots-- it was a deliberate decision, not "just plain lazy". 

Just plain lazy is using the words "obfuscating" and "meme" way too many times.

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far


@maxwell623 @RDyer 
That's a tough one. It's like picking between Thanksgiving day watching football with chips and dip, or Thanksgiving day watching football with Pepperidge Farm goldfish. 

It's decision that no real American should ever be asked to make.

Having said that, the San Francisco Giants can more than afford to sign both a front line starter and a front line outfielder. 

If they choose just one of those, then they're hoping that Giant fans drink the Kool-Aid, and be happily stupid. 

"Yeah, you know, the Giants have that, you know, budget thing, and they just don't have the, you know, money to do both... ".

If the Giants don't sign either a top starter or outfielder, then we know the San Francisco Giants front office has decided to live off of the 2010 and 2012 World Series for yet another year. And now they'll have even more profits to be distributed to the ownership group in October of 2014.

So I can't choose signing one over the other when signing both are what a first class, winning franchise would do. Like St. Louis, like the Yankees, like Boston, like (gulp!) the Dodgers.

(Having said that, I totally agree with you-- I'll take Dan Haren in a heartbeat over Bronson Arroyo.)

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far



Hey maxwell, thanks for posting. 

I completely agree that San Francisco needs a front line, run-producing outfielder or we can kiss 2014 off. 

We can also kiss 2014 off if Giants management really thinks all the starting pitching staff still needs is a #5 starter. We already have two low rotation pitchers in Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum. Cain has never been a #1 guy and regressed to a #3 starter last season. 

This team needs a top starting pitcher who is at least a #2 guy on a legitimate contending team. Otherwise we can look forward to finishing in 3rd place behind the Dodgers and Arizona. Again.

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far



Thanks LSGF and tzill for weighing in on this subject! You bring up a  number of relevant points regarding the Giants 2014 payroll. (But here comes the huge "However...")

However, I actually did mention that the Giants still have arbitration (Brandon Belt) and other unfinished salary business to get done before the 2014 season starts. I was making a larger point without getting into each and every potential salary increase or decrease. (For example, the team will likely have several base-MLB salary players on the 2014 40 and 25 man rosters.)

Also I noted that I rounded off a couple of multi-year contracts for simplicity sake. Hunter Pence isn't actually making $18 million next season, he's making $16-- but he is getting $90 million over 5 years, an average of $18 million per. 

I didn't get into the increases in additional revenue the  Giants will get in 2014 and beyond, because then the whole thing becomes a mass of numbers and, again, misses my immediate point. 

If you want to talk "other Giants revenue", you actually dramatically underestimated the increases San Francisco will get in revenues in 2014 and beyond. 

Not only has the national TV contract increased by $25 million a year-- the Giants will get that $25 million every year for the next 8 years. Which directly supports the kind of high cost multi-year player signings the team should be pursuing.

Also the team is working on the land development deals that will turn their parking lots into revenue generating residential and commercial property. That investment money is coming in now. And the team is also going to lose their annual $30 million loan payment on AT&T Park in a couple of years. That's $30 million in additional revenue each year which could be directly applied to signing major impact players with multi-year contracts. Right now.

Other revenues increasing are ticket sales-- the annual ticket costs for 28,000 season ticket holders goes up each year anywhere from 2% to 8%. MLB teams also get revenue sharing money from Major League Baseball, and on and on.

We can't even fully know the true annual revenue figures for the Giants. But we do know this: they are substantial and they only increase each year. Meanwhile San Francisco's ownership/management is saying they will only increase the 2014 payroll by $10 million?

8 months ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far


@Robert Haymond  

While I agree there is probably little chance that Giants management will sign the impact player(s) they need to fully compete in 2014, that doesn't mean they can't or shouldn't.

Just last Sunday yet other another SF Chronicle sports writer referred to the Giants' mythical "payroll budget" that the reporter felt would prevent any high end free agent signing. 

Which is a load of bovine excrement. That Kool-Aid went stale about five years ago.

The Giants could sign Shin-Soo Choo or Masahiro Tanaka if they wanted to-- but bottom line profits for the ownership group just wouldn't be as high when the books are closed next September. And while pro sports franchise ownership is a business, and needs to be conducted like a business, there remains the additional dimension of boldness and brand integrity that continues to elude Giants ownership.

8 months ago on Giants Sign Tim Hudson: The Price is Right, What About the Arm?


@Robert Haymond
What the Giants haven't completely found is that balance between being successful on the business side of the game and at the same time building an exceptional and successful baseball organization.

They unquestionably excel at the business end of things, but at times the team still resorts to smoke, mirrors, and simply crossing their fingers on the baseball diamond side of the equation. 

I'm smelling a full out blog on this subject...  more to come. 

9 months ago on Giants Plan So Far: Bring Back the 2013 Losing Team


Great question, sz. 

I haven't read anything about Alderson's views on the Oakland A's moving to San Jose but I'm guessing he would be in support of the A's staying in Oakland because of his long history with the franchise in Oakland.

But there are elements in play here that prevent any Baseball Commissioner going along with whatever the current A's ownership may want to do. 

Major League Baseball gave the Giants a written agreement that guarantees them specific territorial rights from San Francisco down to San Jose. That's why Bud Selig has not given the green light for Oakland to move to San Jose-- the Giants own the "rights" to the SF Peninsula down to San Jose and Santa Clara.

And there is no amount of money that the A's can give the Giants that would remotely make up for the future revenue they would lose by giving up those territorial rights. You're talking wealthy areas like Atherton, Mountain View, Portola Valley, and the Silicon Valley. 

San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area-- if you're the Giants, how could you let that go?

I think Major League Baseball is hoping the A's ownership group simply ends up selling the team to a local group that will keep the team in Oakland and find the funding for a new ballpark.

9 months, 1 week ago on Problem Solved: Meet the Next Commissioner of Baseball



Hey Siwasher, thanks so much for taking the time to respond to the piece.

Relatively new Giants fans are always welcome at The Cove. I get turned off by fans who can't stop talking about how many years they've been fans, how dedicated they are, how they are the best [team name] fan, and on and on. 

Don't get me wrong-- they're great people, but there are a lot of "greatest fans in the world" out there with passion and dedication to their favorite team. Including many new fans.

However, I do have one tiny suggestion. You might want to get to know the correct spelling of your favorite team's players, especially the really good players. Just a thought.

There are a number of great sites that evaluate the minor league systems and player talent of MLB teams. They frequently publish lists that rate the the best and the worst farm system talent for each franchise. is among the best. 

In Baseball America's 2013 preseason MLB organization talent ratings, the San Francisco Giants were rated 28th out of 30 MLB teams. For the past ten+ years the Giants have been in the bottom third or fourth of most minor league rankings.

You mentioned six Giants players drafted since 2008 to suggest the Giants have produced some talent. You are certainly right about Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. But Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, despite being on the 2012 Championship team, are not yet above average MLB players. I do agree that Crawford, and especially Belt, still have the potential to be great players.

Hector Sanchez is a back-up catcher with a three year MLB OPS of .670. 

And, sorry, Brett Pill is "completely awful". Brett Pill represents the reason why the Giants minor league system talent is so poor. Marginal players brought up from the minors and given way too much big league playing time. Why? Because the talent pool is so thin there's no one else who can be brought up.  

Think about the numbers here. In the nine First Year Player drafts between 2004 and 2012 (with about 45-50 players drafted each year)  the Giants drafted about 420 players. You can count on two hands the number of exceptional players those drafts produced. 

Sure, not every player drafted is good, and damn few make the big league team. But, what, 5 or 6 exceptional pitchers and 4 or 5 position players out of 420 drafted in 9 years? That's 2% of those drafted, which makes it the definition of terrible.

There are winning MLB franchises that rarely get top 10 draft picks who still have built outstanding minor league systems, like St. Louis, Texas, Boston, Cincinnati, and the Yankees.

And remember, exceptional minor league talent can also be used to make trades to get the Major League players you need right now to win.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason



The Giants may rank 6th overall in MLB payroll but the drop-off from the top four teams to where San Francisco sits is steep.

Detroit is 5th with 6.5% more payroll money than SF, but Boston is 4th with 7.4% more (that's over $10 million). 

That $10m plus the $3m the team absolutely wasted on signing Andres Torres before the 2013 season could have gotten a real live run producing left fielder (like Nick Swisher).

The payroll gap widens from there. The Phillies with the 3rd highest MLB payroll, is a whopping 18% higher than the Giants (+$25 million), and the Dodgers at $216.5 million are 54% higher than SF (over $76 million). 

The Yankees top out at #1 with $228.8 million.

Bottom line: the Giants front office is still trying to pretend to be a "small market" team to the fans and the media to keep their payroll in check. When you look at the revenue the Giants take in every year it's obvious they are perfectly able to write paychecks with Boston or Philadelphia (and beyond).

We both agree on this caveat: it doesn't matter how much you spend on players if you don't spend smart.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason


@Robert Haymond  

No manager has ever tried this approach to assembling a batting line-up (and I think it's unlikely it ever will be tried out).

An updated version of my Mobius Strip Theory will be coming out here in in October 2013.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Designing a Mathematically High-Tech Batting Order Part 2: The Mobius Strip Theory | April



You make some very good points, Matt. The average team payroll is changing every year.

But one thing sticks in my craw (wherever that may be, anatomically speaking): the realities of MLB free agency.

Free agent hitters do not look to sign with teams that have a "hitters" ballpark. And free agent pitchers do not look to sign with teams that have a "pitchers" ballpark.

That is one of the great myths about free agency.

If that myth was remotely true, then no free agent pitchers would ever sign with the Red Sox, the Cubs, or Philadelphia, etc. And yet they do all the time.

And no free agent hitters would ever sign with the LA Angels, the Dodgers, the Mets, or the Texas Rangers, etc. And yet they do all the time.

For (I truly hope) the very last time: free agent MLB players sign with the team that pays them the most money for the most years! Virtually 98% of the time!

And it doesn't matter a damn about the ballpark being "hitter friendly" or "pitcher friendly".

Hunter Pence, like every other free agent player in history, stated he "wanted to stay" in San Francisco because he "loves it there" [or St. Louis, or Oakland, or Baltimore, or Cleveland, or Seattle, etc.]. It's what their agents tell them to say, because it's good PR.

And the Giants overpaid for Pence by two years and at least $1 million per year. That's how they got him-- not because "he loves San Francisco". 

And that doesn't make Pence a bad guy (or mean that he doesn't actually "like" San Francisco)-- it's just a reality check about money.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason


@Robert Haymond  

I have to agree with you. There is a good chance the Giants front office/ownership will just ignore the realities of what is needed to win to make the post season, and simply play to the media/market and spin whatever they do.

Look at the terrible, aging veterans the Giants have signed over the past six or seven years to try and address critical needs-- paying too much for so little: Andres Torres, Dave Roberts, Miguel Tejada, Aaron Rowand, Edgardo Alfonso, Armando Benitez, Edgar Renteria, and on and on.

The Giants franchise is guaranteed to make money no matter what happens...   ... so why bother?

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason



By "root" I mean more seeing the potential value for Giants fans in the Dodgers doing well in the playoffs and (as Giants fans) not going crazy over it. 

I agree that, in the abstract, personal "rooting" and "supporting" of any team (even the Giants) has no effect on winning or losing (other than 42,000 fans yelling at the ballpark, which can rattle the other team). But we still root, either to affirm our loyalty or to increase the excitement. Or both.

And I certainly agree that a Dodger trip to the 2013 World Series will not automatically make Giants' ownership spend more money. But it just might.

I really enjoy getting opposing viewpoints. They expand the discussion and make me think-- two very worthwhile things. And thanks for reading!

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason



But Roger...   any circumstances?

What about-- if the Dodgers lose a game (any game) then baby pandas would die somewhere? 

What if it was the Dodgers versus the Taliban, best of seven, to see who holds the Olympic torch in the opening ceremonies next year in Russia?

OK. Then what if the Dodgers do well in the 2013 playoffs and that makes Giants ownership finally start to spend serious money on free agents, international player signings, and their hapless minor league system?

Are you with me compadre?

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason



You make some great points as far as the need for starting pitching.  Somehow this off-season San Francisco needs to find two quality starters to follow Cain and Bumgarner, and then find a fifth starter who can at least put up a .500 W/L year.  

I disagree with your statement that "Right now the Giants offense is good enough". That offense was one of the primary reasons the Giants finished 76-86 this season-- even with outstanding pitching a team rarely makes the post season scoring an average of 3.69 runs per game.

The Giants are celebrated for winning their recent World Series Championships with pitching. But in 2010 they scored 4.30 runs per game and in 2012 4.43 runs per game (and that was barely enough).

I really agree with your trade scenarios. Brian Sabean needs to rediscover the the art making major trades. And then make some.

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Is Hunter Pence the New Aaron Rowand, and Other Interesting Possibilities



Thanks for posting, BB!

As I wrote, the McCann scenario was in the "what if" category. It actually wasn't a "proposal" it was speculation. I'm also speculating that it would be awesome if the Giants somehow signed Jacoby Ellsbury. 

Hell, I'll make that a full out proposal!

I also wrote that Buster Posey is and will be the starting catcher for the Giants for a long time.

Pence just signed a $90 million 5 year deal ($18m a year) with the Giants, which means he will be 36 years old the final year. If the Giants continue to be aggressive in rebuilding this team, Pence fits in nicely in the #5 slot in the batting order, but San Francisco needs a lot more offensive to win. 

Remember, Hunter Pence played all season and the Giants are finishing 17 games out 10 games under .500.  

There's another point I made a few blogs ago. Free agent players virtually always sign with the team that offers them the most money. It doesn't matter to a free agent pitcher or hitter if the team offering the most money has a "hitters' " ball park or a "pitchers' " ball park.   

If it did matter then no free agent pitcher would ever sign with Boston, the Cubs, Philadelphia, etc. And they do all the time. And no free agent hitter would ever sign with the Dodgers, St. Louis,  Atlanta, etc. And they do all the time.

The other thing is: have you ever heard a soon-to-be free agent player not say to the local media "I really want to stay with the [Giants, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, the Yankees, etc.]"? They always say "I like it here"-- it's PR, it's what their agents tell them to say.

I noted above that the only way the Giants could sign Pence is if they met his projected market price of around $17 million per year on a multi-year deal. Well they did that and more-- at $18 million and five years they probably overpaid a bit.

As I said, I like Pence's bat and glove, so now let's hope he helps lead the 2014 team to another post season!  

9 months, 4 weeks ago on Is Hunter Pence the New Aaron Rowand, and Other Interesting Possibilities



Then we agree Giants55.

As I wrote above, the biggest difference between Aaron Rowand and Hunter Pence is power. And you are correct, in his 11 year career, Pence has hit 25 or more HRs four times (but also whacked 22 in 2011 and 24 in 2012).

Rowand helped lead the Chicago White Sox to win the 2005 World Series, and went to the post season in 2007 with the Phillies (when he had a tremendous season: .889 OPS, 27 HRs, 105 RS, and 89 RBI). Which was a big reason why the Giants signed him to a multi-year contract the next year.

I like Hunter Pence, and I like his bat and glove. But what I like better is for the Giants to make the best decisions they can to field the best team they can over the next five years and beyond.

9 months, 4 weeks ago on Is Hunter Pence the New Aaron Rowand, and Other Interesting Possibilities


@maxwell623 @JustinLove1  

The A's are one of a number of teams with whom the Giants could (and should) explore trades. 

But that's the problem. The organization has a low rated minor league system but keeps a death grip on the few decent prospects they have. Getting MLB-ready players right now is the top priority; as opposed to gambling that prospects who have not played one inning in the Majors will fully develop and become starters.

I can't see Oakland trading Cespedes for any reason-- he's a power-hitting run producer, he'll get better, and he's signed to a cheap multi-year contract. Gary Brown's stock has dived the past year, can't see why any team would want him.

I think trading Sandoval would be the right move- he has value and he'll bring back value. His conditioning issues and ongoing injuries lowers his potential return but it may be that it's time he moves on.

10 months ago on The Giants Face a Big Challenge: How to Become Relevant in 2014


@maxwell623 @RDyer  

Probably not. 

Abreu has "American League" written all over him and I'm guessing the Boston Red Sox, who need a power bat at 1B, would easily absorb a four year $12 million a year deal for him.

ESPN noted Abreu's potential is real-- he is a massive power hitter who could hit for average if he gets his act together. But there are conditioning issues that could make having both Abreu and Sandoval in the same infield very problematical.

And while 26 isn't over the hill it makes a five or six year deal dicey. I guess I'm saying I could see the Giants pulling the trigger because they, 1) have a need; and, 2) are prone to making contract mistakes with players outside the organization.

So as far as Abreu I kind of hope they don't pull that trigger. What do you think?

10 months, 1 week ago on The Giants Face a Big Challenge: How to Become Relevant in 2014



Hey maxwell623-- thanks so much! 

In 2014 Brian Sabean will hit 18 years as the Giants' GM and Bruce Bochy will have been the team's Manager for 8 years. You hope that an organization so used to doing things a certain way and so rooted in the past still has the ability to be  flexible and creative. 

Because that's what it's going to take.

10 months, 1 week ago on The Giants Face a Big Challenge: How to Become Relevant in 2014


@Sabean Wannabe@RDyer 

Agreed as far as Tim Lincecum. It will be interesting to see if the Giants re-sign him and how he'll do as a Giant in 2014.

You noted eight Giants players drafted since 2006 to demonstrate that the Giants have not been “mediocre” in their first year player drafts.

Actually Sergio Romo was drafted in 2005 and Jonathan Sanchez in 2004.

So in 9 drafts between 2004 and 2012, which is somewhere around 45-50 players a year or about 410 players drafted by the Giants, we have eight good examples to point to?

Well, really seven because not only do I not think Jonathan Sanchez is a player that “a lot of teams would love to have”, the Giants, Kansas City, Colorado and Pittsburgh all agreed with me.

And as much as I love Brandon Belt (and I still think he has a good chance to take over at first base and start pounding the ball), he hasn’t clicked in yet. So really, we’re talking six players

So six players? That’s exactly why,, and a host of other respected sites all rank the Giants farm system 25th or 26th out of 30 MLB teams.

I said the Giants drafts were mediocre, they’ve actually been terrible. There are no position players ready to come up. There are no pitchers ready to come up. Eric Surcamp? Minor league lifers like Brett Pill?

I also disagree with your anecdotal evidence about why it’s bad to bid on free agents.

For every Josh Hamilton you name, there many more successes:  Miguel Cabrera, C C Sabathia, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Randy Johnson (just to name a few wildly successful free agents signings in your time frame).

But I will agree signing high-priced free agents can sometimes be a crapshoot— look at Mark Teixeira and Albert Pujols and the problems they’ve had.

11 months, 3 weeks ago on Giants Choose Mediocrity to Appease Fanbase at Trade Deadline


@Sabean Wannabe@RDyer 

I appreciate the follow-up response!

All due respect, it’s absurd to “name the names” of potential minor league players the Giants could have traded for by dealing upcoming free agents Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, or Javier Lopez.

There are, what, 250 minor league teams with 6,200 players throughout the Minors. Picking obvious or hidden talent from that data base for a potential trade is, a) a waste of time, and, b) completely misses the point.

I have no idea how thorough or smart the Giants’ assessment of minor league talent is-- they may or may not be smart enough to identify hidden minor league talent beyond the top 20 prospects listed on each MLB team’s official website.

So if you simply want the obvious minor league names we already know about, just go to the other 29 MLB websites and see what’s there.

Brian Sabean is an old school GM whose cloak-and-dagger approach to dealing with other GMs, with the sports media, and with the public is tired and out of date.

I frankly don’t think his style lends itself to making innovative trades or deals in general. And the 2011 Zack Wheeler-for-Beltran trade is the kind of thing that an old school GM doesn’t recover from— they just get even more cautious and unwilling to take chances.

A side note on Nate Schierholtz:
He hasn’t made “changes to his swing” or improved his output at all. What he did was get signed by the Chicago Cubs and any hitter playing half their games in Wrigley Field will see their OPS and BA go up. Even Schierholtz.

At home this season, Schierholtz is hitting .286 with a .878 OPS. But on the road (back in the real world) Schierholtz is hitting .252 and his OPS is almost 100 points lower at .781. Which is much closer to his 7 year career BA of .269 and OPS of .747. So, no, Nate Schierholtz hasn’t magically become a better hitter.

I obviously disagree on the Giants standing frozen after Lincecum’s no hitter. But once again, you attributed something to me that I did not say: “he would bring a great package of young players in a trade”. In this blog I actually didn’t say anything about what compensation the Giants could have gotten for Lincecum.

But four blogs back (“Tim Lincecum’s No-Hitter Gives Giants Management a Rare Opportunity”) I did say this: “The Giants should take the bold step of moving Lincecum very soon, with a specific goal of getting several actual prospects in return.

This is a team that should currently be making a series of organizational needs assessments with an eye toward the 2014 season and beyond.”

This isn’t about a “great package of young players”, this is about getting some potential talent into the lower minor leagues that might be developed for the future, beyond 2014. San Francisco’s years of mediocre player drafts is limiting what they can do, but let’s not be in the same situation in 2015 or 2016.

In talking about what the Giants can do to improve their outfield through free agency, you seem to be stuck in the 1970s mindset that this is a “small market” team without revenue: “There is little chance the Giants outbid the Yankees, Boston, Angels, or Cubs”. That's completely untrue.

The Giants are 6th richest MLB team and in the top 10 in revenue. They have three starters (Cain, Lincecum, Zito) who made a combined $62 million in 2013, and three players with contracts over $125 million—Posey ($167m), Cain ($127.5m), and Zito ($126m).

San Francisco actually can “outbid” any other team in baseball if they chose to but apparently Giants ownership enjoys the profits they get each year by keeping their payroll down (and who can blame them?).

But maybe the biggest myth in your post is that “hitters don’t want to play here [AT&T Park]”. In reality, great hitters sign with the team that pays them the most money. Period.

Otherwise you must think that, a) Buster Posey is an idiot to have signed a 9 year contract with the Giants; and, b) the fact that the Giants won two World Series in three years means absolutely nothing to a free agent player.

11 months, 3 weeks ago on Giants Choose Mediocrity to Appease Fanbase at Trade Deadline


Three things:
1. Thanks for your response to the blog. I actually appreciate people reading my posts and then being moved enough to take the time to respond in writing.

2. You made a number of incorrect statements and assumptions about what I wrote (see my original post). You also made several factual errors. All are corrected below.

3. Quote from your comment: "You are either misinformed or uneducated......there is simply no meat to your comments."
This is why blogs (and responses to blogs) are not taken seriously by the real sports writing world or reasonable people interested in Major League Baseball.

It's not enough to simply offer another opinion or to disagree with something another person has written. No, the person you disagree with also has to be "stupid", or you have to tell them they just don't know as much as you do about Major League Baseball. For some reason, that's important.

That way, I guess, your opinion seems more right and correct, while the other person is either "misinformed" or "uneducated". How wonderful.

So, as to #2 above:

Several things you said I said, but I actually did not say include:

1. “Just bring up the young guys from the minors and all will be well.”
2. “Youth=good.”

Never said that, never implied that.

As I wrote in this post (and in any number of previous posts the past year), the San Francisco Giants have a minor league talent pool rated at about 25 of 30 MLB teams (see

They can’t “Just bring up the young guys...” because they have no talented young guys to bring up. What they need to do (again, see the post above) is to start stocking their minor league system with A and B prospects brought in through trades to try and upgrade their terrible minor league system.

So, had the Giants pulled the trigger on a Tim Lincecum trade after he threw his no hitter, they would have gotten several B+ rated minor league talents in return. Exactly what they desperately need in Single A and  Double A. You know, for the future.

And, yes, not only do I follow, but they frequently publish “The Giants Cove” in their Friday “Baseball Blogs Weigh In” feature. Including the above post.

As far as Hunter Pence and Javier Lopez , those were guys the Giants should have seriously tried to trade. Again, they would have gotten several of the B or B+ prospects they desperately need in their minor league system.

I disagree that the outfield position is a “thin free agent market next year”.
2014 free agent outfielders include Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox), Curtis Granderson (Yankees), Shin-Soo Cho (Reds), Coco Crisp (Oakland), and Michael Morse (Seattle)-- all either upgrades over Pence or at his level.

The final point is qualifying offers (which, as crazy as this sounds, I am very familiar with).

Signing Tim Lincecum for a $14 million qualifying offer is a waste of money based on his performance the past three years. And even if the Giants did sign him for 2014 and he had a decent year, he’s just going to leave the Giants for a multi-year contract with another team in 2015.

And now there’s a possibility both Lincecum and Pence can play out the year with the Giants, become free agents, then sign with another team. And the Giants get nothing for them.

Getting a “sandwich pick” in the next draft if Pence and/or Lincecum leave is nothing compared to the established minor league players the Giants would have received in trades. Very few draft picks, and damn few “sandwich” picks, ever even get as far as the minor leagues.

All in all, you seem to support old school approach Brian Sabean took at the 2013 trade deadline: the Giants have utterly tanked, they have a number of problems at the Major League level, and they have tons of problems at the minor league level. So do nothing.

11 months, 3 weeks ago on Giants Choose Mediocrity to Appease Fanbase at Trade Deadline


Sabean Wannabe said

I'm sorry, Richard.  You are either misinformed or uneducated......there is simply no meat to your comments.

You simply are unaware of what kind of trade value these players have.  Please explain to me what kind of player the Giants could have received for Tim Lincecum?  Plenty of teams would have gladly given a AA second baseman with .650 OPS for that your recipe for a successful future?  And remember, Lincecum has a partial no-trade clause.  Even if the Giants worked a trade with a team who wanted to use him as a reliever, he could deny it.

Plenty of fans mistake youth for talent.  The team is doing bad?........just bring up the young guys from the minors and all will be well.  Also, lets trade our veterans for some more young guys, because remember - youth = good.  Everyone remembers Wheeler for Beltran and assumes the everyone the Giants trade will bring back a similar prospect......its simply not the case.

This simple fact is that there are only a handful of Giants players who would bring back anything significant in a trade.  Posey and Bumgarner for sure.  Romo probably has decent trade value - and probably Cain.  Everyone else is spotty.  Think about Pence.  We didn't give up much to get him last year and that's when we had control over him for a year and two months.  What is someone going to give up for only two months?
If you follow MLB Trade Rumors (a pretty good site for these issues), you'll find that the Giants were dangling Lopez and Pence (and maybe Lincecum).  But they had a high price and no one met the price.
Your article fails to mention a key piece of information - the new free agent rules regarding draft pick compensation.  Teams with free agents can make these players what is called a "qualifying offer".  That is a one year contract at a pre-determined price.  In 2014 it is estimated to be approx. $14 million.  The Giants plan to make a qualifying offer to both Pence and Lincecum.  In Pence's case, I'm sure they will try and sign him to a muli-year contract at roughly the same rate (say 3 years/$40M+ or 4 years $55M - something like that).  If he declines, they may just get him at the one year for $14M which is OK.  If he signs with another team, the Giants get a sandwich pick - a pick between the first and second rounds of the draft, likely a top 50 pick.  So in dangling Pence at the trade deadline, the other team's offer has to be better than what the Giants estimate is the value of one of the top 50 players available in next year's draft.
The same goes with Lincecum.  The Giants will make a qualifying offer.  However, I don't expect the Giants to make a multi-year offer and I don't expect another team to make Lincecum a multi-year offer that beats $14M a year - especially if they lose a draft pick in doing so.  That means the Giants will have Lincecum for one year at $14M and are clearly hoping he uses it as a "contract/walk year" and increases his performance in order to get a big contract the next year.
The way they handled Pence and Lincecum at the trade deadline I think was the smartest way to go about.
Besides, if they trade Pence now and don't resign him next year, who plays the outfield?  Its a thin free agent market next year and the Giants don't have anyone ready to step into that role, nor would they have received a major league ready outfielder in such a trade.

11 months, 3 weeks ago on Giants Choose Mediocrity to Appease Fanbase at Trade Deadline



Actually I didn't say anything about, "That is let's trade players before everyone knows they are damaged goods."

First of all, there are zero secrets in baseball so one GM wouldn't think of trying to fool another GM by trading a damaged player to them.

And if a baseball organization did try that, the media would make it the lead sports story that night and that team's reputation would immediately go to hell. 

Lincecum's stats and the problems he's had the past several years are accessible and known by everyone. But he just threw a no-hitter and that's enough to make some teams think he might just be turning it around.

Including the Giants...

1 year ago on Tim Lincecum's No-Hitter Gives Giant Management A Rare Opportunity



I hope that's not the case, but you may be on the mark with Sandoval and all his various injuries. 

I see him as part of the basic go-forward foundation because of his past performance. Along with Posey he's been a key contributor to the offense, especially in the 2012 post season. We can hope what Pence will do, or what Brandon Belt or Brandon Crawford might turn into, but Sandoval has done it.

But when you add the conditioning issue, you wonder where his career might be heading. I do think Sandoval belongs at first base next year.

1 year ago on Tim Lincecum's No-Hitter Gives Giant Management A Rare Opportunity



It is difficult to understand why this team came apart so quickly. Sure, injuries and slumps contributed but all teams go through that. 

I think the team they built in Spring Training had major flaws and that house of cards did not last long into the season before it came down.

As late as May 26th the Giants were in 1st place having just taken two out of three at home against the Rockies. On June 23rd they were in 2nd place-- but that's the date the Great Collapse of 2013 started.

From June 23rd through July 10th San Francisco went 2-14 and woke up with a 40-50 record in 4th place. And that was just a matter of weeks ago.

The Giants had a short window of opportunity to fix things but decided be cautious and stand pat. At the same time the Dodgers have been winning, making trades, improving their team. And Arizona is about to make some deals, which will keep them in the NL West hunt the rest of the season.

1 year ago on Stunning Interview With GM Brian Sabean: "You Can't Remake the Whole Team"



Brian Sabean's interview with reporter Tim Kawakami (see above) underscores what you're saying.

I hope they do what it takes to rebound in 2014. This is one of the top organizations in pro sports-- these are smart people who have the ability and the resources to remake this team. And, yes, there will be significant salary freed up at the end of 2013.

I also hope the local media and the broadcasters will not attempt to put frosting on this poop-cake simply to present a good face. They don't have to pretend that everything is OK for us to continue to support the Giants.

1 year ago on Dodgers Get Nolasco, Take Brian Sabean’s Lunch Money, As They Continue to Ascend in the NL West


@brdsscholarships @RDyer  

Sorry brds.
I thought you were being sarcastic to me. Sometimes my brain is running a minute behind my rear end. If I see you at the Field Club concessions, the Heineken is on me. (Even if you still don't read The Cove.)  

1 year ago on Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013



The sarcastic answer: "What? You mean you can't just pick players from another team and sign them to your team? Wow, I learn something new about baseball every day... ".

The straight answer: "Obviously in mid-season the Giants would have to make a trade to get some hitting. And as part of any trade the Giants, 1) can afford to pay any player's remaining salary as demanded by the other team; and, 2) can throw in any number of average prospects from their below average minor league system."

Like the Dodgers just did to get Ricky Nolasco.

1 year ago on Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013


@melwillard46 @RDyer @Bazil280  

Mel, you crusty old salt. Sometimes numbers do count and I'm not just talking about certain inches.

I am a sucker for statistical research. So when someone says "I wonder if the Giants tend to hit more home runs on the road in the second half of each odd-numbered season", I am off to the stat races.

I have a major numbers and information addiction, and long ago I had myself directly wired to To the delight of my family and friends.

But you are correct sir-- in some cases simply restating the argument, and using less stats, can also get the job done.

1 year ago on Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013



You caught me with my hand in the cookie jar-- a cookie jar from 1960.

I try to stay away from ERA, W/L, BA and RBI because they are one dimensional measures at best, and misleading as to a player's actual value. I also want to expand my statistical chops and those of my readers.

But for the sake of not repeating the phrase "run producer" 20 times per blog, I also try to vary the language.

And sometimes those stat measures are relevant. For instance,  I think ERA is a better measurement for closers than WHIP because they almost always come in at the start of an inning. But WHIP is a far more accurate measure for starting pitchers.

Anyway, rbes, let's continue to romp together down Sabermetric Lane...

1 year ago on Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013



Hey t, thanks for commenting.
I think your point is something to consider for the Giants' future. I understand the front office has a "win now" mentality after taking two WS, but this is an organization that could definitely benefit from getting high grade prospects from other organizations.

And you get quality prospects from other teams by trading quality players to them.

Especially with Vogelsong and Lincecum terming out in September, this may be one of those "clean-out" years for San Francisco. And, if there isn't a significant turnaround the next month, why not?

1 year ago on Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013




Thanks for the great comments!

First, let's look at the last 40% of their games in 2010 and 2012 (which is the final 64 games of each season).

> In 2010 the Giants scored 275 runs in their final 64 games-- that's 39% of their 697 total runs scored that season. A match.

> In 2012 the Giants scored 351 runs in the final 64 games-- that's 49% of their 718 total runs scored that season. Much better, but not overwhelming.

Numbers that better support what you're saying are the runs per game for April/May of each season:
Runs per game April/May 2010 = 4.2
Runs per game April/May 2012 = 4.0
Runs per game April/May 2013 = 4.5

So the 2013 team did slightly better than the 2010 team; and .5 runs per game better than the 2012 team.

But there are two important points here:
1. The 2013 team's run scoring in April/May is not representative of this team's offense-- they played over their heads. And for the record, 4.5 runs per game isn't exactly dominating-- especially when your pitching is falling apart.

The 90 runs they just scored in 27 June games (3.3 per game) is actually a better representation of this team's real offense. Expect July to be about the same (and August and September) unless they trade for one or two run producers before the trade deadline.

2. Runs per game is an essential measuring tool of any MLB offense. Even the Houston Astros can score 8 or more runs in a given game. The more games you factor in as the season progresses, the better picture you get of a team's real offense.

1 year ago on Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013



I couldn't agree more.

The Giants just won two games in a row, shutting out Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Which is a great boost and could allow them to have a winning road trip at a time when things looked bleak.

But the front office can't cross their fingers and hope that marginal players like Andres Torres, Gregor Blanco, and their talent-poor bench will somehow play above their abilities and take the NL West. The Giants' braintrust has been there before and I'm hoping they'll be proactive before the trade deadline. 

1 year, 1 month ago on Giants Unveil New Ad Catchphrase: "Together We've Hit the Bottom of the Barrel"


 @BJC007 I'm forced to agree. In a perfect world I would be on a strict daily schedule rigorously monitored by local mental health professionals. But until that time, I'll give you my laptop when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.--Richard Dyer




Wow, didn't mean to upset you so much (and I don't mean that sarcastically).

I’m not sure why opinions expressed in the past about sports (or the arts, or politics, etc.)  are sometimes used as “gotcha” moments to… what? Prove that the person who expressed those opinions is completely worthless and absolutely doesn’t know what they're talking about?


Given that, I hope you're also sending nasty emails to the hundreds of, MLBTV, FoxSports, and, and newspaper sports writer “experts” around the country who picked Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Detroit (respectively) to beat the Giants this postseason.


Thanks to the Giants winning the Series we now know those experts are actually really stupid.


And that’s one thing we apparently both agree on Mark--  hindsight creates 20/20 vision. Your chances of being “right” about something go up dramatically if you express your opinion about it after it has happened.


Having said that, your comments are legitimate given that I said what I said in 2011 about moving Brian Sabean out after Larry Baer took over control of the team. And, yes, that would be the same Brian Sabean who just won his second World Series in three years.


But here’s the thing: I wasn’t “wrong” in 2011, suggesting Larry Baer should replace Sabean. As any long time Giants fan will tell you, Brian Sabean has hardly been the perfect baseball god he is today since he became GM in 1993.


In his first 17 years as GM he made the World Series once, in 2002, and lost. Those 17 years included building an entire franchise around Barry Bonds, which brought excitement but damaged the team and its minor league player development.

Because of those decisions, the Giants’ minor league system is still rated at the bottom third of all MLB teams.


Then for six years (2004-2009) Sabean produced a series of losing teams populated with aging veterans and cast-off players, relying on AT&T Park to attract customers. I won’t even go into the many bad and expensive player contracts he sanctioned (Armando Benitez, Ray Durham, Edgardo Alfonso to name a few).


Given where Sabean had taken the team for so long, it appeared to me to be time for new leadership.


But the pitching came together in 2010 even though that team relied on imported hitters to score just enough runs to win. (That’s what is so great about the 2012 team—the pitching is still there, but now we have home-grown position player/hitters as well.)


Anyway, obviously I am really happy that Larry Baer did not replace Brian Sabean in 2011.


P.S.: You'll be happy to know I just turned down a position in the State Department to oversee our nuclear strike force arsenal. Keep posting and cheering on the Giants!


1 year, 8 months ago on Giants 2011 Freefall: Team Ownership Group Ousts Bill Neukom | September



Thanks Wolf! Great times for the Giants and their wonderful fans-- with even more good times to come.

1 year, 8 months ago on Giants 2012 World Championship: Baseball Served Hot and Fresh | October



Humanity would like to record that McCarver was making only making "a wee joke with the John 3:16 thing" except for two salient things: 1) McCarver is an idiot without a sense of humor; and, 2) he never makes "wee jokes", he can only stick his rather medium sized foot into his triple X size mouth.


Of course I say that with all due respect to Tim McCarver, his family, and the broadcasting community.

R. Dyer/da cove

1 year, 9 months ago on Tim McCarver Challenges the Theory of Intelligent Life on Earth | October




To me there's a difference between proving a player used performance enhancing drugs and "everyone views him as a cheater and undeserving".


Once you go down the "forget the facts, we know what really happened" road all of a sudden any insane thing anyone says is given legitimacy-- aliens from another planet built the Egyptian pyramids, the United States government was behind the 9/11 attacks, the DH is good for baseball. And so on.

As far as only Brewer fans singing Braun's praises and only Giant fans singing Melky's praises, I believe it pretty much worked that way before they had their drug run-ins. Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers probably did not sing their praises at any time.    


Unlike Braun (and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens) Melky Cabrera failed an MLB drug test through due process, was disciplined, and then admitted drug use. And I agree with you-- he did cheat, he was undeserving.


Believe me, Giants fans and the Giants organization are paying the price for Cabrera's drug use. The fanbase in San Francisco feels betrayed and sad. This is terrible time for Giant fans and for the organization, for the game and for Melky Cabrera.


The only positive here involves the integrity of the Game. Cabrera's downfall shows that Major League Baseball is at least trying to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs among players, but it's obviously an uphill battle.


1 year, 11 months ago on The End of a Beautiful Friendship: Melky Cabrera Suspended For Positive Drug Test | August



Twenty-five points plus these six-- that's 31 points. I have to admit that's a lot.

Of course, as I already said, I'm not eager to give up Gary Brown and/or Hector Sanchez. And you're right-- our minor league system is one of the worst in baseball right now and losing any promising prospect or rookie would not be helping this team's future.


But right now-- to seal the deal and be competitive in the playoffs-- the Giants need to score more runs. We have the bats to knock in runs (Cabrera, Posey, Sandoval), but we aren't getting men on base. Blanco has been a great upgrade over Andres Torres, but having a complete lead-off hitter right now would equal scoring more runs.Also, a good point on the left-handed bat versus a righty-- the Giants really need a right-handed power bat off the bench.


And now, with Casilla blowing 5 of his last 8 saves, there's an emergency need for an experienced closer.

2 years ago on The Upcoming Trade Deadline: Giant Surprises? | July


 @washou52 Can't really argue with that. Hey the Gigantes are in 1st place and surging, so why rock the boat?


Because sometimes you have to make a move. This is also about being competitive in the post season.

I would hate to see Hector Sanchez go (or Gary Brown), but, 1) Buster Posey is the catcher-- he's not moving to any other position; and, 2) Gary Brown hasn't had a Major League at bat yet. And you never know if even a great prospect is going to make in the Bigs.Michael Bourn is a valuable MLB player who can contribute now, and for the next 4-5 years to come.


2 years ago on The Upcoming Trade Deadline: Giant Surprises? | July


 @EarlNash I thought Stephen Piscotty from Stanford would have been a very solid pick; St. Louis knows what they're doing in the Draft.

Nolan Fontana from the University of Florida was not as highly regarded as a hitter, but he was pegged as a college player who had an excellent chance to develop.--Rich Dyer

2 years, 1 month ago on SF Giants Drop the Ball in 2012 Player Draft | June


 @Dhara Mistry Dhara--You are so right. My blog is to be loved! I could not have said it better. I am appointing you as the President of The Giants Cove Blog Fan Club. Which does not yet exist. Your duties are simple: read me, adore me, follow my direct orders.

So glad you are into baseball and the Giants-- everyone is equal among us, be you a new fan or long time tedious boring story-telling frump of a fan.Have to go eat cookies--- bye!--Rich Dyer

2 years, 2 months ago on Welcome to The Giants Cove | February


 @Marquis de Sadek

I have to disagree on both points. First the 2010 team starting staff and bullpen absolutely dominated the National League and dominated throughout the play-offs. The hitting, on the other hand, was average but got just enough runs to support the pitching.

And the front office and the broadcasters did everything they could to sell the poor position players produced by the Giants' minor league system from 2003-2009. Almost all of whom have magically disappeared.


But you're right-- Aaron Rowand and Dave Roberts were the other side of the smoke and mirrors we were supposed to buy into-- aging and/or overpriced veterans (Edgardo Alfonso, Miguel Tejada, Edgar Renteria, Roberts, Rowand, and on and on) who the Giants pretended were still good.


I have to agree with you somewhat on Nate Schierholtz. He does bring some value-- but what I really liked the past two years was Nate as the 4th outfielder and as a lefty pinch-hitter off the bench. It was nice to have him come in in the 8th or 9th inning in right field with that arm and he can hit the occasional extra base hit.

2 years, 3 months ago on Thoughts on the Final 25 Man Roster and Cuts Out of Spring Training | April


 @Marquis de Sadek

Marquis:If Nate Schierholtz is the second or third best hitter on your team you are in deep trouble. As I noted in detail in an earlier blog, Schierholtz's career numbers are that of a back-up outfielder at best. And mediocre players in their late 20s rarely suddenly become "great" (even if their first name rhymes with "great").


When the Giants front office gutted their minor league system of position players during the later Bonds years, they had to pretend that they were in fact producing hitters out of the minors. So they tried to sell the fans on players like John Bowker, Fred Lewis, Travis Ishikawa, Pedro Feliz, Nate Schierholtz and others. While mixing in a bunch of over the hill veterans.Those teams stunk. Now the Giants system is producing quality position players, and we'll start seeing more of them in 2013.

2 years, 3 months ago on Thoughts on the Final 25 Man Roster and Cuts Out of Spring Training | April



LauLau--Thanks for checking in and reading The Cove. The next couple of months should be a great build up to Spring Training 2012, and a great 2012 season.

Great to have you on board!

--Rich Dyer

2 years, 7 months ago on Giants Trade Two Players at the 2011 Dallas Winter Meetings | December



Can Opening Day get here fast enough? Sarah, I'm nominating you to be Acting President of the The Giants Cove Fan Club. Now raise your right hand...

2 years, 7 months ago on Money Talks, and Off-Season Moves May Surprise | December



Sarah--I am also waiting for a release from the giveaways of the San Fran cisco Giants. Can you help?

2 years, 7 months ago on San Francisco Giants Unveil 2012 Promotional Events | November



Charlotte, you and I have to meet and party like it's 1984 (or tomorrow).

2 years, 7 months ago on San Francisco Giants Unveil 2012 Promotional Events | November


Great to hear from -- a great SF Giants site-- check it out! I like a back-up outfielder who brings occasional extra-base power to the mix, along with the expected defense and great arm. Torres is a nice center fielder but he has no arm and 2010 looks very much like his one good offensive season.I couldn't take a repeat of last year from Torres-- neither can the Giants.

2 years, 8 months ago on Giants Trade Jonathan Sanchez to KC for Melky Cabrera | November


@LFJeremy Thanks JMatt-- Every sports fan has experienced those moments when they discovered or adopted a team-- whether it's MLB, NFL, etc. And you don't have to be 12 years old to qualify for that. I have no patience with long time fans who get all worked up and look down their noses at recent converts; these people need to put down the Red Bull, take their medication, and remember that they were once newby fans of their now much beloved team.Besides, in your case it sounds to me like the Giants have adopted you. So, therefore, with the powers invested in me as the author of The Giants Cove, perhaps the most prestigious of all SFG blogs, I officially welcome you as an equal among all Giants fans.

3 years, 3 months ago on Pure Joy and Happiness | April


Bloguin has a new comments system for their blogs. If you hit "Post Comment" you can sign up with Livefyre and make comments-- it's easy to do. You can also sign in using Facebook or Twitter.

3 years, 3 months ago on Pure Joy and Happiness | April