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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.
1 week, 5 days 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
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
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."
1 week, 6 days ago on SF Giants On a Spending Spree? Not So Far
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.
2 weeks 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.
@tzill @RDyer @LoneStarGiantFan
tzill--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.
@maxwell623 @RDyer Max--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.)
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.
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?
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.
2 weeks, 3 days 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.
1 month, 1 week ago on Giants Plan So Far: Bring Back the 2013 Losing Team
@sunzoom 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.
1 month, 2 weeks 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.
BaseballAmerica.com 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.
1 month, 4 weeks ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason
@MattMcComb 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.
2 months ago on Why Giants Fans Should Root for the Dodgers in the 2013 Postseason
Robert--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.
2 months ago on Designing a Mathematically High-Tech Batting Order Part 2: The Mobius Strip Theory | April
@MattMcCombYou 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.
RH-- 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?
@rogerwhite142 RW--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!
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?
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.
2 months 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!
2 months, 1 week ago on Is Hunter Pence the New Aaron Rowand, and Other Interesting Possibilities