Does anyone remember John Odom? He was the former Giants minor league pitcher who was traded for 10 bats sometime last year. I bet they had a ball making fun of that trade on the late night shows. An article came out in the San Francisco Chronicle today that reports about his death from a drug overdose. Something that was poked and proded as being something funny turned out to be tragic. An event like that really messes with your head after a while. A guy can only take so much. Apparently, the stunt wasn’t really done for publicity reasons. The team didn’t like to do cash trades because it would make the team appear financially unstable (if they wanted money back for a player), so instead, the team that traded him gave up 10 bats, which valued around $650. He actually has a link to Timmy too. Timmy bunked on his couch when they were teammates in Class A. Just goes to show that mental health is very important in how a baseball player turns out. I guess that’s why there are so many sports psychologists out there.
Archive for the General baseball news Category
So the Winter Meetings have come and gone and what have the Giants achieved this year since? A lot! They addressed major needs in the bullpen to support their young pitching staff and added an offensive bat with Edgar Renteria to fill in at short. Sabean has already pulled off an amazing offseason by addressing major needs without crippling the organization’s young farm system. They are rebuilding, but they are rebuilding smart. Their most recent acquisition is none other than the Big Unit himself, Mr. Randy Johnson. This not only provides a veteran presence in the starting rotation to anchor the young core, but also gives the Giants marketing department a field day with him approaching 300 wins. It’s not quite the same rotation if we had added Sabathia, but it definitely catapults the Giants to having one of the deepest rotations in the league: Lincecum/Cain/Johnson/Zito/Sanchez.
Meanwhile, the rest of the NL West are twiddling their thumbs, waiting for some miracle trade or signing to precipitate. In more recent news, the Giants have been linked to Manny Ramirez in several rumors. While this doesn’t make a lot of sense since the Giants are filled up with outfielders, Manny is an exception to the rule. Boras is correct when he labels Ramirez an icon. He is pretty much the second coming of Barry Bonds, circa 2001-02. Financially, the Giants are in no position to deal with such a big strain, but it could work if Manny agrees to a short-term 3-year deal. Unlike other players, he would partially pay for himself from all the memorabilia and ticket sales. But then the Giants would have to move one of their outfielders: Winn, Rowand, Lewis, Roberts, Schierholtz, which may prove to be difficult.
The collapse of the outfielder market has presented the Giants with a special opportunity. They passed up this chance a few years ago when they didn’t sign Vlad Guerrero. If they get the job done this time, they will be favorites in the weak NL West. We will see as the weeks progress…
The Giants have made a big splash into the free agency market this winter with three signings already. They have shored up their bullpen with Jeremy Affeldt and yesterday’s signing of Bobby Howry from the Cubs. They do not lose a draft pick because the Cubs declined salary arbitration to Howry. I initially did not like this move upon seeing Howry’s ERA and stats from last season, but upon closer inspection, I can see what the Giants’ front office is doing. They think that he was overworked and overused by Pinella last season and he should bounce back. They like him because he has good control with a low walk rate. Control has been an huge issue for not only the Giants’ bullpen, but all their pitchers last season. They hope that by adding two veteran arms in Affeldt and Howry, they can stabilize their bullpen. Bullpen issue…check.
Next, the Giants looked to fix their infield problems. They addressed that today with the expected signing of shortstop, Edgar Renteria. $18 million over 2 years seems steep for a shortstop of his calibur after an off year, but the shortstop market really is bleak this year. It transitions Omar Vizquel and the younger players who should be more major league ready in the next two years. It also prevents them from giving a boneheaded 4-year deal to Rafael Furcal.
This just in: Randy Johnson is interested in the Giants and vice versa. He is only five wins short of 300 and his starts next season would generate a lot of attendance. He wants to return home as he is from nearby Walnut Creek. The Giants would be a great fit because he’s already familiar with the NL West. There continues to be rumors swirling around the Giants and C. C. Sabathia. Rumors have died down about the Giants trading Sanchez for Cantu. The McCovey Chronicles cite that Cantu is a horrible defender at third and likens him to a Pedro Feliz who has 10 more home runs, but sucks at defense. In fact, they preferred a gloveless Feliz as a defender at third than Cantu. Can you imagine this rotation: Sabathia / Lincecum / Cain / Johnson / Zito. That would be four former Cy Young winners in the same rotation. Has that ever happened in history before? I’m not sure.
In position players, the Giants seem to be almost done. Sabean has made it clear he isn’t looking for any outfielders. If the right trade comes up, he would pull the trigger on trading a young arm for a good bat. More to come in the coming weeks…
This just in from Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports: The Giants are close to signing Renteria but are also discussing trading Jonathon Sanchez for Jorge Cantu with the Florida Marlins. Man would that piss off Mario over at Wax Heaven even more or what? MLBtraderumors.com thinks that’s a steal for the Marlins because they got Cantu for nothing last year, but on the contrary, Sanchez has been wildly inconsistent. He was very impressive in the first half of last season, but really fell apart during the second half. I would definitely pull the trigger on this trade if I were the Giants. They instantly pick up a power hitting infielder (unless last year was a fluke). Would Renteria and Cantu be better than the young prospects the Giants have right now for the middle infield? Probably, but what happened to the youth movement? I think they might be gearing up for a run at the division title next year if this happens because the West is very weak.
On another note, MLBtraderumors.com reports that Lincecum is open to a long-term extension deal rather than going year-to-year. This would benefit the Giants to lock him up for years to come. That should be their #1 priority and keeping the kid happy for the next few years. He is the new face of the franchise in addition to being “The Franchise.”
BTW, here are some pictures from yesterday’s SFgate article on Lincecum during his motion capture session for the 2K Sports video game:
The offseason doesn’t necessarily mean the end of baseball news. In many ways, it actually gets more exciting because of all the rumors flying left and right. First of all, let’s go over what the Giants’ goals are for the offseason. Coming off another losing season, the Giants are at least on the right track in terms of rebuilding. After trading Matt Williams in the controversial 1997 trade, Sabean said “I’m not an idiot.” Do I think he’s an idiot now? No, not quite. He might be a bit lucky for not trading Lincecum last winter for Alex Rios (he was pretty close to doing so). If you ever read the McCovey Chronicles, it’s a great Giants blog that paints Sabean as an idiot. It’s a funny read. Here’s one of their hilarious comics from last year’s winter meetings:
With a new managing partner in Bill Neukom, the front office is looking to improve in a number of areas this winter:
(1) Improve the bullpen – Last year, they blew it for Lincecum and cost him at least five wins.
(2) Upgrade one of the middle infield positions – The defense loses 11-time Gold Glove winner and fan favorite, Omar Vizquel.
(3) Add a big bat – The Giants were one of the worst run production teams in the majors last year.
What have they done so far? They made the first splash into the free agent market by signing Jeremy Affeldt to a two year, $8 million dollar contract. It’s a smart move because he’s one of the top arms in the free agent market, strengthens the bullpen, short contract, and he’s also a lefty.
What are some of the rumors? Recently, the Giants have been linked to Edgar Retinera and Bobby Howry. Retinera is one season removed from hitting over .300 but his average dropped to .270 last year and also had lapse defense. Personally, I think the money would be better spent elsewhere and just stick with up and coming Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen, Eugenio Velez, or Ivan Ochoa. Retinera was a Type A free agent, which would have cost the Giants a second round draft pick, but the Tigers declined offering him arbitration yesterday. There was a false rumor last week that the Giants signed him for a two-year, $18 million dollar contract. $9 million per year for a .270 infielder? Seriously? Well, at least it’s a short term deal and prevents the Giants from going after Rafael Furcal. I still think the $9 can be better spent on paying half of the $20+ million for Sabathia or Ramirez. Speaking of which, yesterday an article came out in the Chronicle where Lincecum was campaigning for Sabathia. That kind of rotation would be crazy and would definitely be tops in the majors: Sabathia/Lincecum/Cain/Zito/Sanchez. Howry is another reliever, who I think the Giants can do without. They like him for his control and lack of walks, but I see no point if he still gives up hits. He had an ERA over 5 and it ballooned to over 6 after the All-Star break last season. Rumor has it that the two should be signed by the end of this week or early next week. The Giants still lack the big bat that they sorely need. I say, get Manny Ramirez at any cost. It will also boost ticket sales and he will practically pay for himself.
Speaking of ticket sales, due to the bad economy, the Giants are keeping the prices the same for the most part. Next season, they are trying a new thing called “dynamic ticket prices.” The price of tickets will fluctuate up and down even up until game time based on conditions such as weather, the team played, special occasions, etc. For example, a Dodgers game would cost more than a game versus the Brewers. The price wouldn’t vary significantly, but anywhere form .25-$5.00. Interesting concept.
Life since the Cy Young has been bleak. By life I mean eBay and by bleak I mean rising prices for Lincecum’s cards. It’s great for a collector who buys low and sells high, but I am not one of those types and I just hold on to his cards just because I am a fan of his work. Yes I call it work because pitching is an art form. Anyway, right before the award was announced last Tuesday, I managed to pick up my last three cards of his for great bargain deals (of course they were purchased on Sundays). The most expensive one was the Topps Finest for $9 and the cheapest one was the Tristar Elegance for a few cents under $4. Overall, it was a nice trifecta. I’ve been looking for the Topps Finest for a while now at a good price and I finally got it. It’s probably one of my favorite cards just based on appearance and when I got it in hand today, everything was pristine and sharp. As of now, the collection stands at 61 cards and it will probably remain stagnant for a while.
In other news, the Giants signed their first player from the free agency pool today. Jeremy Affeldt is a relief pitcher from the Reds and signed for a supposed 2-year, $8 million deal. A nice addition to the bullpen and it should help bridge the gap between the starters and setup and closer for us. Personally, I don’t like to see relief pitching getting as much money as they do for pitching one inning, but they are pretty important nowadays as starters go less deep into games and the caution managers take with pitch counts. Rumor has it that the Giants are strongly pursuing Rafael Furcal and also Joe Beimel. I’m very iffy about a Furcal signing just because I am nervous about giving a player coming off surgery a 4-year deal at $10-12 million each. We’ll see how things shape up in the coming weeks, but a great start.
I also sent some packages out last week to a number of bloggers so let me know if you receive your packages.
If you haven’t heard by now, you have been probably living in a cave for the past 3 hours, or you’re just not an avid of a Giant’s fan as I am. Either way, Lincecum has won the 2008 NL Cy Young Award by a landslide. He received 23 of 32 first place votes for 137 points with Brandon Webb a far second, followed by Johan Santana. It’s great when your favorite player wins such a huge award. Now all his cards will probably skyrocket on eBay so I will probably be avoiding that for a while (unless it’s Sunday). He now joins Mike McCormick as the only San Francisco Giant to win the award. I’m so elated, there is nothing else to write. I will leave you all with links to all the articles detailing his historic win.
First e-mailed to me by Mario from Wax Heaven, Tim is now also the poster boy for MLB 2K9 the video game. You can find the article here.
NL Cy Young Award Contest (Update):
Nobody hit the nail on the head in terms of points, but the closest person was TheJaw with a guess of 128 points. Jim Hansen had a guess of 140 points and 22 1st place votes (off by only 3 and 1 respectively), but unfortunately, due to the upheaval of “rules are rules,” he sent his answer in a couple days past the deadline. TheJaw send me an e-mail to claim your prize with your address and I’ll get that out ASAP. Congratulations!