Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Tidbits

  • The Giants made their first cuts today: Ramon Ortiz, Ronnie Ray, Pat Misch, Todd Jennings, and Josh Phelps are all moving down to minor-league camp. Ortiz is no surprise, given his completely abysmal outings. Notably, Phelps' reassigment may indicate the Giants' confidence in Travis Ishikawa as a full-time player, as Phelps would have been Ishikawa's platoon partner at 1B. Rich Aurilia is still a possibility at first, but Ishikawa will most likely get more at-bats against lefties this spring rather than sitting out.
  • Fangraphs: now with 100% more ZiPS!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Breaking Down the Bullpen

One of the bullet points that headed the Giants’ proverbial offseason to-do list was to improve the bullpen, especially middle relief. Thankfully, they signed Jeremy Affeldt and Bob Howry to set up Brian Wilson, but there are still four spots available, making the ‘pen one of the more interesting spring training battles to watch.

We know that the three late inning guys don’t have much to worry about in terms of their roles, but everything is up in the air for the rest of the pitchers.

List of pitchers who have a chance of earning a spot:
Alex Hinshaw
Osiris Matos
Luis Perdomo
Kelvin Pichardo
Sergio Romo
Billy Sadler
Jack Taschner
Merkin Valdez
Justin Miller
Brandon Medders
Keiichi Yabu
Ramon Ortiz
A few disclaimers before we move on: Pichardo and Yabu were optioned down to AAA today, and Romo is sidelined for at least another week with an elbow sprain. Ortiz, whom the Giants signed from the Orix Blue Wave in Japan, has not impressed at all. Hinshaw and Taschner have been erratic so far, and Valdez is still recovering from his offseason surgery and hasn’t thrown off a mound yet.

Considering Romo’s successful bullpen stint in 2008, he was probably next in line for a spot this season. Now that he’s out for a while, this opens up the competition for the remaining pitchers. NRI Justin Miller has a good chance of winning that spot, as CHONE’s predictions make him one of the Giants’ top-tier relievers this season. Additionally, he has some control, something that most of the bullpen lacks. If Rule 5 draftee Perdomo continues his nice outings for the rest of spring, he’ll earn a spot on the 25-man roster as will. Matos also has a good chance considering a clean couple of spring outings and a decent performance in 2008 as a call-up from AA, but he still has an option and would be better off pitching in AAA.

So, my Opening Day bullpen lineup:
Romo (I’m banking on his coming back)
Hinshaw (You could put Sadler here, seeing as he’s a hard thrower with no control, too)

Bring up Yabu in the event that Hinshaw or Perdomo implodes.


Update: I forgot to mention that the Giants released Dave Roberts so that, according to Sabean, they can take longer looks at Nate Schierholtz and Eugenio Velez. Plus, since he's been released this early in spring, Roberts has a chance to join another club. The Giants will have to eat the $6.5 million he would have made this season.

I thought Roberts was a cool and likeable guy, and he was effective when he wasn't battling injuries like he was the majority of last season, but it was clear that he didn't really have a place on the team anymore. I hope he gets picked up by another team.

In more exciting news, Merkin Valdez is available to pitch on Friday! He's not going to look as sharp as he was when he started in place of Lincecum in that funky rain-delayed game last season, but here's hoping he's recovered fully from his surgeries. If he pitches well, I'm going to have to shuffle my predictions a bit.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Manny is a Dodger Again

Thank God it's over. Now we can get back to baseball.

Monday, February 16, 2009

To Be in Arizona

The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again. - A. Bartlett Giamatti
Thoughts from the first two days of spring training:
  • No talks for a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum as of yet. He cannot pursue free agency until after 2013, but a contract similar to what Matt Cain and Noah Lowry signed a couple springs ago would be mutually beneficial for him and the Giants. One, the Giants have, as Andy Baggarly states it, "cost certainty" with him; two, Tim could sign for an even bigger contract at the end of this proposed one; and three, his salary is guaranteed if (God forbid) he gets injured.
  • Henry Schulman writes that Fred Lewis reported to camp fifteen pounds heavier in muscle. From this photo taken by Giantfan9 (don't forget, Giants Jottings is back up for spring training), it does look like he's heavier in the quad area.
    Excuse my irrational spring training optimism, but couple Lewis' extra muscle and recovery from his bunion surgery, he could very well hit 20 HR's this season (though all the projection systems have knocked him for last season's unsustainable .367 BABIP and predicted only 9-10 HR's for him).
  • Speaking of power, guess who's leading the Giants in spring training HR's? Buster Posey. He hit four today, including one to right field, giving him a total of six to date. It's hard not to be excited when you could have this guy in the majors sometime this season.
  • Something interesting to note: Giantfan9 reports that Pablo Sandoval isn't working out with the catchers, which means he'll most likely be working the corners once full squad training begins. His playing 1B/3B will get him more AB's than if he only played catcher. However, Sandoval's offense and glovework make him more valuable at catcher. We'll see how this goes over the course of the spring.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


It's officially one week before hope springs eternal again. If you're one of those unlucky souls who couldn't go to Fanfest today, tune into to listen to all the interviews. Some of my friends have promised to take pictures of the event, so look for those to go up sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Nothing like a 2 1/2 month leave and an accidental Flickr purge to make you miss writing for an old blog that is more like a stream-of-consciousness outlet. I think it was the Flickr purge that did it, though, seeing as I don't have the monies to pony up for a pro account and had to delete the original TFRJ banner to clear up space.

In those weeks...
...everything the Giants did was (OMGZ!) logical and reasonable. No mortgaging the future on Manny Ramirez. No trading away Jonathan Sanchez. Shoring up the bullpen by inking Affeldt and Howry to short-term deals, and doing the same with Renteria and Phelps. Now, having Uribe as backup SS/3B, the roster as currently constructed is probably what we're going to get come Opening Day. Though the team is still lacking in the power department, the Giants should feasibly hit more than last season's total of 94 home runs, especially with full seasons from Sandoval, Ishikawa, Frandsen, and Lewis.

...the Sharks have become the Bay Area's darling (read: winning) franchise. Much of their success has come McClellan's new puck possession, shot-on-goal philosophy: the Sharks' blueline has greatly improved from its 2007-08 predecessors, thanks to the acquisitions of Boyle, Blake, and Lukowich. Though they hit a rough patch in the beginning of January, their play has trended back up as of late, and even Alexei Semenov has started to notch some points.

...the 49ers, after 8 OC candidates, finally settl on Jimmy Raye. Probably the best aspect that Raye offers is his extensive experience in the NFL. Probably the worst thing is that after that buzz around Linehan, Raye isn't anyone I'm too familiar with, but Singletary knows what's best for the 49ers.

...the Warriors have regressed mightily from the 2007-08 season. Part of it hinges on the injury bug that has taken a liking to nearly every player in Nellie's rotation. The other part is the lack of defense that Nellie's running game perpetuates. On average, the Warriors give up a -4.8 point differential and a 46.6% opponent FG%, but to their credit, their W-L record should be 16-30 rather than 14-32, a result of several buzzer-beater losses. The team should benefit as Monta Ellis comes back to full speed (pun partially intended).

All in all, it's good to be back

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tim Lincecum, Cy Young Winner

*cue 1812 Overture*