Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giants begin their title defense tomorrow!

The San Francisco Giants begin their World Series title defense tomorrow!

I just love writing that!

Brandon Belt made the roster pushing Travis Ishikawa to the waiver wire, and Aubrey Huff to right field.  Ishi can still be traded, but I doubt that any team is gonna give up too much for him when they could get him for nothing when he clears waivers.  The Giants could send him to Fresno and he could refuse that to become a free agent. His future is in limbo right now.

Huff in right gives the Giants a projected starting lineup of Torres, Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Burrell, Belt, Sandoval, and Tejada.  It seems to be a slightly more potent lineup than last season and they have a very deep bench with Fontenot, Schierholtz, Mark Derosa, and Eli Whiteside.  Any one of those guys could start on the right team.  That's saying something since this team was searching for depth, particularly at shortstop, this offseason.

Oh yeah, I forgot Aaron Rowand is on the bench too.  Hopefully he is the one who gets the ax when Ross comes off the DL, but there is a very real possibility that Nate goes.  Not because it is the best move for the Giants, but because it really appears that the Giants are gonna let Rowand clog up a roster spot for the duration of his albatross of a contract.  I think that Nate is more valuable to the club but what are you gonna do?

It's so great to be done with Spring training!  Lincecum Vs. Kershaw tomorrow at 5pm!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Training is too long

Today, the Giants found out that Spring Training is way too long.

In addition to getting blasted by the Angels 8-0.  Cody Ross got injured, Matt Cain got lit up, and Brian Wilson had a setback in his recovery from what is being called an "oblique strain".

On second thought maybe spring training is long enough!  This way the Giants can get all of these little injury bugs over and done with.

On the Cain's outing:  He is just getting into the rhythm of things and he doesn't have the luxury of working the offseason kinks out against the minor leaguers the way the other pitchers did earlier in the spring.  The guy who hit the 3 run bomb that made Cain's line for the day look so bad?  Bobby Abreu.  You may have heard of him.  Of course we would all like to see Matty continue his scoreless inning streak from last postseason, but as far as I know nobody has ever posted a career ERA of 0.00.  Although it would be nice to see one of the Giants' starters do it!

On Brian Wilson's injury:  "People might think I'm superhuman, but ... correction. I am superhuman. But, realistically, in six days I'm not going to be 1,000 percent. I'm going to be 990. I'm just going to take it day by day."  is what Wilson told reporters after his game of catch.  I'm going to listen to him and take him at his word because as he said: "I know my body, I know what I'm capable of doing. I'm not worried about what other people are thinking. I'm going to do what the doctors tell me and control what I can control. Ideally, everyone would have liked to have me healed the night I was injured."  I hope he is powering down the Red Bulls.

On Cody Ross' injury:  I always get worried when I hear :"calf strain"  for some reason this is as troublesome as the old "oblique strain".  It sounds minor, but you get guys missing all kinds of time and their performance usually suffers after sustaining one of these injuries.  Hopefully, Ross gets shut down for the spring and is OK for opening day.  It might not help him be totally dialed in for opening day, but I would rather have him struggle for a few days rather than miss an extended period of time.

One silver lining that the Ross injury could have is that it could affect the possible trading of Nate Schierholtz.  With an injury to Ross already staring them in the face, the Giants could be reluctant to part ways with their fourth best outfielder  I don't know if it has entered their minds or not, but it's worth getting out there.

Only 7 more days!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Giants on Showtime

I'm sure plenty of you have heard about the new reality series that the Giants are going to be a part of on Showtime.

It's called "The Franchise" and it looks like it's gonna be awesome!  There is a preview below to get you pumped up for the series.  I want to watch it just so I can learn Andres Torres' workout routine.  The guy runs around his backyard in his bare feet throwing a cinderblock around and jumping up a hill!  This looks to be different than the show that MLB network did last year on the Phillies bullpen since it looks like it's gonna focus more on off the field stuff that the Giants do and their stories than "The Pen" did.

Plus the Giants team has more interesting personalities than the Phillies do.

I am going to have to get a subscription to Showtime just for this show!

For some reason there is a lack of official word about the show on Showtime's website (which is and not as you would expect  it to be.)  Hell, this trailer is from some guy putting a video camera in front of his TV and recording it.  But at the end of the trailer it shows a sneak preview date of April 13.

So enjoy the video.  It will give you something to do for 3 minutes and 10 seconds while you wait for opening day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Belt Dilemma

Yesterday's post on the Bay Areas Sport's Guy's blog got me thinking.  

If Brandon Belt breaks camp with the big club.  Who is the most likely to be the odd man out?

As BASG points out:  It's really down to four guys.  Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Nate Schierholtz, and Travis Ishikawa.

Now let's face it, my man crush on Nate aside, none of these guys is gonna be the Giants' MVP this season.  Most likely, barring injury to a starter, they would all be coming off the bench if Belt is on the team.  There is no way the Giants are going to bring him up to sit on the bench.  So first off, the Giants have to be sure he will outperform any of these guys.

Also as BASG pointed out, two of these guys would most likely be gone.

Aaron Rowand is easily the fan's favorite to be let go.  But can the Giants management admit it's mistake with him in such an expensive fashion?  The Giants already showed they are willing to put the needs of the team in front of the dollars on the contract when they sat Barry Zito during last year's World Series run.  So I don't think pride is an issue with them.  The real question is does Rowand contribute anything to this team?  (Being a gamer doesn't count because all of these guys can be considered gamers.)    I have heard talk of the Giants trying to boost his trade value this spring by having him play left field but his .207 BA this spring have caused that experiment to be a total failure.

Pat Burrell doesn't really belong on this list.  The only reason he is on here is because his $1 million salary makes more fiscal sense to eat than Rowand's millions and millions ($13.6 million according to Cot's baseball contracts).  However, it is likely that the Giants don't make the world series last season, or probably even the playoffs for that matter without some timely homers down the stretch from Pat "the Bat".  Besides, who would the Giants fall back on if Belt struggles in the show?  Aaron Rowand?

Travis Ishikawa is the most likely guy to not make the club out of this bunch whether Belt gets called up or not.  The Giants have a lot of options to play first and his .219 spring may be signalling that Ishi could benefit from a change of scenery.  I would hope the Giants could trade him rather than release him since his glove is so good and he does have some power potential (really only some like 15 or so HRs if he were to start).  But his inability to put it together up until this point and his horrid spring make a DFA his most likely option.

Last, but not least.  Nate Schierholtz.  In the past, I have made no bones about my thoughts on Nate's potential.  He is easily the best defender out of the bunch (probably second best on the team behind Torres) and he has shown flashes of competence at the plate.  This spring, he is third behind Posey and Huff with a .342 spring batting average and he had 3 hits in yesterday's win over the White Sox.  Impressive for a guy who is battling for his job.  He did have some clutch hits and plays down the stretch last season too.  plus, I think a right fielder is more valuable as a late inning defensive replacement than a first basemen.  Especially when you consider the drop in offensive production from Ross to Nate would not be as big as from Huff to Ishikawa.  

If I was a betting man, I would bet on Rowand and Ishi being gone if Belt makes the club.  But the Giants do have the option of letting Belt start the season in AAA to decide if they are going to keep Rowand around a little longer.  I don't think that will be a popular decision but if it buys time for a trade, then it may be a good option.  If it doesn't and they have to release Rowand, then it will be a mistake.  Ishi is pretty much a goner after spring training even if Belt starts the season in Fresno.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giants knock Mat Latos around

I know, I know, I've made a point that it's only spring training before.  But you've gotta admit.  It's great to see this loser get roughed up even if it doesn't count.

It's a big deal that the Giants hit this guy well.  He absolutely owned the Giants last season until his final 2 starts.  Hell, he beat poor Jonathan Sanchez 1-0 TWICE!  The Giants, and Sanchez, did get their revenge by defeating Mat (who stole my other T) Latos on the last day of the season. 3-0 to send the Padres home for the 2010 offseason so they could trade away their biggest and possibly only offensive threat.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the story about Latos signing a baseball for charity autograph auction and writing "I hate SF on it."  Maybe you heard about his comments about how all the Giants from last year were all "Just a bunch of guys grabbed from other teams".  If the way he pitched against the Giants and his antics didn't make you dislike the guy then maybe the fact that he plays for the Padres will help you not like him.

Although you may have to just pity him though.  He is stuck on the San Diego Padres.  Who, as they showed once again this past offseason, aren't really all that concerned with winning.  Maybe if his team cared about that, then they would have made some more moves to improve his team at the deadline last offseason.

Enjoy battling it out with the D-backs for last place Mat!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Giants rolling in Scottsdale

I'm gonna start off by saying:  "It's only spring training."

But you gotta admit, the Giants sure look good.

Everything seems to be clicking for the Giants.  Lincecum is striking out tons of guys, Jonathan Sanchez looks like he's ready to be the #2 starter, Buster Posey is Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval looks lean and mean, and Brandon Belt is gonna make the opening day roster decision a tough one for Bochy, Sabean, and crew.

Even the negative stories seem to be minor.  Matt Cain's elbow inflammation seems to have subsided, the ridiculous talk about the Giants eating the rest of Barry Zito's contract has gone away, and Freddy Sanchez is already playing in games and looks to be ready for opening day.

The only real concern with the team that I have at this point is Miguel Tejada who has been pretty horrible defensively and not so great offensively.  Tejada says that he is always a terrible spring training player and I vaguely remember this to be the case during his days with the A's, you really have to be worried since our backup SS is who?  Emmanuel Burriss?  Brandon Crawford?  Ryan Rohlinger?  None of these choices instills any confidence.

But as I said before, it's only spring training and any of these positives can become negatives or the negatives can become positives.  But at least baseball is being played!