Sunday, October 29, 2006

In my best Hawk voice...

Friday, October 27, 2006

You Stay Classy Bruce Bochy

The Giants search for Felipe Alou's successor has finally ended with the hiring of former Padres skipper Bruce Bochy, who will become the 15th manager to wear the orange and black in San Fran. Bochy is coming off consecutive NL West Division titles with the Padres (insert your NL West joke of choice here) and had served the Padres for 12 seasons as manager. I like the choice of brining in Bochy. The manager market this year was getting slim and the Giants obviously wanted someone with experience, which Acta and Wotus just didn't have a whole lot of. Bochy isn't the sexiest choice but he is a predictable one.

I don't know Bochy's style very well at this point but I've heard good things about his handling of young pitching. Young pitching is one thing that the Giants have a lot of and that needs to be protected. The thought of Felipe Alou or Dusty Baker working with the young trio of Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Tim Lincecum sends shivers down my pitching arm. Welcome to the fold Bruce.

Quick Hits
  • Giants low-balling Barry Bonds? The SF Gate has a quick blurb on how the Giants may try to lowball Barry in a attempt to get him to shop himself around, unsuccessfully, to other teams. This theory sounds a little "tin hat" to me but who knows. I begrudgingly expect Bonds to be back in '07.
  • Nate Schierholtz and Kevin Frandsen are heating up in the AFL. Schierholtz went 3-5 with a homer and a double this past Wednesday. There's a video of Nates homerun here. Kevin also showed some pop, hitting two homers on Wednesday and in the process raising his batting average from .238 to .406,

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Creativity, Japan, and Lunch Meats.

The 2007 free agent class leaves a lot to be desired, that's like saying eating Bologna leaves a lot to be desired. I know it, you know it, we all know it. Bologna sucks. 2007 is just a weak free agent class for baseball, especially in terms of position players. It seems to be broken down between the "“Really Expensive - Roast Beef "” (Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Aramis Ramirez) "Sorta Good But Nothing Special - Turkey"” (Rich Aurillia, Aubrey Huff, Sean Casey), and "“You call that a major leaguer? - Bologna" (Preston Wilson, Joe Randa, Phil Nevin).

The Giants find themselves in the middle of a tough situation. They have openings at major positions such as 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF. Oh, did I mention that the phrase 'Good Hitting Giants Prospect' hasn't existed in any Giants fans vocabulary for years. So don't go counting on any help from the minors to fill these vacated positions. Lance Neikro you can go home now.

Brian Sabean is going to have to get creative to fill these positions, either through trades or other means. But where else can you look when the free agent market is so bare?

This is where Akinori Iwamura comes in. The 27 year old put up a line of .311/.388/.543 in 2006. Smacking 32 homers and 27 doubles. Akinori Iwamura in all likelihood will end up being posted. Posting is the system that is used when a Japanese ball player wishes to play Major League Baseball. Teams make silent bids on the player with the highest bid winning the right to negotiate with the player. The winning team then has 30 days to work out a contract. The Japanese team, upon completion of the contract, receives the silent bid as a transfer fee. Sounds simple but why is he a good fit for the Giants?

  • San Francisco has a fantastic Asian community. People went nuts for Tsuyoshi Shinjo. It would be great to see another Japanese ballplayer in San Francisco. The Giants were the first team ever in the majors to use a Japanese baseball player. Masanori Murakami pitched for the Giants through 1964-65 and had great success before leaving back to play in Japan.
  • Akinori Iwamura has recently said that he would play 2B, SS, 3B, or OF for the team that employs him. The added versatility will help the Giants find replacements more easily for the other positions they need to fill.

Will Sabes kick the tires on Akinori? I hope he does because it makes a lot of sense for the Giants. I don't want to eat bologna sandwiches all next year.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Reason #4356 To Not Resign Shea Hillenbrand

Only Rich Draper could bring us stories like this. I'll let the headline do the talking..

Hillenbrand relaxes with animals

Ok, well, I guess thats not
THAT strange.

"When I retire, I want to get a zebra, buffalo and maybe a camel," said Shea. "My neighbor has two giraffes. I want a big cat, but my wife won't let me because she thinks they shouldn't be in captivity."

Scratch that, Shea Hillenbrand is insane.

"Rather than build batting cages and workout facilities to keep in shape during the offseason, Hillenbrand constructed special enclosures for his eclectic collection of three miniature horses, a full-sized quarterhorse, three rescued rabbits, 30 tortoises and four schnauzers."

This explains so much.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bullpen Dreamin'

If its one thing that Giants fans seem to endlessly talk about in recent years its the bullpen. Names like Herges and Benitez conjure up horrible images of pain and suffering. Images of Matt Herges gently tossing up his arm and pointing to fly balls as to suggest they would get no further than the infield grass are still burned into my brain. Only to watch in amazement as they banged off the center field wall. Often sailing safely past that very same center field wall. The less we say about Armando Benitez, well, the better. But, as they say, hope springs eternal or maybe its delusion. Yeah, its probably that delusion thing. Anyways...

Cue Billy Sadler

So far in the Arizona Fall League, Billy Sadler has notched 3 saves. In 5 innings pitched he's fanned 11. Salder throws hard and has shown a nice curve when he can locate it. Officially sign me up for the Billy Sadler bandwagon.

In 2006 Sadler had a small cup of coffee with the Giants and performed pretty much how you would expect a rookie with talent to perform. Occasionally seeing flashes of the brilliance that he's exhibited in the minors (Sadler had a absolutely fantastic year in AA and did well in a short run in AAA Fresno). So, its encouraging to see him continuing to pitch well in the AFL. Now I can attach all sorts of ridiculous expectations to him and be crushed when he doesn't save 52 games next year. Expectations aside, I think that Sadler could fit nicely into the 2007 Giants bullpen and maybe even move into a setup/closing role eventually.

Minor League Stats - Billy Sadler