Westwood Blues

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Trader Brian

The Giants made a trade today sending Damian Moss, Kurt Ainsworth, and minor leaguer Ryan Hannaman to the Orioles for Sidney Ponson.

Ponson 2003 stats: 14-6, 148 IP, 3.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .258 BAA

At first I didn't like the trade at all, but I've warmed to it.

My early anxiety was nothing that three packs of cigarettes and a few thousand dollars worth of sedatives couldn't cure. ;) My thoughts:

The Good

* A post season rotation of Schmidt, Ponson, Williams, and Rueter is better than a post season rotation of Schmidt, Williams, Rueter, and Moss. In fact, a post season rotation of Schmidt, Ponson, Williams, and Rueter is pretty freakin good.

* If Ponson leaves as a free agent at the end of the year, the Giants will get two high draft picks as compensation.

* A pitcher can't tear his labrum in consecutive years, right?

* Ponson didn't go to the Braves.

* Ainsworth was out for the year anyway, Hannaman is just in A ball, and Damian Moss pitches like Damian Moss.

* Ever since his name came up in trade speculation, I made a point of watching Ponson. I caught most of his 89 pitch complete game against the Mariners where Ponson was absolutely dominant.

* The Giants could sign Ponson to a long term deal.

The Bad

* Ponson is a rental. The Giants already have the division wrapped up so basically the Giants are getting Ponson to make anywhere between one and five meaningful starts for them.

* Ponson has a history of injury problems, although this year he's been healthy.

* Kurt Ainsworth. I really like Ainsworth and was looking forward to seeing him pitch for the Giants for years to come. Its a little frustrating to follow a guy for what seemed like forever in the minors and then watch him get injured and then traded for a rental. Oh well. Good luck, Kurt.

* Sabes traded two years of a signed Russ Ortiz to get Moss and minor leaguer Merkin Valdez. Then he traded Moss and Ainsworth and Hannaman for three months of Ponson. So basically the Giants have given up two years of Ortiz, Kurt Ainsworth, and Hannaman for three months of Ponson, half a season of a mediocre Moss, and Merkin Valdez.

* Moss can be is frustrating to watch, but at times, especially his last couple of starts, he has pitched well.

* Hannaman is a decent prospect.

* The Giants can resign Ponson to a long term deal.

The Verdict

After thinking it over, I'm 50/50, but leaning toward liking the deal. Getting Ponson for the playoffs is definetly a boost but then again I really like Ainsworth. The book on Ainsworth is that he is very good against righties but struggles against lefties. In other words, he's perfect for Pac Bell.

Ainsworth is no Rich Harden, but he can probably pitch better than league average ball next year. Having Ainsworth pitch better than league average ball for the league minimum next year would give the Giants more financial flexibility to get a bat *cough**KazMatsui*cough* *sedativeinducedcough*Vlad*sedativeinducedcough* in the offseason. Now a lot of their cash will have to be spent on Ponson or another starter.

Also, Hannaman is a lefthander who can "theoretically throw in the 90s" and has some nifty strikeout totals (77K in 63IP) in the low minors.

However, all of these concerns will be pretty much meaningless if Ponson pitches well in the post season and the Giants win the World Series.

In a related trading deadline story, Brian Sabean has fulfilled his bizarre fetish of pitchers with enormous tank asses by tempting Rich Garces out of retirement with a dinner of oysters and garlic fries as well as a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's. Realizing he still had pitching prospects left in the minors, Sabean then sent Boof Bonser to the Red Sox just for the hell of it.


Monday, July 28, 2003

Stupid GM Tricks

It’s fun to look back at deadline deals of years past and see how they’ve turned out. Its also fun to look back on deadline deals that didn’t happen and see how they turned out.

A hot rumor reported by Peter Gammons in August of last year had Devil Rays CF Randy Winn going to SF. In exchange the Giants would send a minor league pitcher named Jerome Williams and another prospect. The trade fell through because the D-Rays balked at the deal. Yes, the D-Rays balked at the deal. Its safe to say that non-trade has worked out well for the Giants.

I tend to believe the rumor because a) when has Gammons ever been wrong? ;) b) SF was trotting out Tsuyoshi Sinkhole to CF. In other words they were desperate for a CF. c) Until the middle of this year, Williams was ranked by most observers as third on the minor league pitching depth chart behind Foppert and Ainsworth. d) D-Rays GM Chuck LaMar is a complete idiot.

LaMar is the GM who gave Wilson Alvarez $35MM to win 17 games in 5 years. He also gave Greg Vaughn big money and traded for Rey Ordonez.

Most impressively, LaMar hired Cam Bonifay, whose most recent resume entry reads, “single-handedly ran Pittsburgh Pirates franchise straight into the ground,” to be his assistant GM. LaMar followed up this gem by hiring Syd Thrift, whose most recent resume entry reads, "conspired with Peter Angelos to run Baltimore Orioles franchise straight into the ground,” to be a “special assistant.”

LaMar Bonifay Thrift, LLP. Worst. Front. Office. Ever. But I digress…

The Giants eventually picked up Kenny Lofton, who played very well down the stretch and in the playoffs. In the offseason the Giants signed a cheaper and better (this year at least) CF. And we all know about Jeromemania.

The moral of the story: Giants fans should be very thankful that Chuck LaMar is an idiot.

Karma Police

After watching the Arizona Elevenandahalfbacks struggle against Damian Moss, Chad Zerbe, Odalis Perez, and Mike Redman recently, I realized Arizona could really use a lefty masher.

It just so happens that the Backs have a player with a .978 OPS vs.lefties this year and a .903 career OPS vs. lefties on their payroll. Matt Williams won’t get the opportunity to crush southpaws for the Backs. He will get to collect his full pay and watch Mark Grace hit weak grounballs to second and post a .600 OPS. Williams will also get to see Mike Myers pitch batting practice. But I’m not bitter about that or anything.

The Elevenandahalfbacks face a pretty good lefty later this week…some kid named Dontrelle.

Great Seats!

Ok, this has nothing to do with the Giants, but if you missed Bob Uecker’s Hall of Fame induction speech check it out.* Good times, good laughs guaranteed.

*Edit: For Uecker's speech, try this link instead. And no, the irony isn't lost on me that the "good times, good laughs" ESPN schedule link includes, "5:00 PM 1998 NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD PLAYOFF GAME: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS VS. CHICAGO CUBS." Just the sight of that listing will undoubtedly give us Giants fans Gary Gaetti nightmares for the next week and a half. Sorry.


Sunday, July 27, 2003

Playoff Tickets on Sale Tomorrow

The Giants completed a 10-1 homestand with a 6-2 victory over the Padres on Sunday. SF’s victory coupled with the Arizona Elevenbacks loss has put the G-men up 11 games in the NL West. An eleven game lead in late July...The Giants will be the 2003 NL West Champs. Its only a matter of time.

Hot Rumor

Scott Williamson to the Giants for prospect(s). Depending on the prospects, this would be a good move for the Giants. Williamson is arb eligible next year and is a possible non-tender as the Reds have a notoriously cheap owner. Williamson is having a good year for the Reds and would be a welcome addition to the SF bullpen.

Williamson 2003: 4-3, 41.1 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .218 BAA, 25BB, 52Ks, 21 Saves

Approaching Neifinity

Neifarious Perez had two starts this weekend. I apologize for the lack of Neifi Alerts, but these starts caught me off guard. Apparently the Padres needed a Neifi Alert as well, as they certainly must’ve mistaken Neifi Perez for Ray Durham when they elected to intentionally walk Neifi in the ninth inning on Friday. Oops.

Anyway, Neifarious had seven ABs in his two starts this weekend, upping his ABs on the year to 221.

Neifi’s Magic Number: 79 more ABs.


Friday, July 25, 2003

MVP Redux

Remember when Miguel Tejada had that game winning hit during the A’s 20 game win streak? That hit propelled Miggie to the MVP award. Barry Bonds should start making room in his trophy case for another MVP award because his walk off HR on his 39th birthday is the kickoff party to his MVP campaign.

Barry Bonds .329/.504/.740 1.244 OPS 33HR, 68 RBI, .400 EqA = MVP!

Yeah but Albert Pujols has more RBI and he’s been more valuable to his team. Pujols may win the triple crown.

That’s neat, but I just have one question: Who’s Albert Pujols?

Was It Something I Said, Part 2

Subj: Barry Bonds
Date: 7/24/03 10:57:24 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: westwoodblues@yahoo.com (Doug Hutchinson)
To: fanfeedback@diamondbacks.mlb.com

Dear Jerry Colangelo,

When Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Miguel Batista, and Brandon Webb get outdueled by Kevin Jarvis, Damian Moss, Jim Brower, and Chad Zerbe respectively, that means its time to fill your stomach with gasoline and swallow a match.

Best wishes,


Waking Up the Neighbors

Hey Doug,

Just so you know, screaming “yeah, get out of here, get out of here” from the comfort of your LA apartment does not make a fly ball that Barry Bonds hits go any farther.

This is particularly true when you are watching an afternoon game on tape and said fly ball was hit five hours earlier. However, your noise did manage to scare the living hell out of my cat Sparkles.

By the way, have you seen my Eric Gagne bobblehead? I can’t find it anywhere.

Your Neighbor,


PS Apparently you didn’t get the memo – the 80s are over. Its safe to take down your Will Clark poster and feel free to stop listening to U2.

Sorry Cory.

As for your Gagne bobblehead, I did notice that following the All Star Game my phone was damaged, my trash can was overturned and there were traces of blue blood on my carpet.

If your Gagne bobblehead is still in my place, I think its in hiding. He’s probably cowering in fear at the sight of my new Barry Bonds poster.


Thursday, July 24, 2003


Bonds. Barry Bonds.

That is all.

We’re Going Streaking

There are few things in life as enjoyable as watching your team go on a hot streak. The Giants are in the midst of a stretch of games where everything is going right and everyone who is playing is playing well. The streak hasn’t quite reached Cody Ransom smoking a double off Roy Oswalt levels, but I ain’t complaining.

Curt Schilling vs. Damian Moss? No problem!
Miguel Batista vs. Jim Brower? Nice try, Brenly.
Randy Johnson vs. Bob Knepper? Another win for the G-men.

Parting Gifts

What is particularly enjoyable about this streak is that it has come against the Diamondbacks. I hate the D-Backs. I hate Jerry Colangelo. I hate all the media hype about their team and their pitchers.

The “Baby Backs” are playing so well now, just wait until they get Johnson and Schilling back. With Johnson and Schilling back, they’ll give the Giants a run for the division title.

That phrase, or some variation thereof, was uttered exactly 3,943 times by various talking heads in the media in the last couple of weeks.

Hey D-Backs, did you guys see that fog outside your hotel last night? Well, guess what? It ain’t fog. The D-Backs current losing streak coupled with the Giants hot streak allows me to officially proclaim, “The Diamondbacks division title hopes have gone up in a puff of gossamer smoke that pennant dreams are made of.®”*

King of Pooka

Can I say it? Jeromemania. That has a nice ring to it.

Jerome Williams 5-1, 2.83 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .219 BAA.

Most people don’t know this, but Williams’ Hawaiian name is Ka’muhamehakeloli. This roughly translates to “he with nasty curveball, dominating changeup, excellent control sent to stabilize rotation and beat Athletics, Snakes, and Red Birds.”

All together now: Jeromemania.

* “Up in a puff of gossamer smoke that pennant dreams are made of®” is a registered trademark of Bill Conlin. Used by permission.


Sunday, July 20, 2003

Blowin’ in the Wind

Its late July and the trade winds are blowing stronger. Beyond Sidney Ponson the best starters on the market are probably Steve Trachsel, Jeff Suppan, and Jason Johnson. The starting pitching market is officially thin.

The O’s could be major players in the market as both Ponson and Johnson have been the subject of trade rumors. The O’s will probably trade one of them, but not both of them. My guess is they’d trade Johnson, a possible non-tender in the offseason, as the O’s are trying to sign Ponson to a long-term deal.

Johnson would be a decent fit with the Giants (assuming the O’s pick up most of/the rest of his contract). He could probably pitch better than league average ball and go deeper into games than Brower, Foppert, or any of the other options the Giants have in the fifth starter position.

Johnson’s 2003 stats:

8-4, 111 IP, 1.43 WHIP, .270 BAA, 3.65 ERA

Having said all this, I’m starting to think that Sabes will stand pat with his starting rotation. Moss and Foppert pitched well in their most recent starts. Kirk Rueter should be back soon and Kurt Ainsworth may be back by September.

So what will Sabes do? The answer my friends, is blowin’ in the wind.

Hitter’s Paradise?

Pac Bell is definitely a pitcher’s park, but don’t tell that to the Giants offense. Most of the Giants starters hit better at Pac Bell than they do on the road.

Player.................................Home Splits...........Road Splits
Ray Durham......................339/.418/.480.......265/.364/.400
JT Snow............................250/.346/.370.......289/.419/.488
Marquis Grissom................322/.331/.509.......298/.335/.482
Barry Bonds......................351/.537/.763.......292/.466/.681
Benito Santiago.................292/.336/.383.......287/.329/.515
Jose Cruz, Jr.....................302/.434/.504.......238/.335/.439
Rich Aurilia........................291/.336/.454.......242/.299/.382
Edgardo Alfonzo................257/.305/.379.......231/.324/.319

I was surprised by two things:

1) Durham and Cruz’s success at home. They are both switch hitters who do the majority of their hitting left-handed. The general consensus is that Pac Bell is pretty fair to righthanders but its murder on lefties not named Barry Bonds (see Helton, Todd and Gonzalez, Luis).

2) A few players are much better at Pac Bell than on the road. Four starters have a home/road OPS differential of .100 points or more. Durham's OPS is .134 points higher at home, Bonds’ OPS is .153 higher at home, Cruz’s OPS is .164 higher at home, and Aurilia’s home OPS is .109 points higher.

Oh by the way, the Giants play 39 of their final 69 games at home.

The NL Player of the Week…

Livan Hernandez. I wish I was making that up. Livan, why couldn’t you do that LAST YEAR?


Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I Hate the Dodgers, Part 1

Leave it to a member of the LA Dodgers to blow the All-Star game and deprive the Giants of a shot at home field advantage in the World Series.

I guess its only appropriate that the Fodgers manage to screw over the Giants even when they are playing on the same team.

I Hate the Dodgers, Part 2

“It’s like going to fight a war with a broom.”
- Casey Stengel, on managing the 1962 Mets

If that’s the case, then managing a team whose starting lineup has recently featured Alex Cora, Cesar Izturis, Wilkin Ruan, David Ross, and Ron Coomer must be like going to fight a war with a can of lysol, a pez dispenser, and a beachball.

Dodgers fans we feel your pain. Actually we laugh at your pain relentlessly and rub your collective botox-filled noses in your pain, but that’s beside the point. The point is the Dodgers “offense” is full of out machines.

Dodgers' GM Dan Evans finally pulled the trigger on a trade (Burnitz) and a notable free agent signing (Rickey), but he’s probably a day late and a Beltran short. Burnitz and Rickey will definitely help the Dodgers’ offensive train wreck but they can only do so much to make up for the offensive sinkholes in the infield.

Approaching Neifinity

Like many Giants fans, I nearly threw up my Cha-Cha bowl earlier this year when Felipe Alou said Neifarious Perez would get 300 ABs this year. The good news is we’re more than half way through the season and Neifi has already had 208 opportunities to make an out. To try to keep Felipe Alou to his word we’ll be doing a Countdown to Neifinity to remind the world how many ABs Neifi has left in the year.

And if Alou lets Neifi have more than 300 ABs? Hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned.

Neifi’s Magic Number: 92.


Monday, July 14, 2003

I Hope Barry Bonds Gets Anthrax

By Rick Reilly

The prelude to the mid-summer classic is the Homerun Derby, yet the active leader in career homeruns will not be there. Where is Barry Bonds?

Children, casual fans, and long time fans alike will tune in to see who will win. They'll see Albert Pujols, Jason Giambi, and the ghost of Mark McGwire.

Its obvious that Bonds has passed the torch to the younger generation of big leaguers. Bonds can no longer call himself the 7th best player in the National League. That honor now belongs to Jim Edmonds. Edmonds will be at the Homerun Derby but Bonds will not. Where is Barry Bonds?

Bonds will be lounging in his recliner in the clubhouse at Pac Bell Park. Baseball needs Bonds to participate in the HR Derby. Bonds doesn't need baseball. What Bonds needs is three lockers, and a La-Z-Boy.

Bonds "is a grown man" and he "doesn't have to" participate. He will be participating in grown men activities like destroying clubhouse chemistry, chewing out the rookies, and being a general nuissance.

It may be just as well if he isn't at the HR Derby. His prickly personality would probably ruin the entire affair. Nevertheless, children, casual fans, and long time fans alike will tune in Monday and say to themselves, "where is Barry Bonds?"

One thing is for certain. He's Barry Bonds and you're not.

Rick Reilly has been "writing" for The New York Post Sports Illustrated since 1990. He has been an expert on clubhouse chemistry since 1993. He's been a jackass for as long as anyone can remember.

A Trade

Brian Sabean makes a trade the day after I predicted he would. Coincidence? Yeah, pretty
much. The Giants picked up reliever Matt Herges, who is having a decent year for the Padres.

Matt Herges 44.0IP 40H 2HR 20BB 40K 2.86ERA 1.36WHIP .244BAA

The Giants gave up Class-A pitcher Clay Hensley, a semi-prospect, who is best known for throwing a seven inning perfect game earlier this year.

All in all, a good trade for the Giants. A journeyman reliever like Matt Herges isn't a world beater, but he can lighten the workload of Nathan and Rodriguez and the Giants didn't have to give up much to get him.

One other thought on the trade: could this be a prelude to a bigger trade involving Felix Rodriguez?

Dear Fox

I can't wait for the All-Star game if for no other reason than I won't have to see those inescapable commercials for the game anymore. The game is on Tuesday night. We get it. This time it counts (oooh). We get it. Oh, and did you know that The Best Damn Sports Show Period is on weeknights on FSN and that there's a Mike Tyson "Beyond the Glory" (viewer discretion advised) on Wednesday? Enough with the freakin' commercials already!


Sunday, July 13, 2003


Rick Rueschel, Jeff Brantley, Shawn Estes, Atl-I don’t want to say his name, Robb Nen. It’s safe to say that Giants pitchers don’t have the best track record in All-Star games.

Jason Schmidt 2IP, 4H, 4ER, 2BB, 2Ks

Of course, now that I’ve mentioned the jinx, I’ve unjinxed it. But now that I’ve mentioned the unjinx, I’ve jinxed the unjix. But now that I’ve mentioned, aw screw it. Schmidt will get bombed on Tuesday.

Schilling vs. Bonds

I can’t say for certain that Schilling threw at Bonds, but it certainly appeared as though that was the case. It may just be my bizarre sense of humor, but I found Schilling’s beaning of Barry Bonds to be unitentionally humorous.

I’m not from the “old school,” but I’ve never understood the wisdom of drilling a guy who has taken you deep. What did that accomplish? The Giants got their leadoff runner on and went on to score two runs in the inning. Thanks, Curt!

I guess a beanball “sends a message.” We heard your message loud and clear, Curt. “I can’t get Barry out.”

Eat Your Heart Out, Dick Tidrow

Thanks to everyone who came to my Giants pitching tryout. Sorry about the sprinklers going off. Here are the names I passed along to Sabes.

Mark Wilson
Pros: Good command. Nasty curveball.
Drawbacks: He’s 12.

Miguel Herrera
Pros: Good changeup. Very tough on righties. Very poised.
Drawbacks: His real name is Pedro Borbon. Nice try, Pedro.

Charlie Chaplin
Pros: Very deceptive delivery. Fields his position exceptionally well.
Drawbacks: He’s a Gold Retriever.


Saturday, July 12, 2003

Brian Sabean Will Make a Trade

I’m really going out on a limb by saying that. The good news is that if when the Giants trade away prospects for the stretch run the farm system is in a good position to get reinforcements. SF has a boat load of potential free agents and SF will get draft pick compensation if these FAs sign with other teams under the right circumstances.

I don’t want to get into too much minutia here, but the Giants will get compensation for FAs if a FA signs with another team before a certain date (the last day to offer free agents arbitration – early December). After that the Giants have to offer their free agents arbitration in order to get compensation.

Here are the unrestricted Free Agents

Rich Aurilia
Tim Worrell
Benito Santiago
Marvin Benard

Potential Free Agents

Jose Cruz, Jr. (mutual option)
JT Snow (club option)
Felix Rodriguez (mutual option)
Robb Nen (player option)

Its impossible to predict how the free agent market will play out. As late as last October, I don’t think anyone would’ve thought that teams would be lining up to get in the David Bell sweepstakes. Its also hard to predict who the Giants will resign, if they’ll sign free agents themselves, or if they'll acquire free agents-to-be in the next month. But the possibility remains, come next summer, the Giants could have a few additional picks in the early rounds.

I bring up this point because next year is the perfect year to load up on college pitching talent and for the Giants to reload their farm system. According to Peter Gammons (question the source if you like) next year’s draft will feature the deepest college pitching talent pool ever.

Trying to Think of a Creative Title

Sick of reading my posts about trade rumors, Neifi, and Schmidt? Me too. Check out some of my friends.

David Eisenberg of Eisenberg Sports has a great post handicapping the NL race.
Only Baseball Matters has a great series of posts detailing the Giants starters’ pitch count blues.

Have Healthy Arm, Will Travel

On behalf of the Giants, I’m holding a tryout for pitchers this Sunday at Bad News Bears Park in Westwood. If you impress me, I’ll pass your name along to Brian Sabean. He listens to fanboy bloggers. No really he does. I blog, therefore I am.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Editor's Note: I'll be very busy for the next couple of weeks and don't have much time for blogging so we'll be having some guest columnists share their thoughts. Today I present a guest column by the loquacious Bill Conlin.

The Old Man and the Bay

By Bill Conlin

The fog slithers fastidiously through a mild summer evening in Baghdad by the Bay as the Giants erudite manager, Felipe Alou gazes discreetly at his proposed lineup card for tommorow's matchup against the Rockies.

Felipe Alou has been a cogent part of the rich baseball history of San Francisco. Keen of his knowledge and experience, the baseball world treats the perspicacious Alou with marvel and awe.

Many observers felt the acrimonious departure of Dusty Baker would mean that the Giants playoff hopes would go up in a puff of gossamer smoke that pennant dreams are made of®.* But like the divine Etta James performing at a Fillmore jazz club, Felipe Alou and the Giants haven't missed a beat.

Despite the team's flaws, Alou has sagaciously guided the Giants to a first place showing through the first half of the season. This is impressive because while Jason Schmidt has been pitching well, Alou cannot count on a dominant number one starter like Don Sutton.

Then, bright eyed rookie Jerome Williams walked into Alou's office. Silence ensued.

"You wanted to see me?" Williams asked fastidiously.

"Good game last night, kid," replied the laconic skipper.

And with that Williams beamed and left the room.

The fog began to surrender and scant remnants of the sun awaited us at Fisherman's Grotto on the Wharf.

"I think of that at bat all the time," said Alou referring to his failed bunt attempt while playing for the Giants in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, while cogently sipping a glass of soda water.

"All these years later. But this year, maybe I can get that bunt down."

We ended dinner on that note and just as the graying Alou finished that remark, the Tuesday evening fog of early summer, the same fog that has hovered over this city since 1958, capitulated fastidiously the slightest bit to a luminous ray of sun.

Bill Conlin has been fastidiously covering baseball for the Philadelphia Daily News since 1923.
Contact Bill at theblob@philly.com

* "Up in a puff of gossamer smoke that pennant dreams are made of®" is a registered trademark of Bill Conlin.

Vote Santiago or Die

Geoff Jenkins is definitely more deserving, but he's not a Giant. So vote Santiago and while you're there, vote for Frank Thomas.

Be Our Guest

I will be busy over the next couple of weeks so anyone who wants to write a guest column, real or parody, or just your thoughts on anything Giants related, send it in and it will be published and read by thousands hundreds 26 daily readers.


Saturday, July 05, 2003

Skip Three Alou

Greetings from America's Finest City.

Felipe Alou has done a commendable job handling the Giants pitching staff. Aside from letting Foppert throw 122 pitches in a blowout against the White Sox, I agree with just about every move he has made - juggling the rotation to give Jason Schmidt and Jesse Foppert additional rest, and skipping the struggling Damian Moss' turn in the rotation.

Now comes a tough question - what to do about Kirk Rueter? Rueter has been one of the Giants most consistent starters over the last several years, but his last couple of starts he's been pitching like a batting practice machine.

The good news is his next two starts are at home against the Cardinals and at Arizona. In his career, Rueter has pitched well at Pac Bell and well against the Cardinals, Thursday's disaster not withstanding. Woody absolutely dominated the D-Backs last year (1ER in 27IP). Look for Rueter to bounce back, but if his struggles continue, his turn in the rotaion should be Mossed.

Rueter has always allowed a lot of baserunners, but he usually clamps down and pitches very well with runners on base as this Baseball Prospectus article points out.

This has not been the case lately, as most of the baserunners Rueter has allowed have wound up scoring. Somewhere, Aaron Sele Voros McCracken is smiling.


I just realized that my day in the Jeffrey Hammonds DL pool, August 11th, is an off day for the Giants. But if anyone can get injured on an off day its Jeffrey Hammonds. And Mo Vaughn. And Matt Mantei.

I'm predicting a freak gardening accident where Hammonds injures his left foot with a rake.

Would it be wrong

to run on the field tonight and plant a Nor*Cal flag on the mound at Qualcomm? We own that place. I guess that would be wrong. Instead, I'll just ask a question.

What's a matter with Kotsay?


Thursday, July 03, 2003

That's a Wrap

We conclude trade speculation fortnight with a wrap-up of trade ideas.

Outfield/Pinch Hitter - It looks like the Giants are going to try to make due with castaways and rookies in their backup OF spots. They recently signed Jeffrey Hammonds to a minor league deal (I'm calling August 11th in the Hammonds to the DL pool).

Wouldn't it be cool if the Giants could get their hands on a minor league outfielder who is posting an 1.152 OPS? They can. Rickey Henderson update - .369/.508/.644 for Newark. Sign him up Sabes!

Starting Pitcher - The rumor mill says that Beatagan will make an effort to sign Sidney Ponson to a contract extension. Just as well, as Ponson's asking price would probably be high.

I haven't heard any news about Chuck Finley, but he'd be a great fit with the Giants.

Other than that, the pickins are pretty slim.

Bullpen - Just to be clear, I'm not 100% against acquiring Ugueth Urbina or Armando Benitez. The problem is they both have a high perceived value and the Giants would probably have to give up big time prospects to get either of them. I've said this before but its worth repeating, Tim Worrell is having a better year than both Benitez and Urbina.

Urbina 4.24 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Benitez 3.20 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Worrell 1.64 ERA, 1.16 WHIP

If the Giants trade Foppert, Williams, or Ainsworth just to get a Proven Closer® to pitch 35 innings for them, I will burn my Brian Sabean Fan Club membership card.

July 4, 1983

Twenty years ago tomorrow, Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti threw a no-hitter for the Yankees against the Red Sox. Happy Anniversary Rags!

What's a Matter with Kotsay?

He's a bum! Just practicing for this weekend. Considering its a holiday weekend, there should be even more of us than usual at the Q for the series against the Pads.

Let's Go Giants!


Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Bench Help

Trade speculation fortnight continues as we look at possible additions to the Giants bench.

It's a crucial moment in the NLCS. Felipe Alou wants a left-handed pinch hitter. He looks at his lineup card and tells his top lefty pinch hitter to get ready.

"Now batting and pinch hitting for Joe Nathan, Number 1, Neifi Perez."

With Marvin Benard on the DL, switch-hitting Neifarious Perez becomes the Giants top pinch hitter. Time to upgrade.

Here are a few left-handed pinch hitters that are available:

Kenny Lofton - .281/.341/.441

If I mention something often enough maybe it will come true. Are you listening Brian Sabean?

John Vander Wal - .287/.374/.503

VanderWal is quietly having a solid year. In fact, he has a higher OPS (.877) than Jose Cruz, Jr. (.810). He also crushes righties to the tune of .306/.384/.541 this year and .273/.363/.465 for his career.

Dave Hansen - .263/.404/.316

He's made a career pinch hitting. The Padres don't need him for anything so he could probably be had for a song.


Again, let me know your thoughts.

To be fair to Neifi (did I actually say that?), Neifi is a respectable .295/.321/.394 so far this year as a left-handed hitter, but I still think it would do the Giants good to get another left-handed option for the bench.


It's time for my weekly post praising Jason Schmidt.

Here are Schmdit's numbers over his last three starts.

27IP 14H 1ER 3BB 22K. Lights freakin out.

Even though Bonds is having a great year, I'm giving the team MVP award through the first half to Schmidt. Where would the Giants be without Schmidt and his 2.14 ERA, 118 IP, 5CGs, and .194 BAA?

Cardinal Red?

What's more fun than trade speculation? Starting trade rumors. Last night on the Cardinals broadcast, the Cardinals color commentator mentioned that Cardinals coach Jose Oquendo asked the Cardinals front office to look into signing Neifi Perez last offseason. This makes sense considering Oquendo and Perez are basically the same player. Both are slick-fielding, no-hit infielders who both have a career OPS+ that is just slightly above Calista Flockhart's body weight.

I know Tony LaRussa loves catchers who can't hit (Mike Matheny, Chris Widger, and Joe Girardi all on the same roster? Hell, I hear Mark Parent needs a job), but what TLR really needs is an Oquendo clone to fill out his roster. Who better than Neifi?

Neifi and his contract to the Cards for...anything. A case of beer. Ok, maybe not anything. St. Louis can keep Joe Buck.