Westwood Blues

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Stupid GM Tricks

Every year around the trade deadline some pundit somewhere floats a trade proposal that is so ridiculously out there that it makes you wonder (a) how the pundit has a job as a pundit in the first place and (b) why said pundit's employer doesn't subject its employees to mandatory drug testing.

Witness this gem from former Mets General Manager and current ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips (via Fire Joe Morgan and Baseball Primer) :
"The last trade proposal I have is for the Mets. ... AS Mets fans choke on their coffee and say, ''Oh no! Not Phillips making Mets trades again! No!'' ... Bear with me, try to follow ....

Victor Zambrano to the Giants for Alphonzo. Cliff Floyd to the Cubs for Corey Patterson and Glendon Rush. Then, the Mets spin Patterson to the Devil Rays for Danys Baez. The Mets THEN take Mike Cameron, Edgardo Alfonzo, Danys Baez and Glendon Rush and trade them to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez."
I'll give you a second to digest this mess ..... Ok, time is up. What. The. Fuck?

As for Victor Zambrano straight up for Fonzie, where do I sign up?


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The World According to Sabean

The last couple of Brian Sabean shows on KNBR have offered a couple of hints as to personnel decisions in the Giants future.

* The Giants are apparently not interested in trading for a rental

Well, I certainly hope this is true.

* Without naming names, Sabes hinted that some of the Giants' free agents-to-be have indicated to the front office that they'd like to return to the Giants next season.

I should've mentioned this in my previous post, but I certainly wouldn't be opposed to signing Scott Eyre to a contract extension.

If the Giants don't trade Eyre by the deadline, but then can't work out an extension in the off season, they can offer him arbitration and receive (gasp!) draft pick compensation should Eyre sign elsewhere.

Alas, the Quentin-for-Baez trade hasn't materialized, so my hope of fleecing a buyer out of top-level talent for Scott Eyre appears to be a pipe dream. In the meantime, trying to re-sign Eyre (with draft pick compensation as a backup) isn't a bad idea.

Trade Deadline Predictions

Predicting Sabes' next move is usually an exercise in futility, but I'll give it a shot nonetheless. This isn't necessarily what I want to happen, just what I think will happen:

* Schmidt: Not traded

* Eyre: Not traded and eventually re-signed

* Cain: Not traded

* Tomko: Traded for a C-level prospect

* Tucker, Cruz, Rueter, Snow: Not traded by the non-waiver deadline, although I think one or two of them (Tucker, maybe Snow) could be moved before the end of August.

* Giants acquire: starting pitcher who is under the Giants control for at least 2006. I'll just say Shawn Chacon or Kip Wells as a shot in the dark.

What are your predictions?


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Trade Market Dynamics

An interesting tidbit from Joel Sherman:
"Several executives say the trade market is being hurt this July by the Mets' trade last July of Kazmir to Tampa for Zambrano. One AL official cited five GMs - Cincinnati's Dan O'Brien, Pittsburgh's Dave Littlefield, Tampa's Chuck Lamar, Kansas City's Allard Baird and Seattle's Bill Bavasi - who do not have job security and "each is looking to do the Kazmir trade, all of them are looking to make reputations and get healthy off of one deal, and that is slowing the market."

For example, Lamar, who did make the Kazmir deal last year, has been looking for similar returns on Aubrey Huff and Danys Baez. The AL official said, "The crazy thing is I heard that Arizona might trade Carlos Quentin, who is a real good prospect, for Baez and that would actually worsen the trade market because then everyone else would be looking to get their Carlos Quentin."
For arguements sake, let's just say that Baez for Quentin is the first salvo fired in the trade deadline bonanza. What then could the Giants get for Scott Eyre?

Baez: 40.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, .633 OPSA, 11.3 VORP
Eyre: 40 IP, 2.48 ERA, .557 OPSA, 12.7 VORP

The comparison between Eyre and Baez is a little tricky because a) Eyre is a free agent at the end of the season, while Baez has a $4MM team option for '06. b) Baez is probably worth more on the trade market simply because he is a closer. c) Until this year, Eyre has always had a large platoon split, so potential trading partners may see him as just a LOOGY, albeit a very good one. d) Eyre's salary for '05: $1.5MM, Baez' salary for '05: $3.5MM. All that said, if Baez is all of a sudden worth an A-level prospect, the Giants should certainly be able to get a very nice return for Scott Eyre. Probably not a Carlos Quentin, but a nice return nonetheless.

Last year at the trade deadline, Brian Sabean complained publicly that he was unable to pull the trigger on a big trade because the sellers were asking for so much in return. Among other things, the increased parity in MLB meant that there were more teams than normal that were buyers, leaving the few sellers on the market to demand a king's ransom. With what appears to be another seller's market this year, Sabean should return the favor and demand a lot of talent in return for his tradable commodities.

In the meantime, let's just hope that the Quentin for Baez trade becomes a reality.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Braves Beat: The Road From Bristol

Mac Thomason of Braves Beat is asking his readers to select the most loathsome ESPN talking head:
"Our task is simple: to determine, via a time-tested method (the 64-team elimination tournament as seen in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, which ESPN used to show in its pre-sucking days) which ESPN broadcasting personality is the most totally loathsome and most deserves to suffer permanent paralysis of the vocal cords.

The rules are simple:

* Vote for the person you like the least in the comments to the appropriate entry..."
Here are my picks for today's matchups:

* Mike Lupica vs. Jeff Brantley

Brantley by default since I don't enough about Lupica to have an opinion of him one way or the other. Isn't Lupica's show, the Sports Reporters, on at like 7:30 AM on Sundays? That would explain why I don't think I've never seen that show in its entirety. Of course, that won't stop me from picking Bill Conlin as one of my most loathsome ESPN personalities.

* Jim Gray vs. Trev Alberts

He's a self-important, insufferable tool. The previous sentence applies to both Alberts and Gray, but I'll go with Alberts for being so unmercifully overbearing.

* John Kruk vs. Mitch Albom

Kruk. After all these years, I'm still absolutely terrified by the mullet that Kruk sported in the early 90s.

* Stuart Scott vs. Scott Van Pelt

Mac Thomason on Stuart Scott:
"The exact moment of ESPN's precipitous decline in quality can be traced to the exact moment he was given a regular job on the 11 PM ET SportsCenter."
Well, as far as I'm concerned the decline in quality programming at ESPN began when the Global Wrestling Federation folded in 1994. Remember when GWF wrestling was on ESPN all the time? That was so badass. Nevertheless, Stuart Scott's ascension to main SportsCenter host is clearly a key event on the ESPN shark jumping timeline.

So, is there any chance at all that Stuart Scott doesn't "win" this whole thing?

Mainly to be contrarian and not jump aboard the inevitable Stuart Scott pile-on, I'm going with Joe Theismann as my pick for the single most hatable ESPN personality.

Theismann is so bad in so many different ways its as if he formed his on-air persona by choosing attributes from a menu of shitty sportscasters. Take the know-it-all smugness of Joe Morgan, add the sense of humor of Joe Buck, the ego of Chris Berman, and the slap-your-forehead stupidity of Tim McCarver. Lastly, mix these ingredients together with one enormous pile of shit and you get Joe Theismann.

Who is your pick for most loathsome ESPN personality?

Update 7/14 3:10 PM: Some of the accompanying comments on that site are hilarious. From "cult of baseball":
"i'd rather cut off my balls with the shards from a broken pepsi bottle and wear the bloody rambutans as sunglasses than ever witness the horror that is woody paige again in my life."
Wow. Incidentally, that pretty much sums up how I feel about Jay Marriotti.


Monday, July 11, 2005

The Schmidt Conundrums

With the non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, let's take a look at the Giant whose name frequently pops up in trade rumors: Jason Schmidt.

* Trade Jason Schmidt: Trade Schmidt for a couple young players and then use the $10 MM that was was allocated for Schmidt's salary to sign free agents.

* Keep Jason Schmidt: His trade value is at its lowest point. Bonds will be back next year, so the Giants should make one final push in 2006. Besides, if Schmidt is healthy and pitches to his abilities, his $10 MM salary for next season is very reasonable.

Trade him or keep him? I haven't fully made up my mind, but I'm leaning strongly toward keeping him. Here are some unorganized thoughts on Jason Schmidt:

* Schmidt has been a bit better this season than his ERA would indicate. His quick and dirty DIPS ERA is 4.35. His strikeout rate, while down from 2003 and 2004, is still very good (8.49/9IP). So its not like he's just completely fallen off a cliff and lost all effectiveness.

* A quick glance at the pitchers on the winter free agent market leaves me with two thoughts: 1) the overall depth of the free agent class is poor and 2) the quality of the free agent class is poor. With so few starters on the market, teams will have to pay big bucks just to get themselves a middle of the rotation starter. I do not want to see the Giants in a position where they have to give a Jaret Wright contract to someone like Jeff Suppan just to fill out their rotation.

Certainly there are some free agents who would be very attractive (AJ Burnett, Jason Johnson, Matt Morris, Jarrod Washburn, Kevin Millwood) if the price was right. But, again, I don't know if the price will be right.

* What do the Giants want in return for Schmidt? From the espn.com rumor mill:
"According to USA Today, the Giants will listen to offers for ace Jason Schmidt, but only if they get a king's ransom in return -- at least two major-league-ready starters, plus a top-level prospect. Several teams, however, have backed off Schmidt after recently scouting him."
Herein lies a conundrum -- a team that is looking to upgrade its starting rotation probably doesn't have the pitching depth to part with two quality starters to send to the Giants.

Herein lies another conundrum -- the package the Giants are reportedly seeking is commensurate with Schmidt being one of the top pitchers in the league. Meanwhile, potential trading partners who have scouted Schmidt do not believe he is currently one of the top pitchers in the league.

I think Sabean is playing his cards right thusfar. Be open to trading Schmidt if you can get a ton of talent in return. If no one bites, keep Schmidt for next season.

Prediction: Barring some unforeseen foolishness from an agressive GM *cough* KennyWilliams *cough* Jason Schmidt will not be traded.

"Acquisition Mode"

From the Chron:
"General manager Brian Sabean said he remains in an "acquisition mode," focusing his search on a starting pitcher who could be acquired without costing the Giants a premium player on the current roster."
If "acquisition mode" means trading for a starter who will be under the Giants control for at least 2006 (preferably longer) then I don't have any problems with said acquisition. With only Noah Lowry (and probably Schmidt) penciled into the rotation for next season, the Giants have some holes to fill. It really doesn't matter when they get the starters for 2006, just as long as they get them.

However, if "acquisisition mode" means trading young talent for a player(s) who will be a free agent at the end of this season in a short-sighted, last ditch effort at a lost cause, then I will officially pronounce Giants management to be completely batshit crazy.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Big Weekend

Lots of events going on this weekend.


* The Second Annual UCSB Alumni Game at SBC Park. There will be a pregame tailgate in Lot C. More info can be found here. To buy your discounted tickets, go here.

* The "Giants Wives Online Auction" occurs on sfgiants.com from Friday to Sunday. Now, before you drain your checking account to place a bid on Brett Tomko's wife, I should warn you that contrary to the name of the auction, the Giants players will NOT be auctioning off their wives. Rather, the wives will be auctioning off Giants related items for charity.



* Rehab the Crab presents Crustacean Commotion 2005! Because San Franciscans need to protest something, damnit.

Crabblerousers unite! Meetup at The Park Bar and Grill at noon.

* In a pregame, on-field ceremony, the Giants will honor former SF reliever Robb Nen. Robb Nen pitched through enormous amounts of pain in 2002 in an effort to bring home that elusive World Series Championship to The City. For that reason, he will always have my respect. Hats off to Robb Nen!