Westwood Blues

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Search Begins

* From Rich Draper of sfgiants.com:
"It appears the Giants will look inward initially for a new assistant GM, with help from Bobby Evans, director of Minor League operations, and Dick Tidrow, vice president of player personnel, a likely candidate to replace Colletti.

"We'll do a proper search to identify internally; how we might approach is from within ... make sure it's the right fit," said Sabean, explaining scout Pat Dobson will take over discussing possible deals with teams. "It's a very difficult position to fill."
I think there are good odds that Tidrow will get the job. By the way, is Giants scout Pat Dobson The Pat Dobson? I'm guessing it isn't Pat Dobson of the San Jose Giants.

* Draper also notes that Giants bench coach Ron Wotus is no longer a candidate for the Dodgers managerial opening.

* Dodgers Assistant GM Kim Ng is apparently staying with the Dodgers, so scratch her off the list of potential Giants AGM candidates. From mlb.com, via Dodger Thoughts:
"Ng, who has three years remaining on her contract, attended the press conference and said she would remain with the organization.

"I've been here for four years and I want to be part of it," said Ng, who was hired by former GM Dan Evans. "There are a lot of good things happening here on the baseball side."
Update 9:50 PM: Google is my friend. Pat Dobson of the Giants is former MLB pitcher Pat Dobson.

Update 10:25 PM: Pat Dobson update! Dobson is an absolute quote machine! From a 1999 article by Bob Nightengale.:
"Yet, Dobson realizes, not even the finest coaches in baseball can bring out the talent in every player. Padres center fielder Ruben Rivera has as much raw talent as anyone in the game. But he is hitting .181. On this day, Rivera loses track of the count and doesn't realize that he has just taken ball four.

"No wonder he can't hit," Dobson says.

Does he still have a chance to be the superstar whom the Yankees once predicted he would be?

"Slim and (bleeping) none," Dobson says. "He can't hit. He has no clue on a breaking ball. And he can't hit a fastball. I mean, some guys can't hit a breaking ball, but can at least hit a fastball. This guy can't do either."

"Well, if nothing else, I see where the Blue Jays finally gave up on Doug Bochtler. He was the worst (bleeping) pitcher I've ever seen in the big leagues." ... The next morning, Dobson will be stunned again. The Dodgers will have signed Bochtler to a major league contract."

"Hey, it's great to see the Dodgers keeping that pitching-rich tradition alive," Dobson says loudly. "Mike Maddux and Doug Bochtler. Give me a break."


"Dobson and Keith Champion, the Chicago Cubs' advance scout, start talking about double-play combinations around the league. Champion wonders aloud if the Dodgers' double-play combo of second baseman Eric Young and shortstop Mark Grudzielanek is the worst in the league.

"It's got to be," Dobson says. "You got one guy who can't turn a double play (Young) and the other (Grudzielanek) with no range. I don't understand the thinking here. You spend $105 million on a pitcher (Kevin Brown) who's a ground-ball pitcher and have an infield with iron hands. That makes a hell of a lot of sense."


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Colletti Departs, But Who Replaces Him?

The big news of the night is that former Giants Assistant GM Ned Colletti is the new GM in Dodgerville.

Colletti's departure serves as a large, immediate hole for the Giants to fill. Its no secret that Brian Sabean delegated nearly all of the Giants contract negotiating responsibilities to Colletti.

In the NY Daily News' fascinating, behind the scenes look at Edgardo Alfonzo's contract negotiations, Colletti is the Giants negotiator, while Sabean is only brought in to close the deal.

Colletti's exit couldn't have come at a worse time for the Giants, who are now in the middle of an important off season without their experienced contract negotiator who has establised relationships with agents. (In fact, Colletti was in conversations with Matt Morris' agent in the last few days, so that could leave a potential Matt Morris signing up in the air.)

Also, I'm not sure what to make of this, but its worth pointing out.
"There were all sorts of messes in San Francisco, and not all of them became public," said an agent who has had several clients play for the Giants. "Ned dealt with all of them."
Brainstorming Potential Replacements

As for who will fill Colletti's shoes as the new assistant GM, Dick Tidrow, the Giants VP of Player Personnel, is most likely the frontrunner (with Jack Hiatt being promoted to VP of Player Personnel). That would be the safe, steady, don't-change-horses-in-midstream kind of pick.

The above linked LA Times article mentions an appealing candidate:
"It is unclear whether Colletti plans to retain (Kim) Ng or vice president of player development Roy Smith, who have been running the Dodger front office since DePodesta was fired."
Kim Ng has made a name for herself by beating Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne in arbitration. I honestly don't know much about her other than that, but that is an awfully impressive bullet point to have on your resume. She's also served as an assistant GM, so she would come with experience, and, presumably, some established relationships with agents.

So, who will/should be the Giants new Assistant GM? Tidrow? Ng? DePo ;) ? Someone else?

Update 11:20 PM: This is funny. Nice work, Rob.

Update 11:45 PM: Did I really do an entire post about Ned Colletti without mentioning the Neifarious multi-year contract? How quickly I've forgotten.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Starters

Heading into the winter's free-agent and trading extravaganza, Brian Sabean has identified starting pitching as the Giants number one priority. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some possibilities accompanied by commentary which I'll try to pass off as decent analysis:

* AJ Burnett

By law, I'm obligated to concede that he's too good and too expensive for the Giants to acquire and that Burnett is destined for the Yankees or Red Sox.

* Jason Johnson

Brian Sabean's acquisition checklist:

1) I've previously tried to acquire him? Check.
2) Scouts like him? Check.

If I had to make a guess as to which pitcher the Giants would try to acquire, I would guess Jason Johnson. Scouts love his size and stuff. If you trust Peter Gammons (I know, I know), the Giants tried to acquire him from the Orioles as part of a larger Sidney Ponson trade at the trading deadline in 2003.


2005: 94
2004: 88
2003: 104

* Jason Jennings

So, several weeks ago I was out with some of my friends at a local bar. A friend of one my friends asked me if I knew their friend named Jen. I said no, I had not met their friend Jen. He then tells me that Jen reminds him of his action figures that he played with when he was a kid. He would remove the top half of one of his smaller action figures and attach it to the lower body of one of his larger action figures. He and his friends would laugh at the newly designed action figure who had a small upper body, but a large lower body.

A little while later, I see the infamous Jen. Sure enough, she is a woman who looks normal from the mid-section up, but from the waist down is basically Eric Gregg. Jason Jennings has a similar body type. By looking at only his mug shot, you'd think that he's probably a pretty big, but not obese guy. But, if you've seen him pitch, wow, the dude's got one enormous tank ass and tree trunks for legs.

Ok, I have nothing meaningful to contribute, other than I am astounded by the normal upper body/ginormous ass phenomenon. I mean, shouldn't one's weight be spead out at least somewhat proportionally?

* Daisuke Matsuzaka

Admittedly, I don't know much of anything about him and he may not even come to the MLB next season, but his name is usually absent from these types of discussions, so I thought I'd throw his name out there.

Given his price tag, the Giants probably have no chance of signing him, but if Matsuzaka enters into the equation, he could very well replace Burnett as top off season target of the Yankees/Red Sox. Could the Yankees and Red Sox be so obsessed with trying to sign him that they forgo the AJ Burnett / Matt Morris Sweepstakes? Who knows.

One more note on Matsuzaka: at age 18 he threw 250 pitches and 17 innings in a national high school tournament. Wow.

* Kyle Lohse

Lohse had some issues with the coaching staff in Minnesota and there is a chance he could be moved in the off season. Lohse is arbitration eligible.

Lohse could essentially replace Brett Tomko as the mediocre innings eater of the rotation.


2005: 105
2004: 89
2003: 100

While it would be nice to dump Edgardo Alfonzo's contract onto the Twins in exchange for Kyle Lohse (and the Giants also sending prospects), that scenario is hopelessly unrealisitc. Twins owner Carl Pohlad would rather bathe in a pool of flesh-eating bacteria than add one penny to his team's payroll. Any trade with Minnesota would have to be salary-neutral or the Giants eating an enormous chunk of Fonzie's contract.

* Jamie Moyer

...Must...acquire...every...43 year-old...

If nothing else, Moyer is very durable (200+ IP in each of the last 5 years). His ERA+ was roughly league average last season.


2005: 101
2004: 83
2003: 136

In terms of contract length, this would be a low-risk signing in that it would most likely be for only one year. In terms of performance, you do run the risk that age could finally catch up with Moyer and he could devolve into Woody v.2005.

* Matt Morris

"Hey, Matt. This is your buddy Mike Matheny of the San Francisco Giants. I hear you're a free agent. Boy, do I have the perfect destination for you..."

* Kip Wells

Hank Schulman of the Chronicle speculated that the Giants could target arbitration eligible players in the trade market:
"More likely, the Giants will try to deal for an arbitration-eligible pitcher who has become too expensive for another team. That list could include Pittsburgh's Kip Wells, Colorado's Jason Jennings, Minnesota's Kyle Lohse and Boston's Bronson Arroyo."

2005: 84
2004: 91
2003: 129

Its also worth noting that Wells issued 99 walks (!) last season in 182 IP.

Eyre News

From the Chronicle article linked above:

"The Giants have offered Eyre a two-year contract with a third-year option. In a brief phone conversation Wednesday, Eyre said he has put his fate in the hands of his agent, Tommy Tanzer, which is terrible news for the Giants. Tanzer will not allow Eyre to sign before other teams can start rolling Brinks trucks loaded with cash to the pitcher's front door Friday.

Sabean said he will "hang in there" with Eyre as long as possible, "but at some point there is going to be a choke point."
So unless Eyre hires Mike Timlin or Master P to handle his contract negotiations, Eyre will be looking at a big payday.

The only good news is that Eyre has apparently been designated as a Type A free agent, so the Giants will receive draft pick compensation if he were to be signed by another team (I'm assuming he'll sign before the deadline).

Ray Ratto brings up a interesting point:
"He is worthy of a serious contract bump, even if it means paying as much as $4 million for two years and an option, which is deeper than the Giants want to go.

Why? Because Alou isn't going to change the way he manages. Because the Giants don't have someone who is good for seven innings a game, making Eyre more important to the Giants than to anyone else."
Several other teams will be bidding in the Scott Eyre sweepstakes, so it will take a big offer from the Giants to keep him.

I imagine the Giants will get around to guaranteeing the third year of their offer, but that still may not be enough to keep Eyre with the Giants.