Thursday, October 1, 2015

Let's Look Towards the Free Agent Class of 2015-2016

     For some head-in-the-sand time to not think about all that's in the news, here's what I think about this upcoming free agent class.

     First things first, some context. The 2017 free agent class is almost worthless to the Giants. Carlos Gomez is the only big name and starting pitching is all but nonexistent, certainly top tier pitching.. This year is the year. So here goes:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

     Who would've thought heading into this season that the Giants list of heroes would look like this.
     Justin Maxwell almost single handedly kept a Pence-less team at .500 through April. His dominance against dodger pitching proved to decide an entire sweep of the smurfs at home to bring the team out of an early slump.
     Matt Duffy turned from defensive liability at shortstop into one of the best fielding third basemen in the game and a serious rookie of the year candidate, not to mention massively outperforming his two predecessors.
     Chris Heston who had already been outrighed to the minors the previous season came back to torture hitters through the first half, for awhile keeping himself a serious RoY candidate at 27.
     Kelby Tomlinson was a light hitting farmhand for years before suddenly thrusting himself into the everyday role at second base in the absence of Joe P├ínik and providing a spark the front office was trying to get out of *cough-laughing* Chase Utley who has done diddly squat since becoming a smurf.
     George Kontos is the most under appreciated giant be an amazingly long way. How the Giants pryed him from the yankees for...nothing...still baffles me. But the meddling starter turned lights-out setup man has put up an even better year this year than last. Not to mention a streak of 26 inherited runners stranded.
     Tim Hudson is a hero this year not for what he has done, but for what he hasn't. He's sacrificed his last year in the bigs for the good of the team and done it with a smile. For a man who will certainly get a hall of fame nomination to simply step aside is an ultimate act of sportsmanship.
     No matter what ends up happening, this has been another freakin' fantastic (and characteristically torturous) year of Giants baseball. Obviously there has been so much written about the big guys (MadBum, Posey, Pence, etc) but the Giants don't just roll like that. Duffy and Tomlinson have spoken at length about how the clubhouse treats fringe players and younger players like parts of the team puzzle, lowering the pressure and allowing them to succeed. That's just what the Giants do and that is why we are where we are now. Heading into the final stretch with a lot of confidence.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where does Travis Ishikawa fit on the 2015 roster?

     Travis Ishikawa's role moving into 2015 is very unclear, given the signing of Norichika Aoki. The Giants, including Ishikawa, have 7 MLB ready outfielders (Aoki, Pagan, Pence, Blanco, Perez, Brown, Ishikawa) moving into spring training. Gary Brown is a bit of a wildcard, but he will most likely be making an MLB level impact by midseason, though he does have a months worth of experience in the show. Dismissing Brown for the time being, Aoki, Pagan, and Pence will be the starters on opening day, Blanco is penciled in as the 4th outfielder. Juan Perez is likely the giants 5th option because of his defensive prowess and speed. Ishikawa is 6th. Last. Last doesn't make the opening day roster, and he is certainly no longer needed to back up Brandon Belt at first on an everyday level, given that Posey can play 1st and Susac can suit up behind the dish, given Belt needs a day off.
     Despite all of this, the Giants seem pretty committed to Ishikawa, having resigned him to rather large deal for a player of his caliber earlier this offseason. He hasn't been known to have much prowess as a pinch hitter, platoonman, or everyday player. But Brian Sabean hasn't completely forgotten how to do his job. Ishikawa has one advantage over other players that just can't be measured in statistics or sabermetrics. 
     Clutch. He is brilliant when the situation calls. The ability to keep calm and do what is necessary to help your team win. That is why the Giants like Travis Ishikawa. That is why I like him too. He is the ultimate in the Giants philosophy of chemistry, teamwork, and coming up big when it counts. He has no everyday position, and for that matter, no everyday role in particular, but he certainly has a role any day he is needed. Like Ryan Vogelsong. Like Jeremy Affeldt. That is why Travis Ishikawa is a necessity on the Giants 2015 roster.

Is Dayan Viciedo a good fit for the Orange & Black?

     The Chicago White Sox released Dayan Viciedo into free agency last week, following his DFA earlier in January. He hit a lowly .231 in 2014 and provided below average defense mostly in left field. That being said, he crushed 21 homers and has always had above-average power with multiple 20 home run seasons so far at age 25. He is also available in the cheap following a rough 2014 season. Viciedo has below below average to average defensive numbers playing 3B, 1B, LF, and RF.
     That's about all Viciedo has to his resume while playing at Chicago's hitter friendly park in his few major league year. So why would San Francisco have an interest in a made-for-DH type slugger? The answer is the same as it was when the Giants signed Aubrey Huff back in 2010. Power. The Giants have none. They are projected to hit less than 100 homers in 2015, and even in a small-ball dominated game, that doesn't fly. To be frank, it doesn't make sense for the Giants not to sign Dayan Viciedo. He has 15-25 homers in his bat, crushes lefties (.291 AVG vs LHP in 2014), plays 4 positions, and provides some insurance off the bench that Arias, Duffy, and Ishikawa can't. Along with that, he is in the same price range as the three aforementioned players. 
     Maybe the Giants could get lucky and strike gold with Viciedo, like they did with Aubrey Huff or Cody Ross in '10. Viciedo certainly has the offensive ability of either one of those players, and has an age advantage on both. Brian Sabean could have Viciedo for one or two million for a year or two, so the risk is low and the potential reward is substantial. Another free agent consideration for the Giants quiet offseason, we'll see how it plays out.