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  1. Plus, pitching in SF should help his numbers, making the deal look even better than it is.

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — December 27, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  2. “Speaking of which, now the Giants rotation is something like: Lincecum, Matt Cain, Johnson, Sanchez, and Barry Zito. That very well could be the best rotation in the National League.”

    Possibly the best? Zito and Sanchez had ERA’s of 5.

    Comment by sd — December 27, 2008 @ 12:22 am

  3. lincecum is a cy young
    cain is underrated due to w/l record
    randy johnson still has it when healthy
    sanchez had ahigh era due to pitching hurt hte 2nd half of the season
    zito had a 4.65 era post-all star break

    they still have no offense but great rotation

    Comment by zack — December 27, 2008 @ 12:38 am

  4. That ERA doesn’t do Sanchez justice whatsoever. Speaking of which, why are you using ERA instead of a defensive-independent metric anyways?

    Comment by R.J. Anderson — December 27, 2008 @ 12:40 am

  5. How does this $8-13M signing make sense for a team that isn’t going to contend? Johnson is a good one-year win-now signing for a team that is ready to win now. It doesn’t look like the Giants are ready, even with Johnson and a handful of shrewd, low-impact acquisitions.

    Comment by NYRoyal — December 27, 2008 @ 1:37 am

  6. The NL West is pretty bad. As it stands now, I think the Giants have a decent shot at winning it. I’m excited to see divisional projections. And if the Giants were able to get into the playoffs, they’d have a scary staff that is 4 deep.

    Comment by marcello — December 27, 2008 @ 1:42 am

  7. Giants better win a lot of games 1-0…..

    Comment by OsbornetoRun — December 27, 2008 @ 1:49 am

  8. Great move by the Giants.Gives them a top rotation in all of baseball. Good breakdown at

    Comment by Nuschlers News — December 27, 2008 @ 1:54 am

  9. I think they will compete now. Adding Affeldt and Howry to Romo to bridge to Wilson is nice. If they can add a 1b or upgrade at 2b from Burriss/Frandsen/Velez, their line-up won’t be too bad:

    Winn – RF
    Renteria – SS
    Pablo Sandoval – 3b
    Molina – C
    Rowand – CF
    Phelps – 1b
    FLewis – LF
    Burriss/Frandsen – 2b

    Alright, that kind of sucks in a lot of ways, but the Dodgers line-up minus Manny isn’t so hot either, not to mention the Dodgers only have 3 SP as of now and they’re all young except Kuroda. NL West should be a tight 3-team race – LA, SF, AZ.

    Comment by Johnny LeMaster — December 27, 2008 @ 2:09 am

  10. Could be. That Giants offense really does look horrendous. But maybe it is enough. I’d still pick the Dodgers (even without Manny) and a good young Arizona team over the Giants.

    Comment by NYRoyal — December 27, 2008 @ 2:22 am

  11. Good breakdown? The entire post was ten sentences long. Any analysis that contains the quote “This is definitely a move that brings more wins to the team and provides the ability to need less run support” is NOT a good breakdown. The whole site reads like it was written by a fifth grader. If that’s what you were going for, then I apologize.

    Comment by John K. — December 27, 2008 @ 3:13 am

  12. We got the arms all we need is couple of big bats can you say W.S bound

    Comment by Mexidor — December 27, 2008 @ 3:34 am

  13. This is perfect for them. It’s better than signing another pitcher to a longer term, bad contract. Johnson bridges the gap between Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner, so there is a spot ready for them when they are ready.

    I guess the forgotten man is Noah Lowry. That was likely his spot, but the Giants don’t want to depend on his health right now and if he proves healthy, it just gives them a trade chip in spring.

    If Sanchez can remain consistent in his arm slot and Zito throws like he did in the second, it will defintely give the Giants one of the best rotations in baseball. You will be able to do a lot of things in the West with that rotation.

    Comment by Larry Yocum — December 27, 2008 @ 9:49 am

  14. It’s a good move because they can contend if they get lucky this year, but it’s only a one year deal so it doesn’t block any of the young arms that should be ready next year.

    Comment by oldjacket — December 27, 2008 @ 11:17 am

  15. From a NY Yankee fan perspective – I think the lineup needs some pop. Would a Nady + Kennedy + Melky for Cain be something which would interest you?

    At that point, Nady could play in place of Lewis (LF) and 1B (if you think Phelps is anything….), and Melky could be the 4th outfielder. all of a sudden the bench is alot deeper and there is some pop in the lineup .

    I believe Winn is a FA after this year, and Nady is arb eligable, so either/both could be gone at the end of the year, and Melky could play CF and Rowand move to left in 2010.

    Kennedy is a nice, not great, pitcher who would be a perfect fit in the NL/ Big Park and who is cost-controlled for years.

    I would also, if the Yanks sign Manny, approach the Yanks for a Matsui – for – Winn trade, or expand the deal listed above with Cain to include these players. Yanks could always throw in one of their middle-relief guys ( Brunney/Veras/Robertson) to sweeten the pot, or make a conditional player contingent on the anount of AB’s Matsui gets.

    Lewis could then lead-off, then the lineup looks a little better:

    Lewis – RF
    Renteria – SS
    Nady – 1B
    Pablo Sandoval – 3b
    Matsui / Melky- LF
    Molina – C
    Rowand – CF
    Burriss/Frandsen – 2b

    Winn could play an adequate CF for a year for NY, and Matsui would add depth to the lineup and fannies to the seats.

    I think the money back-and-forth is about equal as well, and while the Giant D would slip with matsui in LF, the power nady and matsui will bring to the lineup will be welcome

    Comment by MikeInNY — December 27, 2008 @ 12:12 pm

  16. Wouldn’t defense dependent metrics be relevant (or atleast more relevant) when a pitcher has the same team behind him from year to year?

    Comment by MAD-ness — December 27, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  17. I’m pretty sure I’m in line with Sabean when I say Cain is untouchable, and so he should be. I would go for a Nady for Sanchez straight up trade, maybe with a prospect thrown in. (I know how weak the Yankees farm system is right now). The last thing the Giants need right now though is more aging outfielders (Matsui? No way.) or young, under performers (Melky? We’ve Schierholtz waiting for a spot).

    Additionally, where is Ishikawa in that lineup? Phelps is merely there for some depth, but not as a starter, he hasn’t even been in talks. Ishikawa has put on some bulk, and him and Sandoval should add a lot of power in a full season of play.

    I’m predicting a Lincecum-Sabathia matchup in Game 1 of the WS.

    Comment by Scoob — December 27, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

  18. They’d have to throw in Lincecum too.

    Comment by Chip — December 27, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  19. Not really. Bad luck still occurs.

    Comment by R.J. Anderson — December 27, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  20. The two comments above this one covered it.

    Just a glance at the NL West:
    Padres – Rebuilding
    Rockies – Dealt Holliday, although should still be decent.
    Dodgers -Losing Lowe, may or may not lose Manny, lost Saito. Added Loretta.
    D-Backs – Losing Johnson, Hudson, and Dunn, gained Felipe Lopez.

    ~85 wins probably takes the division unless something drastic happens.

    Comment by R.J. Anderson — December 27, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  21. As far as I can tell, this puts the Giants rotation about 15 WAR, with Arizona’s still just ahead of that at 16. The Rockies are at 11, the Dodgers closer to 9 right now unless they’re planning on blowing up some young arms to squeeze out more.

    Their lineups plus defense give the Rockies around just over 19 WAR, the Giants and Dodgers around 17 each, and the D-backs 15. Obviously if the Dodgers sign Manny they’ll move in front. The Giants, Rockies and Dodgers each have plus bullpens, but after losing Cruz, I don’t think the D-backs do anymore. I could see an argument that this puts San Fran barely in front in the NL projection wise, but it’s close enough with the four teams that anything can happen still.

    The bottom line though, is that this signing does in fact push the Giants into contention in the division and is therefore worth every penny.

    Comment by Rox Girl — December 27, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  22. I cant believe what I’m reading. Giants in the World Series?
    You’ve got to be kidding me! Their offense is atrocious. The rotation
    is completely overrated in the comments as well. They will be a force in
    a few years I bet, but you guys are being WAY too optimistic.

    Dodgers will get Manny back, he’s got nowhere else to go. And they have
    tons of young pitching in their farm. Diamondbacks still seem to be a better
    force to me then the Giants.. And if the Giants do make the World Series, you
    really think they can compete with Phillies/Mets/Cubs in the first round?


    Comment by Harrison — December 27, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  23. They’d have to throw in Lincecum too.

    *chokes on soda*

    The NL West is fun and competitive. I still don’t like the Holliday trade at all, but the Rox shouldn’t be half-bad. They’ve got as good a shot as any of the Manny-less teams.

    Comment by Jason T — December 27, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  24. It seems like a lot of the acquisitions this year somehow involve the National League West. See below:

    – possible Peavy trade
    – SD has burned the bridge with Trevor Hoffman so I couldn’t imagine he’d be back
    – Brad Penny is looking to move on
    – Manny is looking for a fat payday
    – Derek Lowe is looking for a fat payday as well
    – Holliday got traded to Oakland
    – Willy Taveras, albeit not a major “threat”, eventhough he stole 68 bags last year which means a free opportunity to move up a runner(s), just signed with Cincinnati
    – Big Unit moved north
    – Hudson is a FA

    I’m sure I have forgotten a few, but the only people the Giants have “lost”, are Vizquel, Correia, Hennessey, and potentially Aurilia. Everyone knows how awful the NL West is, so I think the Giants have a very good chance to take the Division title this year. World Series? More than likely not. Playoffs? Well, you win your division and your in. Plus, you gotta be in it to win it. We’ll just see how everything pans out. True fans always have faith in their team.

    Comment by nick — December 27, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  25. “Speaking of which, now the Giants rotation is something like: Lincecum, Matt Cain, Johnson, Sanchez, and Barry Zito. That very well could be the best rotation in the National League.”

    …wow I think you could be right. I need to crawl out of my AL East hole every once in a while and realize that the rest of the majors isn’t such insanity.

    Comment by Tim_the_Beaver — December 27, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  26. Forgive my ignorance. I’m new to the scene.

    But what does FIP mean?

    Comment by CubfanJeff — December 27, 2008 @ 7:38 pm


    The glossary there is one of the best compiled glossaries I have come across.

    Comment by marcello — December 27, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  28. Only if you throw in A-Rod, Joba, and Wang… otherwise, please keep your insanely one-sided trades to yourself. Thanks

    Comment by Aaron B. — December 27, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  29. WOW! I’ve got a lot of work to do.


    Comment by CubfanJeff — December 27, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  30. Whoa… I know it’s exciting for educated fans when a team makes a smart signing, and as a Dodger fan I’m pissed about this (thought RJ would fit in perfectly in LA)… but the Giants contending? Seriously??

    Let’s get some perspective… the 2008 Dodgers had a run differential of +120. The Giants were -50. So far, the Giants have added a couple of their typical “Farewell Tour”-type players (Renteria and RJ), plus a couple of mediocre bullpen arms. The Dodgers have lost Manny (who they only had 1/3 of the season), Brad Penny (6.27 ERA), and Saito (old and unreliable). They also lost Derek Lowe, which hurts, but they’re certain to sign at least one other major FA to replace him. Plus, it’s reasonable to expect they’re going to get a full year from Clayton Kershaw and Rafael Furcal in 2009. I don’t see a makeup of 170 runs anywhere in there.

    The Giants’ rotation does look nice on paper now, but having major question marks about 4 outta 5 seems like a bad thing. Add to that their horrendous lineup, and this deal is nothing more than a “get-butts-in-the-seats” signing. The Giants will not contend.

    Comment by OnetoNothing — December 28, 2008 @ 2:54 am

  31. Those are nice rose colored glasses. What major free agent pitcher are you expecting the Dodgers to sign? Also, run differential is hardly a predictive stat, especially when you consider the lack of experience for the majority of the Giants players last season. (Lewis, Schierholtz, Burris, Velez, Ishikawa). To me it would only seem reasonable to expect improvement.
    You’re also excusing an awful lot when you mention potentially losing your offensive catalyst (Manny) as well as Lowe and Penny.
    How is it at all reasonable to expect a full season out of Rafael Furcal when he is coming off of a major back surgery?
    Lastly, your 4 of 5 question marks comment on the rotation… I would love to see you try to explain how a Billingsley, Kuroda, Schmidt (wow btw), Kershaw, and Stultz rotation is more of a sure thing than the Giants rotation.
    I’m not saying the Giants will win the division but your selective reasoning is unreasonably dismissive of what has been the lone productive off season in the NL West.

    Comment by BrianBokake — December 28, 2008 @ 4:26 am

  32. Just eyeballing the projected lineup and going with WAR estimates based off my gut evaluations of the players’ offensive/defensive talent (and using 50 wins as replacement level for a team), I get ~78 wins or so. Seems quite plausible that they contend for the division, but they likely need another piece or two. I don’t know that they’ll get much more than 10 war from their position player starters (including defense). Ouch.

    Comment by Milendriel — December 28, 2008 @ 4:51 am

  33. I will never ever understand how Yankees fans think of crazy stuff like this. Nobody wants Melky, OK?

    Comment by Matt H. — December 28, 2008 @ 11:05 am

  34. Giants in the World Series? Not as likely as the New York Yankees but not out of the question either, and this rotation gives them a shot, at least in the “offensively challenged” NL West.

    Who would have thought the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, or the Colorado Rockies in 2007, or the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 (okay, the last two didn’t win but even so). We’ve all seen “stranger” things happen.

    Comment by Tom Au — December 28, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  35. Ah, the old “they’re young so they’ll all collectively get better!” argument. Maybe some will, others probably fall off, some will find out they’re not MLB-quality players (and cost the Giants some wins in the process). In any case, the Dodgers’ young squad is just as likely, if not more so, to get better this season from last. Those 25-27 years are where guys usually peak.

    RJ is predicted as having “a slightly worse version of Kevin Correia’s 2008.” Um… that’s the guy whose spot he’s taking… so it’s not an improvement. Renteria had almost the EXACT same WPA in 2008 as Vizquel, so another non-improvement. They did get Bob Howry’s 5.35 ERA (-.79 WPA) and Affeldt’s decent 3.33 ERA(-.19 WPA). If you see some massive improvement somewhere in there, I’d like those rose-colored glasses back.

    The Giants have a nice rotation now, I’d give them the edge over the Dodgers. Their lineup is still atrocious though, and the Dodgers’ is pretty good, that’s the difference.

    Comment by OnetoNothing — December 28, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

  36. Johnson is an ok baseball signing but looks like more of a marketing signing (since they fell short of three million attendance for the first time ever at AT&T Park. All the talk about “contention” is more or less marketing as well. Sabean’s stated philosophy has long been “once you get into the playoffs anything can happen.” This is ball-less flip-a-coin marketing-centric nonsense. Yes, seven game series tend to increase the luck factor, boosting a weak team’s chances. And yes, the team with the best four-man — and sometimes three-man — rotation gets a better shot, and a strong bullpen that includes starters at critical points is also useful. But given decent pitching (and adequate defense), what wins short series most reliably is a lineup whose hitters all consistently contribute game-changing plays, which translates to (yawn) high OBP and SLG throughout. Pitchers rarely win a game with a single pitch. Batters win with a single swing often. Get a bunch of hitters with high potential for contributing to big innings, pair them with adequate pitching, and you have a juggernaut. Focus exclusively on pitching and you have a strategy based on hoping the competent offensive teams never get lucky. They will.

    Comment by hilarie — December 28, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  37. I don’t really see what the commenters are missing here.

    It’s not a good move because it’s going to magically propel the Giants into the playoffs, though it does improve them.

    It’s a good move because RJ is worth more than someone like Jamie Moyer, who recently got paid a lot more than he’s worth (and more than RJ) because he had 15 wins in 2008. RJ was underrated in 2008, and now he’s underpaid.

    Comment by Drew — December 29, 2008 @ 9:08 am

  38. Me contenta mucho que Pablo Sandoval sea considerado en tan alto nivel por los fanaticos de los Gigantes. Falta poco para que termine la temporada de baseball en mi pais (Venezuela) y Pablo Sandoval será con toda seguridad el lider bate del torneo.

    Lo mejor en este nuevo año a los lectores (y creadores) de esta estupenda pagina


    Comment by Miguel — December 29, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  39. where did this myth of xavier nady being a player worth pursuing come from? guy has one sick month as a yankee and now all of a sudden he’s a legit corner outfield starter? nady, the 30 year old with a sub .800 career ops who plays mediocre at best defense?

    the giants already have randy winn (who is similar, but plays much better defense) and fred lewis (who is basically the exact same player, only cheaper and younger). why the fuck would they give up anything for nady, much less a kid who at least has the potential to be a good #2 or #3 starter?

    Comment by phil — January 29, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

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