Giants Hand Out Extensions

The San Francisco Giants possessed the worst offense in baseball this season. For outstanding efforts in offensive offenses, Brian Sabean was given an extension today. Manager Bruce Bochy was also extended — more on him in a bit.

Sabean’s team-building abilities are hard to get a read on. Sometimes he looks solid, like last off-season when he maneuvered quickly and concisely to land Jeremy Affeldt, Bob Howry, and Randy Johnson. He would also give Edgar Renteria a decent-sized contract which seems to be the lasting impression of those signings. During the season he likely overpaid for both Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez. The latter turned out to be injured all along, pouring salt on the open wound known as the collective fan base’s heart. Historically he’s signed some real stinkers: Aaron Rowand, Barry Zito, Dave Roberts, and Matt Morris; made a really poor trade for A.J. Pierzynksi, and also found some nice young talent.

It’s easy to excuse one year of down play, because bad breaks happen, but Sabean has never been able to build a strong lineup, even when he had Barry Bonds carrying the team on his back. Their .305 team wOBA in 2009 is supposed by a .309 wOBA in 2008; .311 wOBA in 2007; .319 wOBA in 2006; and .312 wOBA in 2005. That’s one heck of an ineffective offense despite the presence of the aforementioned Bonds.

The Giants main off-season goal is to eradicate the suck and implement some talent. Odds are, this plan includes Matt Holliday or Jason Bay (or, in the nature of Sabean-loves-old-player jokes: Ken Griffey Jr.) and depending on the contracts given, maybe adding an additional bat. It’s probably going to take more than one incoming talent to improve the lineup, but Pablo Sandoval, Holliday (at least, he should be the main target), and Buster Posey isn’t a bad start. Factor in the likely return of Sanchez and there’s some definite room for improvement.

On to Bochy’s return. It took him nearly half the season to figure out Pablo Sandoval was a better fit in the third slot than Randy Winn and even longer to realize that Aaron Rowand (boasting a .319 OBP for the season) was not the best choice at leadoff. Not that one can place all of the blame on Bochy — after all, he can only work with what he is given — but Carson Cistulli seemingly received more plate appearances for the Giants in September than Posey. Gaining trust in the young backstop is going to be vital to Bochy’s success, because like it or not, Wiki Gonzalez isn’t walking through that door.

If the Giants fail to address their run-scoring issues it would painstakingly represent another missed opportunity during the Tim Lincecum/Matt Cain era. Those guys and baseball as a whole deserve a shot to see what they can do in the post-season.



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Carson Cistulli
Editor
Member
6 years 9 months ago

I know. Even I felt bad for taking all those PAs away from Buster.

dan woytek
Guest
dan woytek
6 years 9 months ago

the only opportunities Cistulli should get ahead of Posey are in the realm of corny joke making and in Wiffle home run derby. Even though in the latter he has recently been slumping and experimenting with a Tony Bautista-like stance.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 9 months ago

We should have a “guess which mid-thirties hitter Brian Sabean gives a four-year deal to” pool this offseason. My money’s on Jermaine Dye.

Walter Guest
Guest
Walter Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Rowand got red hot when moved to leadoff. I would have kept him there for life.

JTE
Guest
JTE
6 years 9 months ago

He got hot until he stopped being hot. 6/22 – 7/17 his OPS in the leadoff spot was 582. Certainly should not have been a lifetime appointment.

I don’t think it was a bad thing to try, and it did work out for quite a while. I would be more likely to credit Bochy for ditching it relatively soon even though it looked genius at first, rather than criticize him for taking too long to figure out it was a bad idea.

Walter Guest
Guest
Walter Guest
6 years 9 months ago

You are cherry-picking the numbers. Overall Rowand hit 292/354/465 for an OPS of 819 while hitting leadoff. Over 200 ABs. Did Bochy have someone better? He was replaced when he got hurt and never put back.

BobbyMac
Guest
BobbyMac
6 years 9 months ago

I concur with this. Reviewing news on him, it sounds like the tear he suffered never really healed, as he didn’t hit much at all upon his return. I thought that using Rowand to lead off was a fairly inspired move, considering there were ample chances to select a worse option, and on such a powerless team, many managers would have.

B
Guest
B
6 years 9 months ago

Sounds like some non-Giants fans here (in that you don’t follow them too closely). Yes, Rowand had a hot stretch that happened to coincide with hitting leadoff. No, there is no reason to believe Rowand is a better hitoff in the leadoff spot, and hitting him there in the future is a bad idea. Yes, he is, in general, a bad fit for the leadoff given his lack of OBP ability. Yes, we had a better option all along – his name was Fred Lewis, and he posted a .348 wOBA last year in almost a full season and has a .343 wOBA for his career, as opposed to the .325 and .323 wOBA lines Rowand has put up in his two years on the Giants. Did I mention Lewis has a career .355 OBP? Not great for a leadoff on a real baseball team, but on our team of minor league hitters, it’s the best we have outside of Sandoval. Oh yeah, Lewis got 6 starts after Aug 8 (he was not injured) this season. He has a career 8.9 UZR/150 in LF, is an above average hitter, and got 6 starts in the last month and a half+ of the season. Thanks Bochy.

Bringing Sabean and Bochy back is a travesty, matched only by the Royals and Dayton Moore. I wish I could stop investing my emotional well-being in this team – but they’re like a bad addiction, I know it’s bad for me…maybe this will be enough to end it…

BlackOps
Guest
BlackOps
6 years 9 months ago

“Did Bochy have someone better?” Hmm. I count at least three guys who would have probably done a better job winning games by batting leadoff than Rowand.

Coby DuBose
Member
Coby DuBose
6 years 9 months ago

Mets are targeting Matt Holliday. They’ll outbid San Fran, IMO.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C
6 years 9 months ago

What i don’t understand is why Bay Area Laboratories Company doesn’t turn out a high speed cloning operation so that Sandoval can play every position at once.

JoeR43
Member
JoeR43
6 years 9 months ago

Bruce Bochy: Because San Francisco couldn’t get enough of Dusty Baker.

“What’s this…O…B…P…you speak of? Sounds like basecloggery to me.”

Sam Adams
Guest
Sam Adams
6 years 9 months ago

Anyone arguing Fred Lewis needs more starts doesn’t know anyhitng about baseball

B
Guest
B
6 years 9 months ago

Do you have a point to make here, or is that all you have to say on the issue?

Walter Guest
Guest
Walter Guest
6 years 9 months ago

“Sounds like some non-Giants fans here (in that you don’t follow them too closely)”

Translation: If you don’t hate Sabean and Bochy and every move they make you are not a Giant fan. The internet was filled with guys and comments like this all season no matter how many games the Giants won. Some even hoped for a losing season so the management wouldn’t be rehired.

Sounds kinda sick, doesn’t it?

JTE
Guest
JTE
6 years 9 months ago

Sick is as sick does. If it’s cherry picking the numbers to point out that Rowand sucked for his last month as a leadoff hitter, what is it to say that because he got hot when first moved there, it meant he had found his calling in life?

Walter Guest
Guest
Walter Guest
6 years 9 months ago

First, it wasn’t a month. You extended your time period to cover the time he was injured and didn’t play and ignored that he was playing injured before given a rest.

Second, you ignore that he had the best nunbers of any Giant leadoff hitter.

That’s cherry picking. Anything to make it look like Bochy made a mistake.

Maybe Rowand felt comfortable in that role. Maybe that brought out the best of in him. If Bochy made a mistake it was not putting him back in there later. But maybe Bochy knew he was hurt and couldn’t do it any more. Think about it, some things are done for good reasons. Somtimes there is logic behind certain moves.

What a concept!

B
Guest
B
6 years 9 months ago

Walter, you realize you’re basically arguing that his 217 PA’s at leadoff are a more indicator of what he’ll do in the future than the 1,157 PA’s he’s accrued in his two years with the Giants. In 2008, in 611 PA’s, Rowand posted a wOBA of .325. In 2009, in 546 PA’s, Rowand posted a wOBA of .323. Now, are you really arguing that we should expect Rowand to continue to produce at the rate he was in the leadoff spot in the future if we bat him leadoff, instead of what those 1,157 PA’s suggest he would do? I’ll just point out that last year, Rowand had a .318 BABIP for the year, and for his career it’s a .322 mark. You know what it was when he hit leadoff? .376.

Yes, Rowand was productive as a leadoff hitter and that helped the Giants, and I like Giants players being productive. No, he is not expected to continue to produce like that in the future. The methodology and reasoning behind putting him leadoff was flawed – we were simply lucky it worked out as long as it did. If you make decisions like this enough times, though, on the whole, it’s going to hurt the team even if sometimes it works out.

Jay Sun
Guest
Jay Sun
6 years 9 months ago

I won’t say I hoped for a losing season… but I’m scared that the team played over it’s head for a season, won 88 games, and now they’re prematurely in “win-now” mode. That doesn’t historically bode well for kids trying to break into starting lineups for Sabean’s or Bochy’s past teams. If they gave Winn and Renteria 1055 PA’s of bottom-10 worst production in the league, what happens next? What kind of prospects will be dealt for mediocre veterans, as Alderson and Barnes were for already-injured Sanchez and benched-after-80-PA Garko?

I have zero faith in Sabean’s ability to build an offense in the 21st century. The free agent pool isn’t great this year, and Sabean hasn’t proved recently that he can properly evaluate position players at all. A short list of players he’s recently given multi-year deals to: Renteria, Winn, Dave Roberts, Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina and Rich Aurilia (to start at 1B!). This is the same organization that gave Omar Vizquel a $5.3 million deal for 2008 with an automatically (but didn’t due to injury) vesting option, after he’d just put up a .246/.305/.316 line. (I’m not knocking the Molina deal, and not so much the Rowand deal… but in the case of Rowand, Winn was already on board and the Giants had plenty of options for a team that wasn’t going anywhere in 2008 or 2009.

Worse, he and Bochy won’t give serious chances to players who might prove to be solid regulars, like Kevin Frandsen, Jesus Guzman, Nate Schierholtz, etc.

So the Giants are a rebuilding team that won’t play the kids. That lack of vision really sums up the Giants from the end of the Bonds-era til now.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 9 months ago

See: Mariners, Seattle, circa December 2007.

B
Guest
B
6 years 9 months ago

I know what you mean – though I do think we’re at a point where, with a competent GM, we could be winning now, with Sabean we’re not good enough. 88 games was a fluke, we were more an 82-84 win team this season. The results were a contract extension for Sabean and Bochy, the loss of two of our top pitching prospects, no playoffs to show for it, and more old shitty veterans on the team. Doing well this year was definitely bad for the Giants long term…

dxc
Guest
dxc
6 years 9 months ago

Are you kidding? In retrospect, Omar at $5.3 million was a brilliant move, I wish the option had vested! The brilliance comes in the even worse move it would have avoided!

We could have saved the money spent on Renteria this year, not have him signed for next year, and platooned/played some replacement level kid when Omar was hurt or resting or sucking, and ended up with Renteria like performance!

Steve
Guest
Steve
6 years 9 months ago

Any statistical system that says Fred Lewis is a decent LF is completely suspect IMHO. I watched enough games this season to cringe everytime the ball was hit to him.

B
Guest
B
6 years 9 months ago

Well if you actually think about it in depth it starts to make a whole lot more sense. LF is one of the worst group of defensive players in baseball (probably the 2nd worst after 1B). Fred Lewis’ peer group consists of the likes of Adam Dunn, Carlos Lee, Carlos Quentin, Garrett Anderson, Johnny Damon, Jason Bay, Ryan Braun, Chris Duncan, Chris Coghlan, Manny Ramirez….it goes on, you get the point. Even someone like Raul Ibanez is well above average compared to these guys. Guys like Carl Crawford stand out a ridiculous amount compared to this group, Nyer Morgan had a 24 UZR/150 compared to this group (just over 500 innings at LF)…

The point is LF is a terrible fielding position. Fred Lewis is a very good athlete, and is very fast. That goes a long way. Does a ball hit at Lewis strike fear in Giants fans everywhere? Of course, dude misplays balls all the time. But for every misplaced ball you see and remember, there’s more than one ball he got to that David Murphy (closest player I could find to average) would not that you don’t notice because it looked routine. That’s why Fred Lewis is an above average fielder.

Joe R
Guest
Joe R
6 years 9 months ago

Exactly.
“BUT HE’S SO BAD!”

Not everyone can be Carl Crawford in LF. LF is the 2nd position managers just stick a guy at when they want their bat in the lineup (after 1B), so you have a lot of fringe MLB regulars and DHs with gloves in that position. Want to see the gap defensively between CF and LF? Check Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2008 and 2009 UZR splits.

Fred Lewis would make a lousy CF imo, but LF, he’s more than athletic enough to cover his Juan Pierre school of route running style

Joel C.
Guest
Joel C.
6 years 9 months ago

Chris Coghlan had only played one game in his minor league career at LF (or anywhere in the OF) prior to this season. He didn’t even play there in Spring Training I believe. He’s a natural 2B/3B and would be average defensively at 3rd and above average at 2B. Eventually he would be above average at LF as well, he’s just inexperienced at the position. He shouldn’t be lumped in with Adam Dunn and Jason Bay when it comes to a defensive efficiency argument.

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