The Giants Add Pen Arms

Ramon Ramirez

This is the second time Ramirez will pitch in the National League West. Previously he spent the 2006 and part of the 2007 season with the Colorado Rockies. He performed well then by FIP measures before being traded to Kansas City. The rest of the story is more mainstream as he was dealt to Boston for Coco Crisp and has since struggled to replicate that magical 2008 season. His numbers this year are actually pretty close to what they were in 2009 with the exception of an increased homer rate, hence why his xFIP is actually lower this season by nearly a half run per nine.

In exchange, the Giants give up 24 year old Daniel Turpen. He’s a relief prospect with nice numbers in Double-A. It’s safe to say this is the lesser of the outputs today by the Giants.

Javier Lopez

Here’s the marquee deal and sort of head scratcher. Lopez is a true blue side-arming left-handed specialist. Lopez’s overall numbers are nothing special this year and digging deeper he’s hade more success against righties than lefties, an abnormality in his career (his career FIP versus lefties is a full run lower). Lopez was a bargain bin pickup and not exactly something to give up talent for, yet that’s what Brian Sabean did.

Joe Martinez gets groundballs against righties and struggles versus lefties. He relies on a low-90s, high-80s fastball along with a curve and change. He’s only made 13 appearances in his major league career and six came as a starter. He seems likely to head to the bullpen where his upside could be a right-handed specialist.

That deal alone probably favors the Pirates. Somehow, Neal Huntington also grabbed John Bowker in the deal. Bowker isn’t particularly valuable – he’s a 26 year old first baseman with 513 career plate appearances and a .294 wOBA – but there’s something intriguing about his seemingly newfound ability to reach base. Over the last two seasons in Triple-A (more than 600 plate appearances) Bowker has walked 97 times and struck out 101 times. Before that, Bowker had struck out 370 times while walking 136 times.

He’s a little older and maybe he never becomes anything but a tease. Still, as a throw-in the Pirates could do worse. The question is where he’ll play on the major league team with Garret Jones, Lastings Milledge, Jeff Clement, and eventually Ryan Doumit splitting time in right field and first base. Then again, having a ton of potentially useful options is a new thing for Pittsburgh.

The Giants didn’t drastically overpay in either case, it just seems like a case of tunnel vision in the Lopez deal.

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Bowker is like the next Garrett Jones, except better, and younger.