Is This an “Off” Season for Sabean?

Three rings in five years and currently the longest-tenured general manager in MLB, and he  still can't win over some Giants fans this offseason.

Three rings in five years and currently the longest-tenured general manager in MLB, and he still can’t win over some Giants fans this offseason.

Many Giants fans have not been satisfied with the lack of moves for the San Francisco Giants this winter. Actually, they’ve made moves, just not “sexy” moves. No Lester, no Panda, no Scherzer, no big names.

But, is that necessarily a bad thing? Clearly we’re heading into an odd-numbered year, so if the mystical powers have their way, the Giants will find themselves out of the playoffs and tuning up for another magical ride in 2016. Let’s review, by the numbers, if the Giants will actually be worse off than they were in 2014.

Let’s remember that the Giants WON THE WORLD SERIES with a team that, credit to getting off to a historic start of 41-20, rode through tremendous slumps catalyzed by a series of injuries. Brandon Belt could find no luck, breaking his hand and then getting his coconut smacked by a fellow player who was already on the DL. Of course, that player is Marco Scutaro, and his comeback lasted all of 11 at bats in 2014, which brings us to the horrendous situation on second base for the better part of the year, in which the Hicks/Uggla/Adrianza experiment failed miserably. Then you have Pagan in center, who couldn’t avoid another string of injuries, Morse, who was out for most of the last two months, Cain’s bone chips finally caught up with him…Jesus as I write this, how the hell did they even finish above .500?!

Many critics point out that Aoiki had only one homerun last year and Casey McGehee only four. Granted those power numbers undoubtedly will not go up playing at AT&T Park. But do they need to? The Royals came within a run or two of winning the World Series with the fewest home runs in the league, remember. Although those power numbers are down over the Giants corresponding position totals from last year, both Aoki and McGehee got on base at a much higher clip, and as a result, could score more runs (dependent on the lineup behind you, different for every team). Yes, McGehee is a downgrade from Panda, but the contract money saved has been spread in other areas, specifically Aoki, Peavy, Romo and Vogelsong. We also have to consider what the Giants could get back for close to a full season in 2015. Granted, this all relies on the bastard variable called “health,” but IF Cain and Belt can stay healthy, that means more production from first base and a starter, not to mention Peavy is in for a whole season. These in combination with a full season from Joe Panik at second base, to me, more than offsets the losses in left field and third base. Take a look at the projected numbers for Aoki, Belt and Panik, based on a projection of 550 at bats. McGehee is static at the 616 at bats he had last year:

stats20150127

 

Yes, please yell at me as you note the RED all over the power department, with dips in the 20 to 40 percent range. However, this can be tempered, to a degree with all the GREEN showing a projected rise in on base percentage, batting average and stolen bases. Runs are dependent on who’s hitting behind them, so I’d throw out the projected 8% drop in run production.

Bottom line, the redistribution of salary may have cost power, but that investment could potentially be reaped in other areas, such as men on base and contact percentage.

I know, but chicks still dig the long ball, right?

Chad

PS – We’ll be covering “Media Day” at AT&T Park on February 6, 2015. Be sure to look out for video and audio interviews with many of your SF Giants. If you have any specific questions for the players that you’d like to send in, email to chad AT torturecast DOT com.

You can view past video interviews from Media Day 2013 and 2014.

 

 

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by | January 27, 2015 · 4:20 PM

Should I stay or should i go?

Ryan Vogelsong is back with the San Francisco Giant

(Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)

It looks like Ryan Vogelsong will remain with the San Francisco Giants for another year. This is according to Hank Schulman who’s tweet rolled across the timeline this afternoon. It’s possible that we have more details later tonight or tomorrow.

There had been reports over the last few days that linked Vogelsong to both the Rangers and Astros. He was rumored to being close to a deal with Houston before we heard of any talks with the Giants. Suddenly it seems as if he’s coming aboard for another run.

The main concern I’ve seen and heard from fans is why a move like this gets made if the rotation is already set. The most common themes have been…

  • Matt Cain and Tim Hudson are both recovering from a surgery.
  • Tim Lincecum has been shaky as a starter the last 3 seasons
  • Will Jake Peavy find a renaissance under Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti
  • Madison Bumgarner is coming off a long, wonderful season and postseason
  • Also, can’t Yusmeiro Petit start some games?

It sounds crazy but I thought more pitching was a good thing. To think that Vogey chose to come back to San Francisco and give what he has left as a pitcher without the promise of being a starter. Those Texas teams would have put him in the rotation right away. He has no idea how many starts he’s gonna get this year.

That’s 7 starters for 5 spots. I don’t see that as a bad thing.

The Giants are going to need some good pitching this season. There’s considerably less thump in the lineup than in year’s past. It looks like Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence will be asked to carry the bulk of the load.

Nori Aoki signed earlier this week for $4 million. He has incentives to bump that to $5.5 if he has more than 600 plate appearances. He’s averaged 604 in his 3 seasons in the majors. He’s a contact hitter that can take over at the top of the lineup if (when) Angel Pagan goes down.

I keep talking myself in to really liking this signing because the way the lineup could be constructed he would be like another leadoff guy in the middle. Brandon Crawford could have a field day driving Aoki in.

Here’s how I’d draw it up right now.

  1. Angel Pagan
  2. Joe Panik
  3. Buster Posey
  4. Hunter Pence
  5. Brandon Belt
  6. Casey McGehee
  7. Nori Aoki
  8. Brandon Crawford
  9. Madison Bumgarner

Last season McGehee and Aoki hit 5 HR’s combined in over 1200 combined plate appearances. That’s a far cry from when Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse used to drop bombs during some really great hot streaks.

That’s where we are with about a month to go until Spring Training. We’re focused on Ryan Vogelsong coming back to help the Giants defend their title. It’s not sexy or shiny, but it’s a move to help the ball club compete for a playoff spot. After that, as we well know, anything can happen.

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter @TortureCast and like us on Facebook. All of our podcasts, video and audio San Francisco Giants player interviews can be found on our Youtube Channel or here at TortureCast.com.

-Eric

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Top 14 SF Giants moments from 2014 part 2

SF Giants win 2014 World Series

Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports

If you missed it, I covered the San Francisco Giants regular season in Part 1. Time for the good stuff.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are no ground rules for this list and everything is listed in chronological order. Moments can stick out for different reasons. The rough draft was literally me sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and just thinking about the playoffs. I really miss baseball.

At least 10 different things jumped out at me. For instance, I thought the Hunter Pence homer in Game 1 of the World Series was a huge moment. Then as I kept adding things to the list it got bumped down. So it gets an honorable mention. Others that just missed the cut were Hunter Strickland striking out Ian Desmond in Game 1 of the NLDS and Randy Choate throwing it away in Game 3 of the NLCS.

After some more beard scratching and coffee drinking on the front porch, here’s my 7 best moments of the Giants 2014 championship run.

October 1 – Crawford’s grand slam of silence and Bumgarner’s first shutout

Were you as nervous as I was heading in to this game? I hate coin-flip games. Anything can happen. Randomness can determine a ball game. So when the top of the 4th inning of the NL Wild Card game began to unfold we were all unsure of what would happen.  Continue reading

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Top 14 SF Giants moments from 2014

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

As a San Francisco Giants fan, 2014 was a great freaking year. They won the World Series for the 3rd time in 5 years and cemented a dynasty in the modern game. There was a fast start to the season, a rut in the middle, and then a Fall surge to the title. We got to watch it all. Whether you saw them in Scottsdale, spent time on the shores of McCovey Cove, or just watched from the couch at home, all Giants fans will remember this past year as something special.

Here’s where I get to be corny. I’m going with the original idea of the 14 best moments from 2014. I know, I had to stretch far for that one. Someone else may have already beaten me to it, I don’t care. I want to relive what happened and I suspect you’ll enjoy reliving it too.

I have no ground rules for this list. A moment can be anything I want to shoehorn in just for the fun of it. It was just that kind of crazy, wonderful year. This will be split in to 2 parts. Today will be the regular season, Tuesday will be the playoffs. Everything will be in chronological order. All clips courtesy MLB and /or Youtube.

Click here for Part 2: The Posteseason.

March 31 – Opening Day comeback

The Giants wasted no time making the 2014 season exciting. Right away the team put together a comeback victory. After falling behind 6-2 and 7-3 to Arizona they put together a couple of rallys and started the year on a positive note. You didn’t want to look too much in to one game, but it felt like this team knew how to win right out of the gate.

Madison Bumgarner started and only lasted 4 innings. He allowed 4 runs but amazingly none of them were earned because of 2 errors by the infield to start the bottom of the 4th inning. The comeback started in the top of the 7th as Michael Morse singled off Brandon McCarthy to lead off the inning. Five pitches later McCarthy had 2 quick outs and Joaquin Arias was on 1st after a fielder’s choice. Ehire Adrianza then pinch hit and hooked a 3-2 pitch into the RF corner to score Arias. It  began a streak of 5 consecutive hits with 2 outs. Continue reading

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Episode 78: Chasing Hot Stove Lesters

Google says this is one “Jonathan Lester.” Hmmm

You can download the podcast here, or stream it below!

It’s been a month since we recorded our gloriously long World Series Championship podcast, but our livers and tear glands have recovered enough to deliver our first “hot stove” podcast of the offseason. Chad, Ben, and Eric talk about the impending Lester decision (probably made by the time you listen to this), and the Giants options to fill their holes in left field and third base. Tim Flannery retired, and Madison Bumgarner won Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year,” which apparently ripped off the fresh collective scabs of millions of KC Royals fans.

You can follow us on Twitter @TortureCast and like us on Facebook! All of our podcasts and video and audio San Francisco Giants player interviews can be found here at TortureCast.com.

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Burn Your Panda Hat, Unless You Just Bought It

“Thank you, San Francisco. I can’t sell more than the three rings, as seller Bl0

So, why did you just buy that hat? Ok, so maybe you caught the bandwagon.

So, we say that facetiously.

No, we here at TortureCast don’t hate pandas, as they’re endangered. And no, we don’t hate Pablo Sandoval.

But, we are puzzled by his decision. I think, like most Giants fans, and even the media, we thought, if the Giants offered close to top dollar, which by all accounts they were within a couple million total from Boston’s offer, he would easily sign with the Giants. And why wouldn’t you? Guaranteed money. Adored by the fans. Go into a slump for 2 months? No problem! We just throw on our Panda hats; we got your back! Oh, and there’s the three rings, too.

Boston is NOT San Francisco. If, and I mean, IF, Panda under-performs in Beantown, no one will be smiling and cheering for him while a dead panda is strapped to their head.

However, that last point sounds nice as a fan, but as a job seeker, have you ever thought to yourself, “Jeez, I don’t know if I should take this job because those people may not like me if I suck?” Of course NOT! Professional athletes have egos of the combined mass of all egos of internet trolls within a 6-node circumference. Rest assured, Pablo has all of the confidence in the world that he will perform well in Boston, so the fan-ramifications of his potential disappointment is not a consideration. Otherwise, Pablo would probably have a different career at this point.

So, why did Pablo leave his heart in San Francisco?

We don’t know, really. We can only surmise. The foremost thoughts are that he can eventually DH in the American League. At 39 years old, David Ortiz is looking for an heir apparent, and apparently, he courted Pablo during his recent visit to Boston. Seems like a good plan, right?

Let me ask you this: if you were offered $100k per year to work 8 hours a day and ALWAYS be physically active at your job, you’d take it, right? Of course, that’s good money! Well, what if another company called and said that you could earn $100k a year for the first 2 or 3 years, working hard at both ends, but in a while, you could move up to the cushy executive pad and only put in roughly, a 5 hour day for the same money? Yeah, I’d take that, too!

Granted, Pablo takes pride in his defense, and he proved it by making the final 3 for the Gold Glove award this year. However, he’s young and looking toward the future, and his future entails 4-5 at bats and nothing more.

Disrespect. Ok, so, I’m not agreeing with this one, but there are reports that the Giants disrespected Pablo by not extending his contract to the likes of Pence, Posey, Bumgarner and Cain. There is some validity to that, but there is validity to the Giants not wanting to throw $100 million towards the more athletic version of John Candy. Those others have had no question about their training habits and physique. Pablo, no matter how physically gifted, tends to throw down a few more Big Macs than his teammates, something most of us can relate to. (I’m looking at you!).

Ultimately, it was Pablo’s decision, and I don’t blame the Giants for not offering $20 million above market, as that would be shooting their own foot and slicing the tendons off with a blade fashioned from the said leg they just shot off, which makes no sense, by the way, unless you’ve just been bitten by a walker and need to cure yourself and fashion a weapon immediately.

Now the Giants have about $100 million ($20 million per year for 5 years) that they can commit to one or more players. Clearly third base is a hole, and NO, BUSTER POSEY WILL NOT PLAY THIRD! So, aside from Joaquin Arias, the logical choice would be Cuban free agent Yasmany Tomas, or Chase Headley. These options make me sad, so…

I’ll turn your attention to starting pitching. The Giants NEED starters, and who better to take up Pablo’s would-be contract than Jon Lester?!

Or, perhaps, a new kale garden to keep the sell-out streak going.

So, this is like, the last time Pablo touched a ball for the SF Giants:

Yep. Last MLB player to touch a ball in official play until April.

Chad

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Episode 77: We are the Champions…Again!

Buster Posey dishes out his third championship #BusterHug to Madison Bumgarner moments after Pablo Sandoval caught a foul popup to secure the Giants’ third World Series in five years (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Download the podcast here, or stream it below!

They did it.

Again.

For the third time in the last five years, the San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions!

Riding the superhero left arm of Madison Bumgarner, the Giants squeezed out a 3-2 win in game 7 of the World Series to down the Kansas City Royals.

Willie, Chad and Eric record our longest podcast of the year to discuss this memorable World Series; the heroes, the almost-goats, and what it took to fuel a remarkable run that has placed the black and orange in “dynasty” status.

Even if you have to listen to it in two parts, sit back, relax, and bask in the glow of three Commissioner’s trophies!

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DYNASTY

You'll need to frame the third one, there on the left. Yeah, that one.

You’ll need to frame the third one, there on the left. Yeah, that one.

I really can’t write much. It’s been almost three hours since the impossible happened. Especially after that single-almost-turned-into-a-homerun took our collective breaths away.

But, Madison Bumgarner calmly stated, “I got this.”

After an improbable closing relief appearance, World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner earned the save with five innings of magical relief to preserve a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals that secured the Giants third World Series Championship in the last five years.

I really have no words.

And I need to SCUBA dive tomorrow.

Look for a giddy podcast sometime in the next day or two. I really have no idea what’s going on. A humpback whale might appear in the Mojave desert for all I care.

God dammit I love this game, this team, this City, and all of you fine people. And I’m not even drunk.

Chad

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Episode 76: One. More. Win.

Buster Posey congratulates Madison Bumgarner after another magical performance: a complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory over the KC Royals that have put the Giants up 3-2 in the World Series and on the precipice of a dynasty. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Download episode 76 here, or stream it below!

One. More. Win.

And the San Francisco Giants will be World Champions for the third time in five seasons.

We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to talk about our favorite team, potentially on the eve of the clincher as the Giants head back to Kansas City up three games to two. If not tomorrow, then perhaps game 7. Even if they don’t win it all, this has been a hell of a ride.

Listen to episode 76 as Willie, Ben, Chad, and lucky charm guest Eric break down the first five games of the World Series and look forward to a hopeful clincher in either game 6 or 7.

These moments, right now, are why we do this show.

The TortureCast, the podcast by and for fans of the San Francisco Giants.

Good luck, and let’s bring it home, boys!

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Episode 75: We’re Going to the World Series!

Unreal. The San Francisco Giants have won the National League Pennant and are in the World Series for the third time in the last five years.

Unreal. The San Francisco Giants have won the National League Pennant and are in the World Series for the third time in the last five years.

You can download episode 75 here, or stream it below!

Incredibly, our boys in black and orange have done it for a third time in five years! In a rousing 4-1 NLCS win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants move onto the fall classic to face the young upstart Kansas City Royals beginning Tuesday night. Willie, Ben, Chad and guest Eric Nathanson review the NLCS, including the momentous homeruns hit by Michael Morse and Travis Ishikawa that have left indelible marks in Giants’ lore. In the last half of the podcast, we preview the Royals, their strengths and weaknesses, and how the Giants might exploit them. We also talk about Hunter Pence’s lack of geography knowledge, a horrible ESPN article, our favorite guys and we make series predictions (hint, all 4 of us take the Giants). Tune in for a jam-packed special World Series episode of the TortureCast!

 

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