Tag Archives: panda

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

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 72: National League Division Series

Giants tried to sweep the Nats today, but ended their 10-game postseason winning streak with the loss. Alas, SF still leads the series 2-1.

You can download the podcast here:

or,

Stream the podcast below:

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-10-06T22_20_44-07_00.mp3]

Since we last recorded, the Giants beat the Pirates in the Wild Card game and took a 2-0 lead in the NLDS against Washington. However, as the Giants looked to sweep the Nats with MadBum on the bump today, it didn’t work out, and the Giants move onto Game 4 with a 2-1 lead and Vogey on the mound. Chad drives this podcast solo to talk about how the Giants are playing with house money, and how they might clinch this series before the dreaded game 5 possibility in Washington. Because, no one wants that.

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Episode 66: Doug Mirabelli

That jean shirt is sweet

Download the episode here, or

Click the play button below to stream Episode 66

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-07-21T23_32_58-07_00.mp3]

We’re running out of jersey numbers, so “Doug Mirabelli” it is!

In episode #66, Chad and Ben are joined by Eric Nathanson of 2outhits to discuss the flurry of activity surround the San Francisco Giants including Belt and Cain to the DL, Scutaro’s return, Hicks DFA, signing Dan Uggla to a minor league deal, and Ben’s trip to Minnesota for the All Star Game.

 

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Episode 59: Guillermo Mota

Yep, this ex-Dodger held this trophy. We’re running out of numbers.

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-04-07T23_13_26-07_00.mp3]

Click the arrow above to stream the podcast, or download it here. You can also find it on iTunes and Stitcher.

Wille, Ben and Chad record the first 2014 regular season episode of TortureCast, reviewing the Giants’ fantastic 5-2 start, Belt’s 4 HRs, the Giants lead MLB in HR, taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, MadBum, Cain, Hudson’s first start, and who we hate this week (insert Puig).

And, did anyone notice that this new Buster Posey commercial shows an infielder, who receives the throw from Posey, THAT IS WEARING BILL TERRY’S RETIRED NUMBER 3?! C’mon man! Under Armour, do your research! Oh, and Buster is totally throwing out a Barry Larkin look-alike.

All three of us will be at AT&T on Thursday when the Giants host the D’backs. Tweet us, come by, and say hi! We’ll also be recording our traditional “Bonusode” after the game at Zeke’s if you want to hang out.

 

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Episode 58: 2014 Season Preview Bonanza

photo

Photo from last night’s season preview recording at the Public House at AT&T Park. A big mixer and expensive microphones make us look semi-legit, while that is contrasted by the assortment of alcohol. From right to left: Ben, Chelena, Willie and Jen. Holding the camera: Chad

Click the arrow below to stream our season preview podcast! Or you can download it here.

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-03-31T01_29_28-07_00.mp3]

Happy Opening Day, Giants fans!

Join us on this inebriated special episode of the TortureCast!

Willie, Chad and Ben welcome @JenCosgriff (BaySportsNet.com) and @ChelenaGoldman (SFBay.ca) to our season preview podcast bonanza, recorded (we did it LIVE) at the Public House at AT&T Park. They probably wished they hadn’t agreed to come. And we saw Brian Wilson give up all the runs against the Padres as we recorded. And Willie is okay at pool.

The five of us predict how many games the Giants will win this year (Chad: 88, Jen: 90, Chelena: 90, Ben: 89, Willie: 89; note: Chad predicted 93 in 2012 when we recorded with GiantsPod.net…they won 94 and the World Series…just sayin’), our concerns about Scutaro, and we argue about why we should or shouldn’t overpay to resign Panda.

If you’re new to our site, stick around, we promise to be entertaining, at least we’re delusional enough to believe it. We’ll be attending quite a few games as members of the press, so heads-up for blurry photos of batting practice, tweets full of consternation and frustration that we cannot cheer or boo in the press box, and silence when we attend Bochy’s pre- and post-game press conferences.

Giants fans, let’s rejoice and exit the cold corners of shame that we allow hockey and basketball to satisfy our sports addiction, and enjoy this long and beautiful ride of another season of San Francisco Giants baseball!

Chad

 

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Pab-lo or Pab-high?

Will we be seeing these made next year?

Will we be seeing these next year?

March 25, 2014 – Chad King

Horrible pun to start off an article, I know. Maybe it’s the three cups of coffee I’ve had this morning, or perhaps the ringing in my ears from all of the contact in Arizona off of Ryan Vogelsong is distracting.

Pablo Sandoval will be a free agent after this season. He’s lost weight and appears to be in the best shape of his MLB career. He wants to get paid at least what Hunter Pence is getting ($90 million for 5 years, that’s a lot of fast food).

Is he worth it?

To fully answer that question, you have to take into account many variables, which I’ve illustrated in a professional Venn diagram below:

 

I have know idea where everything meets. Now I'm even more confused.

I have know idea where everything meets. Now I’m even more confused.

Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m sure I’ve hit on a few salient points. For one, we have no idea what kind of production he will have this year, and if the Giants don’t sign him to an extension before the season, his value may only skyrocket. In fact, it’s already high when you look at the pool of free agents in the coming off-season. Pablo, even with a mediocre, injury-filled season, will look like Kate Upton in zero gravity while the rest of the lot may look like an overweight plumber with pants that don’t quite fit. Sexist analogy aside, take a look at the upcoming free agent third basemen (current age in parentheses):

  • Yuniesky Betancourt (33)
  • Wilson Betemit (33)
  • Alberto Callaspo (32)
  • Eric Chavez (37)
  • Jack Hannahan (35) – $4MM club option with a $2MM buyout
  • Chase Headley (31)
  • Casey McGehee (32)
  • Donnie Murphy (32)
  • Nick Punto (37) – $2.75MM club/vesting option with a $250k buyout
  • Aramis Ramirez (37) – mutual option
  • Hanley Ramirez (31)
  • Pablo Sandoval (28)
  • Ty Wigginton (37)
  • Kevin Youkilis (36)

Yep, I think the Giants could save a ton of dough and plug in an Eric Chavez or Nick Punto for a steal. Can’t wait for those Punto chants at AT&T! I also don’t believe that Chase Headley and certainly not Hanley Ramirez, will go for anything less than what Pablo is demanding, anyway. With the lack of options, Giants will probably have to overpay him a bit, but even then, I think Pence’s contract is close to his market value, regardless. The Giants know how to over-pay, anyway (see: Tim Lincecum), but I don’t think a contract will blow up in their faces like a Zito turd.

Then, there’s the matter of length. I would feel more comfortable with a 3 year contract, but he wants 5. Understandable, of course. However, what if he locks in a guaranteed contract and gets comfortable again and slacks off the exercise and diet regimen. It’s happened before. Most likely he shaped up this year because it’s a walk year. Do you think he will be this skinny next year, regardless for whom he plays for? Probably not. What about three years from now? Will he exceed Prince Fielder-like proportions?

I’m skipping a few points here to get to the final one. The Dodgers could add by subtraction…oh, and just plain add, too. If they sign Pablo, they replace a crappy former Giant with better former Giant, continuing the trend of Ned Coletti’s ex-Giants reclamation project. They would further improve their corner defense and offensive production at the same time the Giants decline. And then, suddenly, we’d see blue panda hats everywhere.

People, I just realized that we can’t have that.

RE-SIGN PABLO!!

 

BTW, the TortureCast crew and special guests will be recording a special season preview at the Public House at AT&T Park on Sunday, March 30 at 6pm. Come by and say hi!

 

 

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Episode #52: The Ramon Ramirez Episode

We had no one else to name this episode for

Click the player above to listen to the Episode!

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Willie is out but Chad and Ben discuss the All Star Game, Timmy’s No-No and the second half of the season.

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Episode 47: The Rod Beck Episode

RIP Shooter. You were a good one. We tip our glass.

Click the player above to listen to the Episode!

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WTF GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS!!!!!

Willie and Chad kept this podcast much shorter than usual, mostly because Willie wanted to throw himself out of his apartment window after that crushing, epic, utterly pathetic choke-job the Warriors pulled in San Antonio. They blow a 16 point lead with less than 4 minutes left!! Then leave Ginobli THAT WIDE OPEN for a 3 pointer with 3 seconds left in double OT!!!!??

But, we digress and get back to talking Giants baseball and their tonic that was a 6 game winning streak.

Talking Points

  • Giants have now swept every other team in the NL west, mental edge from here on out?
  • 0.5 ahead of COL, 3rd best record in NL after tonight’s loss
  • After 32 games last year, they were 15-17 and 6 GB of LA

The Week in Review

  • Cain won his first start!
  • Panda caught fire, Scutero hitting again, Posey getting back to normal Posey

The Big Question

  • Vogelsong: 7.20 ERA after 6 starts. Can he work through this?
  • You can review Chad’s article about Vogelsong’s struggles.

Armchair Manager

  • Do they do anything about Vogelsong right now? No, we agree to wait until the All Star Break, then they may need outside help.

Tweet At Me, Bruh

  • Chad: Wendy Thurm @hangingsliders: Well, at least the #Dodgers will be in last place in a few minutes. So there’s that.
  • Willie: KingEyeballKing: @TortureCast Walk off HR in the bottom of the 10th, or as the Giants call it: just another day at the yard.

Our New Favorite Guy

  • Willie: Guillermo Quiroz
  • Chad: Hunter Pence…on fiare

We Should Hate This Guy

  • Chad: Spurs and refs and who was assigned to cover Ginobli
  • Willie: God, if he wins us games like Mark Jackson says, then this one is on him

Why We Will Win It All

  • Chad: When the starting pitching turns it around
  • Willie: Offense never goes quietly and we’re in every game no matter what.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

We also have a new TortureCast Mug for sale on Zazzle!

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TortureCast Goes to the PressBox…wait…WTF?! And “Bonusode” 38.5

Just your standard Willie-Chad lineup in the Giants dugout

Click above, right here, that little arrow, to play our “Bonusode” 38.5 from 9/20/12.

The article below, written by Chad King, summarizes his thoughts about the TortureCast’s trip to the Giants’ press box during the Rockies/Giants game on September 20, 2012, 2 days before the Giants clinched the NL West. Excuse the USA Today writing style, but it was written and submitted to a local newspaper.

The podcast embedded above was recorded by Willie and Chad right after the game.

Enjoy!

 

Confessions of a Press Box Rookie

Chad King

So why was a marine biologist suddenly thrust into the world of sports journalism? Much like George Costanza followed his lust for a woman who was worried about a beached whale in “Seinfeld,” I was coerced by my love for writing, podcasting, and the Giants.

Podcasting is a relatively new form of media. Anyone with a recording device and an internet connection can record and upload spoken words for the potential of millions to listen to. Many are trying and become the next Walter Cronkite or Ryan Seacrest (laugh track). I aspire to become neither. I follow my passion for parenting, gaming and the San Francisco Giants through podcasting. A trained sports journalist or radio DJ, I am not. Neither are most of those who occupy those professions, however.

As a co-host of “The TortureCast,” we’ve always had a passion for the Giants. A passion that has taken me and my two co-hosts to commit hours of pre-show research and preparation, hour long recordings, and hours of audio and website editing. There’s something to be said about the passion of the knowledgeable fan.

The San Francisco Giants recognized something within this passion and granted media credentials to the three of us to cover the Giants-Rockies game on September 20. Typically, Major League Baseball teams only grant media passes to “legitimate” media. We were officially legitimate media, if only for a day. With copious notes from hours of research, we hit the press room like kindergartners on the first day of school. We didn’t ask questions of manager Bruce Bochy in the pregame conference in the dugout nor the postgame conference, and pretty much relegated ourselves to scoring the game, tweeting satirical updates while consuming massive amounts of free caffeine. We gawked at KNBR broadcasters taking seconds in the media dining room, and tried to take “illegal” photos with our smart phones in the press box while skirting Major League Baseball’s official media dress code.

And yet, this was more of a service to the fans than what I saw around me as nine innings of baseball unfolded within the confines of the press box. First, I saw some journalists playing solitaire over several innings, many seasoned professionals reporting incorrect statistics, and found the “TortureCast” crew answering questions rhetorically asked by 30 year veterans such as, “how many homeruns did Buster Posey have coming into today?”

Although this day will be one of the most memorable in the “sports” section of my gray matter, one of the reporters left me with this little nugget: “The only thing that separates the sports writer from a truly knowledgeable fan is the credentials.”

Maybe George Costanza was more qualified that we give him credit for.

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