THE San Francisco Giants Blog

Question and Answer Time

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on March 15, 2014

I did this last year, and I’m doing it again this year. Daniel Shoptaw writes a blog for the Cardinals  (www.cardsconclave.com)  and I have put my feelings aside about the Cardinals to write a thread answering 6 questions. I don’t know Daniel personally but he’s featured in Pawlie’s book “Baseball’s Starry Night”. I met Daniel through the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and we connected those dots from there. His upcoming segment is called  “Playing Pepper” and he asks different blog owners from different teams to answer specific questions about the off season and the season ahead. Here goes:

1) How would you grade the off season?

answer: I grade it a B. I love the Huddy signing and Morse is a low cost answer to the black hole we call left field. Locking up Pence early was brilliant as it turned out he would have gotten significantly more had he tested the market. People scoffed at the dough thrown at Timmy but it was only 2 years and I expect him to have a very good year. I would have liked to have seen them sign a “Kelly Johnson” because he’s affordable and the one thing the Giants can’t afford to do is suffer injuries and have to turn to the farm system for long term help. It is not there.

2) How strange (and perhaps liberating) will it be to not see Barry Zito on the roster this year?

answer: I won’t miss Barry pitching for us, it was often disastrous. But I will always hold Barry Zito  in the highest esteem for what he did in Game 5 vs the Cardinals in the 2012 playoffs. They do not win the 2012 World Series without Zito pitching in Game 5 of the NLCS. And his final game as a Giant will go down in history, for me, as one of the most emotional single “walk off the mound” moments in Giants history.

this is far from the best video of that moment, but considering how much he was hated for so many years, this send off is most awesome. These fans “get it”. Somebody else might be able to find a better video of the moment. It’s barely addressed anywhere but this is Mark Kotsay’s final at bat as a big leaguer too, and I can’t say enough about Kotsay’s character to take this strike out for his old buddy.

3) What roster battle will be the most intriguing during spring training? (he sent me this a while ago, I apologize for just getting to it now)

answer: Marco Scutaro’s battle vs his own back. I said back in Feb 2011 that Freddy Sanchez would never play again and people laughed at me. I do think Marco will play this year but he’s utility material at best. I’d take The Wonger from the Cardinals in a nano-second. Or even Mark Ellis.

4) What rookie, if any, will have the most impact on the team in 2014?

answer: Probably Adrianza just because he’s out of options and might fall into the 2nd base gig as Scoot continues to battle his back.

5) What will be the final record of the team and where will they finish?

answer: total homer call here, we have to stay healthy across the board, but I am predicting the Giants win 92 and the division. I’ve nailed too many other final win totals cold over the years, I’m allowed to take a flier like this now and again. :)

6) Which player from your team do you most enjoy watching?

answer: The Pagan Salute. If he’s saluting at second base, we’re winning and that’s all this Giants fan cares about…….

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33 Responses

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  1. chipower9 said, on March 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Awesome thread, Flav. Although, on question 3, to me there is actually some intrigue on who will make the roster, and where (hell, they may open the season with four OFers).

  2. Bozo said, on March 16, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Good job Flav,, you didn’t ask but here’s my take, which by the most part mirrors what you’ve already said
    .
    1) B, sounds about right to me. Hudson was a solid pick-up plus he’ll be good for Timmy and Vogs. I think Morse was a classic Sabes snag off the discarded heap, Used wisely, I think he’ll have a huge impact. At the moment, the bench is stronger than last year but as you pointed out, only if the starters stay healthy.
    2) Zito, every snippet from the clubhouse that I’ve heard, the guys just really liked him. I think he showed the type of ballplayer and person he was in 2010. Many players would sulk after being left off the roster, not Barry, he stayed and kept to his throwing schedule just in case. I admired that and 2012 payed his salary in my book.
    3) Really our only roster battle has been in the Pen and inf back-up, so yes, Marco’s injury looms large not only in the field but batting in that second slot. Freddie Sanchez is tanned and rested (kidding).
    4) I agree with you again. Adrianza appears ready. There is no doubt about the mans glove and it looks like he put the bat together this spring. The Giants signed that guy when he was what, 16? Before that he played second base because he said he was too small for SS, so maybe that’s his natural position, the one he was born to play. Do we carry five ofers? I think this depends on Marco. If we do Juan Perez will be fun to watch. If we carry an additional Infielder, Hicks will be fun to watch, he’s hit well in spring and besides second, the Giant’s have given him some time at third. All of the above intrigue me more than Pill and Noonan did.
    5) 92? Sure, why not. 91-98 wins is possible for this team, IMO.
    6) For me this is Pablo. I don’t only pay attention to an at bat, I watch every swing because you just never know with that guy. I also enjoy watching Crawford play D at Short.

    • Chipower9 said, on March 17, 2014 at 7:28 am

      I am pretty sure that Hicks has also had at least one start in the OF this spring. I would definitely take Hicks over Abreu at this point. I believe Hicks played OF in one of the games my daughter and I caught. That same game, Abreu looked lost at the plate and made an error.

  3. willedav said, on March 16, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I’d go more like B- for off season. It was good to get Pence under wraps for a not outrageous price, but I’m not convinced only adding Hudson whose numbers have been falling steadily last few years is enough to fix Giants SP woes. Morse could be a steal…or not, and you have same old same old for LF.
    Zito I’m not gonna miss. Class guy, OK, but waste of a roster spot as an SP.
    Middle IF is an issue. Scuts, if not completely done, doesn’t appear to be able to be a regular any longer and Crawford is over matched by LHP. Someone has to hit 8th, but D better make up for it. Abreu might be better hitter but just isn’t reliable IF, even on routine stuff.
    Adrianza might be pleasant surprise, with solid D and possibly more O than might be expected. LF could still be wide open, and maybe Perez forces himself into the equation.
    No idea where they finish, no predictions/projections, but LA could easily implode on many cylinders. Bochy is best mgr of the division, might not have best horse in the race. Worse than 2nd would surprise me, and I have feeling there will be multiple mgrs. do not survive this season NL West.
    I dig the Pagan salute too. Hope we get to see it all year, because I think the guys behind him are gonna rake and offense will be exciting. Just hope SF can limit other side of equation and hold other teams down with better pitching and D. Maybe Hembree emerges as late game RH option to solidify pen depth.

  4. wswin said, on March 16, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Enjoyed this thread Flav…I like it when there is minimal doom and gloom around here…

  5. zumiee said, on March 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Yesterday’s Giants/Mariners game was on MLB network this morning. I DVRed it. Nice to see the Orange and Black on TV. Or Black and Orange, depending on how you see it. :)
    —–
    Regarding the questions, I most enjoy watching Posey play. He’s putting together a possible Hall of Fame career, if he stays at catcher for a long time.
    I wish Zito well. He will forever be one of the many heroes of the 2012 team.
    I hope Adrianza is ready to play a lot of secondbase. This is possibly Scutaro’s last year with the team. If he’s sidelined a lot this season, the Giants just may cut their ties with him at the end of the season, and eat the last year of the contract. And wish him well, too. Another hero of the 2012 team.
    —–
    Kershaw got roughed up last night vs. the White Sox. The Dodgers head to Australia not hitting on all cylinders yet.

  6. snarkk said, on March 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I’m with WillieD. On the offseason grade, B-. Pence signing looks like a good move by Sabes to “save” some dough, Huddy looks like a good pickup, maybe, but he’s on the downside obviously. Morse is a crapshoot, if he craters or gets hurt, it’s back to nearly nothing at the plate from LF, unless they make a mid season trade. As for the Zito moment, yeah, nice moment. But, sheez, was that for the 2012 playoffs? OK, he did have that great game against the Cards, his best ever game with the Giants. Otherwise, his career in the Orange and Black was absolute disaster. A 2 min standing O and HOF type sendoff for coughing up a furball against the Pads that Sat game in late Sept 2010, and cashing monstrous checks for 7 years? Uh, sorry, but I’ll clap long and hard — mostly because he’s done and outta here. I’m not ready to predict W-L for the year yet, but it’s not going to be over 90. Not enough depth, Scuts looks like he’s going to punch the DL timeclock off and on all season, and the starting staff is still very questionable, even with Huddy instead of Zito. Cain is worrying me a bit…

    • blade3colorado said, on March 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      I always dreaded end of semester grades by my high school algebra teacher, whom I always referred to as the iron mistress or wicked witch. Snarkk reminded me of why. ;-)

      • snarkk said, on March 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm

        Iron Mistress — does that have some special meaning in Vietnam???

      • blade3colorado said, on March 17, 2014 at 4:43 am

        Not to my knowledge. Only ball busting, gold digging American women. Here, Vietnamese women actually “feed” you (e.g., remove shell from crab, husk from prawns, so you can concentrate on eating). Ask Paul. I’ve personally experienced it with every woman I’ve taken out to lunch or dinner with. Amazing how attentive they are snarkk.

    • chipower9 said, on March 17, 2014 at 7:39 am

      If they have to dip into the reserves for LF, I think Perez could surprise some people this year. Dude has proven he has good instincts, glove and arm, but I truly think his stick comes around this year.

  7. snarkk said, on March 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Roster battle of most interest is the Adrianza/Abreu/now Hicks thing. All 3 can’t make it, 2 might but unlikely. I like Adrianza’s emergence, Hicks is a surprise, has some pop. I like the new blood, because that means energy. Abreu seems the odd man out right now, from what I’ve read, so they’ll have to trade him for an unknown A ball pitcher or something. Agree with BF that Adrianza would have most impact of the one or two “rookies” that might make it, given Scuts’ back. Of all players, I still like watching Timmeh the best. Since his Day 1 he’s fascinated me for some reason, and still does, despite his travails the last two seasons. I would love to see him find success again with a realization of how to pitch smarter, and best use his still considerable strengths. Maybe Hudson can help with that…

    • Flavor said, on March 16, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Of the three, I like Adrianza. He’s still technically young and he might have figured out a little about hitting, not to mention he’s growing into his body. I think he was 16 when he signed with us. Plus, he’s had that glove with him his whole life.
      Hicks and Abreu are just AAA roster filler guys……

  8. DJLoo said, on March 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    That extra wild card spot could be a real blessing…

  9. DJLoo said, on March 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    TJ surgery for D’Backs Corbin…

  10. dirtnrocksnomo said, on March 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    What a beautiful day by the bay. The only thing missing is baseball.

  11. snarkk said, on March 16, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    This article on Stretch both made me sad and PISSED ME OFF to no end. http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Few-Giants-taking-advantage-of-McCovey-s-wisdom-5319165.php Especially because he’s my favorite all time Giant. This freakin’ FROSTS MY ASS!! A HOFer with 521 bombs, 1969 NL MVP, one of the most feared hitters ever, obviously knew how to take advantage of a pitcher’s weakness, count leverage, etc. AND, a guy who OWNED Don Drysdale, a HOFer and a dude who pitched inside incessantly, and one of the all time Dodger greats. Plus, Mac is a helluva nice man. Yet, essentially none of these young players asks for his advice, even the LH hitters? Belt and Crawford ought to be talking to Mac all the time. The coaches should be telling them to talk to Mac for some mental approaches, if not anything else. All I can say is WTF? If you’re Kershaw or any other young Dodger pitcher, do you NOT talk to Koufax about how and when to throw a damn curveball, the guy with 4 no hitters who threw maybe the best curveball of all time? If you’re a hitter, do you miss the chance to talk to Stretch about how / when to look for pitch to drive, how to rotate and generate bat speed? At least talk to him some and give him the straight respect he deserves. I’m so PO’d at this, I wish I hadn’t read it. Onto a single finger of Makers…

    • DJLoo said, on March 17, 2014 at 4:52 am

      As the story goes, Sparky Lyle taught a struggling young Ron Guidry how to throw a slider. Turned him into a star. Years later, Guidry did the same for none other than a young Dave Righetti.

      • snarkk said, on March 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        Yep, ya never know. One little nugget of advice or technique, could change a career…

  12. willedav said, on March 17, 2014 at 8:10 am

    To be fair re: off season grade, this is what Sabes wanted–no wholesale changes or big expensive flashy moves/long term deals for FAs, and no coaching changes either. Like rest of us he is expecting better seasons from healthy and better shape Sandoval and Posey, a full year of dynamic Pagan instead of a month, and no drop off from Belt or Pence. Plus better years from all pitchers not named Bumgarner.
    A lot to ask? Maybe, but that group (plus healthy injection of Scutaro) got it done 2 years ago. I think Sabes still believes all of them together are capable of putting SF back on top.

  13. willedav said, on March 17, 2014 at 8:52 am

    wow, cap of a great week to watch college b-ball and yes I did watch the post selection rewind for a couple hours. Team I’ll keep an eye on is A-10 champ St. Joseph’s of Philly, home of Kobe’s dad and Jack Ramsay among others.
    . They have the iconic balding no nonsense coach with perpetual frown on his face Martelli, good inside post in Ron Roberts, Euro type big who shoots 3s and brings ball up the court in Kanacevic, go to scorer and deadeye shooter Langston Galloway, and wild frosh with great name DeAndre Bembry who has throwback HOF fro like back in Artis Gilmore days. Plus you get the mascot in the Hawk suit who stands and flaps arms the whole game. Classic.

  14. zumiee said, on March 17, 2014 at 9:11 am

    The replay system worked beautifully in the Dodger/White Sox game. Puig made a strong throw to home, and the ump called the runner out on a swipe tag. The Sox challenged the call, the replay showed the catcher missed the tag, and the umps then ruled the runner safe.
    There’ll be a few kinks here and there in the system to be worked out; but in the long run, it will be better for the game, IMO.

  15. zumiee said, on March 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Perez had a terrific weekend. His one glitch was dropping a fly while staring into a really tough sun angle. That field gives trouble to all the outfielders in day games.

  16. Chipower9 said, on March 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Arits Gilmore…now there is a trip down memory lane…and yes, that dude had a fro like nobodies business. I really don’t follow college hoops until this time of year, and have really fallen off on how much I follow the NBA (still keep my pulse on the Dubs to see how they are doing). I went out and checked on some pictures of Artis back in the day…great stuff.

  17. chipower9 said, on March 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

    As mentioned earlier, Zume…I really like Perez. Dude looked great when I was down in the desert. I really think he has a good chance to put it all together this year…

  18. zumiee said, on March 17, 2014 at 9:21 am

    One of the MLB TV broadcasters said the reply will mean less of the dramatic manager/ump arguments, and that he’ll miss those, because they’re entertaining.
    Yeah, Billy Martin kicking dirt on homeplate could be kind of entertaining; but in general, I won’t miss those pointless manager/ump arguments that dragged on for several minutes, like mini-operas.

    • snarkk said, on March 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      With ya’ zum. I’ll admit I didn’t mind some of the manager/ump arguments, some were entertaining, some were flat dumb. But, in the end, the call was always unchanged, so what’s the point? The replay has a good shot at getting the call right. I don’t understand those who argue against it — they’d rather play the game with wrong calls giving one team an unfair, undeserved advantage, than play it fair to both teams…

  19. dirtnrocksnomo said, on March 17, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Scutaro in the LU for today’s game. Keep the TigerBalm within reach.

  20. unca_chuck said, on March 17, 2014 at 10:36 am

    That sucks about McCovey, Snarkk. Yeah, McCovey was my favorite player as well. Mays was Mays, phenom, 5 tools all that, but a McCovey AB, you really watched and waited for. More pitchers said they flat hated pitching to him because of his size and strength. That they were scared shitless of getting killed by a line drive off his bat.

    I had one of his cracked bats from around 1972, from the neighbor kid who was a bat boy for a few games. It was basically log-shaped. Barely a taper for the handle. 42 oz.

    Belt at least should be talking to him . . .

  21. unca_chuck said, on March 17, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Hey Snarkk. I posted on Brandon’s blog about Willie McCovey and the article. Hopefully he reads it!

    • snarkk said, on March 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Good move, Chuck. If true, Belt essentially not talking w/Stretch when he’s there and available every day is mind boggling to me…

  22. Ozzie said, on March 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I’m sure Bam bam has talked to Mac and can relay anything relevant.

    • snarkk said, on March 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Why talk to an interpreter when the real guy is right there?…


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