THE San Francisco Giants Blog

Changing My Mind About The Closer Role

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on December 2, 2012

I’ve said many times that I think closing a baseball game is the most difficult job in all of sports. And in some ways, especially as it relates to pressure and not being allowed to fail more than a handful of times in a year before you lose your job, I still feel that way about the job. But I’ve definitely fallen victim to over-emphasizing the role as well as not widening my scope of who I think can do the job.

When Bochy decided to go *closer-by-committee* I was bummed. We all were. It doesn’t work! (we all cried). And then he went on to methodically make all the correct decisions in the late innings of August and September to ultimately manage the bullpen to the highest save percentage in the league.

So much for the closer role having to be a single guy…..

Bochy had an outstanding bullpen and that allowed him to go call on more relievers than most managers to close out a game. He put more of a consideration on match ups and intuitively it makes sense that a lefty would have a better chance to get out another lefty than a righty. Almost all of his decisions were correct in 2012 and ultimately the job ended up being taken by Romo, the guy who always had the best *closer worthy* numbers anyway. His strikeout to walk ratio was fantastic (6.3 to 1) and his WHIP was under 1.00 (0.85).

What I’ve come to realize is that there is no need to identify one guy and adamantly declare him to be *the closer*. Earning a save is really a dumb stat if you think about it. Today’s closer usually comes in with the bases empty and pitches one inning. For that, he’s paid as much as a front line starting pitcher who is far more responsible for a win based on the fact that he usually pitches about 7 times as many innings in a winning game than a closer does. Here are the requirements for a pitcher to earn a save according to rule 10.20 of the baseball rule book:

Saves:
Rule 10.20 in the Official Rule Book states:
Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions:
(1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and
(2) He is not the winning pitcher; and
(3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
– (a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or
– (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces; or
– (c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

Rule 3.b is a hoot. Conceivably, a closer could enter the 9th inning with 2 outs and the bases loaded and a 5 run lead,  give up a grand slam, walk the next 3 guys, then get one out and still record a save. Does that make any sense?

I realize now why I have over-emphasized the importance of the closer role: It’s one of 5 pitching categories that count in a 5X5 rotisserie format scoring system for fantasy baseball (the only type I ever play). A save is  1/5th of the pitching categories. That’s huge in fantasy baseball and if you decide to punt that category you better not make any mistakes in the other 9 possible categories. Since it’s stupid to punt a category (for the reason I just listed) I have been forced to value the role of the closer as it is presently constructed in today’s game.

Fantasy baseball aside, what I now believe is that you want your best relievers pitching the later innings and I don’t see why that needs to get limited to 1 inning. Or 1 guy. Unless you only have one good reliever. In fact, it makes sense that if you have 2 or 3 stud relievers, they should ALL be used to close games depending on match ups and recent work load. One of the main concerns with Sergio Romo is whether he can hold up to the season long grind that a closer must endure. Most top flight closers are making 60-70 appearances a year—but usually they’re only pitching a single inning (or a fraction of that). What if Romo only made 30 appearances a year but pitched 2 or more innings? And another stud reliever, like Bee-Wheezy, could take the other 30 or so appearances. And if he’s good enough, throw a third guy in the mix. While they would still be pitching the same number of innings they would get more days during the season to rest their arm and i think that would go a long way towards keeping them healthy and effective over the course of a season. Think about the number of times a closer has an ache or pain, or his aarm is tired because he’s pitched 3 games in a row or maybe he didn’t get any sleep the night before or he’s got the flu— why not just send out the other guy to do the job?

Now, it’ll never happen because guys are programmed to believe that if they are closing out a game they should be getting paid the biggest bucks in the bullpen. And it’s tough to make a case for a big salary if you’re only saving 15 games in a season. Plus, most of these guys have created a persona to go along with the role, and 2 big personalities each vying for the save opp might be too much for that bullpen to handle…….

But I have now seen the light on the closer role and it doesn’t have to be reserved for just one guy— match ups, recent workload and always using your best relievers. That should be the criteria for who closes out a game, not who has the longest beard or who has the *wildest eyes* or who has the most intimidating song played as the enter the game………

Now, about that hold stat….

🙂 🙂 🙂

96 Responses

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  1. Bozo said, on December 2, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I always felt the best argument for a closer was how the roles of the BP fell into place. What I think Boch did last year was let the Relief staff know they had to be ready at any given time and in any situation. I think when the pen got their head around that, they thrived. It also has guys ready for any spot if another guy gets hurt. That said, I still love a guy who comes in with just absolute gas to close out a game.

    Reading yesterday’s thread about Nen and Shooter I was thinking folks might not remember how those guys could induce Maalox chugging sometimes. Like Wilson, I loved those guys but remember covering my eyes many times (again, like Wilson).

  2. willedav said, on December 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

    wow flav, if nipper’s still around, he’s gonna hate this one.
    I think we could argue this one forever. There are often more dangerous situations that occur earlier in a game than coming into 9th with a 3 run lead. Great depth of the pen last season, as guys like Mijares and Kontos came through and helped get the game into the hands of others like Affeldt Casilla Lopez and Romo, allows Bochy more flexibility.
    Even still, tho, everyone has to buy into it and according to what I read Bochy and rags were in constant communication with the guys on what to expect. The only downside I see is getting so many of them up to throw just to come in for a batter or two. You are asking a guy (unless it’s lincecum lol) to throw warm ups in the pen, then on the mound as he enters the game, and then he maybe only faces one batter. That does amount to wear and tear over a season. I think btw Romo Casilla and Affeldt these are all guys capable of getting out 5-6 batters and going more than one inning at a time.
    But hey, Bochy managed last year beautifully, without a wilson dominating the 9th.

  3. Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    nice to see I inspired such an interesting debate today, lol.
    Hey, I think this is an interesting topic.

  4. eddacker said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I do, too.
    I also seem to be seeing, if it is not my over-active conspiracy-theory mind, some clubs beginning to add additional closers from the set-up man types; both left and right handers. It looks like we will be seeing some other teams wanting to have the choices in later innings thus imitating Bochy’s success and style. Probably not CBC, but having the options in later innings to throw several different relievers per situation rather than always using the one closer.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

    • Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Edd, where ya been? You trophy is coming, going to the post office is like the last thing on my list of things to do each week. It’s packed though, it’s ready……..

  5. blade3colorado said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I’m shocked by two contracts, Jeremy Guthrie at $25 million for 3 years ($8,333,333 per year); and, Upton at $75 million plus for 5 years ($15 million per year). I am familiar with Guthrie because he played half of last year in Denver and was crucified unmercifully by the media and fans. Frankly, any pitcher that plays there has two strikes against him: 1. The thin air makes it unbelievably difficult to pitch there; and, 2. The altitude will wear down your body (both short and long term). Regarding short term, recovery time is much longer than anywhere else. Long term, a pitcher might have success there for 1-2 years (Ubaldo Jimenez), but long term, forget about it. However, I digress . . . As I said, Guthrie was putrid in Denver. However, I think the fans were a bit hard on him and should have faulted the GM, Dan O’Dowd for signing him as the “Ace” of the staff. Hilarious. He was surrounded by a piece of shit relief corps, two has-beens, Moyer and Francis, and two rookies (who should have been in Triple A . . . Actually, the entire pitching staff should have been in Triple A).

    Fast forward to Guthrie’s trade to Kansas City, he resurrected his career in the span of half a season. Wow! You truly had to have seen how bad he was in Denver to understand his ascendancy in Kansas. Anywho, I am glad he was able to score that contract. Had he played the entire year in Denver, I wonder if he would have even been invited to a spring training camp.

    Regarding Upton? My surprise there is not so much his big contract. I am more surprised by Atlanta being the one to offer it to him. No way, no how, did I expect them to have sufficient scratch to afford him. This isn’t exactly your father’s Atlanta Braves. Their estimated payroll last year was $86 million . . . As recently as 2008, they had a $102 million payroll. An even more valuable statistic is their payroll ranking. You have to go back to 1999, when they were number 2 in the National League. The last ten years they have averaged around 8-10th in payroll ranking.

    Just got back from Las Vegas and had my ass handed to me. For example, I decided to bet the Warriors and Nuggets game (I took the Nuggets who were favored by 1.5). I was feeling so good about that game, that I treated everyone to dinner (2 friends) at Mesa’s, located at Caesars . . . Cha Ching! $167, including tip, over $200. After dinner, feeling fantastic, I immediately went to the Caesars sports book to collect my money. Umm . . . NOT! 😦

    • Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      nice to see you back in one piece. I am surprised by the fact that Upton was universally considered a better FA option than Pagan, to tell you the truth. The 7 mil was just reflective of everyone saying he was the 2nd most coveted OF FA this year (after Hamilton and tied with Bourn).
      What do you think Bourn gets? Probably a lot less due to his age and the fact that his game is so tied to his speed………

      • blade3colorado said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm

        Thanks Flav . . . It was up and down in Vegas, but ultimately bad, bad, bad. The Good was black jack, the Bad was the basketball game I alluded to, as well as horse racing (a friend in Sacramento was advising me. HAHAHA! All nags that should have been scheduled for the glue factory).

        Your points about Upton are valid. Bottom line is that he made out like a bandit. I also agree with you about Bourn and for the reasons you listed (age, coupled with speed diminishing with that factor). No idea what Bourn will get, but I still think Pagan gets at least 4 years at $8-10 million.

    • eddacker said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      I am intrigued by the possibility of the Braves having both Uptons. Although giving up the young Curacao shortstop seems a high price for the younger Upton brother.

  6. eddacker said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    book it!
    more than one manager felt stung by the SFGs CBC last season and more than one GM noticed its success.
    could this be the baseball equivalent of the copying, by many teams in the NFL, of the ‘west coast offence’? I would not go that far but suggest we will see other teams re-defining their understanding of the “closer”.role.

  7. Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    And while Bochy was brilliant in the way he managed the CBC in 2012 it pales in comparison (well, maybe it doesn’t *pale*) to the role he created for Lincecum in the post season. Bochy turned him into one of the greatest secret weapons the post season has ever seen. Thinking (correctly) that his pitching staff was on fumes after the season ended, and predicting (correctly) that Timmy was more effective as a gun slinger for a few innings instead of a starting pitcher which he’d fucked up as all year long, he brought both strengths together to create a dominant post season pitching monster. It was fucking brilliant and it’s gotten almost no props anywhere (that I can find)……..

    • blade3colorado said, on December 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      “Thinking (correctly) that his pitching staff was on fumes after the season ended, and predicting (correctly) that Timmy was more effective as a gun slinger for a few innings instead of a starting pitcher which he’d fucked up as all year long, he brought both strengths together to create a dominant post season pitching monster.”

      Excellent one sentence summary regarding Bochy’s use of Tim. Frankly, as you pointed out, the ONLY place where Bochy’s brilliance has been discussed in-depth is here. No one really cares about the Giants/Detroit World Series, as it had the lowest television ratings EVER. Boo hoo . . . Like I give a rat’s ass. Any discerning baseball fan and certainly, a Giants fan, must come here for analysis of the Giants World Series win over Detroit.

  8. ewisco said, on December 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I always thought ozzie was a punk but this just takes the cake:

    http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Smith-sells-Gold-Gloves-for-519-203-4085303.php

    Sells the two rings giving as a gift. what a putz.

  9. PawlieKokonuts said, on December 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Well articulated commentary about closing, Magnus. I really hope Bochy is carving out a new philosophy, or reinvigorating an old one. The whole closing mystique has exceeded its own importance.

  10. Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Blade– I think the issue with Pagan is not the dollars but the years. Philly has offered 4 years. That’s actually where I predicted he’d go, by the way, in the mlbtraderumors.com free agent prediction contest. I’m currently in 53rd place out of 5000+ so a Pagan-to-Phillies signing would put me top 5…….
    I doubt Sabes goes 4 years but Pa…GONE(!) has all the leverage so you never know…….

    • blade3colorado said, on December 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      No doubt Flav. As I said above, “I still think Pagan gets at least 4 years at $8-10 million.” This is only a baseline. As you are well aware, most Flappers here after the World Series were saying NO MORE THAN 3 YEARS AT $24-28 MILLION.” You, Chi, and I (and perhaps a couple more flappers) said he would be receiving much more than that, as well as more years.

      By the by, I’ve read where Bourn will probably not sign until February or possibly even Spring Training. Main reason? BORAS. Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, “He and Scott Boras want lots of years and lots of dollars.” The Giants are supposed to be dark horses for his services. Now that would be irony, especially considering that Sabean detests Boras.

      • Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

        Bourn won’t wait, that’s smoke and mirrors that BorASS is putting out there. Now that Upton has signed I think Bourn signs with someone in the next 2 weeks, possibly during the winter meetings, but certainly before Christmas (in my opinion)……..

      • chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

        Very nice tread and discussion on the closer role. No doubt Bochy kicked-ass with the CBC. Sure, he had to do it, given the team’s situation, but to script it is one thing…to implement it to perfection (and he did), quite another.

        Yes, I was one of the early ones saying Pa-GONE would get more than 3 years. But given the updated situation (Upton’s signing and the thin pickings on OFers), I am down with four years. I have said this over the past couple of weeks that while I am down with four, my preference would be 3 and an option. Of course, if Pagan accepted these terms, he would want a sweet buy-out option on that 4th year.

        And seriously, if the Giants are the “dark horse” for Bourn, fuck that and get it done with Pagan for four years. With Upton off the table, I truly see Pagan as the best option (not even including Hamilton, as I just don’t see him as a fit based on the coin he will want and his age).

  11. Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I wrote a thread the other day predicting that Wheezy would sign with the Dodgers or Red Sox and then just read a blurb at mlbtraderumors that said the Dodgers are out on Wilson.
    I forgot they re-signed League and Jansen has sickening closer numbers. So, it does seem unlikely that LA would sign him……..

    • Bozo said, on December 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      I keep thinking the Angels will go after BW.

      • Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        well, they picked up Madson so they might but that would be a little redundant. Unless I’m missing his intentions, Wheezy wants a traditional closer job. How about the Mets? The Brewers? The Royals? There are a lot of teams that aren’t on his list of *two* that would make sense for him.
        Of course, the Giants make sense, too…….

      • blade3colorado said, on December 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

        Yeah John, no need for Wilson in an Angels uniform. Not only did they get Madson, but they also traded Walden (who lost his closer job last year after being lights out the year before) for Tommy Hanson. Angels need starting pitching and will have to sign another front line starter, especially if Grienke bolts for the Dodgers or another team. The Mets would be a good place to land for Wilson – Francisco and Parnell both suck. However, don’t be surprised if Wilson comes back to the Giants . . . From all indications, the Giants want Wilson back on an incentive laden deal, but for that to happen, Wilson will have to take a deep breath, cool his jets regarding any anger issues he has toward the Giants, and recognize that very few pitchers come back from their 2nd Tommy John surgery. In fact, if you look at the list of pitchers that have had 2 surgeries, you are underwhelmed by what they accomplished after the 2nd operation.

      • Bozo said, on December 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

        I read that they were in the running for Fujikawa. With the Cubs picking him up I thought they might take a chance on BW.

    • ewisco said, on December 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      what about your closer by committee idea? the more, the more better! you can’t have enough closers! of course you have to pay them but that’s a thread for another day.

  12. PawlieKokonuts said, on December 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I see Wilson as good for the Mets or the Red Sox. He’d like the attention. He’d OWN either town. (Isn’t he from N.H.?)

    By the way, I agree with the notes above about Bochy and Lincecum. Pure genius on several levels, not the least being psychological. Remember that bizarre non-warmup by Timmy, against the Reds, I think? Bochy reset Timmy’s mind. Timmy literally did not have time to think about the whole deal, not his role, not his catcher, nothing. I remember saying here that my read was Timmy was lukewarm about the move, at best. The national press and Fox guys later offered some drivel about how much Timmy was in favor of it. I don’t know if that was true at first. I doubt they had anything to go on to substantiate that. BUT, once Timmy saw it work, BUT once he saw the magic and heard the cheers, even 2,000 miles away, I say he DID get on board. It was genius. It was awesome. AND it was risky. It could’ve backfired. It did not. As we all know and appreciate. Let me tell you, everybody in Game 1 of the WS just LOVED Timmy being Timmy.

    • Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      totally agree. And by the way, go ahead and hit *his* email but don’t expect much. I tried to connect the last 3 or so times this happened and nothing comes back. But he will. He always does………

  13. paulinasia said, on December 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Good thread, Craig, I guess everyone was just sleeping in a bit earlier in your day…. 🙂 Yeah, Bozo, that was my main beef about the CBC: that the pen seemed to work pretty well when everyone knew their role leading up to ‘a closer’. But I think I’ve come around as well. In fact, I’d say there could well be no such thing as CBC anymore, either. The word ‘closer’ may not even have to exist for the Giants. Bochy is such a master of match-ups that he can use anyone in the later innings at any time. As several stated here, to make this work, you need a really good pen, which the Giants have. I really credit Sabean for that and of course Bochy for how he handles it. And, you need a lead going into the 8th and 9th. We score, we win. I could even see Bochy using Tim to throw a shut-down 9th inning now and then when it’s his normal day between starts to get some throws in anyway. Ditto deluxe on the comments about Tim. During the playoffs, when Tim would enter in relief, the camera would sometimes show the opposing dugout, and the looks on the players’ faces were something like, “Fuck.” Compounded by the opposition knowing full well that the G’s pen is very well stocked, and there’s Timmy coming in, with a load of effective relievers still waiting. Priceless and brilliant.

  14. paulinasia said, on December 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    “Closer? We don’t need no stinkin’ closer….”…..

    • Bozo said, on December 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      I might not be remembering things right, but didn’t the role of the Closers of old come into the game in the 7th and 8th innings? I’m thinking LaRussa started the whole 9th or one out in the 9th with Eckersley and the whole role of the Closer and the need of a Setup guy was born. The Setup guys usually come into the game under some pretty intense situations and are expected to perform the same as a Closer without the big bucks or the Save stat. So why wouldn’t you go to that guy or guys to finish a game?
      It all makes sense to me but I still love the idea of a flame throwing stud in the 9th. Don’t get me wrong, watching Romo throw his magic frisbee doesn’t bother me one bit, but when a Robb Nen or a Goose Gossage type take the mound…

  15. Flavor said, on December 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I didn’t do any research this morning on the history of the closer but we all know that the role didn’t really exist until the 60’s and LaRussa and Eck turned it into a specialty 1-inning role in the 80’s. And who’s to say that Bochy didn’t turn the 2010’s+ middle relief role into *The Timmy?*……
    Baseball is never getting away from saving pitchers arms, that is a bottom line that will not move. So why not throw *the Timmy* into the mix to help shave a couple of innings a game off all these valuable arms? And if you throw in the idea I had in my main thread about 2-3 of your best relievers closing out all the games and all of a sudden, your staff is fresh and good to go………
    Somewhere, I’m hoping, James is taking a break from pouring over all the OPS stats, reading the thread today and smiling a little……….

  16. ewisco said, on December 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    why does your off day “bullpen” need to be outside the game? Here’s an inning, go throw!

  17. willedav said, on December 3, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Fairly early in the season I heard an interview with Sabes and Tolbert. Sabes said Romo did not have the strength and stamina to be everyday closer at the time. This was during the point where he had multiple injuries and balky knees.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if he and Bochy still feel that way. Being able to use Lopez vs. lefties and bring in Casilla and Affeldt anywhere from middle of 7th RISP situation to the 9th is a tremendous advantage. Plus there are going to be some days when one guy who has had more work in a short period is just not going to be available, so you go with who you have.
    I think what Bochy is doing is very refreshing, and last year showed a systemic approach with multiple guys capable of finishing a game can be made to work.

    • Bozo said, on December 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Recently Sabs was asked “Did Sergio Romo do enough in the postseason to dispel concerns about his durability? Would Sabean be comfortable starting the year with Romo as his closer?”
      And he replied “That’s tough to answer,” said Sabean, citing the off-days in the playoff schedule that kept Romo from being overtaxed. “I really can’t answer that. But I like our choices including him as we start the regular season. We’ll revisit that as we review position players and see what the impact is on our budget. We may be prepared to go with the same group.”
      So I’m thinking, unless another guy is added, it’ll be CBC TCB (Taking Care of Business).

  18. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

    First order of business is CF. Do they give Pagan 4 yrs? What’s the max $ you offer him?

    • Flavor said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

      I’d give him four years if the 4th was a team option but I doubt he goes for that. Philly has 4 years guaranteed on the table. if the Giants don’t step up and add that 4th year, we can change his name from “Pa-Gone” to “He-Gone”

    • ewisco said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

      I just am not a fan of giving him 4 years. 3 with an option at most. Here’s a chance to go deep into the playoffs every year, assuming HE holds up his end.

  19. chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Well, if Philly has offered four years, then I think the Giants need to do the same. I haven’t seen anything on $/year from Philly.

    I think four years at 38 (9.5/year). He made 4.85 last year, so the average on 38 over 4 is almost doubling his salary. Upton went from 7/year to 15/year.

    Yes, I was adamant early on about only going 3 years, but the landscape has changed, and I think adding Pagan is a really important piece of the pie. I don’t like the four years…for the hundredth time I prefer 3 and an option, but the market is dictating a four year deal (or letting him walk).

  20. chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Here is the OF salaries for 2012. Pagan ranked 43rd.

    http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/baseball/mlb/salaries/position/OF/2012

    • Flavor said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

      that list is hilarious and exhibit A of why we shouldn’t go over board with paying Pagan. I couldn’t even find a CF on that lsit that I would want on my team, at any price, until I got to #8–Holiday. And then there a bunch more after him that I wouldn’t touch with a free ten foot pole.

  21. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Yeah, I was loath to go 4 but Victorino and Bourn won’t be cheap either. And then it’s a fairly steep drop to Blanco.

  22. eddacker said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I am hearing the Giants are offering *around* $40M and the Phils $50M with both teams going four years. If I remember the not-offered contract from the gmen to pagan for 2013 was one year @ $13M.
    We have to ask 2 things: would Angel prefer SF if the dollars are $2M/year less? and where is Victorino during the winter meetings? Blanco to center and Hamilton in left will never happen.

  23. Flavor said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I think it’s totally stupid to give Pagan 4 years. Shit, I don’t even really want to give him 3. Gary Brown COULD be ready as early as middle of next season. I suppose we could then move Pag’s over to LF but I don’t want his contract hanging around our neck for 4 years.
    If we had nothing in the pipeline that would be one thing, but our future CF is almost ready—6 months, maybe a year in AAA……

    • chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Well, Brown is a wild card. No way we know for certain he is ready this year. I completely prefer three for Pagan (and early on really wanted two with an option), but no way three will land him now.

      I’m not really worried about the long-term. Committed salary going into this off season was 80.3 mil. We know now with Affeldt, projected $ for AE guys, and signing Pagan and Scoots will push payroll above last years 131 mil. But, for 2014, only 36.3 mil is committed to payroll (this not including the AE and signings for 2013), but still, there is the money to absorb Pagan.

      For what OFers are getting, if they can land Pagan in the 10/year range, I think it’s a good deal, and takes the pressure off of having to have Brown progress at a fast clip.

      • chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Well, maybe wild card is not the right term. I think long-term…yes, he is going to be the answer in CF and leading off. But not sure that he is ready this year. I could see him as a call-up when rosters expand, and then “maybe” vying for a starting position in 2014 (that all contingent upon how he does this year). Again…I just don’t see a definitive timetable.

  24. eddacker said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The Giants are not known as big wheeler-dealers during the winter meetings (to my memory). Hopefully Sabean gets his ducks in a row and I look forward to the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.

  25. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I think landing BOTH Angel and Marco seems unlikely now.

  26. unca_chuck said, on December 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Yeah, the closer role used to be a guy coming in when trouble erupted in the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning. Of course back then, a win consitituted going 6 innings, not the 5 as it is now (since after the strike in 1993), so the number of pitchers getting to the 7th was greater than now. So you usually only needed a reliever to go on average something like 1.2 innings. Or one reliever per game.

    Nowadays, a pitcher can get pulled in the 6th and still be in line for a win. Which necessitates more innings and therefore more than one reliever per game. Yeah, the LaRussa’s 9th-inning specialist preceded the switch from 6 to 5 inning qualifying for a win from your starter, but it was only a few years, and the role went strictly 9th inning, 3 outs, get the save became the norm.

    We all beat the whole ‘bring in the best guy when trouble strikes in the 7th deal’ to death a couple years ago, and this isn’t really that, but it resembles it more than the traditional La Russa 9th inning deal.

  27. blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Sorry, but I am in the “camp” that thinks Brown is at least a year away from contributing in a meaningful way. Even if he was brought up in September, I think you are looking at a carbon copy of Gregor Blanco, with similar offensive numbers, and perhaps, a slight uptick in defense.

    According to Keith Law, one of the few analysts I respect at ESPN (he’s a former front office official with the Toronto Blue Jays who now scouts amateur players for ESPN), Brown’s strengths are his speed and defense, while his bat still needs development. He says this about Brown:

    “He’s an 8 runner [highest grade on the 2-8 scouting scale]…He’s almost as fast as Trout…It’s not a great swing, he’s never gonna have power. It’s very slappy, very linear, very short to the ball…The thing I always liked the most about Brown wasn’t the speed, it was that I thought he had a chance to be a really good defensive center fielder. I still do…As long as he stays in center, he can be an average regular.”

    In my opinion, Brown might come up in September of next year, but wont make much of an impact (sort of a Blanco “light” as I said earlier). I think Brown needs more seasoning and he might be ready in 2014 for the big leagues.

    • chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Agree…much what I said at 10:58. I certainly see him getting a call-up in September, but only if he is doing really well. And even then, like you say, he is not going to get a ton of time. Perhaps he is better served staying in the minors and playing every day throughout the entire season. And like I said, no way I see him as a lock in 2014…that will heavily depend on what he does in 2013. With all that said, the Giants need someone for at least two solid years. Yes, four is longer than any of us want to go, but with what is available, and the points I made on salary committments for the Giants in 2013 and 2014, I think you make a hard run at Pagan…even for four years.

      • blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        Chi, no idea on who we would trade, but a player that I like is Cleveland Indians outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo. Cleveland’s needs are as follows:

        “Rotation: Much of the Indians’ struggles last season stemmed from the myriad problems that struck the starting staff. As things currently stand, the 2013 staff will consist of a similar cast with unpredictability throughout the depth chart. One of Cleveland’s top priorities this offseason is to add some stability to the rotation through either free agency or trades.

        First base: The Indians went with a one-year solution for first base last offseason by signing veteran Casey Kotchman. Without a clear in-house solution, Cleveland might take a similar approach this winter. The Indians might consider giving internal candidate Russ Canzler a shot, but the club will certainly explore its options through free agency and trades.

        Left field: Cleveland cycled through 10 left fielders — Shelley Duncan, Johnny Damon and Ezequiel Carrera were each tested as the starter — and never found a reliable full-time solution. Carrera and Canzler are two in-house possibilities for 2013, but the Tribe will look for alternatives via every possible avenue.”

        All signs are pointing to Choo leaving via free agency next offseason, leaving the Indians in a position where the club should listen to trade offers. Choo is coming off a solid year (he batted lead off most of the year) and is eligible for arbitration for the final time this winter. Cleveland entertained offers for Choo at the July 31 Trade Deadline, but chose to hold on to the talented right fielder. According to your outfielder salary list Chi, he is making $4.9 million.

        Obviously, I want Pagan signed, but if it looks like we are going into a situation where Pagan bolts for the Phils or somewhere else, then we should explore a trade with another team, whereby we at least have someone as good or better than Pagan. I think Choo is comparable.

  28. chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Here is a hypothetical. Say the Phillies offer 4 at 50. The Giants 4 at 40, and Pagan and his agent come back and ask the Giants to match Phillies offer. What do you do if you are Sabes and crew? Let him walk? Count with meeting them half way (45 for 4)?

    • blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      As long as Sabes doesn’t ask for my credit union account number, I say, “Hell yes, we match it!” 😉

  29. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    G’s seem to agree on Brown. Schulman column a couple of weeks ago.. “They have a lot of baseball to learn,” Sabean said of Panik and Brown.

  30. chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Ross back in the sights, but not as a CFer/lead-off hitter.

    http://tinyurl.com/cv2vrnv

    And not really anything new, but the latest from Alex (no, not Smith)…

    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_22108265

  31. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    NOW SAYING G”S CLOSE TO SIGNING PAGAN

  32. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Done deal per Mlbtr..

  33. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    And I’ll be damned… El Presidente claimed by Toronto.

  34. PawlieKokonuts said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    My man Gio in Tampa sez we got Pagan for $40 mill for 4 yrs. I LOVE it.

  35. PawlieKokonuts said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Scutaro next. Then we REPEAT, boys and girls.

    • blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      Scutaro will be much, much easier to sign per sources I’ve read.

  36. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I may need to amend my 11:03 declaration.

  37. blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Good deal for GMen. Love it.

  38. blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    4 years and 40 million dollars (what I predicted 🙂 )

    • eddacker said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      I believe Phils offered more dollars, same years and he signs here. WTG captain.
      takes some drama out of the Winter Meetings.

  39. eddacker said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I do not believe Phils will go for bourn or victorino and that leaves them, who?

    • blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Especially good point with regard to Victorino Ed. Why would they want him after getting rid of him? Makes little sense to me.

      • eddacker said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

        bourn played for philly, too

      • blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        Yeah, I know, but that was before he was worth a shit . . . Victorino is near washed up after his pathetic season last year.

  40. Alleykat said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I can live with it.4/40 for Pagan is not to bad.3yrs would have been better,but was not gonna happen.After Upton set the market with his 5/75.

  41. Bozo said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Although I do have some concerns about a four year deal with Pagan, I will say this, his D got better at the end of the year and also his questioning every strike calmed way down. And for the record, A dude who says “You can’t hurt steel,” and his mantra is “Fight like upside-down cats” is someone I want next to me in battle.

    • chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      I’m right there with ya, John! Ha…Bring on the fucking world!

  42. gianthead said, on December 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Good deal!!! I like the $7 mill for next year, keeps a lot of options open for Scutaro and Pence and should have some dollars for another OF. Should they talk to Cody Ross?

  43. twinfan1 said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I have no why there’s so much negativity on Brown- the Eastern League is often the graveyard for young hitters and after a slow start, he finished well there.Pagan isn’t going to hold him back. If they don’t sign a FA LFer, and I don’t expect them to do that, I see no reason at all that he couldn’t challenge Blanco for LF.
    As to Pagan, he’s young enough that the years shouldn’t be an issue and with 3 of 4 seasons being very good ones, I’m not concerned about 2011.
    Scutaro has always been the signing I’m most skeptical of. At 37 he hit 90 points above his career average when he was with us.That raises the obvious PED possibility ( which I don’t care about unless he were caught) or more likely, he was out of his mind and will hit like a 38 YO next year.

  44. blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Rowand signed a five year-$60 million contract with the San Francisco Giants on December 12, 2007. Fast forward today, I feel much, much, much better about Pagan and his 4 year $40 million deal than I did after the Giants made the imbecilic deal with Rowand. Anyone with eyes could see this guy was a “band box” creation and the Giants were delusional in thinking he could even come within shouting distance of his 2007 batting average of .309, 27 home runs, 89 runs batted in, and 6 stolen bases.

    Anywho, I never blamed the “Gamer” for signing on the dotted line (just like Zito was innocent for signing his megastupid deal the Giants put in front of him). Gamer and Zits always played one way – ALL OUT and that counts in my book, albeit, it was difficult to justify their deals.

  45. Macdog said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Excellent news about Pagan! Is four years a bit much? Probably, but I’m still very glad to see him back.

  46. gianthead said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    and we can extend Posey now and give him a nice little bump for his first arb year….

    • blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      GH, I would like to sign him through his arb eligible years and a couple of his free agent years if possible.

  47. chipower9 said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Whoo Fucking Hoo! Earlier I said 4 ofr 38…I’m down with 4 ofr 40. Scoots is next, and then a LT deal for Buster.

    • Irish Kevin said, on December 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Chi, Chi, I don’t see the Giants going very far with Scoots, he is 37 years old. I would hope that the Giants learned from signing Huff, Rowand, DeRosa, etc…It should be a 1 year deal for not much $$$$

  48. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Yeah, why should we worry about an extra year and 10m? Last yr they were paying Rowand 11.5m, Huff 11m, Wilson 8.5m and Freddie 6m. Got Zilch.

  49. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Not to mention 20m apiece for a #5 starter and a mid reliever 🙂

  50. dirtnrocksnomo said, on December 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I am surprised at the Pagan deal. I thought he would blow out of town for more money. I think Pagan had some comments early in the year about how he liked the climate in SF and thought it saved the body a bit over the course fo the season. I wonder if that factored in? Whatever it was this is great news.

  51. Salty said, on December 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    We don’t know what Philly offered, but reports of 50m were probably off since they only offered Upton 55m.

    But Pagan would have been smart to stay here for a little less, since AT&T is perfectly suited for a gap hitter with speed, he gets a contender, great fans/teammates/org/city

  52. blade3colorado said, on December 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Plus, unlike Rowand and any other free agent we would have signed, e.g., Bourn, Upton, Hamilton, etc., – He has already PROVED he can do it here. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that.

  53. gianthead said, on December 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    and our division sucks! Giants will repeat as NL West Champ…

    • Flavor said, on December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      I’d go a little easier on the *our division sucks* call. I laughed at the Dodger moves last Summer but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t turn that team around in a hurry. They don’t give a single fuck on missing on free agents—just throw as much dough at as many guys as you can and hope that a couple of them are keepers. Their goal is to *have an all star at every position* and you have to think that at some point, they will probably get there

  54. unca_chuck said, on December 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Dirt, i thought Pagan had a better chance of coming back rather than Affeldt. But hey, I’m cool with 4/40 (I thought I said that somewhere as well). Brown would have a ton of pressure to come out this young. He’ll be fine next year. Who knows?

    Shit, Scoots should get 2 years for 12 mill?

    • zumiee said, on December 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      That sounds reasonable for Scutaro, given what he did for the Giants last season. Or 2 years/10, something like that.

  55. Flavor said, on December 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I thought 3/36 would be cool, didn’t want to do 4/48. So, 4/40 is actually fine I guess. And I think I heard he’s only getting 7 in 2013 so that should give Sabes a little more ceiling to play with for Scoots……….

  56. twinfan1 said, on December 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Because of his age, no one is throwing a boatload of bucks at Marco and certainly not years, but he’s making 6 now. Anyway, I’m afaid he’ll hit like a 38 YO next year. But ‘ve been on the wrong side of everything of late, so I dunno..

    • Flavor said, on December 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      He definitely hit over his head during his time as a Giant but he did have 190 hits for the season and Will Clark only eclipsed that total once (196) and that fact blows my mind. By all accounts, Scoots is a fantastic teammate and makes everyone around him better (and that goes all the way back to his days in Oakland). He seems to be in great shape and while I wouldn’t be surprised if steroids fueled his 2012 season it should be noted that he only hit 7 home runs, slightly below his season average. He sprayed the ball all over the yard in a way I’ve never seen a player do it. It’s possible he’s gotten smarter as a hitter and this late career boon isn’t drug related but, rather, *experience* related…….
      But shit, we really don’t have anyone else to play 2nd and a 2 year deal, even at 8 a year, is still going to have me welcoming him back with open arms………

      • PawlieKokonuts said, on December 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

        I’d welcome him back at 80 mill a year. Ain’t my money.

      • ewisco said, on December 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm

        hey pawlie, while you’re at it, can you toss 10 mil my way?

  57. twinfan1 said, on December 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Whatever. I’d rather pay Theriot a couple mill for 1 year and get another OFer. If they can do all 3, all the better.


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