THE San Francisco Giants Blog

Shop-talk with Shoptaw

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on February 16, 2015

Our Cardinals friend, Daniel Shoptaw, has me do a Q/A with him each February called “Playing Pepper”. I think he has several other Giants blog owners do this. With so little happening in our baseball world, I am choosing to make it a thread today.

Question: What are your thoughts on the team’s off season? Did they do what they needed to do?

Answer: They replaced Pablo and Morse with McGehee and Aoki. That’s a big minus-minus. They resigned starting pitchers who have a questionable amount of productive innings left in their arms. But we’ve won 3 of the last 5 world series’ with teams that didn’t look so good on paper. As the great Flap veteran DJ Loo once said, “Sabean’s off season doesn’t end until the trade deadline.”

Question: What does this team do so well in the post season when they get there?

Answer: They act like they’ve been there and because they have been there they have a different mindset than other teams. They don’t freak out and throw shit around when things don’t go there way (see: 2014 Washington Nationals). They don’t get too high or too low….until the job is done and it’s time to celebrate. When you know you’re going to win it’s a fairly huge advantage over your competitors. And no one out-manages Bruce Bochy in the post season.

Question: What’s the weakness of the team?

Answer: the regular season? Kidding. People think the Giants “got lucky” again in 2014 but remember, they were 42-21 to start the season. You don’t get that record by accident. They have gotten weaker offensively but they’ve maintained most of the core of both the position players and the pitching staff. If they stay healthy, I don’t see any holes that can’t be overcome once Sabean ends his vacation shortly before the 2015 trade deadline…

Question: What player do you expect to make the greatest strides this year?

Answer: I mean, they just won yet another world series with most of the same guys from the one they won before this one. I’m not sure there are too many more strides to take. Brandon Belt is the obvious choice, should be remain healthy…..

Question: What’s your projection for their record in 2015 and where will they finish in the NL West?

Answer: Probably another 88 wins or so, 6 games back of the Dodgers. And another world series win from the wild card slot.

Question: What do you like best about being a Giants fan?

Answer: the knowing dude head nods I get to partake in with strangers on the street on a daily basis. Through association, we are world champions, multiple times over the last 5 seasons. We don’t take it for granted. But we’ll ride this supernova till it burns out. The trophies, however, will never fade away….

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  1. Irish Kevin said, on February 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Rest in Peace Wendal Kim.

  2. Irish Kevin said, on February 16, 2015 at 10:41 am

    This is the thing with the Giants now, for me anyway, 3 in 5. All teams have been different in one way or another. With the way Sabean picks up another teams throw away it is hard to say what the Giants will do this season. I have slowed down my comments about the teams strengths and weaknesses due to the fact it is hard to critize success. And 3 in 5 is very successful!

  3. snarkk said, on February 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

    The common thread among the 3 WS teams is good defense and historically great pitching (2010) to very good (2012) pitching, to historically great pitching by one starter (2014). Plus, excellent Pen work. And going along with what BF says, the 2012 and 2014 versions made up with the experience of “being there” for the not as great as 2010 pitching, and similar hitting/scoring. The hitting has been timely, let’s say, over those three teams and the 5 years. Sabean figures in ATT, pitching and defense are key, so he can get away with modest hitting, and fill a hole or two at mid-season. I think this past season he got lucky even more than he did with Scutaro (whom I said we should get 2 seasons before when Franchez went down). Second base was a black hole killing the lineup. He said himself Panik wasn’t ready. Then, he was. I seriously believe if Panik hadn’t shown up and did what nobody figured he’d do, they would not have gotten into the WC. Peavy helped big time, sure. But, Panik plugged a huge chasm in the team, and steadied the ship. IF Cain and Pagan are back this season in good form, they have a shot at the WC again — around 85 games. I think a division win is out of reach with this talent level. If the starting staff craters from age, I’m not averse to bringing up one or two of the young guys from AA and throwing them in the fire like they did Panik, and see what happens. That may be part of the “plan” anyway, since chances are Hudson, Timmy, and Voggy are ALL gone in 2016. It will be hard to replace three starters all at once without some young guys having some MLB experience to take over. You can’t hire three starter FA replacements in 2016, at least not three good ones…

    • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      I like MadBum, Cain,, Peavey, Fister, and one of the kids for 2016

  4. Alleykat said, on February 16, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Have to keep Belt healthy.
    A full season (150+)should equate to 25+ bombs and 90 RBI’s which takes some of the pressure off Buster& Reverend.
    Verdict still not in what McGhee’s gonna do at 3rd, probably around 12 jacks 75 RBI’s hopefully, compared to Panda not too bad defense,maybe worse, time will tell.

    • snarkk said, on February 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

      McGehee was a double play machine last season. Hopefully he won’t hit as many this year. Maybe he also won’t be prone to the streaks Panda was, like 2 or 3 weeks in a row of basically flailing at the plate. If the Giants can get offense out of him like you’re suggesting Kat, I think they’d take that in a heartbeat. He won’t be as good as Panda at 3b with the glove, but he’s pretty serviceable there by the accounts I’ve read. He’s got David Bell written all over him – one year at ATT, and gone. Maybe Duffy replaces him…

      • snarkk said, on February 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        And, David Bell played on a WS team…

      • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2015 at 7:48 pm

        The profile for a guy who hits into a lot double plays is a RH batter, average to slow speed, hits the ball hard. You have to live with the DPs.

  5. Bozo said, on February 16, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Loved your answers Flav. My only change would be 93 wins and the Division before winning it all. Cain and Pagan coming back healthy, would be equivalent to two major signings. Also, like Flav and kat said, having Belt healthy for the whole year will be significant for offensive production. I think Crawford is going to surprise everyone with a break out year. Happy Lundi Gras everyone, Fat Tuesday is tomorrow and the Pitchers and Catchers from the World Champion San Francisco Giants report on Wednesday. Life is good or as Mel Brooks would say “It’s good to be the king.”

  6. paulinasia said, on February 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Sabean’s off-season moves did not make me feel overly excited about this season, like, for example, I’d feel if I was a Padres fan. But, I’m not sure I needed the off-season to do that. Once the season begins, I will be head-nodding once again in no time. Unrelated, not sure if ya’ll have seen this, but the KC newspaper did a re-enactment (using a college baseball team) of what would’ve likely happened if Gordon hadn’t been held at 3rd. Somewhat interesting (link below). And only somewhat related to that, the interception at the goal line to kill the Seahawks would be an interesting one to play out in simulations as well. There was a photo in the SI issue after the game (which I’m just now seeing, back in the states) that shows a WIDE path to the end zone for the ‘Hawks receiver if the Pats’ DB had done what, in most cases, DBs do. Butler just made a huge heads-up play on that with a great read on what the ‘Hawks were trying to do, “wrong call” or not.
    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/25070662/watch-what-if-alex-gordon-had-kept-running-in-game-7

  7. unca_chuck said, on February 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Teams have tried to do what SD did, and the results have been rarely good to regularly disastrous.

  8. paulinasia said, on February 16, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Not saying I believe that San Diego’s moves will pay off, although I do think they will be much better than they’ve been. But if I was a Padres’ fan, I would certainly be excited to see the “new” team be likely relevant again….

    • unca_chuck said, on February 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Yeah, they’ll be better. I think Black is a very good manager who has historically gotten a lot out of a little. Woder how he does with some pieces . . .

      3rd place better hopefully.

  9. unca_chuck said, on February 16, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Browner gets a huge assist for jamming Kearse at the line to allow Butler to go aggressive on Lockette.

    It looked to me like Wilson thought the DBs would switch off on coverage, but Browner stayed with Kearse and Bulter closed very fast on the play with Kearse taken care of. Sea scored to end the 1st half on a very similar play. I don’t know what happened with the coverage on that play but it looks to me like they changed the coveage.

  10. zumiee said, on February 16, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Regarding MLB pondering whether to move the bottom of the strikezone to the top of the batter’s knees instead leaving it at the bottom of his knees…..the bottom of the strikezone used to be the top of the knees, but was moved to the bottom of the knees in the late 1990s to counter-act the “mysterious” surge the batters were having. And now that the “mysterious” surge of the batters has died down a lot, the pitchers still have that bigger strikezone, and they are dominating with it. All that to say, there is a reasonable case for adjusting the strikezone again. But the argument against it, IMO, is that these last 10 years of dominant pitching have coincided with better playoff parity in baseball, as shown on that chart I posted. Teams don’t have to stockpile a bunch of expensive sluggers to be a playoff and World Series contender these days. So baseball needs to be careful when it’s thinking about making adjustments to things. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and there are side-effects to things. As a Giants fan, whose team has won 3 championships in the last 5 years, I’m not eager for MLB to make a bunch of changes. I like the era of better playoff parity.

  11. zumiee said, on February 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    MLB Network has had a lot of Giants-related stuff this off-season, and it’s been a very groovy thing. So yesterday, they had on a half-hour show about the ’93 divisional race between the Giants and the Braves, and I thought, well, OK, it’s been long ago enough, and the SF Giants have won a bunch of rings now, so surely, I can watch this now and be OK with it. About ten minutes into it, I had to change the channel. I still could not watch it. Just watching the Braves get McGriff on that give-away fire-sale from the Padres again was too much to bear. And I had an epiphany- that’s why I dislike the Padres so much still. It’s not just that they were so annoying in 2010. There’s still some residual dislike from that McGriff deal. The Giants had that division wrapped up before the McGriff deal. And the Giants had played the Phillies very well that season, winning the season series, I think, and would have had a good chance of advancing to the World Series.
    But I digress…. 🙂

    • pawliekokonuts said, on February 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      Yeah, that’d be hard to watch. Come to think of it, that year is a glaring omission in my fan memoir. Gee, musta really traumatized me.

  12. Flavor said, on February 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    It would be a ridiculous move (to change the strike zone). Just another absurd idea from the new joke commish to increase offense.

  13. unca_chuck said, on February 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I did read somewhere that Rob Halford (or whatever the fuck his name is) said he thinks that the AL will never vote to repeal the DH, and the NL will not vote to use it, so he sees the split lasting ‘into the foreseeable future.’ FWIW.

  14. pawliekokonuts said, on February 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Magnus, great answers. Hugely entertaining on another night headed below zero. This morning it was 36 BELOW in Watertown, the coldest in the lower 48, about an hour, hour and a half, north of here.

  15. Macdog said, on February 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Barry Zito to sign minor-league deal with the A’s. Of course. http://tinyurl.com/nggbok8

  16. willedav said, on February 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I’d say Flav nailed it with each response. Very nicely done. That Cards guy is great too. His blog posts during and after Giants eliminated them were very well thought out. I did wonder if Cards fans were for or against Giants vs. Royals.
    I do think 88 is a little high, but if I remember right Flav always takes 88 so there. And with Chinese NY coming up that is a fortuitous pick.

    I’d also agree on Belt, but even he has said he doesn’t think of himself as a 25 HR guy, more of a line drive use the whole yard hitter. I still say ceiling is Keith Hernandez territory–great glove, .300 BA, 18 HRs with high OB. If he can do that for a few years and stay in a Giants uniform, of course. I hope Bochy sticks with stated earlier plan to bat him 3rd; that’s where he really raked end of 2013.

  17. xoot said, on February 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I thought twin always picked 88. I finally saw Birdman tonight. Better than I expected it to be. The dazzling camera-work challenged the overt anti-Hollywood theme in an interesting way. Very high-priced dialectic.

    • twinfan1 said, on February 16, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      I sold the rights to 88 to Flavor. I’m hanging on to 20 HRS 80 RBI for our 1st baseman .Every year I go with that and every year the bastards let me down. I’m ashamed to admit that the first thing I thought of when Belt got the broken thumb was ” Thanks a lot, asshole 😉
      I know, I’m a rotten person..

  18. DJLoo said, on February 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    His second question should have been “DJ Who”?

  19. zumiee said, on February 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Kuiper was a call-in guest on the MLB Network Hot Stove show today. Reynolds called Kuiper and Krukow the best baseball broadcast team in the business, which was a very nice thing to say.

  20. zumiee said, on February 16, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    That documentary that’s showing on the MLB Network about the umpires during the ’14 World Series shows the umps being pretty chatty during the games. Are umps always that chatty, or were they more-so because they were being miked for these games in particular? You see how the players develop the knack for talking to the umps. Keep it friendly but not kissing up.

  21. […] The rest of the article can be found here: THE San Francisco Giants Blog […]

  22. willedav said, on February 17, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Zum, the thing about ’93 that always got me was Giants losing to the Rox in the last week before the LA series. Found the box on B/R and Rox at that point were 67-92, 34 and a half games out, but beat Torres that afternoon at the Stick.
    He gave up leadoff HR to Nelson Liriano, one later to Darryl Boston (who also homered again off Brantley) and 4 runs in 3 innings and SF lost 5-3. Girardi was C and Rox had Hayes and Galarraga in the LU. Giants had Scarsone at 2b that day with DLew leading off.
    The Braves swept the Rox and Giants could not.
    Brantley, whom we used to use as his middle name, “Are the bases loaded yet?”
    I’m sure I couldn’t have watched the MLB recap either.

    • zumiee said, on February 17, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Yeah, the Braves went 14-0 against the Rockies that season, so we have a grievance with the Rockies, too. 🙂
      But then again, with Solomon Torres getting big starts down the stretch, the Giants can blame themselves, also.

  23. dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 17, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I’ve read Shoptaw’s blog a few times. He has some really good posts. I’m surprised he doesn’t get more traffic.

    First Melvin and Chili and now Zito returning? With all these former Giants you’d think the A’s would learn how to win.

  24. zumiee said, on February 17, 2015 at 9:19 am

    And I could be accused of having a double standard, because surely the Giants don’t get rings without picking up Freddie Sanchez on a lopsided deal with the Pirates for ’10, Pence in ’12, and Peavy in ’14.
    I just remember the Padres not getting much at all for McGriff. But, hey, maybe I’m over-judging on that. The Padres did get to the World Series in ’98, so they did know something of what they were doing.

  25. salty said, on February 17, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Going to be very interested to see how Zito does. Good or bad, always was intriqued. Like to see pitching somewhere, but don’t see how he makes the A’s with all their pitching. And he usually stinks in ST. Can’t see him riding buses though.

  26. Flavor said, on February 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

    a new, probably worse, thread awaits…..

  27. Geraldo said, on February 21, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    2004. The highest quality deer velvet extract has been procured by your laboratory and imported it.


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