Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Much Needed Derek Jeter Perspective, Giants MUST Say No

Now that Juan Uribe is no longer an option as the Giants shortstop there are rumblings that Brian Sabean should go after a big name guy and the biggest name out there is Derek Jeter.

New York Yankees Derek Jeter drives in 2 runs with a triple in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 19, 2010.  UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom
Now I think Jeter is a fine player and is a first ballot hall of famer but really we should take a step back and realize that he is coming off his worst year ever wants huge money and half a decade contract. He is getting to the point where he is no longer really a short stop and a move to a different position is most likely in the near term future.

Well here is some much needed perspective, both of these guys are coming off of career years but in the following season one was rendered a bench player by the end of the season and has huge question marks about him next season.

The other is asking for a contract that is worth over $100 million and is though of as a demi-god by the east coast media.

One of these players is going to be 24 next season the other 37. One is being threatened with a possible demotion to AAA the other is given special treatment and thought to demand however much money he wants.

Well these two are much closer then you would think:

Player A: .270/ .340/ .370 .320 wOBA, OPS + 90

Player B: .268/ .323/ .409 .314 wOBA OPS+ 95

Offensively these two are very similar, defensively they match up pretty evenly too coming in a touch below league average.

So the question is which would you rather have?

Player A is Derek Jeter and Player B is Pablo Sandoval. When you strip the veneer of the Jeter name and look at the season he had it is pretty poor. I understand that shortstop is thin but really $20 million plus? That would be a really dumb move to make.

If were are so concerned about Pablo bouncing back why wouldn't we worry even more about the fall off from a guy in his late 30's taking a nose dive AND making a ton of money. No thank you.

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Changes going on

A couple of changes going on, first off the blog has a new domain we can be found at www.crazycrabbers.com, and the feed for the website is changing to http://feeds.feedburner.com/crazycrabbers so if you follow that way be sure to update the reader.

Everything else is staying the same. We can still be found on twitter @crazycrabbers and on facebook here.

Thanks for everyone who reads the site.

Adios Juan Uribe

San Francisco Giants Juan  Uribe follows the flight of the ball along with Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos  Ruiz in the bottom of the 9th inning at the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, on October 20, 2010. Uribe

I will always remember the great moments that Juan Uribe had with the Giants, but for the next 3 seasons I will repress those feelings while he plays for the most evil team in America.

Uribe was a good Giant, he was versatile playing everywhere, had a lineage with the team, he had some really big hits and he helped the team to its first ever World Series. All that said those are not reasons to overpay for a guy that is moving into his 30's with a career OBP of .300.

The money per season isn't the killer it was that third year and for once I am glad the Giants took the route of letting a guy go possibly a little too early instead of holding on a little too late. It may work out for the Dodgers but it comes with a lot of risk, risk I am glad the Giants didn't take on.

The feats done by UUUUUUU-RIBAYYYYY in a Giants uniform will not be forgotten they just won't be spoken of for the next 3 seasons but when you retire and come back for the reunion expect a heartfelt standing ovation.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a great day with friends and family.

On this day I am thankful for my wonderful family, my beautiful wife and great friends.

I am thankful for having a great job and a roof over my head and the means to provide for my family and the opportunity to do the things that I love.

I am thankful for all of the readers of this website, this has gone better then I ever imagined and I am thakful for the sucess and hope that it continues.

I am thankful for the Giants great season. It was one that I will always remember and meant so much to the long suffering fans.

I am thankful for the amazing young nuclues of this team, the incredible pitchers, Buster Posey and his amazing bat control this team gives us a bright future and years of watching enjoyment to look forward to.

I am thankful for a beautiful ballpark, in a beautiful location, in a beautiful city that is one of my favorite places in the whole world.

I am thankful for everything. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I hope it is great and I wish you safe travels.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Aubrey Huff’s Contract: The thinking mans guide

Well the Giants have resigned Aubrey Huff and word on the twitter is that it is a 2 year $22 million deal with a club option. That is a pretty big raise from last season so what does all of this mean?

Well my first impression is that the Giants have some cash on hand that they are willing and able to dole out (thank you playoffs and merchandise sales) this deal plus arbitration raises will put them comfortably above the $100 million dollar threshold for the first time in team history.

My second impression is that interest in Huff was much stronger than last season where he had to wait around until January for a deal and now he is one of the first free agents off of the board.

So what does it mean for the future? That's a good question that I will attempt to answer.

The first question which season was the abnormality 2009 or 2010 or both? In 2009 Huff looked washed up and ready to hang up the spikes, in 2010 he was a near elite baseball player looking like he was in his prime.

The truth most likely lies somewhere in between, in his 10 big league seasons he has averaged 1.9 wins above replacement with a high of 5.7 this year and a low negative 1.4 in 2009. He has averaged above average production with the bat and slightly below average with the glove to be a roughly league average player.

Now this next contract pays him like an above average player for the Giants to break even he will need to average about 2.75 wins above replacement I think that is possible but it leaves very little room for upside gain.

I think that most seasons this is what you will get with Huff, if he puts up numbers around his career average he will give a team 2.5 to 3 wins, I just don't know how often a career year like last season comes along and there is the risk that with winning comes complacency and that he won't have the same chip on his shoulder that he had last winter as teams passed on him.

Then there is also the Brandon Belt question looming. My general thought is that it is better to have too many major league caliber players then too few. So if Belt proves to be ready they both have flexibility to play of corner outfield spot and it gives the Giants depth. The other possibility is that one of them could be used as a trade chip should a more glaring hole appear. I am not too concerned with blocking Belt as that is a problem worth having.

Overall I am pleased with Huff coming back, I wish it was on sale being the holidays and all but paying full retail for something you really want isn't too bad and the commitment isn't a killer either.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Create Your Own Title for the Giants 2010 Season

Beat writer extraordinaire Andrew Baggarly started an internet meme yesterday when he asked his followers: If you were writing a book about the 2010 season, what would be your title/subtitle?

This brought out the creativity of Giants Fans. Here were some of my favorites:

@AndresFirst: Money Ball 2: This Team Actually Won Something (Yeah suck it A's fans)

@JeffitUp: P is for Panda, U is for Unicorn, W is for Water-buffalo: The Children's A to Z Animal Book of the 2010 SF Giants

@Mike_Moreno: Spring of doubt, Summer of torture and Fall of relief

@trouserbug: The 2010 Giants: San Francisco's Year of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" (Fwd by Rangers Owner George W. Bush)

@djbtvImprobable Champions: How I learned To Stop Worrying And Trust Bruce Bochy

And finally my addition, As Ryan Howard Watches: The Giants 2010 Championship Run.

Got an addition? The twitter hashtag is #giantsbook to join the conversation also follow the Crazy Crabbers @crazycrabbers you will be a better person for doing it.

Hot Stove: Arbitration Deadline Tonight

Tomorrow is the first milestone of the off-season. Midnight marks the deadline where all clubs must decide whether or not to offer their six-year plus free agents arbitration.

If the team doesn't offer a free agent arbitration, they loose any draft compensation for type A or B free agents if the sign elsewhere.

For the Giants the list is short, they have no type A free agents and 2 type B free agents, Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe.

I would be very surprised if either were not offered arbitration as both are in line for multiple year deals on the free agent market and would be unlikely to accept the Giants offer but if they did the Giants would be glad to take them back.

There shouldn't be any shocking news on this front in the morning. MLB Trade Rumors has more on every team's situation so check that out if you are interested.

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Jon Miller Leaning Towards Giants Broadcasting Full Time

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that radio play by play man Jon Miller is leaning against doing Sunday Night Baseball on the radio for ESPN.
[Miller] said by phone that he needs time to contemplate ESPN's offer to continue calling the Sunday night games on radio, though he is inclined to say no. That could land Miller in the Giants' broadcast booth on weekends for the first time since joining the team before the 1997 season.
Miller was not definitive about ESPN's radio offer because "it's still being talked about, and I'll hear out their offer," he said. At the same time, he said he is "not likely" to accept.

This would be welcome news for Giants fans who have been without Miller most weekends as he traveled to the location of the Sunday Night Game.

I was hopeful for selfish reasons that this would be the case and I am glad to hear that this is the way that Miller is leaning. There is nothing better then the way that Miller is able to tell stories and paints the picture of the baseball games.

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End of Season Review: Madison Bumgarner

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison  Bumgarner throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of their MLB baseball game in San Francisco, California September 30, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Madison Bumgarner's future is so bright I've gotta wear shades.

Bumgarner had a bit of a bumpy ride this season, he was beat out by Todd Wellemeyer for the fifth starter spot, his fastball had lost 5 mph and he was getting hit around in his first few games of AAA then he had a meeting with the Giants "Pitcher Whisperer" Dick Tidrow and all was better.

Bumgarner was excellent in his first season in the major leagues and it makes me giddy thinking about him pitching with the likes of Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez for the next few seasons.

2010 7 6 .538 3.00 18 18 0 0 111.0 119 40 37 11 26 86 136 1.306 9.6 0.9 2.1 7.0 3.31
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/22/2010.

Bumgarner had people freked out at the beginning of the season with his missing velocity, it was like a trail run for the freaking out that would take place during Tim Lincecum's August struggles. People were wondering if it was an injury, were the previous reports wrong on his scouting reports, was Bumgarner turning into a bust, no idea was too outlandish.

It turned out to be a slight flaw in the mechanics which once fixed brought back the missing mph and Bumgarner was back on the fast track to the Giants rotation and he played an important role.

Bumgarner gave the Giants something that most teams only dream of, 5 starting pitchers that were league average or better. From his promotion onward there would be no break or soft spot in the Giants rotation and with the pitchers leading the charge the Giants caught the Padres and then stormed their way through the playoffs.

None of that would have been possible without the great pitching of Bumgarner.

If your on Twitter you should definitely follow the The Crazy Crabbers. If you're not you should really consider joining, lots of good stuff going on there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

End of Season Review: Brian Wilson

San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson throws against the Texas Rangers in the 9th inning of game 4 of the World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on October 31, 2010. The Gaints won 4-0 to take a 3-1 series lead. UPI/Ian Halperin Photo via Newscom
Brian Wilson had a hell of a season, we talked about growth as a pitcher with Jonathan Sanchez and the same thing can be said with Wilson. He blossomed from a very good reliever into an elite closer.


In addition to the lights out numbers above, Wilson who on a staff full of studs was the highest point receiver in the Cy Young voting which is pretty impressive.

This season Wilson improved just about every single thing, if you look at the progression of his number the last 3 years you can get the sense of how far Wilson has come.


Something that doesn't show up in this table that is important to mention is that Wilson also became comfortable relying on his secondary pitches. In 2008 and 2009 and even to a certain extent in the first part of this year Wilson only believed in his fastball and used the cutter/slider as a change of speed but it wasn't a true weapon.

This season you saw the growth in the confidence and effectiveness of that pitch. No longer is Wilson just a guy that pumps high 90's gas at you but now you have to be on your toes for a low 90's hard cutter/slider that has rapidly improved. This was the pitch that he turned to in one of the biggest moments of the year and one that Giants fans will remember for a long time. The pitch that froze Ryan Howard and won the NL for the Giants, and this wouldn't have happened last year.

Wilson was the ace of the bullpen without question, and he was a manly mans closer to boot. He wasn't afraid to come into games in the 8th inning or to pitch more then one inning if needed. This is a breath of fresh air and allowed Bruce Bochy to use his best bullpen guy in the most pivotal spots.

One of the things that bugs me is managers sitting on the closers waiting to get the last 3 outs of a game, because sometimes those are not the most important outs of the game and you really want to try to maximize your talent to go with the situation.

This is one of the things that doesn't come up in stats is that flexibility and tactical advantage that Wilson provided.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Others Follow the Giants Lead with Dynamic Pricing

Brooklyn National League Grounds (LOC)
An empty stadium in the dark days before dynamic pricing
The Giants were the first to test the waters of Dynamic Pricing in 2009 with a couple of hard to sell sections and then expanded the program to every seat in the house for the following season and it was declared a success with an increase in tickets sold and revenue.

Well it is beginning to look like the start of a trend. The Astro's followed suit last season and the Cardinals plan to implement the floating prices this coming season.

Dynamic Pricing allows ticket prices to change - either up or down, depending on a number of factors ranging from the opponent, pitching match-up, weather, other entertainment options in town and promotions. The idea is that it will better allocate the scarce seats with the demand for them.

Under standard pricing if a game is more attractive many people who would like to go miss out and the team misses out on higher potential ticket prices, if a game is less desirable the stadium will not fill up as fans find the tickets too expensive. Dynamic pricing looks to bring things in line so more tickets are sold to each game.

I have heard some fan grumbling about this especially when the Red Sox were in town, but for the most part this has been well excepted. The baseline ticket prices have fallen so if you buy early you can save money and if you really want to go to a game with this there is often seats available and for less then what a scalper would charge you.

As an economist I am a fan and wish that more things came priced in this way. Welcome to the future Cardinals fans.

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End of Season Review: Barry Zito

San Francisco Giants Barry Zito pitches in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park in San Francisco on October 2, 2010. Zito walked in two runs in the first and took the loss in the 4-2 game.  UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom
If you are looking for a silver lining with Barry Zito here it is, he is hands down the best fifth starter in baseball.

If you have that as your frame of reference his season looks quite good. If you forget that he is the highest paid player it is really not that bad.

2010 9 14 .391 4.15 34 33 1 0 199.1 184 97 92 20 84 150 98 1.344 8.3 0.9 3.8 6.8 1.79
Zito started off 2010 strong with some good pitching and even better luck. As the months past his luck came back to normal and he didn't quite have the same success. He posted an ERA of 1.53 in April and then couldn't get anything close to that again.

Zito was a serviceable enough player this season and seems to have recovered from the black hole of suck that was his first couple seasons with the Giants.

Let's all cross our fingers that he continues to be the best fifth starter in baseball.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

End of Season Review: Matt Cain

San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt  Cain pitches against the Texas Rangers during game 2 of the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, October 28, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom
Big Daddy Matt Cain was the rock of the Giants staff, in a season where Tim Lincecum wasn't always superman it was invaluable to have good old dependable Matt Cain to fall back on.

Cain has lived in the shadow of Lincecum and has been underrated by the mainstream media for not racking up wins and the SABR crowd for out performing his peripherals. The last few seasons have begun to change some minds about him.


It is hard to believe that Cain is the longest tenured Giant, it is almost even harder to believe that he is younger than Lincecum. He plays like a grizzled vet but is still in his mid 20's.

Cain has spoiled Giants fans who have had the chance to watch him during his career. The way he steals a strike with the big curveball early in the count or the way that he pumps high fastballs by hitters. He may not rack up the strikeout numbers like Lincecum or Jonathan Sanchez but he is a much more complete pitcher who batter after batter induces weak contact and hitters going after his pitches.

Cain was the Giants best pitcher for a good portion of the year and definitely made his claim to the title of best on the staff during the playoffs finishing up with a sparkling ERA of 0.00.

Cain is probably the most complete pitcher on the staff right now and it is always nice to think that we are just scratching the surface of what he can do.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hot Stove: Does Adrian Beltre Make Sense for the Giants

Adrian Beltre is one of the free agent names that has been linked to the Giants this off season. I don't think that the Giants are serious players in the Beltre bidding but it is worth taking a look if it makes sense.

Taking a gander at Beltre's career numbers what you see is an above average player with the tendency to have a break out superstar caliber seasons. In his non break out years he has averaged 3.34 WAR which is a nice thing to have, with Beltre you have a floor of about 2.5 WAR and upside that can be in the 7+ WAR range.

He is an elite defensive third baseman with a career UZR/150 of 15.3, which has been a constant for him through out his career.

The big questions for Beltre have to do with age and how he will perform if given a big contract. Beltre is no spring chicken with the coming season being his age 32 season and the reports saying that he wants a long term deal so you have to wonder how he will age as most player peak between 27 and 32.

The Red Sox have reportedly offered a 4 year $52 million deal which is probably the baseline if the Giants would need to beat if the wanted him. To have an surplus value Beltre would need to continue to play at 3 to 4 WAR for the length of the contract and while that is possible that leaves little upside and a lot of downside if he slips up at all.

In addition the Giants have to answer the Pablo Sandoval question first. If Pablo is going to be the guy at third then that makes Beltre redundant because Pablo has the similar upside at a much lower cost, he may not be as sure of a thing but if he flames out at least he doesn't kill the budget in the future.

Beltre is most likely not coming to San Francisco, I just don't see Brian Sabean taking the risk and I think it is a smart move. I would really like to see Pablo given another chance and the though of adding another player that will be in his mid 30's for a big money long term deal is not appetizing.

If your on Twitter you should definitely follow the The Crazy Crabbers. If you're not you should really consider joining, lots of good stuff going on there.