Tag:Giants
Posted on: August 31, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Another year, another 6-game lead in the West

BOSTON -- The Padres were six games up on the Giants with 34 games to play.

The Diamondbacks began play Wednesday six games with 26 games to play.

The Padres were 76-59, even after losing 10 in a row. The Diamondbacks are 77-59, after winning eight in a row.

The Padres didn't make the playoffs last year. The Diamondbacks this year?

"Every year's different," said Adrian Gonzalez, who was part of that Padres team. "What happened to us was we had that 10-game losing streak. The baseball just didn't roll our way. But I said at the end of the year, when you know you gave it your all, you don't look back. You have no regrets."

As Gonzalez said, the Diamondbacks aren't the same as the Padres. The Giants of 2011 aren't the same as the Giants of 2010.

Gonzalez, of course, is out of the National League West now. But he retains a connection, because his former general manager in San Diego, Kevin Towers, now runs the Diamondbacks.

"KT's a great GM," Gonzalez said. "He goes by instincts. He doesn't let a computer tell him the character of a player. You can't tell that by computer."




Posted on: August 24, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 5:06 pm
 

Giants awarded claim on Heath Bell

The Giants have been awarded a waiver claim on Padres closer Heath Bell, which gives the teams 48 hours in which to work out a trade.

Sources confirmed the claim, which was first reported by ESPN.com. There's no guarantee of a deal, and if one is not completed by 1 p.m. ET on Friday, the Padres would pull Bell back and he won't be traded for the rest of the season.

The Padres talked to multiple teams about Bell in the days before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but they stuck to their high asking price and in the end decided against a trade. The Padres are likely to continue asking a high price for Bell, and that could make a trade unlikely.

The Giants have bullpen issues right now, with closer Brian Wilson and setup man Sergio Romo on the disabled list. The Padres scored two ninth-inning runs to beat the Giants on Tuesday night.

In late July, the Padres told teams that they would weigh any offers against the value of two high draft picks they would receive if Bell signed elsewhere this winter as a free agent. But the Padres would only get those draft picks if they offer Bell arbitration, and if he turns it down. Bell has since suggested that he might accept arbitration, and that could figure into the Padres' thinking.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 24, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 8:18 pm
 

A few names on waivers, and what it means

The Red Sox put Carl Crawford on trade waivers Wednesday, which means nothing.

The Reds put Ramon Hernandez on the wire, which could be more interesting.

The White Sox put John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton on, which may or may not mean anything.

The waiver process is theoretically secret and absolutely prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

Dozens of players are placed on waivers every day during August. Quite a few are claimed. Very few are traded.

Does it mean anything that the Rockies were awarded a claim on Wandy Rodriguez, or that the Giants were reportedly awarded a claim on Heath Bell?

Possibly. Or it could turn out meaning absolutely nothing.

Here's an attempt to explain to make a strange and complicated process a little simpler:

1. After 4 p.m. ET on July 31, players can't be traded without waivers until after the end of the season.

2. During August, teams routinely place nearly every player on waivers. Some they'd love to trade. Some they wouldn't trade under any circumstances. Sometimes they want to gauge interest. Sometimes they put players they're obviously not going to trade (Crawford, for example) on the wire to disguise which players they don't want to see get claimed. Sometimes they want a player to clear, sometimes they'd rather he get claimed.

3. If no team claims a player, he is said to have cleared waivers and then can be traded without restriction.

4. If one team claims a player, the team that put the players on waivers has three options. It can work out a deal with the claiming team, or simply allow the claim to go through, or pull the player back off waivers. If he is pulled back, he is basically untradeable for the rest of the season. Teams sometimes allow claims to go through because they want to be rid of the contract, as happened when the White Sox got Alex Rios from the White Sox.

5. If multiple teams put in a claim, the claim is awarded to the team that was lowest in the standings on the day the player went on waivers. If the teams have the same record, then the tie-breaker is which team finished lower in the standings last year. Then the process is the same as above, with the team having three options.

6. Teams sometimes put in claims in an effort to "block" players from going to teams ahead of them in the standings. The risk is that the claim can go through and the team ends up with the player. But sometimes that even works out, as it did when the Giants "blocked" Cody Ross from going to the Padres last year.

7. The process is theoretically secret, with massive fines threatened for revealing any information. That's why no one is ever quoted on the record until a deal is done, and also why information leaks out in bits and pieces, if at all.

According to sources, the Rockies were awarded the claim on Rodriguez, and the teams have until 1 p.m. Thursday to work out a deal. But as of Wednesday night, it appeared those talks were basically dead, because the Astros put a considerably higher value on Rodriguez than the Rockies do (and weren't simply interested in dumping his large contract).

Also, according to sources, the Giants were awarded the claim on Bell. Those teams have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal, and just as with Rodriguez, sources were suggesting that a deal is unlikely.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Yankees were awarded a claim on Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena. Those teams also have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal.

Posted on: August 14, 2011 7:48 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:58 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Giant series in Atlanta edition

Before they were champions, the Giants were just trying to get out of Turner Field with their season still alive.

They trailed the Braves by a run with two out in the ninth inning of Game 3, an out away from going down in the series two games to one and facing elimination the following night. In 27 2/3 innings against Braves pitching, they had scored just five earned runs.

In their entire magical month, the Giants would never come closer to going home disappointed.

They made it out of Atlanta, thanks to a big hit from Aubrey Huff and a couple of big errors from Brooks Conrad, and then an Alex Gonzalez error and a Cody Ross hit the following night.

They went on to win it all, and they never came as close to elimination as they were on that Sunday night at Turner Field.

The Giants are back in Atlanta this week, and while it's an exaggeration to say that they need to save their season again, they certainly aren't coasting back to the playoffs. With 11 losses in their last 16 games, the Giants have allowed the Diamondbacks to grab a two-game lead in the National League West.

If they get to October, the Giants could well run into the Braves again (although based on the standings after the weekend, the NL West winner would open against the Phillies). They'd face a different Braves team than the one they beat last October, because Chipper Jones, Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens missed that series with injuries, and Dan Uggla and Michael Bourn weren't yet with the Braves.

Even so, the Giants only outscored Atlanta 11-9 in the four playoff games, and just eight of the Giants' 11 runs were earned. The Giants hit .212 with a .583 OPS in the series.

They won, and they went on to win it all.

But they'll never forget those nights at Turner Field.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. At the July 31 deadline, the Braves refused to trade any of their four big pitching prospects. Now two of the four are in the big leagues, and a third -- Randall Delgado -- will arrive in time to start in Giants at Braves, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Turner Field. The 21-year-old Delgado has made just two starts in Triple-A, but he won both and didn't give up a run in either of them. Delgado made a spot start for the Braves earlier this year, losing to the Rangers. He joines Mike Minor in the rotation (Minor will face Tim Lincecum on Thursday), while Arodys Vizcaino is in the bullpen, and Julio Teheran (who made two spot starts earlier in the year remains in Triple-A.

2. Justin Verlander, who won his 100th game last Thursday in Cleveland, has the most wins of any active pitcher under 30. No surprise there. But did you realize that Ervin Santana is second, with 85? And did you realize that Santana's ERA since the All-Star break is 1.09, the best of any big-league starter? Santana makes his most important start yet, facing C.J. Wilson in Rangers at Angels, Wednesday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. The Rangers, who led the second-place Angels by just one game a week ago, opened up a four-game lead on Sunday, heading into the four-game series that begins Monday night.

3. Santana has the best ERA in baseball since the All-Star break. Ian Kennedy has the most wins, with six (to go with a 2.14 ERA). Kennedy and the surprising Diamondbacks get a big test this week, with a trip that will take them to Philadelphia (where they'll see both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee) and to Atlanta. Kennedy faces Vance Worley in Diamondbacks at Phillies, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park.



Posted on: August 7, 2011 7:44 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2011 7:45 pm
 

3 to Watch: The new rivalry edition

You're tired of Yankees-Red Sox.

You tell us that all the time. There are other teams. There are other rivalries.

There's Cardinals-Cubs. No, wait. Not this year.

There's Cardinals-Reds. No, wait. Not this month.

There's Cardinals-Brewers.

Let's go with that one, especially this week. Let's see if Ron Roenicke complains about the lights at Busch Stadium (as Tony La Russa did last week in Milwaukee). Let's see if anybody throws up and in to Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun (as happened last week), or even perhaps to Yuniesky Betancourt.

Let's see if any of the Cardinals fight -- with the Brewers, or with each other (as also happened last week).

And let's see if the Brewers can take control of the National League Central, or if the Cardinals can keep the race close.

Cardinals-Brewers may not have the history of Yankees-Red Sox, but right now it has a lot more emotion. And a lot more at stake, because unlike the Yanks and Sox, neither of these teams is close to being guaranteed a playoff spot.

Besides, Cardinals-Brewers has La Russa, just as those every one of those other National League Central rivalries did.

"The Cardinals seem to be the common thread is all these things," Lance Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week.

He's right, and there are at least two reasons for that.

First, the Cardinals have had a winning record 11 of the last 12 years, so they're almost always in the race to the end. Second, they have La Russa, the manager who gets a lot of credit for all that winning but also for all that anger.

The Cardinals had some history with the Brewers, even before last week's eventful series at Miller Park.

The Cardinals see the Brewers as kids who don't take the game seriously and don't know how to win. The Brewers see the Cardinals as bullies who don't like to have fun.

It's a rivalry, and for now, it's the best we're going to get.

The Yankees and Red Sox don't play again for another three weeks.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Giants have lost eight of 10. The Pirates have lost 10 in a row. The Giants can barely score a run. The Pirates have allowed as many runs in the last 10 games as any team has in any 10-game span this year. The Giants have a very real chance to be in the playoffs. The Pirates have a very real chance to finish the year with a losing record -- again. And if the Pirates don't win a game in the series that begins with Pirates at Giants, Monday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park, they'll equal their longest losing streak in 56 years.

2. The Brewers traded for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum last winter. The Cardinals traded for Edwin Jackson this summer. Marcum and Jackson meet up in Brewers at Cardinals, Tuesday night (8:15 ET) at Busch Stadium. Last week in Milwaukee, Jackson allowed 10 runs in seven innings on a day when the Cardinals had a tired bullpen. A day earlier, Marcum allowed six runs in six innings, leaving with a 7-6 lead that the Brewer bullpen couldn't hold.

3. Detroit and Cleveland are close enough geographically to be rivals (2 1/2 hours by car, ballpark to ballpark). The problem is that they've basically never been good at the same time. When the Tigers were winning in the '80s, the Indians were losing 100 games. When the Indians won 99 games in 1996, the Tigers lost 109. The Indians were good in the mid-1950s, and the Tigers were good in the late 1960s. They finished 1-2 in the American League Central in 2007, but that race was never really close in September. Maybe this one will be, especially if Ubaldo Jimenez makes a difference. Jimenez, who makes his Indians home debut in Tigers at Indians, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, already owns a win over Detroit this year. He gave up three runs in five innings in a June start for the Rockies in Colorado, winning 5-4. The Indians need Jimenez to pitch like an ace. The Tigers already have an ace, Justin Verlander, who starts against the Indians on Thursday



Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:09 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 10:16 pm
 

3 to Watch: The second wild card (now!) edition

The teams with the two best records in the American League meet this weekend, and it means next to nothing.

Baseball's top rivalry resumes this weekend, with first place on the line, except that in this case, second place is basically as good as first.

If commissioner Bud Selig has the best interests of baseball in mind, he'll forget about Alex Rodriguez's supposed poker games, and do the one thing that would make this version of Yankees-Red Sox truly important.

Can we get the second wild-card team added for this year?

I realize it can't happen. I realize baseball is heading towards adding the second wild-card team in 2012, and that's the best we're going to get.

But if you're one of those who still don't believe in the concept, just look at what the current system has done to a series that should be great.

The Red Sox and Yankees have been separated by no more than 2 1/2 games in the standings since the middle of May. The Red Sox have dominated the first nine head-to-head meetings, winning eight of them, but the Yankees have done better against everyone else.

The Red Sox have been winning like crazy, but so have the Yankees.

It's a great race, except for one thing: They're both going to the playoffs, and there's only a minimal reward for winning the division rather than the wild card.

In fact, if the season ended today, the division winner would play the Tigers, which means facing Justin Verlander twice in a five-game series. The wild card would play the Rangers, who may be better overall, but don't have a Verlander-like ace.

A second wild-card team solves most of this.

With a second wild-card, winning the division means avoiding a one-game play-in against a team like the Angels. It means not just an extra day of rest, but also the chance to save your best available pitcher for the first game of the Division Series.

Yes, the Yankees already want to beat the Red Sox, and vice versa. But in the current system, in a year like this, with both teams nearly guaranteed a playoff spot and little distinction between a division winner and a wild card, there's very little penalty for not winning the division.

And that's too bad.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. When the Yankees didn't trade for a starting pitcher at the deadline, general manager Brian Cashman suggested that Bartolo Colon would be as good a No. 2 starter as anyone he could acquire. So let's see how Colon matches up against Jon Lester, his mound opponent in Yankees at Red Sox, Friday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. Lester has won both his starts against the Yankees this year, despite giving up seven runs in 12 innings. He's won his last five starts against the Yankees, dating back to last year. Colon has lost both of his 2011 starts against the Red Sox, despite going 10 1/3 innings and allowing just three earned runs.

2. One of those pitchers the Yankees passed on, and the only one who realistically could have slotted as a No. 2 starter, was Ubaldo Jimenez, who debuts for Cleveland in Indians at Rangers, Friday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark. He faces Derek Holland, who has three complete-game shutouts in his last five starts, and also shut out the Indians in June at Progressive Field.

3. The Phillies broke their five-year string of trading for a starting pitcher at midseason, in large part because they knew Roy Oswalt was coming back from the disabled list. The Phillies also decided against trading for a reliever, in part because Oswalt's return means that either he or Vance Worley can move to the bullpen for the playoffs. Oswalt returns from the DL in Phillies at Giants, Sunday afternoon (4:05 ET) at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum, the guy Charlie Manuel said was "good, not great," starts for the Giants.

Posted on: July 30, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:50 am
 

Giants get Orlando Cabrera from Indians

The Giants, who have been looking for small upgrades since making the big deal for Carlos Beltran, have acquired Orlando Cabrera from the Indians.

The much-traveled Cabrera became expendable in Cleveland when the Indians called up top prospect Jason Kipnis to play every day at second base. Cabrera is a shortstop by trade, but the Indians signed him to play second, alongside Asdrubal Cabrera (no relation).

The Indians got Thomas Neal, a 23-year-old Triple-A outfielder, in exchange for Orlando Cabrera.

Cabrera, who has been on playoff teams each of the last four years (in four different cities!), will likely play shortstop for the Giants. The Giants' .579 OPS at shortstop is the worst in the National League, and 29th in baseball ahead of only the Rays.

Cabrera is in the Giants' lineup at shortstop for Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

Brandon Crawford and Mike Fontenot had been sharing time at short. Crawford was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the roster for Cabrera.

Cabrera went to the playoffs with the Angels in 2007, with the White Sox in 2008, with the Twins in 2009 and with the Reds last year.

Now he's headed there again, with the Giants.



Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Mets keep Reyes, for now (and maybe later)

Way back when, Jose Reyes was the Mets player that the Giants coveted.

Way back when, Reyes was the player that you were absolutely certain the Mets would be trading this month. Even two weeks ago, at the All-Star Game, one person close to Reyes said he wasn't totally convinced Reyes would still be with the Mets after July 31.

And as for the chances that the Mets would be able to keep Reyes past this season? Way back then, that was laughable.

But after the Mets made the Carlos Beltran trade with the Giants official on Thursday, general manager Sandy Alderson said what had become apparent over the last week. He doesn't have plans to trade anyone else away this month, and he certainly doesn't have plans to trade Jose Reyes.

It's still hard to know exactly how much chance the Mets have of signing Reyes after the season. That's because it's hard to know what their financial situation will be, and also because it's hard to know how Reyes' outstanding 2011 season will affect his market value.

On the first point, it's worth noting that the Mets felt good enough about their money situation that they paid $4 million of Beltran's contract, in order to get the Giants to deal a better prospect (Zack Wheeler). There's no doubt that the lawsuit stemming from the Bernie Madoff mess has taken some favorable turns from the Mets' standpoint.

But even with that, Alderson was asked whether the $5 million saved in the Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez trades would be put back into the payroll, he said only that he was "fairly confident that at least a portion of it will be reinvested in players."

And Reyes?

"What about Reyes?" Alderson said, repeating the question on the conference call. "I don't know, $5 million is not going to get him signed. Hopefully, we'll engage him in the offseason."

For Mets fans who covet Reyes the way the Giants once did, that's sort of good news, because at least it is no longer a given that Reyes will be gone. Not only that, but it's now a given that he'll at least remain in a Mets uniform through September.

Way back when, that seemed impossible.
 
 
 
 
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