...if we took a survey of everyone voting for Barry Bonds or Albert Pujols for the NL MVP, and then re-polled those same people to see which ones read Moneyball and which ones didn't, how similar do you think the votes would come out?
...can we call Rob Neyer's endorsment for the Expos in Portland a home-town bias? Personally, I think the A's should move to Sacramento.
...Madden 2004's OWNER MODE is something that I didn't expect, but I love. You can now play Madden without playing Madden. It's becoming a sim-game in addition to an fast action sports game.
Is it just me, or was the whole point of giving up your best player to shed ALL of the excess salary from the payroll? Wasn't the reason that they started seriously entertaining offers for Giles because they'd be shedding themselves of Kendall's monster contract? If Giles were available by himself, wouldn't there have been more interested parties involved? I know he was available to the entire NL West, and LA's been looking for a bat . . . Henderson, Bernitz, or Giles? Hmmm, not a tough choice.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's with the Padres and not the Dodgers, but you'd think with all the pitching that they have that they could have put together a better offer (if they had known).
This looks like a case of dealing to make a deal. The rumors had been out there for a long time, and I think that they wanted to do something.
Let's just hope that this doesn't harm the Pittsburg franchise moving forward.
I've been wrong before, and now would be a great time to be wrong.
OH YEAH, and the Padres also sent Rondell White to KC, helping them with their playoff push.
Perhaps Barry will win this one for his pops. I sense a WS return on the way.
Bad news for the A's as well, Mark Mulder may be done for the season (and post-season?).
In other Bay Area Baseball news, the Giants have their first Cy Young front-runner in years . . . except he's on the Braves this year. This trade has been dissected a hundred times if once, so don't expect me to get in to it, but Ortiz is the third winningest pitcher in the major leagues since 1999 (after Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux). And we kept Woody.
The Royals picked up Brian Anderson from the Indians for their stretch-run, and the agreed to pay some of his performance bonuses for 2003 (par for the course these days; money or prospects, but not both). The Royals sent 2 minor leaguers (first baseman-outfielder Trey Dyson and right-hander Kieran Mattison) to the Indians.
Today might also be the end of the on-again/off-again Brian Giles to San Diego rumors, as Peter Gammons reported that the deal may go through Tuesday (that's today). We'll see what happens.
Personally, I think the Padres would be crazy to pass this up. When the "bad" player you have to take on is Jason Kendall, that's a pretty good deal. I've been hoping that the Giants would make a run at Giles (in trade or free agency), but moving him anywhere will likely up his exposure and make him an upper level player in everyone's minds, as he should be.
Among his reasons for hating it are the fact that the wild-card playoffs contradict the wild card itself (Wild Card winner cannot play the team that won their division), and even more so the fact that it kills the great pennant races as we used to know them.
And speaking of old-school pennant races, we can also look forward to his analysis of what the pennant races would look like this year if we were still in the old two-division leagues from the past. That'll be interesting.
As for me, I'm conflicted with the Wild Card. Sometimes I like watching the Wild Card standings, but mostly I like it when my team can benefit from it. It's admittedly a very hypocritical viewpoint, but at least I'll admit it. Last season, the Giants don't make the playoffs without a wild card. That makes me sad. But then again, they didn't win the World Series so it wouldn't have changed that much in the big picture (they can hang a NL Champion banner, but no NL West Pennant? It just seems wrong).
And besides, I've always loved the fact that the baseball season is so long. In every other professional sport, the seasons are short enough that a team can get hot and make the playoffs. In baseball, hot and cold streaks balance out over the course of the season, and the likelihood of undeserving teams making the postseason is all but eliminated.
That's how David Pinto thinks Barry Bonds' HR chase will end. It's not a stretch, considering that's how Big Mac left, but chances are good that he'll still DH somewhere if he's close. Gibson wasn't in any shape to play in the World Series, and he won a game basically standing on one foot.
Currently he needs 105 dingers, but Jayson predicts that Bonds will likely hit 15 more this year, leaving 90 bombs left for Superman to hit from his 39-year-old season (using July 1 as the cur-off age, next season would be his 39-year-old season) on. Jayson rightly states that 90 is more than it sounds, and that Bonds will need to continue to have historic seasons to do so - since only 2 players have ever hit 90 after age 38 (remember, we're still talking seasons).
With 3 years left on Barry's San Fran contract (obviously assuming that the Giants don't void it after 2005), Barry would need to average 30 HRs each year for the duration of his contract (again, assuming he hits 15 more this season). Knowing that at some point Father time will catch up, the totals will need to be more front-loaded than Lamar Odom's Miami Heat offer-sheet. So let's see how likely that really is.
If Barry hits 15 more this season, that leaves 90 to go. Since some will say that the record would be cheapened if Barry moves to the AL and DH's his was into the record books, we'll look at the remaining 3 (or 2) years of his SFG tenure.
Having only hit 50+ HRs once (twice if he continues his pace this year) is not really a good sign, because if he starts to tail off and become mortal he could be in trouble.
If Barry can hit the 50 plateau this season and next, he would be left with roughly 40 HRs to go, and 2 San Francisco years to do it. Personally, I think the "chase" will be determined this season and next, unless Barry really doesn't want it, in which case he'd hang them up before doing so, a la Barry Sanders.
I just don't see Barry retiring if he can still play, and I don't see why he wouldn't want the record if it basically fell in his lap, which it would if he manages to top 50 two years in a row (this season and next).
So keep your eyes open, because this could be one to remember.
I've been busy all day, but I didn't want to go into the weekend without a post for you to as least nibble on.
Over at ESPN.com, Sean McAdam writes about Rich Harden, the Big Fourth. I still remember when Lilly was the answer, now he's starting to look like Lidle (read: trade-bait).
What's really got me thinking about Harden lately, is how similar his rookie campaign is to Mark Prior's. The biggest difference is that Prior was a can't miss #1 draft pick in 2001, and Harden was drafted in the 17th round of the previous year and started this season in AA. EVERYONE saw Prior coming, but Harden didn't light up the radars until he threw 13 consecutive perfect innings in Midland (AA) to start the year off.
Editor's Note: I've intentionally stayed away from the Pete Rose hoopla that's gone around the last few days. If you're interested in what happened, Baseball Perspectus reported that MLB had a signed deal with Rose letting him back into baseball, MLB denied it, and people have chimed in here, here, here, here, here & here (just to name a few). You can also see Dodger John's interview with BP's Will Caroll about the brewhaha here (no permalink available, scroll to August 12 if you don't see it).
Since I've been M.I.A. lately, I've missed out on some new blogs.
Eric K. in Portland (future home of the 'Spos?) has a sports site called E.K. Sports. It's a sports site in general, but he "plan(s) on doing a hell of a lot on the Giants". Sounds great to me. He's even got the great Orange & Black color scheme!
And on the same day as my last hiatus, Sports Blotter was founded by Sumit and Sean. At 19 and 17, respectively, they're the youngest baseball bloggers that I know of, knocking Aaron Gleeman off the young-gun podium. Ironically (or maybe not), Aaron's Baseball Blog was their motivation for starting their own blog. Now Aaron is a Blogfather! And from what I've seen of Sports Blotter, they've definitely got the "Gleeman-length" entries down pat.
And finally, Bryan Smith (formerly of Bryball) has closed shop and re-opened anew under Wait Til' Next Year. This looks like something I might be able to REALLY sink my teeth into. It's all about looking forward, and from what I've seen so far that means trade speculation, trade breakdowns, and trade suggestions. And I love me some trades. To be more precise, the official explaination is as follows: "This blog will update you on prospects, organizational rankings, future free agents, and give predictions on the future of Major League Baseball. Forget today, live tomarrow". Ironically, I think that used to be Donald Sterling's motto.
David Pinto has posted the road attendance for every team in baseball over at Baseball Musings, and the Giants are second only to the NY Yankees in attendance on the road.
That's what winning will do. I hope everyone else (read: every other organization) is taking notes.
Of course, there's lots of reasons behind this, but winning is usually one of the top reasons, regardless of other circumstances. Winning ALWAYS brings fans . . . with VERY FEW exceptions. Fans will come out of the woodwork when a team is winning, and will likewise disappear when a team is down.
UPDATE: It looks like I should have looked a little further before posting that. Baseball Musings also has the home attendance listings and the Giants are second there as well (still behind the Yankees). The part I should have seen first is David's comment:
It's that time of year again. Yup, teams are dumping their entire rosters onto the Waiver Wire, hoping to sneak the few players through that they ARE interested in moving.
This year, more so than in the past, players are expected to pass with few exceptions. Most teams don't have the money to try to "block" players on the waiver wire, especially with the Jose Canseco and Randy Myers debacles still on everyone's mind.
Jayson Stark has a great Waiver Wire article that has a Waiver Wire 101 sidebar, a list of some of the players that have already cleared (including Rafael Palmeiro, who said he'd waive his no-trade clause if he cleared waivers), some prospect rumblings of players traded before the deadline, and of course some miscellaneous rumblings (see below).
With the Giants looking for another bat for the playoffs, I've been wondering if there's an easy short-term solution, and I kept thinking about former G-men Kenny Lofton (before he was traded) and Reggie Sanders. Both are low-priced veterans and both have already played for the Giants in the playoffs (both of which the Giants are big on), and the Pirates are moving players for prospects, meaning that either (or in thie case Sanders) could probably be had for a marginal prospect for the strech-run & playoffs. It'd definitely beat going to Perez or Bernard in a clutch pinch-hit situation.
Then I saw this in the miscellaneous rumblings, and it appears I'm not alone:
The Giants are combing the waiver wire, looking for one more bat -- most likely an outfielder. Should Reggie Sanders clear waivers, it wouldn't be out of the question for the Giants to take a shot at bringing him back for another October appearance.
At the trading deadline, the Giants beefed up their rotation by aquiring Sidney Ponson from the Orioles. Rumors were flying everywhere about who was interested in whom, and the Yankees were reportedly invovled in every deal imaginable.
Now that the deadline has passed, some stories about the non-deals are surfacing. Jayson Stark writes about the Expos, and how they possibly couldn't trade their "Big 2" (Vladimir Guerrero and Javier Vazquez) . . . or could they?
Stark reports that while most teams didn't get far inquiring about the Big 2, the Dodgers actually made an offer (which was all but immediately refised) for Vlad, and the Braves and Giants had serious talks involving Vazquez.
Very interesting indeed. With the average age of SF players, I wonder if Bernard or Snow would be considered "young".
The Giants were told it would take Jerome Williams or Jesse Foppert, plus two of their other best young players. Reportedly, the Giants never specifically said no, until they were confident they could make a less-pricey trade with Baltimore for Sidney Ponson. An official of one team who has spoken with Minaya says he's convinced that "if the Giants had given him what he wanted, he would have traded the guy."
Rob Neyer had a conversation with Giants GM Brian Sabean, and it didn't leave a good taste in John Perricone's mouth. Check out his response over at Only Baseball Matters.
As always, John keeps me (as a Giants fan) a little more balanced.
[O]nce again I get the feeling Sabean is more lucky than good. Listen, I have as much respect and admiration for the Giants GM as anyone, it's just that when he talks about how he and his staff build the Giants, I don't see a plan that I can get behind.
Talking about veteran players, clutch abilities, baseball smarts, crap like that, well, I just don't see how that can pan out long-term. In fact, one could make the argument that Sabean has been as succesfull as he has due to the superhuman efforts of one Barry Bonds; and more importantly, once Bonds is no longer here, Sabean will find himself in the same boat as everyone else.
With the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline now past us, it's time for the stretch-run. The Giants are currently 12 games up in the NL West, and with the pick-up of Sidney Ponson appear to be getting ready for the playoffs.
In other news, the ESPN/USA Today preseason Top 25 NCAA Football poll came out, and the University of Southern California is ranked 8th. This without Heisman QB Carson Palmer and 2-time All-American S Troy Polamalu.
david aardsma, rhp roger whitaker, rhp jeffery jennings, c nathan schierholtz, 3b brian buscher, 3b brooks mcniven, rhp mike wagner, lf william sadler, rhp patrick misch, lhp timothy hutting, ss kellen ludwig, rhp jesse schmidt, of
jeffery peterson, rhp ryan sadowski, rhp nick conte, c sean martin, rhp j thurmond, rhp michael mooney, of marcus sanders, ss patrick dobson, of jonathan coutlangus, cf raul rodriguez, c
sean watson, rhp nathan fogle, rhp michael kunes, lhp brian wilson, rhp nolan mulligan, rhp douglas coon, lhp omar aguilar, rhp roberto gonzalez, cf daniel desouza, cf derek barrow, 3b
eduardo baeza, rhp oscar gonzalez, cf travis nesmith, lhp cody mcallister, rhp tyson brummett, rhp timothy alvarez, lhp shannon wirth, rhp jordan hafer, 1b michael price, c dylan gonzalez, rhp
michael johnston, lhp luis martinez, c mike bell, c john odom, rhp james braden, rhp brandon federici, lhp thomas correa, ss matthew berezay, of douglas fister, rhp james popp, rhp