The Southpaw
south·paw (southpô) n. Slang A left-handed person, especially a left-handed baseball pitcher.

Thursday, January 29, 2004  

Jumping the Gun

Robb Nen spoke out about the reports that he may miss the 2004 season, and says that reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

"I have no doubts I'm going to come back and I'm going to be almost where I was before."

In related: I heard an interview with Giants Trainer Stan Conte yesterday on the radio in which he said that his comments were taken a little bit out of context, and that it's not as dire as it was made to sound yesterday. Basically, he believes that if Nen isn't ready to pitch early this season that he may never pitch again.

Considering the injury/surgery that Nen had, I think that's a reasonable comment.

Conte also commented on Jesse Foppert, who "never misses a workout". He's there with Conte five days a week, and Conte even made Foppert take a week off to ensure that he didn't push himself too much. Conte stood by his September prediction, adding that Jesse would likely get some minor league rehab starts in July/August.

10:43 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2004  

Opening Day or BUST?

In a conference call on Tuesday, San Francisco Giants Trainer Stan Conte said that Robb Nen will "be ready opening day or he'll probably never be ready". He also said, "The extent of his surgeries can in fact be career-ending. We're very cautious, not even cautiously optimistic."

Not even CAUTIOUSLY optimistic?

Sounds like he's done.

What this means is that the Giants may need to find another stop-gap closer this year, much like Worrell of '03. My guess is that Felix Rodriguez would get the first shot, but one may have predicted that last year as well, so you never know.

This also means that Robb Nen will be the financial handicap that the Giants must face again this season. Superman may make more money then God, but at least he's playing. If Nen were off the books last year, maybe the Giants get another bat. If he's off the books THIS YEAR, maybe they get Vlad.

Another great example of the terrible side-effects of "Player Option" years on a contract. Maybe there should be an injury stipulation on these . . . otherwise just make them part of the original deal, and know that they'll be included.

Jason Schmidt, on the other hand, should be ready by early April.

Conte is a bit worried about him, and with the weight of the Giants rotation on him I'd say rihtly so. "Until he throws a curveball in competition we'll be holding our breath."

You and every other Giants fan.

Editor's Note: Also mentioned in the article, Jesse Foppert may make his return in September. Could he be some bullpen help for the playoffs?

7:33 AM

Monday, January 12, 2004  

Random Signings

The San Francisco Giants signed Brett Tomko. Projected to pitch in the 4th or 5th spot in the Giants rotation. This should also help to shore up the bullpen as well. We'll see what other moves the Giants have in mind (Steve Shelby notes that theis puts the Giants Opening Day payroll at approximately $72 million, which is their self-imposed hard cap).

The Houston Astros signed Roger Clemens. His retirement didn't last. And why NOT make this deal? He'll be pitching close to home, and finally playing in his home state (which I imagine MANY players would want to do), and should still be playing on a contender in Houston (their staff just got a LOT better with Pettitte AND Clemens, in my opinion - the kids should learn a lot, and face less pressure if they stay in the back-end of the rotation).

The Texas Rangers signed Kenny Rogers and Jeff Nelson. Trying to fix the pitching disaster here is like plugging a damn with your finger. It could work . . . maybe.

9:56 AM

YES . . . And NO.

Looks like Vlad WAS close to signing . . . just not with the Mets or Orioles.

If you haven't already heard, Vladimir will be on the Opening Day roster of your Anehiem Angels!


Yes, the Angels came in and sweeped Vlad the Impaler away with a 5-year, $70 million deal (average annual of $14 million per). Looks like the same plan that the Giants ownership had when they came in and immediately signed Bonds.

Another interesting tidbit is that all of the free agent signings in Anehiem this season should all help attendance as well. Southern California has a LARGE Hispanic population, and these signings could not only win games, but put butts in the seats even before they start winning.

I think it's safe to say that (A) the Angels are no lock for the playoffs (Rob Neyer explains it better then I) and (B) the Angels should CONTEND annually barring any significant injuries (as always the case).

And to close out the Vlad info, here's Peter Gammons' take.

Actually, here's some more Vlad talk from around the way:

Baseball Graphs looks at why Vlad has never had a 30 Win-Share season.

Ok, NOW I'm done.

8:43 AM

Thursday, January 08, 2004  

Has Vlad FINALLY Been Signed?

Well, maybe.

Just as the Mets have reportedly become interested, it looks like the Orioles will finally close the deal on Vlad the Impaler.

It'll be nice to see this finally over (believe it or not, Vlad's been looking for a team longer then A-Rod was trying to move to Boston!), even if it's a little anticlimatic.

Baltimore's initial offer was 5 years and $65 million (a $13 million per year average). It's unknown if they've raised their offer (Vlad's camp countered with 7 years and $105 million - or a $15 million per year average), or if Vlad has warmed to it (he already turned down 5 years and $75 million from Montreal, but they didn't offer him arbitration so that's gone).

The Mets are making their pipe-dream offer, using things like "how great it is to play here" and "you'll be an instant hero" instead of dollars. If it were that easy, the Giants would have pounced in with "play for your old manager, you know you want to" and been done with it.

As long as Vlad stays out of the non-"bay area" NL-West, I'm not losing any sleep over it.

4:22 PM

The Granddaddy of Them All


During my holiday absence, I took a little trip down to Southern California and attended the 90th Annual Rose Bowl, starring the #1 ranked Univeristy of Southern California Trojans and some overrated team from the mid-west.

Okay, I didn't think that they were overrated until January 2, but the events of January 1 directly affected my perception.

Let me just say this before I move on: if you didn't WATCH the Rose Bowl, it was nowhere near as close as the 28-14 final score may lead you to believe. USC absoultely dominated Michigan. There was no question. The interesting thing is that not once but TWICE a Michigan drive was saved IN THE RED ZONE by a defensive pass interferance play (at least ONE of which looked completely uncatchable). Without those two penalties, USC probably wins by over 3 touchdowns.

It was really an amazing game to be at. I can honestly say that I am NOT disappointed that USC played in the Rose Bowl instead of the Sugar Bowl. Sure, I would have LOVED to see them play for the BCS Championship, but I probably would have had to have done so from my living room. I can now say that I've seen USC win a National Championship and a Rose Bowl (don't underestimate this, it's the annual goal for every Pac-10 and Big-10 school) IN PERSON.

Fight On SC, and let's see a Heismen/National Championship combo next year!

Rose Bowl Trivia

In 1977, USC beat Michigan 14-6. (The Southpaw was born.)
In 1979, USC beat Michigan 17-10. (Mrs. S was born.)
In 2004, USC beat Michigan 28-14. (Southpaw Jr. is due in March.)

Talk about omens.

Editor's Note: My college roommate (and best man) upon hearing this piece of trivia informed me that I'd "better start pumping out more babies!" Considering that next year's BCS Title Game is elsewhere (January 4, 2005 at the FedEx Orange Bowl), we've got at least another year to work on it (January 4 2006 - Rose Bowl . . . BCS Title Game). We'll see.

4:02 PM

Richie Rich Average

Rich Aurilia will reportedly may only make $250,000 more then Neifi Perez in 2004 (worst-case he will make $750,000 more). This is based on an report that Aurilia has signed a one-year $3.5 million deal with the Seattle Mariners.

Here's the breakdown, as we currently know it:

Neifi Perez
2004 Salary - $2.75 million ($500,000 incentive bonus possible - I believe this is his 500PA clause, but please correct me if anyone knows for sure).

Rich Aurilia
2004 Salary (reportedly) - $3.5 million

If Neifi gets his incentives (and if it's simply a matter of playing time he should), then we're looking at:

$3,250,000 vs. $3,500,000.

To me this looks like an open-shut case of overvaluing defense. Then again, they say defense wins championships.

No really, that's what they say.

Editor's Note: To any Giants fans upset that the G-men didn't try to ink Aurilia for $3.5 million, just remember that he was expecting a decent payday this offseason, and probably wouldn't have made such a deal before the arbitration deadline. Looking at the deal he ended up signing, he probably would have won more through arbitration, meaning that the G-men most likely could NOT have had him for $3.5 million, even if they wanted to.

3:40 PM
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