Jamaica was hot. The weather was nice and I did my best to soak up some Jamaican culture while I was there; read: I drank my fair share of Red Stripes. We stayed at one of those ‘all inclusive’ styled resorts and the best way I can describe the experience was like going to Epcot. You know the section of Epcot where you can walk through several different countries all in an afternoon’s stroll? It was a lot like that. Except drinking was allowed. And there was a wealth of poor bathing suit choices being made all around me. Good times but it’s even better to be home.
Various happenings in Giants Land while I was away:
~ The Giants cleared some pitching room in-house by outrighting Tyler Walker, Brad Hennessey, Kevin Correia, and Geno Espineli to AAA Fresno. Now that they’ve been outrighted, each pitcher can pursue free agency except Espineli, who missed some requirements in able to do so. In the end, the Giants chose not to pay arbitration to Walker, Hennessey, and Correia. By the rules of arbitration, the Giants must offer at least 20% of their current salary to them in arbitration for the 2009 season. This made Hennessey ($1.6M) and Correia ($1.075M) semi-expensive for what they’ve provided. Walker was making 750K this season.
Walker and Hennessey were basically no-brainers, but Correia’s removal from the team is a tad surprising. With his poor performance this year I had filed him in the group of players who might not make it to 2009, but I had my doubts if the Giants would ever actually pull that trigger. Though, the article states that Correia might be interested in coming back instead of pursuing free agency, I can’t see him doing that. He’ll surely get some interest as a middle reliever and to turn down the money isn’t a likely scenario.
Scott McClain, Ivan Ochoa, Eliezer Alfonzo, and Travis Denker were the other casualities. McClain, Ochoa and Alfonzo losing their roster spots is no big whoop. Denker getting the heave-ho is a little weird. Grant and ELM have already pondered this problem, so I won’t go into too much depth here, but the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with MI depth in the minor leagues. If you grabbed a pencil and paper and started to scribble down likely candidates for 2B on the Giants in ’09, your list would be pretty short and pretty bad. Eugenio Velez, Kevin Frandsen, and, uhhh… that one guy with the glove and the arms.
Denker isn’t the next Chase Utley or anything, but as they say, in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king. Denker is a player with modest pop, modest OBP skills, and youth. He was only 22 as compared to the mid-to-late 20′s of Frandsen and Velez. He’s not a great defender at 2B, but neither is Velez and how Frandsen’s mobility is affected by his injury could still be a factor for him on defense. Denker didn’t have to travel far, the Padres ended up claiming him and he now resides on their 40-man roster. Someone once made the player comp of Todd Walker (career line of: .289/.348/.435) for Travis Denker and I love that comp.
The 40-man roster now stands at 33 players and it should drop a couple after Omar Vizquel vacates the team and Rich Aurilia could also be gone. I’ve got a strong feeling that the Giants might pursue Orlando Hudson to play 2B and with so many open slots on the roster, you can expect that they’ll probably use the cash saved from the Walker-Henn-Correia trio to spend on a reliever.
~ The Neukom era has begun. All hail the bow tie. Baggs has the full transcript of Bill Neukom’s first meeting with reporters and it outlines some principles for moving forward with the franchise. The transcript includes the nebulous concept of “The Giants Way” which is a organizational philosophy that Nuekom wants to drive toward the future with.
Neukom drops the phrase “Giants Way” several times in the transcript but never out-and-out defines what it is. The closet we get is this:
The Giants Way itself will have broader themes to it, but certainly the way the game is played between the lines is an essential part of the Giants Way. The Giants Way also has to be, `What is the kind of talent we want to find and how do we find it?’
You really can’t say much about what TGW might be, but on the surface it sounds suspiciously like doing-all-the-little-things-right-and-playing-the-game-the-right-way-ball. Almost an extension of the GAMER-tude in that they’ll play hard. I hope it’s much, much more than that.
BK also notes that he’s favorable to statistical analysis in baseball. It’ll be interesting to see how his style jives (or fails to) with Sabes more gutty, gritty, and scout based approach to running a baseball team. Still, hearing the question on statistics answered as:
Q: What role should Sabermetrics or other advanced statistical tools be used in player evaluation? Is it more or less important than a conventional scouting approach?
A: Some of each, I think. Baseball is a science and an art. When it comes to picking the talent, we need the sharpest baseball eyes: people who can pick the 16-year-old arm out of the cornfield. We also need to be very well informed with all that is at our fingertips. We need to be smart about that. It’ll be a blend.
Made me very happy. I love the “baseball is a science and an art” line. Whether or not any of this happens is to be seen, but it’s a nice-ish start.
~ I haven’t seen much playoff baseball on TV — I fear the horror that is Joe Buck and McCarver — but watching Matt Stairs hit a 600ft 2-run HR last night against the Dodgers in the 8th was amazing. I’ve always been a fan of Stairs because he strikes me as the regular-dude-who-plays-ball type of guy, but he’s had a very nice career when you look at the big picture. A career line of: .266/.358/.483 with an OPS+ of 118 is very good. Mix in 254 career dingers and the fact that he’s from Canada and what’s not to like? Go, Matt!