November 2012

Report: Melky Cabrera signs with Jays — Who says cheaters never prosper?

Question: What do you get when you cheat by taking performance enhancers, lie about taking performance enhancers, try to have someone convince folks you took performance enhancers by mistake by falsifying a website, get caught taking performance enhancers, then leave your team in the lurch in the middle of a pennant chase without so much as an “I’m sorry” or “goodbye”?

Answer: A pay raise.

That is the current state of Major League Baseball.

Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reported Friday that the Toronto Blue Jays signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million.

Given that the report came from ESPNDeportes, I first thought maybe something got lost in the translation. You sure it was 16 million DOLLARS and not $16 million PESOS?

Cabrera earned $6 million last year with the Giants in his final year of arbitration. He put up MVP-like numbers, hitting .346 with 11 HR, 25 doubles, 84 runs, 60 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 113 games when he was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15 for testing positive for testosterone.

Then we didn’t hear a thing from Cabrera until late in the season when he withdrew himself from the NL batting title race, even though the rules would have allowed him to win the title despite missing the final 45 games of the regular season. Buster Posey ended up with the batting title.

If not for the suspension, Cabrera was likely headed to a free-agent pay day in the neighborhood of five years, $75 million. By comparison, this is a deal for the Jays.

But which Melky will the Jays be getting?

Some believe that Cabrera’s positive drug test is reason to throw out his 2012 numbers, as well his a his 2011 numbers with the Royals (.305, 201 hits, 18 HR, 87 RBI). The REAL Melky, they say, is the one who hit 4 HR, 42 RBi and .255 with the Braves in 2010.

I don’t quite buy that. And because of that, I was open to bringing Melky back on a cheap — almost conciliatory — one-year deal for, say, $3 million.

Yeah, I know, that was naive … wishful thinking.

Regardless of who he signed with, I thought for sure that Melky would seek a one-year deal, so he could prove to everyone that he could perform without the enhancers. Then cash in on the big contract he would have received without the suspension.

It’s also hard to take his 2012 stats on face value given the performance enhancers. If the drugs didn’t enhance his numbers, why did he take them?

But what kind of numbers can a PED-less Melky produce? Who knows.

Not sure why the Blue Jays are so confident Melky can produce again at the level of 2011 and 2012. Maybe they read it on the internet.

Guess we’ll find out in 2013. And at two years, $16 million, the Giants and their fans can easily say to Melky “goodbye and good luck.”

Or they can pull a Melky and not even bother saying anything at all.

Or they can just wait to say it in person. The Blue Jays will be a AT&T Park on June 4-5.

It will sound a lot like this: “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

Buster Posey: 6th different San Francisco Giant as NL MVP

The San Francisco Giants now have a six-pack of NL MVPs in their history.

Buster Posey became the first Giant to be selected NL MVP since Barry Bonds won his fifth as a Giant in 2004. Posey collected 27 of 32 first-place votes to easily outdistance runner-up Ryan Braun of the Brewers, last year’s MVP. Braun picked up three first-place votes. Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, who placed fourth behind the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, picked up the other two. Posey had 422 points, followed by Braun (285), McCutchen (245) and Molina (241).

Posey was second on four ballots and third on the other.

Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger and Andy Rubin of ESPN New York voted for Molina (both had Posey second). Oddly enough, the two St. Louis Post Dispatch writers (Rick Hummel and Joe Strauss) voted Posey first. Hummel had Molina second, Strauss had him third behind Braun.

Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago had Posey third (behind Braun and McCutchen). Braun’s other two first-place votes came Tom Haudicourt and Todd Rosiak, both of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (both of them had Posey second).

Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence each received one 10th-place vote (Hunter Pence??)

Posey finshed with 24 home runs, 103 RBI, 39 doubles, a league-leading .336 average, .408 OBP and .549 OPS in 148 games for the Giants this season. He placed 114 games at catcher, 29 at first place and three as the DH one season after a serious ankle injury ended his season in late May of 2011.

Here’s a look at other San Francisco Giants NL MVPs:

Barry Bonds, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

  • 1993, Bonds had 46 HR, 123 RBI, .336/.458/.677;
  • 2001, 73 HR, 137 RBI, .328/.515/.863;
  • 2002, 46 HR, 110 RBI, .370/.582/.799;
  • 2003, 45 HR, 90 RBI, .341/.529/.749;
  • 2004, 45 HR, 101 RBI, .362/.609/.812

Jeff Kent, 2000

  • 33 HR, 125 RBI, .334/.424/.596

Kevin Mitchell, 1989

  • 47 HR, 125 RBI, .291/.338/.635

Willie McCovey, 1969

  • 45 HR, 126 RBI, .320/.453/.656

Willie Mays 1965

  • 52 HR, 112 RBI, .317/.398/.645

And we can’t forget the New York Giants NL MVPs

Willie Mays, 1954

  • 41 HR, 110 RBI, .345/.411/.667

Carl Hubbell, 1934, 1937

  • 1933 – 23-12, 1.66 ERA, 156 K
  • 1936 – 26-6, 2.31 ERA, 123 K

San Francisco Giants roster … as it looks RIGHT now

We like doing this during the course of the offseason: putting together a 25-man opening day roster based on players currently on the Giants’ 40-man roster.

With the Giants agreeing to a deal with Jeremy Affeldt on Monday, it gives the Giants 31 players on its current 40-man roster. That roster does not include players who are currently free agents.

With Affledt’s deal, the Giants’ projected 2013 payroll based on this 25-man roster currently sits at $128.9 million.

Still at top of Giants’ offseason wishlist is to re-sign Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan.

If the Giants do re-sign Scutaro and Pagan, I don’t see the Giants being a big player in other big-name free agents. They will look for someone on a short deal, maybe one year, maybe a right-handed outfielder or utility player, someone who could split time with Blanco. Possibilities include Jason Bay, Scott Hairston, Juan Rivera … dare way say Melky Cabrera … to name some. Also, non-tendered players could be candidates for this spot.

So here is what the Giants’ lineup and roster looks like now.

LINEUP

  1. CF Gregor Blanco ($1.4 – arbitration)
  2. 2B Joaquin Arias ($800K – arbitration)
  3. 3B Pablo Sandoval ($5.7m)
  4. C Buster Posey ($5.9m – arbitration)
  5. RF Hunter Pence ($13.8m – arbitration)
  6. 1B Brandon Belt ($500K)
  7. LF Francisco Peguero ($500K)
  8. SS Brandon Crawford ($500K)

BENCH

  • C Hector Sanchez ($500K)
  • 1B/OF Brett Pill ($500K)
  • 3B Conor Gillaspie ($500K)
  • OF Roger Kieschnick ($500K)
  • SS Ehire Adrianza ($500K)

ROTATION

  1. RP Matt Cain ($20m)
  2. LP Madison Bumgarner ($750K)
  3. RP Tim Lincecum ($22m)
  4. LP Barry Zito ($20m)
  5. RP Ryan Vogelsong ($5m)

BULLPEN

  • RP Santiago Casilla ($5m – arbitration)
  • RP George Kontos ($500)
  • LP Javier Lopez ($4.25m)
  • RP Sergio Romo ($3.7m – arbitration)
  • RP Brian Wilson ($8.5m – arbitration)
  • LP Jose Mijares ($1.6m – arbitration)
  • LP Jeremy Affeldt ($6m)

San Francisco Giants make first offseason signing: Jeremy Affeldt

The Giants and Jeremy Affeldt have agreed on a three-year, $18 million contract.

Jeremy spoke and he’s staying by the bay.

The Giants and left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt agreed on a new three-year deal worth about $18 million. The deal is pending a physical.

Affeldt has spent the past four seasons with the Giants.

He signed a two-year deal worth $7.5 million before the 2009 season after spending one season with the Reds. Affeldt then had his best season as a reliever, going 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA. He was selected as the Setup Man of the Year and even picked up an MVP vote.

The Giants rewarded him in spring training of 2010 by extending his contract for a third year for $4.5 million with a $5 million option for 2012.

But Affeldt struggled in 2010, eventually landing on the DL for almost a month in July with an oblique strain. Despite his 4.14 ERA, Affledt was added to the playoff roster, and then pitched a critical two innings in relief of Jonathan Sanchez in Game 6 of the NLCS vs. the Phillies, a game the Giants would go on to win 3-2 and clinch the NL pennant.

He rebounded in 2011, posting an 2.63 ERA in 67 appearances. But his season ending early when added to a string of late-season bullpen injuries for the Giants by gashing his hand while separating frozen hamburger patties during an off day in September.

After the Giants picked up his option for 2012, he was solid again with a 2.70 ERA in 67 outings. He did have another DL stint in late April when he sprained his knee after 4-year-old son jumped off the couch to hug his father after he arrived home from a game.

During the NLDS vs. the Reds in October, Affeldt avoided another fluke injury. After pitching a scoreless inning in Game 5, he was standing in the dugout at the top of some stairs that led to the clubhouse while Gregor Blanco was at bat. Blanco fouled a ball into the dugout right at Affeldt, who fell down the steps trying to avoid the ball and jammed his left thumb. The injury didn’t cost Affeldt any playing time as he pitched in Game 1 of the NLCS vs. the Cardinals, the Giants’ next postseason game three days later.

Another Affeldt quirk — he has three sons, each born during a season that ended with a World Series appearance for Affeldt: 2007 with the Rockies, 2010 and 2012 with the Giants.

After the 2012 season ended, Affeldt said he wanted to stay with the Giants, but also wanted a multi-year deal to provide security for his family — a mildly annoying remark for someone who has earned more than $24 million over his career. But Affeldt also is aware of the struggles of people around the world. He has worked with organizations to halt childhood poverty and slavery during his tenure with the Giants.

And after the big-spending and annoying Dodgers inexplicably signed reliever Brandon League to a three-year deal with $22.5 million to maybe (or maybe not) be their closer, there was some question whether the Giants would be able to ink Affeldt, who is entering his age 34 season.

San Francisco Giants make first moves of offseason

The work on the construction of the 2013 San Francisco Giants has begun with a few moves by the team last week.

And they were more of the subtraction variety.

The Giants outrighted two players to Triple-A Fresno — infielder Emmanuel Burriss and reliever Clay Hensley. Both players declined the assignment and elected for free agency.

Ten other Giants filed for free agency: LHP Jeremy Affeldt, OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Guillermo Mota, OF Xavier Nady, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Brad Penny, 2B Freddy Sanchez, 2B Marco Scutaro, 2B Ryan Theriot and 1B Aubrey Huff.

Also catcher Eli Whiteside was claimed off waivers by the Yankees, because the Yankees love the Giants’ backup catchers.

That leave the Giants’ 40-man roster at 30 players.

PITCHERS: Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Santiago Casilla, George Kontos, Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi, Jose Mijares, Dan Otero, Yusmeiro Petit, Sergio Romo, Dan Runzler, Eric Surkamp, Ryan Vogelsong, Brian Wilson and Barry Zito.

CATCHERS: Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez.

INFIELDERS: Ehire Adrianza, Joaquin Arias, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Connor Gillaspie, Brett Pill, Pablo Sandoval and Angel Villalona.

OUTFIELDER: Gregor Blanco, Roger Kieschnick, Francisco Peguero, Hunter Pence.

The next important offseason date is Nov. 30. That’s the date when teams must decide if they will tender contracts for players for the 2013 season.

The Giants have seven players who are eligible for arbitration: Wilson, Pence, Casilla, Romo, Blanco, Posey and Arias.

Now the Giants must decide if they will tender any or all of the seven contracts. Casilla, Romo and Posey are locks. So to are Blanco and Arias, on the cheap.

Some Giants fans thought maybe Pence would be non-tendered after he hit .219 in 59 regular-season games with the Giants.

But GM Brian Sabean put an end to those thoughts last week.

“Pence is going to be coming back. We think there are some things he can do to fix what went wrong last year,” Sabean told ESPN. “We like the player. We made a big trade to get him, and he’s going to be a Giant next year.”

And then there’s Brian Wilson, who made $8.5 million last year when he missed most of the year with an elbow injury.

“This was his second Tommy John, and if anyone could defy the odds, it would be him,” Sabean said. “But he’s a long way from being at full strength, which means he’s a long way from being cleared medically. It’s wait-and-see. Until I get more medical information, we’re not going near the subject.”

San Francisco Giants’ financials for 2013 and key offseason decisions

Giants reliever Sergio Romo is one of eight players who will be eligible for arbitration this offseason

The celebration is over, and we’re done reveling in the 2012 World Series championship (well, not really, but we’re ready to move on a little bit).

It’s time to start thinking about 2013 and decisions facing the Giants as they prepare to put together a team for next season.

The Giants finished the season with a payroll a little over $130 million.

So we’ll start with the money coming off the board in the form of players who will be free agents this offseason: OF Aaron Rowand ($11.5 million), 1B Aubrey Huff ($10 million – $2 million buyout = $8 million), RP Jeremy Affeldt ($5 million), OF Melky Cabrera ($6 million), 2B Freddy Sanchez ($6 million), OF Angel Pagan ($4.85 million), 2B Ryan Theriot ($1.25 million), RP Guillermo Mota ($1 million). Also 2B Marco Scutaro, although the Rockies paid most of his $6 million salary.

Put that all together, and you remove about $44 million off the board for 2013.

But then you have to add raises due players: SP Matt Cain (+$5 million), SP Barry Zito ($1 million), SP Tim Lincecum ($4 million), SP Madison Bumgarner ($190K), 3B Pablo Sandoval ($2.5 million), SP Ryan Vogelsong ($2 million).

That equals $11.69 million.

And then you have to factor in the eight players who are arbitration-eligible and their projected raises (according to MLB Trade Rumors): OF Hunter Pence (+$3.4 million), C Buster Posey ($5.3 million), IF Emmanuel Burris (same), RP Sergio Romo ($2.1 million), RP Jose Mijares ($700K), RP Brian Wilson (same), RP Santiago Casilla ($3.2 million), RP Clay Hensley ($600K), OF Gregor Blanco ($800K), IF Joaquin Arias ($300K).

That equals $16.4 million.

So if you take the money coming off the board and add back the money due in raises in 2013, it leaves the Giants will about $16 million in available cap room IF the Giants maintain their payroll at around $130 million.

That likely would not be enough to re-sign Scutaro and Pagan, the two free-agent Giants the team is most interested in signing back.

How do they create more room?

Well first, they don’t tender contracts to all of their arbitration eligible players. At the top of that list is reliever Brian Wilson.

Wilson made $8.5 million last season after making just one appearance before undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. Wilson vows to be ready for opening day, but nothing is certain. And even if he does come back, in what form will he take?

Given those questions, is it worth paying someone at least $7 million (the minimum Wilson would be due through the arbitration process)?

MoreSplashHits believes it would be wiser to non-tender Wilson and let him become a free agent. Then, the Giants could see if they could sign him back for much, much less.

The other option is to sign some players, like Posey and Romo, to contract extensions that could be backloaded and save the team money in 2013.

And, of course, the other option is to increase payroll, taking advantage of the team’s long string of home sellouts, and the boost in season-tickets sales and merchandising that comes from winning the World Series twice in three years. And, of course, trying to keep up with the free-spending Dodgers.

The answer likely will be a combination of the aforementioned options.

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