February 2013

Have you seen Tim Lincecum’s new haircut?

Last year, I put up a post about Tim Lincecum’s hair. It was prior to his second start of the season when he spent an off day in Denver getting a hair cut.

Image of Tim Lincecum posted on KNBR's Facebook page

Image of Tim Lincecum posted on KNBR’s Facebook page

Lincecum said last season he was going for the Tom Cruise “Ghost Protocol” look when somewhat trimmed down his flowing locks.

But the look Lincecum showed up with on Friday is something completely different. It’s more like Tom Cruise “A Few Good Men.”

We haven’t seen Lincecum’s hair THIS short since his 2007 rookie season. That was two Cy Youngs ago, and after last season, that seems like an eternity ago.

But it appears as if The Freak is looking for a fresh start.

And that’s a good idea after a forgettable 2012. Obviously, 2013 is a huge season for The Freak.

We’ll have more on that later.

San Francisco Giants spring training primer

Ehire Adrianza, right, works out with Brandon Crawford at Giants spring training. Adrianza is a prospect to watch this spring.

Ehire Adrianza, right, works out with Brandon Crawford at Giants spring training. Adrianza is a prospect to watch this spring.

Now that Sergio Romo is under contract (2 years, $9 million), it’s time to get back on the field. Pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday.

And for the first time in a long time, there is likely not to be a lot of drama around this year’s camp, with 22 of the 25 spots on the opening day roster basically already spoken for.

Barring any injuries or surprises, the Giants already know their opening day lineup:

  1. CF Angel Pagan
  2. 2B Marco Scutaro
  3. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  4. C Buster Posey
  5. RF Hunter Pence
  6. 1B Brandon Belt
  7. LF Gregor Blanco (Andres Torres vs. LHP)
  8. SS Brandon Crawford

And they know their starting rotation

  1. RH Matt Cain
  2. LH Madison Bumgarner
  3. RH Ryan Vogelsong
  4. RH Tim Lincecum
  5. LH Barry Zito

Six of their seven bullpen spots

  1. RH Sergio Romo
  2. RH Santiago Casilla
  3. RH George Kontos
  4. LH Jeremy Affeldt
  5. LH Javier Lopez
  6. LH Jose Mijares

And three of the five bench spots.

  1. C Hector Sanchez
  2. IF Joaquin Arias
  3. OF Andres Torres

So that basically leaves one bullpen spot and two bench spots open. The leading contenders for the bullpen spot are Jean Machi, Dan Otero, Dan Runzler, Ramon Ramirez, Chad Gaudin and Scott Proctor. And the leading contenders for the bench spots are Tony Abreu, Nick Noonan, Kensuke Tanaka, Brett Pill, Francisco Peguero and Roger Kieschnick.

The only other drama will come from the Giants sending nine players who are expected to be on their 25-man roster to the World Baseball Classic, including six pitchers and five of the seven relievers who are expected to comprise the bullpen.

That’s why the Giants have invited so many pitchers to camp this year.

Here’s who will be in camp this spring (WBC participants marked with *).

Pitchers — Jeremy Affeldt*, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Santiago Casilla*, Jake Dunning, Edwin Escobar, Chris Heston, George Kontos, Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez*, Jean Machi, Jose Mijares*, Dan Otero, Yusmeiro Petit, Sergio Romo*, Sandy Rosario, Dan Runzler, Eric Surkamp (injured), Ryan Vogelsong*, Barry Zito. Non-roster invitees: Brett Bochy, Boof Bonser, Fabio Castillo, Edward Concepcion, Steve Edlefsen, Justin Fitzgerald, Chad Gaudin, Heath Hembree, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux, Josh Osich, Scott Proctor, Ramon Ramirez, Ryan Sadowski, Michael Kickham, Mason Tobin, Jose Valdez.

Catchers — Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez. Non-roster invitees: Tyler LaTorre, Johnny Monell, Guillermo Quiroz, Andrew Susac, Jackson Williams.

Infielders — Tony Abreu, Ehire Adrianza, Joaquin Arias, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Nick Noonan, Brett Pill, Pablo Sandoval*, Marco Scutaro*. Non-roster invitees: Brock Bond, Adam Duvall, Ricky Oropesa, Joe Panik, Kensuke Tanaka, Wilson Valdez.

Outfielders — Gregor Blanco, Roger Kieschnick, Angel Pagan*, Francisco Peguero, Hunter Pence, Juan Perez, Andres Torres. Non-roster invitees: Gary Brown, Cole Gillespie.

Bring on spring training! San Francisco Giants, Sergio Romo agree to two-year deal

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

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

So there I was, working on a blog post about how the Giants needed to clean up one piece of off-season business and get Sergio Romo signed.

And then came news Wednesday that the reliever agreed to a two-year deal with the Giants. Terms were not disclosed.

Romo was the last of the Giants’ arbitration-eligible player to not agree to a 2013 contract. And we were about to guess at possible explanations for that.

One possible explanation was that Romo and the Giants were working on a long-term deal, and they were close. If they had been far apart, they would have just agreed on a one-year deal and attack a longer deal later on.

Generally a team would like to buy out some free agent years. But this would appear to be a good deal for the Giants. Romo was a second-year arbitration eligible player. A two-year deal buys out Romo’s last year of the arbitration process. He would be a free agent after the 2014 season.

But he’s not exactly a spring chicken. He will open the 2013 season at 30 years old (his birthday is March 4). So this deal will give the Giants time to access Romo’s durability, particularly in the closer role which he figures to fill in the 2013 season.

Romo asked for $4.5 million in arbitration this year. The Giants countered with $2.675 million. If we had to guess the dollar amount of this deal, we would guess at about $8 million or $9 million. Romo would need some motivation to give up his final year of arbitration, in which his salary could have jumped above $5 million.

Romo started 2012 as an eighth-inning set-up man, and continued into that role into July, when injuries and Romo’s success prompted manager Bruce Bochy to go to Romo in the closer role down the stretch and into the postseason.

Romo was 4-2 with 1.79 ERA in 55.1 innings last year. He’s had a K-rate at 10.0 and above each of the past four seasons, and a WHIP under 1.00 each of the past three seasons.

He recorded four saves in four opportunities in the postseason, including the final three games of the World Series. He allowed only one run in 10.2 innings in the postseason.

Ex-Giants Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez are now ex-Mets and Giants again

OK, we’ve moved on from the Super Bowl (sort of), and ready to get MoreSplashHits geared up again as the 2013 season approaches.

During the offseason prior to the 2012 season, the Giants traded OF Andres Torres and RP Ramon Ramirez to the Mets for OF Angel Pagan, who proved to be a pivotal player in the Giants’ World Championship run.

ramon52This offseason began with the Giants re-signing Pagan to a four-year deal.

Then the Giants re-signed Torres.

On Tuesday, the Giants signed Ramirez to a minor league deal.

Both Torres and Ramirez had so-so seasons with the Mets that were marred by injuries.

Torres hit .230 with 3 HR, 35 RBI, 47 runs and 13 SBs in 132 games for the Mets in 2012. Those numbers were only slightly better than his dismal 2011 numbers for the Giants of .221, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 50 runs and 19 SBs in 112 games.

Torres suffered a calf injury during spring training last year and aggravated it early in the season. The injury sidelined him for most of the first half of the season. The Giants hope Torres’ better numbers as RH batter vs. LH pitching (.286 vs. .195 as LH batter vs. RH pitching) will make him a good platoon option to LH hitting Gregor Blanco.

Ramirez posted a 0.67 ERA in 25 games after being acquired in a trade with the Red Sox in 2010 for the Giants. He followed that up with a career-best 2.62 ERA in 2011. Last season for the Mets, he was 3-4 with 4.24 ERA. Hampered by a midseason hamstring injury, Ramirez posted career highs in WHIP (1.461) ballooned by a career-high walk rate of 4.9.

Ramirez will be battling for the final spot in the Giants bullpen along with Chad Gaudin, Scott Proctor among a bevy of pitchers who will see a lot of action during spring training because a major chunk of the bullpen will be participating in the World Baseball Classic.

Now, if only the Giants could get Zach Wheeler back from the Mets …