Stuff and Things

Even though there haven’t been any trades yet or new acquisitions, there are still plenty of things going on in MLB.  I was almost positive we would have heard some trade news on Thursday.  Guess all the GMs are still getting their game plans together.  I would love to be a fly on the wall in a GM’s office while they are doing their wheeling and dealing, especially after watching Moneyball.  Guess it’s kind of like trading baseball cards.  Might go something like this:

Sabean:  I’ll trade you my Santiago Casilla and Andres Torres for your Prince Fielder.

Melvin:  No way.  How about for Timmy?

Sabean:  Sorry, that ain’t happening.  He’s worth 4 of your Fielders!  How about if I throw in $100,000 and all the gum?

Melvin:  Deal.  Can I get your pinkie swear on that?

Sabean:  You bet!

At least the Giants have been busy trying to keep their pitching staff in tact.  They’ve secured the two bullpen lefties, signing Javier Lopez to an $8.5 million, 2-year contract and picking up Jeremy Affeldt’s contract option for $5 million.  I’m very pleased with this, even though one of my predictions has already been debunked (I predicted that Javi would have been let go – so glad I can enjoy his poise and intelligence and good looks again next season!!).  It is amazing, though, how quickly the money gets spent.  That’s already almost $10 million spent for next year on top of all the contracts already in place (including Zito’s – ouch!).

I heard that Carlos Beltran has left his agent, Scott Boras, for Dan Lozano.  From what my brothers say, Boras has a reputation for being a tough guy to deal with, and commands very high salaries for his players.  If the Giants are hoping to keep Beltran (which I’m assuming they are due to his stellar performance for them last season), this might be a good thing.  We’ll see.

Just learned recently that Pablo Sandoval, Andres Torres, and Ramon Ramirez are playing in a 5-game All Star series in Taiwan.  Bruce Bochy is coaching the American team, with his buddies Ron Wotus as bench coach and Billy Hayes as bullpen catcher.  The MLB All Stars play against the Chinese Taipei national team.  Apparently the purpose is to grow the worldwide popularity of baseball.  What a great experience for them to take their love of baseball to another culture.  You can check out some video clips of the boys in Taiwan at sfgiants.com, including shots of Pablo and Ramon running a baseball clinic for kids (too cute!), and Andres making a fantastic catch in the outfield.

Speaking of Pablo, he was one of the three finalists for the 3rd base Gold Glove Award for the National League.  That’s a pretty great accomplishment for the kid, especially since he was out with an injury for a big part of the season.  Carlos Beltran was also one of three finalists for the right field Gold Glove (he already won 3 times previously – WOW!).  Unfortunately, neither of them won the award this year.  Here’s the list of those who received the Gold Glove Award for 2011:

American League:

P – Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox

C – Matt Wieters, Baltimore

1B – Adrian Gonzalez, Boston

2B – Dustin Pedroia, Boston

SS – Erick Aybar, L.A. Angels

3B – Adrian Beltre, Texas

LF – Alex Gordon, Kansas City

CF – Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston

RF – Nick Markakis, Baltimore

National League:

P – Clayton Kershaw, L.A. Dodgers

C – Yadier Molina, St. Louis

1B – Joey Votto, Cincinnati

2B – Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati

SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado

3B – Placido Polanco, Philadelphia

LF – Gerardo Parra, Arizona

CF – Matt Kemp, L.A. Dodgers

RF – Andre Ethier, L.A. Dodgers

Notice how many Dodgers are on that list, even though the team stunk this year.  I’m hoping we’ll see some Giants names on there next year (replacing the Dodgers!).  Daniel Descalso (the local boy from San Carlos who I was cheering for during the World Series) was also a finalist for the 3rd base award.

The Silver Slugger Award winners have also been announced.  Again, there are no Giants on the list, but in case you are interested anyway, here they are:

American League:

1B – Adrian Gonzalez, Boston*

2B – Robinson Cano, NY Yankees

SS – Asdrubral Cabrera, Cleveland

3B – Adrian Beltre, Texas*

OF – Curtis Granderson, NY Yankees

OF – Jose Bautista, Toronto

OF – Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston*

C – Alex Avila, Detroit

DH – David Ortiz, Boston

National League:

1B – Prince Fielder, Milwaukee

2B – Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati*

SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado*

3B – Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs

OF – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee

OF – Matt Kemp, L.A. Dodgers*

OF – Justin Upton, Arizona

C – Brian McCann, Atlanta

P – Daniel Hudson, Arizona

* = Also won Gold Glove

I recognize several of these names, as I picked them for the Beat the Streak game I played last season.  Congrats, Boys!  And thanks for helping me beat my brothers!

While doing research into the Gold Glove results, I came across a defensive term I had never heard of.  It comes into play when deciding who should win the award.  It is the Ultimate Zone Rating (another baseball term that I love!).  I Googled it in an attempt at getting an easily comprehensible explanation, but things got way out of hand.  There are so many factors taken into account to get to this number that there is no way for me to easily explain this.  If you are interested, here is an article that breaks it down, along with some other parameters that measure the effectiveness of defense.  Good luck with that – it gave me a headache.  But again, we see examples of the Moneyball statistics being put into action.

Buster’s and Freddy’s rehabs are coming along nicely.  There are some video clips at sfgiants.com showing their progress.  Buster has actually been catching bullpens and running around the bases, putting more and more pressure on that ankle.  I can’t get over how hard the two of them are working and how intense their days are.  Keeping my fingers crossed that they will both be up to par by the time spring training rolls around.

Joe Panik (Giants minor league short stop) was named to the AFL Rising Stars game roster.  This is like the All-Star game for the Fall League.  Way to go, Joe!

Can’t leave without mentioning the passing of an important player in Giants history, Matty Alou.  He was the 1966 National League batting champion, and though he earned this award while on the Pirates, he still commands great respect by the Giants organization and fans.  One of the first MLB stars from the Dominican Republic, he played on the Giants alongside his brothers, Felipe and Jesus.  His career batting average was an impressive .307.  He died in his native Dominican Republic on November 3rd at age 72.  Rest in peace.

I’ll continue to keep you posted of any trades or acquisitions I hear about, and please do the same for me.  In the meantime, GO GIANTS!!

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