The Luke-warm Stove League

Hi everybody!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to blog, but seriously, the Hot Stove has been pretty lukewarm this offseason.  The Giants haven’t made any major moves yet – figured something would have happened by now.  Are you getting as antsy about this as I am?

First, let’s recap what the status is with the five free agents on the team.  Of course, most noteworthy is the fact that Pablo did end up signing with the Red Sox to the tune of 5 years, $95 million plus a club option for a 6th year and a $3 million signing bonus.  Supposedly the Giants were willing to match this, but Pablo chose to leave.  Why?  I haven’t been able to find an acceptable answer to this question.  Pablo says he wants a new challenge.  Not buying it.  Others say he resented not being offered more at the beginning of the season and also resented all the attention given to his weight by the Giants.  Not buying that either.  There must be something else that will possibly come to light in the future.  What do you all think?  I will really miss him and will be keeping an eye on his performance.  Thanks for all the great memories and for all the amazing contributions you made to the team, and for all the silliness that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Trying to come up with some creative uses for my panda hat (put orange spots on it and make it a giraffe hat??).

Unfortunately we also lost Michael Morse to the Marlins (2 years, $16 million).  This one hit me harder than even the Pablo loss – I love this guy, and I really think he played an important role on the team, both in the clubhouse and on the field.  What is his buddy Hunter going to do without his sidekick??  Wishing him the best of luck in that crazy Florida park.  Thanks for all you did for us last season, Mike.  Will forever think of you every time I hear “Take On Me.”

The Giants have signed two of the free agents so far.  Sergio Romo was signed to a 2 year, $15 million deal.  Thank goodness!  Even though he lost his job as closer during the season, he was still an essential part of the bullpen, especially during the post-season where he pitched in nine games and had a 0.86 WHIP.  Nick said the only reason I’m happy about him resigning is because I like his walk-up music.  NOT TRUE (but so glad I’ll still be able to rock out to it when he comes in!!).  Just today, Jake Peavy was signed to a 2 year, $20 million deal with a $4 million signing bonus.  The deal also includes a full no-trade clause (meaning Peavy cannot be traded to another team unless he OKs it).  This signing surprised me.  I really didn’t think he was coming back as there were a lot of rumors early in the off-season saying that he wanted to go back to Boston and had interest in other teams.  Guess his love of Bruce Bochy, his mentor, won out.  I like Jake – he did a fantastic job filling in for Matt Cain when he went out last season.  Plus he plays a mean guitar.  And he’s fiery.  Great combination.

This leaves Ryan Vogelsong as the last unsigned free agent.  I think it’s not looking so good for him.  The rotation is looking to be Bumgarner, Cain, Peavy, Hudson, Lincecum.  Yes, Lincecum.  The powers that be are still saying that he will be part of the starting rotation.  I love Timmy and all, but sometimes you gotta be real.  His performance the last two years (if you forget about those perfect games) has not been starting pitcher-worthy – not even in the 5th spot.  However, if he does get that spot, there is no room for Ryan.  I would really hate to see him go – I love so much about that guy, especially his intensity.  We’ll have to wait and see.

With Morse and Sandoval gone, the big question is how are the outfield and third base holes going to be filled?  A bunch of the big names at both positions have already been spoken for.  What is going on in Sabean’s head?  Will they make some spectacular trade, sign free agents, or bring up guys internally instead (I’m liking Matt Duffy at third base myself).  It seems like every week, new names are being tossed around as possible interests of the Giants, and then the next minute they have signed with someone else.  Kind of scary.  Hate to say it again, but we’ll just have to trust Sabean and wait.  BUT I’M SO IMPATIENT!!

Also of note:  Travis Ishikawa and Hector Sanchez were both given 1-year deals for next season in order to avoid arbitration ($1.1 million and $800K respectively).  So very happy that Travis will be back after his amazing post-season performance, and because he just seems like a great guy.  Hector will be in a battle for his spot with Andrew Susac next season.  Glad that he’s come back from those concussions and has the opportunity to play again.  I’m still wondering about Gregor Blanco, though.  He is still listed on the 40-man roster, but it doesn’t show that he has a deal for next season anywhere.  Will continue to follow this.  I think he was extremely important to the team when Angel was injured, and I’m hoping he comes back.

Let’s move on to our boy, MADISON BUMGARNER aka “Big Country.”  Besides all the other, well-deserved accolades the kid’s gotten, he was recently named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.  Here’s a link to the story – after you read it, be sure to watch both videos on this page.  I loved the guy before, but after reading this and seeing the interviews he’s done, I have to admit that he’s become my favorite.  I’m just praying that all the attention won’t change the authentic and down-to-earth guy he is.  I had a revelation reading this story.  You may have seen this video of some of the guys on the team doing their best Mad Bum impersonations.  Love everything about this video, especially the blue mop wig that Tim Hudson wore and the revelation about how much Madison cares about his hair!  I thought Hunter made up the snake story on the fly – how could that be true?  Lo and behold it was!!  I love that kid!  And his wife seems to be the perfect match for him as well.  Duane Kuiper shared a story about the Christmas card he received from the Bumgarners on KNBR a couple of weeks ago.  He said the cover of the card was a picture of Madison in his Giants uniform holding a pitchfork and his wife, Ali, in farm clothes.  The caption read simply, “Merry Christmas, Yaw!”  Beautiful!  And so perfect!  So excited to see what he has to show us next season, and so thankful he’s one of ours!

The Giants also won four GIBBY Awards (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards).  Joe Panik won best post-season play for his incredible diving stop and  glove flip that led to a double play in Game 7 of the World Series.  So glad that kid got some national recognition for his efforts.  Madison Bumgarner was awarded Post-season MVP (duh).  Travis Ishikawa earned his award for the Best Post-season Walkoff (and I got to see it in person!!).  And Bruce Bochy finally got the recognition he deserved, winning the Manager of the Year award (after being dissed by the Baseball Writers Association of America at the end of the season).  Congrats to all of you guys!  So love to see my boys in the national spotlight.

The Padres are sure gearing up to make some noise next season in the NL West.  Their new GM, A.J. Preller, has been adding solid players to their roster in the fashion we’re used to seeing from the Dodgers, including Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks, Derek Norris, and most recently, Justin Upton.  Will be interesting to see how they match up against us next season – I know it wasn’t pretty for us during the series that we took out roadtrip down south last season.  And speaking of the Dodgers, they released Brian Wilson this week.  Said they had plenty of more talented players in their bullpen.  HA HA!!!

My super lucky friend, Angel, had a close encounter with Brandon Crawford’s parents the other day in the Apple Store in Los Gatos.  She struck up a conversation with them and didn’t realize who they were at first.  She asked why they were all decked out in Giants stuff and they mentioned they had just come from the City where they took pictures with the World Series trophies.  She asked how they were so lucky to do that, and the dad turned around and showed the Crawford name across the back of his jersey.  After they left, it hit her who they were, and employees confirmed it.  They showed her pictures wearing Brandon’s World Series rings (the Crawfords were nice enough to let them take pictures with them).  What a fantastic experience!  She said they were really nice and really down-to-earth.  Lucky, lucky girl!

Going to try to work on the Spit Count analysis for last season over the weekend.  I know you’re just chomping at the bit for that one.  And as always, will keep my ears open for any new updates to our roster.  Mark your calendars (if you haven’t already) for the Giants FanFest on February 7th.  You know I’ll be there, wearing my new Bumgarner jersey.  Also planning a trip to Spring Training again this season, and this time my sister can come with us.  YAY!  Hope to get up close and personal with the boys at both events.  Comcast is running some of the post-season games over the holiday break.  Hoping to catch at least Game 7 of the World Series as I missed most of that game due to my having to work.  Plus I need a baseball fix!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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