Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why the Giants Will Not Extend Brandon Belt to a Long Term Deal

Last week, the SF Giants and Brandon Belt avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.9 million. On the heels of that deal, there has been speculation the Giants might offer Belt an extended deal to buy out his remaining arbitration years before he hits the free agent market in 2018. In theory, that makes sense … however, we're pretty sure the Giants are thinking of eventually moving Buster Posey to first base. A move that the Minnesota Twins are making this year with their franchise player … Joe Mauer.

There are two factors that could possibly fast-track that possibility, the health of Posey at the catching position, and the rise of Andrew Susac being an everyday player. It's just a matter of time before those hard foul tips off of Posey's mask will take its toll and sideline him from playing everyday. Don't believe use, just reflect back on the career of Mike Matheny … a dependable catcher that had to retire early from all those hits he took off the mask. Posey is simply too valuable as a hitter to continue having him exposed at the catching position. In addition, Susac has made significant strides on becoming a dependable back stop, but more importantly, his hitting has improved as well. Those two variables could possibly mean that Belt could be the odd man out in this scenario. If anything, Belt could become a valuable trade chip for the Giants to acquire another arm or position player.

So don't be surprised if the Giants hold back on offering Belt an extended contract, but opt for a year-to-year deal. The health of Posey, and play of Susac will be the factors on Belt's future with the club.

Andrew Susac stats
Andrew Susac evaluation

Monday, February 24, 2014

Toughest Road Trip is in Early May

We've all heard it before, the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. But the Giants will face a difficult stretch of road games during their first road trip in the month of May. The road trip commences on May 2 in Atlanta, and ends on May 11 in Los Angeles, with a stop in Pittsburgh in-between Atlanta and LA. That's a 10-game roadie against three playoff teams from the 2013 season. What makes this so compelling is the fact the Giants could be in catch-up mode for the rest of the season if they have a horrible road trip. Plus they play their division rivals four times on that roadie.

Again, the baseball season is marathon, not a sprint, but the Giants will be tested with 10 consecutive games on the road against potential playoff opponents.

SF Giants May Schedule

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 SF Giants Season Tickets (Photos)

By now, most of the SF Giants season ticket holders have received their FedEx delivery containing their 2014 season tickets. This annual rite of passage awakens the senses of each fan that the upcoming season is just around the corner. In addition, it's also fun to see how the club has designed the ticket, and which player photos will adorn the tickets throughout the season. This year, five players were selected to be featured on the season tickets: Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Angel Pagan, and Buster Posey. Of these players, only Posey and Bumgarner were part of the 2013 design (Sergio Romo, Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval were the others).

2014 SF Giants Season Ticket Holder Booklet

Bay Bridge Series

Bay Bridge Series

Opening Day

Tim Linceceum

Hunter Pence

Madison Bumgarner

Angel Pagan

Buster Posey

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Major League Baseball in 2064 - 50 Years From Now

Just a few more days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and it got us thinking on how baseball will look in 50 years. So much has changed in the last 50 years of the game, but the future of the game for the players and fans will probably see more changes that most of us can’t even begin to imagine.

So step into the Sons of Johnnie LeMaster time machine, and let’s see what baseball will look like in the year 2064 ...

The Game
  • Active rosters have been increased to 30 players, and the league now has 36 teams world wide. Teams (Kansas City, Houston, Milwaukee, and Miami) that have historically under preformed have been relocated ... abroad. The game is international now, Major League has also added a few expansion teams in Mexico, Japan, Korea, London, New Dehli, and Cuba. The designated-hitter rule is now present in the West Federation, formerly known as the National League. The WBC no longer exists, it has been replaced with the Champions League tournament - the best performing Major League club in each participating country plays in a one-and-done survivor tournament. 
  • In addition, Major League Baseball has adopted a relegation rule. The bottom performing six clubs are replaced each year with the World League, formerly known as AAA minor league baseball, with their top six finishing teams. Most of the minor league teams have also been relocated throughout the world.

The Equipment
  • The biggest equipment development will benefit catchers ... think IronMan outfit, a full body armor protective suit that also has climate control features: a built-in air conditioning and heating unit to protect the catcher in any harsh weather elements. Also it will also have communications capabilities with the pitcher, an onboard system will allow the pitcher and catcher to communicate without any hand signs. How? A micro LED screen imbedded to the side of the catcher’s mask and pitcher’s cap will allow for two-way communication with mind-thinking technology.
  • Sponsors are now paying a premium to have their brands on Major League uniforms, but only on the back of the collar above the LED nameplate and number.
  • Uniforms are now embedded with smart technology that can alert the manager and a trainer when a player is fatigued or injured. There is no guess work, the staff will know immediately, and a player can’t talk there way out of it.
  • Gloves now have “smart technology” built into the gloves. A small LED screen displays which pitch is being thrown, and provides hitting tendencies of the batter at the plate. In addition, it allows for the manager to direct fielders on where to position them at any given time.
  • Eye black and sunglasses are no longer used. A special “eye contact lense” is being used by players that automatically deflects any direct sun rays from their vision, and can  be preset to the player’s preference.

The Fan Experience
  • Giant HD scoreboards are obsolete ... instant replays are shown on the field as a 3D hologram replicating the exact movement of the ball and player(s). Natural grass has been replaced with “Smart Turf” ... a hybrid grass and synthetic strain that features LED capabilities that allows for in-game advertising on the field, and game updates. Season ticket holders no longer have physical tickets ... instead they are provided with season ticket “smart bracelets” that contains the game day bar codes for entry, information on available concessions, wait times for rest rooms, and a loaded payment account for payment for anything at the ballpark. Each year a new bracelet is distributed to season ticket holders with new enhancements and features.
  • The concrete floors at the ballpark have now been inlayed with LED screens that provides updates on ball park amenities and team sponsors advertisements.
  • As a nod to the fan experience from the 1970s, beer vendors are back at each ballpark.
  • Seagulls are no longer a problem at AT&T Park, but individuals with mini-drones trying to watch the game from home or outside now crowd the airspace around the ballpark.

So what changes do you think we'll see in 2063?

1999 SF Giants wearing futuristic jerseys for "Turn Ahead the Clock Night"

Barry Bonds wearing the futuristic jersey 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Prediction on Pablo Sandoval’s New Contract

Earlier today, Larry Baer hinted on KNBR that a contract could be offered to Pablo Sandoval during the annual Play Ball luncheon held in downtown San Francisco before the start of the regular season. In years past, the Giants have made similar contract announcements during the luncheon, so if an offer was made to Pablo, we could expect the Giants to announce it then.

So the question needs to be asked, what would a contract offer look for Pablo? Our prediction is that an offer of 5 years for $100 million would be in the range we would expect to see. This offer is based on what other premium third basemen are receiving, the lack of depth in the minor league system, and the potential payout the Giants would have to make to any other third basemen hitting the free agent market.

For comparison, in the 2014 season, the top paying players for third base are as follows:

  1.  David Wright (Mets) $20M
  2.  Adrian Beltre (Rangers) $17M
  3.  Aramis Ramirez (Brewers) $16M
  4.  Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) $14M
  5.  Martin Prado* (Diamondbacks) $11M
  6.  Chase Headley (Padres) $10.25M
  8.  Evan Longoria (Rays) $7.5M
  9.  Juan Uribe* (Dodgers) $7.5M
  10.  David Freese (Angels) $5.05M
  11.  Alberto Callaspo* (A’s) $4.87M
  12.  Chris Johnson* (Braves) $4.75M
  13.  Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) $4.25M
  14.  Jeff Keppinger* (White Sox) $4M
  15.  Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) $3.86M (Final bonus payment; Salary is forfeited)
  16.  Mike Aviles* (Indians) $3.5M
  17.  Eric Chavez* (Diamondbacks) $3.5M
  18.  Trevor Plouffe* (Twins) $2.3M
  19.  Mark Reynolds (Brewers) $2M
  20.  Luis Valbuena* (Cubs) $1.7M

2015 salaries for third basemen are as follows:

  1.  Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) $22M
  2.  David Wright (Mets) $20M
  3.  Adrian Beltre (Rangers) $18M
  4.  Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) $14M
  5.  Evan Longoria (Rays) $11M
  6.  Martin Prado* (Diamondbacks) $11M
  7.  Juan Uribe* (Dodgers) $7.5M
  8.  Jeff Keppinger* (White Sox) $4.5M
  9.  Aramis Ramirez (Brewers) $4M
  10.  Jack Hannahan (Reds) $4M
  11.  Mike Aviles* (Indians) $3.5M
*Utility player

Pablo Sandoval in Winter League 2014