As we are winding down to less than 2 weeks before pitchers and catchers report, I was having a tough time trying to find a single topic to write a novel on. So I am going to just give some of my thoughts on a few topics.
1.Yes, Stan Kasten stuck his massive foot square in his mouth at the FanFest, and for no good reason. I am by no means a Kasten apologist, but I keep reading (and probably repeating) about how his Braves won 16 straight division titles but only one WS, and that seems to satisfy him. But just as I blame the Dodger players for not winning in 2017, let’s take a look at a team that Kasten and John Scheurholz put together before we proclaim that Kasten only cares about putting a competitive team together.
They had two HOF pitchers, Smoltz and Glavine, from 1991-1999. Greg Maddux joined the duo to make three HOF pitchers beginning in 1993 through 1999. Maddux teamed up with Glavine in 2000-2002 while Smoltz was on the mend. Not just HOF pitchers, but Chipper joined the Braves in 1995 for 11 of the 15-year division championship run. That makes 4 HOF players all together for 1995 through 1999, then a variation of 3 or all 4 in some form through 2003, with Chipper and Smoltz finishing the 15-year run in 2005.
Of course during these 15 years they had multiple All-Stars…Javy Lopez, Fred McGriff, Ron Gant, David Justice, Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal, Ryan Klesko, Steve Avery, Denny Neagle. With supporters like Sid Bream, Terry Pendleton, Johnny Estrada, Andres Galarraga, Kenny Lofton, Brian Jordan, Deion Sanders, Marquis Grissom, Marcus Giles, Charlie Leibrandt, and a long time DP combo of Mark Lemke and Jeff Blauser.
So, was it the FO not getting the players for HOF Manager Bobby Cox, or the players (including 4 HOF) not getting the job done? Kasten may be a horse’s ***, but he sure put more than a competitive team together in Atlanta. I do not believe he is satisfied with just getting to the WS. I am confident he would do whatever he could within reason to get the team to win the WS. It is a shame that that Braves group only got one WS championship from that group.
2.I was chuckling at the Giants signing Drew Pomeranz (yet another LHSP). You just know that Farhan had the Dodgers in mind when he signed Pomeranz just after re-signing Derek Holland. Being up in Northern California, we get inundated with Giants news and the lack thereof. Farhan is not winning many advocates just yet. I think the word now is that he is just evaluating what he has, and what improvements can be made, probably mid-year. At least that is what they are hyping. They have one of the worst farm systems, and really only one legit chance at trading and getting top prospects in return…MadBum. They are going to have to rely on their drafts and sign FA to fill in until their prospects are ready.
My daughter informed my grandson that he was drafted onto our local Giants Little League team, and his response was…” This is a nightmare”. Great response, although it did not make his Dad smile, as he is a Giants fan. We told him that he can wear his Corey Seager T-Shirt under his Giants jersey. He was okay then.
With MadBum, Holland, Andrew Suarez, Ty Blach, and Pomeranz the Giants have five LHSP they can throw at LAD. Their RHSP crew include Samardzija, Dereck Rodriguez, Chris Stratton, and Tyler Beede. Farhan obviously wants depth at SP even if it is average at best. He is not going to get much help in the farm, so is that why he is picking up Pomeranz???? You gotta believe that MadBum is moved at the trade deadline. Maybe to NYY?
Their relievers are actually a pretty decent group. Certainly, better as a group than the SP. RHRP Mark Melancon, Reyes Moronta, Sam Dyson, and Ray Black, and LHRP Will Smith, Tony Watson, Steven Okert, and Josh Osich. If I were GM I would be calling Farhan and seeing what return he would require for Will Smith. The Giants need an OF, so how does one value a one-year reliever for an OF? Farhan likes Scott Alexander and with his multiple years of control, I think he could be included. I am sure that AF is looking for bigger fish than a late inning high leverage reliever, although a RH and LH setup would be great for LAD.
SFG has 2 catchers on the 40 man, but I am guessing that Hundley is going to end up back with the Giants. But how long can the Giants rely on Posey behind the dish? Joey Bart is probably two years away, but I think he is going to be worth the wait as is Keibert Ruiz for LAD.
The infield is set. They are above average defensively around the horn, but offensively they leave a lot to be desired. Belt (1B), Panik (2B), Longoria (3B), and Crawford (SS). The contracts for Belt, Crawford, and Longoria along with Posey’s and a couple of injured starting pitchers, are boat anchors for them, and Crawford has a full no-trade clause.
While their infield has some talent, their OF is truly suspect. With the signing of John Andreoli, the Giants now how 6 OF on their 40 man. Austin Slater has the most PA with 352, followed by Mac Williamson with 339, and Steven Duggar with 152. Andreoli and Chris Shaw have less than 70, and Drew Ferguson (SFG #27 prospect) would be a rookie. They need OFs. Right now it looks to be Duggar in CF, Slater in RF, and Williamson in LF.
The Giants are staring at 5thin the NL West right between the eyes.
3.I find the Pads apparent interest in Harper and Machado almost laughable. They would have to do an extreme overpay to get either player to play 81 games a year in that park. Realmuto could be traded to the Pads, but there is no way he stays in that park, so there would be no extension. Plus, defensive minded and solid pitch framer Hedges is a better choice at catcher for that young pitching crew. Gio Gonzalez does make a lot of sense for the Pads. LHSP in a pitcher friendly park, and a pitcher who has generally been good against LAD. Gonzalez on a one- or two-year contract would allow some of their elite pitching prospects time to mature and fully develop before they are thrust into the fire. The Pads are two years away at being considered a legit contender, and they need a bridge for those two years, which Gio could be. I can see that happening.
4.There are still a number of highly respected FA that remain unsigned, including 4 out of the top 5 from MLBTradeRumors: Harper, Machado, Keuchel, & Kimbrel. Others include yet another year of Mike Moustakas not getting much love, Marwin Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Adam Jones, Martin Maldonado, Ervin Santana, Josh Harrison, Ryan Madson, Clay Buchholz, Jose Iglesias, Adam Warren, and Brad Boxberger. How long before some of them sign minor league deals? Recent minor league or waiver pickups include Matt Davidson (1B/3B) and Jason Hammel (RHP) signed minor league deals with Texas. Jesus Sucre (C) signed a minor league deal with the O’s, and Mark Reynolds (1B) signed a minor league deal with the Rockies. Is Carlos Gonzalez next? John Andreoli (OF – SFG), Tony Barnette (RHRP – Cubs), and Zach Duke (LHRP- Reds) did receive major league contracts but can be easily waived. The minor league contracts are now starting to fill in. The Dodgers signed Justin De Fratus (RHP) and Ezequiel Carrera (OF) both signed minor league deals with LAD. I would expect a couple more OF and pitchers to be signed.
5.Where will some of the top prospects start their seasons:
- DJ Peters should get bumped to AAA.
- While not deserving, Jeren Kendall should start the year in Tulsa.
- Dennis Santana will be one of the OKC starting pitchers (with Caleb Ferguson).
- Dustin May should start in Tulsa with a look to move quickly.
- Same with Tony Gonsolin, and probably Mitchell White, although there is a chance for White to start the year at AAA.
- If Yadi Alvarez moves to the pen, I see him potentially starting out in AAA, if remaining a starter, then AA.
- Gavin Lux will start at Tulsa to see if he can start up where he finished last year. He could get a quick promotion to AAA.
- Michael Grove – Probably Great Lakes, but he could get held back in extended ST to build up and go directly to Rancho.
- Jeter Downs – Rancho
- Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty – OKC
- Cristian Santana – AA
- Omar Estevez – AA
- The hard one – Keibert Ruiz – He is capable of AAA, but are they going to want him to share with Smith? If Ruiz stays at AA, that will stall both Connor Wong and Hunter Feduccia, who should be at Tulsa and Rancho respectively. Ruiz can play AAA, and Smith can play multiple positions to get ABs (which is what he needs), so I am going to project Ruiz at AAA with Smith, Wong at AA, and Feduccia at Rancho.