Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Give Pablo Sandoval all the money

[AP PHOTO/MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ]


The shine of a brand new title for the Giants has barely begun to dim as we are all forced to look ahead to next season and beyond. In years past it always felt like there was a break between the end of the World Series and the beginning of player movement via free agency, trades, and whatnot.

Now, it's less than 2 weeks after the San Francisco Giants won their 3rd title in 5 years, and we have to talk about the free agency of Pablo Sandoval.

Hope you enjoyed celebrating that title because suddenly it's back to business in the world of baseball. General managers of all the teams are meeting this week in Phoenix. It's not specifically designed for the free agent shuffle, they are there to conduct league business and review things from the previous season. 

That's what's supposed to happen. In years past it has been the Winter Meetings that have been the place for activity. Now the GM meeting lays the ground work for some off season action.

This is the reason Sandoval and his agent Gustavo Vazquez are going to Phoenix this week. To talk to other teams. It's been reported that other than the Giants he is being sought by the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and White Sox.

Does the fact that nothing but AL teams are reported to be interested stick out to you as well? That's startling and means that folks outside of Giants land have serious questions about Sandoval's ability to stay in shape and on the field.

In the past I have raised those same concerns myself. Looking back I was surprised to see that Sandoval has missed less time than I imagined. Still, none of the other teams in the NL seem to want to add him to the hot corner. There's already talk of turning him into a DH during the later years of a deal with an AL club.

I think the DH talk needs to go away until his next contract comes around. He recently turned 28 years old. By the time a 6-year deal runs out Pablo will have just turned 34 years old. His defensive skills are no longer a worry. I think he could play at least 6 more years in the field, maybe more.

It's widely known that Sandoval is looking for a 6-year deal but other reports say that he would be flexible. He's got his brother as his personal chef and has apparently retained a personal trainer to work with him until he retires.

Sandoval has played 141 games or more in 4 of his 6 full seasons in the majors . His career high was this past season when he got in to 157 games. Those other 2 seasons? That would be 2011 and 2012. In each of those seasons he played over 100 games. There's also the point that those are the 2 seasons he was named an All-Star. I don't know what that point is, but it's there somewhere.

Also, the other side of it. The way Sandoval came through in both the 2012 and 2014 championship runs cannot be overlooked. It happened, and should be used as a measuring tool. 

I know. The old thinking is "what if they never get there again?". Well you should just throw that thinking right out the window. With the machine that has been built by Brian Sabean, this team will contend for years to come.

It's the core, and Pablo has been a huge part of it. That's why he should get paid all the money. He's proven that he can be a key component on World Series winning ball clubs. This is the guy that tied a record in 2012, his 3 HR game, and set one in 2014 with 26 postseason hits, the most ever. EVER

I mean, he could just as well decide to take an offer somewhere else and coast for the rest of his career. But that wouldn't make him legendary or even Hall of Fame worthy. Staying with the Giants could do that for him.

I think his appetite is to perform in the spotlight more than anything and Sandoval knows the brightest lights are in October. Pablo thrives under pressure and delivers for himself and the team. He sees that helping the guy next to him helps himself.

He'd be foolish to walk away from San Francisco, and with all that money the Giants will rake in from this 3rd title, they can afford to bump payroll a little bit. There's only one way to keep chipping away at history for Sandoval and the Giants, if they keep doing it together.

- Eric
@2outhits

Note: We recorded the World Series Champs podcast last week. If you haven't checked it out yet click on over to Torturecast.com and have a listen to Episode 77. It's fun to talk about championships.





Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dynasty

AP Photo

The San Francisco Giants are 2014 World Series champions. It's their 3rd title in 5 years.

I just had to write that before anything else was on the page. This post is my first thoughts now that I have finally realized I'm awake.

I've never been more proud to be a Giants fan. There was something different this time. After 2010 I felt sweet relief as they finally won one. In 2012, it was thrilling, but it was also Game 4. That team was rolling after beating the elimination odds. There was no stopping that freight train. Plus I was a blubbering mess because that was the year my father passed.

But 2014 is different. It's all about love, pride, and the results that come from hard work and a commitment to the right people.

A Dynasty has been built by CEO Larry Baer, Senior VP &GM Brian Sabean, and soon to be Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy.


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Madison Bumgarner

He's not made of the same stuff as the rest of us. His DNA is different. He's a throwback that gets results in the middle of a specialized age. When Alcides Escobar gave away an out, he allowed Bumgarner to get in to his rhythm and create World Series history.

It was the work of a man who would strap a plow to his back and go out in the fields if that's what needed to be done.

Madison Bumgarner.

I haven't done much reading yet. I really have just tried to let it all sink in. Of course I celebrated and watched interviews all night. It was just too surreal for me to focus and read anything. So far today I have read 2 pieces and I encourage you to check them out as well.

Here's Grant Brisbee on McCovey Chronicles after Game 7 ended. Like all of his stuff it is fantastic but this one was special. To think he got it up so quickly after the game is amazing. I couldn't say more than "blibbity gibbity goo" after the game ended.

Loved the strike zone shots that he showed. Brilliant idea, Bumgarner never gave in and it showed.

The other piece I managed to read was from Michael Powell of the New York Times. I'm so glad he went to North Carolina. As someone that had a strong connection with his father through baseball, that was a great story to read. I totally understand Kevin Bumgarner not wanting the company for Game 7. I couldn't imagine how nervous, yet faithful he must have felt.

Make sure you read the end. The text message that Kevin Bumgarner sent his son had me in tears.

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I was super nervous leading up to that Game 7. I wrote about it here and did not hide how freaked out a game 7 made me feel. Toss in the fact that the Giants had never won a World Series Game 7 and I was bouncing off the walls. That's what I am still used to. It's so hard to shake as a fan. For so many years the Giants would come up short and it became the norm. I found out before Game 7 that there's a little part of me that still holds on to that.

Then I read this Facebook post from Giants 3rd base coach Tim Flannery on his Lunatic Fringe page. I saw it about 20 minutes before first pitch and it snapped me right in to game mode. Love harder and celebrate everything.

From there on out my anxiety was gone and I was just trying to put positive things out there. This team doesn't just crawl inside your heart, they become a part of your soul.





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- Joe Panik was just amazing in the 3rd inning. That play, just holy wow. Off the bat I was sure it was going to be 1st & 3rd. Then he somehow stopped it AND got it to Brandon Crawford in time for a double play. 

- The catch Juan Perez made on Nori Aoki's fly ball down the left field line cannot be overlooked. That was a perfect confluence of scouting, coaching, and talent.

- Fox showed a moment right before the game in which Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval were huddled together talking. I don't know about you but I was reassured when I saw that. Like they knew they had to be the soul of this team out there in Game 7. Then they did just that. Both were in the middle of all the action and Sandoval scored the clinching run. Plus, that wink. (h/t @carmenkiew)

- Michael Morse, thank you.

- I wrote about Bruce Bochy as a Hall of Fame manager over on Hall of Very Good before the World Series started. I'm certain that will be reworked and posted here now that the Giants have won 3 titles in 5 years.

I'll have much more in the next week or so as I find time to write. There's so many things that happened over the last day, week, month. I can't wait to keep writing and talking about all of them. So look forward to much more and thank you so much for reading again.

I also encourage you to head on over to the SFGiants Reddit page. The people there find some great stuff and it's so much fun to share the experience. I tip my cap to those redditors that keep coming over. Thank you.

The Giants are the Champs again and as my buddy Wade Black (@EveryFifthDay) tweeted to me last night, "Flags fly forever".

They sure do. 

Eric Nathanson
@2outhits on Twitter



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Game 7: Are you ready?



Game 7.

I hate those words.

Well, I hate those words right now. If it was any other team and not the San Francisco Giants, I would be over the moon for a World Series Game 7.

It's not that the Giants can't win Game 7. They absolutely can. It's just all the angst, pressure, anxiety, and general barfiness are ratcheted up a notch.

I was a mess in the time leading up to the Wild Card game. Winner-take-all games do not sit well with me. It doesn't matter who the better team is, anything can happen.

It's not like knowing ahead of time that things would be OK on days Madison Bumgarner started.

Anything can happen.

The Giants are a confident bunch. We already knew that. They have experience and from everything they said after Game 6 they are not worried. Here's a couple quotes from Alex Pavlovic's game story for the San Jose Mercury News. First from manager Bruce Bochy the second from Jake Peavy.

"They're going against the odds -- we've done that before," Bochy said. "You go back to 2012 and look at this postseason. I think a lot of people had us getting beat in the first and second round. This club is so resilient. They're so tough. They'll put this behind them."
 "Listen, this bunch doesn't care," Peavy said. "We'll show up tomorrow and find any which way to win."

That's all well and good now. But it's Game 7 and I think you know where I am going with this.

Anything can happen.

I mentioned the Wild Card coinflip game earlier. Here we are again, but now it's the same, but totally different. Kinda like this is the Pittsburgh game on steroids. This time they are one win away from taking down the whole damn thing, not just trying to get a seat at the table.

I didn't think the Giants would be here. You may have thought that way too. So there's a sense that they are playing with house money and that everything is gravy. Fuck that noise, they made it this far and a championship has always been the goal.

I may reflect back if they lose and appreciate it, but right now all I want is to see them hoist the trophy.

So go do whatever it is you need to do to try and calm the nerves before 5:07 PT tomorrow night. There are plenty of us out here doing our thing too. I'll be wearing a hole in my carpet and drinking too much coffee until then.

Boy, I sure picked a bad day to quit drinking.

Eric Nathanson
@2outhits on Twitter