Giants Mailbag 2/17/09

This is a start of a weekly blog that I would like to post. I will answer any questions that you have for me. I look forward to receiving your questions. 🙂
Giants Mailbag 2/17/09
Do you think players should be allowed to use HGH or steroids when recovering from a surgery/injury?  It may allow the player to heal quicker.  I know this would be a tricky issue, but it’s a thought considering all the talk around AROD right now.

Wow now that is a tricky issue alright. I would have to say no. There shouldn’t be anything that can be grey. It should be black or white. You either can use it or you can’t, so if baseball doesn’t want players to use HGH or steroids. Then no one should be able to take it even if it’s just to help recover.



How do fans in SF feel about Bonds and the steroid issue?

Will Zito bounce back in 2009?

Where will the power come from in 2009? Will Sandoval make an impact?

Nathan (Foul Tip)

It seems like half the people care what happens to Bonds and the other half don’t. Now that he’s no longer in a Giants uniform it seems like fans don’t really care. I’m sure the Bonds fans like myself still care. I just think the whole steroid issue needs to end. Okay a lot of players took them. Now lets clean the game up now and move on. We can’t change the past.

Look below to the question from Jane/She-Fan to read my insight on Zito.

I really don’t see much power again this year. Our only home run pop is Bengie and he only gave us 16 home runs last season. Sandoval will have a few home runs here and there, but I don’t expect him to lead the team. I do see him as a great hitter and to have his bat in the lineup all year will add to the offense. The Giants still need to add another bat with pop. I’m hoping they will get Ramirez or Crede. They just need another guy to produce some runs.

Assuming Manny Ramirez re-signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers do you find it somewhat odd that Brian Sabean and the Giants improved the ball club by adding Jeremy Affeldt, Bob Howry, Edgar Renteria, and Randy Johnson but did not add a big offensive piece, which seemed to be their major need going into the off-season, that would have made them favorites to win the NL West? Unless Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn, and the youngster Pablo Sandoval are going to have all-star caliber seasons I do not see them having enough offense even with the strong pitching staff. I say sign Joe Crede to play 3B and swoop in and steal Manny from the Dodgers and really go for it.
Well I must say it seems like you and I are kind of thinking alike. If Manny signs with the Dodgers. Then I don’t know why the Giants would pay so much for Renteria to come play short. Just have one of the young guys play short that are battling for 2nd base. We have Frandsen, Burriss and Velez trying to win the 2nd base job. One of them can play short if you’re not trying to win and just develop young players.
Why would you sign Randy Johnson if you’re not trying to win this year? We have Lowry and Sanchez fighting for the 5th spot. They wouldn’t have had to fight for it if Johnson wasn’t signed. I can see signing Affeldt and Howry either way. The bullpen needed some help to get the ball to Wilson in the 9th inning. Johnson and Renteria just don’t make sense to me if they are not trying to win this year.
I do think the Giants will have a better offense this year with or without Ramirez. They will have Sandoval for a whole season. This is a guy who can flat out hit. He’s not Ramirez but he will get his hits and get on base for Bengie to drive in. I didn’t think Crede would be a good signing for this club, but now that everyone else is gone. I say go for it. Crede will give some pop in the lineup. Then Sandoval can move to play first base. Rather than using an unproven player at first base.
With the moves that Sabean has made this off-season. They should just go out and sign Manny and got for it this year. With Manny they will be the favorite to win the NL West. Then with the starting rotation they have. It would be scary to face them in the playoffs.

AT&T Park is breathtaking.  Tops on my list to see…maybe as early as this summer.  What are some tips for visiting the park?  Must eat food?  Best places to sit?

I love this park! It’s just so beautiful to look at the scoreboard and see the Bay Bridge in the background. Just to see the boats in the bay right behind right field. It’s way better than going to to the A’s stadium across the bay. Every time I go to a game the first thing I have to get is the “Gilroy Garlic Fries”. I love them! Another really good place to eat there is “Orlando’s”. It’s the home of the Baby Bull Tri-Tip Sandwich and the Cha Cha Bowl. The Cha Cha bowl is really good! There is a bunch of other foods, but those are my two top choices. =)  


I’ve read a lot of places that some Giants fans think Aaron Rowand isn’t worth the contract he was given. (5 years/$60 million, I think) Is this the general consensus among Giants fans or do they like Rowand? And do you think Rowand is worth that contract?


I have heard fans say they are not happy with the amount the Giants paid him to come here. The Giants have had problems getting big name free agents to come here because it’s a pitchers park. The Giants always seem to have to over pay to get someone decent in here. I like Rowand but he’s not the big bat that the Giants fans wanted when we got him. He is a good player to have on your team. I just would have used that money on someone else. Fans expected him to come here and be an elite player.


Is Tim Lincecum in danger of major injury this year? He pitched so many innings last season and has that violent delivery…What’s the inside word?
It’s not earth shattering, but it’s a question
Tim Lincecum has a very strange delivery. His dad showed him how to pitch when he was a kid. He’s a small guy so his dad tweaked his pitching style to get every little bit of strength as he could out of that little body. Lincecum has pitched so good with that style that his dad wouldn’t let anyone tweak with it. Seems to work, so if it’s broke then don’t try to fix it! There has been no injuries reported for Lincecum, so lets keep our fingers crossed!

I’ve got a question for you, King….

What kind of a season do you expect Barry Zito to have? Has he finally shaken off the pressure from the big contract? Is he healthy? I haven’t been following his career since he joined the Giants, so fill me in please.



I honestly believe Zito is going to have a good year. I mean don’t expect him to be in the running for the Cy Young Award. He knows Tim Lincecum is the man now and the Ace. Plus they have signed Randy Johnson, so Zito isn’t feeling all the pressure anymore. He’s also moving from the Ace of the staff to the #4 starter this season. I think in that 4th spot is really going to help him. He’s not going to be facing other teams Ace’s night in and night out.
Zito is going into the season in really good shape. He has had Brian Wilson (the Giants closer) stay with him this off-season. Wilson has had Zito doing his workout and eating right. I’m actually really excited to see how good Zito will be this year.
Hi King,
Here’s my question – the Giants seem to have pinned a lot of hope on Edgar Renteria filling in at SS.  There had been issues about his weight & general physical condition last season in Detroit.  Do you think he can over come those issues and be effective for the Giants?
I think Edgar Renteria is a good pick up. I think he’s overpaid for this off-season market. He is a decent bat to put in the #2 spot. Renteria is a big upgrade with the bat compared to Omar. He’s not going to make all the great plays that Omar made on “D” but he will make the plays he should make. His range isn’t as good either, but the Giants need offense so that’s why this move was good. I have heard that Edgar is going into spring training in better shape. I guess we have to wait and see when he reports this spring.

It’s Brian from Fish Bites  I read how the commissioner is debating whether to reinstate Hammerin’ Hank as the home run king. I’m sure as a Giants fan, the organization is upset about this, and I can see why. I guess I’m wondering what your take is as a possible fan of Barry Bonds and since you were lucky enough to watch him for so long.

Hope this idea catches on with the other bloggers.

I don’t think there is any way he will reinstate Hammerin Hank. He can’t just take away everyone’s stats from this steroid era. Plus no one even really knows who did take steroids during this era. Hank has already came out and said the record is Bonds.
Even with all of the steroid issues it was awesome to watch the Home Run Chase! No matter where I was at I knew when Bonds was coming up. I was either in front of a TV or listening to every at bat. A lot of people don’t know this but Bonds just didn’t go up there hacking. He only would swing at strikes. He could be 0-2 and still walk cause pitchers wouldn’t want to come back over the plate. Barry was the man and I’m glad he was playing in this era cause I think it was really a treat to everyone who got to really see him play day and day out.
-Who will win the N.L. West the Dodgers, D-Backs, the Giants, or whoever gets Manny.
-Where will Manny go?
-What you think about pitcher and catchers reporting (is it overrated, underrated, stupid to have pitchers and catcher be there before position, players etc.)

It all depends where Manny (he will end up a Dodger) goes as to how the NL West will go. If Manny signs with the Dodgers this is what I think. Dodgers, Giants, D-Backs, Rockies and Padres.
If Manny signs with the Giants…. Giants, D-Backs, Dodgers, Rockies and Padres.
Now If Manny doesn’t sign with either Giants or Dodgers.  It’s really a toss up with the D-Backs and Giants. I think it will probably be Giants, D-Backs, Dodgers, Rockies and Padres.
The Giants already made it known if they are in it they will make a move at the trading deadline. I’m sure this will be enough to win the NL West.
I think it’s cool that Pitchers and Catchers report early. Just gets baseball started a little earlier than waiting longer for position players. It’s also cool to see what position players show up early. Just shows who’s committed to the team. I love the smell of Spring Training in the air!
Thank you for your questions. I would like to do this weekly. Please send me any questions that you would like me to answer for you.
~King of Cali



    Using drugs is cheating. Plain and simple. I don’t buy the “it wasn’t a rule back then” or “other people were doing it” garbage. Cheating is cheating. Not to mention the dangerous effects of using drugs like that.

  2. raysrenegade


    Awesome turnout for your questions. I am going to have to pick a few for your next edition.
    Sorry I did not get in on the fun this time around. Great job tho, and you had some fantastic answers for a few of those questions.

    Rays Renegade

  3. obsessivegiantscompulsive

    The reason the Giants signed the players they did while not signing Manny is because they are in a gray area.

    They are still figuring out which young players are keepers and which they can let go, but are at a point where they feel that if they are not competitive, the fans would revolt. Also, they want to be able to show improvement in 2009 vs. 2008. All these moves improve our chances of .500 in 2009 while not holding back any legitimate prospects.

    The bullpen, as noted, is easy, it was not functioning well most of the season. And while Romo and Hinshaw show potential, so did Munter and you saw what happened the next season. Affeldt was described by some as a closeted closer, a closer capable reliever for cheap that a smart team would snap up. Howry, besides 2008, has been a very productive reliever for the past 10 or so years.

    Randy Johnson makes a lot of sense, because Lowry is not a given for 2009. There is no Lowry-Sanchez competition until he starts throwing like a normal pitcher off a mound, and he hasn’t even done that yet. And hasn’t done it for about a year now. A prudent executive would not go into the 2009 season counting on Lowry. That’s why you get another starting pitcher, because otherwise it will be like 2008 again where the #5 starter gives you a 6+ ERA and you lose a lot of games from that spot in the rotation.

    Getting Johnson is genius. It’s not a huge or long commitment and is fair. It is a huge upgrade over the #5 starter of 2008, Johnson was a valid #2 starter in 2008 and he says he’s healthy this year for the first time in two years, so he should be able to do about what he has done the past two years. The sticking point is whether he can stay healthy or not, but it was a good risk to take and upgrades a position on the team greatly.

    And upgrades is what we need as a team if we are not getting a big bat for the long term. That’s why you get a Johnson, when there are not other viable options to improve the offense greatly. Teixeira made the most sense, but the Yankees clearly were gunning for him and the way Boras operates, the Giants would have just gotten into a bidding war and either overpaid or not get the guy, but most likely the latter since the Yankees print money. Why make Boras more money? Why waste your time on the bid when it most likely will end unfavorably?

    Manny makes little sense for the money he’ll be paid. He’s an upgrade over Lewis but $25M worth of upgrade? Lewis isn’t great but he hasn’t been chopped liver the past two years, he’s been good for LF. In addition, adding Manny would mean that the Giants would need to move someone, probably Randy Winn because he had another nice season, and has only one year on his contract, whereas Rowand has 4 more years and Lewis is needed because Manny is signed for only one year plus the Giants are committed to the youth movement.

    And they are committed, not beholden, to the youth movement. Contrary to fan-hype, neither Burriss or Frandsen is ready to play SS for the Giants full-time yet, perhaps ever. Burriss has been tabbed by some scouts as a great future 2B from the moment he was drafted. He made a ton of errors playing in the AFL this fall, which prompted the Giants to make the move for Renteria. Frandsen is a question mark playing SS, as he’s not really **** defensively, he’s a much surer bet at 2B.

    And frankly, as much as we all like Sandoval, even he is a question mark, whether at 3B or 1B. 2008 is his only really good season, and there have been many players who has that magical one season and never do well again. There are indicators, like his low strikeout rate and young age, that suggests that this is real, but, for a recent example of how things sometimes work out, Todd Linden also had some good indicators and he flopped and hasn’t done anything since leaving us to prove otherwise. For a similar example, Andy Marte was young and showed potential in the minors but hasn’t done it consistently in the majors yet. So we might need Frandsen to play 3B. I would put low odds on that, but still, it is not an impossibility, he could flop.

    Getting Renteria gives us options should many of our prospects just prove not to be ready, like Brian Wilson wasn’t ready a couple of springs ago, when he was being viewed as a potential competitor with Benitez for closer. Without Renteria, the Giants are forced to go with Sandoval, Burriss, Frandsen, Ishikawa, for the most part, no matter how badly they play (though Bowker and Harper could take 1B, and Velez 2B, but very poorly defensively).

    With Renteria, that gives us one position of stability in the infield and provides the possibility that the Giants can afford to put Burriss back in AAA to play a full season there at SS and perhaps prove that he’s capable of playing SS without the pressure of also figuring out how to hit for more power, with the tips Lansford is giving him on using his strong arms to generate more power.

    People keep on saying that the Giants overpaid for Renteria but with the other teams bidding on him too, the fact is that he would have been long gone by now and we would be stuck with Orlando Cabrera, who is nowhere close to being the offensive contributor that Renteria has been, which many fans don’t seem to understand, just look at his numbers and compare, there is a gap between them.

    So the question to me is: would you rather be “right” on pricing and end up with Orlando Cabrera (or forcing Burriss to play a position he isn’t ready to play and perhaps stunt his growth) or “overpaying” and end up with Renteria, a plus offensive shortstop that, despite all the buzz about his supposedly poor defense, the defensive measures at Fangraphs show that he was only slightly below average, same for the ones at Baseball Musing. Fangraphs, in fact, said it was a fair contract value for what the Giants is getting. **** capable of hitting 800 OPS is worth the money, and he hit that in the second half of 2008, suggesting strongly that he’s not done yet.

    So the Giants are actually showing commitment to the youth movement by not outright signing Manny, because that could disrupt Lewis’s growth by shifting him around. And signing Renteria most probably would allow Burriss time and free space to grow some more playing SS in AAA, when he hasn’t even played a full-season in AAA (or even AA) yet, as Frandsen has shown a lot more with his bat than Burriss has in the minors. He doesn’t hold back a totally legit prospect, Burriss and Frandsen have question marks that need to be answered in spring, and there was a strong chance that one of them isn’t able to answer them.

    Similarly for the pitchers. Signing Johnson only affects Misch and perhaps Pucetas, but Misch hasn’t shown much as a starter so far (looking more and more like a reliever, probably in 2010 when Taschner gets too expensive) and Pucetas should put in a year or two in AA and AAA, as pitchers like him often get exposed in AA and AAA, because he doesn’t have an overpowering fastball. Plus now we have a very strong rotation with Lincecum, Johnson, and Cain up top, plus Sanchez could also prove to be very good too, based on his first half of 2008, leaving Zito as our actual #5 starter, based on expected production. And he could do well too and get an ERA under 4.50, if he finally got himself straightened out. Signing Affeldt and Howry probably hurts the chances of Matos and Sadler, but greatly helps our young starters, Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, heck, even Zito, because then any lead passed off to the bullpen would be that much more protected with Affeldt and Howry in place plus Romo and Hinshaw. Matos could use a year in AAA and Sadler just needs to figure out what he needs to be successful in the majors, in particular, throwing strikes and not balls.

    The additions so far have made the Giants stronger without holding back any young player who appears to be ready to take a starting position, like Sandoval or Frandsen. If the Giants do add Crede, that would hurt Ishikawa as Sandoval would move to 1B, but many scouts think Ishikawa is a platoon player anyhow, though it would have been interesting to see whether he could do it or not, plus we have Bowker and Guzman in the minors, plus Rohlinger who would then push Sandoval to 1B, so I’m hoping the Twins end up signing Crede, as the rumors suggest.

    As is, the team is capable of playing .500 which Neukom has been saying all off-season is the goal of 2009, to be competitive; he said 2010 is when he expects the team to be contend for the division title. Manny would help push the team further, but getting him would change up a lot of things, perhaps set things back in the clubhouse if he proves disruptive playing for less money for us. Also, while an upgrade over Lewis, I doubt that he’s worth $24M more than Lewis, the marginal gain from a Manny isn’t worth that much to the team.

  4. obsessivegiantscompulsive

    Not sure why the software put “****” in those spots.

    For the both of them I just used the abbreviation for shortstop but for some reason they think that is offensive.

    So it should be: “… as he is not really a shortstop defensively, he’s a much surer bet as a secondbaseman.”


    “A shortstop capable of hitting 800 OPS is worth the money, …”

  5. Amazin86er

    obsessivegiantscompulsive, I still think it was a waste of resources to bring in the players they did without also adding an impact offensive player. They have an outside chance of contending especially if a surprise team signs Manny Ramirez but a lot would have to break just right. A healthy Joe Crede at 3rd, which would allow them to play Sandoval at 1B and would be an easier transition for him defensively, and Ramirez would not only make them NL West favorites but with that pitching staff they could win the NL Pennant. If they were not going to add a big bat they should have just played the season out with younger players. I guess there is an outside chance they could add an impact bat mid-season if they are in contention.

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