Countdown to Baseball

 

by DrLefty

We’re getting closer, folks. MLB announced this week that February 12 is the day pitchers and catchers will report to camp. Here’s the link to the countdown clock if you need constant updates.

I always measure the baseball offseason by when the NFL wraps it up. The conference championship games are this weekend, the Super Bowl is two weeks from tomorrow, and then…it’s time. Or close enough.

 

Free agency slogs along

Meanwhile, with exactly 23 days on the countdown clock, the two superstars at the top of the free agent class still don’t have jobs. One of the most interesting side stories this week was when Manny Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, went OFF on national baseball writers Buster Olney (ESPN) and Bob Nightengale (USA Today) for reporting that the White Sox had offered Machado a seven-year, $175 million deal. Now, if someone offered ME that, I wouldn’t be insulted even a little bit, but for Manny, that’s way lower than anyone has been projecting or hoping. Here’s the statement:

 

This is strong stuff: “…manipulated into tampering with…these players’ livelihoods”; “fabricate ‘news’ or regurgitate falsehoods”; “reckless,” and so forth. Of course…time will tell. If Manny signs with the White Sox for seven years/$175 million, will Lozano apologize to Olney and Nightengale? (I’m thinking not.)

Meanwhile, our own Evan Longoria, who’s been happily tweeting about his vacation to Hawaii and his home chef skills, weighed in on the slow free agent market yesterday. There’s some irony here in that (a) due to his extensions with the Rays, Longo has never been a free agent and (b) most Giants observers see his long, pricey contract as an albatross that helped get Bobby Evans fired as GM, but here are Longoria’s thoughts, for what it’s worth.

 

 

Of course, someone will sign Harper and Machado eventually, and other top guys like Marwin Gonzalez and Dallas Keuchel…won’t they? Keuchel’s wondering, too.

 

Hey, the Giants did sign a free agent!

Welcome back, Derek Holland. His new deal guarantees him $7 million, and the Giants hold a team option for 2020. This seems like a fair deal for him and a nice deal for the Giants, who get a reliable and versatile arm–remember how Holland was great out of the bullpen for a few outings around the All-Star break? And as we know, Farhan Zaidi is all in on “versatile”–that may be a better new watchword for us than “fulsome,” come to think of it.  For example: “Foothills Ryan is versatile because he can move back and forth between UC jobs, run a farm, raise baby cows into steaks, saute up some mean kale, and scout baseball prospects.”

Anyway, welcome back, Derek!

 

Things are not always as they seem.

 

A Sonny Gray reunion with Curt Young?

Well…maybe not. There were rumors a couple days ago that the Giants were in the mix to make a trade for Gray, but the latest reports sure sound like Sonny will be a Cincinnati Red pretty soon. Too bad. I like Sonny. I still remember him pitching well in the ALDS in 2013 when he was a 23-year-old rookie. Yeah, the A’s lost that series, but he handled the pressure quite well. It would be fun to see him in a rotation with Bumgarner, even if only for a year.

The Brewers should trade for Sonny. They need him more than the Reds do.

 

Prospect rankings

Several different prospect lists came out this last week. Let’s just get this over with: Every evaluator talks pretty scathingly about how “thin” the Giants’ system is. It’s sad, and you can see why one of Zaidi’s first moves was to replace the heads of both amateur and pro scouting. Anyway, it is interesting to see how the top prospects, such as they are, are ranked across different lists and what other names pop up.

I find it fascinating that, after Bart as the obvious #1 (Bart was also named top catching prospect in the majors this week by MLB Pipeline), there are a lot of differences across the lists. One list has Luciano as #2. Another has him only #5. There are players who appear on one list but not any of the others. Anyway, it’s something to tuck away when it’s time to pick our names for MyGuy™ 2019.

 

What’s next?

So the Giants have at least a semblance of a rotation now, and they still have all of their bullpen pieces. What’s next? It HAS to be an outfielder–right? RIGHT?!  We shall see. I’ll go out on a limb and say there will be another move–a trade or a free-agent signing–by this time next week. In the meantime, let’s cheer ourselves up by remembering the time Klay Thompson’s dog Rocco took a dump on Dodger Stadium.  Lefty out.