Monday, February 28, 2011

Saltzman Says...Bad Scouting over Bad Luck for the Warriors

Every single NBA Draft becomes a crap shoot.  For every Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'neal, and LeBron James there is a Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, and Michael Olowokandi to remind all of us that even when you can choose among every single available player, you can make a huge mistake.

The Golden State Warriors have been terrible on draft day.  There is no other way to put it.  Let's be real blunt.  For the number of times the Warriors have picked in the lottery, they should have accidentally fallen on a franchise player.  Even the Los Angeles Clippers have had some luck over the years with Elton Brand, Eric Gordon and now Blake Griffin.

The Warriors only two draft gems in the last 15 years have been 2nd round finds in Gilbert Arenas and Monta Ellis.  That being said, the Warriors drafted Chris Taft two picks before Ellis, and had two 1st round picks before they selected Arenas.

The Warriors scouting department and brain trust in the front office should be ashamed of their performance.  Let's go back to 1992.  This was the last year the Warriors made a strong first round pick.  Of course, Latrell Sprewell will forever be remembered as much for his choking of P.J. Carlisemo as his play on the court, but to grab him with the 24th pick was a reminder that the Warriors in the late 1980's and early 1990's had a strong group of evaluators. 

1993:  Chris Webber was the #1 overall pick, and after the Warriors selected Anfernee Hardaway with the #3 selection we gave up 3 1st round picks in the future to grab Webber.  One year later, Webber was in Washington and the Warriors were left with Tom Gugliotta.

Instead of going year by year through this train wreck of a franchise (Here is an article where I focused on their draft history)  let's instead see if anyone else besides the Warriors have fallen on "bad luck" every year since 1994.  Here is my Top 5 among the first round selections:  (If a player was traded on draft day, I am crediting the team that traded for them)

1. Dallas Mavericks: Jason Kidd
2. Detroit Pistons: Grant Hill
3. Los Angeles Lakers: Eddie Jones
4. Milwaukee Bucks: Glenn Robinson
5. Washington Wizards (Bullets): Juwan Howard

6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett
Washington: Rasheed Wallace
7. Phoenix Suns: Michael Finley
8. Philadelphia 76ers: Jerry Stackhouse
9. Toronto Raptors: Damon Stoudamire

L.A.: Kobe Bryant
Phoenix: Steve Nash
Milwaukee: Ray Allen
Philadelphia: Allen Iverson
10. Portland Trailblazers: Jermaine O'neal

11. San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan
12. Boston Celtics: Chauncey Billups
Toronto: Tracy McGrady
13. Memphis (Vancouver) Grizzlies: Antonio Daniels
14. Denver Nuggets: Danny Fortson

Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki
Boston: Paul Pierce
Toronto: Vince Carter
Memphis (Vancouver): Mike Bibby
15. Golden State Warriors: Antawn Jamison
(FYI - Nowitzki, Pierce and Carter were all options for the Warriors at #5)

16. Chicago Bulls: Elton Brand
17. Charlotte (New Orleans) Hornets: Baron Davis
Phoenix: Shawn Marion
Washington: Richard Hamilton
Memphis (Vancouver): Steve Francis

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saltzman Says...Here's hoping Kevin Frandsen finds a role

Kevin Franden, who grew up cheering for the San Francisco Giants much like myself, is trying to make the Padres Opening Day roster as a utility infielder

Frandsen graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California, and later attended San José State University, playing for the Spartans and leaving the school as its all-time leader in hits. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 12th round (370th overall) of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft and made his Major League debut with the Giants on April 28, 2006. Frandsen hit his first Major League home run on August 17, 2006, against the Padres at PETCO Park.  In March 2008, the San Francisco Giants confirmed that Frandsen ruptured his left Achilles' tendon, which forced him to miss nearly the entire season. Frandsen was activated before the final game of the season; he had his only at-bat as a pinch hitter and made an out. During the Giants' 2009 spring training camp Frandsen competed with Emmanuel Burriss for the starting second baseman position; Burris was named the starter on April 1, 2009 and Frandsen was sent to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. Later in the year, May 17, 2009, Frandsen was called up as Juan Uribe was placed on the bereavement list. Just prior to the 2010 season, Frandsen was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later and cash considerations.

In memory of DJ Frandsen, who was Kevin's older brother, here is the link to an article about how Kevin kept his brother's memory alive as he ascended to the major leagues.

Saltzman Says...Recalling an earlier Warriors post

Possible Free Agents Revisited:
Originally posted on 2/4/11
If the Warriors don't make a move at the deadline, they will have about $7 million to play with next off-season and their mid-level exception, which should be about $5 million a year.

If the Warriors were to pay DeAndre Jordan $7 million a year and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and our own restricted free agent Reggie Williams a share of the $5 million a year mid level exception, I think we could make the playoffs.  We should probably bring back Vladimir Radmanovic for the veteran's minimum too.

Jordan could be an intimidating presence in the middle for the Warriors

Jordan gives us a legit shot blocker who will push Biedrins for minutes and should start.

Mbah a Moute could start at SF for us, and allow Dorell Wright to win sixth man of the year.  He could finally give us a replacement for Stephen Jackson, as he has shown the versatility to guard Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki among others.

Would Mbah a Moute finally give us a defender like we had in Stephen Jackson?

Both can excel on the defensive end of the floor.  Both are restricted free agents for teams that have plenty of other big name free agents they might not be able to move (i.e. former Warriors Baron Davis and Corey Maggette respectively.)

If we draft a big point guard in June, we can give Curry someone to control the 2nd unit.

2011-12 Roster:
PG Stephen Curry
PG Draft pick
SG Monta Ellis
SG Reggie Williams (our own RFA)
SF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
SF Dorell Wright
SF Vladimir Radmanovic (might be re-signed for vet's minimum)
PF David Lee
PF Ekpe Udoh 
C DeAndre Jordan
C Andris Biedrins
C Lou Admunson
If we are playing a big team, we could put out a 5 of Curry/Wright/Mbah a Moute/Udoh/Biedrins and have more length and quickness.

If we are playing a slow team, we could put Curry/Ellis/Wright/Lee/Jordan and run them out of the gym.

I think we are close to being a respectable team, and we don't yet have the talent to compete with the elite teams.  Ellis averaging 25 a game, Lee averaging a double-double, and Curry growing into a starting point guard role can all end up improving even more next year.  That, on top of the possible new additions next year could finally get us into the playoffs on a consistent basis.

Saltzman Says...Warriors have key pieces missing

The Warriors have a closer.  Do they have any other pieces?
In my previous post, I established my 5 criteria for a championship:
1. A center who can defend the paint
2. A great defender on the perimeter
3. A point guard who can facilitate
4. Perimeter scoring
5. A Closer

So, to keep this local, how far are the Golden State Warriors from a championship?  On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being Todd Fuller and 10 being Bill Russell) how far away is Golden State from a title?

1. Andris Biedrins (4)
2. Dorell Wright (6)
3. Stephen Curry (6)
4. Reggie Williams (9)
5. Monta Ellis (9)

6. David Lee (7): it might sound redundant, and it is almost always the case, but a rebounding PF would rank next.
7. Acie Law (2): Backup facilitator is almost as important as the starter, because you always need a point who can run the offense.
8. Ekpe Udoh (6): you need another defender of the rim.  Most big men can't play anywhere near 48 minutes a game, so you can't have big stretches without a strong defender in the paint.
9. Charlie Bell (2): Another perimeter defender who can sub in and help keep the other team from going on a run.
10. Vladimir Radmanovic (5): Another perimeter scorer who can sub in and help keep the other team from shutting down the offense.
11.  Lou Amundson (5): Energy guy off the bench, who can help the frontcourt through an 82 game season and four rounds of the playoffs.
12. Jeremy Lin (2): Energy guy off the bench, who can help the backcourt through an 82 game season and four rounds of the playoffs.

The biggest problem the Warriors face going forward is Andris Biedrins.  He is nowhere near the center who seemed to not only deserve $9 million a year to be our defender in the paint, but was only going to get better.  Instead, he has only gotten worse.  He has become a shell of himself on the offensive end, mainly because of a fear of the free throw line.  He has become so passive, it is not worth the minimal effort he does give on the defensive end to warrant the money he is making.

The Warriors have only six players who are above average for their role on any championship caliber team.  1. Monta Ellis is clearly one of the elite closers in the NBA.
2. Reggie Williams has clearly established himself as an outside scoring threat.  If the Warriors are to become a championship team, they need to allow Williams to flourish in this role.
3. David Lee has a lot of areas he can improve on, but this ability on the glass is essential to any team looking to play into May and June.
4. Stephen Curry will rise up this list soon enough, but his role as the team's facilitator is only slightly above average at this point.  He is a much better shooter than most point guards in the league, but as a passer, leader and defender, he has work to do.
5. Dorell Wright has been given the role of perimeter defender, and has shown to be adequate against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James.  He is not where he needs to be in this role, but he is also been asked to be much more.  If the Warriors can find a defensive first swingman who can play SF, Wright can be a more valuable asset to the Warriors long term.
6. Ekpe Udoh could unseat Biedrins as soon as this year, but his play at the rim has shown the potential to be a part of something special.  He may never be the starting center on a championship team, but he could already be a contributor.

Saltzman Says...Map to NBA Championship has never changed

The road to a title in the NBA is very simple.  So simple in fact, that more than half of the championships won (34 of 64) have been by two teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics (17 each). The Lakers and Celtics have not only won the most championships in the history of the NBA, but they have faced each other for the title 12 times. 

It really comes down to 5 facts about your team.  If you have these 5, you can win a title too:

1. A center who can defend the paint.

Not every championship team has a dominant center.  In some cases, they didn't have a dominant scorer at either center or power forward.  However, there has yet to be a championship team who didn't have a big man who can defend.  The first step in stopping every other team in the league is to force them to score from outside the paint.  Teams that can intimidate their opponents from entering the paint in the first place, have already won the most important battle.

George Mikan, Bill Russell, Willis Reed, Nate Thurmond, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Robert Parish, Bill Cartwright, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Ben Wallace, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and even Andrew Bynum are all examples of big men who can defend the rim and have titles to prove it.

2. A great defender on the perimeter. 

Whether it is the best player on the floor, such as Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, or whether it is a man who plays solely for his defense like Bruce Bowen or Michael Cooper, having a swingman who can take the other team's best scorer is critical.  All championship teams have at least one great defender who can control the game on the defensive end outside the paint as well.  By limiting the opponents in the paint and controlling teams on the perimeter, the half court game becomes very difficult.  All great teams have a defensive identity that is clear and intimidating.

3. A point guard who can facilitate

Many teams, especially recently, have had average point guards help them win championships.  However, no championship team has had an average leader running the offense.  Whether it was Derek Fisher in L.A., Ron Harper in Chicago, or Sam Cassell in Houston, every championship point guard knew how to run the team's offense to perfection.  Both Fisher and Harper ran the "Triangle Offense" for Phil Jackson and Sam Cassell helped facilitate to sharp shooters Kenny Smith and Vernon Maxwell and big men Hakeem Olajuwon and Otis Thorpe in Houston.  They controlled the game and let their teammates shine more than them.  Fisher and Cassell were able to make some big shots during their championship runs, but it always started with them controlling the tempo of the offense.  Harper knew his biggest role was at the defensive end to help Michael Jordan have the legs to dominate on both ends for four quarters.  However, he also made sure the team ran the offense smoothly too, even if it meant letting Jordan take over.  That kind of team mentality is essential to a winning basketball team.  There can be no egos at the point guard position. 

4. Perimeter scoring

No team can win if they can't score from the outside as well as the inside.  Most teams today have added shooters to their championship teams.  Role players like Jason Kapono, Trevor Ariza, Eddie House, Brent Barry, Robert Horry, John Paxson, Steve Kerr and Vinnie Johnson have all been able to help their teams win titles.  This is where team becomes huge.  These will always be players who could average more points playing for someone else or maybe make more money being the focal point somewhere else.  However, these shooters must be content with not doing much else.  Often times these are not starters, and if they do start, they are only asked to shoot.  So many good shooters want to contribute more nowadays and get lost in the importance of being a deadly sniper.  These players are critical to overall team success but not ultimate financial success.

5. A Closer

Very similar to baseball, basketball in the final two minutes, is left up to one player.  This doesn't always mean they have to take the last shot.  Jordan proved that by winning six titles, but passing off to Paxson and Kerr for two of those titles.  However, you need one player that is clearly your go to guy and will force the defense to do whatever it can to beat him.  This establishes two essential roles.  The role of the other four players, which is to find open space to spot up and shoot or to get great position for an offensive rebound.  It also establishes who is in charge at the end of the game.  The point guard becomes a quarterback with a great running game in this situation often times.  They must make sure they can get the ball to the best player on the floor.  Sometimes it has been the point guard who was the closer (i.e. Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson)  but usually it is one of the other perimeter players.  If the only dominant player is the center, often times it is impossible to get them the ball at the end of games.  The defense is usually so good by the time a team reaches the finals, that the paint is almost always unavailable.  What made a player like Kareem Abdul Jabbar so great was his ability to score outside the paint with his sky hook.  It allowed the Lakers to use their best player, Magic Johnson, but always have the ability to feed it to their other best player just outside the paint.

Saltzman Says...Warriors left in the dust by Knicks, Nets

Despite $17 million in expiring contracts, the Warriors spent the last 24 hours watching two of the top 24 players in the NBA be traded with their help. 

1. First, the Warriors watched as two 2nd round picks that were originally theres as well as former PF Anthony Randolph, go from New York to Denver and Minnesota respectively, to help finalize the Carmelo trade to the Knicks. The 2nd round picks and Anthony Randolph were part of the David Lee trade over the summer. 

2. Now, it is being reported, that Deron Williams is heading to New Jersey, and the Warriors are sending Dan Gadzuric to New Jersey to help the trade work financially. 

Now, a positive here, (and maybe this is the grand plan part 1) is two of the top 12 Western Conference All-Stars are now in the Eastern Conference.  Not to mention, Chauncey Billups is also in New York now.

For the 2010-11 season, two teams ahead of the Warriors in the standings just got much worse in the short term.  Denver now has Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari in their starting lineup with no guarantee they can convince their lone star left, Nene, to sign an extension.  Utah reportedly just lost one of the best point guards in the Western Conference, and only got a former Eastern Conference all-star in Devin Harris and a long term answer at power forward in Derrick Favors. They will have multiple 1st round picks and a power forward better than David Lee when it is all said and done, but this year, they won't be nearly as good.

The Warriors, by the end of the trade deadline, may have 4 or 5 draft picks for next year, and have had great success in the recent past in the 2nd round (Gilbert Arenas and Monta Ellis)  Joe Lacob, the Warriors new owner, has said it is imperitive to build through the draft.  Stephen Curry, Ellis and Ekpe Udoh all came through the draft, and the Warriors have some gaping holes to fill.

If they can't find NBA ready players at the deadline, they are still in desperate need of a offensive threat down low who can play alongside David Lee, a wing defender who can tandem with Dorell Wright at the small forward, and a guard who could allow the Warriors the luxury of sitting Curry or Ellis during long stretches to keep them fresh for the fourth quarter.

However, if the Boston Celtics game last night is any indication, the Warriors are far from where they need to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saltzman Says...Michael Lizarraga is an Inspiration

Michael Lizarraga plays Division 1 basketball for Cal State Northridge
Michael Lizarraga inspires 14 year old

New York Times piece written December 28, 2010

Saltzman Says...The NFL needs to respond to Dave Duerson's actions

Dave Duerson, 50, committed suicide Thursday and has asked his family to donate his brain to Boston University.  The NFL needs to stop these talks among the owners and the players over billions of dollars in revenue, and simply wake up to the problems players face after they retire.  Whatever the players are hoping to make during their careers must be set aside for them after their careers.  Full lifetime medical insurance.  Why is that so hard to understand.  Players must be compensated for any and all health problems they have after their careers.  Owners can justify giving players less money now to guarantee them money later.  Andre Waters and Dave Duerson are just two of the most tragic stories.  The NFL has become America's game, and it owes it's players more after their careers for the success they have had.

Andre Waters and Dave Duerson are just the beginning if the NFL doesn't change it's ways

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saltzman Says...2011 Dunk Contest is the 2nd Worst Ever

Andre Iguodala was robbed in 2006.  It was by far the worst dunk contest ever.  Nate Robinson tried over and over and over, etc... to do a dunk where he flipped the ball through his legs, but in the end, it was a simple dunk.  Iguodala had two of the best 10 dunks ever. Period.

2011 saw Serge Ibaka get robbed almost as badly. Ibaka dunked it from the foul line further back than anyone in history and he got a 45.  Brent Barry and Dr. J. were among the judges and they didn't give 10s for a fellow free throw-dunker. That's cold.  Blake Griffin, despite all the hype, ended up doing a simple 360.  It wasn't hard at all.  The initial attempt looked incredible, but he missed it.  His 3rd attempt was simply a 360.  Nothing more.  It was a 40 at best.  He got a 49.  Everyone in L.A. wanted to see Griffin advance.  Javale McGee gets an 'A' for creativity, but an 'F' for execution.  He made a dunk on his 1st attempt, yet because he was trying to dunk on two separate hoops, he kept being allowed to try it.  The same thing happened when he tried dunking three balls.  He kept getting one or two.  It was pathetic.  Ibaka's 2nd dunk was a play on the Gerald Green birthday cupcake dunk.  He grabbed a toy Oklahoma City Thunder mascot off the rim with his teeth and dunked it.  Again, a 45.  His lips were at the rim.

Ibaka's creativity wasn't awarded at the dunk contest.

Ibaka deserved to get to the final.  He didn't, and Blake Griffin, for all the buildup, ended up winning because he jumped over the hood of a Kia.  Not a Hummer, not the top of a car.  He did a regular two handed dunk over the hood of a car.  Every single contestant in the history of the dunk contest could do that dunk.

Nate Robinson stole the title in 2006. Griffin stole it in 2011.

This was a great dunk, but Blake Griffin didn't deserve the title

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saltzman Says...Questions heading into Spring Training

Now that the best time of year is upon us and Pitchers and Catchers have reported to Scottsdale, here are my two cents on the biggest questions heading into Spring.

1. Will Pablo Sandoval be what he was in 2009?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: He might never be a .330 hitter with 25 home runs and 90 RBI's.  However, he may very well turn into a .300 hitter who can cut down on his strikeouts and put the ball in play more often.  In 2011, it could lead to Pablo setting a record for double plays since he is still on one of the slowest teams in baseball.  It could also lead to a much higher on base percentage and a consistent place in the lineup for Bruce Bochy.  Bochy talked after the World Series about waking up weeks after Game 5 still thinking about his lineup card.  If Sandoval can put up a reliable line, Sandoval can be penciled in each and every day at third base for the Giants.

2. Will Brandon Belt start on Opening Day?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: The Giants have a current "Super 2" catcher in Buster Posey, who was brought up three days early in 2010 because the team needed his bat to try and win the Western Division.  The team realized that despite the salaries rising for several players, they could afford to go to arbitration a year early with Posey.  The same happened with Tim Lincecum, who was brought up in May and cost the Giants $23 million over the first two years of his arbitration.  That would have happened anyway, but it wouldn't have started until 2010 for Lincecum had he stayed in Fresno for an extra three weeks.  If Brandon Belt performs how the team expects, it is very possible a May call-up could happen.  When it does happen, Belt will become an everyday starter.  With so many options on the roster to play left field in 2011, it would take a monster spring for the Giants to consider bringing belt up to face the Dodgers on March 31.  Belt and Aubrey Huff will eventually share left field and 1st base in 2011, but it is unlikely to begin in March.

3. Will the Giants starters wear down from the extra month of pitching in October?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer:  Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner did pitch more innings than ever before in their careers.  However, with a reloaded bullpen, the Giants are poised to continue where they left off.  Lincecum and Cain might not go 8 or 9 innings much in the first few months of the season.  Jonathan Sanchez is projected to be the 3rd starter and Madison Bumgarner is projected to be the 4th starter.  However, Barry Zito, who was brought in to be the ace, will more than likely be asked to be a bridge from Lincecum and Cain who have established themselves in the regular season as the two best pitchers on the staff, and Sanchez and Bumgarner, who do not have nearly the same track record.  It would make sense from the developmental stand point of the two younger lefties.  Zito is expected to pitch every 5th day and take the ball for at least 5 innings.  Even though he has become the newest version of Livan Hernandez, Kirk Rueter, Mark Gardner, etc... He does stay healthy and he does pitch very well at times.  Allowing Sanchez and Bumgarner to face opponents 4th and 5th starters respectively should help their overall success.  Jeff Suppan, Brian Lawrence, Guillermo Mota and Dan Runzler are all in Spring Training with the purpose of giving the Giants long relief options as well.

4. Will one player win the everyday job in Left Field?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer:  If Brian Sabean wanted an everyday left fielder this off-season, he would have gone after Carl Crawford harder.  Sabean knows that with the current makeup of his team, he needs to give Bruce Bochy the flexibility to be productive.  Pat Burrell, Mark DeRosa, Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres all logged time in 2010 in left field and Aaron Rowand and Brandon Belt could also be in the mix.  Burrell might end up as the team's fourth outfielder and best right handed power bat off the bench.  DeRosa might never again be healthy enough to earn his $6 million a year.  Huff will only win the everyday left field job if Brandon Belt becomes the everyday 1st baseman.  Cody Ross will only play left field in Nate Schierholtz earns a starting job in right.  Ross and Torres will be two of the three starting outfielders barring injury.  Torres would only become our starting left fielder in Aaron Rowand won his center field job back, and even then it would probably be Ross in left and Torres in right. 

5. Will Buster Posey have a sophomore slump like Pablo?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: Buster Posey, who capped off his rookie season with a championship and a Rookie of the Year trophy, has only greatness ahead of him if he stays at that kind of pace.  Pablo Sandoval burst onto the scene in a very similar way, leading a Bondsless team with his fun loving, power swinging persona.  His .330 average was remarkable and his 25 home runs and 90 RBI's were incredible.  Sandoval's drop off was so significant in 2010, that he barely played in the post-season.  Posey, who never missed a game down the stretch playing the most demanding position, seemed to flourish in the most pressure packed situations.  Posey's sophomore year is not slump proof, but his position has a lot to do with his chance for repeat success.  As the team's starting catcher, Posey will be as important to the team behind the plate as he will be in the middle of the lineup.  If Bengi Molina, Mike Matheny, Benito Santiago and the others before them proved anything, it is that a quality backstop can help the entire ballclub.  Posey's defense will help our biggest strength, the pitching staff, stay on their game, it will allow the other team's running game to be less of a factor, and it will allow any hitting slump Posey has not to be looked at so critically.  Veterans like Huff, Ross, Burrell and Miguel Tejada will help both Posey and Sandoval by being protected in the Giants lineup.

Will there be more magic in 2011?

Saltzman Says...Gilbert Arenas gives advice to Warriors

"And then, hopefully, they make the right decisions by building veterans around him, like [the Boston Celtics did with Rajon] Rondo, like [the Chicago Bulls] did with Derrick Rose. You've got to put veterans [there] so he can learn how to play winning basketball. If he stays with all these young guys, he's just going to learn how to lose and be OK with it."

Read more: Put Veterans around Wall
Even though Gilbert didn't mention the Warriors directly, I think his take on how Wall can be successful is s direct connection to his time in Golden State.  By playing with young guys with no experience like Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, and Mike Dunleavy, nobody knew how to win in the NBA.  After Arenas moved to Washington, he was surrounded by a wiser Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler and put into a winning environment.  Gilbert's best years in the NBA were played with veterans who knew how to win.
Stephen Curry has Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and David Lee, who each have played on one playoff team.  Dorell Wright saw many playoff rounds with his time in Miami.  Vladimir Radmanovic has some great years in L.A. to reflect back on.  The key to success for Curry is to know that the season is a marathon and that having a great stat line means nothing if you don't win the game.  Curry has his father to aide him about winning basketball too, and Keith Smart has coached and been coached by some of the best the game has ever seen. 

Can Smart and Curry make the Warriors great again?

Growing as a team can work in the NBA, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are a perfect example.  With a superstar in Kevin Durant, a growing leader ont the court in Russell Westbrook, a disciplined defensive minded coach in Scott Brooks, and great role players in Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saltzman Says...Sergio Romo has two sides to his beard

Sergio Romo's twitter account is (@SergioRomo54)

Sergio Romo's beard has his own account (@RomosBeard)

From Courtesy of Henry Shulman:
Another hairy tale: Wilson's beard might be more famous, but fellow reliever Sergio Romo's is just as long. Moreover, Romo's beard has its own Twitter feed. Somebody opened an account under the name @RomosBeard and has posted tweets purportedly written by the beard itself.
It sounds strange, but the real Romo (@SergioRomo54) loves it.
"He literally talks as if he's on my face," the reliever said. "It was a little awkward at first, but it just shows my personality. It's a good way to think out of the box, and I'm not a guy who thinks inside the box."

Will Sergio's beard take on a life of it's own like Brian Wilson's in 2011?

Read more: 

Saltzman Says...Two Trades the Warriors could do right now

Courtesy of ESPN Trade Checker

Sacramento Gets:  Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright
Golden State Gets: Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Beno Udrih

Why Sacramento would do this trade: They get $10 million off the books for next year and become big players in the off-season.

Will Andris Biedrins ever get back to his old form again?

Minnesota Gets: Andris Biedrins
Golden State Gets: Jonny Flynn and Corey Brewer

Why Minnesota would do this trade:  With Flynn and Brewer not long term answers, they can move them for a 25 year old center who can improve their defense and help Love and Beasley on the glass.

We could give ourselves a completely revamped 2nd unit.  It would increase our overall talent level and push players we do have to fight for minutes.

Our new lineup:
C Ekpe Udoh
PF David Lee
SF Dorell Wright
SG Monta Ellis
PG Stephen Curry

2nd Unit:
C Lou Amundson/Jason Thompson
PF Carl Landry
SF Reggie Williams
SG Corey Brewer
PG Jonny Flynn/Beno Udrih

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chris Haft Says...Relaxed and Ready and Reunited

Relaxed and ready: Champion Giants reunite

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the Giants don't repeat as World Series champions, complacency won't be a reason.
Pitchers and catchers reported to camp Monday, as scheduled. They were joined by a slew of position players -- including Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez -- intent on getting a jump-start on their workouts. Most of them, of course, already had been training for weeks. Position players are due to report Friday, with the initial full-squad workout slated for Saturday.
Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez wasn't surprised by the big turnout.
"After last year, you want to be back hanging out with the guys," said Sanchez, the pitcher of record in the 2010 regular-season finale that clinched the National League West title for the Giants before they surged through the postseason.
As always when players reunite, the atmosphere was relaxed, with a dash of hilarity. Right-hander Tim Lincecum provided some humor when he explained the absence of the wispy mustache and soul patch he sported at FanFest last week.

"My dog licked it off," Lincecum said.
As the Giants strive to become the first National League team since the 1975-76 Reds to win consecutive World Series, they face the same delicate balance that confronts all titlists in every sport.
"I think we have to, in a way, carry some of the stuff that we did last year with us, but we also have to wipe the slate clean," right-hander Matt Cain said.
The Giants will be scrutinized more closely than most defending champs. Major League Baseball Productions and the Showtime cable network are collaborating on a series that has been billed as an inside look at the team. The Giants attracted this attention not just with their success, but also with their assortment of expressive players. Closer Brian Wilson's beard acquired a life of its own. First baseman Aubrey Huff gained fame with his crimson "rally thong." Lincecum sported flowing locks that he trimmed once, maybe twice, all season.
"Everybody got to see who we were," Lincecum said. "Everybody came in doing different things: the rally thong, the beard, the hair, what have you. I think it's going to be something that we stick with."
The show's producers have assured the team that neither their privacy nor their concentration will be breached.
"We're not worried about having a couple of extra cameras around," Cain said.
That's partly because nobody will have to look far for a friendly, familiar face. Everybody from the postseason roster is back except for infielders Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria, whose three-run homer provided all of San Francisco's scoring in its World Series-clinching Game 5 triumph over the Texas Rangers. That doesn't include left-hander Barry Zito, who spent all season on the 25-man roster, or left-hander Dan Runzler and utility man Mark DeRosa, whose seasons were interrupted by injuries.
The Giants' few new faces are significant ones. Shortstop Miguel Tejada is expected to fill the void created by the departures of Uribe and Renteria. Right-hander Jeff Suppan, a 14-year veteran, hopes to provide depth. Rookie first baseman-outfielder Brandon Belt, a non-roster invitee like Suppan, will receive a chance to win a spot in the Opening Day lineup.
Health is a significant issue for only two players: DeRosa, who's eager to prove that he has recovered from left wrist surgery, and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who believes that he'll be ready to participate in Cactus League exhibition games in early March after undergoing left shoulder surgery last December.
Lincecum, Cain and left-handers Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner will be supervised closely after the postseason forced them to exceed their career-high workloads by an average of 43 innings apiece.
Said an unruffled Cain, "I think we have a group of guys who aren't afraid to work hard and do the things we have to do to repeat."

Posey reported Monday with the rest of the Pitchers and Catchers
Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saltzman Says...Pitchers and Catchers!!!

Pitchers and Catchers reported today!

Will the two rookies continue with the same magic in 2011?

Your San Francisco Giants Spring Training Headquarters

Articles from Today:
Courtesy of KTVU Channel 2
Courtesy of the East Valley Tribune

Saltzman Says...The Trade Deadline is in Two Weeks

My Two Cents...

1.  If we are trading Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry at the deadline, we better be getting an All-Star type in return.  (Andre Iguodala, Nene, Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Wallace, etc...)  You don't give up either of your two best players unless you are getting an equally good player in return that fits better in the starting lineup.  Stop suggesting trades where we get trash in return but give up a stud.
2. If we are moving Andris Biedrins, the way he is playing, it will probably be for an equally bad contract.  Were not getting much back if we move him.
3. David Lee, Dorell Wright, and Ekpe Udoh are not going anywhere.  Lee is too expensive to move and is the best power forward we have had since Chris Webber.  Wright is at worst, one of the best 6th man in basketball, and is too valuable for how small his contract is.  Udoh is proving to be a great student of the game, is on a rookie contract, and has tremendous upside.
4. Our expirings are worthless.  Dan Gadzuric, Vladimir Radmanovic and Brandan Wright have zero value, so the only way a team takes one of them, is if they are desperate to get under the cap.  I don't know if there is that much desperation out there.

Honestly, I'd prefer to get better bench players for what we have.  Let the starting 5 continue to play together this year, and see if we can't move the three expirings and Charlie Bell.

Will Dorell Wright's all around game equal his 3 point shooting?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Saltzman Says...Bay Area Faces in the Crowd: Derion Taylor

Derion Taylor - Link to his Direct Athletics page

Briefs: CSM’s Taylor best in NorCal in triple jump Derion Taylor doesn’t like losing

Briefs: CSM’s Taylor best in NorCal in triple jump
Derion Taylor doesn’t like losing. So the College of San Mateo freshman produced a personal-best triple jump of 48 feet, 7 1/2 inches on his final attempt to win the Northern California Community College title Friday night at American River College in Sacramento.
The freshman equaled his personal best of 47-5 in the fifth round to take the lead — briefly. But favored Ka Wai Ng of De Anza responded with a jump of 48-0 3/4.
“I thought about what I needed to do after that,” said Taylor. “It was a competition, and I don’t like losing.”
Taylor, who had jumped 47-5 to win the Central Coast Section title for Evergreen Valley last year, composed himself for his final jump. He had a “perfect” tailwind of exactly 2.0 meters per second, just at the allowable limit to get the win on his sixth attempt — although missing the CSM school record by a half-inch.
That will be his target in the state finals next weekend at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster.

Derion has transferred to College of San Mateo

Saltzman Says...Bay Area Faces in the Crowd: Golde Ibia

Golde Ibia

Golde has shined at UC Irvine in the hurdles and the sprints

Looking Back in the Bay Area Archives:

June 15, 2007

Evergreen Sports

EVHS hurdler Golde Ibia places sixth at state track and field meet
CCS boys’ triple jump champ Nathan Goodrich misses cut in prelims
of state meet after battling untimely illness

By Diego Abeloos

Evergreen’s Golde Ibia placed sixth in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles during the 2007 CIF State Track and Field Championships in Sacramento on June 2, signaling the end of another successful season for the junior runner.

Evergreen's Golde Ibia sails over a hurdle during the girls’ 100-meter hurdles event at the 2007 CIF State Track And Field Championships at Sacramento City College on June 2. Ibia finished sixth with a time of 13.99 seconds. Photo by Dan Miranda

Ibia, who finished eighth in the same event at the state meet last season, went one step further in 2007, placing sixth with a personal best time of 13.99 seconds in what was described by some as the fastest girls’ high school 100-meter hurdles race in recent history, featuring Vashti Thomas of Mt. Pleasant setting a new National Federation record with a time of 13.03 seconds in the event.

All told, the junior hurdler’s performance was a pleasing development for Evergreen head coach Jonathan Hubbs. Ibia bounced back in the event with a sixth place finish after taking the final qualifying spot (ninth) during preliminaries the day before with a time of 14.16 seconds.

“Golde, as always, put out an outstanding effort,” Hubbs said of Ibia. “…She snuck in and got the ninth seed in the finals, but she ended up being in what they called ‘the fastest race’ in 100-meter high school hurdle race. It was a perfect race to PR (get a personal record) in, and Golde PR’d with a 13.99 (second race). She was extremely excited to finally break that 14-second barrier. It’s the perfect way to end the season.”

Evergreen’s other representative at the state meet, CCS triple jump champion Nathan Goodrich, saw his luck turn for the worse before he even reached the grounds of Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium, as the senior came down with a bad case of food poisoning the week leading up to the meet.

Goodrich, in turn, didn’t make it out of the preliminary round of the event on June 1, finishing 16th with a high mark of 44 feet and 5.75 inches, which he achieved in the first of three jump attempts.

“It might have affected his performance,” Hubbs said of Goodrich’s illness. “He was jumping into a headwind and stuff like that, so a lot of the marks weren’t too impressive for anybody in that field.”

Goodrich, who clinched an individual CCS championship in the triple jump with a mark of 46 feet and four inches, a week after posting a personal best jump of 46 feet and 11.5 inches in the CCS Semifinals, was naturally upset at how things unfolded in Sacramento in his first and only appearance at the state meet, according to Hubbs.

“He’s a little disappointed,” Hubbs said. “I think overall he’s happy to have been there and to experience that in his senior year. It’s a really great experience just to go to the state meet and be there with the best in the state of California. When you go to the state meet in California, that’s one of the best state meets in all of the United States, so that says something, just to make it there.”

Still, Hubbs said Goodrich’s season was largely successful, noting that the senior was the first in school history to be a boys’ CCS champion in any event. Hubbs added that Goodrich will only get better with time, beginning next season, when the triple jumper will compete for West Valley College in track and field.

“He’s worked so hard and has competed in really great meets all year long,” Hubbs said of Goodrich. “…He improved his best jump by over a foot in the triple jump. Overall, he’s had a really successful senior year and that just sets him up for next year in college.”

As for Ibia, her sixth place finish set a foundation for what Hubbs hopes is a successful senior season in 2008.
“Going into senior year and already running under 14 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, we’re looking to improve even more,” Hubbs said. “I know she really wants to improve even more and she’s going to have to work hard. She knows she has to work hard to take it to a whole new level.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saltzman Says...Bay Area Faces in the Crowd: Usua Amanam

 Usua Amanam played at Bellarmine College Prep, and The Harker School before that.  He is currently in his second year at Stanford University, playing running back.  Here is a link to the article in the Mercury News back in 2007 when they named Usua the player of the year.

What will Usua and the other Cardinal do for an encore in 2011?

Saltzman Says...Bay Area Faces in the Crowd: Jason Martin

Jason Martin is heading into his last season at San Jose State.  He has been a fixture in the lineup since he walked on in 2007. 

Jason is heading into his senior year for the Spartans

Saltzman Says...Jerry Sloan resigning hurts Professional Sports

First Jeff Fisher steps down after 17 years in Tennessee's organization.  Fisher didn't get along with quarterback Vince Young.  Now, Jerry Sloan is reportedly walking away from Utah after almost 23 years.  Reportedly, Jerry Sloan is not seeing eye-to-eye with Deron Williams.  Professional sports will never be the same, and it only took two weeks.  Even major college sports is falling apart.  Joe Paterno is nearing retirement in the next few years, and Bobby Bowden stepped away last year.  Mike Krzyzewski might be the only coach immune to everything wrong with being a head coach when he signed a limetime contract back in 2001.  His tenure at Duke won't end until he steps away, and he doesn't seem interested in doing so anytime soon. 

2010 National Champions

"I don't think you necessarily have to have a lifetime contract to have commitment. What you need to have on a day-to-day basis is dialogue where you're not working for somebody, you're working with somebody," Krzyzewski said. "And I've never felt that I work for Duke or for my presidents or for my AD. I've always felt that I've worked with them, and they've provided the atmosphere for that to happen. I don't think that happens very much." said Coach K back in 2001 when he signed the contract.

Will we ever see a coach hit 20 years with one organization again?  I don't see it and that is sad.  There are only so many great coaches and to see owners and general managers recycling them like can and bottles is a waste of great minds.  The likes of an Eddie Robinson are no more.  Connie Mack, Casey Stengel, Red Auerbach, George Halas and Tom Landry have all passed away and it is too bad after what has occured this week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saltzman Says...Giants Depth Chart (2/7/11)

San Francisco's Updated Organizational Depth Chart:

C Buster Posey (ML) {league minimum}
C Eli Whiteside (ML) {league minimum}
C Jackson Williams (Spring Training)
C Chris Stewart (Spring Training)
C Hector Sanchez (Spring Training)
C Aaron Lowenstein (AA)
C Eliezer Zambrano (AA)
C Tyler LaTorre (AA)
C Nestor Rojas (AA)
C Johnny Monell (Hi A)
C Tommy Joseph (Spring Training)
First Baseman:
1B: Aubrey Huff (ML) {re-signed for 2 years, $22 million}
1B Travis Ishikawa (ML) {league minimum}
1B Brandon Belt (Spring Training)
1B/RF Brad Eldred (Spring Training)
1B Brett Pill (AAA)
1B Andy D'Alessio (AA)
1B Michael Ambort (Hi A)
1B Josh Mazzola (Hi A)
1B Rafael Rodriguez (R) 
Second Baseman:
2B Freddy Sanchez (ML) {will make $6 million in 2011}
2B Mike Fontenot (ML) {will make $1 million in 2011}
2B Nick Noonan (Spring Training)
2B Charlie Culberson (Spring Training)
2B Brock Bond (AA)
2B Ryan Lormand (AA)
Third Baseman:
3B Pablo Sandoval (ML) {league minimum}
3B Ryan Rohlinger (Call Up)
3B Conor Gillespie (40 Man)
3B Brad Boyer (AA)
3B Joel Weeks (Hi A)
3B Drew Biery (Hi A)
3B Chris Dominguez (Lo A)
SS Miguel Tejada {will make $6.5 million in 2011}
SS Manny Burris (40 Man)
SS Brandon Crawford (Spring Training)
SS Edgar Gonzalez (Minor League Contract)
SS Ehire Adrianza (40 Man)
OF Cody Ross (ML) {will make $6.3 million in 2011}
OF Andres Torres (ML) {offered arbitration}
OF Pat Burrell (ML) {re-signed for $1 million in 2011}
OF Mark DeRosa (ML) {will make $6 million in 2011}
OF Aaron Rowand (ML) {2 more years for $24 million}
OF Nate Schierholtz (ML) {league minimum}
OF Darren Ford (40 Man)
OF Thomas Neal (40 Man)
OF Gary Brown (Spring Training)
OF Terry Evans (Spring Training)
OF Mike McBride (AAA)
OF Tyler Graham (AAA)
OF Ben Copeland (AAA)
OF Roger Kieschnick (AA)
OF Justin Christian (Minor League Contract) 
OF Francisco Peguero (40 Man)
OF Wendell Fairley (Hi A)
OF Juan Perez (Spring Training)
OF James Simmons (Hi A)
Designated Hitters:
DH Jose Flores (Hi A)
Right Handed Pitchers:
RHP Tim Lincecum (ML) {will make $13 million in 2011}
RHP Matt Cain (ML) {will make $7 million in 2011, $15 million in 2012}
RHP Brian Wilson (ML) {will make $6.5 million in 2011, $8.5 million in 2012}
RHP Sergio Romo (ML) {league minimum}
RHP Santiago Casilla (ML) {will make $1.3 million in 2011}
RHP Ramon Ramirez (ML) {will make $1.65 million in 2011}
RHP Steve Edlefson (40 Man)
RHP Henry Sosa (40 Man)
RHP Guillermo Mota (Spring Training)
RHP Brian Lawrence (Minor League Contract)
RHP Josh Banks (Spring Training) 
RHP: Waldis Joaquin (Spring Training)
RHP Matthew Sartor (AAA) {Rule 5 Draft}
RHP Dashenko Ricardo (AAA) {Rule 5 Draft}
RHP Michael Main (AA)
RHP David Mixon (AA)
RHP Craig Westcott (AA)
RHP Mitch Lively (AA)
RHP Jose Casilla (40 Man)
RHP Casey Daigle (Spring Training)
RHP Shane Loux (Spring Training)
RHP Ryan Vogelsong (Spring Training)
RHP Marc Kroon (Spring Training)
RHP Daryl Maday (AA)
RHP Adrian Martin (AA)
RHP Felix Romero (Spring Training)
RHP Oliver Odle (Hi A)
RHP Justin Fitzgerald (Hi A)
RHP Edwin Quirarte (Hi A)
RHP Jason Stoffel (Spring Training)
RHP Ben Wilshire (Hi A)
RHP Kyle Woodruff (Hi A)
RHP Brian Anderson (Hi A)
RHP Hector Correa (Hi A)
RHP Eric Stolp (Hi A)
RHP Zach Wheeler (Lo A)
Left Handed Pitchers:
LHP Jeremy Affeldt (ML) {will make $4.5 million in 2011}
LHP Madison Bumgarner (ML) {league minimum}
LHP Jonathan Sanchez (ML) {will make $4.8 million in 2011}
LHP Javier Lopez (ML) {offered arbitration}
LHP Dan Runzler (ML) {league minimum}
LHP Barry Zito (ML) {3 more years for $57.5 million}
LHP Alex Hinshaw (40 Man)
LHP Clayton Tanner (40 Man)
LHP Justin Dowdy (AAA) {Rule 5 Draft}
LHP Matt Yourkin (Spring Training)
LHP David Quinowski (AA)
LHP Kelvin Marte (Hi A)
LHP Wilmin Rodriguez (Spring Training)
LHP Ryan Verdugo (Spring Training)

Saltzman Says...San Jose Giants might be mighty

The San Jose Giants are becoming a dynasty, or at least a perennial power in the California League.  They are back to back Champions of the California League.  They have sent players such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Nate Schierholtz, Travis Ishikawa, Dan Runzler, and Sergio Romo to the big leagues.  Since the Giants brought in a new ownership group, they have spent time and money on improving their minor league system.  They have spent money on improving the stadium facilities, they have spent more money on scouting in the Dominican Republic, and even bought a stake of the San Jose franchise.

Fast forward to 2011, and the Giants will be sending some of their most promising prospects to San Jose.  In particular, they are sending the two most lethal bats in their system.  With all respect to Brandon Belt and Thomas Neal who are more polished and better overall, nobody is more intimidating in the minors than Tommy Joseph and Chris Dominguez.  Both have "Light Tower Power" and both are capable of being big thumpers in the majors someday.  Obviously they have their deficiencies.  Neither is a perfect fit on defense, and that might hurt them more as they move up the system.  However, with those two bats in the middle of the lineup in San Jose, there might not be the need for amazing defense.  Ultimately, defense will send them to San Francisco, or they will forever be pinch hitters/designated hitters during their career.

When the Giants Come to Town Says...Top 50 Prospects: 2011 Edition

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2011 Giants Top 50 Prospects

OK team, it's that time of year again to reveal DrB's 2011 Giants Top 50 Prospects. We've been doing this since about 2003 and a lot of people really seem to appreciate it. We'll post the list here along with Honorable Mentions and "Dominican Dandies" and then give a short scouting report on each one leading up to the start of the season. In researching the list, I am struck by how much younger, deeper and more athletic the Giants farm system is than just a few years ago. You will find that the Honorable Mention list is quite lengthy with quite a few names that you might think should be in the Top 50! One area of mild concern is the relative lack of strong pitching prospects in the upper minors. Luckily, the strength and relative youth of the Giants pitching at the MLB level gives them some time to correct this imbalance. As always, this list and the scouting reports to come are just one fan's opinion. As always, please don't get too hung up on the exact order. The most important part of the exercise is getting to know some of the players the Giants have in their farm system. On with the list!

1. Brandon Belt, 1B/OF.
2. Zack Wheeler, RHP.
3. Thomas Neal, OF.
4. Gary Brown, OF.
5. Francisco Peguero, OF
6. Dan Runzler, LHP.
7. Chuckie Jones, OF.
8. Ehire Adrianza, SS.
9. Brandon Crawford, SS.
10. Charlie Culberson, 2B.
11. Jarrett Parker, OF.
12. Conor Gillaspie, 3B.
13. Tommy Joseph, C.
14. Rafael Rodriguez, OF.
15. Nick Noonan, 2B.
16. Seth Rosin, RHP.
17. Mike Kickham, LHP.
18. Kendry Flores, RHP.
19. Heath Hembree, RHP.
20. Jose Casilla, RHP.
21. Ryan Verdugo, LHP.
22. Steve Edlefsen, RHP.
23. Johnny Monell, C.
24. Chris Dominguez, 3B.
25. Carlos Willoughby, 2B.
26. Jose Valdez, RHP.
27. Jorge Bucardo, RHP.
28. Jacob Dunnington, RHP.
29. Jake Dunning, RHP.
30. Hector Sanchez, C.
31. Carter Jurica, SS.
32. Dan Burkhart, C.
33. Reiner Roibal, RHP.
34. Matthew Graham, RHP.
35. Brandon Allen, RHP.
36. Roger Kieschnick, OF.
37. Clayton Tanner, LHP.
38. Craig Westcott, RHP.
39. Eric Surkamp, LHP.
40. Jason Stoffel, RHP.
41. Ryan Cavan, 2B.
42. Chris Lofton, OF.
43. Edwin Escobar, LHP.
44. Austin Fleet, RHP.
45. Wendell Fairley, OF.
46. Leonardo Fuentes, OF.
47. Marvin Barrios, RHP.
48. Juan Perez, OF.
49. Caleb Hougheson, 3B
50. Tyler Graham, OF.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Rohlinger IF, Brock Bond 2B, Jackson Williams C, Mike McBryde OF/RHP?, Darren Ford OF, Henry Sosa RHP, Waldis Joaquin RHP, Matt Yourkin LHP, David Mixon RHP, Wilmin Rodriguez LHP, David Quinowski LHP, Michael Main RHP, Drew Biery 3B, Michael Sandoval 1B, James Simmons OF, Justin Fitzgerald RHP, Kelvin Marte LHP, Ari Ronick LHP, Aaron King LHP, Nick Liles OF, Luke Anders 1B, Ydwin Villegas SS, Christopher Heston RHP, Brian Irving RHP, Jeremy Toole RHP, Andy Reichard RHP, Craig Whitaker RHP, Chris Gloor LHP, Chris Wilson RHP, Jason Jarvis RHP, Ryan Scoma OF, Devin Harris OF, Edward Concepcion RHP, Shawn Sanford RHP, Stephen Shakleford RHP, Carlton Salters OF, Joe Staley OF, Ryan Bean RHP, Jose De La Cruz OF, Sundrendy Windster 1B, Wes Hobson 2B.

"Dominican Dandies": Fernando Pujadas C, Christian Paulino 3B, Jesus Galindo OF, Shurendell Mujica SS, Luis Angeles RHP, Joan Gregorio RHP, Ariel Hernandez RHP.

Chris Haft Says...The Giants poised to Repeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- William Shakespeare wouldn't have written "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" had he foreseen the Giants' reaction to their first World Series triumph since 1954.
The Giants are anything but uneasy as they prepare to head for Spring Training in Scottsdale, Ariz. They and their still-delirious fans cannot be accused of taking their first San Francisco-era championship for granted. The World Series trophy has been displayed throughout California and even in New York, where the franchise was based until it moved West before the 1958 season. The team, in general, and center fielder Andres Torres, in particular, will be the subjects of documentaries. Cody Ross and Buster Posey served as grand marshals in parades thrown by their respective hometowns.
Now, it's back to work. Most of these Giants know nothing about the challenge of repeating as titlists. But they do realize that confronting stubborn, hungry opponents will be a daily occurrence.
"In a way, I kind of feel like we took everybody by surprise," right-hander Sergio Romo said. "They're going to know more about us. It's not going to be that way again."
Thus, the Giants will spend six weeks in Arizona preparing themselves, physically and mentally, for the task that awaits them.
Entering Spring Training with largely the same roster as last year, the Giants don't appear to have many moves to make. But competition for the few openings that exist promises to be spirited and should erode all lingering compacency, if any still exists. 

Pitchers and catchers report 
Feb. 14 
Full squad reports
Feb. 18
First Spring Training game
Home vs. D-backs, Feb. 25, 12:05 p.m.
Opening Day
Away vs. Dodgers, April 1, 7:10 p.m.

Triple play: Three questions that need answers
1. Will Pablo Sandoval be fit to play?
The answer seems to be an unqualified yes. Sandoval looked downright svelte in a recent photograph of him standing waist-deep in a swimming pool. He obviously was listening when management threatened to send him to Triple-A if he didn't shape up during the offseason. Since a well-conditioned Sandoval likely will be productive, the Giants ought to feel thrilled.
2. Who will play left field?
Much depends on rookie Brandon Belt, who has been billed as this year's Buster Posey. Belt can play either outfield corner, but he's better at first base. If the Giants decide to play Belt at first, Aubrey Huff almost surely would man left field, where he started 24 games last year. But Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz will push for playing time at this spot.
3. Can the Giants repeat?
First thing's first: Can the Giants win the National League West? There's no reason they can't, especially with their pitching. San Francisco should be tested by Colorado, which may have the most talent in the division, and the Dodgers, who find a way to be competitive more often than not.
2010 record
92-70, first in the NL West

Projected batting order
1. CF Andres Torres:
  .268 BA, .343 OBP, .479 SLG, 16 HR, 63 RBI in 2010
2. 2B Freddy Sanchez:
  .292 BA, .342 OBP, .397 SLG, 7 HR, 47 RBI in 2010
3. LF Aubrey Huff:
  .290 BA, .385 OBP, .506 SLG, 26 HR, 86 RBI in 2010
4. C Buster Posey:
  .305 BA, .357 OBP, .505 SLG, 18 HR, 67 RBI in 2010
5. 3B Pablo Sandoval:
  .268 BA, .323 OBP, .409 SLG, 13 HR, 63 RBI in 2010
6. SS Miguel Tejada:
  .269 BA, .312 OBP, .381 SLG, 15 HR, 71 RBI in 2010
7. 1B Brandon Belt:
  .352 BA, .455 OBP, .620 SLG, 23 HR, 112 RBI in Minors in 2010
8. RF Cody Ross:
  .269 BA, .322 OBP, .413 SLG, 14 HR, 65 RBI in 2010

Projected rotation
1. Tim Lincecum, 16-10, 3.43 ERA in 2010
2. Matt Cain, 13-11, 3.14 ERA in 2010
3. Jonathan Sanchez, 13-9, 3.07 ERA in 2010
4. Madison Bumgarner, 7-6, 3.00 ERA in 2010
5. Barry Zito, 9-14, 4.15 ERA in 2010

Projected bullpen
Closer: Brian Wilson, 48/53 saves, 1.81 ERA in 2010
RH setup man: Sergio Romo, 2.18 ERA in 2010
LH setup man: Jeremy Affeldt, 4.14 ERA in 2010

The new guys
SS Miguel Tejada: The 14-year veteran will turn 37 during the season, so it's fair to wonder how much he has left. But Tejada typically performs with a lot of energy, and he seemed thrilled to join the reigning World Series champs. The Giants will be overjoyed if Tejada remotely approaches his .287 career batting average and .801 lifetime slugging percentage.
RHP Jeff Suppan: The most accomplished of the Giants' non-roster invitees represents insurance in case a member of the talented starting rotation sustains an injury. Suppan has recorded a 4.95 ERA in the last four seasons, which he spent mostly in the hitter-friendly confines of Milwaukee's Miller Park. Pitching for the Giants should be less stressful.

Prospects to watch
1B-LF Brandon Belt: Scouts from opposing teams join the chorus of Giants officials, including general manager Brian Sabean, in praising Belt profusely. If they're correct, Belt definitely will crack the starting lineup; it's just a matter of when. Sabean has repeated that Belt, 22, won't open the season with San Francisco unless he's starting, which makes perfect sense.
SS Brandon Crawford: Considered San Francisco's shortstop of the future, Crawford needs at least another year of Minor League seasoning, and he'll get it due to Tejada's presence. Crawford has decent range and good speed, and the left-handed swinger has shown hints of power, which further intrigues the Giants.
CF Gary Brown: The Giants want to get a long look at Brown, last year's first-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft. Ideally, he fits a leadoff hitter's profile, but some skeptics believe that he lacks the power to drive pitches into the gaps and won't draw enough walks.
C Tommy Joseph: At 19, Joseph will be the youngest player in camp as a non-roster invitee. He played at low-Class A Augusta last season and made the South Atlantic League All-Star team while batting .236 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs. Some believe that first base will be Joseph's ultimate home.

On the rebound
LHP Barry Zito: The 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner was left off the active roster during each round of the postseason after losing 10 of his last 11 decisions. He failed to reach double figures in victories for the first time in 10 full seasons. Expect a thoroughly determined Zito to arrive in Scottsdale.
OF Aaron Rowand: While losing his everyday role to Andres Torres, Rowand hit a career-low .230 and appeared in 105 games, the third-fewest in his career. His 76 starts represented his lowest single-season total since he had 39 in 2003 with the White Sox. Primarily a center fielder, Rowand could join the left-field competition in an effort to revive his fortunes. He's also likely to be mentioned in trade rumors, though his $12 million salary makes him difficult to unload.
LHP Jeremy Affeldt: The reliever posted a 4.14 ERA last season, more than doubling his remarkable 1.73 figure from 2009. In fairness, Affeldt couldn't have been expected to duplicate what would have been a career year for almost anybody. He salvaged his 2010 campaign with two scoreless innings in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series after an injury-plagued regular season. He's fit and optimistic now.

Long gone
INF Juan Uribe: One of the Giants' most productive clutch hitters last year took a three-year, $21 million deal from the rival Dodgers. The Giants' primary shortstop in 2010, Uribe batted only .248, but his 24 homers and 85 RBIs ranked second on the club. The Giants also will miss Uribe's versatility, which enabled him to play every infield spot except first base.
SS Edgar Renteria: He'll forever be remembered in San Francisco for his three-run homer off Texas ace Cliff Lee that accounted for the Giants' scoring in Game 5 of the World Series and enabled them to win the title. Renteria spurned the Giants' one-year, $1 million offer to take a more lucrative deal from Cincinnati.
RHP Chris Ray: Acquired from Texas in the Bengie Molina trade, Ray pitched capably (3-0, one save, 4.13 ERA in 28 appearances) but was left off all postseason rosters. He signed with the Seattle Mariners, who likely will give him a more significant role.

Mark DeRosa is a huge X Factor for the 2011 Giants.  Can he replace Juan Uribe?