Monday, June 27, 2011

Saltzman Says...Andris Biedrins trade makes sense, but...

Andris Biedrins has been, by far, the biggest disappointment for the Warriors over the last two years.  After a tough injury riddled season in Don Nelson's last season as the head coach, Biedrins came back in 2010 and had his worst season as an NBA player.  He became the worst free throw shooter in the league, and it became so bad, it affected him on both sides of the court.  He did not want to attack the basket with his quickness on the offensive end because he was afraid to get fouled. That lack of effort led to less time on the floor and damaged the overall team defense.  Biedrins has been the one decent rim defender on the roster over the last several years, and to lose his ability to block shots, defend the rim in general and grab rebounds, the team again was the worst defense in basketball.

All that being said, he is only 25 years old, and still has 5-7 years to maximize his potential.  Once a double double machine at 22 and 23, became a liability since signing an extension with the former regime.  The $27 million he is owed over the next three years suggests they would listen to offers for the Latvian center.  At the same time, the Warriors are not afraid to spend money.

Will Biedrins finally live up to his hefty contract?

Cost cutting moves appear to be a thing of the past.  The Warriors paid $2 million to bring in a third draft pick in Jeremy Tyler, and did not move Biedrins on draft night despite reportedly being offered two expiring contracts.  Two big men, Haseem Thabeet and Jordan Hill may have been offered for Biedrins.  Houston may have asked for draft picks as well, but neither big man Houston offered has shown any potential to be better than Biedrins.

This is not the chris cohan led Warriors anymore, and with bobby fowell finally fired, the Warriors now have a complete front office, filled with bright basketball minds.

Saltzman Says...Bochy should bring his arms

With the All-Star game approaching the Giants certainly deserve more than 1 representative.  Since every team must have one representative, it is very possible that some deserving Giants will stay home so other teams can have a player at the game. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Brian Wilson have represented the Giants over the last three seasons, with Lincecum at all three. 

Lincecum is still the best pitcher on arguably the best staff in baseball.  Even with Roy Halladay having the more impressive stats, Lincecum certainly should make his 4th straight appearance. 

The arguments could certainly start here as to who else the Giants should send to Arizona in July.  Both Cain and Wilson have had good years, and with Bochy getting the chance to manage, I can't imagine not seeing the Giant's closer at his third All-Star game.

Cain's numbers aren't necessarily All-Star worthy compared to others around the league, but the Giants have three other members of their staff that certainly could make the argument they belong.  Journeyman Ryan Vogelsong has an ERA below 2 in 11 starts and has been the best pitcher statistically since his call up from Fresno.  Relievers Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez have had closer like success for the Giant's bullpen.  All  three could be options for the Giant's skipper.

Will all six be a part of the mid-summer classic: very unlikely.  However, I could see at least three of the six making the trip.

1. Lincecum
2. Wilson
3. Romo
4. Vogelsong
5. Lopez
6. Cain

Will Wilson earn a 3rd trip to the Midsummer Classic?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saltzman Says...Giants Mid Season Awards

San Francisco Giants Mid Season Report

A return to the World Series is obviously ideal, but first things first: Make the playoffs.  The best way to do that is to win the West.  As of today, the Giants are 44-34, a game and a half ahead of Arizona and 10 games over .500.  The team was 40-38 at the same time last year, and were in the midst of a seven game losing streak.

After all the injuries, and the worst run support in baseball, the Giants are in a better position to repeat as Western Division Champions.

As we approach the mid way point, here is my winners of my mid season awards:

MVP: Tim Lincecum
People are always so quick to name someone else the most valuable player so far this season because the expectations are so high for Lincecum.  But when you look at his results, he leads the teams in strikeouts, while giving up less earned runs and hits than the other two starters who have pitched all season (Cain, Bumgarner)  Jonathan Sanchez has given up less hits, but his walks is nearly double Lincecum.  The team's ace is the best pitcher on the best staff in baseball.  That makes him the Most Valuable Giant.  Period.

Lincecum and Romo might me the two best Giants so far in 2011

Most Improved Player: Sergio Romo
Romo has spent most of the last two years trying to become an 8th inning setup man for the Giants.  Not only has Romo solidified that in 2011, but he could arguably be the best pitcher on the staff so far this year.  He has been absolutely dominant, and has been putting up closer type stats.  He has 36 strikeouts and 4 walks in 24 innings.  He has helped keep the Giants bullpen one of the elite 'pens in all of baseball.

Best Surprise: Ryan Vogelsong
The former Giants farmhand spent most of his career in Japan, so when the 33 year old tried to make the team out of Spring Training, there were no expectations from fans.  When he didn't make the team, nobody was surprised because the team had 5 starting pitchers who were one of the healthiest in baseball in 2010.  However, when a foot injury sidelined Barry Zito, Vogelsong was called up.  All Vogelsong has done is led the staff in ERA (1.86), WHIP (1.09) and Walks per 9 (7.06) over his 11 starts.  All of this might mean a trip to Arizona during All-Star Weekend, despite starting the year in Fresno.

Most Reliable Player: Javier Lopez
Lopez had video game like numbers in the post-season last year, especially considering he had to face powerful left handed hitters Jason Heyward, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Josh Hamilton.  How could anyone be that dominant for an entire season against lefties?  Well if the first half of 2011 is any indication, Lopez can dominate any left handed hitter at any time.  Against left handers this year, he has an ERA of 1.00 over 18 innings worth of lefties.  He has only given up 6 hits and 2 earned runs in that span.  That certainly earns him the honor of Most Reliable.

Saltzman Says...San Jose Giants moving fast up the ranks

The San Jose Giants started the season with 8 of the top 20 prospects in the Giants organization.  Four pitchers and four hitters.  CF Gary Brown (1st round, 2010), SP Zach Wheeler (1st round, 2009), RP Jose Casilla, RF Jarrett Parker (2nd round, 2010), C Tommy Joseph, RP Heath Hembree, 3B Chris Dominguez, and SP Craig Westcott.

With those pre-season rankings, it is not surprising the Giants won the 1st half title for the seventh year in a row.  The Giants are 50-23, the best record in all of professional baseball that includes two separate 12 game winning streaks.  What is surprising is how good other players have been and how quickly they are all moving up the team's system.

C Hector Sanchez had a 14 game RBI streak at one point this season, and his bat and work behind the plate has him in Fresno now.
Sanchez is now in Fresno, one step away from the bigs.

SP's David Mixon (2.66) and Kelvin Marte (3.43) are among seven starting pitchers with an ERA below 4.

SP Hector Correa, Dominguez and Hembree have all left San Jose for Double-A Richmond as well.

Brown has been invited to the Futures Game, to represent the team on All-Star weekend.

Brandon Crawford and Francisco Peguero both started 2011 in San Jose on rehab assignments, and Crawford is now in San Francisco and Peguero should soon be back in Richmond.

Wheeler, Hembree, Westcott, Brown and SP Kelvin Marte were all named to the Cal League All-Star game.

All of this success should bode well for the big club down the road.

Saltzman Says...Warriors collecting peices

The Warriors have brought in a brain trust to rival most NBA teams. Jerry West and company know the best thing Golden State can do is to collect players other teams will covet. By grabbing three prospects in the draft, the Warriors have more options heading into free agency.

Klay Thompson - the son of former #1 overall pick Mychal Thompson, gives the Warriors a 6-7 swingman to join Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. If you add restricted free agent Reggie Williams, the Warriors have four players who can score the basketball and could be assets other teams want. Most NBA teams don't call the Warriors about Acie Law or Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin is a project at best.

Charles Jenkins - adding Jenkins, a 6-3 New York City point guard out of Hofstra, the Warriors have a possible upgrade at point to Law and Lin. Curry and Ellis desperately need minutes off the floor over the 82 game season and beyond, and these two guards can help with that.

Jeremy Tyler - the Warriors then went out and spent $2 million buying the draft rights to Tyler from Charlotte. Tyler is a 6-10 power forward who recently turned 20 and skipped his senior year of high school to play professionally overseas. If the gamble pays off, Tyler could be one of the two big bodies the Warriors desperately need to go with Andris Biedrins, Ekpe Udoh, David Lee and Lou Amundson.

If nothing else, the Warriors added three players to use as building blocks or trade bait as they look to finally get back to the post season.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Saltzman Says...Edgar to get his ring

Saltzman Says...Come out to AT&T today and give a standing ovation to the man that helped us win the 2010 World Series.  Edgar Renteria, last year's World Series MVP, will be coming to town to play a four game weekend series against the Giants.

Saltzman Says...Mendenhall Update

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin, which is some ways is Rashard Mendenhall's boss, spoke out yesterday about the comments Mendenhall made following the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

"He shouldn't have said it," Tomlin said when asked about the controversy. "Yes, it is a freedom of speech issue. Yes, he is a young man, and he has a right to his opinion. But sometimes these young men got to understand the positions that they hold and the influence that they have and to be highly sensitive to that.

"I think that, more than anything, in those chain of events, he was not sensitive to the power of his words or his positions on that subject or on any subject. I think life is an education. I think these young men or continually educated to what comes along with being them, and that’s just an example of it."

"Here's the thing that I think a lot of people miss, is that that kid was 12 years old on 9/11. He doesn't have an idea of what pre-9/11 adult life was like in America. He doesn't understand the ramifications of how life changed in America on that day (be)cause he was a kid."

Saltzman Says...

Tomlin is doing two things in my opinion:  First, he is trying to make sure the public knows that the Pittsburgh Steelers do not agree with Mendenhall's view.  Second, he is trying to make Mendenhall seem naive on the matter instead of opinionated.

This rubs me the wrong way in the same way Mendenhall's vilification did.  All Mendenhall said was be careful what you wish for and how excited you get about the murder of a human being because of the worldwide reaction. The same excitement some were showing after Bin Laden's assassination, is the same excitement others around the world showed when the World Trade Center came down. 

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." ~ Mahatma Gandhi. 

Americans get very patriotic when disaster strikes.  We saw the love during Katrina, we saw the patriotism after 9/11 and we even saw it locally after Bryan Stow was beaten outside of Dodger Stadium.  Americans have an amazing capacity to love.  That is what makes it so confusing, how we also seem to have an amazing capacity to hate.  Hate is a four letter word as evil as any four letter word that exists, and it is up to us as intelligent, informed Americans, to not assume that Mendenhall or anyone else is un-American for giving their opinion.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Saltzman Says...Durham, Fontenot, and Rodriguez?

Trades happen all the time in sports, and in baseball, trade talks will heat up with the weather.  We are less than two months away from the July 31st trade deadline and only three months away from the last day players can be traded to be eligible for post-season play.  While that leaves plenty of time for talk, the weeks will start to fly by.

A few seasons ago, the Giants were not in a playoff hunt, but the Milwaukee Brewers were.  Ray Durham, who was in the final year of his contract, was sent from the visitors locker room to the home team locker room during a late summer road trip.

Last season, Mike Fontenot came with the Chicago Cubs into AT&T Park to play a series and Fontenot stayed in San Francisco after the series.  Most of us have heard the story of Fontenot getting the game winning hit off of Guillermo Mota in game 2 of the series, and then being traded to the Giants the next day.  Mota gave him a sucker punch in the gut for the hit as a welcome to the locker room, and Fontenot told him not to throw a pitch down the middle.

As the Giants play a matinee game to wrap up the season series with Washington, a unique opportunity exists in June.  The Giants are getting zero offense from the catcher position.  Washington has depth at catcher, and a great veteran catcher at that in Ivan Rodriguez.  Rodriguez isn't hitting much this year, but his 20 year track record and great defense could help the Giants as they look to add some offensive punch to the position.  Posey is due back next season, so it wouldn't need to be anything long term.  With Eli Whiteside hitting below the Mendoza Line, at .164, it is possible that the Giants look to add two catchers by July 31st.  Another option could be their arch rival Dodgers, who have a power bat behind the plate in Rod Barajas, and no chance of making the post-season.

Could Rodriguez be moved before the team leaves San Francisco?

Saltzman Says...Warriors making all the parts fit

When word first got out that the Warriors hired Bob Myers, nobody jumped up and down because nobody knew who he was.  They word spread that not only was he an agent, but that he had some of the best players in the NBA as clients.  More to the point, he was the right hand man for the best agent in basketball, Arn Tellem. 

Then, the Warriors impressed the NBA world when they decided to hire Jerry West to be a consultant on basketball decisions.  Joe Lacob gained immediate credibility for bringing in arguably the greatest basketball mind there is.

The next step was to finally replace Keith Smart, who was fired after the season, and in comes Mark Jackson.  Jackson, who was the most well known name available, was brought in to add more national attention to this afterthought of a franchise.  Despite capturing the NBA fan's imagination in 2007 with a rare post season run, the Warriors can be looked at as one of the worst run franchises in basketball.  Now that chris cohan is no longer the owner, and Joe Lacob has showed a commitment to spend on quality, perceptions can change.

The team is coming off a 10 game improvement from their dismal 2009-10 season, and they are certainly letting the league take notice of their actions.

The one side note that makes all of these moves very interesting is how these people are connected:  Both Myers and West have deep rooted connections to Arn Tellem.  However, it is also intriguing to note that Mark Jackson and Mike Malone have the same agent as well.  Despite being the top assistant in New Orleans, Mike Malone has been brought in to the same role in Golden State.  Very rarely do the Warriors outbid for someone, and even less often when they are sought after by more impressive franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers.  Malone coached for Mike Brown, the new Los Angeles Lakers head coach, but he also coahed Jackson, and more to the point, have the same agent.  Steven Kauffmann also represents current Warriors assistant Jerry Sichting, who is well known for his x's and o's as well. 

Former Golden State Warriors assistants Mario Elie and Sidney Moncrief are also represented by Kauffman

Saltzman Says...MLB Draft always has question marks

When it takes a player five years to make it to the big leagues, that isn't considered slow.  Most players drafted out of high school take that long to develop.  College players may only take 3-4 years.  Either way, the June Draft is certainly not the place to get a quick fix.

The Tampa Bay Rays lost Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Brad Hawpe, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate and Chad Qualls this past off-season.  They replaced all of those players with either in house fixes, or free agents that weren't warranted draft pick compensation.  In turn, the Tampa Bay Rays received 10 extra picks in the first two rounds as compensation for their losses.  They used their 12 draft picks in the first two rounds on 6 high school players and 6 college players.  They took 5 pitchers, 4 outfielders, 2 shortstops, and a 3B.  Losing 8 players in one off-season is very rare and if 8 of the 12 make it to the big leagues, it could be looked at as a win.  However, will any of them be as good as Carl Crawford was for Tampa?  Only time will tell.

San Francisco Giants:
All that being said, the Giants seem to draft for need, despite saying the contrary when asked.  John Barr, Bobby Evans, Dick Tidrow and their staff have always maintained they are going to draft talent over need because the draft isn't a quick fix.  Despite those parameters, the Giants took a SS, LHP, C and 1B with power with their first four selections.  If there are four things the team could use right now, it is a long term answer at SS, a C that can hit while Buster Posey is out, a big bat and who couldn't use another arm.

SS, Joe Panik, St. John's University

RHP, Kyle Crick, Sherman HS (TX)

C, Andrew Susac, Oregon St
Comments: The draft-eligible sophomore was a good high school catching prospect in Northern California two years ago, but teams stayed away (the Phillies took a shot in the 16th round) because of his strong commitment to Oregon St. Now, Susac is mentioned frequently near the top of the catching list in this year's class, though there are differing opinions about his skill set. Teams that will consider him highly see the potential for him to be an everyday catcher. He does have average raw power, mostly to the pull side, with more gap power to other fields. That could mean 15-20 homers annually, if he can make enough contact to tap into that power, something some have concerns about. He's a bit of a guess hitter and uses a big leg lift in his swing. Susac is stocky, but not physical and muscular -- kind of like a Gregg Zaun-type. Behind the plate, he has a solid average arm and will flash a plus now and again. His hands can be a little stiff, but he's made some good improvement in his receiving skills. A broken left hamate bone forced him out of action this spring, and it remains to be seen how that will impact his Draft status.

1B, Ricky Oropesa, USC
Comments: In a class that is less than deep in college bats, Oropesa's stands out based on one tool: power. The corner infielder has always had it and was a prospect back in high school, when the Red Sox took a shot and selected him in the 24th round of the 2008 Draft. The left-handed hitter has plus raw power, perhaps as much as anyone out west. He hasn't always swung the bat consistently enough to tap into it, but he made some good adjustments this season to show a little more overall hittability to some. He's shown he can rise to the occasion, picking up three hits -- including a homer -- against UCLA ace Gerrit Cole. He's not a clogger on the bases, but he's not a runner, either. While he's got a plus arm, he's below-average defensively overall, meaning he's likely destined to be a first baseman or designated hitter when all is said and done. As one of the few guys in this Draft with true plus raw power, there's bound to be a team fairly early thinking his bat will play just fine at those spots.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Saltzman Says...Take us out the the ballgame

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saltzman Says...Who do you want for Monta Ellis?

Let's play the ever popular, WHAT IF GAME??

We all think tomorrow will be better than today.  It's the life of a sports fan.  Every trade proposal is viewed solely from your team's perspective.  Of course it can be pointless, but fan is short for fanatic, so why not do things that make little sense once in a while.

Monta Ellis is a 6'3" shooting guard who would be best served as the deadliest 6th man in basketball history with his combination of speed and scoring ability.

Which of these 5 trades makes the most sense for BOTH teams and is the most likely to ACTUALLY happen.

Remember, with Jerry West and Bob Myers running the Warriors now, we might actually do this:

1. Trade Scenario #1
Trade Monta Ellis to Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala
Reason for Philly - With Evan Turner, the 76ers have their shooting guard of the future, but tagging him with Ellis means that they finally have a closer at the end of games.  They couldn't score in the 4th quarter in the post season this past year, and Ellis can be the guy that gets them over the hump.

2. Trade Scenario #2
Trade Monta Ellis to Chicago for Luol Deng
Reason for Chicago - The Bulls have a very good defensive system and great team defense.  Despite Deng's value on defense, the team can make up for his loss on that end, to get what they've been missing since Ben Gordon signed with Detroit.  Gordon could light up the scoreboard, and that is what Ellis can bring to a Bulls team on the cusp of a Finals appearance this year.

3. Trade Scenario #3
Trade Monta Ellis to Memphis for Rudy Gay
Reason for Memphis: The Grizzlies proved two things in the playoffs.  If they re-sign Marc Gasol, they have a team they can build around Zach Randolph and Gasol.  If they re-sign Gasol, they might need to clear some money.  Moving Gay and possibly O.J. Mayo in separate deals could clear enough space to sign Gasol and bring in a replacement for Mayo in Ellis.  Ellis is what they want from Mayo, which is a dominant offensive presence.

4. Trade Scenario #4
Trade Monta Ellis to Portland for Brandon Roy
Reason for Trailblazers:  Brandon Roy's knees are to the point where he may never play again.  With Greg Oden and Roy, the team has 2 pairs of knees that are keeping the Blazers from succeeding in the post-season.  Ellis is a sure thing at this point for 20 PPG, and adding Ellis would allow the Blazers to build around LaMarcus Aldridge instead of Roy.

Saltzman Says...With Bob Myers as our new Asst. GM, Roy is an intriguing option considering he is his former agent.  If anyone knows Roy's health status, it's Myers.  If we can bring in one of the best players in the NBA, who is a 6'6 guard we can team with Curry, it might be worth the health risk.  Worst case scenario is we can clear the money to bring in a big name free agent big to build our team around.

Saltzman Says...Bay Area Bullets

Bay Area Bullets

  • Nate Schierholtz (San Ramon Valley H.S.) knocked in both the tying and winning runs last night to guarantee the Giants a split in St. Louis. The last Giant to do that was Tom Lampkin on June 19, 1996
  • Freddy Sanchez got hit 1,000 hit
  • Andrew Bailey is back.  The Oakland A's closer is back from injury.  Maybe this will be what turns the A's fortunes around in the bullpen.
  • Brandon Crawford (Foothill H.S. in Pleasanton) got his first major league hit on May 28, 2011 and it was only the 6th time in Major League History a player's first hit was a grand slam.
  • Mark Ellis got his 1,000 hit, and Giants Sanchez reflects

    Saltzman Says...Brian Sabean fanning the flames

    Brian Sabean certainly wants Major League Baseball to listen.  Sabean made some harsh comments about Scott Cousins, the Florida Marlins player, who broke Buster Posey's leg May 25th.

    Here is a link to the article about the comments.

    Here is the link to the San Francisco Chronicle article by Hank Schulman

    "If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another day in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy." - Brian Sabean

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Saltzman Says...San Jose Giants win 12th straight

    San Jose won its 12th straight game and lead the California league with it's 10th shutout of the season.  David Mixon, pictured, is now 3-0 and leading the young Giants to unprecedented territory.

    Saltzman Says...Brian Wilson sets up Scholarship

    On Memorial Day, Brian Wilson announced a new scholarship fund he is creating to honor his father, Michael Wilson.  The Michael Wilson Scholarship was Brian's way of remembering his father for what he stood for.

    Two scholarships will be awarded each year for the next five years (2011 to 2015) and is open to any Air Force ROTC cadet in the United States of America.

    "The men and women who voluntarily sign-up to protect and defend our country is this nation’s greatest asset,” said Mike Dunn, President and CEO of AFA. “AFA strives to encourage and assist the academic endeavors and goals of our future Airmen. We thank Brian Wilson on making this significant gift from his newly created foundation and are pleased that he is part of our Air Force family."

    Here are the requirements

    Saltzman Says...The Most Interesting Closer in the Game

    Saltzman Says...Buster Posey Out The Season

    Buster Posey is out the season.  We all know that now.

    The Giants are going with Eli Whiteside in the short term, primarily because he is a good defensive catcher and calls a good game, and the complete lack of options available in trade.

    Bengi Molina, who is not in game shape and was already denied an offer by Boston, would take at least a month to get to a place where he can play physically.  Even if he did, Whiteside is as good an option as Molina at this stage of their careers.

    Ivan Rodriguez is the best option in trade, in theory, but Washington wants way too much in return.  Mostly because they feel Rodriguez gives them a great veteran leader for their young players to learn from.  Even if that doesn't mean wins this year, it could mean more wins down the line with a healthy Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth playing like his contract.

    The only offensive options in the minors both currently play in San Jose, and neither Hector Sanchez or Tommy Joseph are ready for the big leagues.  Sanchez should get promoted first of the two, and could be in Fresno by the end of the season, but either way, Posey will be ready for next year if all goes well.

    Both doctors, trainers, and Posey himself have claimed he will be ready for Spring Training in 2012.