Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Word for Billy Beane and Five Things About 2012 to Get Excited For

I admit it: I do not know quite what Billy Beane was thinking with yesterday’s trade, which sent Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona.  (Strategically done, of course, after the Winter Meetings because Beane is a spoilsport and doesn’t like doing things at the most dramatic time of year.  Excuse me, I’m in a bad mood with him right now.)  Looking at it unbiased, I would say it’s a gamble on the A’s part, but maybe a gamble that could pay off.

But I do have that bias.  Why, you ask?  I am not much of an A’s fan and really, really not a Diamondbacks fan.  But I am a Giants fan (duh, right there).  And that trade probably just made Arizona, oh, a thousand times better for 2012.  Really?  No slack for your across-the-bay-buddies, Billy?  I may have to renounce my Moneyball/Billy Beane love right now.  Jon Daniels so just got the Best-Dressed GM Award back, without even wearing any fabulous clothes.

After reading up on that trade, I went to look at Rangers news, but that was basically depressing too.

I told you I was having post-Winter-Meetings depression.

I figure if I’m all baseball-depressed, then everyone else must be with me.  So I’ve decided to list 5 things us Giants fan should be excited about for 2012!  Because aside from facing Cahill tons, there really is a lot to get stoked for.  Ready?  Okay.  You sure?  Okay.

5.  Vogelsong/Strong.  Vogey’s amazing breakout year in 2011 was… for lack of a better word, rather amazing.  Being the skeptic that I am, though, I want to see more of that before I go all ga-ga (not in the Lady sense).  I think we’re all really curious to see what he’s going to follow it up with and I, for one, am getting excited already.

4.  All the new wedding rings on the field.  They’ll glint.  In the stadium lights.  I think. 

3.  Angel Pagan.  Yes, I said it before, but I’ll say it again.  He has a fabulous name.

2.  Freddy Sanchez.  Picture him playing ball.  With just that image, are you not excited now?!  I am beyond, beyond excited to have him back out for the Giants.  Things are just sure to get better with him at second base.

1.  [insert cheesy line here about the smell of freshly mowed grass and hot dogs and the crack of the bat]

0.  This bonus one goes to The Dark Knight Rises.  I liked Batman Begins much better than The Dark Knight, to be perfectly honest, and unfortunately, Liam Neeson does not appear to be reprising his role in the new one (I mean, he was in a massive train explosion, but I don’t assume he’s dead) but I’m stoked to go back to Gotham City all the same. 

And, well, duh, The Hobbit.  But that’s so near the end of 2012 that it might as well be 2013.  Still, I am just about swooning over it already.

There we go.  This post just went from “Completely Depressing” to “Basically Upbeat”.  The movie talk and the cheesy line probably helped.

Diamond Girl

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Wrapping Up the Winter Meetings

I am already going into post-Winter-Meetings-depression mode.  That means dried apricots with whipped cream (very good) and staring dismally at the wall and pondering the meaning of life (not good at all).  As I’ve said before, the Winter Meetings are pretty much my favorite time of the year so I’m always sad when they come to a close.  But I can’t lie, right now I’m also a teensy bit happy.  Because all that drama is a little unsustainable, you know?  Which would explain the endless revolving door of reality shows on TV.

Anyhow, now all the GMs can go back to their cool offices and hang out in sporty-wanna-be-sunglasses, communicating by phone and email and all that.  Probably for the best.

Today was obviously a big one, because both Pujols and C.J. have settled on the Angels of Anaheim and signed ten and five year deals respectively this morning.

Swish is a bit surprised.  So am I.

At first I was in mega-Diamond-Girl-rage state because, yes, Dipoto we know you are new and want to show off a bit, but that’s kinda-sorta extreme. 

But after a little while I went into mega-Diamond-Girl-mellow state and decided that the Rangers still have the division in the bag.  I am sure of it.  Positive affirmations go far, you know.

I was never huge on C.J. in the confidence department anyway and they’re going to have Albert long after the Kardashian’s get pulled off air and skinny jeans go the way of shoulder pads.  This is for the best, Diamond Girl, this is for the best.  (Me talking to myself, right there.)

“Our goal is to win, but within a responsible business model,” says Jon Daniels.

Right.

Everything will be okay.

With the Giants, meanwhile, I can’t say I am sure about everything being okay.  Sabes says they’re done for the offseason (no Christmas gifts for use long-ish suffering fans?!) and that puts more than a few question marks on my world view.  There is, unfortunately, only one first base on the diamond so Huff/Pill/Belt will have to fight that one out in the boxing ring, I guess, and then I’m a wee bit skeptical of Crawford at short and of the Cabrera/Pagan/Schierholtz outfield.  Basically the whole team.  No biggie.

But I’m all into them positive affirmations today, so you know what?  I think the NL West is up for grabs and the Giants could very well grab it.

There.  We are all leaving the Winter Meetings as winners.

Winning.

Yeah.

That.

Diamond Girl

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Eugenio Bitterness, Name Battles and a Little Joey News

I didn’t like Andres Torres, at first.

I saw him- perhaps a little irrationally- as Eugenio Velez’s rival and nothing more.  Every game that Torres played was I game I wanted to see Velez in.  After Rowand was hit by Padilla in Los Angeles (yes, I was there but no, I did not hear the cracking of his skull from where I was sitting) and Velez was slumping pretty impressively in his place, Torres got some more playing time and gradually, I started to fall in love with his game.

I still had a bit of lingering Eugenio-bitterness, but then things heated up and Andres became one of the big faces on the World Series winnin’ franchise and I basically forgot about the rest.

Just about every media source has said this, since the news of his trade last night: it’s hard not to fall in love with him and his game.  He’s fun, magnetic and, sometimes, awfully good as well.

Then there’s Ramon Ramirez.  Any buzz he might have created after his trade to the Giants from Sox Who Wear Red at the 2010 trade deadline was basically extinguished by SF’s other bullpen acquisition at the same time, Javi Lopez.  Even though Ramirez ended that year with a- wait for it- .067 ERA and this year, his ERA was a respectable 2.62, he’s been largely anonymous to Giants fans.  Partially, probably, because his hat sits low on his head so we can never see his face and partially because he’s just not a spotlight player.  He threw me a ball at batting practice one day and struck out somebody I can’t stand, but that’s pretty much the extent of my distinct memories about him.

So that, to make a pretty long story pretty short, is why I met last night’s trade with mixed feelings.  I don’t think Torres or Ramirez are extremely valuable to the Giants organization nor are they irreplaceable, but I’m not convinced Ángel Pagan is anything different.  It seems ever so slightly pointless, a bit like Alderson and Sabes were either both played or both just going straight up, because I don’t think either side really got a whole lot.  Except, of course, that New York filched a reliever along with a center fielder.

Then again, these are the mystical Winter Meetings where GMs are ninjas with secret superpowers, so maybe I have just missed the larger plan/magic at play here.  Maybe it isn’t the moving-right-along-deal it appears to be.

I do have to say, though, that Pagan’s name probably tips out the scales in the Giants favor, as to who got the better end of the deal.  It’ll be much more fun to say, “Ángel Pagan” in center field than “Andres Torres”.  Sorry, Torres.  I love you, just… Pagan has you beat in the name department.

Also!  I have an admission to make: I have been sadly negligent in the whole monitoring-Joey-Martinez’s-career thing.  I searched him last night and discovered that not only was he the MVP of the AAA championship this season, but he also signed a one year deal with the Diamondbacks yesterday. 

The first part is very good news, the second part not so much.  He now has joined the list of Pitchers I Like In Arizona, also including Armando Galarraga (last year- he’s a free agent now).  This means he will be playing against the Giants far too much.  Come on.  Hands off my guys, Kevin Towers.

Diamond Girl

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Let’s Illustrate the Winter Meetings

Norman Rockwell knew what he was talkin’ (er, drawin’) about.  As always.  I was all ready to do a GM round table event and then I saw this and realized it just said it all in one painting.  So there you have it.  The Winter Meetings.

Diamond Girl

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The 2011/2012 Offseason, or In Which the Marlins Grab Players and Everyone Else Blinks and Watches

I am in a much bouncier mood than I’ve been in a long time.  Because there are no boxing tweets in my Twitter timeline!  There are actually tweets about baseball!  There is actually baseball news!

Well, some baseball news.  Mostly it’s beat writers musing on the pointlessness of bringing so many media members to Dallas to mill around in the lobby.  In fact, my favorite Winter Meetings quote ever which completely sums it up was from Rangers beat writer, T.R. Sullivan last year, “Talked with Red Sox manager Terry Francona 1-on-1 in the lobby today and he told me exclusively, ‘Hey TR, good to see you.’”  Isn’t Sullivan awesome?

But still, something is better than nothing.  And we have something, for sure.

Heath Bell is in Florida.  So is Jose Reyes.  So might be C.J. Wilson, Cody Ross, heck, Brandon Belt!  Yeah, Brandon might be going to the fab new Marlins stadium.  I mean, probably not, but them Marlins do seem to be getting just about everyone, so who knows?

We might as well rename this: The 2011/2012 Offseason, or In Which the Marlins Grab Players and Everyone Else Blinks and Watches.

Fun, right?  The Giants are not expected to be big buyers this year (then again, are they ever?) and the Rangers are busy mixing cocktails or whatever because hosting this shebang is a full-time job, so they probably won’t do much either.

That means I am free to sit back and enjoy the show and speculate as to what it’s like when Jon Daniels and Jed Hoyer run into each other in the back hallway. 

Right now I’m thinking it’s all:

Jed:  Hey, you hear I’m with the Cubs now?

Jon: *grunts*

Jed: Pretty spiffy, what we’re doing over there.  Even SF Diamond Girl predicted we’d go to the World Series in ‘13 or ’14.

(At this point fantasy ends abruptly.)

Okay, that last part probably didn’t happen.  But this is my blog, à la my dream in Inception, so I can just make it go however I like.  Which definitely means references to yours truly.

I think I need to do another GM roundtable in honor of these meetings now.  Can you tell how smiley I am, even through cyberspace?  This is quite possibly my favorite time of year, baseball-wise, which means altogether.  Yes, I am a wee bit odd.  Yes, I am aware.  Yes, I appreciate you telling me, even so.

Work it out, Jed and Jon.  You guys will be meeting at a roundtable tomorrow and I want no bickering.

Diamond Girl

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