2018 SF Giants Multi-Year Payroll Woes

posted in: Baseball | 0

The 2018 San Francisco Giants have the second highest payroll in the league and hopelessly out of playoff contention. In 2016, they had the worst record in baseball after the All-Star game. In 2017, they lost 98 games. In 2018, as of August 24, their record is 63-66, three games below .500 and heading closer to San Diego instead of chasing Colorado, Los Angeles and Arizona.

This week, they finally realized their plight and put Andrew McCutchen on waivers but no team claimed him. The next move that they need to make is to put Buster Posey on IR and perform surgery on his injured hip so he can be ready for the beginning of the 2019 season. This is an example of poor management decisions made since they promoted Bobby Evans to run baseball operations in 2015. After last year’s dismal 98 loss season, Brian Sabean re-inserted himself to again be the top dog running operations but kept Evans on their payroll. Therein lies the biggest problem that the Giants have… they hang onto losers much too long simply because they have done a good job for them in the past.

In my previous article, I lauded the Oakland A’s, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves. All four of these teams have payrolls in the lower half of the league and they are all Playoff contenders. These teams have outstanding management in terms of scouting, drafting, and trading for players who don’t command top salaries but who play as well as the top salaried players in the league.

The mindset of the SF Giants management is that they have the need to compete against the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers to go after the most expensive players in the league. Even in 2010 when they won their first of three World Series since coming to San Francisco, they made some horrendous financial decisions by giving Aaron Rowand a $60 million five year contract and Barry Zito a $126 million seven year contract. While I do have to say that Zito came through and helped win the 2012 World Series, his overall performance as a Giant was dismal. And Rowand never played in any of our World Series playoff games because he was so bad.

Let us not forget that in 2010, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner were both in their second year and making rookie money and Sergio Romo was in is his third year. In 2012, when the Giants won their second World Series, both Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford were in their second year and were paid rookie salaries and Pablo Sandoval was in his third year making a rookie salary.

In terms of pitchers, while both Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain were in their prime, the Giants rewarded Cain with a $112.5 million contract over five years in 2012 when he had already pitched for 8 years. They gifted Tim Linecum with a $32 million contract over two years when he had already pitched for 7 years. Tim actually took a pay cut as he was earning $18 million per year on one year contracts. I must confess that both of these contracts were well deserved as both Lincecum and Cain meant so much to this organization and they grew up as Giants. Having said that, I would have preferred that they paid Cain more per year for 2 or 3 years like they did for Lincecum. And the Barry Zito story is a classic example of what not to do. A seven year contract for any pitcher is about four years too long as all pitchers are prone to arm injury.

Our good position players came up through our draft and farm system during our winning years. And other than the Rowand and Zito disasters, the Giants brought in players that “fit” and had reasonable salaries. Jeremy Affeldt, Pat Burrell, Aubry Huff, Javier Lopez, Edgar Renteria, Cody Ross, Juan Uribe, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, and Marco Scutaro were all great contributors during our World Series years and they didn’t break the bank.

Before the 2019 season starts, what should the Giants do with their payroll and player woes? Here is my humble opinion. In looking at the player and salary chart below, the situation is fairly bleak.

The “buried” salaries list shows how much the Giants are paying to players no longer on the team. Matt Cain’s $7.5 million will go away next year. Austin Jackson and Cory Gearrin were both traded to the Texas Rangers on July 8 as salary dump moves. I never understood why they signed Jackson as he has never been a good player. It was a desperation move as they couldn’t sign anyone else. Cory Gearrin is simply a minor league pitcher who was a disaster in the majors. As approximately $10 million comes off of the buried salary list due to these players next year, I recommend that list grow next year as the Giants need to part ways with some expensive players.

Brandon Belt is being paid $17.2 million per year through 2021. The Giants had plenty of opportunities to trade him as some teams like the NY Yankees were in need of a good first baseman. Belt is a great defensive player but very inconsistent at the plate. He can go on a hitting streak of 10-15 games, then fall into a .200 hitter for the next month. I would try real hard to trade him and hope that his new team picks up some of his Giant contract. The rest would go into the Giants buried salary list. Another key reason to move Belt is that Buster Posey’s days as a catcher is now numbered and he must be moved to first base. The catcher position has taken a toll on his body to the point where Buster can no longer use his lower body to hit the ball. Thus, his home run total is at an all-time career low. The Giants made a wise drafting move by picking Joey Bart as their #1 pick. I’m hoping that the Giants bring Bart up to the majors in September when the roster size expands to give him some major league experience with the hope that he can become our every day catcher in 2019.

Madison Bumgarner deserves a big payday even though he may be approaching the age where his pitching skills start to decline. He has been the Giants best pitcher and is the acknowledged G.O.A.T of World Series pitching. MadBum has been extremely underpaid and now needs to be rewarded. Clayton Kershaw is being paid $30 million per year for seven years. The Giants should pay MadBum $25-30 per year for a maximum of three years. If he demands a five or more year contract, the Giants should listen to trade offers.

Major mistake by signing Evan Longoria for $81 million through 2022. He is batting .250 at age 33. The Giants won’t be able to trade him without paying for most of the remainder of this huge contract.

The signing of Johnny Cueto was not necessarily a bad move but the amount and length of the contract was a huge mistake ($150 million for seven years). Apparently the Giants did not learn from the Barry Zito fiasco. He is out indefinitely as he just had Tommy John surgery. The only choice that the Giants have is to keep him and hope that he comes back next year with almost the same stuff that he had as a winning pitcher.

The most atrocious signing was that of Jeff Samardziya to a $90 million five year contract. The Oakland A’s in 2014 had a very weak pitching rotation and Samardziya was still cut by them. The Giants picked him up, gave him a huge contract and his pitching didn’t improve… surprise surprise… The Giants need to cut their losses and simply cut him and eat his contract. They won’t be able to trade him as his trade value is zero.

Finally, the signing of Mark Melancon to a $62 million contract for four years is beyond atrocious. He has ONE save this year. So, that one save has cost the Giants $20 million this year. The Giants need to eat his contract as well since he no longer adds value and no other team will want his services.

If they release Longoria, Samardziya and Melancon and eat their salaries, their buried salary will total $146 million.

To get themselves out of this salary hole, their seemingly only option is to rely on their top prospects. Next year, they should:

  • Bring up Helios Ramos to play Center Field and rotate with Steven Duggar.
  • Bring up Chris Shaw to play Left Field and rotate with Buster Posey at First Base. Move Austin Slater to Right Field.
  • Bring up Tyler Beede to replace Jeff Samardziya.

The Giants MUST avoid chasing big contract players for the next several years at all cost. They have made some noise about going after Bryce Harper. He will command a salary over $300 million. That is simply NUTS !!! He is batting .249 this year and like Giancarlo Stanton who is batting .276  and making over $325 million, he either hits a home run or strikes out.

They need to get back to the 2010-2012 years and build their core from within and add complementary players as needed.

GO GIANTS !!! (I hope)…

CATCHERS POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Buster Posey C $22,177,777  $22,177,777  $22,177,777  $22,177,777  $22,000,000 
Nick Hundley C $2,500,000 UFA
1ST BASE POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Brandon Belt 1B $17,200,000  $17,200,000  $17,200,000  $17,200,000  UFA
2ND BASE POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Joe Panik 2B $3,450,000 ARB 2 ARB 3 UFA
Kelby Tomlinson 2B $560,000 ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3 UFA
Alen Hanson 2B $545,000 TC ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3
3RD BASE POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Evan Longoria 3B $13,500,000 $14,500,000 $15,000,000 $18,500,000 $19,500,000
Pablo Sandoval  3B $545,000 UFA
Chase d’Arnaud 3B $545,000 ARB 2 ARB 3 UFA
Miguel Gomez 3B $545,000 TC TC ARB 1 ARB 2
Ryder Jones 3B $545,000 TC TC ARB 1 ARB 2
SHORTSTOP POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Brandon Crawford SS $15,200,000  $15,200,000  $15,200,000  $15,200,000  UFA
OUTFIELD POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Hunter Pence RF $18,500,000  UFA
Andrew McCutchen RF $14,750,000 UFA
Gregor Blanco RF $1,000,000 UFA
Gorkys Hernandez LF $561,500 ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3 UFA
Austin Slater LF $545,000 TC TC ARB 1 ARB 2
Steven Duggar CF $545,000
Mac Williamson RF $545,000 TC ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3
STARTING PITCHERS POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Johnny Cueto  SP $21,000,000 $21,000,000 $21,000,000 $21,000,000 $22,000,000
Jeff Samardzija  SP $19,800,000  $19,800,000  $19,800,000  UFA
Madison Bumgarner SP $12,000,000 $12,000,000 UFA
Chris Stratton SP $552,500 TC TC ARB 1 ARB 2
Andrew Suarez SP $545,000
Dereck Rodriguez  SP $545,000
Casey Kelly SP $545,000 ARB 2 ARB 3 UFA
Tyler Beede SP $545,000
RELIEF PITCHERS POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Mark Melancon RP/CL $20,000,000  $19,000,000  $19,000,000  UFA $1,000,000
Matt Cain RP $7,500,000
Sam Dyson RP $4,425,000 ARB 3 ARB 4 UFA
Tony Watson RP $3,000,000 $3,500,000 $2,500,000 UFA
Will Smith RP $2,500,000 ARB 4 UFA
Derek Holland RP $1,750,000 UFA
Hunter Strickland RP/CL $1,550,000 ARB 2 ARB 3 ARB 4 UFA
Ty Blach RP $565,000 TC ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3
Josh Osich RP $558,000 ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3 UFA
Julian Fernández  RP $545,000
Reyes Moronta RP $545,000 TC TC ARB 1 ARB 2
Pierce Johnson RP $545,000 TC TC ARB 1 ARB 2
Ray Black RP $545,000
Jose Valdez  RP $545,000 TC ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3
Derek Law RP $545,000 TC ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3
Steven Okert RP $545,000 TC ARB 1 ARB 2 ARB 3
Retained/Buried Payroll Figures
POS. 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Matt Cain RP $7,500,000
Austin Jackson CF $1,629,035
Cory Gearrin RP $909,575
Roberto Gomez RP $47,312
D.J. Snelten RP $29,300

MLB Teams With Best Cost-to-Win Ratios

posted in: Baseball, Uncategorized | 0

Typically, small market teams in any professional sport are at a huge disadvantage as they simply do not have the financial power to compete with the “Big Boys” who seemingly do not have a payroll ceiling as they have the willingness to pay high luxury taxes. In 2018, there are some astounding exceptions to this rule and as a sports fan, you simply have to root for these “David” teams against the “Goliath’s”.

Four teams stand apart from the rest of the league in terms of having the best cost-to-win ratio in 2018… These teams are in the top 10 in the cost-to-win ratio and equally as important, they are in Playoff contention. The Oakland A’s have the best ratio by far while having the third lowest payroll in MLB. The other standout teams are the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves. All four of these teams have payrolls in the lower half of the league and they are all Playoff contenders. These teams have outstanding management in terms of scouting, drafting, and trading for players who don’t command top salaries but who play as well as the top salaried players in the league.

Of course, there are the “Goliath’s” who have very high payrolls but who are also Playoff contenders. The difference is that these teams are expected to win the World Series and anything short of that would be a failure. Teams with the 10 highest payrolls who are Playoff contenders are the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners. The management for these teams are second tier as they spend top dollars for the MLB super-stars. In other words, they don’t have to worry about being frugal to trade for the best players in baseball. But they also do a good job of scouting and drafting as their minor league teams are filled with good future MLB players.

Lastly, there are the teams with poor management who have the highest salaries who are not in Playoff contention. These teams are the San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Mets. These teams are in the top 12 in having the highest payrolls but who have no hope to make the Playoffs. Of these teams, the SF Giants are in the poorest position going forward. They have the 2nd highest payroll and their roster is filled with old, high salaried players who do not command any trade value. In essence, the SF management have been overly loyal to players who brought home three World Series titles since 2010. At this point, there are no good options over the next few years except to hope that their minor league players come of age soon and can be effective major league players.

As an avid SF Giants fan since they moved here from New York, I am worried that they won’t be a competitive team again for years. But, I am amazed and thrilled that I was able to celebrate three World Series titles in seven years. And, since my motto is to simply relax and enjoy my favorite sports teams, I will forever be a Giants fan regardless of how they perform.

I am also a Bay Area sports fan in general so am thrilled to see how well the Oakland A’s are performing this year. As amazing as they are playing, they simply don’t get the press that they deserve. The press focuses all of their accolades to the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros. For this reason, I would dearly love to see the A’s conquer these “Goliath’s” !!!

 

Go A’s !!!

 

Team Total Payroll Rank # of Wins as of 8/21/2018 Cost per Win Rank (Cost per Win Playoff Contention
Oakland Athletics $79,105,049 28 75 $1,054,733.99 1 Y
Tampa Bay Rays $70,973,984 30 64 $1,108,968.50 2
Pittsburgh Pirates $91,842,537 26 63 $1,457,818.05 3
Milwaukee Brewers $105,550,229 22 70 $1,507,860.41 4 Y
Chicago White Sox $71,168,615 29 47 $1,514,225.85 5
Philadelphia Phillies $103,424,036 23 68 $1,520,941.71 6 Y
Cincinnati Reds $98,923,352 25 55 $1,798,606.40 7
Miami Marlins $91,038,480 27 50 $1,820,769.60 8
Atlanta Braves $128,573,847 19 69 $1,863,389.09 9 Y
Minnesota Twins $114,689,120 21 59 $1,943,883.39 10
Cleveland Indians $141,133,243 14 72 $1,960,183.93 11 Y
San Diego Padres $99,474,315 24 49 $2,030,088.06 12
Arizona Diamondbacks $140,597,981 15 69 $2,037,651.90 13 Y
Colorado Rockies $142,828,448 13 68 $2,100,418.35 14 Y
Houston Astros $161,093,262 9 75 $2,147,910.16 15 Y
Seattle Mariners $159,985,757 10 72 $2,222,024.40 16 Y
New York Yankees $177,530,798 6 78 $2,276,035.87 17 Y
St. Louis Cardinals $162,540,882 8 69 $2,355,664.96 18 Y
Texas Rangers $138,989,968 16 56 $2,481,963.71 19
Detroit Tigers $129,892,009 17 51 $2,546,902.14 20
Boston Red Sox $227,835,760 1 88 $2,589,042.73 21 Y
Chicago Cubs $188,649,397 4 71 $2,657,033.76 22 Y
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $173,543,411 7 63 $2,754,657.32 23
New York Mets $149,728,579 12 54 $2,772,751.46 24
Toronto Blue Jays $156,766,332 11 56 $2,799,398.79 25
Los Angeles Dodgers $194,197,232 3 67 $2,898,466.15 26 Y
Washington Nationals $186,810,505 5 62 $3,013,072.66 27
San Francisco Giants $207,025,940 2 62 $3,339,128.06 28
Baltimore Orioles $124,161,594 20 37 $3,355,718.76 29
Kansas City Royals $129,537,133 18 38 $3,408,871.92 30

 

SF Giants Left Field is Not Right

posted in: Baseball | 0

During the off season, the Giants did well to sign a bonafide closer in Mark Melancon. Their bull pen was their most glaring weakness throughout the 2016 season. This was capped with a blown 9th inning 5-2 lead to the Cubs in the 4th game of the NLDS. Matt Moore had thrown a masterpiece for 8 innings holding the Cubs to 2 hits with 10 strikeouts. The bull pen meltdown allowing the Cubs to score 4 runs in the 9th was a microcosm of their entire season. With Johnny Cueto scheduled to pitch the final game of the series, Giant fans had high hopes that they could advance to the World Series again keeping their every-other-year title chances intact. This was before the fateful 9th inning meltdown.

The 2017 season, although very early, is revealing another flaw. The Giants plan to platoon Jarrett Parker and Chris Marerro in Left Field has not worked out. Parker made a great catch but crashed his shoulder into the wall and broke his collar bone. He will be out for 2-3 months. Marerro is batting .133 and Aaron Hill hasn’t fared much better.

I’m sure that Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans are looking at all options. If things don’t improve in the next few weeks, I’m thinking that they will have to make some moves. Two options that I favor are:

  • Trade for Ryan Braun. Braun will achieve 10-and-5 rights on May 24, thus allowing him full veto power over any trade (10 years in the Bigs and 5 years on the same team). The Brewers may feel some sense of urgency to make a trade before May 24 if they are in re-build mode. This makes sense for two reasons. Braun can fill the gap in Left and has power. The other reason is that the Dodgers may make a play on him as their record against left-handed pitchers is atrocious. They are also looking for a right-handed power bat.
  • Bring up Christian Arroyo and play him at 3rd base, then move Eduardo Nunez to Left Field. Arroyo is batting .479 and is the Giant’s top prospect. During his limited time in the Bigs, he has shown an ability to square up the ball and hit line drives. Nunez has plenty of speed to cover the left field but he has limitations as he is trained as an infielder. Please keep in mind that this is a temporary solution until Mac Williamson’s quad get healed. I’m thinking that this could very well take 2 months as he’ll need a month of minor league play to get back into the groove. I like the Arroyo and Nunez moves as both are hitti

I’m sure Sabean and Evans are looking at other options but hoping that they make Left Field right.

Fan Priority – MVP or Title

posted in: Baseball, Basketball, Football | 0

Let’s get real… Fans want an MVP player on their team… But they go nuts when their team wins a title.

Bay area fans have been blissed with many great individual performances resulting in MVP awards:

1954 & 1965 Willie Mays (NY Giants & SF Giants)

1969 Willie McCovey (Giants)

1970 John Brodie (Niners)

1971 Vida Blue (A’s)

1973 Reggie Jackson (A’s)

1974 Kenny Stabler (Raiders)

1988 Jose Canseco (A’s)

1989 Kevin Mitchell (Giants)

1989 & 1990 Joe Montana (Niners)

1990 Ricky Henderson (A’s)

1992 Dennis Eckersley (A’s)

1993, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004 Barry Bonds (Giants)

1992 & 1993 Steve Young (Niners)

2000 Jason Giambi (A’s)

2000 Jeff Kent (Giants)

2002 Rich Gannon (Raiders)

2002 Miguel Tejeda (A’s)

2006 Joe Thornton (Sharks)

2012 Buster Posey (Giants)

2012 Chris Wondolowski (Quakes)

2015 & 2016 Stephen Curry (Warriors)

These awards are all very deserving and I truly appreciated each and every one of these fabulous performances. Totally proud to have witnessed history for these remarkable athletes (except for the 1954 MVP award for Willie Mays).

Having said that, nothing got my blood flowing and my heart thumping more than during the championship title runs of all of our Bay Area teams.

It is a totally euphoric sensation and the culmination of what we fans have envisioned for our team(s) to be able to stand atop Mt. Everest at the end of the season.

My top moments that I still recall vividly are:

  • 1981 – The Joe Montana to Dwight Clark “Catch” which started the Niner dynasty. I was with my brother and we both went bananas…
  • 1989 – The Joe Montana to John Taylor “Catch” to win SB XXIII. My son and I jumped so high, we almost hit the ceiling…
  • 2010, 2012 & 2014 – While the Giants were on their title runs, what I still recall are the Halloween nights where I was constantly interrupted by Trick-or-Treaters and had to run to the door to greet them and quickly run back to the TV so I wouldn’t miss anything. In the final game of the 2014 series, MadBum the STUD, came into the game in the 5th inning and shut out the Royals for the remainder of the game. Of course, I almost had a heart attack when Alex Gordon hit a ball that Gregor Blanco badly misplayed which resulted in a triple. All turned out well when Salvador Perez popped out to Pablo Sandoval and the celebration started throughout the Bay Area…
  • 2015 – The GS Warriors season was a total blast topped by Steph Curry’s remarkable leadership and play. The season was culminated by the recommendation of a Warrior staffer, Nick U’Ren, to start Andre Iguodala and go small & fast against the Cavs. It worked so well, Andre was named the Finals MVP and the Warriors won their first title in 40 years. What I recall was in Game 7, we had a comfortable lead but JR Smith started hitting insane bombs and it got uncomfortably close. My son and I “chest bumped” and “high fived” as the clock ran out…

The bottom line is that fans are fans of their team. They are also fans of great individual performers while they play for their team. OKC fans loved Kevin Durant while he was there but hated him when he left for another career opportunity. Their favorite now is Russ Westbrook as he is having an MVP season. If Westbrook choses to leave OKC next year, they will hate him, too. It’s natural for fans to react this way as their first priority is their team.

MVP’s are nice but Championship Titles are everything!!!

Bryce Harper – Baseball is tired

posted in: Baseball | 6

Bryce Harper, the young sensation from the Washington Nationals came out in March 2016 and declared “Baseball’s tired. It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself,” Harper began. “You can’t do what people in other sports do.”

I happen to agree with him. MLB has way too many “unwritten rules” to indicate that you must respect the game and never show up an opponent whether you hit a home run, strike out a great hitter, steal a base when you have a large lead, etc. These rules are all old school and no longer apply to modern day baseball players who want to express their successes. Sometimes, change is good and in this case, I say let the players celebrate their successes as they do in the NFL or NBA.

Old Timer’s like Goose Goosage, on the other hand, truly believe that the young stars of today are total disgraces to the game. His quotes:

“[Jose] Bautista is a f—ing disgrace to the game,” Gossage said at Yankees spring training. “He’s embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto. [Yoenis] Cespedes, same thing.”

Well, I guess we all know how Goose Gossage feels about this topic.

He continued…

“The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it. I’ll tell you what has happened, these guys played Rotisserie baseball at Harvard or wherever the f–k they went and they thought they figured the f–king game out. They don’t know shit.”

Baseball was invented as a pleasure sport to relax and have FUN, not to always follow outdated starchy rules that aren’t even written down.

So which side of the aisle are you on?