BaySportsNet.com http://www.baysportsnet.com The Bay Area's source for A's, Giants, Raiders, 49ers, Sharks and Warriors news, rumors, opinions & insights. Mon, 14 Dec 2015 22:53:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 Giants and Johnny Cueto Agree To Six-Year Deal http://www.baysportsnet.com/giants-johnny-cueto-agree-six-year-deal/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/giants-johnny-cueto-agree-six-year-deal/#respond Mon, 14 Dec 2015 22:48:36 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=20213 The Giants continue to stay active this offseason, as they have just agreed to a six-year contract with right-handed starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, which is belived to be worth around $130 million, according to CBSSports.com.

Cueto was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals in July, and he was a big part of the Royals’ run to the World Championship. He pitched a complete-game, two-hitter in game 2 of the World Series.

Cueto has agreed to join a team that has won three world championships in the last six years. It is likely that he will be the number-two pitcher in the starting rotation, behind 2014 World Series Most Valuable Player Madison Bumgarner.

Cueto was an all-star in 2014, and he also led the National League in strikeouts that season. He has a career record of 96-70, with an ERA of 3.30 and 1,171 strikeouts. Cueto was 11-13 last season, with an ERA of 3.44 and 176 strikeouts.

He started 102 games for the Reds from 2011 to 2014, and he posted a record of 53-25, with a 2.48 ERA. He made a good portion of those starts at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, which is considered to be one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball.

This deal is pending a physical.

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San Francisco Giants Introduce Jeff Samardzija http://www.baysportsnet.com/san-francisco-giants-introduce-jeff-samardzija/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/san-francisco-giants-introduce-jeff-samardzija/#respond Sat, 12 Dec 2015 00:26:09 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=20207 After the Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world with their signing of Zack Greinke, the Giants immediately exercised their backup plan, as they signed right-handed starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90 million deal.

The Giants formally introduced Samardzija at a press conference this afternoon at AT&T Park. Samardzija was joined by Giants’ President and CEO Larry Baer, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Brian Sabean and Senior Vice President and General Manager Bobby Evans.

“Today’s a great day for the Giants,” said Baer at this afternoon’s press conference. “We’ve been admiring Jeff from afar for many years.”

Samardzija had a rough season last year with the Chicago White Sox, as he went 11-13, with a 4.96 ERA. However, he posted a 2.99 ERA with the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics in 2014. He also went to the All-Star Game that season.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself and got away from what I do well,” said Samardzija about last season. “I think at times you can start chasing things and start to look for answers here and there, but I’m excited to come to a coaching staff where their reputation is established.”

Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner have been considered to be one of the best pitching coach combinations around baseball. Together, they have coached Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum through a lot of success.

“You have to remember he’s still a young pitcher, and he’s extremely athletic, and I think more than anything in his career to this point, he’s been more of a thrower than a pitcher,” former Giants’ pitcher and current color commentator Mike Krukow told KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” last month. “The White Sox have a ballpark that’s pretty hitter friendly, and that just I think explains a lot of the home runs that Samardzija has given up. He’s very aggressive, but my point being is you get him around Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, and you know they finesse him a little bit and show him some different ways to get people out without trying to overthrow every pitch, I think you know his ability to pitch, and I emphasize the word pitch, I think that will grow, plus the ballpark is San Francisco is such a forgiving park to guys who will put the ball in the air. I mean, I think it will be a great project. I do believe there is a tremendous amount of growth in [Samardzija’s] ability to pitch [still] in front of him.”

Samardzija has a career record of 47-61, with an ERA of 4.09 and 901 strikeouts. He joins a rotation headed by staff ace and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. The Giants have also made it a priority to add another starting pitcher, whether it be Mike Leake or Japanase pitcher Kenta Maeda, who will be available to negotiate with Major League Baseball clubs.

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How Many Wins Will The Warriors Finish With? Where Will They Rank In NBA History? http://www.baysportsnet.com/20203-2/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/20203-2/#respond Fri, 11 Dec 2015 22:26:25 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=20203 On the strength of a 23-0 start, most of which were not even close contests, talk of just how good the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors actually are can’t be avoided. There’s still 59 games to go counting tonight against the Celtics and anything can happen.

Will the team go undefeated and finish with a perfect 82-0 record? No, but will they eclipse the record 73 wins by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls? Maybe. Probably.

The fact that the Warriors have four games against the San Antonio Spurs on their schedule, and a Christmas Day game against the Cleveland Cavaliers adds to the probability that the Dubs will drop at least one of those games and end their run at a perfect season. With two of the final four games of the season against the Spurs, including a road game on April 10 in San Antonio, there has to be at least a realistic conversation about resting some of the starters at that point with the playoffs already well locked up.

Before that scenario ever comes into play, though, the Warriors will face the Lebron James led Cavaliers on Christmas day in a game that Lebron and company are sure to be targeting as some revenge for last year’s Finals. If the Warriors survive that game, they will have another challenge with the Dallas Mavericks less than a week later on December 30 in Dallas. They will play San Antonio and Dallas again only a day apart at the end of January. And despite the lack of mentioning of any team not located in Dallas, Cleveland or San Antonio, the Warriors have had a few closer-than-they-should-have-been games already this season (beating the Brooklyn Nets in overtime).

Add in the possibility of a key player going down to injury, and it would be a bit unwise to go betting the mortgage or rent money on a perfect season. Harrison Barnes has already missed time due to an injury, and Klay Thompson remains a game-time decision for game number 24 against the Boston Celtics tonight. The Warriors have the depth to withstand an injury or two for a small stretch, but what would happen if Stephen Curry were to go down for a prolonged stretch? Or what if Thompson and Barnes’ injuries linger to Christmas and the Dubs have to take on Lebron, Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers without two-fifths of their starting roster?

Is it unrealistic to think that the Warriors can finish the season with less than 10 losses though? Absolutely not. Purely speculative, but if health withstands, and chalking up some credit to Kevin Garnett’s famous “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!” proclamation, the Warriors are certainly looking like a team that could cruise into the postseason with a 77-5 record, perhaps a game or two better, perhaps a game or two worse.

Would this unseat the 1995-96 Bulls as the greatest team ever? It would be hard, even for the biggest Michael Jordan supporter, to argue against it.

Yes you can argue that the eras are different and don’t compare well, but wins are wins regardless of the era you play in. Both teams faced the best competition available to them in their respective seasons.

You can’t necessarily declare one team better than the other in a head-to-head game because of the differences in the games, but you can look at the players on the teams and compare how they performed in the environments they played in.

Here’s a look at the 1995-96 Bulls roster and per-game stats:

 

Player Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Michael Jordan 32 82 82 37.7 11.2 22.6 .495 1.4 3.2 .427 9.8 19.4 .506 .525 6.7 8.0 .834 1.8 4.8 6.6 4.3 2.2 0.5 2.4 2.4 30.4
Scottie Pippen 30 77 77 36.7 7.3 15.8 .463 1.9 5.2 .374 5.4 10.6 .507 .525 2.9 4.2 .679 2.0 4.5 6.4 5.9 1.7 0.7 2.7 2.6 19.4
Dennis Rodman 34 64 57 32.6 2.3 4.8 .480 0.0 0.4 .111 2.2 4.3 .516 .485 0.9 1.7 .528 5.6 9.3 14.9 2.5 0.6 0.4 2.2 3.1 5.5
Luc Longley 27 62 62 26.5 3.9 8.1 .482 0.0 0.0 3.9 8.1 .482 .482 1.3 1.7 .777 1.7 3.5 5.1 1.9 0.4 1.4 1.8 3.6 9.1
Toni Kukoc 27 81 20 26.0 4.8 9.7 .490 1.1 2.7 .403 3.7 7.0 .524 .546 2.5 3.3 .772 1.4 2.6 4.0 3.5 0.8 0.3 1.4 1.9 13.1
Ron Harper 32 80 80 23.6 2.9 6.3 .467 0.4 1.3 .269 2.6 5.0 .519 .495 1.2 1.7 .705 0.9 1.7 2.7 2.6 1.3 0.4 0.9 1.7 7.4
Steve Kerr 30 82 0 23.4 3.0 5.9 .506 1.5 2.9 .515 1.5 3.0 .498 .633 1.0 1.0 .929 0.3 1.0 1.3 2.3 0.8 0.0 0.5 1.3 8.4
Bill Wennington 32 71 20 15.0 2.4 4.8 .493 0.0 0.0 1.000 2.4 4.8 .491 .494 0.5 0.6 .860 0.8 1.6 2.5 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.5 2.4 5.3
Dickey Simpkins 23 60 12 11.4 1.3 2.7 .481 0.0 0.0 1.000 1.3 2.7 .478 .484 1.0 1.6 .629 1.1 1.5 2.6 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.9 1.3 3.6
John Salley 31 17 0 11.2 0.7 2.1 .343 0.0 0.0 0.7 2.1 .343 .343 0.7 1.2 .600 1.2 1.4 2.5 0.9 0.5 0.9 0.9 2.2 2.1
Jud Buechler 27 74 0 10.0 1.5 3.3 .463 0.5 1.2 .444 1.0 2.1 .474 .545 0.2 0.3 .636 0.6 0.9 1.5 0.8 0.5 0.1 0.5 0.9 3.8
Randy Brown 27 68 0 9.9 1.1 2.8 .406 0.0 0.2 .091 1.1 2.7 .425 .409 0.4 0.7 .609 0.3 0.7 1.0 1.1 0.8 0.2 0.5 1.3 2.7
James Edwards 40 28 0 9.8 1.5 3.9 .373 0.0 0.0 1.5 3.9 .373 .373 0.6 0.9 .615 0.5 0.9 1.4 0.4 0.0 0.3 0.8 2.2 3.5
Jason Caffey 22 57 0 9.6 1.2 2.8 .438 0.0 0.0 .000 1.2 2.8 .441 .438 0.7 1.2 .588 0.9 1.1 1.9 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.8 1.6 3.2
Jack Haley 32 1 0 7.0 2.0 6.0 .333 0.0 0.0 2.0 6.0 .333 .333 1.0 2.0 .500 1.0 1.0 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 5.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/11/2015.

And here are the 20015-16 Golden State Warriors so far this season:

 

Player Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Stephen Curry 27 23 23 34.4 10.7 20.3 .529 5.2 11.2 .463 5.6 9.1 .610 .656 5.6 6.2 .901 0.5 4.5 5.0 6.0 2.3 0.1 3.6 1.8 32.2
Draymond Green 25 23 23 34.0 4.7 10.2 .460 1.3 3.6 .378 3.3 6.7 .503 .526 2.3 3.3 .707 1.6 7.0 8.5 7.0 1.0 1.4 2.8 3.1 13.0
Klay Thompson 25 22 22 31.6 6.6 14.2 .465 3.1 7.0 .442 3.5 7.2 .487 .574 1.9 2.2 .857 0.4 3.2 3.6 2.5 0.5 0.9 2.0 2.2 18.2
Harrison Barnes 23 17 17 30.1 4.9 9.9 .500 1.2 3.2 .389 3.7 6.7 .553 .563 2.3 2.8 .830 1.2 3.8 5.0 1.9 0.9 0.2 1.1 1.8 13.4
Andre Iguodala 32 23 0 27.5 3.2 6.0 .529 1.1 2.6 .441 2.0 3.4 .595 .623 0.4 0.8 .556 1.1 3.4 4.6 3.7 1.5 0.3 1.0 1.7 7.9
Shaun Livingston 30 21 0 20.1 2.2 4.4 .500 0.0 0.3 .143 2.1 4.0 .529 .505 0.8 0.9 .944 0.6 1.5 2.0 2.3 0.4 0.2 0.8 1.8 5.2
Andrew Bogut 31 16 12 19.8 3.1 4.4 .700 0.0 0.0 3.1 4.4 .700 .700 0.4 0.9 .429 1.8 4.8 6.5 2.3 0.4 1.7 1.1 3.1 6.5
Festus Ezeli 26 23 11 19.7 3.3 5.8 .567 0.0 0.0 3.3 5.8 .567 .567 1.9 3.5 .538 2.3 4.0 6.4 1.0 0.3 1.4 0.8 2.7 8.5
Leandro Barbosa 33 19 0 14.9 2.6 5.9 .442 0.9 2.1 .462 1.7 3.9 .432 .522 0.3 0.5 .667 0.5 1.2 1.6 1.6 0.9 0.2 0.9 1.7 6.5
Brandon Rush 30 15 7 12.9 1.6 3.5 .462 1.1 2.2 .515 0.5 1.3 .368 .625 0.3 0.5 .625 0.5 2.2 2.7 0.7 0.2 0.2 0.6 0.5 4.7
Marreese Speights 28 19 0 10.0 1.8 5.3 .350 0.1 0.4 .143 1.8 4.9 .366 .355 1.2 1.6 .742 0.9 2.2 3.2 0.6 0.2 0.4 1.1 1.6 4.9
Ian Clark 24 19 0 6.9 1.2 2.8 .434 0.6 1.2 .478 0.6 1.6 .400 .538 0.5 0.5 .900 0.2 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.2 0.2 0.6 0.9 3.5
Jason Thompson 29 11 0 5.8 0.7 1.7 .421 0.0 0.0 0.7 1.7 .421 .421 0.1 0.2 .500 0.5 1.5 2.1 0.6 0.2 0.3 0.4 1.1 1.5
James Michael McAdoo 23 16 0 4.8 0.8 1.5 .500 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.5 .500 .500 0.5 1.2 .421 0.4 0.6 1.0 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.8 2.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/11/2015.

Michael had Scottie Pippin, Tony Kukoc and Dennis Rodman as his main support, while Steph has fellow Splash Brother Klay, Draymond Green, Barnes and Andrew Bogut as his main support. It’s all opinion, because that really is all you can call it in something that can never be proven beyond the scope of bar conversations. But, edge to the Warriors.

Then go down the list at the depth of both rosters: Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights vs. Luke Longley, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, Dickey Simpkins and a handful other guys only the most die hard Bulls fans would remember. Again, edge to the Warriors.

Let’s not get into the Michael vs Steph conversation now. There will always be only one Michael Jordan. Maybe one day Curry will have a career to rival MJ, but for now he’s got a pair of seasons, and we can leave it there. That wasn’t the point of this collection of words.

I’m not saying MJ, Scottie and Rodman couldn’t shut down the Splash Brothers, Draymond and the Warriors bench head-to-head, but over the course of an 82-game regular season, it is perfectly reasonable to expect the Curry lead Warriors to finish with more wins than the Jordan lead Bulls.

And how does this play out historically? Well, remember that the 1994-95 Bulls lost in the Eastern Conference Finals the year before their dominant run. The 1996-97 Bulls finished with 69 wins and their second title in a row. Probably the second greatest season in history to follow up the best.

I have previously argued, though, that despite not having the second best overall record, the 2014-15 Warriors were already the second best team in NBA History following their title last year. (Somehow I excluded the 96-97 Bulls from that list by lumping them together as the same core from the year before, but the same technically applies to the past two seasons of the Warriors’ roster). It’s truly hard to find fault in going from 72 wins down to 69 wins and winning the title in both seasons, but I’ll argue that it is a greater accomplishment going from a historic 67 win season to the best of all time with 73+ wins, and hopefully back-to-back titles.

Then there’s that pesky argument of the 1997-98 Bulls that completed the three-peat. Okay, edge goes to the Bulls there, for now.

Go get number 24 in a row tonight against Boston, keep working towards title number two in a row, and we’ll reconvene with this “Greatest of all time” debate when the Warriors are pushing towards the 2016-17 NBA Finals and their own quest for a three-peat.

Maybe we’re a bit ahead of ourselves, but remember just a few years ago when such talk would have had you suited for a straight jacket? Times have changed, that’s for sure.

It’s certainly a fun time to be a basketball fan in the Bay.

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Oakland A’s: Reserve Judgement Until Final Spring Product http://www.baysportsnet.com/oakland-as-reserve-judgement-until-final-spring-product/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/oakland-as-reserve-judgement-until-final-spring-product/#respond Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:38:27 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=20197 First things first, it would be easy at this point to look at the trade of Brett Lawrie and jump to the conclusion that the Josh Donaldson trade a year ago looks even worse right now and the A’s are worse off next season as a result.

On the surface, I would probably agree with you. The reigning American League MVP was manning third base for the A’s a little over a year ago, and now he is mashing up in our neighbor to the North for the Blue Jays. One of the key pieces of his trade will be manning the hot corner for the Chicago White Sox in 2016 — we’ll just say it doesn’t look like Billy Beane won that trade at the moment.

On the flip side, the A’s got a pair of younger pitchers, lefty Zack Erwin and righty J.B. Wendelken, that could play a role down the road a little bit, and with the addition of Danny Valencia last season and the reunion with Jed Lowrie, perhaps the loss of Lawrie won’t be felt much, if at all. That’s the optimistic way of looking at things for right now anyway — something tells me Lawrie is set for a breakout season and A’s fans will be screaming about how we dealt him too early as well, so we’ll see.

Considering that the 2015 season was plagued by an apparently toxic clubhouse that at least aided in the A’s 68-94 season, the roster remake that is underway is probably a good thing.

It’s a new season though, and we have a new General Manager (technically) in David Forst (under the watchful eye of his predecessor and still team Executive Vice President, Billy Beane). Perhaps a team shaped by Forst will be slightly different than the teams shaped by Beane?

Since I started with the trade of Brett Lawrie to open up with, let’s take a trip around the infield and look at how things stand as of right now — I’ll get to the pitching, but you’ll need to be patient and keep reading. Ike Davis is out of the picture at first, replaced by Yonder Alonso. Jed Lowrie will be up the middle at second base with Marcus Semien back at shortstop as his double-play partner. Danny Valencia gets third base and Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley will be calling the games behind the plate. Eric Sogard remains the A’s utility player.

I may have personally preferred having Lowrie at shortstop and Lawrie at second turning double-plays, but there’s no denying that Semien has better range at shortstop. If he is improved defensively at shortstop under a full spring’s tutelage with Ron Washington, then Semien-Lowrie up the middle should be just fine. If anything, trading Lawrie now shows that the A’s are confident Joey Wendle will be able to learn second base at the Major League level under Lowrie over the next year and a half to two years. I’d probably look for him as a September call-up this coming season and we’ll see how it plays out from there (thinking along the lines of when Jemile Weeks debuted and eventually pushed Mark Ellis off of second base — hopefully with a better outcome).

There hasn’t been any real addressing of the outfield situation so far. Billy Burns still appears to be the team’s center fielder. Josh Reddick will be in right field. Coco Crisp will likely be in left field, along with Mark Canha (who should also see some time at first base). Jake Smolinski is also in the mix as a 4th/5th outfielder, as is Sam Fuld.

With Billy Butler entering the second year of his three year contract, the DH spot seems pretty locked up at the moment unless Oakland could find a taker for his contract in a trade — unlikely.

Alonso will hit, but won’t add much power to the A’s lineup, maybe 10 homers, if I’m not being too optimistic. Lowrie will hopefully be closer to the player he was in 2013 for Oakland and come in with around 12-15 homers, and not the player he was in 2014 and 2015, in which case 10 may be closer to reality. Semien should show some additional comfort with another year under his belt, and for now I’ll pencil him in at around 20 long balls. Valencia is probably good for another 15 homers at third, and I’ll round out the infield with Vogt at another 15. That would be just 72 homers projected for the entire A’s starting infield.

Pencil in Reddick for another 20, Burns for five (just because I am feeling generous this morning), Crisp for 10 and Canha for 15. We’ll be optimistic for now and say that Butler rebounds, hits for a higher average, and adds the same number of homers he hit last year with 15. That would give Oakland another 50 for a whopping total of 122 long-balls for the year, not including whatever added production they get from call-ups, and their bench players. Let’s just put it at 140 for arguments sake. Based on the 2015 totals, that would have ranked them in a tie for 23rd with the Pittsburgh Pirates and down six homers from their own 2015 production. For the record, even with Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and half a season of Yoenis Cespedes, the A’s only hit 146 homers in 2014 as well.

They hit 186 homers in 2013, which is actually a number that actually would have tied them for seventh overall last season (the Toronto Blue Jays were first with 232).

Obviously Oakland would benefit from adding another power bat to the lineup, but with the current roster construction, it is hard to find a place where one might fit in. Chris Carter and Pedro Alvarez are available and would instantly add some thump to the power department, but they come with their own downsides as well. Cespedes is still out there on the free agent market, but barring an unlikely willingness to give Oakland a discount strictly out of fondness for the organization that gave him his first chance, that probably isn’t happening either.

The only real place that stands out to add a power bat is at designated hitter, and that only happens if Butler is able to be moved.

So it would appear that the A’s under new GM Forst are looking to compete via their pitching and getting runners on base, as has been their model many times in the past. So much for a new mold I suppose, but hey, it has worked for them in the past, just hopefully this time they can push it further…

<Sigh>, remind me to refresh my memory on Albert Einstein’s definition of “insanity,” I believe it has something to do with repeating the same thing over and over in hopes of a different result? Albert just may have been onto something there… Eh, what did he ever accomplish though, he certainly never won a World Series… I digress…

The bullpen is receiving a much needed overhaul. Oakland has already traded for Mark Rzepczynski (I will be misspelling that countless times in 2016), Liam Hendricks and Wendelken, and they have signed Ryan Madson and John Axford. Add Sean Doolittle, R.J. Alvarez and Ryan Dull to that group and you have some pretty decent bullpen depth now.

Behind Sonny Gray, the rest of the A’s rotation includes free agent acquisition Rich Hill and returning pitchers Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, Chris Bassitt, Felix Doubront, Aaron Brooks and Arnold Leon for some pitching depth. Jarrod Parker will also compete for a starting pitching job, but could wind up more suited for a bullpen role as he continues to recover from injury. Some of this group could also factor into the bullpen as long relievers throughout the season while still making spot-starts, taking the role vacated by Drew Pomeranz and Jesse Chavez.  It doesn’t appear that Oakland is content with sitting pat with this group either, and may wind up adding another starter to the group if they can.

What it amounts to is a long-winded way of saying that at the moment there was not a whole lot of change in the lineup from 2015 to 2016, at least not yet. The A’s appear to be banking on players improving on their 2015 campaigns without too many of the core group regressing. There are definitely some players acting as bridges to a younger core of players still maturing in the minors: Franklin Barreto, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Joey Wendle, Renato Nunez, Richie Martin, etc.

The bullpen woes of 2015 have certainly been addressed, but it is important that the players are able to settle into their roles once the season starts. The Jim Johnson trade seemed like a good idea at the time also, and that blew up in Oakland’s face. This group certainly seems that they will be able to acclimate to their roles though and form a good 7-8-9 of Axford, Madson and Doolittle to close out games (if that does indeed wind up being the order), with the rest of the group handling their roles when called upon.

Gray and Hill are a nice combo atop the rotation, but adding another veteran such as Scott Kazmir or even Bartolo Colon to help eat innings and save the bullpen while the younger guys continue to develop would be a huge addition. Even if that never plays out though, Graveman, Hahn and Bassitt all showed flashes of their potential in 2015 and could be bigger contributors in 2016. Doubront and Brooks are nice insurance policies to have on board if they are needed to fill out the back-end of the rotation as well, or as depth in Nashville. Anything you get from Jarrod Parker is a bonus at this point, but knowing his work ethic, it wouldn’t surprise at all for him to return as a force to be dealt with in the American League West.

All that said, nearly 1500 words later, it’s still the middle of December with a lot of time left before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona. There’s definitely been improvements made, but there is also definitely still room for improvement. And as always, health will be another major concern in 2016 with the existing group.

Let’s just hope these new additions form better clubhouse chemistry than their 2015 versions did when they do finally all come together.

 

 

Photo Credit: (July 11, 2015 – Jason Miller/Getty Images North America)

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Raiders Teammates Offer High Praise for Seth Roberts http://www.baysportsnet.com/raiders-teammates-offer-high-praise-for-seth-roberts/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/raiders-teammates-offer-high-praise-for-seth-roberts/#respond Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:52:10 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=20182 Early this September, before he’d even officially been named to the Oakland Raiders 53-man roster, Seth Roberts said that he “just wanted to live in the dream and have fun”.

At the time, he’d just logged 110 receiving yards in Oakland’s final game of the preseason against Seattle. For Roberts, that seven-catch performance stood as the highlight of a career that had seen the 24-year-old progress from Pearl River Community College in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to playing Division II ball at the University of West Alabama to being signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent and then spending 2014 on Oakland’s practice squad.

“Fun” certainly describes Roberts’ 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans on Sunday. Catching one of those touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter to win the game for your team while 18 friends and family members from home watch from the stands? Definitely dream-like.

Roberts’ 12 yard reception put the Raiders ahead 24-21 in Nashville and pushed the Silver and Black to 5-6 on the season. On a day where Derek Carr threw for 330 yards and Amari Cooper caught seven passes for 115 yards, Roberts’ was still the clear candidate to be awarded the game ball from head coach Jack Del Rio, who acknowledged that Roberts “came up huge”.

“I think that Disney will write a movie about him one day,” Carr joked after the game. “The guy has consistently worked his tail off to make the practice squad, then to make the 53, to be in the starting slot, and now he’s making game-winning catches.”

Carr specifically praised Roberts’ quickness, citing plays that could have easily turned into interceptions were it not for Roberts’ skill and timing. Charles Woodson took a broader stroke with his compliments, suggesting that Roberts had essentially carried the team on his back that day.

As for Roberts’ own perspective on his performance? “I just wanted to come through for the fellas.”

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Giants sign Crawford to six-year extension. http://www.baysportsnet.com/giants-sign-crawford-six-year-extension/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/giants-sign-crawford-six-year-extension/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:40:21 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=19909 Fresh off his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award, the Giants have extended shortstop Brandon Crawford through the 2021 with a deal worth $75 million.

Crawford will earn $5.8 million next season, followed by $8 million in 2017. He will make $15 million per year for there remaining four years on his contract. Crawford will receive a 1.2 million signing bonus.

Crawford had his best season this season, as he hit a career-high 21 home runs, while winning the first Gold Glove Award for the Giants since Omar Vizquel in 2006.

Crawford was first called up in May 2011, and he impressed right away, as he hit a grand slam in his first game on May 27 in Milwaukee. He was then tasked as the Giants’ everyday shortstop in 2012, and he hung in there after he committed numerous errors in the first two months of that season.

The Giants kept their faith in him, and  he was part of two world championship teams. He also had the big hit in the National League Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh on Oct. 1, 2014; a grand slam off Edinson Volquez in the fourth inning, which put the Giants on the board and silenced the blackout crowd in Pittsburgh.

Crawford, along with second-baseman Joe Panik, have combined for a dynamic double play duo that will likely roam the Giants infield together for many years to come.

 

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Giants Agree to Minor League Deal With Outfielder Kyle Blanks http://www.baysportsnet.com/giants-agree-minor-league-deal-outfielder-kyle-blanks/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/giants-agree-minor-league-deal-outfielder-kyle-blanks/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:34:35 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=19913 The Giants have agreed to a minor league contract with power-hitting outfielder Kyle Blanks, pending a physical, which would include a major league invite to Spring Training.

Blanks, listed at 6″6′ and 265 pounds. He is a power hitter similar to Michael Morse, and he is someone the Giants could rely on to hit the late-inning pinch-hit home run if he makes the team.

Blanks impressed the San Diego Padres, when he hit 10 home runs in 2009. However, injuries have plagued his career, and he has yet to repeat his performance from the 2009 season. The Padres eventually traded him to the Oakland Athletics in 2014. Blanks hit three home runs in 18 games for Texas Rangers this season.

Blanks had surgery for a chronic foot condition in September. However, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Blanks has a “good chance” to make the team.

This also likely rules out the return of Marlon Byrd, who had four home runs and 31 RBIs in 39 games for the Giants late this season.

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Duffy Finishes Second in NL Rookie of the Year Voting http://www.baysportsnet.com/duffy-finishes-second-nl-rookie-year-voting/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/duffy-finishes-second-nl-rookie-year-voting/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:31:20 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=19902 Chicago Cubs’ third-baseman Kris Bryant was unanimously voted as the National League Rookie of the Year, while Matt Duffy collected 22 second-place votes.

In almost any other season, Duffy would’ve won this award. Duffy spent much of the season hitting over .300, and he ended up hitting .295. He established himself as the Giants’ third-baseman of the future, which was a tremendous relief to the organization after Pablo Sandoval signed with the Boston Red Sox. He also played consistent defense at the hot corner, as many of his diving plays made daily highlight reels.

However, while Bryant hit .275, his performance propelled the Cubs to their first postseason appearance since 2008. Bryant also led all National League Rookies in RBIs, runs scored and on-base percentage. He also ended up tied with Dodgers’ outfielder Joc Pederson for most home runs by a National League Rookie with 26.

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Willie Mays to be honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom http://www.baysportsnet.com/willie-mays-honored-presidential-medal-freedom/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/willie-mays-honored-presidential-medal-freedom/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:29:06 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=19906 President Obama announced that Giants’ legend Willie Mays will be one of the 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Nov. 24 at the White House.

The late, great Yogi Berra will also receive the distinct honor. They will join the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Taylor and Barbra Streisand.

“I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor,” President Obama said. “From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”

Mays, arguably the greatest player in baseball history, accompanied the Giants on their trips to the White House in 2011 and 2015. He also flew along with President Obama aboard Air Force One to St. Louis for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

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San Francisco Giants: Risks To Signing Zack Greinke http://www.baysportsnet.com/san-francisco-giants-risks-signing-zack-greinke/ http://www.baysportsnet.com/san-francisco-giants-risks-signing-zack-greinke/#comments Thu, 12 Nov 2015 15:07:02 +0000 http://www.baysportsnet.com/?p=19891 Baseball’s offseason is already off to a hot start, as potential Cy Young Award-winner Zack Greinke opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to become a free agent.

There are many Giants’ fans that want the team to sign him. If Greinke comes to the Giants, there is the potential for the team to have the best 1-2 starting pitchers in baseball with him and Madison Bumgarner.

However, there are many risks to signing Greinke. Greinke went 19-3, with an ERA of 1.66, and while that it is a great single-season performance, it’s not a performance that is likely to be repeated. Greinke is 32 years old, and it is likely that he is going to want a long-term contract that takes him to his late 30s. Greinke made $23 million this season, and if he backed out of his current contract, he’s going to want the same amount of money or possibly more.

The Giants would be wise to target Johnny Cueto or Jordan Zimmermann. Both would be good number-two starters that could strengthen the rotation. Both are younger than Greinke, and both likely won’t demand as much money as Greinke.

The Giants’ signed many players entering the twilight of their careers 10 years ago. Armando Benitez, Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel were the most prominent examples. The Giants signed Vizquel prior to 2005, and he had two gold glove seasons with the Giants, and he nearly hit .300 in 2006. However, his final two seasons were subpar. The Giants signed Benitez after he was an All-Star for the Florida Marlins in 2004. Benitez missed most of 2005 due to a hamstring injury, and then he made a habit of blowing saves. Eventually, the Giants traded him back to the Marlins.

If the Giants give Greinke a six or seven-year contract, the consequences could turn out to be the same. The Giants will likely be exercise caution, especially after they signed Barry Zito to a seven-year contract, worth $126 million. Zito was wildly successful across the bay in Oakland, but he often struggled to stay in the starting rotation with the Giants.

If the Giants sign Cueto or Zimmermann and re-sign Mike Leake, they will have a strengthened rotation that is capable of helping the Giants with their fourth world championship in seven years.

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