Giant Developments

I’ve been off in the Philippines on vacation for the last three weeks and a great deal has happened with the San Francisco Giants in my absence.

Initially, I thought the Giants gave up way too much for Hunter Pence, a corner outfielder with a .784 OPS who is projected to make about $14 million through the arbitration process in 2013 unless the Giants non-tender him.  Specifically, I was disappointed that the Giants included catching prospect Tommy Joseph in the Giants’ three player package.

Joseph’s minor league numbers don’t look that impressive, but the numbers are misleading.  AA Richmond, where he played most of this season, and Class A Augusta, where he played in 2010, are terrible places to hit, but Joseph more than held his own as a very young player who only turned 21 this past July 16.  His defense is considered good enough for him to catch at the major league level, and he has power.

That has value, and I realistically believe he’ll establish himself as a major league catcher before the end of the 2014 season.  If the Giants had kept him, they could have moved Buster Posey to first base full time by 2015 and gone with Hector Sanchez and Joseph as their primary catchers. The Giants really need to move Posey to another position eventually in order to maximize his offensive potential and reduce his risk of future injuries.

Now that Melky Cabrera has been slapped with a 50-game PED suspension, the Pence trade looks brilliant.  Going into the season’s final 45 games with Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco, Justin Christian, Brett Pill and, if healthy, Aubrey Huff as their only corner outfield options would have been grim for a team trying to win now.

I don’t have much to say about Cabrera’s suspension that hasn’t already been said, except that it isn’t very surprising.  Before his breakout year with the Royals in 2011, Cabrera was known as a talented young player who hadn’t shown enough power and about whom there were persistent rumors about his lack of commitment to conditioning.  Steroids was an easy solution to both deficiencies.  In other words, the relative risk-benefit ratio made Cabrera a prime candidate for steroid use.

In a minor deal that is somewhat mystifying, the Giants were able to claim left-handed short man Jose Mijares for a pro-rated portion of his $925,000 2012 contract after the Royals were unable to trade him by the deadline and at least 23 teams failed to claim him when the Royals placed him on waivers.  It’s hard to understand why the Royals were so eager to dump a low-paid pitcher with a 2.56 ERA and decent ratios and why no other team wanted to take him on at the waiver cost.

Given his list as 6’0″ and 230 lbs, it’s reasonable to speculate that Mijares doesn’t train hard enough.  Presumably, the Royals had already decided that they would not offer Mijares a contract this off-season, given that as an arbitration eligible player coming off a statistically successful season the Royals would have to pay him more than they think he’s worth to keep him.  As such, the Royals apparently decided they’d rather use his roster spot to develop someone young and under control.

However, these speculations do not explain why no team in the AL thought he was worth claiming off waivers.  It’s possible he has a bad reputation in the clubhouse, but having made five appearances for the Giants without being charged with a run, he’s given his new team plenty of reasons to like having him around.

Explore posts in the same categories: Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants

One Comment on “Giant Developments”

  1. Burly Says:

    Actually, I do have something more to add to the discussion about Melky Cabrera’s PED suspension — it gives him a great shot to win the NL batting title this year.

    Cabrera’s currently second in the league with a .346 average, and even though he is one plate appearance shy of the 502 minimum, he will win the batting title if no other player finishes at better than .345. If Andrew McCutchen cools off (and he has cooled since the start of August) and Joey Votto fails to improve on his current .342 batting average, Cabrera is almost certain to win the batting title, since Buster Posey would need to hit nearly .400 and David Wright well over .400 the rest of the way to reach .346.

    MLB will be mighty embarrassed if Cabrera’s suspension hands him a batting title.

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