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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Nick Vincent to be used by Giants as opener vs. Blue Jays on Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO—Farhan Zaidi made waves at the Winter Meetings in December when he told a group of beat writers that the Giants could use an opener during the upcoming season. Just 41 games into the Zaidi era, the Giants will actually try it.

Nick Vincent will start Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced Monday. Vincent has served as the bullpen’s de facto long reliever this season, but he has not recorded more than nine outs in an appearance. Vincent has made 366 appearances in his career but started just once, going two innings last season as the Seattle Mariners tried the opener.

The Giants originally had slated Tyler Beede to start Tuesday’s game, but they now are listing Vincent and leaving Wednesday open. Beede could in theory pitch the bulk of Tuesday’s game, although openers traditionally have been used to exploit platoons, so lefty Derek Holland, recently moved to the bullpen, could be a better fit to carry a heavy load Tuesday.

And the bullpen parade begins….

QLE Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:01 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, nick vincent, opener

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   1. Skigem Posted: May 14, 2019 at 06:52 AM (#5841782)
Does it kind of feel like things are going from bad to worse in San Francisco?
   2. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 07:05 AM (#5841783)
It feels like Zaidi is doing this just because he thinks it's the kind of thing a "modern, analytical GM" should do. Lots of things he's done and said feel that way.

   3. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 09:38 AM (#5841808)
Does it kind of feel like things are going from bad to worse in San Francisco?

There was no way that things weren’t going to be bad. Zaidi has to do a complete overhaul and there isn’t a lot to work with there. Hopefully, Zaidi got himself a lot of guaranteed money because the players, the media, and Smashmouth don’t seem to be onboard.
   4. Rally Posted: May 14, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5841811)
Maybe the Jays will send an opener in game 2. Thornton pitches tonight, Stroman and Sanchez pitched over the weekend so won't be available. Last starter they used before that was an opener - Daniel Hudson. Or else maybe Edwin Jackson is activated to set a record for most teams played for.

They picked up a group of veteran starters to eat innings. Shoemaker pitched well, but got hurt and is out for the season. Buchholz not so well, and he's hurt too. Clayton Richard got hurt before he even threw a regular season pitch.
   5. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 10:17 AM (#5841822)
It's a tough situation for Zaidi to walk into because the team has won three World Series in this decade, none of which were sabermetrically and analytically "planned." Because of the record and their experience, the fanbase and media simply doesn't buy the idea that good teams and championships must be the result of a fussy plan that includes shitty teams and pain. And the fanbase is smart enough to understand that the Giants three "unplanned" championships are way better than, say, the Cubs one "planned" one (and certainly far superior to things like the Sixers' planned but unobtained ones.)

Kudos to the fanbase. I share this philosophy entirely. Not only on its merits, but because whatever first-in advantage adhered to "analytics" is long, long gone.

So he sort of walked in and lectured a fanbase that has seen a bunch of winning ... on what the best way to win is. And now he's gotten off to a very poor start with the revolving door outfield and generally blah nightly nine.
   6. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 14, 2019 at 10:18 AM (#5841823)
#4

Edwin Jackson is the starter for Wednesday. That was confirmed by the manager this weekend.
   7. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: May 14, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5841830)
1. There was no way that things weren’t going to be bad. Zaidi has to do a complete overhaul and there isn’t a lot to work with there. Hopefully, Zaidi got himself a lot of guaranteed money because the players, the media, and Smashmouth don’t seem to be onboard.

Well put. I'd give the Giants a mixed grade on how * I'd * rate their subsequent choices, but they're making reasonable moves, by and large.
2. I'm not a Giants fan but I believe that SF has recently lost some starters (Pomeranz to injury, Rodriguez and Holland to lousiness) and Beede, who was just called up to fill one slot, has an ERA just under nineteen in his first two games. They also don't have 40-man rotation options in the minors who are performing well. Going with a bullpen day isn't a surprising response here.
   8. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5841859)
So he sort of walked in and lectured a fanbase that has seen a bunch of winning ... on what the best way to win is. And now he's gotten off to a very poor start with the revolving door outfield and generally blah nightly nine.

The Giants haven’t won 90 games since 2012 so, even with the World Series win in 2014, “a bunch of winning” isn’t particularly relevant to the current team. The major league roster is old, the farm system is one of the worst in baseball, and the payroll looks constrained through 2021. There was no possibility they weren’t going to be bad in the short term.
   9. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5841872)
The counter to that is pretty simple: Less than three years ago -- the 2016 All-Star break -- they had the best record in baseball and were were a close-out 9th inning up 2/3 runs away from taking the Cubs to a decisive Game 5 in the 2016 playoffs.

As to the farm system, it was one of the worst in baseball about 11-12 years ago, right before it drafted and produced (among others) Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner. There was no need for a master "plan" then, other than just drafting better. That empirical evidence shows that there's no need for some grandmaster "plan" now, either. They got a great prospect drafting high in last year's draft.

They overreacted to the 2016 bullpen collapse by signing Melancon, and then the health of their starting pitchers went south along with Matt Moore (*) kind of inexplicably cratering. Others can have their "analytics," I'll take a healthy Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.

(*) He of the outstanding 8 innings against the Cubs in Game 4, which the bullpen squandered away.
   10. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5841879)
... and they were 4 games over .500 and only 2.5 games out of the wild card on July 13 of last year.
   11. Tin Angel Posted: May 14, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5841900)
I believe the Giants have given up the most runs in the first inning of any team. I'm not sure how 1) bringing in a mediocre reliever to pitch the first, and then 2) bringing in the a bad starter to pitch the second instead of the first is going to magically fix this problem.
   12. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5841920)
They overreacted to the 2016 bullpen collapse by signing Melancon, and then the health of their starting pitchers went south along with Matt Moore (*) kind of inexplicably cratering. Others can have their "analytics," I'll take a healthy Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.

So your opinion is that the Giants are mostly on the right track and shouldn’t make any major organizational changes?
   13. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5841933)

I haven't really followed what Zaidi has done since arriving. What are the actual criticisms?

Looks like the team was decent in the 1H of last year. The pitching held up in the 2H (their ERA actually improved from 4.00 to 3.88) but the offense cratered, going from a .711 OPS to a .598 OPS. This was exacerbated by trading McCutchen.

This year the pitching has also cratered and has a 4.83 ERA, while the hitters have a .655 OPS -- both third-worst in the NL after adjusting for park effects.
   14. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5841959)
So your opinion is that the Giants are mostly on the right track and shouldn’t make any major organizational changes?


Depends what's meant by "right track" and "major organizational changes." My perception of the situation, which I've followed very closely for many years, is as expressed in 5, 9, and 10. I'll reiterate that there is little appetite in the fanbase (*) or ownership (**) for the type of multiyear teardown and rebuild that most saber types would seemingly advocate. That's the simple reality of the situation. Nor should there be. (Mileage may differ on this last statement, of course.)

(*) Attendance has already cratered and that's in part an anti-Zaidi move.

(**) Who went hard after Bryce Harper for big money this offseason and who still needs to generate revenue sufficient to cover the lack of subsidy on the physical plant.
   15. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5841962)
... and they were 4 games over .500 and only 2.5 games out of the wild card on July 13 of last year.


Isn't this more an indictment of the wild-card / playoff system than a commendation of the Giants?
   16. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:01 PM (#5841965)
Isn't this more an indictment of the wild-card / playoff system than a commendation of the Giants?


It's more a justification for the fans' desire for winning baseball as outlined in 5.
   17. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5841967)
Depends what's meant by "right track" and "major organizational changes." My perception of the situation, which I've followed very closely for many years, is as expressed in 5, 9, and 10. I'll reiterate that there is little appetite in the fanbase or ownership for the type of teardown and rebuild that most saber types would seemingly advocate. That's the simple reality of the situation. Nor should there be.

Clearly ownership wants to do things differently going forward. You don't hire Farhan Zaidi and expect him to run things like Brian Sabean, right? Also, it seems unlikely that Zaidi takes this job without ownership agreeing to some significant organizational changes. This is not to say that I think Zaidi will succeed. I think there is a high probability that the MLB team doesn't improve much over the next couple of years and then ownership scapegoats Zaidi after year 3.
   18. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5841968)
I get that (that is, SBB in 16), and I guess it's both things really. With regard to the team specifically, I don't follow the Giants so I don't know what the recent-history backstory is (beyond awareness of the 3 WS wins) but it seems like the ownership are the ones who are ultimately responsible for the way the season's gone, in that they knew what type of saber-first GM Zaidi would be-- they'd better have, it had to have come up during the interview process-- and that it would conflict with the way the team's won in the last ten years, but hired him anyway.

Edit: Or what Jeff F says in 17
   19. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:10 PM (#5841970)
You don't hire Farhan Zaidi and expect him to run things like Brian Sabean, right?


I think they'd be ecstatic if he ran things like Brian Sabean, under what I believe to be the correct definition of "run things." I certainly would be. Was it in general terms time for some new thinking? Sure. The whole thing had grown a bit stale and tail-chasing.

Also, it seems unlikely that Zaidi takes this job without ownership agreeing to some significant organizational changes.


Again, depends on definitions. He's not going to get buy-in for an Astros/Sixers-type teardown/tankathon. (Assuming he's even broached the topic.) That was already made clear from the Bryce Harper pursuit and will be cemented by the 2019 attendance figures.

New personnel in important positions and new ideas? Sure. Of course.

   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5841974)

So I'll ask again, what's Zaidi done/doing that you don't like? Is he embarking on an Astros-level teardown?
   21. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:21 PM (#5841976)
So I'll ask again, what's Zaidi done/doing that you don't like?


Not read the market well and complained about the fanbase's generally negative reaction to his shtick. On the field, he's done a poor job building this year's roster and alienated a bunch of important stakeholders including the manager and a bunch of players. When the players are already publicly complaining about you before Memorial Day, it's crystal clear that there's been a lot of internal talk already.

This isn't even close to only my opinion, though it's amply supported. He's off to an extremely sluggish start. Plus there's the Harper pursuit, which gives off the whiff of the organization not all being on the same page and/or ownership not buying into what Zaidi's (likely) selling. That isn't necessarily Zaidi's fault, but nor is he going to win that battle. If he has any mind that he's going to, he's pretty clueless. He likely won't bother to fight it and will simply adjust.
   22. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5841977)
I think they'd be ecstatic if he ran things like Brian Sabean, under what I believe to be the correct definition of "run things." I certainly would be. Was it in general terms time for some new thinking? Sure.

He is going to build a 20-30 person analytics department in the mold of the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees so at least one thing will be different.
Again, depends on definitions. He's not going to get buy-in for an Astros/Sixers-type teardown/tankathon. (Assuming he's even broached the topic.) That was already made clear from the Bryce Harper pursuit and will be cemented by the 2019 attendance figures.
I think the biggest thing preventing a major teardown is that there aren't that many desirable acquisition targets on the roster.
   23. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:32 PM (#5841979)
He is going to build a 20-30 person analytics department in the mold of the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees so at least one thing will be different.


That wasn't my definition, nor is it the correct one. The goal of "running things" is winning baseball games and championships. Sabean did that very well.

To date, his analytics department hasn't churned out any product worth churning out.

I think the biggest thing preventing a major teardown is that there aren't that many desirable acquisition targets on the roster.


Actually the things preventing it will be ownership and the fanbase, neither of whom he's gained buy-in from. Other markets and situations might be more conducive to his ideas.(*) In San Francisco, he's off to a very sluggish start.

(*) Such as they are.
   24. Tin Angel Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:04 PM (#5841989)
To date, his analytics department hasn't churned out any product worth churning out.

In San Francisco, he's off to a very sluggish start.


He has had SIX MONTHS and inherited a terrible roster with virtually no tradable assets and an awful minor league system. What exactly could he have done in that time to turn things around?
   25. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5841991)
What exactly could he have done in that time to turn things around?


Gotten better players and improved the team.(*) What else? That's his job.

(*) Like, for example, Brian Sabean did when he took over the team. Or like any number of GMs have done since then.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5841993)
He is going to build a 20-30 person analytics department in the mold of the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees so at least one thing will be different.

I have no idea what 20-30 analysts could be working on for an MLB team. There just isn't that much data to work with. We're talking literally ~10,000 players across all of professional and college baseball generating stats. One guy built and maintains ZiPs while having a day job.

I imagine that 20-30 is heavily inflated with interns and entry level people doing data entry, coding balls-in-play, etc.
   27. caspian88 Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:12 PM (#5841995)
Cast bull's strength, mass on the starting lineup and cure critical wounds on Cueto's arm?

The Giants have stupid amounts of money tied up in now-mediocre or worse position players past 30 (Posey, Belt, Crawford, Longoria) plus other bad contracts (Samardzija, Melancon, Dyson) and Cueto's injury.

They went in hard on Harper, who was a good fit and maybe the best impact free agent available, but they lost out. Otherwise, they didn't want to spend money, and didn't have much to spend anyway (they threw a few million around). They've drafted either late or poorly for years and their only impact prospects are 2-3 years away.

The guest cast that is the outfield is annoying, but there weren't a whole lot of other options (in guess Adam Jones could have been had). This team is just going to suck for a couple years.
   28. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5841998)
I have no idea what 20-30 analysts could be working on for an MLB team. There just isn't that much data to work with.


The Dodgers didn't even fill Zaidi's job. Which is to say, yes, of course you're right, there isn't anywhere near enough real work to go around for a 20-30 person "analytics department" and that's buttressed by the fact that a front office can lose a number two guy and just have the other people add his work to their current jobs.
   29. caspian88 Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:19 PM (#5841999)
The problem with the idea of "just get better players" is that there weren't that many better players available that this team could afford, either financially or by trading prospects. Machado or Harper are the types of free agents you spend for, but the former means eating a ton of money by getting rid of either Crawford or Longoria and still having an awful outfield, the latter they tried to get and failed.

Maybe Keuchel could have helped, but not for his asking price. The bullpen is actually a strength and doesn't need help. Trading away Bart or Ramos hurts the team going forward and at best you get a player who gets surrounded by all the locked-up expensive suck that the Giants have in abundance. Trading Bumgarner means giving up on 2019, so you still wind up with a sucky team this year.

Not extending Crawford and Belt would have helped a ton.
   30. Tin Angel Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:19 PM (#5842000)
Gotten better players and improved the team.(*) What else? That's his job.


Wow, you are brilliant. Now try again, and be specific. Who should he have signed and what trades should he have made?
   31. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:22 PM (#5842001)
Wow, you are brilliant.


Thanks for the compliment, but your question had a simple answer. I wouldn't call it brilliant that I was able to answer it so quickly. Insightful, maybe.

Who should he have signed and what trades should he have made?


That's his job, not mine. If I had the authority to pick up the phone on behalf of the SF Giants and canvass the various GMs on who might be available, I might be able to give you a better answer. Since I can't do that, I don't know the universe of actually-available players. So the best I can do is judge the results -- and they're poor. The results of other teams' offseason efforts are less poor, and some are very good. Marwin Gonzalez, Martin Perez, Jonathan Schoop, and CJ Cron have already generated 3.2 WAR for the Twins this year and they were all readily available and easily affordable for a guy with roughly $25M of payroll room.
   32. Sunday silence Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5842003)
Farhan Zaidi sounds like a guy sitting at the final table of the world series of poker.
   33. Tin Angel Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5842008)
So the best I can do is judge the results -- and they're poor. The results of other teams' offseason efforts are less poor, and some are very good. Marwin Gonzalez, Martin Perez, Jonathan Schoop, and CJ Cron have already generated 3.2 WAR for the Twins this year and they were all readily available and easily affordable for a guy with roughly $25M of payroll room.


The results...after six months. Yes, the Giants could have signed all of those guys, and would now (maybe) be in second last place instead of last. Later troll.
   34. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:56 PM (#5842010)
The results...after six months.


Yes, the results after six months are poor. Other GMs did way better.
   35. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 07:38 PM (#5842032)
Where would the Giants have put CJ Cron?
   36. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 07:48 PM (#5842038)
Actually the things preventing it will be ownership and the fanbase, neither of whom he's gained buy-in from.

Would this include not trading Bumgarner at the deadline?
   37. . Posted: May 14, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5842050)
Would this include not trading Bumgarner at the deadline?


I have nothing against it. He's not good enough to not trade anymore, and he might be a guy whose name and postseason history can get you back more than he's really worth. My only objection is trading him and then not spending his salary on someone else in the offseason because "it has to be torn down and rebuilt" or somesuch. You can try to compete at the major league level and rebuild the farm system at the same time. In fact, that's the GM's job.

If they're in striking distance of a playoff spot, then no, I wouldn't trade him. Nor is their any inherent philosophical reason not to bring him back next year. It's all facts and circumstances.
   38. Tin Angel Posted: May 14, 2019 at 10:56 PM (#5842149)
Other GMs did way better.


Please list the GM's who turned their franchise around after six months.
   39. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 14, 2019 at 11:07 PM (#5842151)
Please list the GM's who turned their franchise around after six months.

AJ Preller made his organization much worse in his first 6 months, but I don’t think that is quite what you meant.
   40. Baldrick Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:06 AM (#5842163)
FFS people.

Stop. Talking. To. Him.
   41. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 06:07 AM (#5842175)
Please list the GM's who turned their franchise around after six months.


I obviously meant other GMs have done better in the same six months. Complete distortion of other people's words isn't really a good thing. He hasn't done a good job so far, by any serious measurement.

   42. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:32 AM (#5842188)
Andrew Baggerly and Grant Bisbee, who cover the Giants for The Athletic, are both terrific at their craft, highly saber-friendly, and they're both roughly of this opinion expressed by Baggerly this morning:

No, the Giants aren’t going to use the opener for Madison Bumgarner, just as the Tampa Bay Rays don’t use it for reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. In a perfect world, your top three or four starting pitchers are the most talented arms on your staff. Those are the guys you’ll want on the mound the most. It’s the teams operating at a talent deficit that have to think out of the box.

The angst is understandable, though. The Giants have played a quarter of a season, and for both fans and players, there is no discernible plan. It all seems so helter-skelter. Part of the joy of following a team over a season is learning new faces. But it’s hard to become invested in so many of these players when you don’t know if they’ll have a locker in a week. It’s just as mentally taxing when you have a locker alongside them.

The Giants added their 11th different outfielder to the roster Tuesday when Aaron Altherr took batting practice in size 15 Phillies-red spikes.


It seems helter-skelter because it is helter-skelter. It's also not very competent, and that naturally leads to a confidence deficit. The GM somehow managed to hire an opening day rightfielder late in spring training who lasted all of 8 ABs before he got DFAd. And in those 8 ABs (4 games), he somehow managed to generate minus 0.3 WAR. You almost have to be trying to do something that bizarre.
   43. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5842266)

Yes, the results after six months are poor. Other GMs did way better.

It's 1/4 of a season. I'm sure the Giants will not be good the rest of the way, but it seems premature to annoint the Twins or some other teams just yet. (Just a few weeks ago the Mariners were 16-8; now they're below .500.)

My only objection is trading him and then not spending his salary on someone else in the offseason because "it has to be torn down and rebuilt" or somesuch. You can try to compete at the major league level and rebuild the farm system at the same time. In fact, that's the GM's job.

I 100% agree with this. I asked earlier since I don't follow the team that closely -- has Zaidi talked about this as an Astros-like teardown?

   44. Tin Angel Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5842306)
Complete distortion of other people's words isn't really a good thing.


Being a troll that keeps getting banned from a web site but continues to pathetically return because he has nothing else going on in his life isn't really a good thing either. But hey, here we are.
   45. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5842309)
Being a troll that keeps getting banned from a web site but continues to pathetically return because he has nothing else going on in his life isn't really a good thing either.


So you've moved from complete distortions of words to complete distortions of reality. Not a good look. Why do you do that? Can you help us understand the motivations for such behavior? I'm at least mildly curious. Why did you act this way?
   46. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5842314)
It's 1/4 of a season. I'm sure the Giants will not be good the rest of the way, but it seems premature to annoint the Twins or some other teams just yet. (Just a few weeks ago the Mariners were 16-8; now they're below .500.)


Sure, it's a short time frame and no one's saying the guy should be fired or anything close. But his work so far has been unimpressive, in both transactions and culture/coalition building, and I'm not even close to the only person saying that.

I 100% agree with this. I asked earlier since I don't follow the team that closely -- has Zaidi talked about this as an Astros-like teardown?


Glad we have agreement. No he hasn't talked about a teardown explicitly, at least from what I've seen. It can be plausibly inferred from his not risking any assets or spending any money last offseason and his apparent commitment to "analytics." But I haven't seen him say it, no.

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