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Monday, August 31, 2009

Heyman: Brad Penny signs with Giants

After going unclaimed on waivers, former Red Sox pitcher Brad Penny signed with the Giants on Monday, SI.com has learned.

Initially, no one claimed Penny because a claiming team would have been responsible for the remainder of his contract. The Giants only have to pay him the pro-rated portion of the big-league minimum of $400,000, which will be less than $100,000.

Repoz Posted: August 31, 2009 at 07:17 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants

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   1. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:11 PM (#3310066)
Brad Penny to get blown up by the Rockies and Dodgers.
   2. UCCF Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:17 PM (#3310081)
This seems an odd choice. The Giants already have 4 above average starters. What could Penny possibly add?
   3. The Essex Snead Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:20 PM (#3310085)
His black book is probably worth ten times the pro-rated league minimum.
   4. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:21 PM (#3310086)
Joe Martinez really sucked, and they're aren't in position to skip the 5th starter.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:22 PM (#3310088)
Things JUST GOT INTERESTING!
   6. Steve Treder Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:23 PM (#3310090)
The Giants already have 4 above average starters. What could Penny possibly add?

Theoretically, he could add resonably competent performance as the 5th starter. Since The Big Unit went down, the Giants have gotten very weak contributions in the 5th slot.

Whether Penny will or not is obviously a good question, but he could hardly be any worse than Joe Martinez.

EDIT: Coke to Tripon.
   7. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:28 PM (#3310099)
Penny's costing them less than $100K I think. Worth a flier.

With the rosters expanding it's easy enough to try some other guy there as needs be, and one assumes they'll skip the 5th starter as they can. What is it, 3-4 starts?
   8. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3310105)
Except they might skip Sanchez instead of Penny.
   9. wcw Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3310117)
For the bucket of balls this will cost, it is a low-risk move with some decent upside. I approve without reservation, which is more than I usually say about a late-season Sabean acquisition. Seriously, what's your downside? Even if they skip Sanchez once or twice for Penny I won't argue: Sanchez isn't as durable as some.
   10. puck Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3310119)
With Aaron Cook out, the Rockies could use a 5th starter (other choices: Josh Fogg, Adam Eaton, prospect Jhoulys Chacin, who's lacked command in AAA recently, and AAA junkballer Brandon Hynick (threw a 7-inning perfecto earlier this season, but also K's just 5.3/9). But they supposedly were not interested due to concerns about his character. That seems odd to me, given the amount of time he'd be with the team.

Edit: and Russ Ortiz. I had blocked that out.
   11. Steve Treder Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:54 PM (#3310130)
Even if they skip Sanchez once or twice for Penny I won't argue: Sanchez isn't as durable as some.

I don't know about that. Sure, Sanchez doesn't strike anyone as Mr. Durable, but he's been cruising along quite effectively ever since his no-no in early July. Penny would have to enormously improve over how he's pitched the past couple of years to be as effective as Sanchez.
   12. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 08:57 PM (#3310133)
Zero chance they skip sanchez, he is pitching well, going deep into games more often than not, and he is pretty clearly a part of their future.

Penny is a cheap spare part, that's the job he will fill.
   13. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:06 PM (#3310141)
With Aaron Cook out, the Rockies could use a 5th starter


When is Cook due back? I heard he was supposed to miss a total of three weeks, and with the fifth starter's spot falling on the off day today, the Rox might get by with using Fogg (or whoever) just once or twice more.
   14. puck Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:15 PM (#3310151)
I think that's what they hope, given that the MRI didn't show anything serious. Maybe they feel that with the rosters expanding, they can throw a bunch of relievers at the spot until Cook returns.
   15. mos def panel Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:23 PM (#3310157)
Is Sanchez the new Ollie Perez - lots of walks and strikeouts kinda guy?
   16. Anonymous Observer Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:28 PM (#3310162)
Since he's going back to the NL, is there any doubt that Penny is going to pitch really well? It worked for Smoltz, so why wouldn't it work for Penny? Afterall, the NL sucks.

AO
   17. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:29 PM (#3310163)
Because Penny doesn't get to face the Giants offense.
   18. Steve Treder Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:30 PM (#3310164)
Is Sanchez the new Ollie Perez - lots of walks and strikeouts kinda guy?

Yeah, pretty much. He's similar to Perez in general: tall, slender southpaw with terrific stuff but a maddening inability to harness it.

Sanchez hasn't been as crazily inconsistent as Perez -- who the hell has? -- but he's been something of an enigma, slow to develop. The glimpses he's given, though, of what he's capable of delivering when he's reliably finding the strike zone are extremely encouraging. He could yet emerge as a star.
   19. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:43 PM (#3310171)
You could make a really long list of young lefthanded pitchers that threw hard, had trouble throwing strikes, and took a while to develop - if they did.

The gotcha is that the list would include Koufax, which is what every optimistic fan sees in every one of these guys....


From a different point of view, Sanchez is the latest in a long line of lefty prospects for the Giants....

Including such illustrious types as Estes, Hammaker, Trevor Wilson, Mike Caldwell, Bob Knepper, etc. etc.

not a good list.
   20. 3Com Park Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:45 PM (#3310173)
Big Unit is starting to throw, and could wind up in the bullpen the last couple of weeks.

HoF LOOGY.
   21. Steve Treder Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:49 PM (#3310181)
Including such illustrious types as Estes, Hammaker, Trevor Wilson, Mike Caldwell, Bob Knepper, etc. etc.

not a good list.


I don't see it that way at all. That's a pretty strong list. Wilson is the only one who didn't take a star turn, if only fleetingly, and Wilson wasn't a bad pitcher by any means.

Few prospects of any sort bust out as big stars. If a guy turns out to be a solid major leaguer, that's a damn fine result.

And for whatever reason, and I'm not even certain that this is actually true, but it sure *seems* like LHPs are particularly prone to taking a long time to get it together.
   22. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3310192)
Including such illustrious types as Estes, Hammaker, Trevor Wilson, Mike Caldwell, Bob Knepper, etc. etc.

Kirk Rueter.
   23. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: August 31, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3310193)
If he throws anything like he did in that All Star game he'd be a killer option in the pen.
   24. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:11 PM (#3310205)
Reuter came to the Giants as a major leaguer...and yes he won more than any other Giant lefty, hell he won more than any two giant lefty's in the last twenty years.
   25. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:17 PM (#3310211)
I hated Reuter. He threw crap after crap, he'd get in trouble in most innings, and somehow found himself out of it. A guy who averaged 3.8 K/9 should not have lasted as long as Reuter did.
   26. scareduck Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:22 PM (#3310216)
Tripon -- I recall reading something somewhere that Reuter was historically bad on K/9 and had one of the longest careers of anyone in baseball with a K/9 under 4.5. Totally believe it, too. Reuter was the platonic ideal of a junkballer.
   27. Steve Treder Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3310218)
I hated Reuter. He threw crap after crap, he'd get in trouble in most innings, and somehow found himself out of it. A guy who averaged 3.8 K/9 should not have lasted as long as Reuter did.

I never got the Rueter hate. I loved the guy. I found it great that a pitcher with less-than-zero velocity was so good at every single other aspect of his game (distinctly including holding runners on and fielding his position, vital skills for a groundball pitcher) that he put together a rock-solid 13-year major league career. It was delightful, hell even slightly inspirational.

Add to it his, by every account, genuinely warm personality, and, well, what's not to like?
   28. Flynn Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3310225)
When he was on, Reuter did everything you could do to win without a strikeout. He was good - not great, but good - at keeping the ball in the park. He didn't really walk a lot of people. He didn't give up a lot of extra-base hits. He held runners on. He fielded his position well. I believe he tended to work quickly, keeping his defense on their toes. He got every last inch of talent he had out of his arm, which is more than many major leaguers can say.
   29. GEB4000 Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:31 PM (#3310226)
I second ST's opinion on Reuter. He had nothing every game and still managed to get the job done more often than not. You had to watch him at the ballpark and see the radar gun rarely getting over 80 mph. Awesome.
   30. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3310227)
Brian Sabean seems to like Alyssa Milano's sloppy seconds. I assume he'll be going after Pavano soon.
   31. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:42 PM (#3310235)
Maybe it is because i grew into my baseball fananticsm in the 70's (which was the heyday of the junkballer) but I loved Reuter.

I looked at the 25 winningest pitchers of the last 50 years with a SO/9ip of less than 4...16 of them were pitching in the early 70's - guys like Forsch, Splittorf, Slaton, Gura, Caldwell, Grimsley, Randy Jones and Clyde Wright. All of whom won 100 games. Of the top ten Reuter is the only one that didn't pitch in the 70's.
   32. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:46 PM (#3310237)
my favorite thing about Reuter, he fielded every bunt looking to get the lead runner, and got him more often than not. He couldn't control his ability to throw hard, but anything he could control he did as well as anybody in the game. If it weren't for Greg Maddux Reuter would have won a half dozen gold gloves.
   33. Swedish Chef Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:51 PM (#3310241)
Everybody suddenly decided that Rueter looked silly and that it ought to be spelled Reuter?
   34. MM1f Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:51 PM (#3310243)
I agree with Treder on the Reuter thing.
How can you have a person dislike of a guy that maximizes his talent AND helps your team win games?

Why would you dislike a pitcher (on a personal level, not a projecting his future level) because he can't strike people out but prevents just as many, or more, runs than many guys who do K 7 per 9?
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:53 PM (#3310245)
I just want to add my warm feelings for junk-balling lefties.
   36. scareduck Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:55 PM (#3310248)
#33 -- just so. I adopted Tripon's spelling for no good reason, even though I (dimly) remembered it wasn't spelled like the news agency.
   37. Steve Treder Posted: August 31, 2009 at 10:56 PM (#3310249)
Everybody suddenly decided that Rueter looked silly and that it ought to be spelled Reuter?

Not everybody.
   38. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:01 PM (#3310253)
Contract question....I know the Bosox are on the hook for Penny's contract, except for the minimal amount the Giants pick up. His contract was apparently heavily incentive laden, including IP incentives, if his combined numbers trigger an incentive are the bosox on the hook for that as well?
   39. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:02 PM (#3310255)
The Red Sox don't have to pay the incentives Penny hasn't activated yet.
   40. scareduck Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:04 PM (#3310257)
Joe Martinez really sucked, and they're aren't in position to skip the 5th starter.


Really? I see three days off in September. That alone means they ought to be able to rejigger their rotation some.
   41. Tom is wrong when he calls you stupid Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:05 PM (#3310258)
Not saying it isn't so, but if it is I see a labor grievance.
   42. Tripon Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:13 PM (#3310267)
They're incentives, not guarantees. Penny's lawyers will basically have to redefine the word 'incentive' in order to get that money from the Red Sox. Especially after he's the one who was asking for the release.
   43. Rally Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:15 PM (#3310272)
From some of the examples I've seen, incentives are cancelled when a guy is released. Seems fair to me. You want to earn incentives? Then pitch so well a team doesn't want to release you. Or at least well enough to have value in a trade.
   44. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:22 PM (#3310278)
Reuter came to the Giants as a major leaguer

So did Hammaker and Caldwell. I brought up Rueter because he was still sort of prospecty when the Giants got him, having never really had a full year in a rotation (unless you count '94) and yet to pitch 100 innings in a season.

Rueter is a guy that I would think would be loved by Giants fans and hated by fantasy baseball owners. I don't have much of an opinion of him, except that when I think about the stereotype of lefties who wear their hats off-center, he and Steve Avery are the guys who come to mind.
   45. puck Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:27 PM (#3310282)
What happens to option years? I assume those are void, too? E.g., Adam Eaton. Could a madman exercise the option to the deal he signed with Philly?
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:34 PM (#3310287)
Could a madman exercise the option to the deal he signed with Philly?


I think that's the definition of a moot point. Eaton would gladly sign a new contract. There's really never anything stopping you from grossly overpaying someone.
   47. bumpis hound Posted: August 31, 2009 at 11:58 PM (#3310297)
I think a lot of people dislike Rueter because he defied their spreadsheet predictions to fail. Year after year, you'd see someone come out and say that there was no way in hell he could succeed with his smoke & mirrors act, yet he kept chugging along until his stuff diminished (& Questech came along). I always thought he was a good test case, showing who was more interested in blowing hot air about their predictions rather than analyzing what was happening in the game they were ostensibly watching.

Which is a like Sabean, who probably has generated so much hate because he continually succeeded against the wishes of those who would rather opine than analyze.
   48. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 01, 2009 at 12:48 AM (#3310326)
47 posts and no snark about Penny tipping his pitches?
   49. Rough Carrigan Posted: September 01, 2009 at 01:12 AM (#3310347)
When he was on, Reuter did everything you could do to win without a strikeout. He was good - not great, but good - at keeping the ball in the park. He didn't really walk a lot of people. He didn't give up a lot of extra-base hits. He held runners on. He fielded his position well. I believe he tended to work quickly, keeping his defense on their toes. He got every last inch of talent he had out of his arm, which is more than many major leaguers can say.

Which, by contrast, is one of the frustrating things about Penny. He's somewhat out of shape but still throws a pretty consistent 93-94 mph fastball that he can get up to 97. What could he do if he ever got in top shape? And the guy's been in MLB for, what, seven or eight years and still has nothing approaching a good breaking pitch. How the hell can that be? He has that crappy little get me over curve that almost no one swings at and misses.

If he all of a sudden looks really good pitching against NL hitters my regard for the NL will plummet to undreamt of depths.
   50. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 01, 2009 at 01:12 AM (#3310348)
Penny should definitely start Game 1 if the Giants make the World Series.
   51. MM1f Posted: September 01, 2009 at 01:55 AM (#3310381)
From some of the examples I've seen, incentives are cancelled when a guy is released. Seems fair to me. You want to earn incentives? Then pitch so well a team doesn't want to release you. Or at least well enough to have value in a trade.

Generally I agree but I would assume that if you promise a guy 500k when he gets to 180 IP and your team is out of contention on Aug 28 but the pitcher is at 175 IP and pitching well and then you release him you would get a grievance for that 500k
   52. The Artist Posted: September 01, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3310384)
Woody is on everyone's Top 5 Giants list - a really nice guy, who got it done with absolute nothing in the way of stuff. Now, Sabean probably stuck with him too long, but hell, he does that for any veteran.
   53. Kirby Kyle Posted: September 01, 2009 at 02:55 AM (#3310406)
An article in SABR's latest edition of the Baseball Research Journal ranks Kirk Rueter as the best fielding pitcher since 1900, followed by Greg Maddux and Bobby Shantz. According to the metric used, which I haven't looked at in depth, Rueter is not only ranked first--he laps the field.
   54. Steve Treder Posted: September 01, 2009 at 03:03 AM (#3310409)
An article in SABR's latest edition of the Baseball Research Journal ranks Kirk Rueter as the best fielding pitcher since 1900, followed by Greg Maddux and Bobby Shantz. According to the metric used, which I haven't looked at in depth, Rueter is not only ranked first--he laps the field.

I'm sure I wouldn't buy that conclusion. At the very least I would say that attempting to rank fielders at any position, but particularly pitcher, over such vast a period as "since 1900" is fraught with peril.

But I can say this with great confidence: Rueter was a great fielding pitcher. His motion left him in perfectly-poised-and-balanced posture to react to the batted ball. His reflexes were great and his agility terrific (people who looked at his balding head and "funny" features and concluded that he wasn't a tremendous natural all-around athlete were sorely mistaken); his hands were soft and his arm exquisitely accurate. Rueter was a bull of an athlete, a rigorously intense competitor. While it's impossible to know who was the best fielding pitcher over any period of many decades, there's no reason to doubt that Rueter was as excellent a fielder as any pitcher who's worked extensively in the majors over the past 20 years or so.
   55. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 01, 2009 at 03:27 AM (#3310425)
Even by the end, Rueter had about as much of a chance out there as Jamie Moyer does by now.
   56. nick swisher hygiene Posted: September 01, 2009 at 04:33 AM (#3310460)
Brad Penny could be a top 10 MLB closer right now; I'm surprised a contender who needs one didn't grab him...unless he's set on starting only?
   57. Steve Treder Posted: September 01, 2009 at 04:40 AM (#3310466)
Brad Penny could be a top 10 MLB closer right now

I'm not sure that's true, but to the extent that it is, it speaks simply to the issue that "closing" isn't a particularly challenging assignment; that basically any half-assed starting pitcher could easily master it. Duh.

That said, I suspect that most if not all of the top 10 closers working at any given moment are actually pretty damn good pitchers, better than a sad-sack washed-up starter like Penny.
   58. nick swisher hygiene Posted: September 01, 2009 at 04:52 AM (#3310484)
Penny seems to me like he has reliever talents and has been miscast as a starter...but who knows, maybe he'd just be a Farnsworth.
   59. Tripon Posted: September 01, 2009 at 04:53 AM (#3310489)
Penny resists going into the bullpen where ever he goes. He wouldn't do it for the Dodgers, he wouldn't do it for the Red Sox, and he likely won't do it for the Giants.
   60. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: September 01, 2009 at 05:00 AM (#3310498)
Which is probably why he signed with the Giants..they probably said you can start, knowing that they need a #5 a least a couple of times in Sept.
   61. Sweatpants Posted: September 01, 2009 at 05:38 AM (#3310529)
but who knows, maybe he'd just be a Farnsworth.


Farnsworth has had some excellent seasons out of the bullpen.

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