Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Giants Dominate Top 5 List...Of Offseason Moves That Will Backfire

To be fair, the Giants allegedly won a title or two using lineups consisting of retreads and washed up players. I can't confirm the allegations, as I didn't watch any of it. But here they are again, flirting with two new deals that ESPN's Jim Bowden believes will go awry (link insider only):

1. Angel Pagan | CF | Age: 31 | San Francisco Giants
Contract: Four years, $40 million | AAV: $10 million

Giants senior vice president/general manager Brian Sabean is one of the best in the business, with two world championships in the past three years. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t make his fair share of mistakes on long-term contracts, such as Barry Zito’s seven-year, $126 million deal or Aaron Rowand’s five-year, $60 million albatross. Sabean’s history also includes being loyal to players (read: overpaying) who helped him win rings. After winning the World Series in 2010, he overpaid Aubrey Huff by re-signing him to a two-year, $20 million deal.

Likewise, fresh off winning the 2012 World Series, Sabean handsomely rewarded Pagan, who had a solid defensive year while serving as an effective table setter who got the job done on a consistent basis. It was easily the best year of his career. But this offseason was the first during which scouting reports on Pagan didn’t include phrases such as “loses focus,” “continuously gets bad jumps and leads” and “very inconsistent.”

The length of the deal is more troublesome than the dollars. Pagan has not been a consistent enough player to think he’ll be able to repeat what he did last season, let alone for four more. With financial security, I’m also not convinced he won’t revert back to the player who loses focus on occasion. His decline years are coming soon, and I think the last two years of this deal could end similarly to Rowand’s, which led to his unconditional release well before the contract ended.


5. Marco Scutaro | 2B | Age: 37 | San Francisco Giants
Contract: Three years, $20 million | AAV: $6.6 million

Scutaro is a solid player who knows how to play the game and is fundamentally sound. He can turn the double play, make the routine plays, hit and run when called upon and lay down a bunt when needed. And yet, he came to the Giants because of what his teams thought he couldn’t do. In 2011, the Red Sox decided to trade him to the Rockies because they thought he’d lost some range and bat speed. The Rockies traded him to the Giants after only 95 games when they decided his bat was slow and the adjustment back to second base wasn’t going as smoothly as planned. However, once Scutaro became a Giant he put it all together and ended up as the NLCS MVP.

So why not a three-year deal? Scutaro’s performance was only a snapshot of success, a period of time when he played at his optimum level but not a true reflection of the player he’ll be over the next three years. If he was showing signs of decline with both Boston and Colorado, what will he look like at age 39?

This contract is way too risky. They might get one solid year out of Scutaro, but I doubt he’ll be able to give them three years of the level they witnessed last season and in the postseason. Scutaro made about $20 million over the course his entire major league career from 2002-12. And now, at age 37, will make $20 million for the final three years of his career.

To be fair, when Sabean hasn't gone and rewarded Giants players on his own, he's often dumped them on the Dodgers who have been happy to oblige (Jason Schmidt, Juan Uribe). But it was nice not to see the Dodgers, or any other NL West team for that matter, on this list.


Franklin Stubbs said...

Too many times, those assholes have done something rational analysis suggests is silly, and it pays off. I dare not invoke the schadenfreude so early.

DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy said...

You fluke your way to a championship, BAM best GM in the game. Don't mention that Giants fans themselves wanted him and Bochy gone before the 2010 postseason and how he's constantly ridiculed along with Neddie around baseball.
No no, there is no randomness in life.