Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Giants' Recent Series Win: All Part Of The Dodgers' Master Plan

As we took great pains to point out last weekend, the Dodgers' losing three of four to the Giants wasn't that big of a deal, especially given the NL West-leading position we're in (9.5 games ahead, more than Atlanta's lead over Washington) as well as considering the lineups we've fielded for those games (resting up our core starters).

Now it seems a Yahoo! Sports contributor has clued in on the Dodgers' master plan:

As pointed out in an article by Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, the Giants could help themselves more if they continued their struggles from earlier in the season. When it comes to the offseason and pursuing free agents, it is better to be bad than good in the standings.

The top 10 picks in the draft are protected. If the Giants were to extend a qualifying offer to a pending free agent like Pence or Tim Lincecum, the player could either accept the one-year guaranteed contract or turn down the offer. If the player turns down the offer and another team signs said player, the club signing the free agent would forfeit its first-round draft pick. Teams who have one of the 10 worst records in the league would protect their first-round pick and instead part with a second-round selection, a much less valuable commodity.

Looking at how paltry the Giants' minor league system has looked lately, the last thing the team needs is to lose an important commodity in the form of lost draft picks. Mathematically out of contention, the Giants would be achieving two needs at once by giving more playing time to some of the youngsters they just called up such as Ehire Adrianza, Johnny Monell and Heath Hembree. While the product placed on the field for the last few weeks may not be the best the team has to offer, the Giants will get to try out and see how their youngsters perform and give rest to tired veterans such as Buster Posey and Matt Cain.

While I'm not a believer in seeing the Giants lose purposely, it is important to note that there are some negatives associated with the team's recent success. In the big scheme of rebuilding the farm system, being major players in free agency at the end of this season and looking forward to a more promising 2014 season, the Giants might just be better off resting their veterans more often, getting less record-setting performances from their key contributors, and reverting back to their struggling selves in order to improve their long-term plans.

Here's Baggarly to explain the detail:

Giants GM Brian Sabean has said the club will make a qualifying offer to Lincecum after the season, which the right-hander probably would turn down. (It’s a one-year guarantee worth roughly $14 million.) But it’s a strategic decision to extend the offer, even if the Giants know Lincecum would turn it down. It means that if another team signs Lincecum, that club would forfeit its first-round draft pick.

Here’s the catch: The top 10 picks in the draft are protected. And right now, the Mariners are 65-79 – tied with the Giants for the eighth worst record in the major leagues. The Rockies are just a game better in the win column. The Padres and Phillies are just two games better in the loss column.

So in the span of a couple days, the Mariners could “improve” their standing – and end up picking 11th or later, which would make their pick unprotected. [...]

So as warm a homecoming as it might be, the Mariners are in rebuild mode. They’d have a hard time parting with their top pick to sign Lincecum, or anyone else for that matter.

The takeaway: If you want to increase the chances Lincecum remains Giant, you’ll want to root, root root for the Mariners down the stretch.

The Giants are 7-3 over their last 10, climbing out of the NL West cellar ahead of Colorado, and only a half-game behind the Padres. The Mariners are 3-7 over their last stretch, three games behind the Giants at 66-84. The Giants, who play the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, and Padres down the stretch, currently have a better record than the Rockies, Mets, Marlins, Brewers, Cubs, Blue Jays, Twins, White Sox, Mariners, and Astros--which puts them 11th-worst in the majors.

Right where we want them.


Steve Sax said...

Giants and Mets tied at 4, bottom 6. I think the Giants can win this.

Steve Sax said...

Giants take a 5-4 lead, top 7!

Steve Sax said...

Giants up 7-4 in the eighth.

Let's recap the bottom 10 teams:
Rockies: losing 8-0 in the fourth
Mets: losing 7-4 to the Giants
Marlins: lost to the Phillies
Brewers: tied with the Cubs
Cubs: tied with the Brewers
Blue Jays: won 2-0

Twins: losing 3-1 to the White Sox in the sixth
White Sox: winning 3-1
Mariners: losing 4-2 to the Tigers
Astros: losing 10-0 to the Reds

Enough of these teams have lost or are losing. This seems pretty good.

Steve Sax said...

Giants up 8-4 and threatening for more in the ninth (one out, bases loaded)

Steve Sax said...

Giants win, 8-5. Meanwhile, of the bottom 10 teams, seven of them lost:

Rockies: lost 11-4
Mets: lost 8-5
Marlins: lost 6-4
Brewers: won (beat the Cubs)
Cubs: lost 4-3
Blue Jays: won 2-0
Twins: lost 4-3
White Sox: won (beat the Twins)
Mariners: lost 6-2
Astros: lost 10-0