The Giants have resigned Javier Lopez. The lefty got 2 years and $8.5 million.
With this move, the Giants seem to be pushing to quickly and (relatively) cheaply set their bullpen so they can move on to the much more pressing matters of the long term contracts of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum and the upgrading of the offense that sent so many of us sprinting for the bathroom to find a socially acceptable container in which to empty our stomachs.
Right now, the bullpen for next year is as follows:
Brian Wilson: Signed
Javier Lopez: Signed
Affeldt: Club option likely to be denied, free agent
Mota: Free agent
The goal is to bring back the entire bullpen as is, with Affeldt getting a pay deduction and Mota signing for cheap. Lopez was the one piece that was most up in the air and the Giants have taken care of it.
So 5 down, 2 to go, and the most important 5 are in place. Check out the betting odds for next season, to see if you agree on the Giants changes at winning the Championship again, for the 3rd time in 5 years!
Good start, Sabes. Now don't go signing a crappy old shortstop for too much money....
Our long national nightmare is over.
The worst playoffs (game 6 of world series not withstanding) is finally over, and we can get back to talking about the Giants.
We won't have to watch Ron Washington mismanage his pitching for a whole year.
We won't have to watch the Dbags almost sell out a playoff game for hopefully many years.
We won't have to watch a playoffs without the Giants in hopefully forever.
My friend texted me today and said: "the Rangers should have gotten a pinch manager."
Amen. He should have just started Mike Adams. When Mike Adams gave up a run tonight, I asked my dad, "why couldn't he have given up a run last year?" I don't remember that ever happening.
As far as I'm concerned, this season really didn't happen. It was a weird hiccup that has some cosmic point to it that we as Giants fans have yet to figure it out. Maybe some day we will. Maybe if Buster Posey hadn't broken his lower body, he would have died in a freak accident while trying to save a bus full of nuns during the August road trip. Whereas Chris Stewart walked by the bus without noticing it was on fire. I don't know. I'm just going with it.
The offseason begins now.
Step 1: Resign Cain.
Step 2: Resign Timmy.
More to come.
I know I haven't written in a long time, and I apologize for that. It wasn't just that I was busy...
See, the Giants kind of locked me up. For a long period there, I was deeply invested in our playoff run while listening to the little kid in me argue with the adult in me about whether or not we still had a chance. "If we go 6-0 and the Braves go 2-4 and the Cardinals go 4-2, we're tied!" said the kid. He made similar arguments in 1996, but back then it was like "if we go 58-2, and the Padres go 20-40, we're within 5 games!" "It's over," said the adult. "Done."
They were both right. If we had gone 6-0, we would have played a one-game playoff with the Cardinals yesterday and it would have been Tim Lincecum vs. Somebody Who Is Not Chris Carpenter. And it would have been in San Francisco. Holy crap, we would be in the playoffs. All we had to do was win 4 more games.
So I was locked up by that dynamic, not willing to commit myself to an inevitably frustrating cause and not willing to give up. And the emotions...I can't even write about Pat Burrell's last at bat. It's too much. So I focused on other things.
Now, however, the off-season is upon us and I'm ready to jump into roster dissection.
But first, before we do that, we have to admit that there are a bunch of other teams still playing baseball. And the Giants season is not over. No. We have unfinished business to attend to. These playoffs have to go our way for our legacy to be preserved.
See, we are in the midst of an enormous Giants dynasty that has been interrupted only by a ridiculous injury-plagued season. So who wins this year will matter because it can't be a team who has won recently because then THEY will have a dynasty. No, that won't do. There are also some scores to settle. And there are a couple of teams who I can support. Sort of.
And so, I present to you, THE 2011 PLAYOFFS FROM A GIANTS PERSPECTIVE
AMERICAN LEAGUE (by order of preference)
1. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have one really good pitcher and one really good hitter, which is apparently more than enough to win the AL Central. How can you not root for the Tigers in this league? Have you seen the alternatives? Do you have a problem with the Tigers? How could you? I can't remember the last time a team made the playoffs as quietly as the Tigers. They bring by far the highest quantity of boring to the playoffs, and that's saying something since the Cardinals are in the playoffs. Detroit could use some good news...
2. Ugh. I guess the Rangers
I hate the Rangers. That they are 2nd in this list tells you what I think of the alternatives. If they make the World Series again I'd be fine with that, but I forbid them from winning it. They are annoying. Hey, did you hear Eugenio Velez went 0-37 for the season? That's what being a Dodger will do for you. How did you like LA, Juan? What team we were talking about? Oh right, the Rangers. If they win it all, will George W. Bush go down to the clubhouse and celebrate and get drunk and go off the wagon and start wandering around Dallas with a bottle in a brown paper bag apologizing for all the secret CIA torture prisons in North Africa? If so, I'm all for the Rangers.
3. Tampa Bay
They tried to steal our team. And then they complained when they didn't get to steal our team. That's like somebody coming into your house, right in front of you, tries to rip your TV off the wall, and when he can't do it, he looks at you and says "c'mon, really? What is wrong with you? Why can't you make your TV easier to steal? Jeez! I'm trying to work here!" Screw them and their stupid dome.
Do I need to write something here?
Are you one of those Giants fans who still hasn't gotten over Prince Fielder's silly homerun stunt two years ago? Get over it. It's not that big a deal. Just because baseball players have a "code" that makes Colonel Jessup from "A Few Good Men" look like a hippy doesn't mean you have to subscribe to that doe too. Prince Fielder was having fun. And he was avenged...Barry Zito hit him with a changeup on the butt. So get over it. The Brewers are the ONLY team any Giants fan should be rooting for in the National League. They are scrappy and have never won a world series. Ryan Braun is awesome. Their closer has great facial hair. Their fans are great. If they are eliminated, I'm rooting for the American League unless it's the Yankees.
2. Ugh. I guess the Cardinals
They helped us avenge Roger McDowell. But I hate LaRussa, Berkman, and Holliday, and I hate the Cardinals in general. Pujols is annoying. I hope they lose. Except they're playing...
3. The Phillies
"Hippy Trash." "Fix your teeth." Last year was not an interruption in the Phillies' dynasty, it was the end of it. Unless they win the NL this year. So they must be stopped. Somebody must bring down the beast. But not the...
Now that they are in the playoffs, will the scoreboard still need to tell their fans when to cheer? Never, not once, not ever, has a team/city/fan base been so unworthy.
I know I sound angry or bitter, but I'm really not. The Giants were a dominant team this year that had its season destroyed by injuries. It happens and I'm over it (sort of), but I don't want our failure to be a failure for the sport, and a Yankee, Phillies, Rays, or DBags world championship would be a catastrophe that all people would have to absorb. Zach Greineke, it's all up to you. No pressure.
If you're looking for a blog entry about the National League West race, you can forget it. The Wild Card? Please.
I'm a Giants fan. I've been through a lot. I've been through 1998, yes. But also 2004. 2002. 2009. I am not into jinxing us.
I will say that Eric Surkamp pitched very well for his first start in Coors Field.
And I will also say that I was putting my baby to sleep during the bottom of the 9th inning. It was horrible. It took forever, it never seemed to end, frustration levels were high....and putting her to sleep was tough too.
10 games left! I'm excited to see us play the young guys and build for next year! Lalalalalalala.
Yesterday I was working late, and got a call indicating I would have to work even later. I called my wife.
"Oh yeah, that's fine," she said. "At least I know you're not lying and having an affair with Amy G. because I can see her on tv."
"Oh, right, the Giants are playing."
"You're going to miss Eric Surkamp pitch," she pointed out.
"That's ok," I replied. "I'll see his next start."
Yeah, no big deal. Just another start by Eric Surkamp, starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Yawn. Did he start again? Did he have another quality start? No? Well, I mean, almost. He was one out short of it. And the bullpen gave up the last two runs. I thought that Edlefsen guy was going to be better that that. I even thought he would have a role in our bullpen next year. Thanks a lot, you big Swedish goober. Wait, where was I. Oh right. Just another good major league start for Eric Surkamp. Just another win.
And just another mention by Buster Olney:
"Surkamp has settled in quickly, pitching well, and this is part of the reason why the Giants are intrigued by Surkamp -- they like his presence, his demeanor, and the improvement he has shown with his command since they drafted him. There will be discussion this winter about what to do with Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez, whose salary will continue to climb through arbitration. It's possible that the Giants will go into next season with these four names penciled into their rotation: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner -- and Eric Surkamp."
God, Buster Olney/ESPN. Will you ever stop talking about Eric Surkamp? I mean, really, it's embarrassing. Talk about something else for once, like the Phillies. They are interesting in a not-that-interesting sort of way.
Oh, and the Giants scored 8 runs. In one game. For the second game in a row. At home. Where was that in August??
Yesterday was a good day in Giants Land.
It started with a homerun from rookie Brett Pill. It continued with a gutsy outing by Eric Surkamp. It got infinitely better when Arizona finally, FINALLY, lost a game. And it ended with, well, torture.
Let's start with Surkamp.
Make no mistake, Eric Surkamp did not have his best stuff yesterday. So to watch him gut through 5 innings, walk only one guy, and allow only two runs not aided by an error was fantastic. Come to think of it, Eric has only allowed 2 runs total in the big leagues that didn't result from a botched pick off, and both of those were sacrifice flies. He should avoid picking people off.
Before Eric Surkamp arrived, the Giants were 1-6 in their previous 7 games pitched by the 5-spot in the roation, and that one win came in a game in which Dan Runzler lasted 2 innings and then had to be replaced and the Giants won only because they managed to score 6 runs. Is Surkamp a polished major league pitcher? No, of course not. Is he definitely the answer for the 5th spot next year? Maybe. We'll have to see what happens with Vogelsong and Sanchez. But for right now, he's a godsend in that role, and I'm not just saying that because I am Dictator Supreme Ruler For Life of his fan club (i was democratically elected to that position, winning 99% of the vote).
I was watching the Arizona game live and I have to say that it was great to see some Coors Field magic used to help the Giants. Look, I know the odds are still long. Sunday was a crushing blow to our title hopes. But there are a couple things worth noting here:
1. Yes, we are 6 games back with 20 to play. But there are really 2 seasons left...the 3-game series in Arizona and the other 17 games. If you accept that we need to sweep that Arizona series, then really we dont' need to pick up 6 games in 20 days. We need to sweep Arizona in a 3-game series and pick up 3 games in 17 days.
2. I had this feeling that after the game on Sunday, the Giants would come out loose on Monday. Like there was no pressure on them anymore because the race was now "over." That's certainly been the case thus far. Whether or not it's too late to matter, we'll have to see.
You know what sucks? Remember when the Dbags were playing in Atlanta a couple weeks ago and got swept and Giants fans were thrilled? Well if the Braves had been swept instead, we'd be 4.5 games out in the wild card race. Oh well.
I don't know if the Giants will be able to make an epic comeback and win the West. I don't know if Eric Surkamp will become a major league star and make me famous and wealthy in the process. I don't know if Javier Lopez will ever throw a strike again. I don't know if Santiago Casilla is entering a bad place. I don't know if Arizona will lose another game this year. They might finish the season 15-5 in which case nothing we do will matter.
But you know what? For one day? That's ok. It was a good day.
As some of you may have noticed, there hasn't been much activity on this blog since Eric Surkamp started 9 days ago.
For anyone dissappointed by this (here I am picturing Buster Posey logging on to my blog every day and saying "shucks!" upon seeing no new material), I apologize. Such is life in grad school. Such is life when working. Such is life when raising a family. So such is REALLY life when doing all three simultaneously.
But this period of relative inactivity has also got me thinking about what I want this blog to be. After some soul-searching, and what better week for soul-seaching given how depressing this week of baseball has been, I've decided on the following.
24 Days of Magic Will Be:
1. Home to the Eric Surkamp Fan Club
2. A great place for off-season roster obsession where every Giants roster move will be covered in depth.
3. A blog about the Giants and life that will feature in-season reflections at varying intervals.
If you are looking for a blog to react to and cover 162 baseball games a year, I suggest McCovey Chronicles. They are very good. If you are looking for some semi-decent writing about the similarities between a dirty diaper and the Giants' offense, I suggest you stay here.
And if you like Eric Surkamp, I suggest you stay here.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this blog thus far.
It's been a tough season but it's been great. After yesterday, I, like everyone else, am of course ready to move on.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch the Diamondbacks game. We're about to witness the greatest comeback in pennant race history, and I don't want to miss a single minute of it!
Well....that was a big win. Really needed it.
Mark DeRosa! Wow! Did anyone else think he missed 3rd base? Oh well, water under the bridge.
So what should we talk about?
Oh right. Eric Surkamp!!!
I can't describe how I feel right now about Eric Surkamp's performance right now, so I really don't think Eric Surkamp can describe how Eric Surkamp feels. What do you think was going through his mind when he jumped the railling to celebrate the walk-off. I have an idea...
#1: I didn't screw up! Thank god.
#2: Not only did I not screw up, I pitched really, really well.
#3: And we won!
#4: I belong.
Yes, you do. And tonight you learned the hard way what it's like to pitch for the Giants. Not a lot of run support. Run support isn't really our thing.
But you also learned the good way how great Giants fans are. When Surkamp's first two pitches were balls, the second one very wild, the fans started clapping. If you didn't pay close enough attention you might have missed it, but it was unmistakable. The fans were supporting him at a time when many fans of many teams wouldn't have even made it to their seats. Remember when Jason Giambi signed with the Yankees and went 0 for his first 9 or something and the fans booed him? After 9 atbats?
We're different. We're better.
The fans, I mean. Not the hitters.
I'm imagining Eric's day is going to go something like this.....
9am: Wake up. Check Fan Club to see if Buster Posey has joined yet. Damn. Maybe his internet connection is bad? Mental note to tell him about Xfinity from Comcast.
10am: Eat Breakfast
10:05am: Throw up breakfast.
11am: Go over signs....let's see, 1 is fastball, 2 is curveball, 3 is slider, 4 is throw at Victorino, 5 is pick-off...small print...."throw soft to Huff, he is old"....ok, got it.
Noon: Consider eating lunch. Not even worth it.
1pm: Interviews with major media outlets. Oh sure, they love you know, Eric. But you know who really loves you, from way back before you made it big damnit why can't I make this very simple point without sounding completely creepy??!!? Must work on that.
2pm: Batting practice. Wait, I'm playing short? I thought I was pitching?
3pm: Cable car ride! Weeeeeee!
3:05pm: I want to throw up again, but there is nothing to throw up.
4pm: Buddhist meditation
5pm: Holy shit.
5:40pm: Holy SHIT!
5:59pm: I should have been an accountant...
Good luck, Eric.
Your Fan Club
p.s. Aaron Rowand sent you this note:
"Eric, what if the curveball looks like a fastball, though? How do I keep myself from swinging??
Well, just another day at this humble blog, where we were the FIRST "media outlet" to break the news that Eric Surkamp will be the Giants' starting pitcher on Saturday. And let's be honest....calling us a media outlet is kind of like calling the Dodgers an average baseball team. It's a little bit of a stretch.
Most importantly, it goes without saying that we are really excited for Eric Surkamp. Eric was extremely generous with his time and let us interview him even though he could probably tell this blog is not exactly the New York Times. Eric was genuine, down-to-earth, and honest in the interview, and he even said "Beat LA." In short, he is cool. So congratulations, Eric!
Now it's time for you, a professional baseball player, to get some advice from me, a partially employed graduate student who batted .238 in his final year of little league and once made 4 errors in one inning.
1. Show some fire.
All the Giants fans who matter are still completely convinced that this team can make the playoffs, and the fans who matter and are intelligent realize that once the Giants make the playoffs, their pitching staff gives them a legitimate chance to win everything. But things are bad right now. We need a spark. Just a little fist pump or a well-timed primal scream will endear you to the home fans. Show that you care.
2. It's not your fault if you lose 2-1.
We lose 2-1 a lot. It happens. If you lose 2-1, it's not your fault and everyone will forgive you. What they won't forgive is if you lose 18-14. We only have so many 14-run games left in us and we don't want to waste one.
3. Show love to your fan club
When you strike out your first batter, show us a sign that you love us. Tug your ear. Take off your hat and then put it back on. Do a River Dance. Slap your glove. Right now there are 70 people who joined your fan club before you were good. When you started the season, you were probably the 9th option for starting pitcher. Now you are #5. And after you kick ass tomorrow, your fan club will begin to grow exponentially. But the people in there now are the ones who loved you for who you are. Or something. Wow, that sounds creepy.
4. Give up on finding skyline chili in the Bay Area, you'll have to settle for Hormel's Chile with No Beans, which I think has MSG in it, sorry.
5. But we do have, you know, a few good restaurants.
6. Enjoy it.
When you take the mound and get a huge round of applause from 42,000 people, it's going to be a moment you never forget. Like all of us when the Giants own the World Series, but like 100 times cooler because you weren't sitting on a couch with a pillow over your face yelling "oh dear God please don't let them blow it, not this time, Lord, I'll go to church! I'll stop stealing IPods from Japanese tourists! I'll be good! Oh just this once let us not screw up!" So...um....what was I saying again? Oh yeah. Enjoy it.
You've earned it.
Oh, and you gotta love not having a picture of a rodent with a bushy tail on your jersey for once.