Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

The Giants Future; Immediate and Distant by Ed Stern

Marty; Right up to the last minute, the baseball map was being revamped by last minute trades and moves. This is the game’s latest development, now full blown. Teams in contention await the trading deadline and make their moves. Some will be successful, others disastrous, and some will turn out to have had small impact.

Click below for Ed’s much anticipated analysis of the season!

The Cubs have rented Garciaparra for the remainder of the year. At year’s end he becomes a free agent. The Yankees picked up Loaiza in what might be one of Cashman’s better moments. They gave up Contreras, who surprisingly consented to a deal in which he had a veto right. Contreras is a work in progress, while Loaiza is a known quality, a proven winner.

Most surprisingly, LA proceeded to remake their club. Their is an old saying in the baseball world, that the deal you don’t make may be the best deal of all. That may very well end up being the Dodgers epitaph. They gave up LoDuca, arguably the best ball player on the team. They picked up Mayne to replace him. Not a good exchange. They have Finley to play the outfield but it is questionable whether the first baseman they picked up in their multiple deals will be much help. The bottom liine is that they have given up the most valuable player in their lineup and with their multiple deals may have affected the morale in the clubhouse. Puzzling, for a team with a first place winning record. Perhaps first year general managers need seasoning.

Now, let’s look at the Giants. They made one deal. They sent Rodriguez to Philadelphia and received Ledee and a minor league prospect in return. Ledee is a left handed hitter. He will probably be used against right handed pitchers in place of Grissom. This would be an improvement over the present lineup. Ledee is not an impact player but he has, for a number of years, been thought of as having more potential than his performance has demonstrated.

The deal’s major benefit will come from the relinquishment of Rodriguez. It is difficult to understand why it took the club this long to recognize that Rodriguez met the definition of a loser for the past three years. If they had simply released him the team would have been improved. This way, it need’nt pay him the remainder of his three million dollar salary. The Phillies have picked up that burden.

It is unlikely that the Giants are going anywhere this season. They have what may reasonably be considered the worst bullpen in the league. Going into the ninth inning with a three run lead has been of little comfort. They have no one who resembles a closer, having given up one of the best closers in the game today for a catcher who was not essential.

They have three rookies in the pen now, Merkin Valdez, Walker and Correia. Valdez is the most intriguing, if for no other reason, than that he came to the team in the infamous Oriz trade. The Giants hope that he will turn into the closer they desperately need. When the Giants were attempting to deal these past few weeks, Valdez was one of the few players on the roster other teams were interested in.

In 2003 he pitched for Hagerstown. In case few people know anything about Hagerstown, it should be mentioned that Hagerstown is in the Sally League. The likelihood is that a similarly few people know anything about the Sally League. He had a great year, He is 22 years old, a prospect. The word about him in 2003 was that he had a mid-nineties, sinking, fast ball. and needed work on his change-up. Apparently, he has worked on it this year and has been successful enough to warrant his call- up today.

If he justifies the team’s expectations,it will ease the pain the Ortiz trade still generates.

The rotation is still nothing to write home about. Williams is on the DL for an indeterminate time. The rotation includes a pitcher, Rueter, who gives no indication that he will ever be able to consistently pitch past the fifth inning while giving up during that stretch at least three or more runs.

They have Schmidt. That is about all one can look to with anticipation in that lineup.

As for the future beyond this year, perhaps this latest trading season has brought home to management that a new approach to winning is needed. A productive farm system allows clubs the ability to trade for impact players when the opportunity arises. The few players the Giants had in their system this year precluded their chance to pick up a player or two who might make a difference. The one or two pitchers other clubs were interested in, Valdez or Cain, had too much possible future value to be included in any deal.

As pointed out on this page in the past, the A’s made four draft picks before the Giants made their first, at the 70th spot. This is not the way to be build a farm system. It is evident from this year’s mid-season dealings that the Giants aren’t playing in the same game as many other teams. If the future is to get better, the approach has to be in keeping with what today’s realities demand. This an old team. It needs to become a younger team. This is accomplished, as has been shown by a number of the teams fighting for a top spot this year, by developing young players who stick around and provide the excitement one wishes to see. A good example today. Take a look at the Padres.

I hope the Giants prove me wrong this year. Predictions are always dangerous, as has been pointed out. However, there is sound evidence to support those set forth here.



1 glenpark { 08.03.04 at 12:16 am }


Two years ago Frankie Rodriguez came out of nowhere to give the Angels late game innings, would be terrific if Valdez can do the same thing. Seems his overall physical makeup may be better for bullpen than starting at this level.

Felix is a thrower, his ball is strong but flat and easy for hitters to pick up –he is a converted position player who never really showed confidence in being a pitcher, in understanding changes in speed, in rotation, in placement — he just always rared back and served up number one– –Philadelphia needs relief help so bad, I think the Giants got lucky in this trade, LeDee can play D and can hit, and the Giants also got a prospect..

As for the Dodgers –these trades get Green back to the outfield, they really didn’t have a first baseman, aand Green looked uncomfortable there — I always liked Roberts, he will help Boston — and Finley may be just in LA for a few months –as for Bradley, well, who knows how he will react to being moved around. Penny is pretty solid, but Mota ( and Martin ) seemed to be more valuable to this team than another starter.. And of course LoDuca was the heart of the Dodgers. Who is going to replace that?

But I think all this Dodger stuff is about the owner’s financial situation — these deals reduce salary, reduce long term capital liability. The McCourts had trouble closing on the Dodger deal last winter, I just think their financial position required them to direct De Podesta to reduce salary.

And the A’s –just incredible to see them playing so well — and with so many real players in their system –after NY and Minn they get a schedule break until Labor Day, maybe another long streak is in the works. Hope to see you out at the Coliseum.

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3 Anonymous { 09.05.06 at 9:38 am }

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