Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Ready for 2009: Your San Francisco Giants

The shuffling of players began in October. Brian Sabean and gang have their work cut out for them and they will provide the effort necessary to rebuild the San Francisco Giants back into a contender.

Oft times it is those questions nobody can answer that makes for our toughest choices in life. Fortunately, for this up coming 2009 season, the Sabean Gang has the experiences of the 2008 season to help them make the right choice(s).

Beginning in October this is what the Giants have done so far (as seen on the San Francisco Giant website under transactions):

- Sent Tyler Walker (RHP) and Eliezer Alfonzo (C) outright to Triple A Fresno. Walker refused the assignment and therefore will become a free agent.

- Sent Kevin Correia (RHP), Geno Espineli (LHP), Brad Hennessey (RHP), Scott McClain (INF) and Ivan Ochoa (INF) outright to Triple A Fresno.

- Signed Ivan Ochoa on 10/30/08.

- Activated Noah Lowry (LHP) and Merkin Valdez (RHP) from the 60-day disabled list.

- Invited Justin Miller (RHP) to Spring Training.
- Invited Josh Phelps (1B) to Spring Training.
As for Miller, I thought he pitched for the Astros. But there were four(4)Justin Millers listed in Baseball-Reference and the first one, who pitched for the LA Dodgers, is 20-years old with a combined 6-12 record in the minor leagues. The second Justin Miller, pitched for the Tigers' farm system and the third Justin pitched for the Texas Rangers farm system. Then there was a Justin Miller, simply listed as Justin Mark Miller - Minors.
This Justin Miller had some major league experience and is a right-handed pitcher. His last 2 seasons were with the Florida Marlins, where he posted a combined W-9 L-2 record while totalling 107-innings pitched. In those innings he allowed 9-HR. Walked-44 and Struck out-117. His career numbers are 21-W 11-L with an ERA of 5.16. He does have 33 games started. But honestly, I couldn't tell you which Justin Miller the Giants invited to Spring Training. I'm thinking it was the one who played his last two seasons with the Fish in Florida. Because the other 3 are not over 22 years of age.

Josh Phelps is a little easier. It's not likely there are too many major leaguers named Josh Phelps. From 2002 to 2008 he has 1394-AB and in those at-bats, has 64-HR. His batting average over that span is .273.

I recall the 2007 season when he finished his season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Having come over from the New York Yankees where he was batting .263 he lit it up. Batting .351. He had a combined 157-AB 21-R 48-H 7-HR 31-RBI that season. 13-runs, 27-hits (including 4 doubles, 2-triples and 5-homers) and 19-RBI came while with the Pirates.

He was on the Cardinals roster last season. Phelps turns 31 on May 12, 2009.

On November 17th, the Giants signed Jeremy Affeldt, a left-handed specialist whose career began in Kansas City and was dealt to the Colorado Rockies before last season where he posted respectable numbers for the Cincinnati Reds.

In his career, pitching for less than .500 teams he has a 26-W 28-L record (8-5 with the Rockies in 2006-07).

As per the Associated Press...The San Francisco Giants signed Jeremy Affeldt to a 2-year contract at $8 million. The article said the Giants had wanted Affeldt for the past two years. One of Brian Sabean's off-season priorities was to bolster the club's inconsistent bullpen. The Giants often had problems in the middle innings between starters and closer Brian Wilson.
Affeldt can pitch multiple innings. Affeldt, 29, pitched for the Reds last season with a 1-1 record and an ERA of 3.33. He led the Reds with 74 appearances. Struck out 80 and walked 25 in 78 1/3 innings.

The Giants roster has a quality group of left-handers reporting to Spring Training. With the signing of Affeldt, he and Alex Hinshaw, Pat Misch, Jack Taschner, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito round out the staff of southpaws.

(thanks to Associated Press, San Francisco Giants website and Baseball-Reference.)

Kevin Marquez