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McCovey Chronicles mailbag: six-man rotations and more

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I am a Giants blogger with bad opinions and questionable ideas. AMA.

No, seriously. that's my balding head at the bottom, next to Amy G., so I'm going to re-use this picture often.
No, seriously. that's my balding head at the bottom, next to Amy G., so I'm going to re-use this picture often.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It's time for the weekly mailbag, which was bumped to Sunday by the huge Casey McGehee news. You have questions. We have vague, pithy answers.

As always, if your question wasn't chosen, it's because you did something wrong.

1.

Why not go with a 6 man rotation next year: MadBum, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum, Vogelsong, Peavy?   Would give Peavy and Hudson more rest as they are older, allow Lincecum to work on mechanics, allow Cain to ease back in and allow MadBum not to burn out after big inning year.   Also would leave funds to re-sign Romo and add a 3B and outfielder later in season when big money spenders hit reality in the basement.

Ah, I see the first problem with weekly mailbag in the offseason: The offseason moves faster than the mailbag. Romo is already re-signed. Rejoice!

As to the question, it's not a silly one. Japanese teams use six-man rotations. Yu Darvish thinks MLB should adapt. Eno Sarris found evidence that the idea might even prevent injury. Six-man rotations aren't a joke.

The idea for
Protecting Bumgarner. Letting Peavy and Hudson rest.

The idea against
The odds of the Giants finding five good pitchers this year are long enough. The six-man rotation seems like something a team with an embarrassment of riches would try. The 2015 Giants would not be that team. That means you would have to hope the extra rest would lead to extra production from the pitchers -- enough to make up for fewer starts from the best pitchers, especially Bumgarner.

Even if we could agree in theory that a six-man rotation would make sense, it's not like the Giants would consider it. The pitchers would probably hate it, too, at least at first. Creatures of habit, and all.

2.

Why not Adam Duvall? Assuming he was as terrible as his small sample of 77 mlb pa to date that still works out to 23 dingers in 600 pa out of the 7 hole in the line up. Even if he plays poor defense doesn't it make more sense to spend money and/or prospects to get a legit #3 starter?

If Adam Duvall were a passable defender at third -- passable -- he would have received strong consideration for the open third base spot this offseason. You don't think the Giants would be interested in a no-cost solution with the potential for dingers? That would have made everything so much easier this offseason. The cost certainty might have even improved the Giants' offer for Jon Lester, or at least made the stupid Cubs pay more.

What you have to imagine, then, is defense so poor, that Duvall was never, ever, ever, ever a consideration. Folks who watched him at Fresno last year describe something that makes me think of what Michael Morse's time at shortstop must have been.

If you could get some sort of guarantee that Duvall would have an OBP of .340/.350 with 20 or 30 dingers, maybe you take the risk. That's at the upper, upper end of the projections, though. It's like playing an unsuited 3/4, hoping to get a straight somewhere in the next three deals. It could happen, but it's not something a smart person chases. Even if it happens, there's a chance for something better around the table, too.

Also, I'm awful at poker. Take my money sometime.

3.

Why have the Giants consistently refused to consider playing Belt in left field?  Is he that bad as an outfielder? If Belt worked at the position in the offseason I presume he would be better than Morse, and we could then sign Morse relatively cheaply to play first base. Belt is going to have to change positions someday if Buster is ever moved to first base.  Why not now?

Well, you know, Buster actually played shortstop in

/is eaten by Demon Mammoth of Justice

I don't think the Giants have refused, necessarily. They were chasing Jose Abreu last year, and while they were considering Abreu as a left fielder, I'm sure there was a contingency plan in their mind that if he were completely clompy in the first week in Scottsdale, that he could switch spots with Belt.

When you move Belt to left, though, you're doing it for one of two reasons: a short-term solution at first or a long-term solution at first. There isn't anyone this year who was that much better at first than any of the potential left fielders on the market -- certainly not anyone worth moving a smooth defender at first, just to get their bat in the lineup. Maaaaybe Adam LaRoche.

And if you do it for a long-term solution, that's the one time you get to trade that chip o' roster flexibility in. The Giants might have been willing to do it for Abreu. They might be willing to do it if/when Posey needs to move. They might be willing to do it if a nice, young first baseman comes on the market.

Short answer: The Giants would do it for the right player. That is, a first baseman who is clearly better than whatever a Blanco/mate platoon would offer, a hitter good enough to make messing with Belt's comfort zone worth it. There might be a dozen of those players in the game right now, though, none of whom were available this offseason.

4.

If Scutaro heals up what do you think of him going to third?

I saw the look in Bochy's eyes when a reporter asked him about Scutaro. For I am a connected insider with anecdotes. Look at the danged picture up there. That's me, asking the tough questions. Do you have a picture from USA Today Sports with you asking Bochy the tough questions? You do not. Again, I am a connected insider.

Anywho, we were talking about the look in Bochy's eyes. That look was of a man thinking, "Oh, right, jeez, that guy." Like Duvall, if the Giants could get anything out of someone who didn't add additional payroll, they would jump at it. I'd be surprised if Scutaro ever takes another at-bat for the Giants.

Pleasantly surprised, mind you. Still, don't expect it.

5.

Please help me with the recurring nightmare that they are exploring moving Hector to third behind the scenes. Venezuelan switch-hitting catcher of some size....they wouldn't try it a second time would they? Thanks.

With one more concussion, they'll have to figure something out, and it might be third. But that experiment will be in Sacramento if it ever happens, I'll guess.

6.

Would you share your thoughts on a couple of under-the-radar ideas that I have as pretend GM of the Giants?  Trade for Allen Craig and sign Brett Anderson.  Craig could be gotten with relative ease -- it doesn't seem like the Red Sox favor him too much -- and he could fill an important role as a right-handed bat with some power coming out of left field.  Anderson would simply be a low-risk signing who, at worst, would be rotation insurance but at best a rock in the middle of the rotation.

The Giants might have been a good fit for Anderson, but when you see that he cost $10 million -- about a million per inning -- it makes you acknowledge the ridiculous cost of pitching on the open market. It's why Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy both got something like $12 million salaries coming off average-at-best seasons.

If the Giants were willing to live with Craig's defense, they would have re-signed Michael Morse. Everyone loves Morse. Bochy, Sabean, Pence, me, you. If the Giants were okay with the clomp, they could have clomped to their heart's delight.

Maybe Craig could hit enough to be one of those guys worth moving Belt for, but he's coming off a dreadful season and owed a chunk of money. I wouldn't be opposed to the idea -- maybe he's only as bad as Morse last year, which is something you could live with if he hits like the old Allen Craig. It would be a risk.

7.

Right now, the Giants have more cash than they do prospects - or at least top tier prospects.  So how do the Giants "buy" (Cole) Hamels?  By taking on the Ryan Howard contract.  Here is a link from Fangraphs (done last year) estimating that the Phllies would have to eat $70 of the $85M remaining to trade Howard (meaning the acquiring team is only on the hook for $5M per year).  Lets assume $5M per year is all an acquiring team would pay, meaning the Phillies would have to eat $50 of the remaining $60M on Howard's contract.

What if the Giants acquire Hamels and Howard in a package deal and get the Phllies to pitch in only $20M instead of $50M on Howard's contract? The Giants then flip Howard to an AL team that needs a DH (Tampa, Baltimore) who pays Howard only $5M per year and $0 of the $10M buyout.  So of the $60M remaining on Howard's contract, Philly pays $20M, AL team pays $10M and Giants pay $30M.

That would essentially make the cost of Hamels 4yr/$124M or 5yr/$144M.  Sure its a little high, but I like it better than 6/$155 for Lester.  Its one year less and Hamel's is the better pitcher.  And now Philly has more $$ to get top international FAs like Lopez and Moncado to immediately rebuild their farm system.

The more moving pieces you stuff into a mock trade, the more Internet your mock trade becomes. Know that.

I doubt that a) an AL team would pay Howard $10 million at this point (he's that bad), b) the Giants would want to pay that much money for Hamels, and c) the Phillies would rather have the salary relief than the prospects. They could get Moncada, sure, but he also might be scared of Cheez-Whiz and Rocky statues and sign literally anywhere else just because. Can't just take money and go into the Moncada Store once Howard is gone.

You win the Most Internet Email of the Week award, though. Very Internet. Good Internetting. (I appreciate the idea of Hamels at five years, $144 million, though. That would be rad. I like Hamels very much, even at top-o'-the-market annual salaries.)

8.

/700 emails about third base options

Sorry to everyone who had the perfect third-base scenario. The answer is Casey McGehee. The answer is Casey McGehee.

709.

I'd like to see the club sign a middle reliever, call him X, to push Petit into the rotation.  And a starter, call him Y, who's not more than 35, and pitched at least 200 innings last year with an ERA below 4.00.  The rotation would be Bumgarner, Cain, Petit, Hudson and Y (not in that order), with Lincecum and X ready in the bullpen to take Hudson and Y's starts to a reasonable length.  I really like Lincecum as a middle reliever — whatever the starter has been throwing, Tim will give them a different look.

X could be Alexi Ogando, who looked so good against the Giants in the 2010 series.  He's injury-prone but he's been excellent in two of the four subsequent seasons:  the two when he was healthy.  But maybe his elbow injury last year was too serious to expect a bounce-back at age 32.  I dunno.

Y is Jake Peavy.  Yes, his playoff performance left a bad taste but he had a good regular season, and the Giants would not have made the playoffs without it.  I say, sign Peavy!

Listen to me carefully. Come close. Closer. Closer.

I was told there would be no math.

I wouldn't mind the Giants checking Ogando out. Other teams -- the ones without a Petit -- will have more of a need, though, and they'll spend more to take that chance. You did call Peavy, though. Welcome back, Jake Peavy!

Thanks to everyone for their emails. Send your question to mccoveychronicles@gmail.com for next week's mailbag.