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Mailbag: retiring Bonds's number, Ronnie James Dio, and the value of Jake Peavy

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Like a mailbag in the daaaarrrrk.

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It's mailbag time! I'm getting a lot more emails at mccoveychronicles at gmail dot com than I expected, so we're at the point where I have to flat ignore some of the interesting questions. Sorry about that! You're a kitten in a motivational poster. Hang in there, chum.

To the mail:

Is it just me, or has Brian Sabean himself bought into this whole even-years-Giants-lose/odd-years-Giants-win dichotomy?  He seems to be setting up this team for the 2016 season already.  The evidence:

1. He has acquired Casey McGehee to play 3B in 2015... on purpose.  McGehee will presumably depart in free agency after this season.

2. He has completely punted on the left-field situation, instead of doing what was needed to get Zobrist, for example.

3. He has a Hudson-sized question mark in his rotation heading into spring training.

4. He has held onto all his potential trade chips, few though they may be (Crick, Susac, etc.)

I think he's raising the white flag for 2015, in hopes of saving up for 2016.  Am I being unfair to conclude that?

Yes! Yes, you are being unfair to conclude that. This email came in before the Nori Aoki deal, but I kept it in because of the even/odd thing and the itemized points.

1. McGehee was not my top choice, either. He's not Pablo Sandoval, not even close. Except, for as much of a Matt Duffy fan as I am, there's no way I trusted internal options for third base. It had to be someone from outside the organization. McGehee is boring, but he didn't cost top prospects (Zobrist), he's not on a spendy deal (Chase Headley), and he's not an iffy player on a disaster contract (Chris Johnson). He's boring, but he's not useless, and he allows the Giants to do other things. (LIKE YOAN MONCAAAAAADA.) I prefered Zobrist, but I'm not sure if the Giants could have matched the A's even if they wanted to.

2. Aoki signed after you wrote this. It's a fake punt! First down! (Because of a defensive holding penalty. Still.)

3. Be mad at the Giants' rotation on March 1st. I still believe in the possibility of Shields. I'm still secretly believing in a Cole Hamels trade.

4. I'd be much angrier if Sabean went into the offseason saying, "Gotta trade these guys. Gotta trade these guys. Gotta trade these guys" and came away with unhelpful goofballs. They're still set up for a trade-deadline acquisition if the current roster melts.

Most importantly, no, nobody on the Giants really thinks about the even/odd year thing, other than how to manage the increased workload of an extra month of baseball. The Giants wanted Jon Lester. They wanted Sandoval. It's not like there was an active-player draft and the Giants were too hungover to show up until the 15th round. And don't forget that while the Nationals and Dodgers are still projected to be the best two teams in the National League, the as-is Giants are right there with the rest of the should-be contenders.


Hi Grant. Imagine that you are going to create a sitcom starring 3 or more Giants. What would the sitcom be about, and which Giants would you cast in it?

Bryan kinda took a look at this idea in September, don't forget!


Hunter Pence is an IT worker who can't talk to girls
Nori Aoki is a wacky next-door neighbor.
Buster Posey is Pence's roommate, and he's basically Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar.


Jean Machi, Sergio Romo, and Jeremy Affeldt travel across the country in an old VW Golf. One camera. One 32-hour road trip. Mostly real time, like 24. Adventures, disagreements, philosophical conversations -- Before Sunrise meets Bull Durham. Also, Machi keeps farting.


Grant -

All I know about minor leaguers is what I read in the box scores.  Based on that, Ray Black looks like a God (not THE God, just a God).  Black was 71K in 35 IP this year - jeeeeeeeeeeeeeez.

But I can't find him on any top prospect lists.  Wazzup? On paper the kid is a monster.

Throws 100! Sometimes harder! Really big! Will be on top prospect lists for the Giants this year! Here's a primer from Conner, who might be dead, I should check on him, actually, be right back.

Wait, how about the story of a blogger who keeps murdering his contributors? For that last question about sitcoms, I mean. The Talented Mr. Ripley meets Julie & Julia. Could be big. Also completely fictional, just so there's no confusion.


In the midst of this craptastic offseason, there's not been much talk about the Giants losing their third base coach. FlanMan was considered the best in the biz, right?

I am friends with someone in the Giants org., who admitted they were shocked that Roberto Kelly got the nod as 3B coach, because "Roberto is so passive with the umps. He hasn't argued a call in seven years."

Moreover, a missed opportunity to inject some new energy (and bonus nostalgia points) into the coaching staff. Robby Thompson, Chris Speier, or Bill Mueller would all have been welcome additions back in a Giants uniform as 3B coach (or 1B coach). Alternatively, seemed like perfect timing to promote "future manager" Steve Decker to the MLB level.

So, in sum, do third base coaches even matter?

Other than some weird stretches last year when he kept thinking Buster Posey was fast, Flannery was certainly one of the best in the business. A bad third-base coach might cost his team at least nine runs over the course of a season, and that's probably being conservative. If nine runs is about one win, the difference between a really bad third base coach and a really good one is like the difference between a horrible setup man and Sergio Romo. You notice. Oh, man, how you notice.

That written, I have no idea how Kelly will do. Maybe he's a savant! Maybe he's terrible! The important thing is, hey, look at this Vine again:

The "third base coach" part wasn't a typo. It was a vision into our future.


If you had to field a starting rotation out of just metal singers, who would you choose? I'm torn, but all I know is that Rob Halford would be a badass closer. He'd ride his motorcycle out to the mound, probably have some crazy spitball or something (because he's always breaking the law), and fire in a bunch of high strikes at the letters. Because he's hell bent for letters. There's a "Ram It Down" pun in here somewhere but I am too dumb to make it. Thank you for answering the stupidest question of all-time.

First, I don't think we appreciate how many Phil Anselmos there are in major league baseball. Dudes who leak testosterone from pores between their toes, whom you wouldn't want to spend an elevator ride with, much less a bus ride. Dudes who talk about STRENGTH and WILL and are just smart enough to prevent you from ignoring completely.

You root for a Phil Anselmo right now. You just don't know it.


Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth -- Would be a great post-game interview. Totally underrated sense of humor, like Matt Cain.

Scott Kelly, Neurosis -- Because he's rad and loves baseball. He's also been around forever and it would probably cheese A's fans off if he defected to the Giants, just like Tim Hudson.

Ronnie James Dio -- Undersized, so he slipped in the draft, but he sure had some Cy Young seasons.

Devin Townsend -- Because hair.

Lemmy -- Would be the perfect over-40 innings eater. A veteran who ... wait a sec, 69 years old? Jeez. When did that happen? Still, he's probably good for 180 innings, minimum.


Why haven't the Giants retired Barry's number yet? I know the unofficial policy is "only for hall of famers" but c'mon, that's just their excuse. We all know they're shy because of the PEDs, or perhaps the Commissioner's Office is telling them no off the record. But PEDs didn't stop the Cardinals from honoring McGwire - sort of - in keeping Big Mac Land in Busch Stadium III, so if the Giants aren't going to retire Barry's they should try to find a way to skirt around the rules. Especially with a new Commissioner, and especially with the clout earned from the 3 World Series wins.

Hell, Barry isn't even a Giants Wall-of-Famer! This is a major injustice. Show the king some love.

When Bonds falls off the ballot, the Giants will revisit their unofficial policy, I'm sure of it. For now, there's no sense just assuming he's going to miss the Hall, even though he probably will.

As to the Giants Wall of Fame, I'm sure it's coming. Marvin Benard was in the Mitchell Report; Marvin Benard is on the Wall of Fame. Also, if your Wall of Fame includes Marvin Benard, maybe it's not really worrying about Barry Bonds getting that honor? Maybe wait for the statue.


Do the hall of fame voters just think Kent was roiding?  Its’ the only explanation that makes any sense to me...

There were about 15 to 20 worthy Hall of Famers on this year's ballot. If I had a real vote, I wouldn't have voted for Kent for this reason, even if he's very comparable to Ryne Sandberg in a lot of ways. He'll get in, but not for a few years, yet.

For some reason, Kent has escaped the Bagwellian just-look-at-him argument. I don't think that's what's keeping him out.


I can't understand why the Giants would give Peavy 2 years 24 million. Was anyone else offering that much or was this a total misjudgment? Personally I would rather take a shot with Ty Blach.

Pitchers are expensive. The value of an average innings-eater is pretty close to $12 million on the open market, and the Giants had an obvious need to fill early in the offseason. Without an innings-eater like Peavy, the Giants would be desperate right now. Forget hanging around the periphery of the James Shields talks, they'd have to be in the middle, offering that fifth year.

They didn't get a deal, but that's about fair value, similar to what Tim Hudson got last year. And don't forget that Peavy was pretty good in 2012, post-surgery. He doesn't have to be a younger, trimmer Bartolo Colon, even if that's the likeliest scenario.

Blach might be great. Right now, though, he's depth, which is exactly what the Giants need him to be.


Giants sign Nori Aoki and that's fine.  He fills a need, is inexpensive, plays solid defense, and we didn’t have to give up any players in a trade.  However, he’s not the power hitter we all wanted so why didn't the Giants ever consider Colby Rasmus instead?  He’s younger with a history of some pop coming off a horrible season.  He seems to synch perfectly with the Giants’ MO of picking up low-risk rebound players like Burrell, Huff, and Morse.

Wouldn't a one-year "make good" contract for Ramus have a greater upside than Aoki?  Especially if we can net him for the same amount of money?

(Granted, I understand Ramus might be something of a clubhouse cancer but how can one play for the Giants and still be a dick?  It’s the happiest organization in all of baseball, for crying out loud!)

Rasmus's OBP has been in the toilet in two out of the last three seasons, and it's not like he has 40-homer power. I could have seen him on the Giants and turning into a league-wide punchline -- a .200 hitter with 12 to 15 homers. He's young, but I'd rather start Gregor Blanco over him, much less Aoki.


I’m old and slow … so tell me again, why oh why did the Giants let Pablo go?  Did Boston overpay?  Or was there a darkly hidden secret mess in the locker room?

If I had my dream job in, I don't know, New York for six years, making millions in my early 20s, and someone came to me and said, "Hey, would you want to do the same thing for the same money in Seattle?", I don't know what I would have said. Neither place is my home. Both places intrigue me. I would have been young and looking for new experiences, unless I was young and looking for the same thing. I really don't know.

What I do know is that I wouldn't necessarily think about loyalty to my employer, considering that employers generally excel at making cost-benefit decisions about employees, regardless of loyalty. Also, Sandoval loves the panda hats, really, but he also knows fans will turn on him if he has a bad year or three. Players aren't delusional about the fleeting nature of fan love.

Another thing I know is that I can't begrudge a 20-something for wanting a new experience after succeeding so much in one spot.

Also, none of this applies to Vox Media, who are the best and to whom I pledge my undying loyalty.


Count the 25 man roster. Ishi is outfielder #5, even if they go with 2 catchers. There are minor league options in the last relief spot, but there are too many position players to add anyone else.

I'm starting to have a sneaking suspicion that Ishikawa's guaranteed salary is something of a golden parachute, a payment for services rendered. He just doesn't fit on the team, especially with Aoki on the team. Considering how much first Buster Posey is going to play, there's no time for him at first. Like, at all. And he's not an outfielder. Even if he were, he's not right-handed. He makes no sense on the 25-man roster, and he would probably sneak through waivers if the Giants wanted him in Sacramento.

Remember that dinger, though? The one that won the pennant? Heck, put him on the roster. It'll make me think about that homer every day. Remember that one? It was awesome.

Ehire Adrianza is out of options, though, so maybe there's a chance that Joaquin Arias is expendable? Dunno. The bench really is weird right now.


My husband comes from a family of Yankee fans.  For everything I dislike about the Yankees, one thing they get very right is Old-Timer's Day.  Yankee fans love Old-Timer's Day.  It's a chance for them to say, "Hey!  It's Scott Brosius!  Remember that home run in 2001?"  How is it possible that no other team does this?  Grant, you're a man of influence.  Make this happen.  It would give me an excuse to explain Travis Ishikawa to my children.

Old-timers days seem like a neat idea. And then you watch them. Bo Jackson was the greatest athlete of my lifetime. Bo Jackson looks like an out-of-work Kia salesman now. Thanks, old-timers game. I didn't need to see that. Everything is fragile, everything is temporary. You, your parents, your kids, your youth. Everything is fleeting and we will all die eventually.

Other than that, it's a great idea.