I was there with you. The Jon Lester rumors messed with my brain. A month or two after baseball got me hooked on endorphins, the offseason rumors were the only scraps of methadone around. I wanted the Giants to make a BIG MOVE. That World Series money meant they were supposed to do something/anything befitting a large-market franchise in the middle (or at the end of) a dynasty.
Instead the Giants traded for Casey McGehee and signed Norichika Aoki. Grumble grumble. They spent money, but on the same boring pitchers we were already used to. Grumble grumble grumble. It was an offseason of grumbling, and I was right there with you.
Except the last month has given us some perspective. If there's anything worse than not spending money on premium free agents to help your team, it's spending money on premium free agents who don't help your team. For a month, a lot of Giants fans were clamoring for Yasmany Tomas, the Cuban slugger. I feigned skepticism, but in my head, all I could think about was "dingersdingersdingers." Tomas signed with the Diamondbacks, which you probably forgot, considering he wasn't around for the opening series of the season. That's because he's in the minors. He wasn't ready for the majors after all.
"We need him to get a little bit more fit. He's going to have a long year this year, hopefully a lot with us," said Hale.
He's out of shape.
"What we're trying to do is figure out a way to create at-bats for him, which is primarily the reason he didn't stay," D-backs GM Dave Stewart said of playing Tomas at different positions. "If we had more at-bats and could get him more playing time, he'd be here. When he does come back here, we're planning on looking at him to give Jake [Lamb] a breather at third and then we know we've got our outfield positions, he may play some outfield."
They don't know where he's going to play.
.257/.307/.414, with two homers, three walks, and 16 strikeouts in 70 at-bats
He didn't struggle in the spring -- he hit exactly like the version of Tomas that everyone was quietly worried about when he was a free agent. His Cuban stats set off Dayan Viciedo alarms, and they're still going off.
Does this mean that Tomas is doomed? No. Of course not. He's young, everyone agrees he has raw power, and he could be up in three weeks, making this post look stupid as he slugger-clubs his way to the NL Rookie of the Year.
But, knowing what we know now, would the Giants rather have Tomas at $68.5 million (and the option to opt-out if he's even better than expected) or Aoki at $4.7 million with an option for $5.5 million next year? The latter, easily. It's more likely to help them in the short term, and there aren't any onerous risks in the long term with Aoki. The Tomas contract won't be a franchise-sinker if he flops, but it would still mess with budgets and future payrolls.
I had dingers in my eyes, though. Dingers in my eyes. I was hoping the Giants would get Tomas, and I was irritated when they didn't.
Jon Lester went through a dead arm period in March, and he was hit around a bit in his first game with the Cubs. He says he's fine. The Cubs obviously think he's fine, or they wouldn't screw around and put him out there. His velocity was exactly where you would expect it to be. Rumors of Lester's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
There were rumors of his demise because his arm died. Or maybe his arm is just pining for the fjords. In either case, the mere mention of the dead arm brought me back to reality. It's easy to play GM in the offseason, far away from any baseball games or ways to disprove your fantastical team-building theories. But the second they start playing baseball and you hear something scary about a pitcher, it becomes real. Oh, crap. Those things tend to break a lot. You should not spend a lot of money on those things.
Again, Lester is probably fine. The Cubs aren't so short-sighted that they're going to run him into the ground just because fans are expecting a shiny new toy. He'll help the Cubs win this year, and he would have made the Giants better.
I'm still kind of glad the Giants missed out. I can't stop thinking about the term "dead arm." Maybe if they called it "sleepy arm," I would be okay with it.
Brandon Belt is groiny, Hunter Pence is broken, Matt Cain is probably never going to be the same, and Jake Peavy is having old man injuries. The Giants have already broken the glass case in Sacramento. The Giants are still doing okay, considering. And while it's possible they'll lose their next 43 games, suddenly I'm less disappointed in the offseason. I still regret them not signing Yoan Moncada. I still think James Shields would have been a perfect fit.
But considering the struggles of Tomas and the dead arm of Lester, I'll stop judging the offseason for now. It might have been boring, but there are worse things than boring.