Tag: Jeremy Affeldt

Jeremy Affeldt Retires: Latest Comments and Reaction

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt is set to announce his retirement from baseball Thursday after a 14-year career in the major leagues.  

Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area noted the Giants confirmed the decision. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle states there’s an 11:15 a.m. PT (2:15 p.m. ET) press conference scheduled to make it official.

Affeldt, 36, played for the Kansas City Royals, the Colorado Rockies, the Cincinnati Reds and, most recently, the Giants throughout his career. He worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen with 730 of his 772 appearances coming in relief.

His regular-season numbers won’t jump off of the page. He’s gone 43-46 with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP while striking out 719 batters in 924.2 innings. He also didn’t spend much time in the lauded closer role, with only 28 career saves.

Instead, Affeldt made his name in the playoffs. He made 33 postseason appearances, 26 of which came since joining the Giants. He owns a microscopic 0.86 ERA in those games while helping push San Francisco to a trio of World Series titles.

He struggled throughout the 2015 campaign, posting a 6.09 ERA in 50 games. With the Giants falling short of the playoffs, he’s decided to announce his intentions now with just a couple of games left in the regular season.

While it’s often difficult for a middle reliever to stand out from the crowd, Affeldt has definitely left his mark on the Giants organization. That postseason success will be his lasting baseball legacy.


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San Francisco Giants’ Investment in the Bullpen Paying off Early in 2013

In the top of the sixth inning Monday night, the Colorado Rockies knocked out San Francisco Giants‘ starter Madison Bumgarner. They coaxed five walks out of him on the night and cut the Giants’ 3-0 lead to 3-2 against him.

The Giants bullpen would let the Rockies get no further. Santiago Casilla stranded the tying run at second base with a strikeout of Yorvit Torrealba to end the sixth before throwing a perfect seventh.

Jeremy Affeldt followed with a scoreless eighth inning. Sergio Romo allowed a leadoff double in the ninth, but then struck out the next three hitters to end the game for his fourth save of the season.

The Giants bullpen combined to throw 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball Monday night. They struck out six of the 11 hitters they faced while only allowing one baserunner. It was a dominant performance that helped vindicate general manger Brian Sabean‘s decision to invest heavily in the bullpen this offseason.

One of Sabean‘s first moves of the winter was to re-sign Affeldt to a three-year, $18 million contract. He also gave Casilla a three-year, $15 million extension with a club option for a fourth year. He then finished by buying out Romo’s two remaining seasons of arbitration for $9 million.

According to research by Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles, the Giants now have the second most expensive bullpen in the game after Sabean‘s winter shopping spree. They are eighth in percentage of payroll allocated to the bullpen.

It’s sabermetric dogma that it isn’t good business to invest heavily in the pen. Relievers can be created out of thin air on the cheap, which saves resources for the rest of the roster.

Romo—a 28th-round draft pick—and Casilla—whom the Giants signed as a minor league free agent—are good examples of why teams shouldn’t overpay for relief pitching on the free agent market.

However, Sabean decided that he had to spend some money to keep his three horses off the market. Since Casilla came aboard in 2010, he’s put up a 2.25 ERA for the Giants—good for eighth best in baseball among relievers. Romo has the third best ERA at 1.81 during that period. Affeldt‘s 3.03 ERA since 2010 is pretty good, too.

A large part of their success is due to their ability to pitch effectively against opposite-handed hitters. Over the last three years prior to 2013, Romo has held lefties to a weak .590 OPS, Affeldt has held righties to a .734 OPS and Casilla has held lefties to a .687 OPS (the league average OPS has hovered between .719 and .728 from 2010-12).

The Giants are more dependent on the bullpen than most teams because they play so many tight, low-scoring games in their spacious home ballpark. They absolutely need to win close games in order to make the playoffs because they don’t have an explosive offense that can consistently blow the opposition out.

So far this season, Romo and the bullpen have saved leads of 3-0, 5-3, 1-0 and 4-2. Last year, the Giants tied the Reds for the best winning percentage in one-run games by going 30-20. They were 33-22 in one-run games the year before and 28-24 in one-run games on their run to the first World Series title in 2010.

The relief trio of Affeldt, Casilla and Romo has helped the Giants hold on to a lot of close leads on the path to winning two out of the last three World Series titles. Sabean invested heavily to retain them this winter and reward them for a job well done. On Monday night, he looked wise for having done so.

Early in 2013, the Giants’ formula for winning looks a lot like it did over the last three years. That means the bullpen is going to be counted on to save a lot of tight games.

So far, Sabean‘s veterans appear up to the task once more.

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San Francisco Giants: Did They Overpay for Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt?

Earlier this offseason, when the San Francisco Giants re-signed reliever Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year, $18 million contract, I argued that the club overpaid to retain the 33-year-old lefty. The Giants have since given a three-year, $15 million extension to 32-year-old reliever Santiago Casilla.

In retrospect, neither player seems to have been given an egregiously large contract given the way the market has shaken out. But I generally don’t like paying market prices for veteran relievers because relief pitchers tend to be more fungible than starting pitchers and everyday position players—and the latter two categories are harder to find.

For example, the Giants turned up Casilla on a minor league deal prior to 2010 after he had washed out by putting up a 5.96 ERA with the A’s the season before. In three years with the Giants, he’s put up a combined 2.22 ERA.

It’s also worth noting that neither Casilla nor Affeldt projects to be the Giants closer in 2013. Manager Bruce Bochy may use them both to close occasionally depending on matchups, but it’s more likely that Sergio Romo will retain the job.

Romo earned that role with his outstanding performance as the closer during the final month of the regular season and throughout the postseason. He saved all four of his playoff chances with a 0.84 ERA, and he nailed down all of his regular-season save opportunities in September and October.

Thus, it doesn’t make sense to compare Casilla and Affeldt‘s contracts to those of Brandon League and Jonathon Broxton, as both were signed to be closers for their respective teams.

Instead, it’s more instructive to look at the contracts handed out to setup men this winter using contractual data from Baseball Prospectus’ Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

The Cubs signed Shawn Camp to a one-year deal at $1.35 million and Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million, with a club option for a third year. Tampa Bay re-signed setup man Joel Peralta for two years and $6 million with club options from 2015 through 2017.

The Pirates re-signed Jason Grilli to a two-year, $6.75 million deal to be their setup man, but after they dealt closer Joel Hanrahan, Grilli will likely become the team’s closer.

The Brewers signed lefty relievers Tom Gorzelanny (two years, $5.7 million) and Mike Gonzalez (one year, $2.25 million). The Los Angeles Angels signed lefty reliever Sean Burnett to a two-year, $8 million deal with a third-year club option.

The largest contract given to a setup man was the Phillies‘ two-year, $12 million agreement with Mike Adams.

Thus, if the Giants were truly paying market prices for Affeldt and Casilla, they would have given them both two-year deals with club options for a third season at an average annual value of between $3 and $6 million. The Giants didn’t overpay in terms of monetary value, but they probably guaranteed one year too many.

Given that the team is in win-now mode, it doesn’t really matter if they have to slightly overpay to retain the guys they want. Casilla and Affeldt have both been very good in terms of run prevention with the Giants, so keeping both players in the fold makes sense.

The final thing to consider here is opportunity cost. Casilla was going to be in the fold for 2013 regardless because the Giants controlled him for one more season before he could become a free agent. However, the $8 million the team agreed to pay Affeldt next season could have gone towards upgrading left field, which appears to be the weakest spot on the roster.

Nick Swisher reportedly wanted to sign with the Giants, and he will make $11 million to play for the Indians next season after signing a four-year, $52 million deal with them. Had the Giants let Affeldt walk, they could have used the money allocated to him, plus the $2 million given to reserve outfielder Andres Torres, to make a run at Swisher. Upgrading from the Gregor Blanco-Torres platoon to Swisher in left field would have more than made up for the loss of Affeldt in the bullpen.

The Giants ultimately made retaining Affeldt more of a priority than upgrading left field. They won the World Series with Blanco starting in left for the final two months of the regular season and all of the postseason, so they probably figure that they can win it all with him out there again next season. He’s also younger, much cheaper and a better defender and baserunner than Swisher.

The Giants didn’t drastically overpay in re-signing Affeldt and extending Casilla. However, the resources used to retain Affeldt might have been better spent on a left-field upgrade.

Alas, I have the benefit of hindsight. But the Giants have to make these decisions in real time.

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Jeremy Affeldt Injury: Home Life Is Dangerous for San Francisco Giants Reliever

Jeremy Affeldt is in the final year of his contract with the San Francisco Giants. As an effective left-handed reliever who will turn 33 this year, Affeldt figures to find continue his major league career, whether it’s with the Giants or another team.

However, the club that signs Affeldt for next year (and possibly beyond) may want to hire someone else to help him with taking care of duties at home. Because this man clearly needs to be protected from himself. And maybe his children, as well.

Affeldt was placed on the 15-day DL by the Giants on Tuesday with a sprained knee injury. OK, that happens. Pitchers get hurt. Call up a replacement from Class-AAA Fresno, as the Giants did with Travis Blackley, and everybody reconvene in two weeks or so. 

But it’s how Affeldt hurt his knee that raises an eyebrow. 

As the Chronicle‘s Henry Schulman reports, Affledt got home after Saturday’s game and was greeted by his four-year-old son, Walker. Walker was so happy to see his daddy that he jumped into Affeldt’s arms.

That is very sweet, right? I imagine it’s one of the best things about being a parent. I’ve seen how my baby niece reacts to seeing her mother come home from work, and I know it’s the best feeling she’s had that day—and maybe in her life. 

Anyway, according to Schulman, Walker is a pretty big kid for his age. Tall, that is. Four-and-a-half feet already. So when his son jumped into his arms, Affeldt had to shift his weight. And when he did that, he felt his knee pop. 

Uh-oh. Affeldt woke up early the next morning with throbbing knee pain that he put a bag of frozen vegetables on. Hours later, an MRI exam revealed the sprain, which typically takes seven to 10 days to recover from before throwing can resume.

But this isn’t the first home injury Affeldt has suffered.

Approximately eight months ago, he stabbed himself in the right hand while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties with a knife. Affeldt caused nerve damage in his pinky finger and came within a millimeter of cutting an artery. 

(If you’ve never seen it, here’s a link to a post on the story from Big League Stew’s David Brown. Dave’s done plenty of funny Photoshops over the years, but his image for the Affeldt incident might be his finest work.) 

Let somebody else catch the kids next time, Mr. Affeldt.

But if you insist on bonding with your children, let an aide defrost the hamburger patties and/or handle the cutlery. Or perhaps consider wrapping yourself in bubble wrap to prevent you from hurting yourself.

You make big-league money, sir. Pass off the menial tasks to hired help for the sake of your future baseball career. 


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Philadelphia Phillies Should Target These 10 Free Agents

As the Philadelphia Phillies’ season came to an abrupt end against the Giants in the NLCS, the offseason went about itself the next day.

We have already seen J.C. Romero’s $4.5 million option not picked up and heard from Jayson Werth about him testing the free agent waters. All odds are pointing toward him not being in a Philadelphia uniform in 2011. With that being said, there are definitely some needs that this Phillies team has to address, and the most likely way to address that is through free agency.

We don’t have any major flaws and we don’t have much payroll that were going to want to add, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be aggressive in the free agent market for the positions that we need to address.

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San Francisco Giants: 10 Biggest Surprises of 2010

2010 has been a year packed with surprises, from the success of unsung heroes to the struggles of previous years’ stars. Let’s take a look at the Giants’ 10 biggest surprises. 

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San Francisco Giants Make Right Moves at Deadline

The Dodgers go out and trade for Scott Podsednik, Tedd Lilly, Ryan Theriot, and Octavio Dotel.

San Diego went out and traded for Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick.

What did the Giants do? They traded for Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez.

Could they have done more? Should they have done more?

The answers are yes and no.

Sure, they could have traded more Adam Dunn. They could have traded for Corey Hart. If they really wanted, they could have traded more Prince Fielder.

Why didn’t they? The price was too high.

The names Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and/or Jonathan Sanchez were brought up, and in no way were we willing to part with them for seperate reasons.

Any conversation Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had involving Posey or Bumgarner probably ended with the other GM left hanging on the other end. As well, it should.

Dunn and Fielder are both free agents at the end of the year, and Sabean wanted a player the Giants would control for the next few years. Neither of those guys fit the bill.

That is, unless you wanted to have Scott Boras, Fielder’s agent, calling Sabean again and asking for Ryan Howard or Barry Zito money again.

Been there. Done that.

Who believes the Giants are an Adam Dunn trade away from the World Series?


I didn’t think so.

Trading Sanchez was a more likely conversation, but it would have left the Giants with a couple of questions.

Who would take his place in the rotation? We now know Joe Martinez is not an option, as he has been traded. And wasn’t Todd Wellemeyer placed on the 15-day disabled list in early June?

The other question is when will Bumgarner be shut down for the year?

The Giants are not going to risk his 20-year old arm by throwing him for longer than needed. Keep in mind, the Nationals’ Steven Strasburg was placed on the disabled list for a sore arm.

We don’t need that with Bumgarner. We don’t need Noah Lowry Part II.

What we get with Lopez and Ramirez are two solid veteran pitchers to add to a struggling bullpen.

These past two games are proof these guys need a miracle to get to Brian Wilson. It has less to do with being hit and everything to do with the amount of batters they walk.

Denny Bautista has walked 24 betters in 31.2 innings. Santiago Casilla has 17 in 22.2 innings.

Even Dan Runzler and Jeremy Affedlt have had their issues. Runzler has walked 19 batters in 30 innings. Affedlt? Twenty walks and 38 hits in 35 innings.

Lopez is a lefty specialist and has a WHIP of 1.47, lower than Casilla, Affedlt and Runzler.

Ramirez boasts a 1.30 WHIP.

These are guys who throw strikes and will help bridge the gap to Wilson.

They are not the flashy moves every fan hopes for at the trade deadline but they are they moves that make the most sense.

Also think about this. Do any of these names scare you?

Dotel, Lilly, Theriot, Podsednik…

Tejada and Ludwick?

A couple of years ago, maybe. Not now.

Besides, you never know what might fall through the waiver wire…

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San Francisco Giants Need Triple-A Team To Produce Marketable Talent

The San Francisco Giants really need another left-hander out of the bullpen now that Jeremy Affeldt’s sidelined with a torn oblique muscle.

The club also needs minor league talent to attract a proven big league run-producer in trade.

Todd Wellemeyer’s pitching well for the Fresno Grizzlies in the Pacific Coast League, but that doesn’t mean that fans calling for the club to trade Jonathan Sanchez for a hitter have any idea how difficult it would be to fill the No. 4 spot in the rotation.

Oh, there are starting pitchers in Triple-A—but there’s a good reason that only one has ever reached the big league level and for the big club’s hesitance to turn a starting spot back over to Wellemeyer.

The organization does have some talent other teams might seek in trade, but the most proven player in Fresno is middle infielder Emmanuel Burriss and the Giants could use him themselves down the stretch.

Such is the playoff frenzy among Giants fans that some are insisting that Gino Espinelli is the answer in the bullpen.

Gino Espinelli?

Here’s a look at the key players in Fresno. Remember, the Giants can lure a big league hitter without giving up minor league talent and, rest assured, the organization would rather gut the Fresno roster than touch the nucleus of the Richmond Class AA team.


Matt Yourkin, LHP – Giants fans haven’t heard a thing about the 29-year-old journeyman left-hander, but he has pitched well in 16 starts this year (he hadn’t made a professional start in his five previous seasons). He’s 6-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 89 innings pitched. He pitches to contact. A Giants bullpen that has an excess of stuff and a need for command could potentially use Yourkin down the stretch. He has 76 strikeouts and only 26 walks.

It would require altering the 40-man roster to get Yourkin to the big leagues, so enjoy him in Fresno.

Dontrelle Willis, LHP — He’s 28 and serious baseball fans no his story. The Giants have him in Arizona where they are totally rebuilding his wind-up and delivery. Once the minor league pitching instructors feel he is ready, Willis will be sent to Fresno where he work as a situational relief pitcher. The Giants need nothing more, and more quickly, than they need a lefty in the pen. For anyone to expect Willis to provide big league help in a pennant race, after losing command and control of his emotions, would be a stretch.

Eric Hacker, RHP – He’s 11-5 in 20 starts, but that 4.52 ERA has enabled to bypass him a couple of times when there was a need for a fifth starter. Hacker has walked 42 and given up 122 hits in 109 2/3 innings. 

Joe Martinez, RHP – The righty replaces Affeldt on the big league roster in a bullpen without a lefty. His big league career has been nondescript, but he is 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 13 starts in the Pacific Coast League. The 1.28 WHIP could make him a potential throw-in if the Giants need to add a potential big league arm in a trade for a hitter. 

Steve Edlefsen, RHP – The numbers add up. He’s 6-1 with a 1.85 ERA and five saves. His 41 strikeouts and 22 walks in 48 innings indicate that he throws strikes. The 25-year-old is never mentioned when the big league considers adding a reliever. 

Gino Espinelli, LHP – Watch the Giants bullpen cough up leads in the middle innings often enough and, yeah, Espinelli starts looking good. The 27-year-old could find his way to San Francisco with only Jeremy Affeldt working as a lefty in the pen right now.

Espinelli is 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA and eight saves in Fresno. His inability to break through to the big leagues stems, in part, from the fact that he was judged a full-time reliever in 2007 and has never developed strikeout stuff big leaguers tend to need to shine late in games. 

Alex Hinshaw, LHP – If Martinez got the call to replace Affeldt, it’s unfathomable that the big club can’t look past Hinshaw’s 2-3 record and that 4.73 ERA in Fresno because the 27-year-old had 49 strikeouts in 45 2/3 big league innings with the Giants in 2008 and 2009. The lack of command that showed in the big leagues (36 walks) has slowed him in Fresno.

It doesn’t make much sense for a big league team with erratic, right hand relievers to look past a potentially capable lefty with 47 Ks and 27 BBs in Class AAA. Does Martinez help more coming out of the pen late in a game than Hinshaw might? Really?

Waldis Joaquin, RHP – The 23-year-old throws hard, but hasn’t thrown strikes in a couple stints with the Giants. Regardless of his numbers in Fresno, though, he’ll be in San Francisco in September when guys like Edlefsen and Hacker are headed home. Joaquin might be the most marketable arm in Fresno when the Giants talk trade.

Position players

Tyler Graham, OF – The Pacific Coast League is a hitter’s league, so it’s hard to tell what Grahma’s .343 batting average means in terms of big league potential. The 26-year-old lacks power, but has 24 stolen bases. His being a right hand hitter won’t hurt his chances of a September call-up. He could be a near big league-ready talent that could be a throw-in if a trade for a big league run-producer presents itself. 

John Bowker, OF-1B – Those who think 183 games and 475 big league at-bats aren’t enough for Bowker to have shown he’s really more than a .238 big league hitter will continue to insist he be recalled so that he can try, again, to turn PCL MVP-like numbers into serviceable big league stats.

His value on the open market hinges on which team the Giants deal with. Bowker’s minor league numbers would impress fans, briefly, as they bid farewell to an Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, etc.

Juan Guzman, 3B-1B – The guy is a minor league hitter who, unlike Bowker, hasn’t received much opportunity to start and rack up big league ABs. He’s got 13 homers and 39 RBI. Guzman’s hitting .309, but has proven to be a big league DH who might attract limited interest as part of a bigger trade package.

Ryan Rohlinger, 3B-SS – He’s hitting .310 with five homers in Triple A, but has looked increasingly like a big league utilityman. He was recalled on Saturday to replace fallen Eugenio Velez, who suffered a concussion when struck by a line drive foul ball.

There are teams willing to accept a 26-year-old Rohlinger who can play multiple positions—as long as he’s packaged with younger, more touted prospects. 

Brett Pill, 1B – His 11 homers and 58 RBIs show he has upped his power potential at age 25. Pill could, in theory, be an attractive piece in a trade for a big league hitter—especially with Brandon Belt on the fast track to becoming the big league first baseman. Pill’s most certainly in line for a September call-up if he isn’t traded first.

Emmanuel Burriss, IF – The 25-year-old was the Giants opening day second baseman in 2009. Injuries sidelined him for more than a year, but he brings the big club a lot of what it needs. Burriss adds speed to a lead-footed lineup.

While he didn’t develop into the big-time big league shortstop he was drafted to become, he can bring young legs and range to the position. Burriss is a switch-hitter who, most certainly, will be on the big league roster soon. He’s batting .282 in 117 Triple-A at-bats. He has youth and a sufficient upside to be a key part of a trade for a big league batter.

Brock Bond, 2B – The Giants are committed to Freddy Sanchez, with Burriss ready to return to the big leagues. Highly touted Nick Noonan is considered by some the second baseman of the future (although Noonan’s struggling in Class AA this season).

Bond is a 24-year-old switch-hitter hitting .287 with 29 RBI. He’s not a power hitter, but gets on base (.405) OBP. It’ll be interesting to see if the Giants, or any other big league club, are noticing that the guy’s having a really good first year in Triple A.

So, there they are. Joaquin, Burriss, Pill, and Graham are all marketable minor leaguers. None, however, is the centerpiece of a trade that’s going to net the Giants a hitter.

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MLB Trade Rumors: San Francisco Giants Sign Dontrelle Willis, but Why?

In some recess of his or her brain, every San Francisco Giants fan is thinking the same thing now that Dontrelle Willis has signed a Minor League contract with the club.

Does this mean someone in the current rotation is on his way out?

It’s natural.

Although rookie Madison Bumgarner’s name has popped up on the trade radar, it’s doubtful the Gents would be interested in moving the 20-year-old lefty, given he’s twirled a quartet of blinders since being called up at the end of June.

Plus, he’s cheap and under control for a while as a member of the 2007 draft class.

Even the most cynical skeptic of Brian Sabean has to believe the San Francisco general manager has been impressed with the No. 5 starter and recognizes the cost-benefit analysis weighs heavily against moving the kid.

On the other hand, more of the recent trade gossip has theorized that Jonathan Sanchez—a 27-year-old southpaw with electric stuff who can struggle with his control—would be the centerpiece of any high-profile move los Gigantes might be contemplating.

Well, lo and behold, the team just brought in a 28-year-old southpaw with electric stuff who can struggle with his control.

Granted, paralleling Sanchez’s lack of consistency with Willis’ Rick Ankiel act is a bit like comparing your water-retaining girlfriend to Kirstie Alley (the latter is FAR dumber), but you get the point.

The acquisition of a player who profiles similarly to one who’s been at the heart of trade rumors justifiably sets the fan base’s gears in motion.

Some are excited at the thought because they can almost imagine Corey Hart or Prince Fielder winging his way to the Bay Area, complete with shining white armor.

Others are sickened by the thought if they’re even acknowledging the splinter is there.

It’s there, though, it’s gotta be.

But let’s be reasonable about this before the full-on paranoia hits.

Dontrelle Willis has been an absolute catastrophe in cleats since something went horribly awry in the 2006 season.

The goofy native of Oakland had a career year in 2005 when he won 22 games while posting a 2.63 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, seven complete games, five shutouts, and 55 walks in 236.1 innings.

He was an All-Star, finished 11th in the National League Most Valuable Player voting, and was the runner-up to the NL Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter.

One more key stat—Willis hit only eight batters in all those frames.

In ’06, some of the numbers still looked pretty good. He notched a 3.87 ERA with four complete games, a shutout, and a 6.4 K/9 (only a tenth off his ’05 rate) in 223,1 IP. But his walks shot up to 83 and his WHIP bloomed to 1.42.

More distressingly, the D-Train side-swiped 19 hitters.

From his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2003 through 2005—a span covering 594 innings—Dontrelle Willis hit 19 batters.

Then he hit the same number during one 162-game stretch.

The wheels were officially wobbling.

They came off in 2007 as the bad numbers went up and the good ones went down. A move to Detroit in 2008 as a throw-in part of the Miguel Cabrera deal didn’t help, and 2009 brought more of the same.

This year started in the same fashion, so the Tigers shipped Willis off to Arizona, where the Diamondbacks experimented for about 22 innings until kicking Willis to the curb.

That’s a very thorough way of saying the dude isn’t even close to being an option at the moment.

A brief way would be to mention his 56 free passes in 65.2 innings this year.

Nah, if I had to guess, Dontrelle is in the system on a wing and a prayer to see if he can find himself enough to be a help out of the bullpen.

Ever since Dan Runzler went down during that awkward at-bat, the firemen have a decidedly right-handed lean—only Jeremy Affeldt brings it from the south side and he’s been Rickety Cricket thus far.

The Gents are getting desperate for lefty relief and this move hints of desperation.

Maybe the big southpaw has been signed with dreams of reinforcing the starting rotation.

It’s possible, but even so he’d still have to right the ship well enough to be a reliable plan B by the July 31 trade deadline.

In two weeks.

Judging from the last few years, that would be nothing short of a flippin’ miracle.

The Bay Area worked its magic on Pat Burrell, another ballplayer who spent his youth within driving distance of the City.

Perhaps it will do the trick for Dontrelle Willis.

But the odds are too long for this to be a sign of things to come…


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Odds Are the San Francisco Giants Will Get What They Need Without Trades

The San Francisco Giants need a big bat to make a big run at a National League playoff berth.

Guess what?

They don’t need to trade starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (whose still got a 75 percent chance of being a productive big league winner) to get outfielder Corey Hart (who’d come with 50-50 odds that his offensive numbers would diminish in the move from Milwaukee’s cavernous Miller Park to San Francisco’s cavernous AT&T Park).

Odds are far better than 50-50 that Pablo Sandoval will find himself at the plate. So, even while fans foolishly suggest the 23-year-old third baseman be sent to the minor leagues—there’s a 70 percent chance that Sandoval will bump his power numbers up and move his batting average well past the .260 mark he’s hovering around now.

There’s a 50 percent chance Hart would go bust in San Francisco. There’s a 70 percent chance that the real Sandoval is a guy who’ll produce more than he did in the first half and less frequently than he did in 2009.

So the Giants will get the extra run production they need from Sandoval without trading Sanchez. And, the guys smoking dope in the Brewers front office who said they’d take Madison Bumgarner can go back to their bong. Trade Bumgarner? Yeah, sure.

The Giants would be risking losing a productive pitcher in Sanchez and create a hole in the rotation to get Hart, who would come with a 50 percent chance his production would drop. Too much risk. No deal.

Sandoval’s hit his entire career. He doesn’t need to have MVP numbers to help produce more runs. He’s only 23 years old. Why risk a disastrous trade for Hart if the Giants can wait for Sandoval? (Fans who want Pablo traded or demoted are in the Giants Fans Hall of Shame—along with those who booed Tim Lincecum when he struggled.)

Here’s a look at the odds the Giants will get what they need most from the players they have:

The starting rotation has to be strong. It’s absurd to expect all five starters to be lights out at the same time. There’s a 100 percent chance that the Bumgarner we’ve seen will be the lefty we see through September. Barry Zito’s traditionally pitched better in the second half—so, there’s a 75 percent chance that he’ll bounce back to his early season form. Sanchez, in San Francisco, remains a question mark that the Giants can afford to carry. Give the guy 10 starts and he’ll pitch well in more than six of them—so figure there’s a 60 percent chance Sanchez will carry the load.

That leaves it to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain to make sure that one or the other is the slump-buster, the guy the opposition knows is going to hand them an almost certain loss. There’s a 95 percent chance that one or the other will be pitching like a big-time ace from now until September. However, there’s a 30 percent chance that one or the other will struggle.

The key for the Giants rotation will get ace-like efforts from Cain or Lincecum—consistently.

The bullpen is one area the club has to bolster in trade. The Giants need a left-hander and they’ll get one for, oh, a can’t-miss prospect like righthander Tim Alderson. You remember Alderson? Yeah, the guy that the Pittsburgh Pirates demoted to the Class A Florida State League on Tuesday.

Brian Wilson’s a sure bet to carry his load as the closer. He’ll drive the Giants nuts making things too close for comfort, but there are 95-5 odds he’ll do the job every time.

The rest of the bullpen? There’s a 70 percent chance that it will be the reason that the Giants fall short of the playoffs. Keep in mind, though, that set-up men like Jeremy Affeldt get it together as quickly as they lose it. Something indicates that the veteran will pitch better down the stretch than he has so far—give Affeldt a 72 percent chance of regaining his 2010 form.

The offense?

Buster Posey’s provided the big-time bat the Giants needed. He is who we thought he would be. There’s no chance he’ll hit an extended slump and, surprise, he’s hitting for the power all the nabobs who spend too much time reading minor league scouting reports said he would never display.

Aubrey Huff’s a pro—even if he produces 80 percent of the offense he produced in the first half, he’ll bump up the offense because Juan Uribe is back and healthy and he’ll make Huff more productive.

Travis Ishikawa has found his swing and could, mercifully, be a mid-20s talent who came up through the system. Based on how he’s swinging, and his professional attitude, there’s an 80 percent chance that Ishikawa will significantly help produce more runs.

No new hitters needed.

The chance that Uribe and Edgar Renteria both flop with the sticks in the stretch? Oh, 10 percent chance? Anything’s possible. Freddy Sanchez is a professional hitter who is certain to hit through the season like he’s  hit his entire career—no chance he’ll fail to produce.

Pat Burrell’s going to be key. He’s doing for the Giants what he did for the Philadelphia Phillies—hitting the longball and striking out a lot. Like it or not, though, the odds that Burrell could revert to the guy who couldn’t make contact for Tampa Bay are higher than fans want to admit. Figure there’s a 60 percent chance Burrell keeps doing the job.

The offense actually might live or die with Sandoval’s resurgence and lead-off hitter Andres Torres. There is about, oh, a 66 percent chance that Torres will keep hitting around .275, with some pop and flashing stolen base speed. If the 34 percent odds pay off and he flounders—Aaron Rowand will be the Giants hope.

The odds Rowand gets Giants fans off his back? (Don’t laugh…the guy works at his game.) 60-40…maybe 70-30. Keep in mind, it won’t take much for Rowand to improve his output.

The defense is good enough to win.

There’s a 100 percent chance the Giants won’t trade a current starting pitcher, so that means there’s 95 percent chance they won’t trade for big-time hitter.

That’s not terribly bad news, though. Fans have been calling for the club to develop talent and—the 2010 playoff hopes rest on Sandoval, Posey, Lincecum, Cain, Wilson, Jonathan Sanchez, and Bumgarner.

Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Read Ted at tsillanpaa1956@gmail.com

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