Giants CEO Baer says club isn't low-balling Cain


Giants CEO Baer says club isn't low-balling Cain

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants CEO Larry Baer said the team remains in active negotiations with representatives for Matt Cain and sought to repair what he described as a mischaracterization that the club is making a lowball offer to their prized right-hander."We're both working very hard," said Baer on Thursday, responding to fan questions on a streaming web chat on "Our desire is for him toremain a Giant. Theres nothing weve seen from him that shows his desire isnot to be. We just keep plugging along."Theres been a lot ofmischaracterizations with hard-and-fast deadline or were lowballing him. Thoseare uneducated. I cant promise it will or wont happen thats going toultimately be the process of negotiation and Matts decision."The Giants and Cain have a soft deadline to conclude negotiations by the April 6 season opener, but that is more of a preference than a hard action date. Cain has said he is willing to listen to "anything of fair value." According to sources familiar with the talks, the two sides have been substantially far apart on determining that value.Baer said he didn't want to put a percentage on the chances of locking up Cain, 27, who would be a free agent after this season."Wed like to keep the homegrown players that areperforming and Matt Cain is at the top of the list," Baer said. "Weve been earnest in negotiationswith Matts representatives. We continue to be. Were working hard. Theyreworking hard."Last month, Giants GM Brian Sabean said the club has the wherewithal to sign both Cain and Tim Lincecum to long-term contracts. Lincecum agreed to a two-year, 40.5 million deal over the winter that will take him through the remainder of his arbitration eligibility but will not buy out any of his free-agent years. Cain has said the Lincecum negotiations would have an impact on his decision to commit long-term, citing the importance of pitching in a deep and talented rotation.The fans participating in the chat with Baer via Twitter weren't always civil and many used blue language to express their frustration that a deal with Cain hadn't been reached already. Fears might be spiking after the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold Tuesday for a record 2.15 billion, and new owner Magic Johnson pledged to be aggressive in courting top free-agent talent.Baer said he didn't expect the Dodgers sale would have a major impact on the free-agent market next winter. But taking Cain off that market certainly remains a top priority. He said the Giants are more interested in retaining their top players like Cain rather than going shopping for other big-name free agents such as Albert Pujols."Fans would like certain free agents like Albert Pujols ... but the first priority is homegrown playersthat we still think have a lot of productivity left," Baer said. "(But) we cant control the overall economics of player and agent. Its got to be something that allows us to field a team that will win.Industry sources believe Cain would fetch at least a six-year contract on the open-market, with an average annual value exceeding 20 million. The Giants are seeking a below-market contract, given the additional risk they would assume if Cain does not remain healthy this season.That hasn't been a problem throughout Cain's career. In each of the past four seasons, the rock-steady All-Star has ranked among the top seven NL pitchers in innings. Despite a minor scare last spring that turned up loose bodies in his elbow, Cain went on to pitch 221.2 innings and rank eighth in the NL with a 2.88 ERA.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'


Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."