Giants

Giants in wait-and-see mode

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Giants in wait-and-see mode

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Jaymee Sire and senior coordinating producer Dave Bernstein are in Texas to cover the MLB Winter Meetings. Look for updates throughout the day on the Web and comprehensive coverage on SportsNet Central this week.

DALLAS -- Hurry up and wait.

Its a popular phrase used by the media to cover sports. The concept is pretty simple. Hurry up to get to a place to cover an event. Wait to get anything done due to circumstances.

It can also be used to describe coverage of baseballs annual Winter Meetings. This year they are being held in Dallas, metroplex home of the two-time defending American League champion Rangers. For the Giants, there could be a whole lot of waiting.

There are many in Bay Area who are hoping for a splash. Everyone knows the names -- Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Jimmy Rollins -- that will get the most buzz this week. Giants fans should forget about those names. Think more of the Alex Gonzalez and Rafael Furcal ilk.

General manager Brian Sabean has been here before. He knows the circus of the Meetings better than most. Hot Stove geeks -- myself included -- wait for this nearly as much as the start of spring training. Its always interesting to see how team-building takes its course.

There will plenty of free agent signings in Texas this week. There will probably be some significant trades as well. But San Franciscos priority starts from within. Figuring out how to lock down Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain must be the first order of business. Pitching is the fabric of Giants baseball at AT&T Park, so the front office knows it must keep its top two horses in the stable.

You could see the Giants deal from the bullpen -- a strength for them, a weakness for plenty of other teams. Likely, any of those arms would not net a major offensive return.

There is some intrigue on deck offensively though. Will Carlos Beltran be back? Possible. But dont expect any major contributors to be wearing Orange and Black after the Giants' contingent comes back from Dallas. They are counting on the continued growth of Pablo Sandoval, the injury rebound of Buster Posey and maturation of Brandon Belt. They're all young and inexpensive right now, and the Giants need major output from those bats.

With the bloated contracts of Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand still on the books, Larry Baers ownership group has its collective hands tied in many ways. While agents Scott Boras and Dan Lozano are floating their clients out to many teams, Sabean may listen.

There are plenty of Giants fans who are excited about a potential big deal this week, and cant stay off of csnbayarea.com, Twitter and Rotoworld to get all the latest news. I have two thoughts for you. Hurry up. And wait.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

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AP

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'

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AP

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."