Urban: Giants' shakeup a no-brainer


Urban: Giants' shakeup a no-brainer

Aug. 31, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- Desperate times call for desperate measures? Fine.But what was so desperate about the Giants cutting ties Wednesday with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada? Nothing.These weren't desperate moves by any stretch. You could make the case, in fact, that they were no-brainers. Rosters can expand to 40 men on Thursday, and Brandon Crawford will be on the roster when the Giants reconvene Friday after taking a day to enjoy their sole victory over the Cubs. He'll get plenty of playing time, too. Nobody's given the Giants jack offensively out of the shortstop position, so they might as well focus on run prevention over run production there, and as underwhelming as Orlando Cabrera's time in orange and black has been, it's been less underwhelming than Tejada's.
NEWS: Giants DFA Tejada, Rowand; Burrell reinstated
Underwhelming doesn't really start to describe Rowand's time with the Giants. The five-year, 60 million deal he got as a free agent was panned the day it was announced, and less than four years later, said panning has been more than justified.
Rowand wasn't a bad Giant in terms of intangibles -- professionalism, work ethic and class; he's flat-out a good dude -- but let's be honest here: he was a bad Giant in the batter's box, and you don't pay the kind of glue Rowand got paid for intangibles.Why Wednesday? Simple. Tejada, as noted above, would have represented redundancy come Friday, and because you have to have a player on your active roster before Sept. 1 to have him eligible for the postseason, designating Rowand for assignment had to happen early on Aug. 31 at the very latest.RATTO: Rowand Era ends seven months early
The thinking likely was that if there was a team out there looking to add him as an extra outfielderpinch hitter for the stretch drive and playoffs -- he's got two rings, you know -- that team might be willing to take on some of the 14 million or so the Giants will be paying him to go away.Not much of it, mind you. Maybe as little as 1 million or 2 million. But you save where you can, and it's easier to choke down 12 million or 13 million than it is to choke down 14 million. So there's the why. Next question: What does it mean?It means plenty.It means that what we saw late last season, when Rowand was planted on the bench and Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster, wasn't an aberration.
Wednesday's move made it clear that money really does take a back seat to performance. Tejada and Rowand weren't getting it done, so they're gone. And if you don't think that sent a message to the rest of the Giants' handsomely compensated veterans, give some thought to what Mark DeRosa had to say after Wednesday's face-saving win over Chicago.RECAP: Bumgarner brilliant, Giants hit and beat Cubs
"Nobody's safe," DeRosa offered. "The team expects a certain level of play, and they haven't been getting it. And when you don't get it, these are the types of things that can happen."Whether that message is what prompted Wednesday's win, DeRosa couldn't say. Madison Bumgarner carving the Cubs like a tender young turkey had an awful lot to do with things, to be sure."It's not like Tejada and Rowand were cancers in this clubhouse," DeRosa said. "They weren't. At all."But they weren't curing anything that ailed the Giants, either. And while the players who took their places on the active roster, Pat Burrell and prospect Brett Pill, didn't factor in the victory, the aforementioned message just might have.It was time for a change. It was time for a statement. It was a time for a win.
And hey, embrace the result for the next 24 hours or so. Brian Sabean went 3-for-3 on Wednesday, and when's the last time anyone associated with the Giants did that?

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away


Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

SACRAMENTO - All hands on deck. The Sacramento Kings open the 2017-18 schedule Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets at Golden 1 Center and it looks like they might do so with a full arsenal of players at their disposal.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to practice on Sunday and then participated in the team’s annual Fanfest. If his dance moves are any indication, the 19-year-old’s back is feeling just fine.

Veteran George Hill tweaked his groin Friday against the Golden State Warriors, leaving his availability for opening night in question. Hill, 31, who has a history of groin injuries, was on the court Monday practicing and said he is ready to play.

“Everything is feeling good right now,” Hill said Monday following practice.

The only player who didn’t practice on Monday is rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic, who sprained his right ankle against the Warriors. According to head coach Dave Joerger,  the team is hopeful that the Serbian sharpshooter will return in time for Game 1.

“We’re still shooting for Wednesday for both of them,” Joerger said of Hill and Bogdanovic.

New look Rockets

The Rockets went 55-27 last season under head coach Mike D’Antoni, but that didn’t stop them from going all in during the offseason. With MVP runner-up James Harden already manning the backcourt, Houston added nine-time All-Star Chris Paul as their new starting point guard.

“Leadership, he’s a floor general,” Hill said about Paul. “Anywhere he goes, he’ll make a team better. We know they were already a good team without him, coming in with him is going to be a bigger task.”

It’s a new look roster and the expectations are huge for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game last season and led the league in both 3-point attempts and makes. This season, they also added two strong perimeter defenders in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

It’s a huge test coming out of the gate for Sacramento. Following the contest against the Rockets, the Kings hit the road for three straight before returning to Golden 1 next Thursday to face DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Camp notes

With the season just around the corner, the Sacramento Kings made their final roster cuts on Sunday afternoon. David Stockton, Matt Jones and Reggie Hearn were waived, leaving the Kings with 15 rostered players and two two-way players in Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson.

Stockton, Jones and Hearn are all expected to join the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s G-League.