October 30, 2010
How the Giants Were Acquired, Part II
In Part I, I looked at how the position players on the Giants’ World Series roster came together. Now, we’ll track and analyze how the club’s pitching staff wound up in San Francisco.
Please know that the reason Barry Zito, the Giants southpaw with the most lucrative contract, (a seven-year, $126 million deal) is not on this list because he was indeed left off the post-season roster. Past that, you’ll see a smartly designed pitching corps, most of which has been homegrown:
SP Tim Lincecum: drafted in the first round (10th overall) in 2006; $2.025 million signing bonus
The Freak. Or as I like to call him, “Le Freak.” San Francisco took Lincecum in the first round (from the University of Washington) over a collection of talented hurlers that included Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks, 11th overall), Kyle Drabek (Phillies, 18th), and Ian Kennedy (Yankees, 21st). The move paid off, as Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009. Oddly enough, his numbers were not as extraordinary as his Cy years, but not enough for him to lose his esteemed title—el monstruo!
SP Matt Cain: drafted in the first round (25th overall) in 2002; $1.375 million signing bonus
Cain was drafted after Joe Blanton (Athletics, 24th overall) and before Sergio Santos (Diamondbacks, 27th) in the first round of the 2002 draft. To use the cliché, Cain was very able in 2010, setting a career high in IP, BB/9 (2.46), and K/9 (7.13). Cain was undoubtedly the ace of the Giants staff before the Freak came around in the mid-2007. Cain and Lincecum now give San Francisco a strong 1-2 rotation punch to make up for the team’s mediocre offense.
SP Jonathan Sanchez: drafted in the 27th round (820th overall) in 2004
No matter what Sanchez did in 2010, nothing could match his no-hitter from the previous year. Replacing an injured Randy Johnson, Sanchez struck out 11 Padres and walked none (Juan Uribe’s error at third denied him a perfect game) in the Giants’ first no-no since 1976. Aside from his big game in ‘09, Sanchez had more value to San Francisco in ‘10 (40.8 VORP, 4.6 WARP). He still has a ton of work to do on his control, as the lefty was last on the Giants staff with a 4.47 BB/9.
SP Madison Bumgarner: drafted in the first round (10th overall) in 2007; $2.0 million signing bonus
Similar to Matt Cain, Bumgarner was drafted out of high school at the ripe age of 18. It’s interesting to think that the Giants could’ve taken Jason Heyward, who landed with the Braves four picks later. Nevertheless, I believe San Francisco remains more than content with their pick—a southpaw who in his rookie campaign posted a 3.9 SNLVAR and .590 SNWP. Bumgarner threw an impressive game in Game Four of the NLDS, tossing six innings of two-run ball. He’s set to start Game Four of the World Series.
Aside from (what is now) a bushy black beard, Romo is known for a devastating 77 mph slider with remarkable movement. His 2.03 BB/9, 2.047 WXRL, and 2.13 SIERA were all second among Giants relievers. Romo had stints with San Francisco in 2008 (29 G, 34.0 IP) and 2009 (45 G, 34.0 IP), but stuck around in 2010 to hurl 62 innings.
CL Brian Wilson: drafted in the 24th round (273rd overall) in 2003
Throwing just under 100 mph (as a starter) out of LSU, Wilson began his career on a sour note, undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. However, fast forward to 2010, where Wilson’s ranked 14th in saves (134) among current major-league closers. Last season he led all Giants relievers in K’s (93), WXRL (6.271) and VORP (27.3). Outside of his clutch saves, Wilson’s orange shoes and “dyed” black beard has given him one of the most distinctive closer’s looks since Rollie Fingers and his ‘stache.
International Free Agents
Minor-league Free Agents
At 37 and with his seventh big-league team, Mota is the ultimate example of a journeymen reliever that has “logged” his way onto a World Series roster. By that I’m referring to the 755
Casilla was signed by the Oakland A’s as an amateur free agent in 2000. Casilla showed inconsistency at the big-league level (3.93 ERA in 2008, 5.96 ERA in 2009) and Billy Beane gave up on the right-hander in 2009. The Giants picked up Casilla in January of 2010, seeing a 30-year-old reliever with a 96 mph fastball, 87 mph slider, and 81 mph curveball. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as Casilla absolutely dominated, ranking third behind Wilson and Romo in WXRL (1.998) and reliever VORP (18.1). In Game Four of the NLDS, Casilla threw 1
Major-league Free Agents
It’s amazing to think that Affeldt is the only major-league signee on the Giants’ World Series roster, being the second lefty in the club’s bullpen (Javier Lopez the other). His 2010 did not compare to his 2009 season (4.14 ERA, .290 AVG to 1.73 ERA, .197), partly due to a strained left oblique that caused him to miss 26 games. Bruce Bochy has primarily gone to Lopez when he’s needed to get out a tough lefty in the postseason, losing faith in San Francisco’s $9.5 million investment.
RP Ramon Ramirez: acquired from Red Sox for minor league RHP Dan Turpen
For a pitcher as good as Ramirez was, it’s shocking that the he’s been with four teams in five seasons. Ramirez was traded from the Yankees to the Rockies in 2005 as part of a package for Shawn Chacon. He spent two seasons in Colorado before being traded to the Royals in 2008 for Jorge De La Rosa. Ramirez was again dealt, this time to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp, and finally landed in San Francisco in 2010. His career average ERA is 3.29 and strikes out about 7.4 per-nine.
RP Javier Lopez: acquired from the Pirates for RHP Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker
The San Fran media and fan base blasted Sabean for dealing a total of 10 years of control between Martinez and Bowker for Lopez, a conventional ‘LOOGY,’ at the trading deadline. Those critics were silenced, as Lopez pitched his way to a 1.42 ERA and 1.191 WXRL in 27 games down the stretch. The southpaw has come up even bigger in the postseason, retiring teams’ left-handed offensive sluggers that have included Jason Heyward, Ryan Howard, and Josh Hamilton.
Summary: Nine draft picks, six Minor League free agents, four Major League free agents and trades, one international free agent, and a waiver claim. Click here to see part one of "How the Giants Were Acquired," focusing on San Francisco’s position players.