Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?
Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.
That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.
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After a brief stop near the Golden Gate, Carlos Beltran finds himself looking for a new baseball home.
The doozy of a headscratcher that was Monday's Melky Cabrera/Jonathan Sanchez swap between the Royals and the Giants raised more questions than it answered. One of them—beyond "You woke me for this?"—is, "What does this mean for Carlos Beltran?" In recent weeks, it was thought that the Giants would work to retain the 34-year-old (35 on April 24) right fielder, whom they acquired from the Mets back on July 28, but the Melkman's delivery casts doubt upon that.
One Hall of Fame-caliber outfielder is taking his act to the Bay area, while a questionable Hall case may be looking at his release papers.
The Carlos Beltran era of Mets history came to an unceremonious end on Thursday, when the Mets and Giants agreed on a trade that that sent the resurgent slugger to the Bay Area in exchange for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. On his way out of town, Beltran has been cast as a symbol of the Omar Minaya regime's failures; as news of the trade broke, more than one national writer returned to his 2006 National League Championship Series-ending strikeout as a frozen moment that defines not only his legacy in Queens, but also some weakness of character. Hardly a farewell befitting a Hall of Fame-caliber player.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As Carlos Beltran heads for the NL West, revisit Joe's review of the last Beltran blockbuster, which originally ran as a "Prospectus Today" column on June 25, 2004.
Since baseball is an individual game wrapped in a team concept, selfishness by Beltran and Reyes actually could be a good thing. I heard that with Wright and Ike Davis out of the lineup and Jason Bay still in freefall, Terry Collins actually went to Beltran recently and told the switch-hitter to get greedy in RBI situations. The Mets manager liberated Beltran to essentially become an RBI whore.
As Craig Calcaterra suggested, the whole concept of the “RBI whore” is questionable, because when is a player trying not to drive in a run in an RBI situation? This is not “Bartleby, the Ballplayer”—no hitter, confronted with ducks on the pond, says, “I would prefer not to.” The only possibility I can think of is that Collins is suggesting that Beltran expand his strike zone with runners on, hack away instead of taking close pitches and working a walk. This hasn’t been a big issue for Beltran so far—he’s taken all of eight walks in 53 PAs with runners in scoring position, leaving him swinging away 85 percent of the time. Still, it’s possible that Collins is gripped by the same questionable thinking that confronted Ted Williams back in his day, that a walk taken with runners in scoring position was a wasted opportunity.
The Mets center fielder, out all season while recovering from microfracture knee surgery, begins a rehab assignment Thursday, along with other injury news from around the majors.
Carlos Beltran (arthritic knee, ERD 7/15) In what is sure to be a continuing series, the Beltran watch is now headed for a rehab assignment, which will start tomorrow at High-A St. Lucie. Beltran was watched by the Mets' top brass, including Omar Minaya, during an extended spring training game on Sunday and they felt the center fielder was ready to start his 20-day rehab clock. I've pushed the idea that Beltran needs to be up in Flushing as soon as he's physically able, but several people inside the game have told me that while there's merit in the concept, Beltran is human and needs a "spring training equivalent." The downside here is that he's going to be taxing the knee during that time. Of course, that's what rehab assignments are for. They'll be very controlled, perhaps not so much as the simulated games he's been in, but Beltran will have very specific steps and tests at each point. He'll have the DH option in most games as well, something he won't have when he makes it back to the Mets. Watching how often he needs to play there is going to be a big tell for his progress. The key will be how his knee responds and the Mets' ability to manage the inflammation and bruising that will inevitably occur inside the knee. The brace he is wearing is helping, but the continued idea that he's a center fielder is not. I'm most curious to see when that will be abandoned. One interesting concept that was tossed out by an MLB athletic trainer was the idea that Beltran could hit well enough to be in the lineup every day, but not play the field consistently. He wondered if there's a level and a cost where Beltran might make sense for an AL team. If Beltran were to show that, the idea of him being a modern-day Harold Baines would have to be intriguing for some teams as well as for the Mets escaping at least some of Beltran's contract. It's very equivalent to what the Twins did with Jim Thome, though he was a free agent.
The impending return of Carlos Beltran highlights today's injury report.
Carlos Beltran (8/15)
Carlos Beltran is coming back. That was always the plan, but how he's going about it speaks a lot to where he might be in the future. Beltran has decided to accelerate the pace of his rehab, hoping to come back towards mid-August, matching up closely with Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, and Billy Wagner. That's an infusion of talent no team will be able to match with trades, but it might also be too little, too late as the Mets continue to slip. Beltran made the informed decision based on the near certainty that he will need microfracture surgery and could miss much, if not all, of the 2010 season. He'll do everything he can to avoid it, but that's the worst case scenario and he's willing to give it a go. His success will be based on pain tolerance and management, as well as Jerry Manuel's ability to spot him in and out. It's unlikely he can play CF, though no one has said much about where he will actually play. It's a calculated risk that Beltran and the Mets are taking. Given the success - or lack thereof - with microfracture in MLB, it's a big risk and perhaps Beltran's last hurrah.
Before all the IBA ballots are counted, staff picks give a hint as to what hands the awards may find themselves in.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Travis Hafner posted the highest OBP in the AL while nobody noticed, while Neifi Perez ended up getting playoff PT. The young guns had their day and then some. Jermaine Dye gave a lengthy spanking to his 90th percentile PECOTA projection (PECOTA's .288/.359/.516 versus an actual .315/.385/.622). The crop of AL rookies included a guy with a 0.92 ERA finishing third, and rooks like Jered Weaver (105:33 K:BB) and Francisco Liriano (144:32) threatening to be Johan Santana's biggest challengers in 2007. The National League featured tighter races, including a four-way brawl for the Pitcher of the Year and another impressive crop of newbies.
Eight staff members weighed in on the season that was, casting their ballots for the Internet Baseball Awards. We summarized their findings below, and then let them have their individual say.