The Giants will only make the post-season if they catch lightning in a bottle. The bad news is you don’t catch lightning with mediocre talents like Randy Winn, Bengie Molina, and the newly acquired Ryan Garko. The good news is that the talent they do have, in the show and below, is so exceptional they might be able to pull it off if.
To have a chance, management would have to make some bold moves and ruffle some big veteran feathers. Essentially, Brian Sabean would have to tell the owners: ‘It’s not just Dave Roberts and Barry Zito. I threw even more money away than you thought’. But taking responsiblity for some (more) obvious mistakes is the only way Sabean can redeem himself.
Here’s the moves:
1. Bring up Buster Posey and play him everyday at catcher.
Bengie Molina has regressed, both offensively and defensively. He has a .260 on-base percentage. If he does get on it takes three hits to score him. Do you think the 5-8 batters like hitting behind him? He is the only player in history to be left in the middle of the lineup all season with such an anemic on-base. And he is the slowest runner ever to play in the majors, no less hit fourth.
Defensively, he is a passed ball/wild pitch waiting to happen and can’t throw anyone out. Zito and others would rather pitch to someone else, even gray-hairs. Sorry to all you Bengie lover out there, but he is done.
And I know, Posey didn’t call his own pitches at Florida State. I’ve heard the line that he needs to spend a year or two in the minors to learn how to call a game because Bobby Bowden or some other FSU coach called the pitches for him. This is idiotic. Righetti can call the pitches, and, seriously, do you think Bengie is a mastermind pitch-caller?
Bengie is example #1 of a guy who is playing everyday because Sabean signed him for too much money. Read on and you’ll see a pattern.
2. Bench Randy Winn and play Schierholz, Rowand, and Velez. I know, Winn’s a good fielder. But listen, folks. The man has no power and no speed. I know, I know, he hit 8 homers the month after we traded for him. But that was about a decade ago. Since then, he’s hit five a year. You cannot win at the major league level with such productivity. The Phillies corner outfielders are both over 20 homeruns. O.K., that’s the Phillies. But even the Padre’s Chase Headly has nine, seven more than Randy. Even if Winn hits .300, its no good. He’s like Al Oliver at age 40, and even he is frustrated with himself.
Winn, by the way, makes over 8 million a year. He continues to play because Sabean would have to explain why another one of his $8 million dollar players can’t start on a major league team.
3. Release Renteria. He is so done. He was done last year. Everyone knew it but Sabean, who decided to give him $18 million dollars. $18 million. Scratching your head? He is playing because Sabean would fire Boche if he stopped playing him.
Play Uribe there, or Frandsen. Neither will field worse, run the bases worse, or hit less than .252 with 2 homers. And neither will be less interested. That, I guarantee.
4. Play Jesus Guzman at 1B. Guzman hit .364 in AA in 2008. He’s hitting .336 at Fresno this year. He has pop. Are you really going to be more excited if Garko walks up to the plate four times? Now minor league stats don’t mean too much, but just for fun, here’s a comparison on Garko: he hit .330 in AA (1 year) and .280 at AAA, in three seasons and over 800 at bats. Hmmm…
5. Put Madison Baumgartner in the rotation.
Yes, he is 20 years old. But Dwight Gooden was 19. And what do you have to lose? The great Sadowski?
If the Giants are going to win this year, it will be because they struck lightning. With their pitching. Bring the kid up and see what happens. Do you think he could possibly fare worse than Sadowski? And how fun would it be? Life is short!
O.K., I know, the visceral reaction to “Allan Iverson to the Clippers” is to laugh it off as yet another high-profile move with disaster written all over it. Clipper fans are probably waking up with cold sweats and visions of Bill Walton’s wretched feet and Michael Olakwandi’s broken jumper. And Clippers management seems to have cooled off on the idea. But they could not be more wrong. The NBA is about windows of opportunity– combining end-of-career stars with incoming forces to rise above the salary-cap parity. Think Jabbar-Magic, or Shaq-Wade.
Despite the current antipathy in NBA circles towards him, Baron Davis is an NBA force. He is one of the few players today who can break down anyone, anytime. He gets great shots for his teammates, wide-open shots. And he can play shut-down defense at crunch time. Anyone that saw him lead the Warriors to victory over the Mavericks in the playoffs two years ago knows that he has what it takes to win a championship. He is not a man to bet against when his back is to the wall.
Baron is not Shaq or a Jabbar, and Blake Griffin may not prove as powerful an incoming force as Magic or Duane Wade. But the Clippers have two other NBA difference-makers. There’s Marcus Camby, who averaged over 11 boards and 2 blocks in 30 minutes per game last year. And the strange phenomenon of the Chris Kaman. Nobody knows how good this giant can be, but he is already the best low-post power scorer since Shaq. A front-line of Kaman, Camby, and Griffin is nothing short of scary. With Baron playing Athilla, Western Conference foes will leave their women and children at home when these Huns arrive.
As is, the club is interesting. But they are not contenders, no matter how great Griffin proves to be. With Baron’s knees and Camby’s age, the clock is ticking. But fate– the economy and lack of salary cap space around the league– has made an NBA superstar available for pennies on the dollar.
Adding Iverson to the mix would scare even the Lakers. His career averages are 27.1 PPG and 6.2 assists. Those are NOT misprints. His back is against the wall and he has precious few more chances to win a title. Can you imagine AI coming off the bench to terrorize second-team units. He and Davis can also thrive side-by-side when sharpshooting Eric Gordon rests. Who would Derek Fisher guard? And the duo is possible because Davis is one of the few point guards big and strong enough to take on the twos and allow Iverson to guard the points.
AI’s rep. has taken a hit as of late, but much of it has nothing to do with AI and his ability, and much to do with Chauncey doing so well in Denver while Detroit imploded. Joe Dumars knew it was a bad mix, but he wanted AI’s 20 million dollar expiring contract. Iverson was a sacrificial lamb in Detroit’s reload. He is still a great player, for the right team.
A positive-thinking team would jump at this opportunity. Are the Clippers too deep in losing to realize they could be an instant contender?
Tags: andre miller, trailblazers
With little fanfare, the Portland Trailblazers made a move that instantly turns them into a championship contender. Andre Miller was the steal of the free agent season and, with Brandon Roy, gives the TrailBlazers two genius leaders at the guard position. The tandem is not unlike the Dumars-Thomas duo that led the Pistons for years. They now have two guards who are both coaches on the floor and use their brains to win games at crunch time.
Coach Nate McMillan and GM Kevin Pritchard both rave about Miller’s basketball IQ. At a pre-signing dinner, Andre apparently knew so much about the Blazer’s roster and offense that the dinner turned into an organizational brainstorming session. He’s 33, which might be a negative for some teams, but is a perfect match for the youthful Blazers. He may turn LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, and Roy into perennial all-stars. If he does, Portland will win a championshp.
Overshadowed by the Stephen Curry pick and the Stoudemire rumors was the completion of one of the greatest houdini acts in NBA history. Trading Jamal Crawford saves the Warriors 20 million cap room over the next two years, and rids them of perhaps the worst defender in the NBA. Jamal is a wonderful person but drifting out for an outlet when a shot goes up is not rebounding. And scoring 50 once every two months doesn’t make up for the other 25 mediocre performances. You can see what the Hawk fans think at PeachTree Hoops.
The trade completes a long, arduous track to fix the mess left from Chris Mullen’s horrendous long-term signings of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. Somehow Bird took them off our hands for Stephen Jack and Harrington, but then Nelson must have seen one of Crawford’s 50 point efforts and had a brain freeze. Anyway, Harrington became Crawford became a 10 million albatross, but thanks to the friendly Hawks, that is now shed. Thank you Mike Woodson and friends, and good work Nellie!