Decisions, Decisions

There will be plenty to talk about, as we get closer to the Giants leaving (Thursday) and returning to Arizona (Monday). So I’ll try to keep this one short, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts and do a little weekend roundup.

First, the big news: Tony Abreu is out, put on release waivers. The Giants had to eat a quarter of his salary, or something like that. Big whoop. I did have some hope for Abreu. When you look at his minor league pedigree, you see a guy who could be an asset at 2B from an offensive standpoint. But the guy just isn’t consistently healthy or productive. That seems to have plagued him his whole career. Regardless, Adrianza definitely looks to have the inside track for the primary reserve IF spot now.

I imagine will see two more roster moves before game-time tomorrow. The first will be Scutaro to the DL. If the Giants hold true to their word, then this weekend was supposed to determine Scooter’s fate. Well, I didn’t see him out there, unless he was hiding. The second move should be Brandon Hicks on the 40-man. With Abreu off, that’s an easy switch. We’ve talked about this already, but Hicks should be the guy to grab the extra roster spot if Scutaro is DL’d. Then it’ll be a 3-way battle for playing time between Arias, Adrianza and Hicks at 2B as the regular season gets going. Maybe there’s a trade in the works to patch things up? I doubt it.

The other big decision resides within Bruce Bochy’s bullpen. Heath Hembree is out, while Derek Law is technically still in. If you listened to Bochy during his in-game interview with Kruk & Kuip on Friday night, it sounded pretty clear that the coaching staff wants to carry guys who can go multiple innings in relief, at least to start the season. That bodes very well for Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff, who are both out of options, and both happened to pitch lights-out on Friday.

Speaking of lights, I don’t know if anyone else caught that tweet from one of the beat writers Friday night against Oakland. It was something to the extent that the lighting in Scottsdale was less than ideal. It was pretty apparent to me that the hitters weren’t picking up the ball well at all (on either side). When Petit blew an 88 mph fastball by Yoenis Cespedes, it was all the proof I needed. I’m not trying to make any bold statement here, but it’s just another reason why you have to take spring training stats with a grain of salt. Both Petit and Huff helped their causes that night, regardless of the circumstances.

So, it would seem that there’s really only one bullpen spot up for grabs with a week to go until the season starts. As it stands, the Giants will likely open up with the core four of Romo, Casilla, Affeldt and Lopez, plus the righty-lefty swing combo of Petit and Huff, who should actually add some versatility in April. If both guys pitch well, that’s great. But both are out of options, so keeping them both on the 25-man initially seems like kind of an extended tryout to me. Maybe they give it a few weeks, and if one is floundering they can let him go in favor of a guy like Hembree.

Who gets that final bullpen spot then? I would guess Jean Machi, but George Kontos, Dan Runzler and Law are technically still in the running. Personally, I’d go with Law. Get a little funky youth in there! If not, we’re looking at a big time veteran bullpen, but I think that will be ironed out as the year goes along.

I’ve gotten a little long-winded again. Let’s wrap it up. Lots more to talk about this week, as I said. I’ll try to get to the Pablo talk, as well as a little pre-season prediction nonsense. I don’t know about all of you good people, but I’m sure ready for Opening Day. Tried to watch a couple innings of the Australia game last night, then thought better of it. But hey, at least the regular season is underway!

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Spring Battles: Infield

Cactus League play begins for our Gigantes in three days, and there are five roster spots open by my estimation… 3 bullpen, 1 infield and 1 outfield. You already know all about the Belt’s, Pagan’s and Lincecum’s of the world. Those guys are locks, you just cross your fingers for their health this spring. We’ve also profiled most of the kids like Crick in camp; most of those guys aren’t competing for a spot this year anyway.

I wanted to take a look at the other guys in camp, the 40-man and non-roster invites hanging around the complex this year. These are the players competing for the last spots on the roster, and one or two of them always seem to come out of nowhere to turn heads. In 2011 it was Ryan Vogelsong. Two years ago it was Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias. Last year it was Nick Noonan. Who will it be this year?

We’ll start by looking the battle for the reserve infield spot, and we’ll work our way through the rest of the positions this week.

Tony Abreu | Age 29

MLB: 611 PA, .661 OPS, 6 HR, 2 SB/4 CS

MiLB: 3386 PA, .806 OPS, 53 HR, 81 SB/45 CS

Outlook: Abreu seems to have a heck of a time staying healthy, but he does have the ability to hold his own offensively when he is on the field. He doesn’t have Adrianza’s defensive upside or youth, but I think his bat gives him a slight leg up in this battle. He’s out of options, so he likely won’t be with the organization if he’s passed over for the roster spot. His injury history makes him a risky pick out of camp, but I do think the Giants prefer his offense to the rest of these guys.

Odds of Making Opening Day Roster : 60%

Ehire Adrianza | Age 24

MLB: 20 PA, .708 OPS, 1 HR,

MiLB: 2899 PA, .679 OPS, 17 HR, 107 SB/40 CS

Outlook: You’ve got to love the kid’s defense and athleticism. By all accounts, he’s one of the best defensive players in the organization. But the Giants are really in a tough spot with Adrianza. Ideally, you’d like one more year to see what he can do offensively, but he’s out of options as well. If he has to go through waivers this spring, he’d likely have a long line of suitors waiting to put in a claim. He showed a lot of poise in his September cup of coffee last year, but that was just such a  small sample size. A sub-.700 career OPS in the minors doesn’t give me a ton of confidence in his offensive abilities, but I just have a hunch that he’ll be a contributor on a major league roster at some point. For the Giants? I really don’t know…

Odds: 50%

Nick Noonan | Age 24

MLB: 111 PA, .499 OPS, 0 HR

MiLB: 2896 PA, .700 OPS, 36 HR, 75 SB/24 CS

Outlook: Noonan was last year’s spring training surprise, but he’s got to beat out Abreu and Adrianza this season to get back on the 25-man. I thought he looked good filling in for Scutaro in April, but the league seemed to figure him out pretty quickly. I’d say his odds of breaking camp with the big club this spring are pretty slim.

Odds: 25%

Brandon Hicks | Age 28

MLB: 98 PA, .493 OPS, 3 HR, 1 SB/0 CS

MiLB: 2668 PA, .770 OPS, 91 HR, 69 HR/24 CS

Outlook: He doesn’t have much for an MLB resume, but he’s shown pop and the ability to play all over the infield in his minor league career. The Giants could really use some power off the bench, so I think he’ll get his share of looks this spring. Ultimately though, he’s probably a safe bet to start the year as a utility player in Fresno, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he sees some action in San Francisco at some point during the year.

Odds: 20%

Mark Minicozzi | Age 31

MLB: None

MiLB: 3140 PA, .784 OPS, 65 HR, 16 SB/16 CS

Outlook: 2005 draft pick and a career minor leaguer. He was in indy ball for a handful of years before he essentially had a walk-on tryout with Richmond in 2012 according to Baggs in an article last month. He’s no spring chicken, but he seems like he can handle the bat. It’d be a pretty cool story if he made it to the bigs some day, but he needs to get his foot on the ground in AAA first. He’s a very interesting guy to keep an eye on this spring though.

Odds: 10%

A Wild 24 Hours

On a day when the Giants gave their minor league players a day off from conditioning camp after one of their team vans was involved in an accident, I think it fitting to take a day off from the Cove Chatter 100 prospect lists. If you missed all the commotion this morning, here’s the write-up over at CSN Bay Area. Fortunately, all of the players that were taken to the hospital (Mejia, Bandilla, Soptic, Tomlinson, and Slania) were released without any serious injuries.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter which players were in that van. What matters is their safety. The pictures of the car that hit them aren’t pretty… what a scary situation. This is one blog that is sure thankful those guys are all safe.

In other, not so stressful baseball news, it’s been a very busy 24 hours for the hot stove. Last night was the non-tender deadline for MLB, and the Giants were pretty generous with their contracts. No surprise that Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, Yusmeiro Petit, and Joaquin Arias were re-upped, but it was a bit of a shocker to me (and likely a few others) that Tony Abreu was tendered a contract. I guess Sabes doesn’t think too highly of the infield market… not enough to cut ties with Abreu – who really didn’t provide much support last year – anyway.

While all five of the arbitration-eligible guys were awarded contracts, Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero were sent packing last night. The Giants apparently couldn’t find a trade partner for Peguero, as they did with Johnny Monell (Baltimore). I’m sure someone will offer Peguero a minor league contract eventually, but his MLB future is very much in doubt at this point. Rosario’s time as a professional has sort of become a revolving door, as I remember his name popping up on numerous waiver claims last winter. He’s a guy I’d take a chance on, but the Giants seem to be looking for more stability from the bullpen next year… I can’t blame them.

So… it would appear that the same reserve infield/outfield issues still loom for the Giants going forward. Let’s assume for a second that Arias and Blanco have two of those spots locked up (which I think is a safe bet). If that’s the case, you still have Juan Perez, Brett Pill, Ehire Adrianza (who is out of options), Nick Noonan, and now Abreu all fighting for the final two spots… plus any other IF/OF Sabean decides to bring in before camp. I don’t know about you, but I sure hope there are more moves to come, even if it’s a guy like Mark Ellis, who I’d gladly take over Abreu to back-up Scutaro at 2B. Abreu and Adrianza are both switch hitters, but Abreu can’t stay healthy, and Adrianza’s ability at the plate is TBD. This is going to get a little messy, friends, and likely won’t be decided until spring.

Around the league, there really weren’t all that many interesting names on the non-tender lists… again, let me show you my surprised face. Noticeably absent from those lists were Justin Ruggiano and Drew Stubbs, two guys who I could see as decent fits to platoon with Blanco in LF. If Sabes is interested in either of those two (which is purely speculation at this points), he’ll have to acquire them in a trade.

The few non-tender players who do intrigue me: Justin Turner, John Axford, Wesley Wright, Daniel Hudson, Andrew Bailey, Jerome Williams. Among this list, I think Turner could be a nice fit (although I seriously don’t know the priority for middle infielders now that Abreu was tendered). He plays all over the diamond, seems to be passable on defense, and is accustomed to a reserve role. The OBP isn’t all that great, but the positional flexibility would be nice. The rest of these cats are pitchers. Hudson isn’t very far removed from a pretty darn good season with Arizona. Axford, Wright and Bailey could all be valuable pieces in a bullpen, but Bailey especially comes with the high injury risk. I would think all three of those guys will find a home pretty quickly. Finally, if the Giants want a little more depth in the rotation heading into spring training, Williams could be a nice full-circle story on a minor league deal. I didn’t really find much else that caught my eye… remember, these are the guys that other teams DIDN’T want.

We’ll wrap up with a quick overview of the recent trade/FA signing action. To my knowledge, there have been approximately 250 moves in the past 48 hours – and those are just from the office of Billy Beane. Seriously, though, the past couple days have been trade central. The A’s (Jim Johnson, Craig Gentry, Luke Gregerson) and Rays (Ryan Hanigan, Heath Bell) have certainly been the most active, but the Nats probably swung the biggest deal in snagging Doug Fister from the Tigers. Fister is a very nice addition to that rotation.

If we’re learning anything here, there are certainly trades to be had out there. The winter meetings are next week, and I sure as hell hope Uncle Sabes is working on that shopping list for a LF. Even if it’s a Ruggiano type, I don’t care. I’m not satisfied with a Blanco/Perez platoon, and I hope you aren’t either. Maybe the front office will completely surprise us with a trade nobody was expecting. They sure have enough interesting prospects to snag a decent player, but whether they’ll pull those strings or not remains to be seen.

We’ll pick back up with the CC 100 tomorrow, with another honorable mention list to be released. For now, though, we’re just thankful here at Cove Chatter that those prospects are safe, and still able to play the game they (and we) all love.

Tony Abreu

Giants 2014: Hot Corner

It’s been a while, but back to the state of the franchise series. Part 4 is dedicated to the hot corner, AKA the home of one Pablo Sandoval, hit machine. At this point, I can’t really call it a full-time home, as the Panda’s missed a significant amount of time to injuries, lack of conditioning, weight gains, etc. in the past few years. Pablo has all the talent in the world, and is one of the best pure hitters in the game. Don’t believe me? Ask Justin Verlander. Sandoval is also a fan favorite, and his career (and body type) has resulted in one of the longest-standing modern day Giants marketing schemes: the panda hat. But is he trustworthy anymore as the starting 3B? Will he even be on the team come next April? I’m not so sure, and neither are the Giants these days it seems.

Where it’s been: Admittedly, this post will mostly focus on the trials and tribulations of Sandoval, but there are a handful of others who’ve manned the corner in his absence – or benching, in the case of 2010 – over the past few years. The Giants signed Pablo, a 16 year-old catcher out of Venezuela in 2003. He debuted the next summer in Arizona, and had a breakout season at the plate as an 18 year-old in Salem-Keizer in his second season. By 2008, though, he entered his 5th year as a pro as mostly an afterthought to prospect watchers. But that summer saw one of the greatest offensive surges ever by a Giants farmhand (only Brandon Belt has put together a better campaign since), a .350 average and 20 HR between San Jose and Richmond. By September, Sandoval was a full-fledged major-leaguer, with his own nickname to boot. Few actually remember him by his original handle of Little Money (catcher Benji Molina was known as Big Money), but that’s the name that caught on early. Pablo hit everything in sight over the season’s final 40 games, and an unexpected star was born.

After nearly claiming the National League batting title and leading the team with 25 HR in 2009, the Giants 23 year-old switch-hitter (who’d moved to 3B full-time) was becoming an icon. Kung Fu Panda was born, and he would lead the young, upstart Giants into a new era of NL West contention. But neither ownership nor the fan base could predict the letdown that would ensue for Sandoval in 2010. While the Giants were surging for the postseason, their former offensive leader was playing himself out of a job and into a bigger pant size. This was the first time any of us really saw the “Bad Panda” side of Pablo, who watched Juan Uribe take over as the starting 3B down the stretch. Sandoval rode the pine through October while teammates forever changed the city of San Francisco and the franchise.

Since then, it’s been quite the mixture of Good Panda and Bad Panda. His 2011 season could’ve been even better than 2009, but the first installment of the hamate bone saga sent him to the DL for weeks. In 2012, he’d play in only 108 games (a career low), thanks in large part to hamate bone, part two. This time, though, he’d come back with a resurgent final month of the season. He’d follow that up with a postseason performance for the ages. Three moon balls in a World Series game… the stuff of legends. Again, ask Verlander about it. After watching from the dugout during the 2010 go-around, there’s no way Pablo was missing the fun in 2012. That run, and the Game 1 heroics, were a nice reminder to the entire organization that the Panda could still be one of the top hitters in the game. I’ll be honest; I bought into it whole-heartedly, as many others probably did too. After the hamate bone saga and the Bad Panda episodes, Sandoval (26 years young) and Buster Posey were ready to tag-team the rest of National League on their way to a third title in four years. The Panda was back, and the Giants were primed for a long run of greatness.

Well…not exactly.

Where it’s headed: Bad Panda showed up early and often this year, and aside from a 6-week stretch in the early part of the season, he stuck around well into the summer. Yes, Pablo stabilized both in the field and at the plate a bit late in the year after coming back from his mid-season foot injury, but the damage was done, and the organization seemed fed up. A ridiculous thought as recent as a year ago, the Giants are now rumored to be listening to offers on their 3B, who is still only 27 years old. But will they trade him? And how do they replace him if they do?

The biggest factor to remember with any Sandoval trade talks is that he’s entering the final year of his contract. And he’ll do so at the age of 28, which is pretty rare in baseball these days. Most guys don’t hit the open market until at least age 30. With Pablo’s track record of success, he’s got every opportunity in the world to earn a massive payday next offseason. From the Giants? Right now, that seems unlikely, but if he can prove healthy and productive next season, there’s no reason Sabean won’t look at extending him a little longer. If he breaks out – say .300 with 25 HR (which we all know he is capable of) – he’ll certainly be in line to get a shiny new deal from a team who believes his conditioning issues are behind him. Either way, I really think this isn’t the time for the Giants to trade him. If they stand to acquire a top prospect or an upgrade in the starting rotation, then it might make sense. Otherwise, it makes more sense to hold onto him and see if he’s motivated in his contract year.

If the Giants don’t trade Pablo, they still would be wise to enter 2014 with a backup plan in place. The Panda has had at least one significant DL trip in three straight seasons… so there’s a definite pattern here. For the past couple years, Joaquin Arias has done a pretty nice job filling in, both as a temporary starter and late-game defensive replacement. Sabean found Arias and Gregor Blanco on the bargain shelf in 2012, and they’ve both been very valuable role players in their time with the club. But Arias is arbitration-eligible this year, and while he doesn’t stand to get a tremendous raise, the Giants will need to decide if they want to bring him back. They’ve got a logjam of reserve-infield types in the organization right now with guys like Tony Abreu, Nick Noonan and Ehire Adrianza, so there’s some sorting out that’ll need to take place this winter. Personally, I’d make sure there’s a spot for Arias, although that may mean Adrianza and his slick glove are headed for another organization.

But what if the Giants do bite on a trade offer for Sandoval this winter? What if the Yankees are willing to part ways with one of their outfield prospects and a starting pitcher? It wouldn’t be the first time the Evil Empire sold some kids to bolster their offense, and there’s a definite corner infield need in New York at the moment. Hey, stranger things have happened. In the event the Giants do find a trade partner for Sandoval, they’ll have an immediate hole at the hot corner. How will they get consistent production? If they aren’t confident that Arias can handle the starting job, they could look to free agency. How about a 2-3 year deal for Omar Infante? Infante is a professional hitter whose bat profiles very similarly to his fellow Venezuelan vet Marco Scutaro. Infante doesn’t strike out much, he’s a career .279 hitter, and he’s played all over the infield in the past. He won’t be too expensive, and he should be able to handle 3B. If you’d rather play him at 2B, you can move Scutaro to the left side. That way, you can lift Scooter late for Arias, much like Bochy has done with Pablo the last couple years. Personally, I’d make Infante an offer even if Pablo doesn’t get traded. Sabean said he needs more depth. Infante helps give you that in the infield.

What about Buster Posey? Would the Giants consider moving him to 3B in the future? It’s been talked about by the media quite a bit in the past year, and it makes sense. If Pablo plays 2014 in San Francisco and decides to walk for greener pastures next winter, it may be more reasonable to replace him with Posey, a proven hitter, than hoping you can find some production in free agency. 3B isn’t a deep position; the Evan Longoria’s and David Wright’s of the world are in short supply. Getting Buster out from behind the dish is something the Giants need to look at heavily, but that’s a topic we’ll cover later. With Belt holding down the 1B job these days, moving Posey to 3rd by 2015 could really bolster that offense. I’m not saying he’d be a Gold Glove infielder, but he did play some shortstop at Florida State (as a freshman), so it’s not like he’d be incompetent without his catcher’s gear. It’s definitely an intriguing idea, and one that the Giants would be wise to start talking about this winter.

There are a couple other in-house 3B who could play their way into some kind of role in the near future: the Louisville hackers, Chris Dominguez and Adam Duvall. Dominguez could be in line for a call-up if Sandoval is traded or misses significant time next season. He’s got as much power as anyone in the organization, but it seems like he sacrificed it a bit to make more contact this year in Fresno. Hey, whatever it takes to get to the dance, right? It worked in AAA, but will it work in the show? Dominguez is also pretty good defensively, and has a cannon for an arm. The defense gives him an edge over Duvall, in my book.

Everything I’ve read about Duvall says he’s pretty rough in the field, but he’s another guy with insane power. Again, he doesn’t make a lot of contact, which might be a red flag, but he actually held his own at the dish in the tough Eastern League this year. Had he stayed healthy all season, I think his offensive numbers would’ve been even better. I like Duvall as a nice sleeper in the org, but he’s not a fresh-faced baby anymore. Neither of these guys are the long-term answer (Sabean is hoping Ryder Jones can be that guy someday), but both might get an opportunity to provide some infield depth sooner than later.

Honestly, I don’t think Pablo is going anywhere this winter. Like Lincecum, Cain, and Posey, Sandoval played a major role in bringing the Giants back from the dark days of the late 2000’s. He’s a fan favorite, and he puts money in the organization’s pocket. Those players generally don’t get shipped off easily. If he can put together a solid season in his walk-year, maybe Sabean gives him the shiny new contract. At this point, who knows? But I’d like to see Good Panda get one more shot. He should have all the motivation in the world to perform. If he doesn’t, so long panda hats. If he does, however, the Giants could have a strong offense in the mediocre NL West. When healthy and in shape, Pablo’s a fun player to watch. He’s upbeat, goofy, and one of the best damn natural hitters in baseball. See-ball, hit-ball, Pablo. Giants Nation is counting on you… don’t let us down.

Expectations

The Giants snuck out of New York with a close victory yesterday, spoiling Mariano Rivera’s farewell ceremony with a 2-1 win. It was the Giants’ only win of the weekend in Yankee Stadium, and Yusmeiro Petit outpitched Andy Pettitte in Pettitte’s final regular season start in New York. Ehire Adrianza homered off Pettitte for the Giants’ first run, and Tony Abreu drove in the go-ahead run late. Juan Perez singled off Rivera in the 9th, and also plucked another runner at home. So, I guess you could say the kids stole the show in this one.

The Giants didn’t play as well as we would have liked this weekend, but they weren’t that far off either. On Friday night, Timmy held his own against CC Sabathia, and George Kontos’ hanger to A-Rod in the 7th was the difference in a 5-1 loss. Saturday’s game was the outlier, with Ryan Vogelsong getting it handed to him on national TV. If you had to choose between $6.5 million of Vogey, or a cheap Petit for next season, it’s beginning to look like a pretty easy decision. Petit is averaging better than a strikeout per inning with the Giants in 44.1 IP, and if you combine his MLB and MiLB numbers, he’s got a 3.88 ERA with 144 K and 27 BB in 137 IP… and to think he was DFA’d earlier in the season. Meanwhile, Vogelsong can’t strike anybody out, or make it past the 5th inning these days. He’s a good dude with determination, but that $6 million option isn’t looking any better than his fastball is anymore.

Anyway, the Giants may not have put up much offense against the Yankees, but they finished a 10-game road trip at 6-4, their first multi-city winning road trip all year. Yeah, all year.

A final thought here. I watched the Rivera farewell ceremony yesterday. Pretty cool stuff. I learned a few things in the process too. I didn’t know Dave Righetti was the Yankees’ all time saves leader before Rivera, and I also didn’t know Rivera made his debut at 25. 25! That’s old for a prospect, right? Just goes to show that you can’t ever write a player off. Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte and Posada all debuted in 1995. Wow.

Yes, the Giants have their rings, and none of us will ever forget it. But I sure as hell hope 2010 and 2012 are the norms, not 2013. This season has definitely been a struggle, but it’s hard to be angry at a franchise that has given its fans so many positives over the past four years. Watching those games against the Yankees, as well as the Rivera events, it’s hard not to respect and appreciate what they’ve done. That franchise has set the gold standard, and even when they aren’t winning titles, they’re in the hunt every year.

With the talent the Giants have, they cannot have another season like this. Not with players like Posey, Bumgarner and Cain anchoring the team. Yes, last year was fun. But this year was inexcusable, and Brian Sabean has a ton of work to do this winter. You can’t get comfortable in this business, and this is a fan base that now expects to be in contention every year, just like the fans that sit in Yankee Stadium.

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Roger Kieschnick’s Debut (and some other stuff, too)

**Edit** I should know better than to post during the trade deadline. Forget what I wrote about Wilson. He took a minor league deal with the Dodgers. Can’t blame the guy for wanting to join a contender, but come on man, the Dodgers?!

Yesterday was a pretty eventful off-day for the Giants, including a visit to the White House (if you haven’t seen the picture of the team with President Obama, it’s pretty awesome, and I might have to tag a link to it) and a bus ride from D.C. to Philadelphia. Also included in the day was a major stir created by the greatest BS’er among the Giants’ beat writers, Baggarly, in which the Giants were making some roster moves and a trade was possible. Of course, people are already on edge this time of year with the trade deadline so close, so you can imagine the fiasco that ensued. It’s amazing to see the bevy of emotions people have regarding Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum.

Ultimately, the scandalous roster moves resulted in Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick getting called up from Fresno, with Kensuke Tanaka optioned and Tony Abreu placed on the DL to make room. For Pill, the return to the bigs came just a day late, as he was on a plane while guys like Moscoso, Francoeur and Tanaka were on the White House lawn. I know this game is a business, and I’m sure Pill would never put up a stink, but it’s pretty embarrassing to me that they couldn’t have gotten him to D.C. with the club. He’s put in his dues for the organization, that’s for sure. Oh well.

Kieschnick will be making his big league debut, which is pretty exciting for those of us who have followed his play since the Giants drafted him in 2008. Four years ago, Kieschnick was the Mac Williamson of the organization, putting up impressive power numbers in the California League. Like many prospects, he stalled out a bit in AA thanks in large part to nagging injuries. After spending a second season in Richmond, he worked his way up to Fresno for Opening Day 2012. He started the season on fire, flashing his signature power with 15 HR by the end of May. But another injury likely cost him a shot at a promotion last summer. He returned to Fresno this year, healthy, and has had an up and down season to date. He’s a .273 hitter with 13 HR and an impressive 49 extra base hits, but he still averages a strikeout per game… Contact has always been an issue with him.

Now, Roger K. is on his way to The Show, and I for one am excited. He’s a big, athletic guy with a powerful left-handed bat and a very strong outfield arm. Let’s hope the Giants give him a real chance to show what he’s capable of. I mean, he can’t do any worse than the rest of the lineup has lately.

Some other thoughts:

The latest report on MLBTraderumors has the Giants now saying they will definitely move Javier Lopez by tomorrow. I think most of us were expecting this. He’s one of the best situational lefties in the game, and Bochy’s bullpen will significantly take a hit when he leaves. But the story goes that he wants to be closer to his home on the East Coast. Yesterday I read Sabean was asking for a ML ready starting pitcher for Javy, which is probably not going to happen now that they’ve made it known he’s going to be dealt. That kind of lowers your leverage a bit, if it doesn’t kill it altogether.

Not much change on Pence and Lincecum. The Giants want to bring them both back next year, or at least make them a qualifying offer. However, they still won’t say they aren’t going to trade them. It’s a bit of a strange situation, but I don’t think you’ll see Tim going anywhere. There’s no way he’ll get much of a return, in my opinion. Pence is another story, but I get the feeling the Giants think they will regret trading him. Honestly, who knows what happens here. I don’t think the Rangers have enough to offer, but Pittsburgh and Cincinnati certainly do. If one of those two really wants the Rev, Sabean can get pretty particular with names. Both clubs have some serious talent on the farm, so that could be fun.

Lastly, it sounds like we’re down to three teams in on Brian Wilson: Pirates, Dodgers, and Los Gigantes. Personally, I think we are the best fit for Wilson (if the money is right). The Giants are looking for someone to give them a shot of life, and Wilson is looking to audition for an offseason contract. Both may be able to happen if he spends the final couple of months in San Francisco. Many probably see him as a waste of time for the Giants, but I really think the team needs him as much as he needs them at this point. Just my take, maybe you disagree.