Transaction Analysis 4/1/04

With Spring Training winding down, and a number of cuts made around the league, the Giants embarked on a bit of a spree to round out the squad and react to injury worries at the start of the season. See who’s new in the organization, in San Francisco and Fresno

THE TRADE WITH MILWAUKEE:

The Giants Get:

Wayne Franklin, 30, LHP

Year
Team
W
L
ERA
G
GS
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
2000
Hou
0
0
5.48
25
0
21.1
24
14
13
2
12
21
2001
Hou
0
0
6.75
11
0
12.0
17
9
9
4
9
9
2002
Mil
2
1
2.63
4
4
24.0
16
8
7
1
17
17
2003
Mil
10
13
5.5
36
34
194.2
201
129
119
36
94
116

Franklin’s career in the majors so far has been a little rocky. 2003 was his first full year in the majors, and as a starter in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation, he gave up 36 home runs, the most in the majors last year. He just squeaked by the 2nd place guy in the category, fellow new Giant Brett Tomko, who had 35 given up. It seems Sabean is really counting on the SBC Park factor, being the toughest place to give up home runs. He doesn’t have exceptional ability in any particular area of the game. He does have just enough control and velocity to get by. His cut fastball and slider are hittable, and he hasn’t done a good job of mixing up pitches to be more effective. Perhaps having two good catchers calling pitches for him would help.

Leo Estrella, 29, RHP

Year
Team
W
L
ERA
G
GS
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
2000
Tor
0
0
6.43
2
0
4.2
9
3
3
1
0
3
2003
Mil
7
3
4.36
58
0
66.0
75
32
32
10
21
25

Estrella has had an awfully odd path through baseball. He made his major league debut in 2000 with Toronto, appearing in only three games, before disappearing from baseball for a year. He reappeared in 2002, and made his way back to the majors to Milwaukee. He had a good first half of the season, throwing in 31 games and logging a 2.65 ERA. His second half performance (a 6.59 ERA in 27 games) negated all those gains, however. He doesn’t strike out many people, but doesn’t walk many either, and throws ground balls twice as often as fly balls.

The Brewers Get:

Carlos Villanueva, 20, RHP

Year
Team
League
W
L
ERA
G
GS
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
2002
Ariz.
AZ (Rookie)
4
0
0.59
19
0
30.1
24
3
2
1
3
23
2003
Ariz
AZ (Rookie)
3
6
3.97
12
10
59.0
64
31
26
1
13
67

Villanueva is fresh out of the Giants latin scouting system. He’s played two straight, short years in the rookie level Arizona league, but has put up numbers to suggest he can advance. His main asset is his high strikeout ratio (more than 1 an inning), but then, every hitter is prone to strikeouts in the rookie leagues. Last year was also his first as a starter, and his performance dropped to more average levels.

Glenn Woolard, 23, RHP

Year
Team
League
W
L
ERA
G
GS
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
2002
SK.
NWL (Short-A)
3
2
2.96
17
11
67.0
51
26
22
3
32
75
2003
Ariz
AZ (Rookie)
8
9
3.44
26
25
144.0
126
63
55
10
43
135

Woolard’s numbers are encouraging. They don’t scream top prospect, but they show potential, at least at an early stage. Woolard was a 10th round selection out of the 2002 draft. His ERA rose slightly as he moved from short season A-ball to Hagerstown, but that’s too be expected. He did pitch two complete games in 25 starts there, and had a very impressive 135 SO’s against only 43 walks. His ceiling is hard to gage, but he’s not anywhere near reaching it yet.

TRADE ANALYSIS:

Sabean noted, “We didn't acquire them to pitch in the minors -- we needed their experience and versatility now.” That’s not a good sign concerning the Giants pitching staff, with two guys on the DL to open the season (Robb Nen, Scott Eyre), and Schmidt still rehabbing. Schmidt’s recent work has moved up his timetable to be the possible fifth starter for the Giants, which is a good thing. Mostly, it means that Franklin, whose career has a starter is very suspect, may be headed to the bullpen, given the Giants 3 lefty relievers (along with Jason Christensen and Chad Zerbe), and 4 when healthy. Consider there’s at least one contender getting by with no lefties in the ‘pen (the Anaheim Angels), this is eye opening. Estrella is probably the better of the two, and both should be helped both by throwing in a pitcher’s park and with two very good game callers behind the plate. Still, Sabean is perhaps leaning a bit too heavily on the Park Formerly Known As Pac Bell to keep the ball in the yard. The cost was rather negligible, though. Woolard could advance well, but neither are prized prospects, and Woolard would be a luxury in a Giants system with many better pitchers ahead of him in the pecking order. And Villanueva is still young, but needs to show a commitment to the game and more serious numbers before becoming valuable.

MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENT SIGNINGS:

Mike Crudale, 27, RHP

Year
Team
W
L
ERA
G
GS
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
2002
StL
3
0
1.88
49
1
52.2
43
11
11
3
14
47
2003
StL
0
1
2.38
13
0
11.1
11
5
3
1
12
6
2003
Mil
0
0
2.89
9
0
9.1
1
3
3
0
6
7

Crudale is a bit of a quandary, but he has undeniable talent, and many thought he could be a prize set up man in the Cardinals bullpen not long ago. The key for him is his slider, an unusually big slider that he can throw hard. When he can throw it for strikes, and mix it with a low to mid nineties fastball, he’s an excellent reliever. When he can’t, as was the case this past year, he’s very hittable as it allows batters to wait for a fastball. He had a terrible spring, giving up 9 runs over 3 innings in the Brewers camp. If he can pull things together, he could be a solid addition to either Fresno or San Francisco

Dave Veres, 37, RHP

Year
Team
W
L
ERA
G
GS
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
SV
1994
Hou
3
3
2.41
32
0
41.0
39
13
11
4
7
28
1
1995
Hou
5
1
2.26
72
0
103.1
89
29
26
5
30
94
1
1996
Mon
6
3
4.20
68
0
77.2
85
39
36
10
32
81
4
1997
Mon
2
3
3.48
53
0
62.0
68
28
24
5
27
47
1
1998
Col
3
1
2.83
63
0
76.1
67
26
24
6
27
74
8
1999
Col
4
8
5.14
73
0
77.0
88
46
44
14
37
71
31
2000
StL
3
5
2.87
71
0
75.2
65
26
24
6
25
67
29
2001
StL
3
2
3.73
71
0
65.2
57
29
27
12
28
61
15
2002
StL
5
8
3.48
71
0
82.2
67
34
32
12
39
68
4
2003
ChC
2
1
4.68
31
0
32.2
36
17
17
4
5
26
1

Veres has been around for a long time, serving as a closer for both St. Louis and Colorado. He knows what he’s doing on the mound. His drawback is that he had offseason shoulder surgery, and has not yet recovered, which led to his release. He knows he needs to rebuild his arm strength, and though his goal is to return to the majors soon, he is willing to work in Fresno, much like Hammonds and Hermanson did last year. His closing days are over, but he still has many good innings left in him.

Deivi Cruz, 29, SS

Year
Team
G
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
1997
Det
147
436
35
105
26
0
2
40
3
14
55
.241
.263
.314
1998
Det
135
454
52
118
22
3
5
45
3
13
55
.260
.284
.355
1999
Det
155
518
64
147
35
0
13
58
1
12
57
.284
.302
.427
2000
Det
156
583
68
176
46
5
10
82
1
13
43
.302
.318
.449
2001
Det
110
414
39
106
28
1
7
52
4
17
46
.256
.291
379
2002
SD
151
514
49
135
28
2
7
47
2
22
58
.263
.294
.366
2003
Bal
152
548
61
137
24
2
14
65
1
13
49
.250
.269
.378

Cruz is a free swinger who has decent power, but little ability to get on base consistently. He is better against lefties and power pitchers, but falls victim to too many breaking balls. He also doesn’t walk nearly enough to get by in the majors, and hasn’t posted an on base percentage over .300 since batting over .300 in 2000.

SIGNING ANALYSIS:

It’s easy to worry about having yet another shortstop on the roster who’s worse than Neifi Perez, but these are minor league signings. Cruz is unlikely to be anything more than part of Sabean’s commitment to bolster the Fresno team unless something goes catastrophically wrong with Ransom or Perez. Veres and Crudale could be different stories, though. Although both will be starting in Fresno, both could be on tracks to the majors. Particularly if Nen’s injury is truly serious (remember, Conte was quoted as saying Nen will be ready “Opening day or never.), Veres would solidify a set-up situation in front of Herges. Crudale is also a little control away from being a very good reliever again. If they get things on track, the big league team could reap some real benefits from these garbage signings.



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