Q&A With Tim Kawakami

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News was kind enough to do a Q&A for us Giants fans. Tim also has a blog that he updates called Talking Points with Tim Kawakami. You can also follow Tim via twitter.
King: We all know Sabean is usually pretty active when it comes to the offseason. He said this year they were going to take it slow. We all didn’t think it would be this slow. What are your thoughts on the Giants taking the slow approach this offseason to make some moves?
Tim K: You know, the way this off-season has set up, I don’t know that Giants fans should’ve wanted Sabean to move too swiftly. Unless you’re throwing around huge money for Holliday or Bay–and we know the Giants aren’t doing that–then there wasn’t a lot of the Big Deal kind of player available this time around.
So the pick-up of Mark DeRosa this week was certainly not franchise-altering, but better than, say, last December’s Edgar Renteria signing, right? Or Zito, Dave Roberts and Klesko two Decembers ago.

Now, this is not going to stir up the Giants populace, nor should it. They have GOT to add 50 to100 runs or else they risk wasting another year of Lincecum-Cain.

I just don’t see how this administration–which, the last time they had large money to blow, spent it on Aaron Rowand–can do it, given this set of circumstances, unless they were suddenly willing to trade Cain, which I don’t think will happen.

The Giants just aren’t going to go over 100M in payroll. You can be upset about that, fairly. But if that’s the ceiling, with Zito and Rowand choking up the space and Lincecum’s deal to come… well, they’re sort of stuck trying to scour the bargain bin. That’s DeRosa. Maybe Jermaine Dye, etc.

King: I’m sure you’re not going to sugarcoat this answer. What do you think of Bill Neukom so far? Do you think he will open up the wallet and let Sabean get some good players?
Tim K: I’ve been fine with Neukom so far–he’s definitely analytical, which means he’s a lot less apt to go hog-wild on impulse for somebody like Zito. I think that’s a plus. Again, fans want the Zito-like deal (well, not ZITO, but many did love the Zito signing at the time,if I remember correctly), the magic fix.

Neukom’s not a magic-fix guy. Is he being stingy? Well, that’s for the bankers and ticket-buyers to decide. If the Giants remain a top-15 payroll team, which I think they will, and if they’re still loaded down by Zito, Rowand, Renteria… I’m not sure how much Neukom is going to let the money flow for anything new.

He’s counting on Posey and the next wave, if it comes, and maybe a new GM and manager in 2011 or 2012. Does that sound drastic? I think that’s where this is headed. Sabean and Bochy only got two-year deals, remember.

King: If you were the Giants GM. What would moves would you be trying to make this offseason?

Tim K: I’d buy a time machine and go back and prevent myself from ever signing Zito or Rowand. Barring that… I sure would start trying to short-sell Rowand and maybe throw in Brian Wilson if that’s what it took.

I know Wilson’s a fan favorite, TV show, all that. But unless you’re Mariano, closers don’t usually have long shelf-life. Plus Wilson is a closer coming up on arbitration who has a history of high ERAs and WHIPs. If I was the GM–and thank God I’m not–and I knew I couldn’t get a Bay or a Holliday (or trade for Adrian Gonzalez–ain’t happening), then I’d try to be forward-thinking and plan to clean my salary roll into 2011.

That means dumping Rowand, who really isn’t any good and will get increasingly less good, and if it takes sacrificing Wilson or Jonathan Sanchez to do it… Again, sounds drastic. Giants fans won’t like it. But how else is this team going to get the money to really go after the top-level hitters?

King: There is reports that the Giants have offered Mark DeRosa a two year, $12 million contract. Do you see this as a good move for the Giants if he accepts?
Tim K: Obviously, you sent this to me before the DeRosa deal came down. Not a terrible deal, but again, certainly DeRosa, at 34, coming off of wrist problems, is not going to be scaring NL pitchers or adding 50 runs to the Giants offense. He’s OK. He can play third, first, left, right… But is he a huge improvement over Randy Winn? Not really. I was not a Winn fan, but… If this offense is going to get better, the upgrade has to be more than DeRosa for Winn (or for Lewis, or Ishikawa, or whoever).

So you have Freddy Sanchez for the whole season, if his knee lets him be there for the whole season. I thought Uribe was just as good or better than Sanchez last year, and the Giants line-up stunk. Where’s the upgrade? Lose Bengie, and have nobody at center. Where’s the upgrade?

They need a thumper. I just don’t think a thumper’s out there for them. Same old, same old. But at least DeRosa’s only 34. A bit younger than Sabean’s normal free-agent signee.

King: I just wanted to say thanks again to Tim Kawakami for taking the time out of his busy life to do this Q&A for us.
~King of Cali

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  • Oroolihan says:

    Very nice, King. Thanks for bringing Tim K’s insight into the mix.

  • shane says:

    Who cares what Tim Kawakami has to say?!?! he’s not worth listening to…

  • admin says:


    Thanks for your comment. We all have different opinions on stuff. Which is what keeps the sports talk good. I know there is a lot of people who have mixed reactions with Tim Kawakami. The good thing about his is that he doesn’t sugar-coat his thoughts to keep the teams happy. Thanks again for the comment!

    King of Cali

  • Shane says:

    Yeah you’re totally right…we all have our opinions and that was my opinion on kawakami. Im just confused why people are interested his opinion, his baseball knowledge is par to sub par. I would like to say good work with the website…I love my Giants and its always nice to hear whats going on. Thanks.