Outfield Party, McCutchen's Contract, Spier Hits the Cycle

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Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Welcome back to the San Francisco Giants edition of the For The Fans By The Fans podcast, where we bring you your weekly dose of all things, San Francisco Giants baseball from the fan's perspective. I'm a lifelong Giants Fan and your host, Benjamin Shapiro. And today we welcome back the godfather of the FTFBTF podcast. Dolph Shapiro, for the second part of our two part interview. Dolph is a retired orthopedic surgeon, a volunteer at risk youth counselor, a Brooklyn Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants fan, and he also happens to be the man who taught me four of the five tools of baseball. Yes, that's right. He's my dad, but before my dad tells everybody about how I couldn't catch up to the high heat in middle school, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by our friends at Fanatics. Fanatics is the global leader in licensed sports merchandise. They have the world's largest collection of official sports apparel from the leads teams and players you love. We're lucky enough to be fanatics affiliate, so if you want to help us out, you can go to FTFBTF.com/fanatics, where you can just click on the link in our show notes and go buy your Giants gear, and when you do they'll give us a couple of bucks to help pay for the production of this show. That said, here is the second part of our interview with Dolph Shapiro. 

Dolph: My feeling is that the pitching, if it does return, the hitting is good enough to win some games. They're a much better hitting team than they were last year, and good enough to score more than three to four runs a game. 

Benjamin: Yeah, and I think that they're doing just that. I think the question for this team is at what point do you decide that you're continuing to try to compete and at what point do you say we've dug too much of a whole and we need to start focusing the franchise on the future and that's the big part of the last podcast that I had was what do you do with hunter pence coming off of a thumb injury? He's been out for 50 games or so was batting one 77 one 71 before he was injured and now you're coming back and they have Matt Williamson. You have pretty much A. I don't know if I would call it a loaded outfield, but who are you going to drop if your outfielders are mccutcheon? Jackson Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Mac Williamson. Where does hunter pence fit in? 

Dolph: Well, let me tell you about the giants. I remember when they were looking at bringing in here and mccutcheon. Everybody talked about how they wanted to come here. They love the fans and they love the family atmosphere of the giants and how they respected the people who played here for years since they arrived in San Francisco and my feeling about pence is, you know, he's so loved here. He helped us win three world series titles or two. How do you handle it? If he comes back and he doesn't perform and you want to make the playoffs and my feeling is I will ask around if other clubs would be helped by having someone of his maturity who's been there during the playoffs, during the world series, knows how to handle that. Maybe he's not a great player, but they could use him in the clubhouse. For example. There are many young teams who are now competing for a title. He might be very helpful like that and I would like for him to be willing to do that. It would make it easy to split with someone of his caliber. If not, then the giants have a problem. Do you just release him? 

Benjamin: I think what you're talking about is one of the two positive scenarios where they bring the hunter pence back and he shows that he is a competent outfielder and that he was injured at the beginning of the season and he still has something left in the tank. He's expensive. He's 18 or $19,000,000 this year, but he's in the last year of his contract so they could trade for him. Another team could take them on as a rental at the end of the season and get a another bat with some pop, lots of veteran leadership, so I would look at teams like the Atlanta braves teams, like the Milwaukee Brewers, 

Dolph: Philly, 

Benjamin: yeah, Philadelphia is another one. I'm not sure if Philadelphia is going to be competitive by the end of the season, but possibly maybe even someone like the Cleveland Indians could take on another outfield or like that and get some depth. That's assuming that he comes back and he is a valuable asset and that Mac Williamson has also proven he's at least equally valuable because Mac Williamson is going to be cheaper younger and probably more athletic, so best case scenario, everybody plays well and they have a glut in the outfield and hunter pence is a trade candidate. On the flip side, worst case scenario is he comes back and you owe him the money and he's not very good. You still have to pay him. The $19 million. What do you do to pay the guy not to play? Do you cut them and leave the space open? How do you handle that? 

Dolph: I don't think at this time with his contract and it's a big deal for the giants sunk cost and I'm not as concerned about hunter pence as I am about Andrew mccutchen. I mean the season's quarter rover. He's hitting in the what, two forties and we're waiting to see more of him and I'm wondering if pence doesn't work out. Do you bring up dugger? 

Benjamin: Let me break that into two pieces. One, I'm less worried about mccutchin than you are because he was so bad in the first 20 percent of the season. The first 30 games he was batting under 200 and so now that he's back up to 2:40, that means that he's hit close to 300. Lately. I think he's going to end up to 70 or to 80 and the season's going to look like he hit under 200 for the first 20 percent of the game and close to 300 for the rest of the season. It'll equal to 75. What's a good on base percentage? Let's see. Giant's leader in on base percentages. Brandon belt at 400. And the lowest starter that they have looks like long, gory, a little bit under 300. So yeah, 3:50 is an average on base percentage. He's getting on base. I just think that he was so cold coming into a new park, new environment. 

Benjamin: I think that he was just down at the beginning of the season. He's actually in the top five in terms of on base percentage for the team. But what really matters is his ops that's a slugging and the on base percentage combined. And he is at 7:29. The best person on the team is brandon belt at almost a thousand. So I think he's going to come around. I think the power is going to be there. I'm not worried about mccutcheon. I think that he's a proven quality player. Maybe at the end of the contract, at the end of the year, I can be a little worried about him. The guy that I'm worried about is Austin Jackson. He's supposed to be the starting center fielder and his on base percentage is three slash 28. So not great. He's batting to 50, right? He's not stealing basis, he's not getting on who's a good defensive center fielder. 

Benjamin: I can appreciate that, but at some point you look at him baton to 50 and you got dugger. What's the difference? To me, if there's somebody that ends up getting cut, it could be him. Now whether pence comes in and takes the place, I don't think that happens because then they have no backup. Center field is you have to realize this is blowing up. Let's see how long that lasts. I mean, no, really great outfielder. Three, 10, three stolen bases. He's had what? Six home runs. So my question is Jackson who? Well, I wouldn't be upset to see gorkys get a little bit more playing time, but that's one of those things that he might be getting streaky and being hot now. I just love to see it last. But then again, think about the giants who was playing center field when they won the World Series Blanca. 

Benjamin: Well you had Blanca there. You had angel gun, you had Andres Torres and Andres Torres had a career season the first year they won the world series and Angel Paragon wasn't terrible, but they never really let the world on fire in terms of center fielders before. No, they missed him and ruin. Yeah. You know Erin Rowan came up when I was doing a podcast with one of my consulting clients, Doug Bell. He's a Philadelphia Fan and the only observation that I had about Aaron Rowan as it looked like he was taking a dump when he got in the batter's box, which is inevitably what the output was too. So you think that bring pens back. They give him a shot. They sit there with six outfielders, know someone's gone. So who is it when they bring pens back, where did they put up? They have to get rid of somebody. Are you dumping one of the relievers? 

Benjamin: Are you going with 11 man staff? Are you getting rid of Kelby Tomlinson? Does Pablo go? How many outfielders will. They'll have six outfielders. What do you do? You get rid of the the Blanco or Jackson? I bet you Blanco pulls a hamstring and they sit them down for 15 days or something like that. They take Jackson, they put them on the self. They say Gorky is, you're going to play Center Field Blanca. You're going to back them up and they let pence get some at bats and they play them every day for a couple of weeks and they see what they have. Could mccutcheon place at the field? Uh, yeah. I guess they could put them in center field and not worried about burning out his hamstring, but I don't think that that's likely going to be a longterm solution in that regard. Then they can use dugger in right center and someone in left. 

Benjamin: Who Do you think's going to be the best three outfielders on the team at the end of the season. Gorkys Hernandez. He's the first one you think of. Um, dugger either. Coach Williams. You're crazy. You didn't. Gorkys Hernandez is going to be one of the three best and Doug is going to come up and be the best center fielder. You said three. Best out. I know, but if we're going to play, I don't know, there's no way that dugger comes up. If Gorky is the starting center fielder, it's going to be Williamson Hernandez and if Hernandez can't do it then maybe duck or gets a shot, but I think he got to pick one of the two of them, so I think it's Williamson Hernandez mccutcheon at the end of the year. If mccutcheon doesn't pick it up, he'll be sitting. There'll be the outfield that's off the bench. I could not disagree with you more. 

Benjamin: I think if anybody has a long leash, it's going to be him because he's a high profile player. He was their big off season acquisition and I think they would hope to keep him at the end of the year. Invite me back at the end of the good. Okay, so outfield, there's a glut of outfielders. The infield things are relatively stable. Who's second base? There is no second baseman who's leading the league in the giants. Wow. I mean wonder why you lose little gory and makes errors. Every game. Kelby is inning. I mean it's fallen apart. MLB defensive team stats, San Francisco giants leading the League in errors. 40th five errors. What a disaster you're making me look bad. It was podcast is this torture, everything you know, which apparently wasn't much. That's why I said you taught me for the five key tools of baseball I could hit. I could throw, I could field. What are the other ones? Couldn't jump over a piece of paper and I couldn't run. But you get great. Mastered the postgame snack. So have you gone to any games yet? This season I've been to maybe 15. You went to 15 games already. You would need a hobby? I have friends who take me. What was the best game you went to this season? Opening Day. You sure? No. Okay. I think I remember all the games. Clearly not. I just 

Benjamin: hope that you make your way home from the stadium. Let me ask you a separate question, but related. What was the best game you went to ever? 

Dolph: Nineteen. 80 eight. You were and we went to a game. The an unbelievable amount of everything. They had hits a home run. 

Benjamin: We went to the baseball equivalent of the fourth of July. It was July 10th, so right after the fourth of July, 1988. Shapiro Orthopedic Surgeon, probably on a Saturday, no surgery scheduled. He grabs his little boy. He's eight years old. He brings them to candlestick park. It's a sunny day game and we walk in and Chris Spire has the game of his life. He's subbing in for Robby Thompson. He hits the cycle, but that's not it. Chris fire hits the cycle. He hits a home run. Kevin Mitchell hits a home run. Bob Melvin hits a home run. Will Clark hits a home run and Ernest riles hits a home run, which was the 10 thousands Homerun Inn San Francisco giants history. So not only did they hit one, two, three, four, five, six home runs in the game, the 10 thousands, and they beat the cardinals. Twenty one to two. They scored five runs in the fifth for runs in the sixth and seven runs in the eighth. 

Dolph: We've got home Monday. If I remember 

Benjamin: well, you went home and told mom that the giants only scored three touchdowns game poor Robby Thompson. I'm surprised he got his spot back. 

Dolph: You were his old. Everything has been downhill since then. 

Benjamin: You know the truth. I still have the ticket in my room. Is that right? I do. I have that ticket and it's tucked into the candy Maldonado signed card and ball statue that you got me for my, I don't know, eight, 30, ninth birthday, something like that. 

Dolph: We went to another game, I don't know if you remember. I think it was against the cardinals again and the giants were in a race with them to win the division and we sat out in center field almost the top row. You could hardly see anything. I don't know if you remember that. There were 55,000 people there. It was packed and we lost, but getting a parking lot with a story in itself, 

Benjamin: like San Francisco traffic everyday. 

Dolph: That was absolutely fight started. I remember one fellow have it go to the bathroom and it was a huge line. He said, I don't have time for. He walked or stream followed him and then we get into the parking lot and two cards were converging right in front of my hood and one guy started honking and the other guy started to give him the finger and they met right in front of my hood and one minute hops out and gets on the other fellas wooden stuff jumping up and down and I thought, Oh man, what are we going to do when the fight starts? It was insane. And your uncle Charlie said, that's it. I'm never coming back here. 

Benjamin: Yeah, it was a simpler time and I don't think that quite happens at the friendly confines of a t and t park, but if the giants managed to get close to the playoffs and lose at the end, maybe we could see a little debauchery at the end of the season. And on that note, I think we should wrap up today's show of the for the fans by the fans podcast. Our plan is do this every week. Actually, we're doing this a couple times a week now, so if you want more giants, baseball and your podcast feed, click the subscribe button. Since we're just getting started, we're in month two of this podcast. It's our first season. We'd love for you to give us a rating in the apple itunes store. Share the podcast with your friends. Tell them to search FTF btf. You can find us in the podcast store, twitter, instagram, facebook. 

Benjamin: We're trying to be everywhere. You can also go to our website for the fans by the fans.com or FTFBTF.com. Thanks again to our friends at fanatics and if you're going to go buy your giants gear, head over to FTFBTF.com/fanatics, or just click the link in our show notes and when you buy your giant stuff, they'll kick us a couple of bucks to help us pay for the production of the show. So in honor of Chris fire hitting the cycle and my dad coming back onto the podcast, that's it for today. Until next time, swing and a miss, and that's it.