Could Derek Jeter wind up with the Giants next year?

August 13, 2010: Shortstop Derek Jeter  of the New York Yankees during a game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

I don’t think Derek Jeter will wind up in anything but pinstripes next season. Part of me thinks that the squabbling between him, his agent and the Yankees is all for publicity purposes.

When it comes down to it, the Yankees are a billon dollar cooperation. And seeing as how they took a backseat to the Rangers and Giants in 2010, what better way to get themselves back into the spotlight than to have their GM battle their captain in the news? To suggest the Brian Cashman v. Jeter feud is all about attention might be a little shrewd on my part, but would you put it past the Bombers for concocting such a scenario?

But for a moment, let’s assume that the contract talks between Jeter and the Yankees really are heading downhill. Let’s assume that the Yankees won’t budge from their original offer of three years and $40 million and that Jeter’s camp really is crazy enough to think that any team is going to fork over $22 million a year for an aging shortstop with declining skills.

Could Jeter really wind up in the National League playing for the current World Champions?

The shoe certainly fits. The Giants need a shortstop and after their most hated rivals scooped up Juan Uribe on Monday, their options at the position are getting fewer by the day (unless they’re absolutely in love with the idea of bringing back Edgar Renteria, committing full-time to youngster Manny Burriss or signing 97-year-old Miguel Tejada). Jeter, who is represented by the same agent (Casey Close) as catcher Buster Posey, would have an opportunity to play for a contender in a decent sized market if he were to sign with San Francisco. He was also scouted by current Giants GM Brian Sabean, who was with the Yankees when the club drafted him in 1992. Sabean also doesn’t mind overpaying for players, much like he’s done with Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Renteria in recent years.

If all of this seems rather convenient, it’s probably because it is. I can’t imagine Jeter playing for any other team besides the Yankees and there’s good probability that the two sides will agree to a new deal by the end of the year.

But if you’re looking for a dark horse in this race, it has to be the Giants.

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Somebody notify the Rangers that the World Series has started

San Francisco Giants Edgar Renteria (R) watches his solo home run in front of Texas Rangers catcher Matt Treanor (L) and umpire Sam Holbrook (C) in the fifth inning during Game 2 of Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco, October 28, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Here’s a six pack of observations following the Giants’ dominating 9-0 win over the Rangers in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night. San Fran is now up 2-0 in the series.

1. America, meet Matt Cain.
Because the Giants play on the West Coast, there’s a good chance that the majority of the country hasn’t seen Matt Cain pitch. If you caught Game 2 of the World Series, then you realized what Giants fans have known for years: He can be every bit as good as ace Tim Lincecum. If baseball had a stat for hard-luck losers, Cain would be No. 1 on the list. He’s been a victim of horrendous run support for most of his career, but he’s stayed patient and is finally getting his due. Cain hasn’t allowed a run in three postseason starts this year and completely shut down the Rangers on Thursday night. He pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball while allowing just four hits and striking out two. These weren’t the Mariners or Pirates he was facing; the Rangers led the league in batting average this season and finished fifth in runs scored. They’ve only been shutout six times this year (including Thursday night) and can beat you 1 through 8. But they couldn’t hit Cain tonight if they were notified what the pitch and location were going to be. He was brilliant.

2. What an embarrassing performance by the Rangers’ bullpen.
With his team only down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Darren O’Day struck out Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez to start the inning. But then rookie catcher Buster Posey singled to shallow center and O’Day was pulled for Derek Holland, who proceeded to walk Nate Schierholtz and Cody Ross on eight straight pitches, then walked Aubrey Huff to score Posey. Despite the first two walks, Rangers’ skipper Ron Washington failed to get another pitcher warmed up and by the time Mark Lowe came in, the Giants already had a 3-0 lead and the bases still loaded. Lowe then walked Uribe to score Schierholtz and gave up a single to Edgar Renteria (more on him next) to score Ross and Huff. Michael Kirkman, who was the fourth pitcher used in the inning, then relieved Lowe and promptly gave up a bases-clearing triple to Aaron Rowand and a double to Torres. By the time Sanchez came back around to strike out, the damage was done and the Giants had built a 9-0 lead. It was an inexcusable performance by the Rangers’ bullpen, which has looked horrendous two nights in a row now.

3. Edgar Renteria still has some postseason magic in him.
Renteria has certainly frustrated Giants fans over the last two years with his minimal range at short, his weak at-bats and his stints on the disabled list. But for at least one night, nobody is going to complain about how much money GM Brian Sabean foolishly gave the aging veteran two offseasons ago. Renteria hit an absolute bomb off Texas starter C.J. Wilson in the fifth to break a scoreless tie and then added a two-run single in the eighth, which essentially put the nail in the coffin. He’s also played tremendous defense thus far and has given the Giants’ professional at bats every time he walks to the plate (which is something they haven’t been getting out of more heralded hitters like Pat Burrell). Renteria won the World Series as a rookie back in 1997 and if he decides to retire at the end of the year, winning another championship would certainly be a sweet way to go out. He’s a class act and while his game has deteriorated over the years, he proved tonight that he’s clutch when it matters most.

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Giants prove that even a postseason god can bleed

With Cliff Lee on the hill, Game 1 of the World Series was almost a foregone conclusion: Rangers would win the opener and the Giants would have to try and even things up in Game 2.

Too bad the Giants had other plans.

In what had to be the most impressive feat of any team this postseason, the Giants crushed the Rangers 11-7 on Wednesday night to take a 1-0 lead in the Fall Classic. The previously unbeaten Lee went just 4.2 innings while yielding seven runs (six earned) on eight hits.

Freddy Sanchez did the most damage, going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. He set a postseason record by hitting three doubles in his first three at bats, which all came off Lee. After Texas took a 2-0 lead after two innings of play, Sanchez’s first double scored Edgar Renteria to put the Giants on the board in the third inning. His second double to deep left-center scored Andres Torres in the fifth to give the Giants a 3-2 lead and they never looked back from there.

San Fran scored six runs in that fifth inning to break the game open. Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross had RBI singles, while Juan Uribe hit a towering three-run shot off reliever Darren O’Day to give the Giants an 8-2 lead. The expression on Lee’s face as he watched that inning from the dugout said it all: “How could this have happened?”

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee sits in the dugout after being pulled from the game in the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game 1 of Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco October 27, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

What’s interesting is that Lee wasn’t necessarily off his game. He struck out seven batters and showed some of the same mastery that he had in previous postseason starts, but the Giants just hit him – and hit him hard. The fact that Lee is a strike-thrower actually played right into the Giants’ free-swinging approach and they didn’t let up the entire night. It didn’t matter if it was Lee on the mound or Nolan Ryan in his prime – they were going to get hit.

Try as they did, the Rangers did score two runs in the top of the sixth and three runs in the top of the ninth to make it somewhat interesting, but the damage had already been done. The Giants’ offense, which everyone has written off several times this postseason (and for good reason given their shoddy performance at times), had once again came through in the clutch.

Lost in the offensive clinic the Giants put on was their ace Tim Lincecum, who picked up his second postseason win of his career. He certainly wasn’t dominant (5.2 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 strikeouts), but the Rangers’ offense has a way of humbling even the best pitchers. Simply put, he was good enough on a night where his offense did the talking for him. It was a rare role-switch for a pitcher that usually has to limit his opponent to only two or three runs because he knows his offense will struggle.

The Giants have been a streaky offensive team all year. Given their pitching, if their offense can stay hot then they’re going to be tough to beat. The series is far from over, but this is a picture-perfect start for the G-Men.

Top photo courtesy of

2010 World Series Prediction Thread: Rangers vs. Giants

The Rawlings Sporting Goods Company has released the official baseball in St. Louis on October 25, 2010 that will be used for the 2010 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants when that series begins on October 27, 2010 in San Francisco.   UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Full disclosure: I’m a massive San Francisco Giants fan. The first time I sat down to watch a baseball game from start to finish was in 1989 when the Giants played my hometown Cubs in the NLCS. Will “The Thrill” Clark put on a clinic in that series and I was hooked ever since.

Of course, the A’s went on to sweep the Giants in the Fall Classic that year and I was introduced to the torture that is San Francisco baseball. From “The last pure pennant race” in ‘93, to Edgar Renteria’s base hit in ‘97, to Mark Gardner’s dud in a one-game playoff against the Cubs in ’98, to Bobby Jones’ one-hitter in ’00, to…well, to 2002. I don’t like to mention 2002 outside of how I wish Scott Spiezio grew up playing ping-pong instead of baseball.

It goes without saying that it’s been a while since the Giants were this good and it’s been even longer since they won a title. People like to talk about the Cubs’ championship drought, but the Indians and Giants are right behind them.

With that in mind, I won’t play coy: I’m rooting for the Giants. I won’t be objective and damn it, I don’t have to be either. Giants in 7. No, wait – Giants in 4.

Actually, I see the Rangers taking Game 1 because, well, Cliff Lee doesn’t lose in the postseason. Ever. I see the Giants taking Game 2 with Matt Cain (the most underrated pitcher in baseball) on the hill and then the rest of the series could go either way. If the NLDS/NLCS Game 2 Jonathan Sanchez takes the hill in Game 3, then San Fran could steal the first game in Texas on Saturday night. But if NLCS Game 6 Jonathan Sanchez rears his ugly head, then the Rangers could easily win, 27-1. (That lone run coming on a Cody Ross home run, of course.)

The Rangers are favored for a reason. They have the better lineup from top to bottom, their pitching staff isn’t as good as the Giants’ but they can certainly hold their own and Lee is unbeatable. They also have that “destiny” thing about covered with this being the first time they’ve ever reached the World Series.

But the Giants, my Giants, are somewhat playing with house money. Nobody expected them to win the NL West this year and even fewer people thought they’d beat the Phillies in the NLCS. Yet here they are, plugging along without a care in the world and no idea that they’re not supposed to win. Their pitching staff is great, players like Ross are having unprecedented success this postseason and their bullpen (thanks to Brian Wilson, Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affedlt) is nearly unhittable in the later innings. If they can continue to get timely hitting from Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe, they’ll have a shot.

They can win this thing.

Giants in 7.

Who are you taking?

Giants’ band of misfits and miscasts beat Phillies to advance to World Series

San Francisco Giants players, including Pablo Sandoval, Cody Ross, Brian Wilson, Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff (L-R) celebrate their victory against the Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League pennant in Game 6 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in Philadelphia, October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

After failing to land Adam LaRoche in the offseason, the San Francisco Giants “settled” on Aubrey Huff, who nobody showed much interest in.

After a successful stint with the Giants in 2009, Juan Uribe didn’t garner much interest from other teams this offseason on the open market, so he re-signed with San Fran for one year on the cheap.

In fear that the Padres would pick him up, the Giants claimed Cody Ross off waivers from the Marlins, who wanted to save a measly $1 million so they basically gave him away for free.

It was Huff’s single in the third inning that put the Giants on the board after the Phillies had taken a 2-0 lead in Game 6 of the NCLS Saturday night. It was Uribe’s home run in the eighth that broke a 2-2 tie, and it was Ross’s MVP play throughout the entire series that helped the G-Men knock off the defending National League champions to earn a date with the Rangers in the 2010 World Series.

Of course, there were others that helped San Fran get to this point. After he was dumped midseason by the Rays and couldn’t find work, the Giants took a flier on Pat Burrell, who essentially took a hometown discount because nobody else showed any interest in the veteran. The club’s best hitter is rookie catcher Buster Posey, who started the year in Triple-A because the Giants were concerned that he couldn’t handle their outstanding pitching staff. Andres Torres is a 32-year-old lifelong journeyman who came out of nowhere to seize the leadoff spot in their lineup when Aaron Rowand was hurt and ineffective earlier in the year.

Manager Bruce Bochy calls this team the “Dirty Dozen” because it’s essentially a bunch of miscasts and misfits that came together to do something pretty amazing. The Giants’ pitching staff rivals that of anyone in the league (just ask the Phillies and Braves), but none of this would have been possible if guys like Huff, Burrell, Torres, Posey and Ross didn’t gel. Did the Giants catch some breaks along the way? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that they’re any less deserving. The resiliency that this team has shown throughout the year is impressive and just when you think they’re done, they find a way in the end.

They’ve tortured their fans throughout the year with too many one-run games to count. But alas, torture has never felt so good.

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