Results tagged ‘ Matt Holliday ’

Fans voice curiosity about Mike Jacobs

Here’s a note from a fan expressing a sentiment that has been echoed by numerous sfgiants.com readers this offseason:

Do the Giants have any interest in Mike Jacobs to play first base? I know they liked him in the past. They can probably get him at a nice price to compete with Travis Ishikawa.
– Chris P., Phoenix, AZ

If I had a dollar for each e-mail I’ve received about Mike Jacobs, I’d be able to pay off my older daughter’s college tuition for the rest of the school year. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. But the voice of the fan is always compelling when it’s unified.

Jacobs isn’t a premier free agent like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. He isn’t even considered a second-tier free agent. But he did hit 51 home runs in the previous two seasons. Jacobs would have an AT&T Park concession-stand menu item named after him, kind of like the “Cha Cha Bowl” saluting Orlando Cepeda, if he homered at that pace for the Giants.

These are the same Giants who ranked last in the Major Leagues with 94 home runs in 2008 and next-to-last in the National League with 122 homers last season. Granted, power isn’t the cure-all to the Giants’ offensive woes. But you have to wonder whether Jacobs might be worth signing to a one-year contract for a low base salary and enough performance bonuses to reward him for a job well done.

The Giants, who continue to seek offensive help, have contacted Jacobs’ agent, John Boggs. Their interest in Jacobs appears minimal, however. “They haven’t given any indication that he’s a player they’ve targeted,” Boggs said Monday. “But he could be the answer to completing their lineup.”

Maybe Jacobs, 29, can be this year’s Russell Branyan, who amassed 31 homers for Seattle last year after averaging 12 in the previous six seasons.

Boggs told me that I was the first reporter to ask him about his client this winter. This doesn’t qualify me for Mensa. Jacobs possesses plenty of statistical baggage. His on-base percentage dipped below .300 in each of the last two seasons and he hit just .228 with Kansas City in 2009, prompting the Royals to release him last month when they needed a 40-man roster spot for the Rule 5 Draft, of all things. He played only 15 games at first base for the Royals, prompting doubts about his ability to handle the position.

But many teams need power. And Jacobs’ 2008-09 home run output can’t be denied. After clobbering 32 two years ago with Florida, he hit just 19 last year. Yet given the adjustments Jacobs faced due to switching leagues, that was hardly a precipitous drop. He bats left-handed, an ominous trait to take into AT&T Park. But most observers agree that his slugging ability is legitimate.

The Giants surely believe that they can acquire better hitters than Jacobs, and maybe they’re right. But third baseman Adrian Beltre’s agreement with Boston removed another potential option from the Giants’ list. Unless they’re considering other first basemen (Adam LaRoche, Branyan, Carlos Delgado), contemplating the largely untapped supply of second basemen (Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson) or pondering the wisdom of adding an outfielder (Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Church, Xavier Nady), they might have to look harder at performers like Jacobs as Spring Training approaches.

– Chris Haft 

Lincecum looks good; Sandoval seems shaky defensively

SAN FRANCISCO — The numbers say that Tim Lincecum has allowed 10 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings spanning his last three starts against Major League competition. That’s a 5.87 ERA, which isn’t what the Giants expect from their Cy Young Award winner.

But the eyes say that Lincecum looks ready for his Opening Day assignment on April 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers at AT&T Park.

Lincecum allowed only four hits in 5 2/3 innings Thursday against the A’s and struck out eight — six, a still-decent number, excepting A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill’s two punchouts. The Giants ace retired the hitters he needed to subdue. Jason Giambi struck out twice, Matt Holliday went 0-for-2 with runners on base and Jack Cust went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

“I felt like I had all my pitches going today,” Lincecum said. “My curveball felt the best it has in a while; the changeup was good.”

Lincecum mildly complained about the location of his fastball, the pitch Eric Chavez hammered for a two-run, fourth-inning homer. I have a hunch that Lincecum wouldn’t throw the same pitch to the same type of hitter in the same situation during the regular season. Or, if he did, he’d make it a better fastball.

“You think you can sneak one by him every once in a while,” Lincecum said. “That one was, I’m guessing, right in his wheelhouse. He put a pretty good swing on it.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled Lincecum in the sixth inning after he walked Chavez on four pitches with two outs and one run in. “I didn’t feel like I was losing anything,” Lincecum said. “One batter got away from me.”

Next time, Lincecum will have to be a little more airtight. But we all know he’s capable of that.

***

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s two errors, which doubled his Cactus League total, might have been a mild concern to Giants fans. Bochy, however, remained patient.

“It’s going to take a couple of days to adjust to this infield,” Bochy said. “It’s a completely different type of infield than he’s used to playing on.”

For one thing, it’s a much better infield than the ones in Arizona, which were sun-baked and produced bad hops. But the pace of groundballs at AT&T is slower, which could have thrown Sandoval a changeup, figuratively speaking.

“The ball’s not getting on you quite as quickly,” Bochy said. He also noted that Thursday night’s stiff wind could have altered the course of a grounder or two — that’s right, it doesn’t happen with just fly balls — which would have flummoxed Sandoval further.

Sandoval also went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs. Overall, he did just fine.

– Chris Haft 

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