Bochy Facing A Bondsless Future

Hi. I?m John. I?ll be posting a couple items per week from this point forward. I?m a Royals fan and a prospect watcher. I ran my own blog for about a year called Til You?re Blue In the Face. I?d like to thank Marc for the opportunity to join the crew. What can you expect from me? General commentary and a weekly prospect profile.

I was talking to my gracious host Marc about Bruce Bochy going from San Diego to San Francisco. There are good reasons for both parties to want to move on. The Padres think they can get a manager who is more skilled at in-game strategy while Bochy knows when he's not wanted.

He's setting himself up for a difficult 3 seasons with the Giants, joining a team on the downswing. Barry Bonds and Jason Schmidt are unlikely to be around next season, which could make it a pretty bad team going forward. Their hopes for the future rely heavily on the pitching staff, headlined by Matt Cain and supported by Noah Lowry, Matt Morris, and Jonathan Sanchez. I like Cain, Lowry, and Sanchez, but young pitchers are a blessing and a curse in that at least one of them will probably break down and another will probably fail to improve much on where they are right now. Morris is just league average filler at this point in his career.

The lineup on the other hand is built around veterans. Ray Durham, Bonds, Moises Alou, and Shea Hillenbrand are all free agents. Hillenbrand and Alou are not hard to replace, but Durham and Bonds were just about the only 2 hitters who were better than average at their positions in 2006. The rest of the lineup will be filled with average or worse players like Eliezer Alfonzo, Pedro Feliz (provided he also does not leave via free agency), and Randy Winn. I suppose you could hope that Omar Vizquel actually improves on his performance this season, but at 40 years old, that seems unlikely. They have some prospects that they might be able to use in Jason Ellison, Kevin Frandsen, Travis Ishikawa, and Fred Lewis, but none of them profile to be difference makers next season, or outside of Ishikawa, beyond that. This could be a team that gets buried under the young Arizona squad, the established Padres, and an improved Rockies team flush with talent from a few good drafts. Of course they could go insane and start signing premium free agents or get 2 above average hitters for a pair of middle relievers when Wayne Krivsky gets desperate and this whole rant starts looking terribly silly.

I don't envy Bruce Bochy. Check that, I actually DO envy him, but only in that he gets paid many times my own salary to hang out and be an agreeable guy in charge of a Major League team playing in one of the country's crown jewel cities, in one of baseball's crown jewel ballparks. I don't envy the fact that he's going to be watching a lot of bad baseball over the next 3 years.