Saturday, December 8, 2012

SF Giants - Offseason

By Kalen Patrick

The San Francisco Giants won their 2nd championship in 3 years, this may have been the most unlikely championship in recent years in any sport. Think about everything that happened, Tim Lincecum (the Giants ace) had a terrible year, Brian Wilson (All-Star closer) done for the season, Melky Cabrera was hitting out of his mind and got busted for PED's and suspended for most of the 2nd half of the season. All of that and I haven't even mentioned that the Giants were down 0-2 in the NLDS Series to the Reds, down 1-3 against the Cardinals in the NLCS. That is hardly the recipe for a Championship, but then again a lot of things went very right for the Giants too.

The Giants approach this offseason has been to hang on to the guys who got the team this years championship, re-signing Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro were key for the Giants as both are expected to bat 1 and 2 in the Giants order and key reliever Jeremy Affeldt. The Giants proved all year long that they can use (and win) with a Closer by committee and make it work. Hence, the Giants not reaching to sign Brian Wilson to big money.

Quite honestly I really can't fault the Giants or critique their approach too much. The Giants are not the Dodgers or Yankees where they can have endless money, so we have to keep that in mind. I think the Giants are banking on improvement's from many of their own players, as opposed to going out and signing a bunch of over priced players. Guys like Hunter Pence really stand out to me as one of those guys, while Hunter was definitely a key locker room presence, I feel he is due to play a much bigger role in terms of his production on the field this season. The Giants got a Hunter Pence who in 59 games hit .219 Average, .287 OBP and didn't hit for much power either. Expect a big turn around season for Pence and the Giants are certainly hoping for it.

Another key guy the Giants are banking on is World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval. The biggest question mark surrounding Pablo is his weight, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy has publicly announced the importance of this even after the World Series Victory. A healthy and fit Pablo Sandoval can be one of the most lethal hitters in baseball and a key cog for the Giants in continued success going forward. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are two other guys the Giants definitely want to see improve at the plate. I don't expect either to become world class hitters but I know the Giants are thinking they can take the next step and contribute to more success.

I really think the Giants are making the best decision in "keeping quiet" in free agency, keep the team together and develop and progress to be even more formidable. When was the last time the Yankees won the World Series? What happened to the Dodgers when they took on $250+ million in contracts when they traded with the Boston Red Sox? Money and big contracts don't mean wins and championships. With the recent success of the Giants, I think we all know we are in good hands and can expect to be competitive.

Over and Out.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The 49ers QB Situation

By Kalen Patrick

Well I guess to start off, I wanna say that it has been a while since I have posted. Been very busy with work and visiting family and what not. Gonna be getting back in to the blog in a big way to end the year and look for some big things happening in the New Year. My own website will be launching, I am looking to get in to coaching at the Pee-Wee/High School Football level and of course all my thoughts on sports throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, along with thoughts on the biggest topics in Sports too. Anyways, let's get to the biggest story that has taken over the 49ers recently.

 I realize that I am a few weeks late on this whole topic but I wanted to just share my thoughts on this topic. First of all, I do have to say and admit that I trust the decision Harbaugh makes, his regular season record speaks for itself (21-6-1). Secondly, Jim Harbaugh knows his players way way better than I or any other person in the media does. However, I am entitled to my opinion and I won't be holding back when expressing that.

I would NOT have named Colin Kaepernick the starter going forward this season, and here's why. By going with Kaepernick (barring injury) you cannot go back to Alex Smith and start a QB carousel. Just will not work, never has and never will. So Harbaugh has left himself with zero flexibility. Teams will be watching tape on Kaepernick and just like the Rams showed, with a little film, it is amazing how Defensive Coaches can come up with ways to slow down a QB who is a new starter in the NFL. For the 49ers sake, we hope that Kaepernick and the offense can overcome this and come up with new plays and schemes and be able to stay ahead of the defense.

Difference is, as a starter in Harbaugh's system Alex Smith was 19-5 and posted some very impressive numbers to go along with all of those wins. He proved that he was able to stay ahead of the curve and came within a few bounces of a Super Bowl, even with all the tape a defense could ask for on him. Another advantage of going with Alex Smith (once he was cleared to play obviously) would be, you know that should Alex struggle and not play well, you can always go to Kaepernick, and at least there is some justification among the team and fans and organization for making that decision. You have flexibility, which is key in the NFL. Heck, you could start Alex Smith and then maybe give Kaepernick 5 snaps a game. Keep defenses guessing.

The St. Louis game really opened my eyes, with Harbaugh, I have never seen an Alex Smith led 49ers look so ordinary and unproductive against a team the quality of the Rams, and with the defense playing as well as it was to back up the offense. I know the NFL is about taking risks and big plays and what not, but sometimes conservative can be the logical way to go and Alex Smith will not lose you a game, and he has shown multiple times this year he can take over and win games (Buffalo, @Arizona, @Green Bay).

I do admire and root for Alex Smith, but my allegiance is and always will be to the 49ers and whoever is the QB will have my unquestioned support (whether its Tim Rattay, Cody Pickett, Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick). I certainly hope Kaepernick can evolve and progress his game to take this team to the Superbowl. I trust Jim Harbaugh and this is a huge risk that he is taking, but with his record it's hard to argue with him.

That's it for now. It's good to be back writing and please check back for updates.

Over and Out.