Grant Brisbee is something of a celebrity down at the SBN offices. RRHQ is just down the hall from the McCovey Chronicles cubicles, so we run into him in the hallway quite often. He pulls double-duty upstairs at Baseball Nation, too, so he's obviously a busy fella. So of course, we were pretty excited when he agreed to take a few minutes to answer some questions for us before the series with the Giants this week. Here goes:
Kevin Mitchell is Batman - The Reds play in quite possibly the most hitter friendly park in the majors, and have the benefit of many games in Wrigley, Minute Maid, and Miller as well. The Giants get to play in massive parks at home, at Petco, and in Oakland. The Reds opted to outlay over $200 million in contracts to their best hitters and go with relatively inexpensive pitchers, while the Giants did the exact opposite...do you think that's a wise strategy, or bass-ackwards on both accounts?
Grant Brisbee - AT&T Park isn't the black void that people make it out to be -- it's been pretty neutral for hitters over the last few years. It'll take home runs away from lefties without Bondsian power, and it'll take a few homers away from righties, but that's about it.
I think the model is the Rangers
, who play in an extreme hitters' park. They decided to get the best everybodies. Pitchers who could pitch there, hitters who could hit there ... that's what teams should worry about. Lock up the talent that wants to stay, and develop the rest. If you can entice a free agent, that should be gravy, not the entire strategy.
KMiB - How in the world did Buster Posey miss fewer games with shingles than Tony LaRussa? Is it age, or is it due to the fact that people named Buster just don't get sick?
GB - I know this one! It's age. Shingles will screw you the hell up as you get older. That, and when Zeus turned into a swan and sexed up a maiden to conceive Posey, he left behind some Cortisone of the Gods.
KMiB - What are your thoughts on Mat Latos? The fact that we gave up a king's ransom is a sidenote, I guess, but what have you seen from him, and how do you see him fitting in Cincy? (We're certain he's the next Curt Schilling, but don't let that affect your response. OK, nevermind...just please tell us he's the next Curt Schilling.)
I respect Latos' talents, and he should be good for you guys, but he's a chirpy little bastard. You'll have to like him like White Sox
fans like A.J. Pierzynski
, and I'm sure a secret part of all of you will know just how gross that is.
KMiB - How firm of a grip on the GM position does Brian Sabean have? If the Zito deal didn't do him in, could a major outlay for Cain, Lincecum, AND Bumgarner?
GB - Sabean survived the post-Bonds era, when the Giants were miserable and the free agents were busts. He's around as long as he wants to be, for the most part. Maybe in five years, the Giants will be spending $80 million on pitchers who aren't pitching, and that'll do him in, but I'm sure that ownership was behind the Cain deal just as much as Sabean was. There were PR considerations behind keeping Cain.
KMiB - What in the hell is MLB going to do with the A's? Are they secretly delaying things in the hopes that a group will ridiculously overpay for the franchise and move them? How have the Giants handled the ordeal?
GB - I don't know too much about it. I know that there's an unbelievable amount of money at stake, and I'm endlessly amused by the people who want the Giants to give in or compromise because of some sort of altruistic streak.
KMiB - Other than Kevin Mitchell (of course), who is your favorite Giant of all time? I know it's hard to pick, but other than Kevin Mitchell (of course), who is your favorite Red of all time?
- I would have said Bill Mueller, but he went to the Dodgers' front office and broke my heart. So I'll go with Will Clark, with Kirk Rueter as a runner up. Favorite Red would be Eric Davis, and he gets bonus points for hitting like steamy garbage when he was on the Dodgers.
KMiB - Brandon Belt...wow. When will he be given a true shot and, by default, consistent playing time? We tend to get the feeling he's getting the offensive version of the Aroldis Chapman treatment.
GB - I think he should start, but I also think he has some legitimate issues that are being glossed over by the rabid free-Belt crowd. Dude swings and misses a lot. I would hope that would get better with experience/playing time, but I think a reasonable person can look at him and say "still needs work."
KMiB - Speaking of, what about Aroldis? What would you do with him? Will you please help us alert Dusty and Walt to his talent by voting him to start the All-Star game?
GB - Pitchers who learn how to throw strikes overnight freak me out. I wouldn't want to mess with that too much, but you kind of have to chase the upside, right? A shutdown reliever is a nice luxury, but if he could do 75% of what he does, but in the rotation, he could be the difference between playoffs/no playoffs.
I was scared he was going to be an Ankiel case when he was going through his struggles last year.
KMiB - On a scale of 1 to "I don't," how much do you miss having Dusty as your manager?
GB - Don't. At all. I like his rah-rah personality, and he's fun, but he drove me nuts with his strategies and utility-infielder fetishes. He was better than Felipe Alou, but I'll take Bochy over Baker, and it isn't especially close.
KMiB - Barry Bonds is to Pete Rose as _____ is to _____...
GB - James Brown is to Sting. The former is one of the greatest, but somewhat unlikable from a personal standpoint. And for a while there, the Police were really, really good! Amazing! One of the best bands ever! And then there was just Sting, and that sucked.
KMiB - Quick! In your best "token baseball blog Anonymous poster/commenter" style, propose a Reds/Giants trade to help both teams win now!
GB - I did that last week or so, I think. You guys are rightie-heavy in the OF, and we're lefty-heavy, so I was thinking Nate Schierholtz for Chris Heisey. Nate probably offers more defense, while Heisey offers more power.