Tagged: Neil Huntington

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 5, Chase Utley


Chase Utley is a fine player who didn’t have the best NLCS. But More Splash Hits didn’t pick him for this list for his .182 batting average in the NLCS, or that he only had one extra base hit or only one RBI, or the fact that he wasn’t able to knock down a couple of RBI singles by the Giants.

No, what earned his spot onto this list is what he did in Game 6 of the NLCS.

It was the bottom of the third and Jonathan Sanchez could not find the strike zone to save his life. He had already walked Placido Polanco to open the inning. Then he hit Utley square in the back with what would be Sanchez’s final pitch of the night.

The ball bounced high in the air after hitting Utley. As he made his way to first base, Utley was able to pick the ball up on one bounce and rolled it out toward Sanchez.

Then, Sanchez glared at Utley. We can’t be sure what Sanchez then said to Utley. But our best lip-reading leads us to believe Sanchez said “thank you” except that Sanchez has trouble with the “th” sound, replacing it with “f” sound — much like my 6-year-old often does.

Utley then stepped toward Sanchez, asking him to clarify his remarks. Sanchez said “thank you” again.

Misunderstanding Sanchez’s gratitude, Utley waved Sanchez off, and then the dugouts and bullpens emptied.

Well, not entirely. Jeremy Affledt, who had been warming up, remained in the bullpen, getting ready while most of the Phillies and Giants gathered on the field for some aggressive loitering.

By the time order was restored, Affledt was ready to go. He came in for Sanchez and got Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino out to end the threat and keep the score tied 2-2. That enabled the Giants to claim a 3-2 win on Juan Uribe’s homer and win the NL championship.

If Affledt weren’t ready to pitch, the Phillies could have blown the game open in the third inning and forced a seventh game. Then, who knows what would have happened.

So, for helping the Giants stall for Affledt, More Splash Hits says to Chase Utley: “Thank you.”

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

No. 7, Roy Oswalt

No. 8, Bud Black

No. 9, Paul Emmel

No. 10, Bengie Molina


The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giant Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

Yeah, yeah, More Splash Hits know. These are two guys in the No. 6 spot, which of course means this is a Top-11 list and not a Top-10 list. Really, I mean you can’t even send the Christmas Card to the same address.

But there are similarities enough between Friedman and Huntington to group them together for this purpose.

And if you’re hung up on the 10-or-11 thing, consider the No. 6 spot a readers’ choice (i.e. you can send a Xmas card to Friedman or Huntington).

On Jan. 5, 2009, Friedman, general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, went against rule No. 1 of any baseball general manager — and that is don’t sign a free agent who is older than you — when he signed Pat Burrell for two years, $16 million. Burrell is actually about a month older than Friedman.

But Friedman went with a different strategy. And that’s “If you can’t beat him, sign him.” Burrell was a member of the Phillies the previous fall when Philly beat Tampa Bay in the World Series.

But Burrell, who had never hit fewer than 18 home runs in any of his previous nine big-league seasons, hit 14 in his first year with the Rays, batting .221.

In 2010, it got worse. Burrell was .202 with 2 HRs and 13 RBI when he was released by the Rays on May 19.

Ten days later, he was signed by the Giants, and hit .261 with 18 HRs with the Giants and was a pivotal part of the Giants’ push into the playoffs.

With Huntington, the Pirates GM, it’s a similar story. Huntington signed Lopez for $775,000 after the left-handed pitcher posting a 9.26 ERA in 14 games with the Red Sox in 2009.

Lopez was solid with the Pirates, posting a 2.79 ERA in 38.2 IP. But with Lopez was arbitration eligible after the 2010 season, the low-budget Bucs traded him to the Giants for OF John Bowker and LHP Joe Martinez.

Lopez went on to post a 1.42 ERA in 19 IPs for the Giants. In the postseason, he gave up one run in 5.2 IPs with six Ks.

Also Huntington was responsible for the deal that sent 2B Freddy Sanchez to San Francisco for pitching prospect Tim Alderson. Alderson went 11-9 with a 6.03 ERA between Class A and AA in 2010.

Oh, and there’s one other link between Friedman and Huntington, besides helping the Giants with some key players.

The Ray and Pirates were two of the four teams that passed on Buster Posey in the 2008 MLB first-year player draft. The Royals and Orioles are the other two.

So thanks Andrew and Neil for all the players — Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Javier Lopez AND Buster Posey.

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

No. 7, Roy Oswalt

No. 8, Bud Black

No. 9, Paul Emmel

No. 10, Bengie Molina