Giants sign C Max Ramirez to minor league deal

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Giants sign C Max Ramirez to minor league deal

June 21, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO
CSNBayArea.com staff

The Giants have signed minor league free agent catcher Max Ramirez to a contract and assigned him to play with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, a source close to the situation has confirmed to CSNBayArea.com.

Ramirez, released last after hitting .226 with the Houston Astros' Triple-A affiliate, will wear No. 28 with the Grizzlies.

That number at the major league level belongs to Buster Posey, who is out for the season after a collision at home plate on May 25.

With their star catcher on the disabled list, the Giants have relied on Eli Whiteside on Chris Stewart, who have both struggled offensively in the 2010 Rookie of the Year's absence.

GM McKenzie: Raiders can sustain success, ‘we’ve built this thing to last’

GM McKenzie: Raiders can sustain success, ‘we’ve built this thing to last’

ALAMEDA – Reggie McKenzie doesn’t talk to the media often, maybe a handful of times per year. That’s been the case since he became Raiders general manager in early 2012 and, throughout that time, those interactions come with a common line of questioning.

Everyone wanted to know about his grand plan to return the Raiders to greatness, or a progress report on it. It was a tall order, and McKenzie never said it was going to happen fast.

He had to get right with the salary cap and completely overhaul the roster, actions nearly impossible to do in tandem. He radically deconstructed, then reconstructed in a method that would set the team up for long-term success.

This was not a steady ascent. Poor play was expected early on, though mistakes intensified tough times and muddled his vision to the short sighted.

McKenzie never wavered, trusted his internal compass and steered this pirate ship through a storm. The skies have finally cleared. His Raiders are 9-2 heading into Sunday’s game against Buffalo, armed with a franchise quarterback, elite pass rusher and a respected head coach.

There’s a hulking offensive line, a pair of top receivers and quality cornerbacks secured for the long term.

Those old questions aren't valid anymore. 

Deconstruction is long done. Reconstruction is clearly complete. Now it’s on to the next phase: Sustaining success.

“The key is that your drafted players become your core,” McKenzie said on Thursday in a meeting with local press. “As far as (what's next), you need to know you can sign them and keep them and continue that process.

“That’s where we are right now, and we feel good about where we are. We think we’ve built this thing to last.”

McKenzie has done so with a three-pronged attack.

1. He has drafted extremely well, over the last three years especially, building a young core headlined by Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, Gabe Jackson and Karl Joseph.

2. McKenzie found a respected head coach in Jack Del Rio guys want to play for, with a staff focused on development.

3. McKenzie has supplemented well in free agency – importing Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson Michael Crabtree and Donald Penn, to name a few -- generally without saddling himself with burdensome contracts.

The Raiders were so flush with cap space a few years ago they were able to fork out huge amounts up front on contracts that become pay-as-you-go deals without dead money later on.

They often use roster bonuses over signing bonuses -- roster bonuses hit the cap all at once; salary bonuses impact the cap over the life of the contract – to help mitigate long-term impact. In short, that gives the Raiders financial flexibility and cap space to play with each year. 

They’ll need it soon. Raiders premier players have come cheap, but the taxman is coming. Carr and Mack are still on rookie deals, but big contract extensions are a fait accompli. The same goes for Cooper when the time comes.

“The premier players will get paid, and we’ll try and keep everything intact as much as we can,” McKenzie said. “But what happens when your talented players play well? Contracts come up at times where they can benefit from it.”

Some teams -- New Orleans, for example -- suffer with a few players consuming significant cap space. Other teams, like New England and Seattle, keep on trucking with a good quarterback, defensive cornerstones and cheaper replacements through the draft or free agency.

“You have to continue to function with some young players,” McKenzie said, “and you have to find some mid-tier veterans who can step in and play well.”

The Raiders have been good mining undrafted free agents – McKenzie takes particular pride in those – to help keep the cupboard stocked.

While the Raiders rise may seem concentrated, from 3-13 in 2014 to 9-2 nearly two completed seasons later, it wasn’t quite so quick. McKenzie’s first two seasons were extremely lean while disposing of bad contracts, with a few hiccups that led many to question his vision.

Owner Mark Davis wasn't one of them. He stuck with McKenzie, a decision that looks pretty darn smart. His GM is certainly thankful for that.

“We were in constant communication the four years leading up to this year,” McKenzie said. “Nobody’s excited about losing seasons, but he did see the promise, and he believed in me. That was enough said. I told him my process, and he knew it wasn’t going to be a quick fix. We could try, but that wasn’t my style. That says a lot, because he was probably getting it from a whole lot of people to hurry up.”
 

Rewind: Warriors commit sin in Kerr's offense, fail to close out Rockets

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USATI

Rewind: Warriors commit sin in Kerr's offense, fail to close out Rockets

OAKLAND – The Warriors, possessors of the NBA’s best offense, never really found their rhythm Thursday night against one of the league’s softest defenses, and the disappointment was not limited to seeing the end of a winning streak.

No, the Warriors didn’t much like what they put on the floor in a 132-127 double-overtime loss to Houston. They engaged in a bit of self-flagellation and, quite frankly, they deserved it.

“All in all, it was our execution,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We weren’t moving and cutting like we normally do. I just felt like our ball movement went away and as a result we just kind of fell into their switching and kind of went one-on-one and took difficult shots. We have to do better with that.”

Which may be why Draymond Green, in a scorching dissection of the Warriors’ performance, spared no one.

[POOLE: Draymond sarcastically praises refs after frustrating loss to Rockets]

“We didn’t shoot well, and a part of that not shooting well was we were just standing there,” he began. “And it turned into the Steph Curry Show, the Kevin Durant Show. And that’s not who we are. We move the ball – and then it turns into the Steph Curry Show, and then it turns into the Kevin Durant Show. And they’re getting great shots.

“It’s not their fault that I was standing at the top of the key, and the other guys were standing on the weak side watching them play. I would do what they were doing, too, if everybody else is just standing there watching. That falls on us. We were over there watching.”

No aspect was more maddening for the Warriors than the two overtimes, during which they shot 25 percent (5-of-20) – including an utterly galling 9.1 percent in the second and decisive five-minute period.

They failed to get a field goal before Curry fouled out with 3:25 left, and got only one as he watched from the bench. Houston focused on Durant, whose efforts to carry the Warriors were in vain, as he was 0-of-4 in the second OT.

“Our offense wasn’t moving,” Green said. “(Durant) took all tough shots, and it wasn’t his fault. Everybody else stood and watched him play. I don’t think he was necessarily tired. I think every shot he took in overtime was contested, because we were all standing there.”

That’s a sin in Kerr’s offense, which relies on movement by the players and the ball. Instead, the offense seemed to deflate. Joining Green and Durant on the floor for most of the finish were Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

They managed four points in five minutes, with Green accounting for all four.

Truthfully, though, the Warriors were sagging all night. Though Durant started well enough, making 8-of-14 through three quarters (he was 4-of-14 from the fourth quarter on), he got little help. Thompson was 4-of-20. Curry was 9-of-22.

“We didn’t move the ball very well and we didn’t execute down the stretch,” Kerr explained.

Houston was superior almost across the board, from shooting percentage to rebounding and from points in the paint to second-chance points, which is why they led for the vast majority of the game.

James Harden was fabulous on offense, pretty much orchestrating the action en route to a triple double (29 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists). Ryan Anderson scored 29 points.

The Rockets were particularly effective grabbing offensive rebounds and turning them into points.

“We have to do a better job, come in and grab rebounds,” said Durant, who pulled 13. “If we had grabbed a couple of more, we would have won this game, but life has to move on.”

With Durant scoring 39 points and Green (20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists) trying to will them to victory, the Warriors hung around. But when Curry and Thompson combine for 13-of-42 shooting, 7-of-26 beyond the arc, the Warriors usually are in trouble.

“We had our moments especially in the first overtime,” Kerr said. “We had a real cushion. I think we were up four (119-115, 4:11 left) and I thought we let it slip away at that point when we had every opportunity to finish them off.”

The Warriors instead were outscored 17-8 over the final nine minutes of action. That has to hurt when you’re rich in offensive talent, in a system designed to ring up points. All too often on this night, the Warriors seemed to forget about that.