With Dodgers deal done, focus turns to A's-Giants

With Dodgers deal done, focus turns to A's-Giants

The Los Angeles Dodgers are now officially worth three times as much as the San Francisco Giants, and part of the reason is Warriors part-owner Peter Guber.Frank McCourt finally found a number he could live with -- 2 billion -- and people who could deliver the number - Guber, Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and a bunch of others. And unless Major League Baseball rejects the sale because Guber still hasn't explained what the hell the Warriors are doing to Bud Selig's satisfaction, the deal is done.Which means that the A'sGiants San Jose spitfest is one hurdle closer to being settled. Maybe.MLB has been grappling with the Mets and Dodgers, and their horrific ownership issues, as top priorities, which means that John Fisher and Charlie Johnson's inabilities to come to an equitable price to settle the matter of who gets San Jose have put the A's planned move on hold for more than two years now.That's every song in the history of muzak, thrice.And unless MLB actually doesn't give a damn what happens to San Jose, or the A's have been bluffing about having the money to cover the new ballpark and the tribute to the Giants, this could come to a conclusion sometime soon.Again, maybe.The number of moving parts that have to be greased for such an undertaking are far more than most people know, and since MLB has the antitrust protection that allows it to roadblock just about anything it doesn't really want to do, greasing is only part of the process.There is also the matter of prioritization, and by almost any measure the Dodgers were more important than the A's and Giants combined. If you take the Forbes numbers released last week, the Dodgers were 536,000,000 more important than our two teams, and that was when the Dodgers were listed at 1.4 billion.So now the gap is, for argument's sake, 1.136 billion, and when you throw in the Mets' valuation of 719 million, Bernie Madoff and all, the Giants and A's matter exactly 1.855 billion less to Bud Selig and the other 28 elven rich than the Dodgers and Mets.That, plus the intractability of our two little mom-and-pops to agree with each other, plus the matter of whether the A's have their financing down, is why we are in the holding pattern we are in.Not because the mythicalnonsensicalP.R. illusion blue ribbon panel hasn't released its findings yet - that has been a pathetic lie from the start. The blue ribbon panel has found San Jose on a map, period. That's all it could do, because this is an argument between very rich folks, and nothing is more vicious than rich people arguing about becoming richer.But the Mets have settled their end of the Madoff case now, and the Dodgers have finally rid themselves of the malignancy of the McCourt regime, which means Bud can start making phone calls and waiting for guidance on how to whip votes, and eventually a decision will be made that will satisfy one party, or maybe none.If they want to. There is still the possibility that Selig and the owners that really matter still haven't found the strength to give a damn about the Bay Area. There is a bias in ownership circles, and it's not East CoastWest Coast. It's juice, and frankly, neither the Giants nor A's may have a lot.Fisher has been a profit-taker, Johnson is the Giants' third lead money man in five years, and Larry Baer and Lew Wolff are front men who talk the talk so that Fisher and Johnson don't have to. That probably isn't the kind of throw-weight that makes the real powers in MLB sit back and say, "Boy, we'd better keep them happy."But now the agenda items above them have been cleared, and now Bud is going to have to make the phone call he's been delaying all this time, in the Marlon Brando Godfather voice:"How much will it take for us to come to an accommodation?"And then things should move pretty fast after that. I'd give it 15 months.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

ALAMEDA – Eddie Vanderdoes knows his UCLA game tape is inconsistent. The powerful defensive tackle admits he wasn’t always at his best, especially after tearing his ACL in 2015. Before that, he was difficult to stop. Afterward, he wasn’t the same player. He doesn’t blame the knee.

He struggled with ankle injuries and weight issues in 2016, a lackluster campaign by his own standard. Since that season ended, Vanderdoes has returned to 100 percent. His ankles are fine. His knee is great. And he lost 40 pounds heading into the NFL scouting combine, preparing for a return to his old self.

The Raiders see great potential in the former Bruin and made him their third-round pick on Friday evening. The Auburn native was excited by the prospect, and believes the Raiders will get his absolute best. His voice was passionate, his determination clear even on a conference call with local press.

“I am going to be the player I was earlier in my career,” Vanderdoes said. “I had a bad season. That wasn’t me. That’s not the person that I am. That’s not the character that I hold. I’m definitely going to bring that to the Raiders’ defensive line. I’m going to bring that energy and I’m really happy to be an Oakland Raider.”

The Raiders will be thrilled if that’s true. They liked what he showed at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, where he showed traits that should translate to NFL production.

“I am definitely back 100 percent, very confident with the combine, the Senior Bowl,” Vanderdoes said. “I got my explosiveness back. I got my speed back, my athleticism back. I am definitely at the top of shape right now, so I’m ready to get back to work and show them the player that they saw on the film and the player that they wanted to draft and I’m also looking to turn even more heads and do things that some people might expect that I couldn’t do.”

That includes rushing the passer, being a consistent three-down tackle in the Raiders scheme. He might be a rotational player first, filling the void created when Stacy McGee left in free agency.

“He’s a good, active defensive lineman that we think his best football is in front of him,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He had an ACL (injury) a couple of years ago. His weight has been up and down. We expect him to come in here and be a real professional and work hard with (head strength and conditioning coach) Joe Gomes and the strength staff and get himself ready to roll. He needs to come in here and add depth to our defensive line and give us a little interior push.”

Vanderdoes believes he can do more than that if he does things right. If his weight stays down, strength stays up and he learns the system well, he wants to compete for a significant role as a rookie.

“I’m coming in expecting to contribute and play right away,” Vanderdoes said. “That’s the mindset that I’ve always had. I’ve came with that mindset that I need to be the guy to step in and do what I do and dominate. I definitely think people slept on me a little bit this past offseason.

“I love the fact that (the NFL) slept on me, I think that’s what motivated me every morning waking up, knowing that I get to prove people wrong. I think I’ve done a good job so far of that, and I’m going to keep doing as well being an Oakland Raider because I know I’m at the bottom again. I have to work my way back up.”