Back from a couple of weeks in the desert (actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I was back Thursday), and brought with me some early impressions.
— Carlos Gonzalez is the real deal. The centerpiece of the Dan Haren deal appears to be the A’s best everyday prospect, and the gap between him and the others appears to be large. Gonzalez did something impressive every day I was around the A’s camp, and I had a handful of veterans tell me, “Watch out for Carlos Gonzalez. He’s going to be a star.” Maybe it doesn’t happen this year, but it’ll happen eventually.
— Gio Gonzalez might remind folks of Vida Blue. He’s left-handed, has a high leg-kick, and the ball seems to release from his hand with explosion. Not sure he throws as hard as Vida did, but from what I saw, his stuff moves. Again, this is a guy to watch.
— The Giants are going to be miserable. On the couple of occasions I saw them, they had trouble making routine plays. On many of the days I didn’t see them, stories of ineptitude found their way to the press box. I know, I know, it’s spring training and you can’t draw solid conclusions. But if the Giants avoid 95 losses, I’ll be stunned.
— One other anectdode that could be indicative of the Giants’ chances. A local network sports anchor told me his station had interviewed a bulk of what’s expected to be the Opening Day roster, and each interview ended with this question: “Give us a reason why the Giants won’t finish in last place?” The almost-unanimous answer, the anchor said: “We’re scrappy.” If that’s all you’re clinging to, then the mountain ahead is awfully steep.
— Barry Bonds is out of sight, but he’s not out of mind. Heard his name dropped by scouts and executives in conversations just about every day I was down there. The consensus: Somebody will sign him by the end of July.