Amateur Signing Bonuses: Giants

Next up in our amateur signing bonus series, the World Champion San Francisco Giants…

  1. Buster Posey, $6.2MM (2008)
  2. Zach Wheeler, $3.3MM (2009)
  3. Rafael Rodriguez, $2.55MM (2008)
  4. Angel Villalona, $2.1MM (2006)
  5. Tim Lincecum, $2.025MM (2006)

As we saw during their title run, the Giants have done a great job of drafting and developing the core of their team. Hot shot rookie catcher Buster Posey was at the center of attention, and San Francisco paid the price to bring him into their organization as the fifth overall pick: $6.2MM, at the time a record for a minor league contract. Posey tore through the minors in less than two years (.333/.427/.542) and established himself as the Giants' everyday catcher this summer. He hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 homers in 443 big league plate appearances this season, then topped it off with a strong postseason.

Wheeler was the sixth overall pick in last year's draft, and in his first pro season he pitched to a 3.99 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 5.8 BB/9 in 58.2 innings. He missed some time with a fingernail injury this summer. The Giants signed Rodriguez out of the Dominican Republic on his 16th birthday, and so far he's hit .280/.343/.355 in his young minor league career.

Villalona was arguably the top talent available out of Latin America back in 2006, and the Giants landed him for what was then the largest bonus in franchise history. He climbed the minor league ladder steadily until the 2009-2010 offseason, when it was announced by police that Villalona was a suspect in the murder of a 25-year-old man back in the DR. He eventually reached a settlement with the victim's family, however the prosecutor still intends to prosecute. Villalona has been free on bond since the settlement, but his United States visa has been revoked and his playing career with the Giants is essentially over. He has not played since the end of the 2009 season, and there have not been any updates on the status of the criminal case since April.

It's hard to believe that Lincecum lasted until the tenth overall pick in 2006, but that's exactly what happened. The Giants signed him and less than a year later he wasn't just in the big leagues, he was dominating. Lincecum won the Cy Young Award in each of his first two full major league seasons, and he made five starts (and one relief appearance, 2.43 ERA overall) this postseason, including winning the World Series clincher in Game Five over the Rangers. Overall, his big league career consists of a 3.04 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 811 innings. He's led the league in strikeouts and strikeout rate in each of the last three seasons.

Since I'm sure everyone is curious, I might as well mention that Matt Cain signed for $1.375MM as the 25th overall pick in 2002, Madison Bumgarner for $2MM as the tenth pick in 2007, and Jonathan Sanchez for just $2,500 as the 820th overall pick (27th round) in 2004. That's textbook development of a championship caliber rotation right there.

37 Responses to Amateur Signing Bonuses: Giants Leave a Reply

  1. MetsEventually 5 years ago

    Now that’s a damn good list. Looking at the Mets makes me sad.

    • Grab some pine, meat. 5 years ago

      Giants now, mets eventually.

      • MetsEventually 5 years ago

        Holy crap, Grab Some Pine, Meat? I love your name.

  2. Sniderlover 5 years ago

    Wow. Epic work by the Giants and their scouts.

  3. suPaFreaK 5 years ago

    Brandon Belt so far in the Rising Stars game on MLB Network is looking good. Great eye at the plate and he had two walks to show for it. He did show what kind of power he has by hitting the ball to left center 385 feet but was robbed of the hit by a great play by a center fielder. His last at bat he did strike out but the Brewers pitcher was throwing 99-100 Mph two seamer fastballs on the outside corner just filthy. So far Brandon Belt is showing me he is a Buster Posey on the left side because of the similarity of keeping their bats in the zone far longer than other hitters. So in conclusion we’ll probably be seeing this guy pretty soon and he’s going to contributing like Posey did in 2010!*Update: Belt took another walk in the 9th and I forgot to mention that he stole a base and scored a run. I really have to say I am very impressed with how he lays off off-speed pitches he has a very good eye. Plate coverage is also very good. So tonight he is 0-2 with 3 walks..

    • Grab some pine, meat. 5 years ago

      I started to watch that game, but ended up playing THE SHOW instead.

      • suPaFreaK 5 years ago

        Lol nice I’m jealous that you have The Show I’ve got a 360 and the MLB 2k series is not even close in quality. I’m feeling under the weather so I’m going to finish this game and afterwards switch on the 360 and fire up Mass Effect 2.

        • Adam R 5 years ago

          I actually went out and bought both games for PS3 to see which I like better. 2K has much better gameplay

  4. start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

    I’ve always said Sabean was the last GM in baseball who should be signing FA deals… but you have to admit his ability to pick the amateur talent is quite possibly the best in baseball.

    • suPaFreaK 5 years ago

      Well it has more to do with the scouting department than Sabean. Dick Tidrow, Bobby Evans, and John Barr are top flight workers helping Sabean out. But I totally agree with Sabean’s track record signing free agents but 2010 has proven again that he does pull great trades. Lopez, Sanchez, Kent, and Schmidt are some examples.

      • friscofan101 5 years ago

        sabean brought all those guys in and himself was a head scout with the Yankees. he is a very good judge of amateur talent and did a wonderful job assembling a team that he works very well with. what the giants need is a free agent platoon gm.

        • He was the head scout when the Yankees drafted Jeter, Pettitte, Williams, Mo, and Jorge. No wonder he’s a GM.

          • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

            I tend to give credit to Gene Michaels for that… the man Steinbrenner feared could build another empire.

          • Oh yeah. I think he traded Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill too. That was one of the best trades ever.

          • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

            No clue, but rumors are after he was demoted from GM he was given an outrageous salary to remain a yanks employee long term, I think as some kind of scout. And the Red Sox and multiple teams have requested over the years to ask for him to interview for their open GM spot… Rumors, but still…

        • Lincecum_Says_GSP 5 years ago

          Maybe we can have Bochy employing the double switch at the GM level… ohhhhh

    • BentoBox 5 years ago

      Daytoon Moore is another example of this.

  5. If it weren’t for that damn murder charge, this list might actually rival the Phils’ list.

    • suPaFreaK 5 years ago

      Seriously Angel was projected to have 40 HR power

  6. jphenix2002 5 years ago

    not a bad list.

  7. gornie 5 years ago

    hey hey, let’s not forget that prior to pablo sandoval (who hasn’t developed) and posey, sabean’s best position player drafted and developed on the farm was freakin’ pedro feliz. pedro feliz, yes in about 15 years that’s the best he could do.that said, kudos to sabean and thanks for bringing a championship to san francisco. i’m just afraid he’ll get a free pass for 5 more years. with this core, the giants should have a dynasty in the making…i hope sabean is the right guy for that job.

    • nzmrmn 5 years ago

      Betting the house on Barry Bonds will do that to your farm system.

      • gornie 5 years ago

        sabean inherited bonds, he had all his draft picks for over a decade and did nothing with them.

        • suPaFreaK 5 years ago

          Well the only thing about that is we kept signing free agents that costed us draft picks during the Bonds era and also not too mention from ’97-2004 we were winning a lot which meant Giants lower on the draft board. I don’t think its coincidence that after Bonds left Sabean and his team really were able to be successful drafting players. The organization was in a win now mode and drafting was not of the highest priority during the Bonds era. I just really like the transition the team has made over the last couple of years.

          • gornie 5 years ago

            excellent point, the giants did lose draft picks for grabbing guys like renteria and aaron rowand and mark derosa off the free agent market. but still, fifteen years and not a single major-league-caliber stick? that’s really hard to do. most gms wouldn’t have had the chance sabean got this year. thankfully he and bochy got it right in 2010!

            no offense to todd linden and travis ishikawa.

        • Gornie…he was following orders from higher up. They had a stadium to pay for and the ownership group wanted their profits as well. Something had to give. Spending money on scouting position players (they still scouted pitching heavily) and paying signing bonuses to first round draft picks…was where they cut corners. They went after names in the market that people recognized (Randy Winn, Edgardo Alphonso..etc) to make sure Barry had veterans around him and put a competitive team out there. That made sure tickets were still being bought. Was it good for the organization as a whole? Nope. But you can hardly blame a guy for doing what his boss(es) asked him to do.

          Mogowan stepping down was huge for a change in philosophy. Around that time..the Giants started to spend more money in international scouting and took the draft and rebuild of their farm system VERY seriously. This was Sabean. Yes..his people like Tidrow did an amazing job. But the ultimate decision was his and his alone.

          Time to get off the “Sabean sucks” bandwagon and realize..the guy can build when provided the opportunity to do so.

          • gornie 5 years ago

            ok, so i’ll bow to the argument that sabean won a championship and i should get off his case. but i won’t agree with an argument that says he can produce when given a chance. the guy had 15 years and inherited the greatest player of his generation. but let’s not even go that far back — let’s just look at the post-bonds era. sabean signed mark derosa, coming off a career-threatening injury, for twice as much as the next highest bidder…and it turned out he wasn’t recovered. he signed rowand for $13m per year when nobody offered him more than 10, and he tacked on two additional years for kicks. he signed renteria for 2 yrs $9m per, eating up the entire free agent budget that year…only to watch bobby abreu sign for 1 yr $5m later that offseason. sabean dug himself such a huge hole that $40m in salary was sitting on the bench heading into playoffs. not injured, just not effective: zito, rowand, renteria. we know how this played out, but only because burrell and ross and torres and huff and posey and uribe — geez, how long is this list and do you really think sabean knew this would happen — had performances way above and beyond expectation.

            again, i’ll back down from a “giants won, chill out” but hell no is sabean a competent gm. giants ownership set the salary at a certain amount each year and he failed to use it effectively. bill neukom deserves as much credit as anyone for this championship, for opening up the wallet to bring in ross for $1m and guillen (didn’t work out but neukom signed the paychecks). and now they’re letting sabean crack $100m in salary this year. wouldn’t be necessary if sabean had avoided huge mistakes like derosa and rowand and zito.

            all that said, it is with great joy that i thank brian sabean and bruce bochy and bill neukom for delivering a world title to sf. slate is clean now, i hope sabean can work this right. there could be a dynasty in the making.

  8. moonraker45 5 years ago

    pffft what a rip off Sanchez was.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      Yeah, I’d trade him to the Royals for a bag of peanuts right now… *nudge nudge wink wink oh you’re wicked*

      He’s really come a long way, but I think the kid has some stress under pressure issues that are now stopping him from becoming a great pitcher.

      • turkeyslayer80 5 years ago

        He doesn’t need to be great. He is our #4 starter. He is by far the best #4 starter in the game. Geez.

    • Their front four will be nasty for some time. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner. I really don’t know who can match that.
      As a Phils fan, I don’t look forward to this. But talent speaks for itself.

      • moonraker45 5 years ago

        It’s true, the only problem is chances are if they don’t improve their offence they might not even make the playoffs again. . . but if they do, watch out.

  9. chacha711 5 years ago



    • turkeyslayer80 5 years ago

      is that a joke. Unload Zito and Rowand and get Crawford. How they owe Z and Row 50+ mil. They would have to eat 40 mil atleast. That means no money for Crawford etc.

  10. chacha711 5 years ago

    It’s not Sabean’head pickin this talent. but the SFGiants Scouts who deserve the credit ie. x-pitcher Dick Tidrow (knows pitching, as a good chucker in his day), etc!!!

  11. chacha711 5 years ago

    Expensive price for 1 “murdering criminal/Angel Vilona” $2 mill…Was it paid “all upfront in advance”? Wonder if they can write it off or does it just go to his defense fund n/or to victims family?!

  12. HipNip2009 5 years ago

    The $6.2 million they spent on Posey was a steal. Franchise catchers don’t come around very often. We have our younger version of Joe Mauer. If only Sabes hadn’t signed Zito and Rowand……..sigh

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