Whenever any criticism of the San Francisco Giants comes up, fans are quick to point out the team’s three World Series wins in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
The idea is, nothing negative can be said about the franchise because of those wins.
But here’s the deal: ownership and the front office did not use those championships as a springboard to create a vibrant and sustainable winning franchise for the future.
As a result, the Giants organization is about to enter year four of a dismal, increasingly unwatchable, mess. Where fans are asked to continue bonding with the team’s aging core group and also become excited by an unending supporting cast of less than league average players.
The depth of San Francisco’s fumbled stewardship of this historic National League franchise has been on full display in their substandard minor league system, inept annual player drafting, ham-fisted player contract management, and a series of overpriced signings of unproductive free agents.
Add to that, the Giants top executives are openly anti-analytics, giving politically correct lip-service to sabermetrics but in practice completely (and happily) out of touch with where the game has gone in the past fifteen years.
Eagerly enabling the Giants front office in their commitment to “old school” baseball is the Bay Area’s out of touch, obsequious baseball media.
Local SF sports columnists desperately miss Dusty Baker, believe all this home run power nonsense will soon disappear, and prattle on embarrassingly about how “computers” can’t win championships.
“Computers” is how many in the Giants baseball media refer to advanced analytics. Don’t ask me why, except that I guess it’s convenient to condemn the tools used as opposed to taking the time to understand the actual ground-breaking concepts.
I wonder if the San Francisco Chronicle’s sportswriters also believe that computers shouldn’t be used to write sports columns?
Next October, when the Giants finish the 2018 season around, under (or seriously below) .500, that will make four years of regression instead of positive momentum; four years of ignoring sustainability and utterly squandering the opportunity to create a championship organization.
And the latest result in this Era of Fumbled Legacy? Now, apparently no one wants any part of the San Francisco Giants.
Both coaches said “no thanks” and then signed with the Cubs.
The Giants recently lost their third base coach, Phil Nevin, to the Yankees.
The guy San Francisco is grooming to be their manager of the future, former hitting coach Hensley Meulens, lost his bid to become the new Yankees manager to Aaron Boone— a former player with zero on-field coaching experience.
But there was good news when Giants General Manager Bobby Evans suggested that the Giants’ full-court pursuit of superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton was about to pay off.
During a local radio interview, Evans intimated that the Giants were just about to sign Stanton.
Several days later Stanton summarily rejected going to San Francisco. Because it is a team, Stanton suggested, that was going nowhere.
San Francisco also made an all out push to sign Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. In fact, GM Evans and a cadre of Giant front office staff went to Japan several months ago to personally court Ohtani and his agent.
Ohtani had previously made it clear (how clear? crystal) that he would only consider signing with a team that would allow him to both pitch and hit.
The week Evans was in Japan trying to convince Ohtani to join the Giants, Manager Bruce Bochy gave an interview back in San Francisco stating that he felt that Ohtani’s determination to pitch and hit was unrealistic. “I don’t think that will work”, Bochy helpfully offered.
That must have played well during those meetings back in Japan.
So between the Winter Meetings and Opening Day, the Giants are faced with somehow patching together a 25-man roster to go up against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, and the soon-to-be viable San Diego Padres in the NL West.
For a total of 76 games.
San Francisco’s current litany of needs has been written about ad infinitum—two outfielders, a third baseman, several quality bullpen pieces, and more starting pitching.
Oh, and power. Lots and lots of power.
The Giants already have a huge disadvantage in the trade market— other teams just aren’t that interested in SF’s low rated farm system “prospects” or in their aging group of prized “core” players on the big team.
But now San Francisco’s fumbling has created another serious disadvantage, this time in the free agent market. Everyone knows the Giants are desperate which means they’ll have to overpay to get even mid-level free agent players to join their dysfunctional organization.
So, a quick poll.
Even though the Giants will have to pay more to snag a free agent, none of this is about money. As we often note here, the San Francisco Giants have by far baseball’s wealthiest ownership group, and the game’s fourth richest franchise (@forbes.com).
They can pass the $197 million luxury tax line at 100 miles per hour without missing a beat. But this team’s needs can’t be solved by a just couple of trades and a couple of free agent signings.
Even if the Giants somehow signed two actual impact players, it wouldn’t be nearly enough.
So I’m thinking maybe it’s time to start the conversation about what the Giants’ needs will be in 2019…