The 2019 menu for the San Francisco Giants looked to be pretty well laid out.
This season they were supposed to be standing in a cafeteria line with a difficult choice between the same old tired meatloaf or going crazy at the build your own super sandwich bar.
Should the Giants doggedly hold on to their aging, poor performing veterans or retool the organization from the floor up? And the farther below .500 the team performed this season the harder it became to argue against selling everything that wasn’t nailed down.
But then the Giants unexpectedly tossed the menu away, left the cafeteria and hailed an Uber to win-town.
Through July 22nd San Francisco has a 15-3 record for the month. Their combined June/July record is 29-16, after a dismal 22-34 March/April/May.
From the moment he took over last Fall, President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi made a redo of the Giants outfield his first major project.
Over the previous three seasons that outfield had been among the most half-baked offensive units in the game and featured a subzero defense.
The process was deliberate and long, with Zaidi being trolled unmercifully by fans for sifting through a dozen players in search of the right mix.
In the meantime, San Francisco’s bullpen was gorging on quality innings, coming in 5th overall in the Majors with a collective 3.88 ERA. And the pen wasn’t eating small portions: SF’s relief corps has racked up 385.1 IP, the most in the National League to date.
The cake was fully baked when CF Kevin Pillar (96 games, .701 OPS) was joined by OF Mike Yastrzemski (49 games, .265/.307/.600), and OF Alex Dickerson (24 games, .397/.463/.795). All of a sudden Zaidi found several ingredients missing from his outfield: some high carb offense and an increasingly tastier defense.
However, Yastrzemski will be 29 next month and spent six years in the minors with Baltimore. Dickerson is also 29 years old, with seven years in the minor leagues. So their current success won’t be remotely sustainable.
All in all, the past several weeks have been a wonderful treat for Giants fans, who have spent too many seasons living off past scraps and were starved for success. No matter what happens from this point on, this run by Manager Bruce Bochy and this medium/well-done group of sizzling ballplayers has been delicious.
But now the July 31st MLB trade deadline looms. Serious decisions have to be made that could possibly affect the Giants for years to come.
The key question to be answered is, exactly what’s cooking here? Has the predicted 2019 menu really changed or has the past month just been a tasty temporary snack?
There’s too much evidence suggesting that this fun-run has been a classic false-positive, albeit a very impressive one. Because the little Casey Stengel in my head says it’s still difficult to see this team managing to stay above .500 through September.
So the San Francisco Giants need to make those trades. Madison Bumgarner, the best bullpen pieces, even those round weights the hitters use on their bats in the on-deck circle. Everything must go.
And I think the Giants will be OK. Either way they won’t make the playoffs, but they’ll be OK. And building a winning organization for the future will be the ultimate just dessert.