Glenn Dickey wrote a fairly damning critique of the SF Giants' GM, Brian Sabean, in Saturday's Chronicle. In it, he focuses on three areas where he feels the Giants have dropped the ball. In reading the piece, it seems that he is kind of rambling, because he somehow comes to the conclusion that Sabean overpaid to get Alfonzo because he was bitter that the Giants lost the Series in '02. Well…. I don't know about that.
As for being bitter, well, you bet your ass they were bitter. Who wasn't? I was. Dusty made a couple of mistakes, but the odds were still overwhelmingly in favor of the team holding off the Angels in that 6th game. They didn't, and as I wrote then:
The Giants suffered perhaps the the most disheartening and distressing loss in the history of baseball tonight, losing 6-5 to the Anaheim Angels, who became the first team in the history of the game to win an elimination game of any kind after trailing by five runs or more.
I don't know how you could lose that game and not be bitter. It was as devastating a loss as any team has ever had to suffer through. Maybe Mr. Boswell will help refresh your memory:
…. the Giants had drubbed the Angels by an amazing score of 25-4 over the previous 21 innings. In that process, the Giants had come back from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 4, 4-3, beating the super-rookie reliever Rodriguez in the process. They'd utterly embarrassed the Halos, 16-4, in Game 5 (and might have scored 20 runs with a bit more luck). And the Giants seemed to have several more runs than they needed to clinch Game 6.
No wonder Dusty baked the victory cake a little too soon. As soon as Ortiz departed, the next eight Angels batters, off four different Giants pitchers, produced two home runs, a double off the left field wall and three
singles — all in the span of fewer than 25 pitches. In the most stunning comeback ever made by any team facing Series elimination, the Angels turned a five-run deficit with eight outs left into a 6-5 win in which they didn't even have to use their turn at bat in the ninth.
Bitter? You bet your ass.
As for Sabean, Dickey's right to criticize the Alfonzo deal, in which Sabean came to the podium and told us that Alfonzo's back was fine, even though he hadn't had to take a physical. He suggested anyone who doubted Alfonzo's ability to drive the ball anymore was an idiot. Well, who's the idiot now? Alfonzo has essentially no power, and is among the highest paid third basemen in the game.
In keeping with Sabean's addiction to veterans, Alfonzo has already joined the JT Snow contract Hall of Fame. Put his bronze bust alongside Marvin Benard, Shawon Dunston, and the newest member of the fraternity, Kirk Rueter. In fact, it's my humble opinion that Sabean's greatest flaw is this; he overpays for mediocrity, often in the face of overwhelming evidence. In essence, he goes all-in with J-8 off-suit, all the time. That's why the Giants couldn't make a run at Guerrero. Not the stiffs he couldn't have signed this year, but the tens of millions of dollars he pissed away on stiffs over the last five years.
The final flaw in Sabean's approach Dickey hits head on; while Billy Beane is re-inventing the process of drafting talent and running a minor league system; Sabean's farm system has produced exactly one player even remotely close to a top-level talent in the last decade, Keith Foulke. Name another Giants draft choice who rivals anybody on the A's roster. One. You can't. The Giants minor league system is among the poorest in all of baseball. Consequently, the Giants have nobody like, say, Alfonso Soriano; whom the Yankees paid about $2 million dollars for his first 95 home runs.
Instead, the Giants have Cody Ransom, a warm body who wouldn't be the 25th man for the Brewers.