The Giants designated Kirk Rueter for assignment today, effectively ending his nine year stint with the team. By doing so, Brian Sabean is admitting he was wrong to sign Rueter to that two-year, $12 million dollar extension 18 months ago; one more wrong move in a series of staggeringly poor decisions that helped pave the way to the dismal 50-65 2005 season we are suffering through right now.
Unwatchable, uninteresting, uninspiring…. the 2005 Giants are a cobbled together team of misfits and has-been’s, and they are Brian Sabean’s. One look at the pitching staff and you can see exactly where Sabean failed, as the Giants cannot boast a single pitcher with an ERA below 4.00, or with 10 wins, or in the top 20 in just about any positive category, (for what it’s worth, Lowry is actually 30th in ERA, at 4.13, Schmidt is 35th at 4.29).
So what’s in store for 2006? At this point, I can’t imagine. The Giants have nothing but question marks. Tomko isn’t likely to be back, and the rest of 2005 will be utilized to determine whether Correia, Hennessey, Lowry and Schmidt will be able to drive the team towards that elusive world championship. Anyone want to bet that those four pitchers are the core of a contender’s staff?
The bullpen, if Benitez can come back and be himself, should be pretty good, with Munter, Eyre, Walker making up the core.
As for the offense, well, it’s hard to find positives. Alfonzo, Feliz, Snow, Ellison, Tucker, Neikro, Vizquel…. virtually every player on the field has huge holes in their game. Vizquel has a .714 OPS, and he’s been a revelation! Since the All-Star break, Alfonzo has 1 (ONE) extra-base hit. Ellison has two, as does JT Snow. Winn has been outstanding, he’s got 3 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs in 11 games, but the only Giants regular doing anything in the second half is Durham (.936 second-half OPS), which is really heart-warming, since he’s the most likely to be traded this off-season.
As a team, the Giants have run out a dismal .241/.297/.350 .647 OPS in the 28 games since the break, which translates into 3.5 runs per game. ’nuff said.
As for next season, an outfield of Bonds, Winn and Alou, with Ellison and Tucker as the backups won’t be too bad, at least offensively, but an infield with four out of five players struggling to hit 10 home runs won’t cut it.
The Giants are staggering to the finish of 2005, their worst season in a decade, and it’s hard to imagine this collection of players being around at the start of 2006, but who knows. It’s very possible that Sabean will continue to be hamstrung by the poor decision-making of the last three seasons, and all we’ll have to look forward to next season is the possible resumption of Bonds’ assault on the record books. Revamping your entire infield and your starting pitching in one off-season is very difficult, especially with the cupboards being so bare in the Giants minor league system.