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…. Sabean’s Dillemma

The venerable David Pinto notices what we’ve been lamenting for the last two seasons:

…. The Giants decided that after the 2003 season they would build a team to help Barry Bonds win the World Series. They signed old players, and the young hitters they brought along were not very good. There was talent, but with age came injuries and the spare parts weren’t available to fix what’s broken. By catering to a superstar rather than the fans, San Francisco not only won’t win a World Series for their star slugger, they’ve set themselves up to be poor for years to come. The talent on their aging team isn’t going to bring much back in trade. This isn’t the Marlins or the Athletics, where prime talent can bring back prospects. The Giants will need to either stay on the free agent treadmill or start a long term plan to build through the draft. Neither is going to result in any short term benefits.

I don’t think the Giants were catering to Bonds so much as I think Sabean became (blindly) enamored with his “veterans” approach to building a team. Or perhaps more accurately, he came up with his own undervalued commodity, the 40-year old. Whatever. However we got here, here is where we are now, in last place, staggering through the dog days of August.

Less than a month ago, as the trading deadline approached, I wondered whether the Giants were positioned to make a run, or whether they were about to collapse:

…. Should they make a move, or should they play it out? Who can tell. Bonds’ recent stolen base spree could be an indication of an improvement in his health, which in turn, might be an improvement in his bat. It also could be a precursor to a career-ending recurrence of his knee woes.

Again, the age of the team puts management in a very difficult position. Knowing that older players tend to decline as the season progresses, and knowing that these old-timers have had a hard enough time staying in the lineup as it is; makes projecting what’s going to happen from this point forward damn near impossible. So how can Sabean trade anyone? He could trade away more prospects, (perish the thought!) only to watch the Giants lose 12 of 15 over the next three weeks.

Sabean did trade another very young pitcher for another very old pitcher, and then the wheels did fall off. (You can call me Nostradamus) After reaching first place on the strength of their season-best five game winning streak (how weak is that, by the way?) Armando did what Armando does best; he took the sails out of his team, in devastating fashion. Now in the midst of a season-worst 1-11 stretch, Sabean finds himself in the same place he was when I wrote the previous piece; four games back in the one of the weakest divisions in recent baseball memory.

And as bad as that is, another five or six-game winning streak would, in fact, put the Giants right back in the thick of it. Just look at the Dodgers, who lost something like 12 of 15 (sound familiar?) are now riding an 8-game winning streak right back into it. Hence Sabean’s dillemma.

The division is so bad that the Giants actually still have hope. However, the team is so bad that, even if it made the postseason, it would take a miracle to make any noise. They would be underdogs, in some cases, huge underdogs to any team they faced. But, and it’s a big but, anything can happen in a seven-game series. Any team can beat any other team.

All that’s left for Sabean to do is to scour the waiver wire reports in the hope that somebody makes a big mistake and leaves a decent hitter or pitcher or whatever out there for him to scoop up on the cheap….. AAA–HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Hope is a ship that sunk off the coast of Florida.


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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