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…. Backtalk

Great to see the new backtalk threaded feature working so well. I thought that I would front-page Mr. Hobbes, since he’s so adamantly disagreeing with me. Sorry if this isn’t nice. At least he made the big time: ;-D

…. The Giants had a $50-65 million dollar payroll until they moved into the new ballpark in 2000. Since then its been anywhere from 75-90 mill. Compare that to the Indians who had one of the biggest payrolls from 97-2002 as they were in 1st place nearly every year. It wasn’t until 2003 that they started to rebuild that their budget shrunk as they focused on player development. And now since they are good again their budget is only going to grow as they sign guys to extensions or sign more free agents to improve their roster to stay in contention.

Oakland and Minnesota have been low to mid-level budget teams and have been rarities among ML teams in terms of being able to stay in contention by developing young players and not being able to keep their star players. Atlanta was a big market team, much larger budget than the Giants until the past few years, when they’ve had to cut payroll (something that coincided with them missing the playoffs for the first time in 14 years). Yet they still have an 89 million dollar payroll this year. Less then they had before when it was over 100 million, but still; and they haven’t been a poor team at all.

Also, if you want to bring up all the young players developed by the A’s, Twins etc., all of those teams sucked for a few years or more, and that’s how they were able to draft well, because they were picking in the top 10 repeatedly. Eric Chavez, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder were all top 10 picks made by the A’s. Nick Swisher was 16th overall. Until recently the Giants hadn’t been selecting until the late 1st round, that’s if they even had a 1st round pick. The Twins did the same thing, Joe Mauer was the 1st pick of the draft. Atlanta took Chipper Jones 1st overall in 1990.

Will Clark, Matt Williams and Robby Thompson are considered the last good position players developed by the Giants. All 3 were top picks. Look at the franchise players in the majors. I guarantee the majority of them were high 1st round picks with the exception of guys signed out of Latin America or Albert Pujols who was a JC player taken in the 13th round.

A-Rod was 1st overall, Griffey was too, Jeter was 6th overall, Prince Fielder 7th overall, Adrian Gonzalez 1st overall, Chase Utley 15th overall, Manny Ramirez 13th overall, Barry Bonds 6th overall, Gary Sheffield 6th overall, and it goes on and on.

First of all, the Indians pioneered the strategy of signing their good young players to extensions in order to lock up their best players through their most productive — and young — years. They let Ramirez, Lofton and the rest of that team leave only after those deals had expired, or were about to. They never had a top ten payroll, to the best of my recollection, until after that.

As for the rest of your argument, well, come on. How can you possibly compare the draft strategies of the A’s or the Twins with the Giants. Both teams have been on the cutting edge of player evaluation for the same decade that the Giants have been sucking the pipe. Swisher was the only legitimate top pick you just referenced, the rest of the A’s roster is made up of guys nobody but Beane wanted, and you — and every single baseball fan in the world — know that. In particular, Zito and Mulder were soft-throwing pitchers that Beane had to argue with his own guys to draft.

The Twins have an organization-wide system of developing players. They teach a particular approach to hitting, to defense, to team-play. They draft players they know they can sign, (because they pay less than other teams), and they take players who have specific skill sets they are seeking, much like the A’s. They have built a team that has now been in contention for some six years, based on home-grown talent; which is the least-expensive way to do it.

Sabean’s strategy is what, exactly? Draft pitchers and trade them for major-league players. That’s it. We don’t teach patience at the plate, we don’t stress striking guys out, we don’t coach a particular defensive mind-set, we don’t go for power hitters, or fast guys, or guys who know how to get on-base…. WE DON’T DO ANYTHING AT ALL. We’re a fucking beer-league softball team, a bunch of guys who cycle through, a different cast of characters year after year, no consistency, no approach, nothing but a bunch of guys. We’re not a team at all, not in any real sense of the word.

You wanna defend Sabean, fine. You can say he’s been at the helm for the decade of contention, and he has. I am not alone in saying he’s been riding Bonds’ coattails; that if the team had been without Barry, Sabean would’ve been fired ten years ago. You wanna compare the Giants talent evaluation and draft strategy with Billy Beane’s? You’re out of your fucking mind. And to bring up Williams, Thompson and Clark in Sabean’s defense is borderline lunacy. Sabean was a scout for the Yankees when those guys were drafted.

As for the rest of you backtalkers….

Jim Adams brought up a good point, Sabean did have a run of some pretty good major league acquisitions. David Bell, Burks, Kent, Grissom, Lofton, Nen …. Fine, I stand corrected.

But don’t you think that part of the reason Sabean is no longer landing talented players is the lack of talent he has to offer. Our farm system has been a joke for going on a decade. And don’t even start talking about all the pitchers we’ve drafted. You wanna tell me the Giants draft and develop pitchers? Who? Joe Nathan? Jeremy Accardo? THEY DON’T PLAY HERE ANYMORE!! And how do we know that the Giants weren’t holding them back when they were? How do we know Righetti’s not doing it to Cain and Lincecum right now?

How about Jerome Williams, Shawn Estes, Jesse Foppert, and the endless list of bullshit pitchers Sabean has used to acquire his pile of Shawon Dunston-level talent. The two guys we’re watching now represent the best arms coming out of our system in ten or fifteen years, and they were top level picks. Meanwhile, I’d hazard a guess that the rest of baseball is no longer blind to the bullshit Sabean’s been dangling as trade bait. All they have to do is look at the facts. The Giants have drafted and developed NO hitting talent since Williams, Clark and Thompson.

Oh, Sabean thinks first round picks are expensive?

DON’T GIVE $24 MILLION DOLLARS TO JT SNOW.

Don’t give $18 million to Dave Roberts, $12 million to Marvin Benard, $8 million to Shawon Dunston, $14 million to NEIFI-FUCKING-PEREZ!!!!! Don’t keep throwing money on the ground signing 40-year old washouts. The $14 million we’re giving to Molina could have paid for three or four first round picks. Did we need him? NO! Just like we didn’t need Matheny, like we didn’t need Double Play AJ.

Sabean gave Dave Roberts an $18 million dollar contract to be our leadoff hitter and center fielder for the next three years. A 36-year old baseball player, who had never in his life played a full season, a player who had never scored 100 runs in a season, (or 90 runs, for that matter), or had 100 walks, or hit .300, or won an award, of any kind, for any thing at all. A player whose performance was virtually assured of being as bad as it is now (.207/.287/.333); who could be replaced by almost any Triple AAA player, from any team. In fact, we did! Even our horrible minor league system had a player, Fred Lewis, who came in and immediately out-performed Roberts.

How could our GM not know that we had a player of equal value, who was 25-years old instead of 35, in our system? How could he throw $18 million dollars on the ground like that, instead of just letting the young guy take a shot? HOW CAN THAT BE? Because Sabean is asking the wrong questions. He is using the wrong value assesments to make his decisions, that’s how.

Again, I ask you, right now, name one major league player of any significance that the Giants drafted and developed? People have complained for years that the Yankees just go out and buy other teams’ stars. That’s a bunch of horsehit. Cano, Wang, and Cabrera are all recent home grown talent, none of whom was even close to first rounder. Go back ten years, and, off the top of my head, you’re looking at Pettitte, Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams. Am I missing anyone? I guarantee you I am.

I can go to any team, open up their roster page, and find a better major league player — that came up through their system — than the best the Giants have to offer, Pedro Feliz, (who certainly takes a lot of heat here at OBM, and perhaps somewhat undeservedly. He seems like a nice enough guy, works hard, plays good defense; and if he was on a real team, would more than likely be a perfectly acceptable third basemen).

In the meantime, if you want to make the argument that the Giants have a fine strategy for putting together a major league team, riddle me this, Batman:

WHERE ARE THE GIANTS HOME GROWN PLAYERS?!? If you can’t answer that, you have no business telling me and my readers that we are the ones who don’t know what we’re talking about. List me the five or ten players that came up with the Giants and are now making their mark in the bigs, and we’ll talk. Fuck it, name one.

UPDATE: Has Bruce Jenkins suddenly realized the truth?

…. In case you missed it, the Giants woke up this morning with one less win than the Baltimore Orioles. Forget being at least games behind three legitimate contenders in the NL West; they are 7-½ games behind Colorado. If that isn’t a complete embarrassment, then Magowan got over his discomfort much too soon.

The team’s offense isn’t “slumping,” it’s doing exactly what was forecast in spring training. The lack of clutch hitting isn’t alarming, it’s what the Giants should be getting from the team they assembled. The bullpen isn’t in transition, it’s fully second-rate. Injuries have played a part, but with this geriatric roster, things could get infinitely worse in the second half, players trading extensive visits to the disabled list.

Now we discover that the starting rotation isn’t the team’s salvation, either. You still expect a solid outing from any of them, but the honest truth is that Matt Cain is the only one offering that rock-solid hope for the future. The Giants made a big deal about a blown umpire’s call in the series finale at Milwaukee, but for crying out loud, they were down 6-0 before they could blink. That’s the real story, and it was hardly an aberration.


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