As in, what happens to a GM on a team that has fallen apart after high expectations, has failed to take advantage of Hall of Fame talent for over a decade, and has no detailed –and clearly working– plan for how to keep a team competitive over the long haul. The Houston Astros just fired their GM and manager, after a two year free-fall from the World Series to one of the worst records in baseball.
…. The last two seasons, let’s face it, have been dual disasters. Remember, just two postseasons ago, in October of 2005, the Astros were in their first World Series. Everybody was happy. The city was beaming. Then came an uneven season in ’06, when the Astros needed a late surge just to eke above .500. This year, they haven’t been above .500 since May 16. The Astros are currently 58-73, in a virtual tie for last place in the National League Central.
…. The Astros, as they stand now, are a terribly imperfect team. They are young and shaky in the rotation after starter Roy Oswalt and just as wiggly in the bullpen. Their shortstop and catcher positions are offensive black holes, and there are questions to be answered at both second and third base. They are weak defensively.
Hmmmm…. This reminds me of some other team.
Let’s see…. The Giants starting pitchers are young and shaky after, well, by default, you’d have to say Barry Zito. Our catcher is OK with the stick, but slower than grass growing. In fact, other than Molina’s surprising –and certainly not replicable– season with the bat, our entire infield is old, slow, and among the worst offensive players at their respective positions. Our outfield is also old and slow, and can’t throw, and, except for Bonds, also can’t hit. Our farm system has exactly zero prospects who seem capable of replacing any one of these terrible, terrible stiffs that Bochy keeps running out there every day. Our pitching coach seems to have decided that the way to prepare our pitchers is to tell them to avoid throwing strikes, ever, and our bullpen is made up of only one or two players that aren’t a failed starter, a PTBNL throw-in, or a waiver wire pickup.
The Giants have 2 more wins then the Astros, after winning 10 of their last 12, but for all intents and purposes, the failings of the Astros organization are no different than the failings of the Giants organization. Missed opportunities (’01, ’03, 04), poor trades, lack of young talent, no discernable plan or organizational strategy for either the hitters or the pitchers, shitty bullpen results…. I’d even go so far as to say the Astros are closer, far closer, to turning it around then the Giants are. They actually have young players who can hit. The Giants have none, and are facing an off-season in which they absolutely have to replace six of their eight starters.
Seriously, how Magowan decided to re-up with Sabean, after a slow –and decidedly unneccesary– free fall from the World Series to last place that has been four and a half seasons running is beyond me. Reading about how McClane has gotten fed up with all of the losing his group of classy players and coaches have been doing –you know, the proverbial nice guys finishing last– made me grit my teeth. I’m fed up with it, too.
I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Sabean saved his job. I can’t even imagine what he must have had to come up with.