Perhaps The Idiot is a bit harsh. Perhaps I was upset, and having gotten a good night's sleep, maybe I should reconsider.
After all, I love the Giants, and writing angry can sometimes lead me astray.
I apologize. I let my emotions get the better of me. I was angry and disappointed, and I shouldn't call people names, nor be so relentlessly harsh.
Sabean did upgrade the team, something we all wanted.
For all we know, the asking price of the home run twins out of Washington was Bumgarner or Posey or some other such absurdity, and they never were really available at all.
I don't know that it wasn't, but here's what I do know, and what I think about it….
After 2005, a season in which the Giants scored 649 runs, and were pretty much the worst offense in baseball, Sabean acquired Shea Hillebrand and Jose Vizcaino. Read that sentence twice. He also traded for Randy Winn mid-season, who ran out an astounding .359/.391/.680 1.013 OPS line, and hit 14 home runs in 58 games, a stretch of power and production not seen before nor since. It bears mentioning that Brian Sabean decided Winn's new found level of offense was real, ignoring Randy Winn's career statistics up to that point; and signed him to an albatross contract immediately.
In 2006, the Giants scored 746 runs –still in the bottom five in the NL–but a huge upswing nonetheless, mostly due to a full season of Randy Winn (who managed only 11 home runs in his first full season) another 20 home run season by Pedro Feliz, Moises Alou's 22 home runs in 98 games, Omar Vizquel's last productive season, and a huge bounce back year from Ray Durham, (whom Sabean re-signed). When '06 ended, Sabean began purging some of the old and broken players, primarily Moises Alou and Omar Vizquel.
At this point, it was clear that Sabean had miscalculated, in major ways, the value and potential production of players like Ray Durham, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mark Sweeney, Steve Finley, and, of course, Dave Roberts, who was the centerpiece of Sabean's off-season. These players represented well over $50 million dollars in contracts, and for the most part, they failed to produce even league-average numbers.
We then “enjoyed” a 2007 season in which Ray Durham fell apart, Omar Vizquel fell apart, Edgardo Alfonzo fell apart, Rich Aurilia fell apart, Lance Neikro fell apart, and Dave Roberts produced almost exactly what I predicted he would, the Giants were, once ag
ain, once of the worst offense in baseball.
Let's stop here, and think about this for a second. Since the start of the 2004 season, Brian Sabean went out and signed or traded for the following players: Randy Winn, Aaron Rowand, Edgardo Alfonzo, Shea Hillebrand, Dave Roberts, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia, Mark Sweeney, Mike Matheny, Deivi Cruz, Alex Sanchez, Michael Tucker, Neifi Perez, AJ Pierzinski, Dustin Mohr, Ryan Klesko, Bengie Molina, Rajai Davis, Jose Castillo, and now, Ryan Garko and Freddie Sanchez.
That is an incomplete list, to be sure, and it doesn't count re-signing a completely fluke bounce back Ray Durham, or a hundred year old Omar Vizquel. That group of hitters, with the exception of Alou, who was 39-years old when Sabean landed him, are essentially interchangeable. Not one of those players was a young power hitter with a good on base percentage. Not one of those players was an up and coming player that Sabean scouted and saw some kind of diamond in the rough possibilities. Not one of those players has done more than most teams can get from waiver wire cast-offs. Not one of those players would be considered much more than a bench warmer on a championship team, (with the disgusting exception of Double Play AJ).
This group of players “earned” well over $150 million dollars for the Giants in the last five or six years. All the while we were being told that the team couldn't afford a real hitter. Couldn't afford a true, power-hitting outfielder, or first baseman. Or more insultingly, while we were being told that so and so didn't want to come here, as if no one knows that players go where the money is.
The 2009 Giants have a championship caliber pitching staff, right now. This years' team needs, and has needed since Barry Bonds was told to go away, home runs and walks. It doesn't need another good defender. It doesn't need another good locker room guy. It doesn't need another first baseman with little power, or another second baseman with no power.
This team needs a hitter whom the opposition must plan for.
Sabean has failed to acquire that player for going on five years now, and all of his moves are judged, must be judged, against that failing. His job is to put together a team. This team is a table with three legs, and he just went out and painted it. And every time Sabean trades away good, young pitching, and brings back another player whose career fits in the above list, another nail is put into the coffin of San Francisco's championship dreams.