Martin (sorry, I knew that), over at Obsessive Compulsive, thinks I missed a couple of points in my recent rants. He thinks the Giants weren’t thinking about contending prior to the season, that the failure of the team to draft good offensive players isn’t Sabean’s fault, that the team over-achieved and Sabean deserves some credit for that, that the team is rebuilding and I’m being too harsh. I disagree on most of his points. Here’s what I wrote in response:
Well, I disagree on a lot of your points. Brian Sabean made minor changes to a team that he thought was good enough. He added a fifth starter, a relief specialist, and a (worthless) shortstop to a team that scored 640 runs the previous year, because he thought he was fine-tuning a competitive club. He absolutely said so several times before the season started, and then he acted accordingly. You don’t make those kinds of cosmetic, expensive additions to a rebuilding team, you just don’t. You play Burriss, you save your money, and you go out and get younger. Sabean was going for it, and his idea of going for it was absurd.
And as for your prediction that the Giants would contend, and that no one else thought that they could; I predicted, way back in the beginning of the season, that if every single thing went right, a superstar season by Sandoval, and Zito bouncing back, and Lincecum not having a sophmore slump, and Cain having his best year ever, and every other possible break going their way, the Giants still wouldn’t be able to make the postseason. It was my long-term view that was the correct one, not yours, Martin. You’ve missed the point of this season, just like Brian Sabean did. The 88 wins were a mirage, a combination of good luck, timing, and the completely unseen event of our entire pitching staff shaving a full run off our ERA from the year before.
And what is this rebuilding thing you keep referring to? Winn, Rowand, Molina, Ishikawa, Lewis, Renteria, these are all players that Sabean went out and got. He paid handsomely for their services. Rebuilding? What is that? He BUILT this team.
Alderson and Barnes had value, and Sabean transformed that value into more useless, league average players, who fit in exactly with the same league-average players he has been bringing here for going on seven years in a row. If the Giants are rebuilding, it’s because of his own failure. He’s not rebuilding a team that he just came to run. He’s cleaning up his mess. Let’s not forget his decision to forgo draft choices several years back; just one more of the ridiculous ways he has hamstrung his own team.
As for the draft being a crapshoot, well, sure it is, but what’s that got to do with anything? Forget about the draft. Sabean doesn’t know what makes an offense go. He doesn’t know how to build an offense. If you value the wrong traits in a player, then it doesn’t matter what you do, because you will fail. Brian Sabean values steady, veteran, experienced, high batting average gamers. These players have a place in the game, you just can’t have an entire offense made of these types of players. You cannot field an entire team of replacement-level players, which what the Giants have been doing for the last five or six years.
Don’t talk to me about rebuilding, we’re rebuilding because the players Sabean went out and got are terrible, laughably overpaid, 2 home run a year players who deserve to make about a third of what they earn.
You talk about rebuilding like a team that hasn’t won a title in the history of the city the play in can afford to shit away a once in a lifetime chance to win a championship, WHICH THE GIANTS HAD THIS SEASON, and they shit it away like so much aggravating extra work they just didn’t want to do.
It was a disgraceful performance by Sabean and Neukom. There should have been no ends to which they wouldn’t have gone once it became clear that we had a championship-caliber pitching staff, in the midst of an historic performance the likes of which we may never see again, and all the team needed to do was spend money and send a couple of valuable, tradable commodities you seem to think were so expendable, so unpredictably worthless, and get a hitter or two who could’ve made a difference.
Instead, we traded away those valuable prospects and got Ryan Garko (as in, WHO THE FUCK IS RYAN GARKO?!?) and a completely broken-down, empty batting average 32-year old Freddie Sanchez, who contributed one home run and two walks.
THAT IS FAILURE OF THE ABSOLUTE HIGHEST ORDER.
A playoff berth was there for the taking, and our GM failed in every way imaginable, wasting resources and coming up so empty that he actually had to replace Garko with the player that Garko had been brought in to replace. Are you kidding somebody? If it hadn’t been for Juan Uribe and Eugenio Velez coming completely out of nowhere, the season would’ve been lost months ago, our GM failed so spectacularly.
How you can fail to see that is remarkable to me. I know you’re smart. But, in this instance, you are blind. The Giants, out of nowhere, had a legitimate chance to make some noise in the postseason. All it would’ve taken is smart moves by our GM. Instead, he made stupid, wasteful moves, moves that accomplished nothing. And, for that, he was rewarded with a new two year contract, and millions of dollars.
UPDATE: Yeah, and in case you were wondering about the ownership and accountability of the team’s management; Carney Lansford was fired today. So, even though, Brian Sabean got all the props for the team winning 88 games with no offense, Lansford was fired because he failed to make Randy Winn hit home runs. So much for winning 88 games being the important factor in the team’s success and failure. I guess that only counts for the GM and the coach.