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Wait 'til next year! Or three years from now, anyway!

Your Humble Blogger has not been writing much about baseball, largely because I don’t think I have much to say that would be of interest to anybody other than a fan of the Ess Eff Giants (and, of course, not necessarily to such a fan, but then, if I let that stop me there will be no writing at all), so I try not to out with the details unless I can think of a way to link them to something of more general interest.

I have no such ideas for linking the news that Sabean, Bochy receive two-year extensions. Our General Manager and Manager were at the end of their contracts, you see, and the Giants put together a winning season despite stinking up the league, and the Powers That Be have decided that midstream is not the place to change dead horses. Or something. All I know is, they are the only guys we’ve got.

Now, it is true that the close you follow baseball, the more complaints you will have about any GM and Manager. They will do something to piss off any fan, or rather, there are enough fans of Major League Baseball that the cumulative overlap of piss-off triggers is the whole damn plane. I’m thinking here, of a Venn Diagram, you know—this circle is the things that piss me off, and that circle is the things that piss off my father, and they overlap quite a bit but not altogether, and that circle is the things that piss off his cousin, and that doesn’t overlap quite so much, and the upshot is that everything the GM does pisses somebody off, and (this isn’t actually proved by the Venn Diagram, but is implied by the Completeness Theorem) if he is in the job for long enough, everybody will be pissed off at least once.

So I am aware that if they did turf Mr. Sabean and Mr. Bochy, then I would just be irritated anew by the new blood. I do know that. Mr. Bochy gets up YHB’s nose, but not so far as Mr. Alou did, probably slightly further than Mr. Baker, much further than Mr. Craig, and so on and so forth. Being a fan is being pissed off, at least in baseball, where a very good team loses sixty games a year, and wins despite having some bad players and some bad decisions. So my crankiness over this rehire is tempered at least somewhat by the knowledge that the baseline, as it were, is annoying.

But. Here’s the thing. Or a thing, anyway. The Giants appear to have no plan, and no way of making a plan. They don’t seem to understand that while their cleanup hitter did have a reasonable slugging percentage of .442 (not All-Star quality, but in the Shane Victorino region), his on-base percentage was .285, which was the worst of any regular starter in baseball, one of only three that dipped below the .300 mark. Let me say that again: the guy who made outs at the fastest clip of anyone in baseball not only played for the Giants, but batted fourth. It’s not that Bengie Molina can’t hit, it’s that he can’t hit clean-up. He’s a seventh-spot guy, with a little pop in his bat, but you by jingo don’t want him to have any more at bats than you can help, and certainly don’t want him following your high-OBP guys, who are in your one-two-three spots. Right? Except, we don’t have guys like that, and we don’t start them one-two-three when we do.

I mean, Pedro Feliz can help a team if he’s batting seventh. Right? But a GM has to start with a Pedro Feliz by grudgingly admitting that on the whole, one thing and another, with the good fielding and a little power, and he isn’t very expensive, well, you can afford to have a Pedro Feliz on your team, if you’ve got Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez (and you think you have Jimmy Rollins), or if you’ve got Barry Bonds and . You don’t start with the idea that he is your all-star, the center of your offense and the foundation of your lineup. And anybody who thinks that Bengie Molina is anything other than a Pedro Feliz, a luxury you are carrying on your team for some other reasons and because all the better options are unavailable or unaffordable at the moment.

Now, Brian Sabean didn’t understand that about Pedro Feliz. And he doesn’t understand it about Benjie Molina. And there is no reason to think he will understand it about the next guy.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


So how many years will it take before the ownership starts to give the credit to Barry and not to the GM for the Giants' enduring successes? Of course, Dusty Baker is still managing, even after the Chicago fiasco, so one can't expect owners, apparently, to figure out the value of the guys they are paying the multi-millions to . . .

And since we are talking baseball, here's a shout-out to any Phillies fans out there, who are getting to enjoy the success that comes with having good (if not perfect) decision-making in the front office.

Yes, in case it's not obvious, YHB is rooting for them Phillies, I tell you what.

I don't altogether dismiss Brian Sabean's success at putting together some of the successful teams. He has twice or three times collected a fine rotation and a viable bullpen, and that's a significant feat in itself. But it has become obvious (to me, anyway) that he never did have the ability to put together an offense. When we have had a powerful offense, it has been through luck rather than either careful planning or inspired judging of talent. This was disguised mostly by the distorting effect of Barry Bonds' truly ridiculous years, but also by some production from batters including Marquis Grissom, Ellis Burks, Jeff Kent, Rich Aurilia, Benito Santiago and Mike Matheny that was higher than predicted. It seemed, for a while, as if he and his people were clever about finding undervalued hitters. But it turns out that (a) such talent, if it existed, is not consistent enough to count on (leading one to think that it may have existed in one of the assistants no longer with the club), and (2) many of the players weren't really as productive as they seemed, possibly because of the distorting effect of Barry Bonds, particularly in the years when he had an OBP of, like, a thousand and five.

By the way, here's a list of Giants All-Stars during the thirteen year Brian Sabean era so far: Hitters: Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, Benito Santiago, Jeff Kent, Rich Aurilia. Pitchers: Rod Beck, Robb Nen, Brian Wilson, Sean Estes, Jason Schmidt, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain.



Also, you can play Pedro Feliz if you don't really have other options out there for the position. On the other hand you do not hold onto a Bengie Molina when you've got one of the best prospects in baseball ready to take over.

Thanks Chris for the shout-out. We paid our dues for most of the late 80s and 90s (1993 excepted) but it's really been fun watching them put the pieces together over this decade, especially since the core was either completely home-grown or dumpster dive moves that paid off really well. (Victorino and Werth being the main examples of the latter.) I think that while the Pirates have a ways to go, they may be starting to put some of the pieces together in the minors, so hopefully there will be hope for them and for Pirates fans soon.

V., I figured you'd be rooting for the Phillies in the LCS at the very least given that they're playing the D******. One more and they're gone, although hopefully it won't take until the bottom of the 9th this time, as fun as that was.

Well, and I would love to see Buster Posey as our regular catcher next year, but I do understand that (a) there is legitimate difference of opinion about whether it's worth “seasoning” him with everyday work in AAA for another few months, and (2) he really was unquestionably unready for the first four months of the season. Of course, we did have another catcher playing third base, but then we would have had to have someone to play third base, and it turns out that Pedro Feliz was playing somewhere else...

And it's like this: When the Phillies play the Rockies, I root for the Phillies. When the Phillies play the D——s, I root for the Phillies. When the Phillies play the Yankees, I root for the Phillies. When the Phillies play the Angels, I root for the Phillies. When the Phillies play the Braves, I root for the Phillies. When the Phillies play the Spanish Inquisition, I root for the Phillies. Other than that, you're on your own.

And are you blogging this thing somewhere?


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