Sabean Speaks But Says Little- Don’t Expect Giants to Rebound Second Half Amidst Management Failures

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SF GIANTS BRAIN TRUST – BOBBY EVANS and Brain Sabean (center) flanked by President Larry Baer , left and, manager Bruce Bochy righton Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in San Francisco. The Giants lost to the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series.(AP Photo/Ben Margot) . Evans and Sabean one and the same, can thank the Wild Card and Steroids for Giants first three world series victoris in 56 years, in this writer’s opinion





Former (and some say still current  ‘co’-general manager of the San Francisco Giants), Brian Sabean  spoke in a rare interview July 11 (with Andrew Baggerly, Alameda Newspaper Group)    about how dreadful the team has been playing the last two half seasons in a row. Perhaps because the team had the best record in baseball the first half season last year, Sabean is still one of the believers that the Giants players are too good not to  bounce back the second half of 2017.


    Only problem is that times have changed and the Giants haven’t . And THAT’S THE PROBLEM! .  Yes, the Giants ‘core’  has been pretty much the same at least two of three world series years. In fact, their two best players, Bumgarner and Posey , have played in all three, and, yes, Bumgarner is due back shortly from his ATV accident.


But here’s the problem.  Other teams have improved themselves while the Giants have not. During the off season they acquired a ‘top closer’, on paper, anyway, but in fact Mark Meloncon is getting up in age and had  come off some injuries from last year, from which – apparently-  have not improved. Malancon has been making about $10,000 a pitch with the Giants but his effectiveness, and now health, have been called into question.  Meanwhile, the Giants did not pursue a left fielder – or anyone else – during the off season , with expectations that minor leaguers Williamson or Parker would magically fill the long time outfield void.  Meanwhile, the rest of the team has been hitting  below average except for Posey and maybe Span –  not that the Giants ever were known for their hitting. But .243 is rediculous for a team that had been expected to compete for a penant.


But, in the past, the Giants were always able to ‘find’ – yes, literally, FIND –  (unlikely) talent to fill in the gaps, usually through late season waiver wire acquisitions such as Cody Ross (2010) and Marcus Scutaro (2012) among others who would miraculously come to life with the Giants to make up for what the Giants lacked in natural talent.


SEVEN KNOWN PED PLAYERS Propelled Three World Series

Think about it!  The Giants won their only three World Series in 60 years with lineups of no names  and few homers. Except for Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants were winning with mirrors .  In 2010 if it weren’t for Andres Torres and his  ADD-aided career year at age 36 the Giants wouldn’t have made it. Surely, without Aubrey Huff, who we learn this year also benefitted that year by ADD, which is  a PED, albeit technically legal.  Add FIVE other KNOWN PED users  on the Giants (Melky Cabrera (2012), J ose Guiien (2010), Michael Morse (2014) who played key roles along with Miguel Tejada, Guerillmo Mota, who did not  , the Giants would likely not have gotten into any of those world series – not to mention other likely suspects , such as Scutaro, Sandoval, Pence, and even Bumgarner, himself, who  played way above their career averages both during the regular season but especially in the playoffs.



Even the Giants’ pitching wasn’t World Series caliber with only Bumgarner  ranking among ERA leaders, yet even he wasn’t ranked among the top 20  during the regular season.   If it weren’t for the recent ‘wild card’ additions to give more teams a chance to get into the World Series, the Giants would still be without a world series victory in 60 years.   The modern day Giants, built out of the still-existing Steroid Era, knew how to parlay their Balco and Bondsian knowledge. After all, with 27 KNOWN PED players on their teams , dating back to Bonds, were more than on any other team.  If the Giants didn’t hit for power (save for Bonds, Jeff Kent, Rich Aurelia, Matt Williams – they did have some pop in the early 2000s ) in their large stadium they would make it up with better hand-eye coordination , not striking out and fielding – perhaps also tied to steroid use. After all,  they’d seen Bonds do it for years – and he would even come in to share his knowledge with the Giants  a s part time batting instructor in recent years).


OTHER TEAMS HAVE CAUGHT UP plus More Homers Hit Than Ever

This year,  while the Giants were sitting on their ‘Three in Five Years’ laurels, the other teams have not only upgraded their teams , perhaps also learning more about that ‘chemistry’ Bonds often spoke about – and we’re not talking about about necessarily all  ‘getting along.’  While some have been sold a false bill of goods that drugs have been whitewashed from baseball, we have seen nearly 1,000 more homers hit this year in baseball  than ever before.   Just because only one player has been indicted for PEDs this year – their were eight last year – any old school sports writer worth his salt and not covering for his team will tell you that players continue to outsmart drug testing, staying one step ahead with the latest undetectable potions.   


Of course, the Giants have prided themselves on being able to win with pitching and without power. Yet even during their best years  they had no star pitchers outside of Bumgarner.  They got by on the ‘leftovers,’ black market players, if you will other teams didn’t want for their tarnished reputations and/or ineffectiveness.. But, get to the Giants and guys like Pat Burrell , Huff, Scutaro, etc. would come to life – even if only long enough to help win the Giants a World Series and put a nice pay check in their pockets.   Meanwhile, people stopped talking about PEDs , especially  in San Francisco, where Bonds was still king and nobody   would flinch when the Giants brought in yet another (or suspected) PED  player like a Morse or Marlon Byrd.


Today, other teams have passed the Giants both in  natural talent and perhaps even PED use, which the Giants have made acceptable (in our opinion).  Afterall, even  MLB loves homeruns as they’ve made a big comeback –everywhere except San Franicisco, with the Giants still believing they can’t compete in their own ballbark despite the fact that other teams come in to ATT and crush balls out.



Those ‘black market’ players the Giants would get when other teams didn’t want them don’t exist anymore.  Black market players are now a part of the mainstream, in our opinion. Teams are no longer hesitant to go after players with PED histories or suspected ones.  Now it’s  the bigger the better as we see with players like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton – not to say they’re ALL users – but there are likely large numbers of them; it takes more than ‘tight balls’  to see the homer rate rise by nearly 20% in one year.


So, what benefited the Giants for years has now become a detriment as other teams have caught  and surpassed the Giants. Meanwhile, the Giants farm system has fallen into ruins, neglected for years as Giants have failed to restock their young talent in lieu of quick fixes from outside the organization at the major league level. The farm system has not played a real role with the Giants since Buster Posey and Bumgarner.  And, by the way, the Brandon brothers never lived up to their ‘promise.’


With drug testing still a part of baseball, maybe the Giants haven’t stayed current on chemistry – no longer at the forefront of beating the system.  Maybe the Giants have had to go on and off PEDs during the season based on testing times and not knowing the   latest, greatest ‘undetectable’ ones.




So, what was once a benefit for the Giants has become a curse. Without ‘power and PEDs’ the Giants have been doomed to last place in their division with their worst team record since 1902. Even with the wild card now in existence, the Giants this year have no chance of getting to the playoffs now 27 games out of first place, mired  in the cellar of the National League West. And things may not change for some time as the Giants have lived off signing players to long, large contracts that other teams will not want to deal with in trades.

So, with one or two possible exceptions – and the Giants have little in the minors to offer – the Giants may be relegated to  the lower rings of Dante’s Inferno for some time unless the team can dig deep in their pockets to sign   free agents – their only hope- or eat contracts,  while they already have the fifth highest payroll in baseball.



Perhaps the Giants fall began last year with the tightening of drug testing while the team was still resting on it’s collective laurels, not trading under-valued players while they could still get something for them. Instead the Giants continued signing  over-rated players like Pence, Belt and Crawford to long. The Giants have so many players ‘locked up’ there is little room for new players on the roster, unless the Giants were to dump large contracts of players they were counting on. Even if they do, they will have nowhere to replenish there stock today outside of paying high prices on the free agent market. The waiver wire is unlikely to happen as before.


Owner Larry Baer and Sabean have compared the Giants to the New  York Yankees, who had to rebuild in recent years without breaking up the core of their team.  The difference is that the Yankees had a great farm system to draw from while going out and getting key position players like Chapman in relief.


The only thing that might help the Giants in the second half is if their one new acquisition, Melancon could return to form.  It’s questionable that either he or especially the other pitchers, and hitters, will all suddenly  return to glory in unison, propelling the team  to victories unless the Giants were able to turn the clock back and do what they did a few years back.  But these are different times and other teams have caught on to what it takes today while the Giants are still holed up hggh in their murky past with little hope of climbing out .


PS   Don’t blame Bobby Evans. Evans is a mere current version of Brain Sabean, who still has everything go through him. Sabean, never a great trader, who would be going through the same slough as Evans if he were still technical ‘GM.’