Is No Deal a Good Deal for SF Giants?

The San Francisco Giants didn’t get Giancarlo Stanton. Worse, he didn’t even want to come to the Giants. Said we weren’t close enough to being a winning team and didn’t want to have to carry us across to a championship.

Ouch. Apparently, being three years removed from a World Championship doesn’t hold much sway anymore.

We didn’t get Japanese outfielder/pitcher Shohei Ohtani either, though he may prove to be a headache if his elbow issues plague him and he becomes just another outfielder with promise.

And all we got for lefty Matt Moore was a couple minor leaguers and a savings of some sum between $1 million and $9 million off of payroll. I would have liked to see him bounce back. Pretty confident he would have.

Maybe there are some deals in the offing (preferably one that would get rid of Denard Span and another that Hunter Pence would agree to). But, even for those two, the Giants are likely to get no more than a handful of minor leaguers.

Ok. We got Nick Hundley back. Woo hoo! A backup catcher signing. So, it may be that all we did over the winter was re-stock our minor leagues and open up a space in the rotation for Tyler Beede.

Could it be that we really are headed into the 2018 season with Pablo Sandoval as the third baseman? Span in center (with Gorkys Hernandez backing up) and Pence in right? And Mac Williamson, Jarred Parker duking it out for playing time in left? How boring.

Maybe the best thing we can say so far about the Giants’ General Manager, Bobby Evans, is that he hasn’t pulled off a Horace Stoneham special. Remember Horace? He was the owner who brought the Giants to San Francisco from New York, but had a penchant for dealing away stars.

Now, those were the days that the Giants truly deserved the wrath of Giants fans. Imagine if social media was around when the Giants traded Orlando Cepeda to the Cardinals for Ray Sadecki? Cepeda wound up winning the MVP a year later while leading the Cardinals to the 1967 World Championship, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sadecki had a couple decent seasons for the Giants, compiling a 2.85 ERA over ‘67-68, though he led the league in losses in 1968 and was gone from SF after compiling a 32-47 record there.

Maybe the Giants’ biggest blunder of all time was sending George Foster to the Reds in 1971 for Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert. Foster, of course, became a two-time home run champion, winning an MVP and becoming a key figure in the Big Red Machine. Duffy, a former slick fielding first round draft pick of the Reds, got all of five hits in 28 at bats in 1971 for the Giants before they turned around and dealt him as part of another of the Giants’ worst moves: Gaylord Perry for Sam McDowell after the 1971 season. Perry had won 23 games just a season earlier, but had “dropped” to 16 wins in 1971 despite a 2.76 ERA. Stoneham had pined for McDowell for years – for good reason: McDowell was a flame throwing left hander who’d overpowered the American League for years. He was also four years younger than Perry. Stoneham wanted to go younger. But McDowell’s drinking problems had caught up with him, he’d lost his fastball, so was gone early in 1973. Perry wound up winning 190 more games, a pair of Cy Youngs and is in the Hall of Fame.

Bobby Bonds for Bobby Murcer was another terrible trade that made no sense. Bonds told me himself in a 1986 interview that Stoneham had just given him his word that he would keep Bonds with the Giants when Bonds heard he’d been dealt to the New York Yankees. Bonds told me that he thought the fans didn’t mind the trade. Bonds hinted he thought race was behind the deal. I told him that I was crushed by the deal. Bonds had it all: speed, power, a great arm. Bonds was the centerpiece of the Giants offense from the moment he stepped onto Candlestick Park. The moment Murcer got to the Giants, he complained about Candlestick, never coming close to the numbers Bonds regularly pumped out. Murcer was gone in two years, and though Bonds had to deal with his own drinking problems, he still produced big numbers over the next several years as he bounced from team to team.

Garry Maddox for Willie Montanez. Maddox went on to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their own renaissance, which included a world championship in 1980. Montanez had flair, was fun to watch, hit .305 in 1975 for the Giants, but was gone midway through 1976, traded to the Braves as part of the deal that brought Darrell Evans to the Giants. Evans became a stalwart third baseman, hanging around the Giants for eight years with very middling numbers before finding the fountain of youth on to the Detroit Tigers, helping them to the World Championship in 1984 and hitting 40 home runs as a 38-year old in 1985.

So, if Stoneham were around today, we’d be weeping over the departures – maybe over a span of two or three years – of Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt. And we’d watch over the next few years as these franchise players would lead their respective new teams to glory, perhaps en route to the Hall of Fame.

So, maybe the best deal is the one that never was made. Still, standing pat sure feels as bad as making a terrible deal.

 

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