How The Smelly Giants Screwed Up A Perfectly Good Rebuilding Plan
So what do you do when you’re pretty sure your team is going to stink up the joint? If you’re the San Francisco Giants, you wait until manager Bruce Boche gets his 1000th win with the club and then start selling off pieces as fast as the contenders can scurry off with them. That is a prototypical rebuilding plan. Suck it up fans, stink town baseball is on the air.
Man, was it working, too. The club was 11 games under .500 at the halfway point of the season. Giants fans got to see what a Connor Joe, Michael Reed, Gerardo Parra outfield looked like, while hoping catcher Buster Posey, second baseman Joe Panik and the Brandons: shortstop Crawford and first baseman Belt could make it through a full season without going through a stretch when they hit a buck-82 for three weeks.
Fans threw in the towel early. Even the Padres had a strong showing on the road at Oracle Park. The Padres! Every radio show in the country was giving “expert” opinions as to where Madison Bumgarner was going to pitch next. The other starting pitchers were giving up moon shots three times a game.
It all looked like crap.
But, it wasn’t crappy enough for General Manager Farhan Zaidi to pull the plug. Instead, he kept going after new talent, including Kevin Pillar, who is now a staple in center field and tried to find anyone… annnnyyyyoooonnnneeee to throw the ball.
The Pillar thing worked out defensively even if his bat has been average at best, but the starting pitching still hadn’t done anything as the team entered the first of July, with the exception of Bumgarner and even he was getting hit.
But, somehow, a weird thing happened. The Giants actually started…………
Fifteen wins in 18 games and “Voila!” A .500 record and a spot 2.5 games out of a wildcard spot….which, as Giants fans know, is also called, “The place we limp into the playoffs and then follow Bumgarner to a World Series Title.”
According to a conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area, Zaidi says rebuilding with trades for prospects was actually never the plan, “We have not been the aggressors in any of those conversations. We’re just having conversations on background like everybody.”
As for Bumgarner, he told reporters Friday the trade rumors have been really, really, really eating at him. “I don’t give a s__t. I’m here to win games for this team and that’s what we’re doing,” he said while looking worn down and exhausted, kind of like the way a lion looks when he is about to take down a zebra.
And now, he looks like a semi-genius. Backup catcher Steven Vogt, a person we can all believe in, is hitting better than .300 since the All-Star break, as is Crawford, Posey, Mike Yazstrzemski (Carl’s grandson) are now all hitting like, well, like Carl Yazstrzemski. Some kid named Alex Dickerson is hitting .500 over his last 15 games. The team is fifth in average and tied for third in homers for the month of July. And the pitching has actually been pretty good. Shaun Anderson, Jeff Smardzija, Tyler Beede, Connor Menez and Drew Pomeranz turned in at least one quality start and the Giants won some of the games where the pitching was lousy with this strange new offense thing they picked up.
Right now, it is a great story for Giants fans who had taken to ignoring their team as the hated Dodgers have continued their march toward winning every National League West title this century.
But is Giant success sustainable? Probably not. As bad as they were, they are now equally good, which means they’re likely somewhere in between. There are at least three teams that are better than “somewhere in between” which means they’re good enough to beat the Gigantes to that playoff spot.
Still, for a team that was supposed to smell like a bunch of stinky cheese pots, right now, they smell pretty good.