I don’t mind Bruce Bochy that much. He’s not a terrible manager — he’s just not a particularly great one. I’ve even defended him in the past. But he’s made it blatantly obvious this year that his trust/reliance on veteran players is too extensive. I.e. Brandon Belt should have more playing time under his belt by now (pun half-intended), and the corpse of Orlando Cabrera should never have started 39 games for the Giants.
Bochy managed this team to a World Series title; yet I’m still not particularly keen on retaining him in the long-term future.
Brian Sabean, well, he’s more of an enigma.
When I revisited the Giants’ offseason moves, I concluded that Sabean only really made one big mistake: not finding an adequate starting shortstop.
The Giants’ two biggest positional weaknesses this year have been at shortstop and first base, largely due to a couple major-league signings the Giants dished out this offseason (and, on another note, the organization’s handling of Brandon Belt). While there’s an argument to be made in defense of the Huff contract, the Giants had better options for shortstop in Hardy and Barlett — and based on what the Orioles and Rays fetched in return for their shortstops (respectively), the Giants probably had a good shot at acquiring either of them. Instead, the Giants have paid a price of $6.5MM plus Thomas Neal in order to fill their shortstop needs, and still have not received adequate production from the position. Signing Tejada to that one-year deal is a move that’s proven to be a big mistake for the organization.
His acquisition of Orlando Cabrera seemed to have exposed a fundamental problem with the way he evaluates players. Cabrera can’t hit for average. He can’t hit for power. He can’t draw walks. He can’t play good defense. Well, he can’t really do much of anything. One of the things I heard — multiple times — was that he’d been starting shortstop for a playoff team four years in a row. Which is pretty much indicative of nothing with respect to Cabrera’s talent. The deal never made sense.
On the other hand, the original Aubrey Huff signing — the one-year $3MM deal — worked out very well for the Giants (even if Huff wasn’t Sabean’s first choice at first base). The Juan Uribe signings were good, but the fact that the Giants nearly matched the Dodgers’ three-year offer frightens me.
The Carlos Beltran trade, which will likely draw a lot of criticism if Zack Wheeler realizes his potential, was a defensible move. I didn’t like it at the time, and in retrospect, I still don’t like it. But it was justifiable.
One of the best things about Sabean is that he never traded away Tim Lincecum. Or Matt Cain. Or Madison Bumgarner. Or Jonathan Sanchez I don’t know how much credit to give him for that…I’m sure there was a lot of pressure to do so — mostly external, given the Giants’ recent history with offensive incompetence. But he never gave in. Delmon Young, Alex Rios, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, etc. Names that have been tossed around in recent years in connection with some of the Giants’ young guns. But Sabean kept them all around long enough to win a World Series.
I don’t think Sabean’s as bad as many people say he is. But, as with Bochy, I don’t think he’s particularly great. I think the Giants can do better than Sabean, and I’d love to see them go in a new direction in terms of management. In fact, I’d really hate to see him signed long-term.
So, yeah. Gut reaction: I think this is terrible news.