As most of you probably know by now, the Cardinals yesterday signed Carlos Beltran to a 2 year $26 Million contract. That contract is very reasonable and one that the Giants could have fit into their payroll, had they made re-signing him the top priority. They did not though, and that has angered a lot of Giants fans, myself included. Why didn’t the Giants make Beltran the top priority though? Hank Schulman of the SF Chronicle has some answers
Sabean always has believed that it makes little sense to have one or two big players if the supporting cast is weak. He would rather own a room full of toys than one Xbox 360. He was ripped for that philosophy in 1996, ripped for it again after the 2003 season when he didn’t make a move for Vlad Guerrero and is being ripped for it today. But he is not budging
The 2003 example is interesting compared to the current situation. Barry Bonds was the greatest player in baseball, but was aging and transitioning from a guy with an OPS in the mid 1000′s to a guy with an OPS in the low 1000′s. He was starting to go into the twilight of his career which, while still incredibly good did make him look closer to mortal. The Giants had also lost the Robin to Bonds’ superman after 2002 when Jeff Kent went to Houston. So the Giants had a fantastic slugger but their core was aging and could use an infusion of talent. Which brought up RF Vladimir Guerrero who was a 28 year old free agent coming off a huge year, hitting .330/.426/.586 with more walks than strikeouts. So did the Giants make an effort to sign him?
Q: Did you ever make an offer for Vladimir Guerrero?
Sabean: In a word: No. If we had signed Guerrero or [Gary] Sheffield, we would have been without [Jim] Brower, [Scott] Eyre, [Matt] Herges, [Dustin] Hermanson, [Brett] Tomko, [A.J.] Pierzynski, [Pedro] Feliz, [J.T.] Snow, [Jeffrey] Hammonds, [Dustan] Mohr and [Michael] Tucker–obviously not being able to field a competitive team, especially from an experience standpoint, given our level of spending.
Now this may come across as overly cynical-and I truly don’t mean it to be. But I just see some similarities to the 2003 team and this team. I think given the rising salaries of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and even Madison Bumgarner combined with the rate of attrition for pitchers the Giants window of opportunity could be shorter than most think. I do think that the Giants are in better shape for the future than they were in 2003. But I do think that given Arizona and San Diego’s strong farm systems, Los Angeles’ forthcoming ownership improvement, and Colorado’s solid balance, the time for the Giants to strike was now, but instead Sabean is again seeing a window close and not changing his methods to help extend the Giants window of opportunity.