The San Francisco Giants were shut out over the course of the winter meetings this year, unlike the rest of the industry which was churning out deals at a record-setting pace. Yes, Brian Sabean took a couple of mighty swings, first at Pablo Sandoval and then at Jon Lester, employing a solid approach with both, but then ending up with nothing other than air.
Sabean then took a called third strike as the meetings ended in a burst of solid base hits, players being swapped faster than ten-cent beers would move on a sultry afternoon in Philadelphia, none as the result of a Giants move. Use any baseball metaphor that you please, San Francisco ended up no more than bench warmers during the first set of meetings in San Diego since 1985, the year the owners colluded together to set a ceiling on player salaries.
Would you care to know something else? Things are all good in the ‘hood. Brian Sabean is no novice at these meetings. Actually, in terms of longevity with the same organization, Sabes is top dog and everyone is well aware of it. He gave honest effort with Pablo; there was a hidden agenda with regard to “respect” and the effort was doomed from the beginning.
Oct 7, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval reacts after popping out with the bases loaded in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals during game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Even Buster could not influence Lester to join the team. Anyone who could say “no” to Buster would never have worked out anyway.
Many Giants fans let their collective breath out silently when Lester inexplicably chose Chicago. The seven years being reportedly offered by Sabean just seemed about three years too many for any pitcher. Well, notMadison Bumgarner
, of course.
When Ervin Santana’s name popped up, many heads snapped back with dangerous implications in terms of whiplash, but the panic was short-lived when Minnesota snapped up Santana, certainly to be considered an upgrade for the Twins.
With seventeen deals at least having been consummated in San Diego, many fans feel let down that the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have improved their clubs, whereas the Giants are marking time.
To these fans I say be patient. This is not even halfway through the Giants’ abbreviated offseason, and though there are still at least three matters of grave concern on the front burners of a stove with only two available spots, Brian Sabean has passed both Rudimentary Lineup Building 201 and 202-with honors-and will get the job done.
When it comes to it, if one considers Sergio Romo to be a vital element of the Giants, then there are still at least four skillets scrambling for burners in Sabean’s mind. Is Sergio a “vital” component to the Giants’ continued success? That is impossible to say because his contributions are not limited to stats alone.
Romo represents one of many instances on the team where a guy has staggered along the route, been elevated through team support, and gone on to thrive. His willingness to step aside with dignity and sportsmanship emphasized the power of team chemistry.
Romo’s ERA climbed in 2014 as a result of a spate of home runs, but his prowess amongst his peers remained unaffected because his ongoing minuscule WHIP kept the damage to a minimum. If there are no runners on the bases when the big fly exits the yard, at least a team cannot catch up to and pass a team with one swing of the bat.
How crucial Sabean believes Romo to be in the Giants’ continued success will determine whether or not he pursues him. Romo is going to want a raise, probably somewhere in the three-year, 21 million dollar range, but it is to be assumed that he still wants to close. Just as with Pablo Sandoval, there are mitigating factors over which Sabes has no control. What is one to do?
Angel Pagan was one of several Giants on track for serious All Star consideration.
Again, not to worry. What Sabean has learned is that as long as spring training is in the front windshield, it need not matter what is in the rear-view mirror. Yes the Dodgers improved, as did the Padres and the Diamondbacks, the latter with the acquisition of Yasmani Tomas, a talent also coveted by the Giants. San Francisco will also upgrade because the return of both Angel Pagan and Matt Cain will not suffice.
Sabean understands that when the sharks all gather in one luxurious aquarium and a blood-soaked trophy becomes available from the bait tank, a frenzy will result. Best to sidle over to the chips and tuna dip for a spell and let them battle it out. Later, after the big dudes have strutted home with their panic-induced prize(s) in their mouths, Sabean will examine the remaining dishes on the menu and select accordingly.
He has mastered the craft of the GM, as is fitting for a future Hall of Fame inductee to have done, and will proceed to take care of the business of equipping his team with the appropriate components, all in good time.
There are still plenty of quality fish in the sea.