San Francisco Giants:Two Recent Transactions That Will Help Giants
By Gary Oversen
The hot stove season is not all about what you can get. It is also about what your division rivals get (or don’t get). The San Francisco Giants have to be pretty satisfied with the off-season so far. And it isn’t just because they improved.
Some teams sit around and home that the division gets weaker so they can be competitive. They think that the teams within their division cannot maintain the financial commitments that have been handed out.
The Giants have not sat around and rested on their recent success. They have used that commitment to winning to sell them as a consistent title contender. And without huge financial restraints, the team has put itself in a prime position to compete for the foreseeable future.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have said that they are through spending huge amounts of money in order to compete. They are trying to build the farm system so that they can have a better network of talent to funnel to the big league club. But this new way of thinking is a cosmic shift from where the Dodgers were even two years ago.
The Giants have been working on cultivating talent through their system for several years. Not overloading their team with contracts just to get one player. (Adrian Gonzalez was really the main piece the Dodgers wanted when they took on several toxic contracts in his deal.) This way of thinking really hamstrings the club when it wants to g=have long-term success.
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The management of the team is not the issue as much as the impatience of the franchise and its fans. Of course, not winning a World Series since 1988 will do that to you. But when the new ownership group came on and said that they will spend whatever it takes to bring in a championship, it put pressure on them to win now.
And with a win-now attitude, you forego any thoughts of slowly developing young prospects. Sure the Dodgers have brought up a few quality players through their system, but they also have created logjams at several positions.
Having a plethora of outfielders, as the Dodgers do, is not as important in the National League since there is no DH to use one. Even before trading for Trayce Thompson, the Dodgers had Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Guerrero, and Enrique Hernandez on the 40-man roster.
What does that much depth in the outfield get you? Internal strife within the clubhouse and player agents calling general managers to ask about trades.
When a player like Ethier is spending his prime years getting less than 500 at-bats, that is a waste.
But let me get back to the main reason for this article.
The two transactions that have helped the Giants this off-season are Zack Greinke signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Aroldis Chapman signing with the New York Yankees.
Yes, Greinke will still be a formidable opponent every time he faces the Giants. But there are a few things that change the landscape of their upcoming meetings. No longer will he be pitching in the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium. On the contrary, as Chase Field is known as a great hitter’s park. He also will be the number one starter, and will usually match up with Madison Bumgarner. And just as I felt confident with Bumgarner facing Clayton Kershaw, I feel the same against Greinke.
He also will no longer be with the Dodgers, who today filled a slot in the rotation with Scott Kazmir, another lefty. They now have a potential 5 lefties in the rotation with Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kazmir, Brett Anderson and Hyun-Jin Ryu. I like the chances of the right-handed heavy Giants lineup against them. And Brandon Crawford also hits lefties well.
Aroldis Chapman going to the Yankees instead of the Dodgers is another important transaction for the Giants. The Dodgers could have still ended up with him, after news came out of his domestic violence issues. But the team moved on, and the Giants will not have to face the spectacle of facing Kenley Jansen AND Chapman in a series.
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It just makes things a little simpler when preparing for a team. As well as getting in the box. And yes, the Giants will still face Aroldis Chapman during this season. As they play the American League East in interleague play.