San Francisco Giants 2016 Season Grades: Management
By Daniel Sperry
The San Francisco Giants’ management has been a strongsuit since Bruce Bochy took over the ball-club. In 2010, 2012, and 2014, we saw how good the front office was at filling needs and making the team strong enough for the playoff run. That didn’t happen in 2016.
The San Francisco Giants 2016 Season Grade train has reached its final destination, management. We’ve covered the outfield, infield, starting pitchers, and the bullpen. Management has a lot to do with what takes place on the field.
Getting the right players, winning trades, free agent acquisitions, and also managing the direction of the game. Bruce Bochy and Bobby Evans should be subjected to yearly reviews just as much as the players. Our criteria for the management is this: Ability to keep up clubhouse morale, ability to make correct decisions in key situations.
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For the General Manager the criteria is the roster. Was it complete and cohesive? Did the signings do what was expected? While the players had injuries and past performances thrown in as a “curve” to the grades, the managers don’t. It’s their job to make it work. Now if half the starting rotation was hurt for a significant time, then you could use that as a defense. Not this year though.
The calls for Bruce Bochy’s job that have been seen on social media are absolutely absurd. Bruce Bochy didn’t do the greatest at managing his bullpen. He can be found guilty of having not enough patience when it came to the bullpen. However, you can’t really fault him for that, the bullpen was historically bad.
Bruce could not hit the ball for Hunter Pence or Brandon Belt in the second half. Nor could he bat for Buster Posey with runners in scoring position this season. He had no control over individual issues that lead to the collapse this year. One thing he can be guilty of though is morale.
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The ‘pen, for as bad as it was, probably deserved a little more patience, especially with the history some of those guys have had with the franchise. However, the bullpen pretty much wore all of that patience thin by September 1st. The Giants bullpen pitched like complete trash, save two guys (George Kontos, and Derek Law).
Another minor thing on his report-card is how quickly he went away from using Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker in the second half. Williamson was reduced to a pinch-hitting role in the second half, which took a serious toll on his confidence at the plate. Mac is the type of guy who needs a lot of at bats to get comfortable, and the same goes for Parker.
Bochy went to his veterans when the ship started sinking after the break, which is what most good managers should do. However, the young guys came up clutch in the first half. When it continued to go south, even with the vets playing, Bochy should’ve allowed for guys like Williamson and Parker to get more time.
After swinging and missing on most major free agents they pursued prior to the 2015 season, Bobby Evans came through with three huge signings this offseason. First was Jeff Samardzija, then came Johnny Cueto and Denard Span.
Denard Span performed a little below what Giants management expected of him, while Cueto and Samardzija proved to go well above expectations. Those signings certainly helped the Giants in the first half. When things went south in the second half, Evans had the opportunity to plug some key needs during the trade deadline.
He addressed an every-day caliber third basemen, although we didn’t really see that from Eduardo Nuñez until the last month of the season. He also addressed a fourth starter, keeping Matt Moore away from the Dodgers. He also got a solid left handed reliever in Will Smith. However, he failed to get the biggest need, a closer. That may, or may not have cost them the division, and potentially a championship. Evans said he’ll wear that decision everyday, and boy will he.
Giants fans were clearly fed up with the closer situation and sure let the team know about it. What’s sad, is that Bobby Evans was directly underneath Brian Sabean for those three championship runs. In those three runs, the Giants had timely hitting, defense, and the bullpen. This year, they didn’t have the bullpen. You can’t win a World Series without a cut and dry closer. If you disagree, go look at the last decade of World Series winners. Each one had a closer having a very good season.
Hopefully Evans learns from his mistake this offseason. If it weren’t for how well the free agent signings and other trade pieces performed, Evans may have gotten a “D”. Not getting the closer piece was what ultimately cost them the season. So from an “A” with the good signings, to a “B-” for not addressing the biggest need at the trade deadline. That’s how important having a complete roster is. If the Giants didn’t have a “World Series or Bust” mentality each year, it wouldn’t be a big deal. However, that is not the case.
Next: Gregor Blanco's Top 5 Moments as a Giant
This is the posting schedule for the San Francisco Giants 2016 Season Grades series: