The San Francisco Giants are in last place in the NL West, and nearly 20 games out of first place. How on earth did we get here?
I try not to make my pieces personal. I stray from first person as much as possible. This time, I just don’t think it’s possible in this piece. I understand what many of San Francisco Giants fans are feeling right now. How on earth did we get here?
It seemed so simple in the offseason. MAYBE they needed another bat, but they would’ve had the best record in baseball if you plugged in a competent closer. They went and got a competent closer, or so we thought at that point.
It seemed cut and dry. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not the Giants would make the postseason for many of us. The only question was would they be able to win more than the Dodgers?
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We’re now ten games from the midway point and the Giants are close to 20 games under .500, 19.5 out of first in the West, and 18.5 out of a wildcard spot. According to Baseball Reference, the worst a team has ever been after their first 71 games, and made the postseason was the 2013 Dodgers and 1981 Royals, both tied at 30-41. The worst World Series Winner after 71 games? The 2003 Marlins, only three games under .500. So face it, it’s over.
The run is over with this core specifically. The Giants could come back and win a World Series and still own the title as the most dominant franchise in baseball this decade. But, that’s not going to involve this core, and the Giants probably need to come to terms with that. They’re on the verge of a full, long term rebuild if they aren’t smart during the trade season and the offseason. But that’s something you likely already know. This article doesn’t serve that purpose. You’ll get plenty more of those as we approach the trade deadline. Right now? We need to come to grips with what has taken place over these first 71 games.
There have been a whole host of injuries, and it started before the season with Mac Willamson needing the DL towards the end of spring training, Will Smith needing Tommy John surgery. But here is just the timeline of injuries:
, 7 day Concussion List- May 30
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The only core pieces not on there are others in the starting staff, and then Joe Panik and Brandon Belt. That’s it. But are injuries a major excuse? No. A lot of these were staggered out. According to popular belief, the Giants should’ve been able to weather that storm.
That’s feasible, IF the big boys were performing to levels acceptable, or expected upon when they signed their nice big contract extensions. Let’s take a look at those guys!
- Brandon Belt: .221/.388/.410/.748; 11 HR, 28 RBI
- Brandon Crawford: .258/.301/.424/.726; 6 HR, 32 RBI
- Hunter Pence: .251/.298/.355/.648; 4 HR, 24 RBI
That’s not good. The only player performing to what the Giants paid for is Posey, whose OPS just dipped under 1.000 for the first time this season, the only one slugging above .450. That’s it. And don’t even get started on pitching.
- Johnny Cueto: 4.57 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 1.35 WHIP
- Matt Moore: 6.00 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 1.61 WHIP
- Mark Melancon: 5.09 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.47 WHIP
Those three were supposed to be big contributors and anchors, especially when Bumgarner got hurt. They didn’t though. They faltered.
The Giants have a team average age near 30, and the only ones keeping it below 30 are Joe Panik and Derek Law. That’s starting to be a really old roster, full of aging and breaking down vets. They could only ride the horse for so long before it broke down. And now we’ve hit that point.
That’s essentially what’s gone wrong. Couple players who you paid the big bucks that are underperforming and the aging breaking down roster, you get a team that’s nearly 20 games out of .500. Well, what do they do to fix it?
We’ll start to see what happens as we get closer to trade season. For now, we’re stuck. We’re stuck with this mess. And if the Giants are going to be smart, and sell off looking for a quick rebuild, then you should probably still watch them. Get a good last look at some of the pieces that brought so much success to the franchise over the last few years.
I think that’s the hardest part. It’s hard to be mad at players who helped you experience three parades in the span of five seasons. It was different in the 2000s, when there was no success to speak of. It was easier to get rid of them, to not watch them. But we’ve all grown attached. And that’s ok. But all good things must come to an end. And that end is likely here. So it’s time to come to grips with that reality. Thank them for the memories, and move on. For the success of the franchise in the immediate future, it’s best things happen that way.