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San Francisco Giants: Team Meetings on Effort Don’t Reflect Well on Clubhouse

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy is see in the dugout during the seventh inning against the New York Mets at AT&T Park on September 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The Mets defeated the Giants 4-1.(Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy is see in the dugout during the seventh inning against the New York Mets at AT&T Park on September 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The Mets defeated the Giants 4-1.(Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) /
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The San Francisco Giants held a team meeting prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, according to Bruce Bochy. The subject matter hints that the overall clubhouse feeling has gone too far south.

Losing takes its toll on teams. It always does. But for this San Francisco Giants squad it seems like it’s starting to take a real toll, which might lead to issues beyond 2019.

According to Bruce Bochy, the San Francisco Giants needed a clubhouse meeting about “effort” and keeping each other accountable for giving their best effort through the end of the season.

Here is an excerpt from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, on the meeting:

"But Bochy did make a concession to the reality of the situation on Tuesday afternoon. He met with his team, talking for about five minutes about the importance of playing hard and holding each other accountable. That is not a meeting you have when you’re trying to clinch a playoff spot. It’s the type of meeting you have when you’re losing every night and looking flat, as the Giants have while dropping 10 straight for the first time in 22 years."

There are a few ways to look at this.

One, is the simple fact that with a lot of fringe players, and a lot of young players on the current squad, the ability to work through this rough stretch of eleven losses is to hold eachother accountable to work hard to get results. At times, when the offense is rolling, the pitching slacks. Or when the pitching is rolling, the offense has been off. The latter has been the majority of the problem all season. And that is something that leads me to believe this isn’t just a “bad stretch” issue when it comes to effort.

The offensive effort clearly hasn’t been there this year. Players don’t seem to be going to the plate with any real plan or approach. It’s “find something to drive and hope you hit it,” which in turn, seems to have made it “swing at anything close.” It’s probably a fair statement that Alonzo Powell isn’t telling players that.

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With so many veterans in the squad, and with the success that they’ve had, there is room for “complacency” or stubbornness. Complacency maybe not in losing, because I don’t believe any pro-athlete is “ok” with going out and losing every night. They wouldn’t be professional athletes without having that competitive streak in them. What I mean by complacency is complacency in their own ability. They believe that they don’t need to listen to major adjustments, or anything of that type, because they’ve been there and done it before, and have done it with success. So more stubbornness.

This Giants team, and frankly the whole franchise has just been blatantly stubborn the last couple seasons, and we’re starting to see it from the players as well. The San Francisco Giants offense in the first half of the season was basically there.

Here is how the San Francisco Giants ranked in some key, and telling stats about plate approach and success in the first half, compared to the second half:

The second half drop frankly screams effort and adjustments. I know there were a few guys hurt, but they weren’t that unhealthy. Of the top 11 players in games played in the second half, only three would be considered bench players. That’s eight regulars who have played in at least 30 games in the second half. This is just as much on them as it is anyone else.

The lack of results at the plate, or the ability of the team to come out of their 50 game slump here, directly reflects on their ability and willingness to make adjustments. Clearly they lost their way, and lost their plan at the plate, and it’s going down hill, costing the team. For a team that is the third oldest in the league (29.6 years old), and is the second most expensive team in baseball, that doesn’t signal good things. So how do you fix that? Most of you won’t like that answer.

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I don’t believe in tanking, and I will never advocate for my team to tank. I understand bad years will happen occasionally, which is why I took last year as a grain of salt. This year, however, you can’t. The San Francisco Giants are loaded with aging and expensive players, that can’t stay on the field for more than 120 games in a season. There are ways to shake teams up, and still be competitive. I expect the Giants to try and do that, as they’ll never accept a tanking mentality. But there likely needs to be significant personnel and staff changes.

The message is either not getting sent correctly, or it’s gone stale on the players, which means the inevitable split is coming. If the Giants are smart, they’ll start making some changes this offseason. For my money, I’m going to count on them getting smart.

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