With the poor performance of the San Francisco Giants the last few years, it didn’t come as a huge shock when Bobby Evans was fired as general manager.
While some of the decisions Evans made were questionable at best, overall he was simply a victim of circumstance and the San Francisco Giants were forced to make a move.
I wrote an article a while back that went over Evans’s tenure as GM up to that point. We all know the general story though. Trades not panning out, and dishing out huge free agent contracts to aging pitchers who have declined in production, been oft-injured, or both defined his time as GM.
In said article, I wrote about how most of the moves made by Evans looked good on paper. They were lauded by baseball analysts and gasbags on MLB Network. I always feel like that’s a sign of trouble to come, when guys in suits who haven’t watched the Giants all year start saying what the Giants are doing is smart. What do they know?
I also said he looked like the human animation of a Teddy Graham, which was kind of mean even though it was just a joke. Sorry, Bobby.
Anyways, it would have been impossible to predict the injuries and poor performance of guys like Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, and Mark Melancon. And let’s not forget that Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt, and Joe Panik have missed considerable amounts of time due to injury the last two years.
Those things were pretty much out of Bobby’s control. Yet one could argue that with an old, and getting older, roster that these injuries were predictable, which is a fair point.
I don’t think that Evans managed the team all that differently than Brian Sabean would have. Evans probably learned from Sabean to trust veterans over rookies unless it’s clear that a rookie is the better option– like in Buster Posey‘s case for example — I could be wrong though.
I think Evans’s biggest problem was not looking ahead towards the future. Nearly all of the moves he made were done to win now. That mentality is understandable when you have a fanbase that’s grown accustomed to winning it all every other year.
But now, with bad contracts piling up and an aging roster, it puts the Giants in a tough spot going forward.
This move signals that the Giants are now trying to keep an eye on the future. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Larry Baer wants a “next-gen general manager” to shake things up.
Baer wants a GM who can do it all, embrace the analytics of the new game while also being adept at the scouting aspect, which drove the game for so long. Gee Larry, don’t we all?
It sort of reminds me of the dilemma in the Democratic Party over finding candidates who focus on social issues or economic issues affecting the middle class. Ideally, one would want someone who could do both.
The question is, for the Giants and the Democratic Party, does such a person exist?
It will be interesting to see who the Giants hire to replace Evans. There are already some thoughts as to who this person could be. By hiring someone from outside the organization, it is possible that this person will not have reservations about trading or moving on from beloved players who were a part of their championship runs.
Perhaps that’s what the team really needs: someone to come in and make decisions not based on nostalgia or things from five years ago, but decisions based solely on what’s best for the team. This would be a stark but necessary contrast to how the Giants have operated for years.
With Bruce Bochy and Sabean around for at least another year, it’s not as if they’re burning the place down. However, it’s clear that Baer understands that change is necessary if the Giants want to compete next year and beyond.