The San Francisco Giants were in the thick of it come the Trade Deadline on July 31st. Bobby Evans didn’t make any moves and waited until August to try and “sell off.” But that’s not why he got fired.
The state of the San Francisco Giants in 2018 is a far cry from what it was two years ago. While the pain of a playoff elimination in 2016, something Giants fans hadn’t felt since Pudge Rodriguez survived the freight train that was J.T. Snow barreling down on home plate in the 2013 NLDS, there was still a hope and a feeling that the core was going to come back in 2017, they’d get a closer in free agency and all would be fixed. Boy were they wrong.
Two seasons removed from that end of the year feeling, we’re at a major crossroads in the organization’s ethos. Bobby Evans is out. Brian Sabean has been sent to his corner, and Larry Baer and the rest of the Giants hierarchy are looking to make serious changes.
On the field, the San Francisco Giants fielded a lineup of players that were an average age of 31 and got blasted by the Dodgers 15-0. That lineup, old, injured and pretty bland in terms of entertainment is what they’re stuck with. It’s their current mess. Most of them are in large contracts, and will be still here for a while unless the new regime is ruthless. But really, they don’t need to be ruthless. They need to be smart.
The Giants have blown a whole lot of smoke and hullaballoo about the VP of Baseball Operations role being filled by someone who is “next-gen” or “forward thinking”. And that’s truly the crux of it all. They could make a “forward thinking hire,” Where the candidate on the surface level, and the action of hiring said candidate would be considered forward thinking. They don’t need that.
That type of hire is a Gabe Kapler type for GM. Someone who has a name in the game, and an aspiration to be a manager, and can connect with the players. But has no real affinity for the nuances of the game and the management of said nuances.
They need to hire someone who is forward thinking. They need to bring in a radical shift in mindset of how to build a baseball team to be successful. The idea itself doesn’t quite need to be radical, but it needs to be radical compared to what they are doing.
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To keep a dynasty alive, you have to be able to evolve with the game. The Warriors, so far, have been the trend setters when it comes to Basketball’s evolution. The Giants could conceivably do the same, but they don’t have to be.
Tom Brady and the Patriots might be the best example of an ever evolving dynasty. While the main characters stay the same, they’re able to adapt and evolve at the same speed as everyone else in the league.
They aren’t on the cusp, but they’re at the forefront of the pack, and they found their own formula for success. Within that formula is a strict code to success. A culture that’s set from the top down, and maintained and curated at all levels within the organization. The Giants need to find that, and I guarantee they won’t enjoy dynastic success until they do.
But the short term isn’t about creating dynasties. The short term is setting that tone. So maybe they do need to be ruthless. If you aren’t going to adapt, then you’re going to get cut, traded, left to hang when your contract is over. Rewarding those who are part of your culture and do their best to stay within that culture, and help curate it themselves is fine. But to win at all costs, you must protect your culture at all costs.
The Giants have lost their way, and lost their culture. Whoever is up next needs to help them find it again. It doesn’t need to be what it once was, and frankly it can’t be. But it needs to happen, or we’re looking at 90 losses yet again. So the clock is ticking…now.