The Giants went into the 2017 season with pretty much the same roster that they ended the 2016 season with and despite trading away numerous prospects, they still managed to keep a core of young prospects that collectively were ranked the 17th best farm system or the 13th worst farm system depending on who you talk to.
They had a relatively quiet offseason, but they had a glaring issue following their NLDS loss to the Cubs. They needed to address their bullpen. Bobby Evans did what he tends to do. He threw money at it. Not only did he throw money at pitchers, but he gave them whatever they wanted. Lots of money? Sure. Too many years? Heck yeah! No trade clause? Team option? I’ll do you one better. Player option! And just like that, the Giants signed Mark Melancon to a 4 year $62 million deal with a full no trade clause, and a player option signing him from ages 32-36 at an AAV of $15. It was the final cloud forming to create the perfect storm.
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The 2017 season was a disaster from the start. Will Smith went down in spring training and needed to get Tommy John surgery. Mark Melancon was bad and then got hurt, Jarrett Parker broke his collarbone, Jeff Samardzija was bad, Matt Moore was really bad, Madison Bumgarner fell off a dang ATV, Brandon Belt got hurt, Joe Panik got hurt, and Matt Cain had reached the end of the line.
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. All of the trades Bobby Evans made ate away at the organizational depth, and once the injuries started to hit, there weren’t many major league ready prospects to fill in the holes. Even worse, the prospects they did have that may have been major league ready were blocked by healthy everyday players.
A lot of Bobby Evans minor league acquisitions were players who had brief stints in the majors, but offered no real upside. In other words, the back-end of the 40-man roster was filled with low-floor/low-ceiling non prospects. His transaction record was a real “who’s who” of former highly regarded prospects and 1 tool players that would never really be impact players in the majors.
The 2017 season was a lost season, but on the bright side the Giants had the offseason to get healthy and they still had their championship core in place despite the fact that they were getting older and had a lot of deep playoff runs adding miles to their bodies.