SF Giants Rooting Interests: Yankees vs Rays
In another inner-division divisional-round matchup, AL East foes with very little ties to Giants history will square off. Neither team has a former Giant on their roster, although both teams have had Matt Duffy in their organization at some point this year (he’s still in the Yankees org).
The Giants previous front-office regimes were heavily connected to the Yankees from Brian Sabean’s tenure in New York. However, at this point, Zaidi’s experience working closely with Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles probably ties the current organization more closely to Tampa.
Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro was interviewed for the Giants managerial job last offseason and was reportedly a finalist alongside Kapler, and Espada. However, there are sparse other connections to the Giants in Tampa.
Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin seemed like the kind of guy Brian Sabean would have signed had he been willing to stick around a couple more years (he hit 22 home runs with a .761 OPS in his final big-league season at 36). Instead, Nevin joined as Bruce Bochy’s third-base coach in 2017. While he struggled with the Giants, he’s apparently gotten comfortable over the last three seasons in New York.
My first instinct as a fan leads me to cheer for the Rays. After all, the Yankees are the big bullies in MLB history and we’re taught to cheer on the penny-pinching “small-market” underdogs like Tampa. Perhaps it’s time we reconsider that.
Major League Baseball is heading on a collision course for a labor strike or ownership lockout prior to the 2021 season. There’s just no way around it, the labor dynamics in the richest baseball league in the world have changed. The analytics revolution has twisted into far more than just a better way of understanding the game but of a tool for extracting value.
The Rays continued success has been a testament to the power of data when combined with quality coaching and an interconnected organization. However, it’s also become a beacon to bigger market teams (like the Giants, Red Sox, and Dodgers) that they might not need to spend the money they once did to be relevant. It is the profit margin over the person to the nearest extreme the rules allow.
For all that the Yankees represent, they’ve been one of the few organizations willing to invest in players and spend on their team. In recent offseasons, they traded for Giancarlo Stanton’s massive contract and inked Gerrit Cole to the largest free-agent deal for a pitcher in league history.
I want a league where every team acts like the Yankees more than a league where everyone acts like the Rays.