3 decisions that doomed the SF Giants chances in 2022
3. Not prioritizing defense
This is a tough one because poor defense is usually a trait that quickly gets woven into a team's identity. You either can play defense or cannot play defense and you usually find out quickly what side of the spectrum the team is on.
For the Giants, they could not play defense. They had some really rough months with the glove in the middle of the year but the lack of execution followed them throughout the entire season. The Giants were officially eliminated on Saturday by a score of 8-4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and it was a rather fitting end for this team.
Thairo Estrada committed a throwing error whereas there were a couple of defensive miscues in the outfield including Joc Pederson losing the ball in the sun. You cannot do anything about a player losing the ball in the sun because it happens sometimes.
However, it is hard to ignore that the front office built a roster that did not prioritize defense or versatility. The Giants defense posted -45 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -28 Outs Above Average (OAA), which ranks as second-worst and third-worst, respectively, in baseball.
Giants outfielders combined to recorded -42 DRS and -24 OAA with both marks being the worst in baseball. Second base was another problem area with -19 DRS and -4 OAA. The point is, the defense was rough at nearly every position.
I suppose it is no surprise given that the Giants once had a roster that consisted of Tommy La Stella, Wilmer Flores, Darin Ruf, Yermín Mercedes, and Joc Pederson all at the same time. None of the five mentioned are above-average fielders, and in many instances, they were playing out of position.
The team that executes better is usually the one that wins close games more often than not. At 21-27 in one-run games, the Giants just did not execute enough on defense and it likely led to less-than-stellar numbers for many of the Giants pitchers as well.
The front office cannot make that same miscalculation again. Once it is embedded in the team's identity, it is tough to fix. Defensive acumen needs to be a priority this winter, especially at premium positions.