Missing the playoffs every season is disappointing, but why does the 2023 season sting so much for SF Giants fans? There could be differing opinions about the why, but I just thought we would be further along at this point with the Farhan Zaidi regime.
Why the SF Giants missing the playoffs is so disappointing in 2023?
Logan Webb recently suggested that big changes are needed to create a winning culture. When your staff ace says that, then you really need to listen. The Giants will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Think about that for a minute. That is a long stretch of play where the Giants failed to make it into the playoffs. In the late 2010's, it was maybe easier to digest because the rosters consisted of the championship core. The team might have been struggling, but the memories of the championship run were not the long ago.
Now, the Giants will head into the 2024 season and they will likely do some type of celebration for the 2014 team that beat the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series. They have been to the playoffs exactly two times since that historic season.
Again, that is a long stretch of baseball without too many games in October. Of course, we had been spoiled with the championship run. Giants fans will hold those memories for a long, long time. Though, there just have not been a ton of memories with those playoff vibes since then.
There have certainly been some fun memories over the past 10 years, but not enough with playoff ramifications. So, this is why the 2023 feels like such a disappointment. I try not to rely on hyperbole like "biggest disappointment ever." This is probably the biggest disappointment over the past handful of years.
When Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations, we knew that we were in for a multi-year rebuild. Though, they never wanted to officially call it a rebuild despite the fact that their actions were consistent with a rebuild.
I was hoping for an upward trajectory and some form of sustainable winning. That trajectory began almost immediately with the club winning 77 games in 2019 followed by 29 wins and 107 wins in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
We knew that the Giants, in some sense, overperformed in 2021, so it was unrealistic to expect them to maintain that pace. Since then, they have been stuck in the middle and that is just a rough place to be in baseball.
Five years is a long time. The Baltimore Orioles are one of the best teams this season. They were in a miserable position back in 2019 and pretty much just did not try for a handful of seasons before their competitive window reopened. I do not think that the way they went about it is an authentic way to build a roster, but tanking can work. I am glad that the Giants did not commit to that type of approach.
Even the Chicago Cubs, who looked like they were in for a lengthy rebuild in 2021, are back in the playoff picture so quickly.
I do not know what to expect from the Giants this winter. There will be some changes and some of those changes have already occurred. That said, both Zaidi and Gabe Kapler are seemingly safe for now.
Honestly, I am not all that picky as to who leads the organization whether it is Zaidi or some other executive, I just want some type of idea of how they plan to win games. And, after five seasons, I thought we would have that type of understanding but that it just not the case.
The current roster has a star pitcher in Logan Webb and several solid role players on the position-player side. Outside of that, they do not have much of an identity. One player fills a role until he cannot and then the Giants replace him with a similar skill set.
I still do not know what their approach is to winning games. During the championship run, it was pitching and defense. This team? I guess it is manufacturing a starter by sticthing an opener and a bulk innings pitcher together as well as taking advantage of platoon matchups. That strategy can work and it does work for some teams like the Tampa Bay Rays. Though, the Rays do that better than just about every team in baseball.
So, here we are. Heading into the sixth year of the Zaidi regime. There has been more losing than winning over the last 7 - 8 seasons. I just hope that they can show something more in terms of continuing that upward trajectory and finally building an identity for how they can outplay other teams. Over the past two seasons, that identity has disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived, which is the hallmark of a team stuck in the middle.