With the offseason upon us – at least for the Giants, anyway – there are definitely some topics that I’d like to start looking at. Namely, I hope to explore the many answers to the question, “where do we go from here?” This is a huge offseason for the franchise. Regardless of how you view the free agent or trade markets, Brian Sabean must improve this team. Before this year, the Giants were one of the most successful organizations in baseball. Two titles in three years will get you there. However, anyone inside the Giants’ fanbase will tell you that there was a lack of respect for the team’s accomplishments on the part of the national media. To me, Buster and company never really got the attention they deserved, even after proving nearly every national reporter wrong in the World Series. These days, any talk you hear about the 2012 Fall Classic usually centers on the theme that there were flaws in the scheduling format. The Tigers had too many days off leading up to the series because they swept the Yankees. Too much time to sit around, get cold, get rusty… whatever. Because that’s obviously the only way the lowly Giants are going to sweep the big, bad AL Tigers. I was upset about it then, and really, I’m still upset about it today (if you hadn’t noticed).
Anyway, that’s a very long-winded way of saying this: The Giants didn’t do themselves any favors this year by tanking away their second title defense season. Once a powerhouse in the NL, they have basically turned themselves into an afterthought in the blink of an eye. In other words, 2014 is a very, very important season for this franchise to put itself back on the map. If 2013 was in fact a fluke, they need to prove so as early as next year. And some big changes need to take place in order for that to happen.
Going forward, I will attempt to focus more on the future rather than this season. Frankly, I’m tired of trying to understand why the Giants blew up in our faces this summer. But if you’d like a condensed version, just this once, it would look something like this…
The Giants were a non-contender for the majority of 2013 due to the following reasons (in no particular order): Poor starting pitching from everyone not named Bumgarner; Below-average to awful defense from unexpected sources; Team-wide inability to hit with runners in scoring position; Injuries, injuries, injuries – Pagan, Vogelsong, Casilla, Scutaro; More injuries – Affeldt, Sandoval, Arias… hell, even Chad Gaudin went down for crying out loud. Am I missing anyone?
Take any team in baseball, in any year. Give them poor starting pitching, untimely hitting, metal gloves and lead cleats, and sprinkle in about a half-dozen significant injures. My guess is that team will fail 98% of the time.
That’s it. There’s my analysis on Giants’ Tank-job, 2013. From here on out, we’ll be looking forward, focusing on the state of the franchise. If I were to sit down and write all of my thoughts on how to make this team a contender in 2014 and beyond, it would be such an excessive post that you wouldn’t bother to read it. Instead, I thought it might be more interesting and reasonable to look at each position on the team, making for a series of posts over the course of the offseason. I’ll try to incorporate how each position has evolved over the past couple of years, where it’s heading, minor league depth, potential trades, free agent signings, etc. Should make for a fun series, and one that should give us one hell of an overall picture of the team going forward when complete.
Obviously, I’m no expert, and I’ve never done anything like this before. But I am certainly learning more and more each passing season, and hope to put some of my baseball ideals and insight to use here. If nothing else, it’ll give me something to take my mind off the sorrow of not seeing the orange and black in the postseason this year.
We’ll begin this series next time with a look at right field, now the most secure position in the Giants organization. I hope you enjoy.