Happy Friday Giants’ fans. The team just enjoyed it’s first day off in quite some time, and now gets to play a few games on the road while the front office decides the fate of the roster. Should be an exciting week.
I am about to head out for two weeks of vacation, so I won’t be able to say much about the happenings (whatever they might be ) until well after the fact. So, let’s talk about the crossroads the Giants stand at today.
The great debate in Giants-world on the old-twitter machine has focused on whether the Giants should go for it or not. The thinking goes: why punt on this fantastic turn of events. Stand pat, or even “buy,” and see if this magic translates into a Wild Card Run.
There are nostalgic reasons for this. It’s Bochy’s last season. It might be one last time for Bumgarner and Posey, et al, to get a shot, together, at the World Series. It would be good times!
There are pragmatic reasons. While building for the future is prudent, attendance is way down, the Warriors are moving down the street, football is about to start, and everyone is going to forget about the Giants unless they start winning again.
Finally, there’s the “no-one-knows-what-tomorrow-may-bring” mentality, which argues that no one knows what tomorrow may bring. All you know is you have a shot at 2019. GO FOR IT and figure out 2020 when you get there.
On the other side of this debate is the reality that the Giants are stuck in long-term contract purgatory. They have an aging core that probably is not going to get better in the next few years. Their farm system is improving, but a lot of the talent is in the lower levels and still developing. And finally, the Giants have assets that other teams covet: CASH THAT ISH IN!
I understand and resonate with elements of both sides of this debate, but both sides fail to understand a couple of critical realities about our new Giants Wizard Farhan Zaidi.
Critical Reality Number 1: Farhan cares about one thing only, and that is the constant improvement of the Giants roster and system. This means that on any given day, or week, or season, he is evaluating moves based on that fact.
Now, I know what you are thinking, this is the mission of every executive. Yes, and no. What I am trying to say is Farhan does not think in binary, “do-I-buy-or-sell, categories. He evaluates every move by “do we get better.” Some moves help the Giants gets better now, and some moves help them get better in the long-term.
What this means is: he might keep Bumgarner, he might trade Will Smith for someone who can plug right into the starting rotation/lineup, he might flip Jeff Samardzija for financial flexible, and he might trade Sam Dyson for a prospect.
In other words he might do everything, or nothing, or some combination. And it won’t stop ever.
This is the significant difference from the previous regime. Now, this is not meant to disparage Brian Sabean and co. Dude build a winning team from 1997-2005 around a Super Star, and then built a 3 time champion after that. That is a serious resume.
But it was, in general, a more static approach to roster building. While successful in its time, it doesn’t quite work like that anymore.
Critical Reality Number 2: Because of Farhan’s approach it is entirely the team gets better for the final two months of 2019 and into the future. This will require some shrewd maneuvering, a little luck, and, likely, an unpopular move or two. And it’s also more likely that his moves benefit the 2020 Giants and beyond.
But the bottom line is it is time for Giants’ fans to leave behind static, binary thinking. That’s now how Farhan operates, and if you really want to follow along you’ll have to let that kind of thinking go.