During a conference call yesterday, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean said the team is “more or less tapped out,” funds-wise, according to Andrew Baggarly. That was in reference to a question about Mark Mulder, who’s looking for a Major League deal. Which came as a surprise to Mulder.
— Mark Mulder (@markmulder20) December 18, 2013
Yes you are, Mulder. Because Sabean said so, which either means your agent told him you’re looking for a Major League deal or Sabean thought the question was about Mark Reynolds. Weird that Sabean would turn down one of Oakland’s old “Big Three,” but maybe Sabean is still talking to Barry Zito in hopes of a full-fledged reunion.
That’s what the Giants are really good at, bringing guys back. They did a lot of that during the offseason, and other than a 38-year-old starting pitcher and a plodding slugger, they didn’t add much in the way of new blood.
Which brings us back to the “tapped out” line. It sounds like the Giants aren’t just closing their wallet. They’re tying a chain around it, locking it and stashing it in a safe until late July at the earliest. Maybe Sabean thought Mulder was asking for a “Major League meal” and still blanched at the thought. Steakhouse dinners aren’t cheap.
The Giants have signed Michael Morse, which gives them an outfield that’ll cost somewhere in the $40 million range next season. The rotation is pretty expensive considering how little they’re paying Madison Bumgarner. Bruce Bochy said they’re deeper than they were last year, back when we were supposed to believe Andres Torres was still a capable Major Leaguer.
McCovey Chronicles dove into the depth thing, comparing the on-base percentages of the Giants 2013 reserves compared to those on the Red Sox and A’s. It’s is a good read, but most people can probably figure out how the Giants fare in the OBP category, regardless of the parameters.
Bochy saying the team is deeper doesn’t mean a whole lot, because what else is he supposed to say? He didn’t want to do a platoon with Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez or some other borderline right-handed outfielder, and the Giants went out and got Morse.
Having Blanco on the bench is the main difference between 2014 and 2013, as long as Morse, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence seem healthy. While the cake may not be fully baked, the most the Giants can be expected to do between now and March is maybe make a minor deal for a prospect (Brett Pill, bye-bye?) or sign a pitcher who’s trying to comeback to a minor league contract.
A lot of people were gnawing on their nails over the left field situation. Now that the Giants have signed their new not-Blanco, how do you feel? I was talking about this with a friend on Tuesday evening, and we both agreed that Sabean’s leash is getting shorter than ever … but we were talking about the fans, not ownership. Larry Baer and the executive committee might want Sabean to fill the role of General Manager forever, or as long as Al Davis owned the Raiders.
But the the fans who invest their time and money were expecting a nice jolt to the roster. Maybe not several rounds of defibrillator CHUG-GUNG-GUNG action like you’d see on an episode of “ER,” but at least as powerful as one of those electric shocks one gets after quickly taking off a fleece jacket during an exceptionally cold and dry winter’s day.
There just seemed to be such a lack of creativity from the Giants since they locked up Pence in September. They brought back everyone of note except for Zito. They didn’t even make a prospects-for-prospects trade, let alone a deal that would change the club in any formative way. What seems crazy about their strategy is they did nearly the same thing last year, and that season was mostly dreadful.
Instead of the spark that comes from new energy, the fans have been told that the team from last year was pretty, pretty, pretty good and really, really, really unlucky, and showed all that pretty-goodness at the end of the season. So 2014 will basically be an extended version of September 2013, with Brandon Belt mashing everything in sight, Pablo Sandoval fit and trim, and Buster Posey back to being Buster Posey. Oh, and the pitching should revert back to 2012 levels, if not 2010, if the Giants have their way.
What say you? Do you believe in what the Giants are selling one more time? Do you believe in what they’ve done this offseason, adding Tim Hudson and Mike Morse, re-signing Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong, and keeping most of the bench guys you remember from last year?
What letter grade would you give Brian Sabean for what he did in the offseason?
I’m going to think about this a little and add my grade in the comments. I’m guessing somewhere between A and F, but that could change. However, I won’t be eligible to win a free large pizza (any toppings) from Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria just for commenting. But you will, so good luck!