Confusion. Panic. Fear.
These are all emotions that are going to sweep Giants nation like a cool breeze blowing across the bay. Most had Sabean pegged as working on borrowed time and on the way out. Three consecutive losing seasons can have that affect on people. But, it sounds like the Giants are are making efforts to bring back Sabes as the two sides have begun contract extension talks.
Quoting from the Chronicle
There are no guarantees the contract extension talks between the Giants and Sabean will result in an agreement. Sabean has stated publicly that he wants to return. However, he has been frustrated at times by ownership’s involvement in player personnel decisions and might seek assurances of more autonomy.
I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind seeing the deal between Sabean and the Giants hit a snag. I do not think Sabean is the right GM for the transition that the Giants have been limping towards for the last three years. Post 2007 the Giant almost certainly will not employ the services of one Barry Lamar Bonds and with change on the horizon I would like to see a GM more suited to developing a farm system. That’s not exactly a totally fair criticism against Sabes because he has developed some good pitchers from the farm system (Cain, Lincecum, Lowry) but prospects that can hit have been nonexistent.
At this point Sabean supporters would probably point out his MO of developing young pitching and then trading them away for the needed hitting. While in theory this sounds alright I don’t think it has worked out in the real world. And to me it makes more sense to draft towards needs (see: hitting) than rather to try and swap pieces with other teams. Pitching is always a valuable commodity but it seems to me that teams with legit hitting prospects are more inclined to hang onto them instead of paying the high priced free agent market. A team is going to be more likely to deal away veterans (such as when Thome was moved to make room for Howard in Philadelphia) to make room for their young position prospects.
The draft from this year cemented this ideology, taking pitching with 2 of the 3 top first round picks. It’s not that I don’t like the guys that they picked up, I do, but I would have loved to seen a hitter or two picked up. The third pick landed Wendell Fairley, whom is toolsy and athletic, but I don’t think he’s going to project to a top power hitter that you can build a offense starved team around.
Another part of the quote from the Chronicle that interested me was the meddling decisions of the ownership. The question is a good one. Has ownership limited Sabean in his efforts to build the team, insisting that he supplement Bonds with veteran talent? Trying to draw the line between what Sabean has done on his own and what management has influenced Sabean to do is extremely hard if not impossible to do. We can have notions, or feelings that Mcgowan and company pushed for the Zito deal but how do we really know? And if Sabean has been tied by the ownership, why has he decided to come back for more? Are they going to let him run the show? Did they ever influence him at all? This is the part that makes me the most uneasy because we’ll never know how much Sabean has been in control.
What I can think you can draw from Sabean’s tenure is that he has experienced success in the earlier years and that lately in the last few years he’s not had the same success. And I think you can also draw from the past three years is that if the ownership has become increasingly meddlesome with the GM operations, Sabean has not be able to work well with the ownerships demands and influence.
Sabean is a safe and easy choice even though he’s been out of public favor for the last few years. It’s a safe and predictable move for a organization that seems to be afraid of making drastic changes. He’s a known quantity. The news of Sabean’s extension in a lot of ways reminds me of the signing of Bruce Bochy. Both are safe and semi-yawn worthy. What the team needs is a new direction, a bold move, instead it feels like we are going to paddle again slowly in the same direction.
Understand that I’m not arguing for dismantlement of the team or a total rebuild but something has to change. Either in organizational philosophy or in personnel and I don’t get the feeling that either has changed or is going to change.
For what it’s worth, my dream GM was Paul DePodesta
Comment Starter: What’s your take on Sabean returning?