Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Today's Giants and their future by Ed Stern

Marty- Glenn Dickey. in today’s Chronicle, writes about the Giants under the headline, “prepare for the big purge”, with the accompanying suggestion “just don’t expect any miracles this season.” This comes at a time when the team may be the first club within memory to win 100 games one year and follow it by losing 100 the next year.

Recently, the question was asked, on this page, when commenting on the Giants prospects for this year, has the day of reckoning come? The answer is, clearly, yes, the day of reckoning has come. Dickey agrees and has some thoughts and suggestions concerning the future.

Click below for Ed’s analysis of the Giants.
This year, he believes, is a lost cause and no effort mid-season to bolster the lineup should be contemplated. He is correct and Sabean probably feels the same way. There is nothing which could reasonably be done mid-year to turn a very bad ball club into a contender. A complete overhaul is called for. While Dickey opines that “he (Sabean) with selective help from the minor league system, should be able to rebuild the Giants into a contender again,…” it is likely that they are going to need a good deal more than help from their farm clubs.

As pointed out in Dickey’s article, and as has been suggested in no uncertain terms here for some time, Snow has to go, Rueter is an overrated pitcher, they need a right fielder who can play at a major league level and a shortstop who can play in the field and hit productively.

Feliz will be an interesting story the remainder of this year. Apparently, Alou intends to play him at shortstop regularly. He has shown that he has the necessary arm and that he can pick up the ball when it is hit at him. Still open questions are his range at shortstop and whether he will develop the discipline at the plate needed to turn him into an offensive force. He strikes out too often and walks too infrequently. This is the sign of a hitter who hasn’t taken to heart the advise given by Ted Williams and Barry Bonds, ” you only get one pitch to hit at every at bat, wait for it and then hit it.”

In examining the roster of players down on the farm there do not appear to be outstanding youngsters who are ready to step into major league roles. The team has neglected to sign position players who can reliably be counted on to compete for regular roles on a winning big league team. Their first round draft choices have consistently been pitchers. They have then used these pitchers as trade bait and have gone into the free agent market for experienced position players.

For the most part, they have been successful in pursuing this path in the immediate past. Losing Nathan to Minnesota may haunt them. He has turned, not unexpectedly, into a premium closer. For a team with no closer this is difficult to contemplate. Pierzynski isn’t an adequate exchange.

Leaving pitching problems aside for the moment, we are left with a team which has glaring holes at first base and right field. It has a shortstop who is a work in progress. It has two outfielders, Bonds and Grissom, who may continue to defy the ravages of age, but when they succumb, as will inevitably be the case, two more holes need to be filled. They are stuck at third base for two plus years with an overpaid and, to date, an underachieving third baseman. They have a second baseman who is a fine player but who has difficulty remaining healthy.

The pitching has been left here to the end of this discussion, probably because it is such a painful subject one puts off addressing it until there is no avoiding it. Simply put. this pitching staff is in a shambles. They have one great pitcher. Schmidt. in the rotation. They have a good prospect in Williams, but he is a prospect, not a proven winner.

They have very little else. This is a staff which has to be given a complete rebirth. They need to come up with at least two, probably three starting pitchers of quality. They need a closer. They have a few people in the bullpen who could reasonably stick around if the needs described here were met. If they hope to field a winning team in the near future they are going to have to participate in a meaningful way in the free agent market. That means competing with the big money teams for impact players. Additionally, thought has to be given to improving the farm system so that one can anticipate coming up with a decent player or two from Fresno. When was the last time the team came up with an outstanding player from their minor league roster?

Glenn Dickey may be overoptimistic about the Giants immediate future. Perhaps we should be realistically hoping for a team which has some attractive young players, with the possibility that it will mature into a contender in a few more years. We could live with that. What we cannot live with is the thought that we are facing the possibility of a Warriors type existence.


1 Anonymous { 05.21.04 at 11:35 am }

This situation is not new. It happens in baseball to evry team. Several up years are followed by down years.
The Giants are probably in a down cycle and re-building will begin. Free agency makes it a little easier but how
much money will the Giants be willing to spend? The missed out on Vlad Guerrero and Pudge Rodriguez.
They missed out on Jose Guillen. They cannot be smug in their attitude that SBC park will fill up every day.
Cleveland went through the same process and it currently rebuilding and can be painful. We will see if
the Giants can correct course. The Dodgers and Padres are still over .500 but they are starting to slip.
Great read,Ed.

Jerry F

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