Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Rethinking the Giants Future by Ed Stern

Marty; It is time to get realistic about this Giants’ club and, while we’re at it, a very brief word about the A’s.

The A’s are a very bad ball club. Their hitting is deplorable, their fielding is abominable and their pitching leaves a great deal to be desired. Is there anything which hasn’t been covered? There is small reason to anticipate a remarkable turn around this year.

Click Below for Ed’s analysis of the Giants.

Now for the Giants. This team is going nowhere this year. The Bonds era is over, irrespective of whether Bonds returns and, if he does, whether he is in shape to play up to his past standards. It is past time for managment to begin thinking about the future.

There is very little about the present roster which would lead one to be optimistic about this year, next year or a number of years thereafter. The only aspect in which one can find any encouragement is the possibility that Schmidt may pitch back to his previous highs, that in the combination of Lowry, Williams, Hennessey, and possibly Cain, they can find two starters to round out the rotation.

The bullpen needs rebuilding. Brower must go, along with Herges, Levine, probably Christansen, even if he is a left-hander. Munter and Accardo are unknown qualities although Accardo gives promise of being able to throw strikes when needed. Benitez, who seriously injured himself running from the pitcher’s mound to first base, is an unknown right now. The seriousness of his injury, it is thought, was due to being significantly out of shape. The likelihood of his returning in better shape is remote. The one hopeful sign in the ‘pen is that Walker may actually be a competent closer. There isn’t much history here on which one can depend but anything “hopeful” these days is welcome. Eyre is the one reliable middle inning reliever.

With respect to the remainder of this aging and aged squad there is nothing about which to be “hopeful”. The best player on the team is Vizquel. This a Hall of Fame player well past his best years. If he was ten years younger there would be no concern about shortstop for the next ten years. Unfortunately, he may have a couple of years left in his elderly bones but more than that is not to be reasonably contemplated.

They have a third baseman who is beginning to play back to his dismal past two years. At the moment, he has managed to hit two home runs and the season will shortly be in it’s third month. They are stuck with him through next year, at eight million dollars a year. No one is going to take him off their hands. The only sensible course to take, when Bonds returns, is to bite the bullet, release him and allow Feliz to play third base.

At second, Durham is injury prone. When he does play, as often as not, he is playing while nursing a nagging injury. At first, Snow, if he was on a strong team would not be a liability. He is hitting better than expected given his past record. He saves games with his play in the field. Unfortunately, he stands in the path of Niekro, who is one of the very few position players going through their farm system with any hope of being successful in the majors. Niekro can hit for the distance which one cannot say of Snow. This not an infield which is going to be playing playoff ball in 2007.

As for the outfield, one cannot hold one encouraging thought. They need three starting outfielders. I am overlooking Bonds since I am talking about a future which doesn’t include him. In addition, they will need some backup outfielders providing bench strength. Tucker- type players should not be in the picture.

By 2007, they will require a completely new outfield, the better part of a new infield, a renovated bullpen. There is no reason to tinker with the parts they now have. Byrnes is no answer. A complete overhaul in thinking is needed. A place to start is with their farm system. It is possible to build a young, attractive, ball club. Others have done it, and have done it without spending the amount of money the Giants have expended filling needs, year by year, from the ranks of over-the-hill players.

The expressed concern of management that fans won’t fill their ball park if they are not in playoff contention every year is not necessarily the case. The Giants drew the largest crowds to a three game series they heve ever drawn this past weekend against the error prone, weak hitting A’s. True fans delight in a well-played game, with attractive,aspiring young players, even if the team isn’t headed for the playoffs that particular year. The prospect of a winning future will bring fans to the park. Spend some money on drafting young, talented players, something they have been unwilling to do in the past several years.

There is no joy in going to the park these days. They don’t play well. There is small hope that they will be better next year or the year after. It is possible that a willingness to enter the free agent rat race and pay reasonably for the Guerreros or Beltrans, assuming they become available, will change the picture. If that occurs, so much the better. Developing their own players, however, should be the prime endeavor. The free agents will make winning that much easier.

This is a team which has tremendous fan support despite having little to cheer about. Management should give them reason to cheer.



1 Anonymous { 05.25.05 at 12:03 pm }

very good analysis,Ed. However, I do disagree with you not wanting to go to the ballpark to see the Giants play.Every day
at the ballpark is a joy. It is always better if your team wins
but just being at the game has always been a thrill for me.
Marty has said many times on his program ” you never know
what you will see at a game. There is something new that may happen” The season is a marathon and while we are about a 3rd of the way through,the team may make a trade
or bring up a player.Be at .500 at the All-Star break and the team has a chance.
As for the A’s, they have traded away the heart and soul of the club. Haren,Meyer and others obtained in the Hudson and Mulder deals may turn out okay but they have showed very little. The breakdown on defense has been a surprise. The A’s have been so good in the field for so long it is no doubt shocking and of great concern. Ron Washington is master
teaching fielding technique. Maybe it’s just a phase.
Jerry F

2 Anonymous { 05.25.05 at 4:06 pm }

Jerry; You are absolutely right. I’m going to the game on Friday, the Padres, and expect to have a great time irrespective of how it turns out.
The prospects for this year seem fairly dim, however. I don’t see useful trades on the horizon and there is not much in Fresno. If Schmidt is really over his problems and the rotation gets straightened out they may prove me wrong. The one heartening and unexpected story on the team has to be Walker. One of these days someone may get a hit off him.

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