Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

The Giants; The Crying Need for a Productive Farm System

Marty; In the most recent article here about the Giants as a team in transition, omitted from consideration was the team’s most urgent need, to put together a farm system that will produce players capable of winning at the major league level. This is not a one year effort nor is it designed to immediately come up with results which will guarantee success in the immediate future. It must be a long term commitment.

The place to look, if one is contemplating a change in the way this franchise has operated in the past and the radical new look demanded is Atlanta. Rather than using the Giants as the example of how not to operate let’s take a look at the Mets, by way of comparison. The Giants’ problems this year are too easy a target with which to make a comparison.

Click below more.
The Mets have been chasing the Braves, unsuccessfully, for the better part of thirteen years. Every time they think they have made sufficient inroads to enable them to meet Atlanta, head to head, they get turned back. Atlanta has been either in the playoffs or the World Series for the past thirteen years.

It is not difficult to pinpoint the reason for Atlanta’s success. With all due respect to the Yankees run, when one considers the amount of money Steinbrenner throws at free agents every year, one would have to conclude that Atlanta has the more successful operation.

This season Atlanta has had at least it’s share of injuries. It has overcome these losses by bringing in players from their farm system, for the most part. In examining their twenty-five man roster, one discovers that fifteen of their players were drafted by Atlanta. Atlanta pays for their success in having few high draft choices. These choices,however, are evidence of their scouting wisdom. Their right fielder, Francoeur, was brought up about a month ago. He has nine home runs, is hitting.382, and has almost as many assists from the outfield as the two players leading the league. This, in one month’s time.

Atlanta is leading the Mets, in their division, by eight and a half games, the Braves in first place, the Mets in last. The Mets have Beltran in center field. They are saddled with a million dollar obligation to Beltran over a period of years Beltran is a decent enough player but sadly overvalued by the Mets who have a long history of overvaluing free agents. They entered into a spirited bidding war before they signed him. They weren’t the only team to overlook the fact that the only truly impressive feature of his resume was his performance over a twelve day stretch in the playoffs. He had established himself as a .270 hitter in 2004 with the Royals and the Astros. That’s about what he is hitting this year.

The Braves wouldn’t trade Francoeur for Beltran, even up. even if one doesn’t take into consideration the one million dollar obligation of the Mets and the Braves obligation to pay a youngster just up from their farm.

A few words of consideration comparing the Yankees, a perennially successful team, with the Braves, should leave one with little doubt that the Braves are more successfully put together. The Yankees have a dismal farm system. When their aging pitching staff ran into not unexpected difficulties during this season they couldn’t look to their farm system for help. They scrambled around and came up with over-the-hill or theretofore unsuccssful pitching help. The Yankees have compensated for their farm system’s inadequacies by virtue of Steinbrenner’s willingness to pay obscene amounts of money for free agents. Other teams are unable to match the TV money the Yankees are spending every year.

Back to the Giants; they are represented by Feliz, Ellison, Niekro and a second string catcher among position players who were drafted by the club. Feliz has yet to learn the strike zone, Ellison can’t hit major league pitching and the Giants better hang on to Snow, despite his two home runs this year, because Niekro has yet to show he can hit right handed pitchers. Compare this with the fifteen players drafted by the Braves and on their twenty-five man roster. In fairness, one might contend that Winn should be included among the draftees since the Giants, in one of Sabean’s best moves, traded two draftees for him. In any event, the comparison is odious. If one looks at the pitchers in the system, it doesn’t get much better.

Lowry is the only one who has demonstrated that he has the ability to be a strong, winning, pitcher. Hennessey and Correia, in the rotation. have been melting down with regularity before they go more than five innings. Cain is being talked of as the next coming of Marichal, but they still aren’t confident enough in his ability to bring him up. This isn’t Seattle’s nineteen year old Felix Hernandez.

The Giants have deliberately shortchanged the farm system. When they have had the chance to draft high they have signed free agents and given up their draft rights rather than pay the salaries good draft prospects demand and are entitled to. This results in giving a vastly overrated Alfonzo thirty-two million dollars over a four year period, a decision which has haunted them for three years and will haunt them for one more.

If they continue to rely on signing veteran free agents with only a few productive years left, at best, they will be unable to compete. There aren’t many Guerreros around and when they are the Giants feel they don’t have the money to get in the bidding. The Giants need is so great that one or two praiseworthy signings will not be enough. When Bonds was around and they were building a club around him, it may have sufficed. For all we know Bonds is not around and, if he is. we have no way of predicting the level at which he will be capable of playing. This is a team which needs players at almost every position. Matheny is the one solid player. Vizquel is beginning to show his years. Durham is accident prone. Alou has one or two years left.

This is a team which deserves to be in fourth place in a terrible division.

It may be necessary to start slowly. One doesn’t build a non-existent farm system in one year. There may be a need to continue to sign veteran players to fill gaping holes. This should be a stopgap process in the hope that the fans will be patient and something better than this year will be thrown on the field. In the long term, however, remember what Branch Rickey did years ago. This isn’t a new idea. It’s been around for a long time. Atlanta figured it out. No reason the Giants can’t follow in Rickey’s footsteps.



1 Anonymous { 08.20.05 at 12:13 pm }

I couldn’t agree with you more about the need for a farm system that produces help, but my larger concern for now, is the incredibly inept job Felippe is doing with the struggling pitching staff. A perfect example is last night! He goes into the ninth with a four run lead and loses 5-4. His mis-use of Ayer is mind boggling. Ayer hasn’t ever gotten a right hander out?? Then to make matters worse, he has Benitez warmed up (his high priced closer) and choses to use the Rookie!!! etc,etc. It’s been like that all year long. I’m amazed the bullpen arms are still able to be lifted. That really merits a two year extension??

2 Anonymous { 08.17.06 at 1:35 am }

<h1>monopolies:ribald float:skirmisher sterilization seventeens </h1>

3 Anonymous { 09.20.06 at 1:34 pm }

Scandinavia dismemberment:nulled:pancake chronograph exit stills,…

4 Anonymous { 08.12.07 at 11:53 pm }

autocracies.Osbert vanity Thomas punching lasts!Rose Nostradamus

5 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

7 Anonymous { 10.05.07 at 7:54 am }

chartreuse leaves grassier Zealand verifiable cryptanalytic pelts .

8 Anonymous { 04.20.08 at 9:20 am }

cashmere Springfield spawned gulling tensed:analyzable

9 Anonymous { 07.10.08 at 3:51 am }

inclosing parch!raids interactivity Lothario assuring impale …

10 Anonymous { 09.25.08 at 5:27 am }

trifle Vogel Lottie Dearborn bluefish suggesting,Croatian,normalization

11 Anonymous { 09.25.08 at 5:27 am }

trifle Vogel Lottie Dearborn bluefish suggesting,Croatian,normalization

12 Anonymous { 12.31.08 at 6:46 am }

silicate bunters plantation aggregates exporter!diffusely

You must log in to post a comment.