Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brian Sabean--History?


Sabean's 13 years as the Giants' general manager is the longest run by a general manager in the club's history. His first eight years was one of the more successful periods the Giants have ever had. He seemed to have the magic touch in trades, sending away young prospects for veterans. Most of those prospects never amounted to anything. It was like he knew something nobody else knew.
The November '96 trade is now legendary. The Great Matt Williams for Jose Vizcaino, Joe Roa, Julian Tavarez and Jeff Kent. "OMG" we all said. "I'm not stupid," Sabean said.
He picked up JT Snow, Robb Nen, Ellis Burks, etc. The team kept winning. Of course they had a pretty good left fielder the whole time.
It all peaked in 2002 with World Series that the Giants SHOULD HAVE WON. Shit, I'm still mad at Dusty Baker for giving that friggin ball to Russ Ortiz.
Then the '03 season under Felipe Alou; wire-to-wire in first place and 100 wins, but a bust in the post season.
Then: November 13, 2003- A Day That Will Live In Infamy.
Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for AJ Fucking Pierzynski.
The wheels have come off.
Sidney Ponson.
Edgardo Alfonso.
Armando Benitez.
I could go on.
With Sabean it's a question of "What have you done for us lately?"
I guess with unloading of Bonds after '07 the team took a new direction, actually developing some talent via the farm system, rather than building around Bonds, trying to win "this year."
The jury's still out on that project. Maybe it's not something Sabean is good at.
We're facing the possibility of a fifth straight losing season. Sabean's contract will be up. It's probably the end of the line for him as Giants GM.

18 comments:

M.C. O'Connor said...

I've been very excited by the last few drafts and I think we might have the right "brain trust" in place for that aspect of team-building. If Sabes is responsble, kudos to him. But the Zito/Rowand contracts and the rest of the overpaid, overaged clowns we have are inexcusable. The best that can be said about B.S. these days is that he has not screwed up and made any trades. I would love to see a new GM, but I don't share your optimism. I think we are stuck with Sabes. I think Duke Nuke'm should promote Sabes to Master of Intangibles & Such, and give him no power or authority, just a nice desk and a fancy phone. Then hire a real GM, someone with actual skill in statistical analysis and knowledge of baseball economics. That way the Nuke-ster saves his boy from ignominy but gets real work done at the same time. This sort of thing happens in government jobs all the time, it ought to work in the MLB, don't you think?

Bob said...

I'm not optimistic. But I think it would be very easy to use the excuse that the length of his tenure is so much that it's time to move forward, blah, blah. Your scenario is nice, though. What I would most like is for Sabes to redeem himself with one last big move that actually works out well and moves the team in the right direction.

Theo said...

Brother Bob,

First, it's time to get over Dusty giving the ball to Ortiz. That game was lost on a "mistake to location" (thanks, Kruk) to Spezio, and a hanging change up to Erstand from Worrell. Oh and a hanging slider from Nen, who's arm was in tatters. Oh, and a Chone Figgins flare that bonds couldn't get to. (They had freakin' Tsuyoshi Shinjo as the DH! How about him in left, at least late?) Plenty of things went wrong in game 6. It had nothing to do with Ortiz being given the ball.

Sabean is done after this year. Though he's actually made some good moves while on the hot seat. Medders, Miller, Affeldt, Uribe. And (MC don't read this) Molina was a good signing. He took a chance on Timmy when others were unwilling. He also got us Cain, who without we would have no blog.

When considering his record we should ask how would Sabean look if you took Victor Conte out of the equation? Santiago, Bell, Rios, Estellala for certain. Schmidt?, Burks? Aurilia and countless others could be tainted we just don't know it. Plus Bonds made everyone better.

Also, the excuse that Sabean was saddled with Bonds is nonsense. Without Bonds, there is no Sabean.

The other point that should be made is that while Sabean (with the exception of Nathan) hasn't traded talent away, isn't that an issue? Shouldn't a good GM be drafting players who eventually make it? I'm not willing to count Liriano, or Accardo at this point.

I know this isn't my blog, but let me finish with this. It's not just the moves the Brian Trust has made, it's also the moves he wanted to make.

Lincecum for Rios
Juan Pierre
Gary Mathews JR.
Andruw Jones
Not dealing Schmidt in '06
Not releasing Benitez

I'm sure there are more than I listed, and far more that never surfaced.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Game Six unraveled when Dusty gave Ortiz the ball. That is not to imply causation, merely that from that event forward our dreams turned to shit. It was a team-wide failure, most acutely in the bullpen, but "it took a freakin' village" to lose that game. Felix Rodgriguez did not have a good Series, blowing a late lead in Game Two as well as the catatrophe that was Spezio's AB. Our best reliever at that point was Scott Eyre. The whole thing was a cluster-fuck. I couldn't sleep for weeks afterwards.

Regardless, Sabean had his glory days with Bonds and Kent and Schmidt and Snow and Nen and it almost worked. Schmidt and Kent and Baker were sent packing. Nen's arm fell off. Bonds, later, was shown the door. Magowan retired after that. Now Snow's a broadcaster and Brian Sabean still has a job.

It's a funny world.

JC Parsons said...

Sorry, I think it was Dusty and the ball too. The moment it happened I knew it was a disaster and I still know it today.

Theo said...

Sure, the ball is an easy symbol for what was to come. The thing I asked Dusty when I had the chance a couple years later was where was Eyre for that Spezio at bat?

He told me that the scouts, front office and coaches decided to go with the "guys who'd got them there." That they didn't want to get beat with the axillary parts. Eyre was a good pick up, but he was right off the scrap heap from Toronto. Easy to second guess now.

Though looking back on it now Felix may have cost them cost them three legit shots at a championship. F-Rod took 3 painful losses in '00, '02, and '03

Bob said...

The moment Dusty gave the ball back to Ortiz every one of the baseball gods stood up from their Lazy Boys and shouted, "Oh no you didn't!"
Don't fuck with the baseball gods.

M.C. O'Connor said...

You guys are killin' me. When I was in Catholic school, we had to do this thing called "Stations of the Cross." We'd walk around the church, and stop at these these little dioramas that re-created scenes from the Crucifxion, reading a bunch of Scripture. After the jeering mob, angry Romans, thorns, whips, and nails it'd finally be over with. It was supposed to help us appreciate the pain and suffering of Our Savior. Talking about that fucking game feels like Stations of the Cross.

Anonymous said...

Dusty was a Dodger = that says it all for me. I never trusted him. SIR

Bob said...

Anonymous is right! That's the other thing that's always bugged me. The Dogger Blue in Dusty made him do that awful thing.

Ron said...

Y'all be illin' about Game 6. The problem wasn't giving the ball to Ortiz - he pitched a fine game. The problem was taking the ball away from Ortiz, after he gave up 2 measly seeing-eye weak ground ball singles. He hadn't even given up loud outs up to that point. He was cruising. But, the move was made as some sort of auto-panic reflex to the fact that there was a runner in scoring position. There was no evidence to suggest that Ortiz was losing it at that point. He didn't even have a high pitch count (especially not by his standards).

JC Parsons said...

Did Ron really just say "Y'all be illin'"???

That has to be a sure sign of an excellent thread.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yes, he did. Nice thing about a blog--no deniability.

The most momentous game in our SFG history and none of us were together to watch it. Think about all the games we DID watch together, only to miss that one.

The problem with "go with the guys who got you there" is that it took ALL the guys. Shoot, they used Chad Zerbe (effectively) in the Series, and he was hardly a cornerstone piece. There's a reason you carry 25--you might need 'em. But that's all moot, eh? Time to focus on the NEXT championship team. Is 2011 too soon?

Bob said...

No! I can't let it go! Fucking Dusty! I remember the tears welling in my eyes as I realized "we're finally going to win a World Series." Then it was snatched away. After the loss of game six it was obvious there would be no way we would win game seven. No way. Not with Livan Hernandez on the mound.

Bob said...

Actually I'm just shamelessly padding the comment count.

Bob said...

Isn't it impressive when a "post" has lots of comments?

Bob said...

I think so.

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