After a 13-1 loss to the lowly Chicago White Sox on Saturday at Comiskey Park (I will NEVER call it Guaranteed Rate Field on account of it being a shitty name for a baseball stadium), the San Francisco Giants were given their 88th loss of the season,adding to the frustrations of fans who were expecting much better and much more from a team that lost to the eventual world champions in the postseason the year prior.
I know the season isn’t over officially,but for the Giants,this one is,and with the team more than on pace to lose 100 games for the first time since 1985,it’s time to assess the damage.
What happened this year? Why didn’t the Giants meet expectations?
Well,for starters, let’s look at what the front office didn’t do. They didn’t address many needs the Giants had (and still have). They didn’t adequately fill the hole in left field. They could’ve gone out and traded for a guy like J.D. Martinez before the season began (and even during the season), but instead he went to Arizona and the Giants gave Jarrett Parker the starting job,banking on him potentially having a good season out there. Instead, Parker struggled and he got hurt early in the year with a broken clavicle and the Giants were left to platoon in left field with guys like Gorkys Hernandez, Orlando Calixte,Chris Marrero,and even Drew Stubbs was brought in for a minute,but in center field.
Another need that wasn’t addressed was the bullpen. Yes,I know that the team suffered a big loss before opening day when Will Smith got hurt and had to get Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t excuse the front office from trying to acquire better arms in relief,especially when guys like Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez are no longer there. Guys like Derek Law,Cory Gearrin,Steven Okert,and Josh Osich have just not been getting the job done and don’t get me started on Hunter Strickland. Sure, he has performed well,but his three-year long vendetta against Bryce Harper that led to a Memorial Day brawl and the end of Michael Morse’s career in baseball rubbed me the wrong way in terms of him being a major contributor for this team past this season. He has to go.
Now,I don’t want to sour on Mark Melancon entirely only because this is far from his fault. He was the only major pick-up the front office even made. He was brought in to be the new closer after the worst closer the Giants ever had,Santiago Casilla,was let go so the A’s could have him,and yes,he wasn’t very good,but the man has been hurt and is trying to get healthy. I’m willing to give him another year if he can get healthy for 2018. Sam Dyson was brought over from Texas and is now the team’s closer. I think he’s done an adequate job in that role,but I would like to see Melancon back there at some point.
The players have collectively not performed up to snuff,whether it be the pitching or the position players, it has not come together very well. When your opponents have an easier time than you do hitting home runs at your own ballpark,that’s on you. It’s not because of the fences or the winds,it’s because you can’t hit them out of the park period. Maybe if the Giants had acquired some guys who are capable of hitting in this ballpark the team would be a lot better off.
Which leads me to my next point,the hitting coaches. I’ve rallied for Hensley Muelens to be relieved of his duties at their main hitting coach. I get that the players love him and lean on him for advice,but come on,I’m not taking advice from a guy who hit .220 in his career, would you? I doubt it. Same goes for Steve Decker,the assistant hitting coach who hit .221 in his career. Get a guy who knows hitting and can show these guys how it’s done.
So,what should the Giants do?
First off,I make the position of general manager available and relieve Bobby Evans of his duties there. I know that this season doesn’t squarely fall on his shoulders,but he has shown me and other fans that he’s not the guy for the job. I would either ask Brian Sabean if he’ll take that position back or hire someone else. This roster wasn’t properly built to win and with the team zeroing in on 100 losses, it shows.
Once they get a new general manager,they need to do what wasn’t done this season. Bolster the bullpen with quality relievers rather than guys who could potentially be good. Also,the team needs help in the outfield and the guy they need to go after relentlessly is Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Yes,he’s making way too much money,but guess what? The Giants have enough of it and if they’re serious about winning and want to prove that to their fan base who doesn’t feel that this is the case, you go get a guy like him to play wherever he wants in the outfield and in the lineup and you get a guy who can hit home runs on a regular basis,something that they haven’t had in a really long time.
I would like to see core guys like Buster Posey,Brandon Crawford,and Madison Bumgarner stay here. Those guys are essential to what the Giants do and what they have been in the past. They are off limits.
I hope the Giants do the right thing and start fresh to an extent and breathe new life into a team that,in all honesty,needed a lot of it this year to begin with. Correct those mistakes and all will be forgiven.