Can Giant’s GM Brian Sabean Become an Iron Chef?

sfgiantsBrian Sabean’s off-season shopping list:

First baseman (with power)

Short-stop (who’s name is not an anagram for aged-rental)

Left fielder

Right fielder


Oh, and pick up some milk, bread and maybe some of those frosted holiday cookies. And, one more thing. Could you take Aaron Rowand back? I left the receipt on the firdge, maybe you can get a partial refund or at least some sort of store credit? Thanks, Brian, call if you have any questions!

THE GIANTS’ KITCHEN is about as bare as the one you had in your first apartment. They’ve got a lot of Top Ramen (Travis Ishikawa, Fred Lewis, Eli Whiteside), an expensive frozen Ostrich steak their weird uncle sent them as a gift (Aaron Rowand), some old produce that’s turning into liquid before their very eyes in the crisper drawer (Edgar Renteria), and a case of PBR (Eugenio Velez, John Bowker, Kevin Frandsen, Nate Schierholtz). In other words, they’ve got food, but nothing you’d want to eat.

Chef Brian Sabean has stocked his cupboard with a dearth of offense, aside from a nice fillet of Panda.

It’s true, the Giants have a couple bottles of Cristal in their cellar (Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain) and their spice rack (bullpen) has enough to compliment the right plate. But if this were Top Chef , Padma Lakshmi would have the unenviable task of judging the Giants’ dish.

Since the 2002-2003 offseason when Sabean re-tooled the defending National League champs into a team that went on to win 100 games and the NL West, the GM has come up empty while doing his winter shopping.

Yet impressively, despite a menu that’s more Applebee’s than French Laundry , the 2009 Giants were in contention right up until the last two weeks of the season.

Their success was due, unequivocally, to their starting pitching and late relief. But, thanks to their inept offense, so much was asked of the pitching staff in the early going that it finally ran out of steam in September.

Lincecum’s ERA was 3.38 after Sept. 1, while fellow starters Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, and Barry Zito allwed a combined 51 earned runs in 101 innings pitched (4.54 ERA) over the same time span.  Not goo enough for a team that averaged just 4.05 runs per game in ’09. Only Brad Penny had a September ERA under three, but in the single biggest game he started, Sept. 19th in Los Angeles, he coughed up seven earned runs in just 2.2 innings.

If the Giants can improve their lineup — something they’ve failed to do since 2003 — they stand an excellent chance of reaching the post-season.

The problem? Each season there is that elite class of free-agents — Mark Teixeira, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodiguez, to name a recent few — but the Giants refuse to even attempt to attract this level of talent.

Thursday, during Tim Lincecum’s Cy Young Award press conference, Sabean said he has not contacted agents for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, and does not expect to either.

To paraphrase Sabean, he said he refuses to be a “stalking horse” for any player who’s only using the Giants to get more money elsewhere, and that he will consider only free agents who have a genuine interest in relocating to China Basin.

The newly extended GM doubts neither Bay or Holliday have a genuine interest because the Yankees, Red Sox and other bigger-market teams will be pursuing them.

Yet, perhaps too optimistically, Sabean believes there is a solid crop of “second-tier” free-agents on the market.

Sabean is going to the grocery store in desperate need of some beef, yet he’s looking for it in the frozen dinner isle.

The possible second-tier free-agents the Giants may be considering are listed below:


Rick Ankiel, Stl.

Rocco Baldelli, Bos.

Marlon Byrd, Tex.

Mike Cameron, Mil.

Coco Crisp, KC.

Jermaine Dye, CHWS.

Frank Catalanotto, Mil.

Vladimir Guerrero, LAA.

Erik Hinske, NYY.

Andrew Jones, Tex.

Hideki Matsui, NYY.

Xavier Nady, NYY.


Adrian Beltre, Sea.

Ronnie Belliard, LAD.

Russell Branyan, Sea.

Orlando Cabrera, Min.

Joe Crede, Min.

Carlos Delgado, NYM.

Pedro Feliz, Phi.

Mark DeRosa, Stl.

Troy Glaus, Stl.

Orlando Hudson, LAD.

Aubrey Huff, Det.

Nick Johnson, Fla.

Jim Thome, LAD.

Chad Tracy, AZ.

Juan Uribe, SF.


Bengie Molina, SF.

Jason Kendall, Mil.

Greg Zaun, TB

Ivan Rodriguez, Tex.

Yorvit Torrealba, Col.

This is not a complete list of available free-agents, and it doesn’t factor in any players the Giants could acquire via a trade (San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, por ejemplo). Also Chone Figgins, for instance, is not listed and though he is a notch below the likes of power-hitting Bay and Holliday, he will still likely command more money than the Giants are willing to pay.

There is no team in baseball with such a drastic disproportionate collection of talent — and this didn’t exactly sneak up on the Giants.

The saying is when you’re given lemons, make lemonade. And while the Giants have some delightful, sweet, organic, ripe lemons in their pitching staff, they seem reluctant to add a simple ingredient like water to make things work.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

One Comment

  1. Patricia Lockerz

    March 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Hello. To start with I want to say that I really like your web site, just identified it last week but I’ve been following it ever since then.

    I look to come to an agreement with most of the views and opinions and this post is no different. entirely

    Thank you to get a excellent weblog and I hope you keep up the great function. If you do I will keep on to browse it.

    Use a good day.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply