While Trying to Win In the Present, Giants Management Can't Forget the Future
It's easy to say that the San Francisco Giants have been active this winter. It seems like every week there is a new signing or new name being linked to the club as they look to compete while seeing homegrown talent make an impact.
However, this winter has seen more old than young put on the orange and black.
The Giants' signings in November and December have pointed far from a youth movement, with the average age of Bobby Howry, Jeremy Affeldt, Edgar Renteria, and Randy Johnson being just under 36 years of age.
Other than Affeldt, the only signing under 30, who else could be with this team in 2011 of the players brought in these past couple of months?
Johnson will be long retired. If Renteria struggles, he will either be shipped out before the 2010 deadline or not re-signed, and Howry, depending on his success, will either be in demand, or like Renteria, looking for a new address.
When Giants Director of Player Personnel Bobby Evans was on KNBR Thursday night, he used the phrase "bridge to the future" more-than just once.
The Giant's problems as to why they have not done so hot the last five years since their 2002 World Series run have obviously been established. And with the departure of Barry Bonds, the emphasis on youth has been pressed into people's brains as hard as ever.
Well, sort of.
The losses have mounted up, but the youngsters, besides the obvious ones named Cain and Lincecum, are still struggling to make their mark on a consistent basis.
The Giants gluttony of losses has allowed the club to transform their former laughing stock of a minor league system into one of the best around in just two short years, something that is hard to think of when you look at the likes of Tony Torcato and Todd Linden were the most notable position prospects to come out of the system before 2006.
The studs will obviously be there in due time. Buster Posey, as Evans said, is in a Lincecum-like scenario as he gets ready to start his first-full season in professional ball. This means, if the club has no other choice to bring him, they will.
But with Bengie Molina on-board, Giants fans seeing a roster with two of the last three Golden Spikes winners is more likely to happen in 2010 than at some point in 2009.
The Giants can use these bridges all they want, but if they keep with what they have been doing, i.e. going in the direction of veterans instead of youngsters, the kids will continue to find it hard to wrestle away playing time from the veterans.
Now I'm not saying rush the kids up so they play right away. That's far from the point of this article. Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson are both 19, not exactly the age you want somebody to be thrown into the big league fire. Same with Angel Villalona, who is only 18.
It's the fact that you say you want to get younger, give the kids a chance to prove what they, but then sign veterans like what Brian Sabean did when Bonds was the centerpiece of the franchise.
However, the difference between 2001 and 2009 is that the Giants have youngsters that actually can contribute. There are no more Torcato's or Linden's. The Giants have youngster now that other teams around the league are interested in.
How are players like Nate Schierholtz, who is out of minor league options, supposed to show they are able to play everyday if they are only limited to pinch hitting and the occasional start to give a vet a rest?
That's not how you gage what a young player can do and that's not just my opinion.
But there are veteran moves that will actually help the youngsters.
If the Giants do bring in Joe Crede, despite who his agent might be, to play third base, it would allow Pablo Sandoval's transition into everyday player be a little easier.
It's not easy to break into the league at the hot corner, let alone somebody who hasn't played there much throughout their career. Sandoval is no Evan Longoria with the leather, so putting him at first would definitely be the better corner to put him at.
With these temporary bridges in-place, does that mean we will actually see some homegrown talent in the near future?
Let's hope so.
However, if Sabean's track record shows us anything, it's that you should rule out the fact that a veteran being signed to a multi-year contract is never out of the question.
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