San Francisco Giants: Should Sabean Stay Or Should He Go?
San Francisco Giant's managing general partner, Bill Neukom, has a difficult decision to make regarding whether or not to extend GM Brian Sabean's contract past the 2009 season.
But really, the deision shouldn't be difficult at all. All you have to do is look at Sabean's history with the Giants Organization; more importantly his recent history with the team.
After all, this is a "what have you done for me lately?" kind of world we live in.
At the beginning of his tenure with the Giants in 1997, Sabean made a string of brilliant moves. Acquiring the likes of Kirk "Woody" Rueter, Jason Schmidt, Robb Nen, and most notably the famous trade for Jeff Kent.
Sabean dealed away an aging Matt Williams in exchange for Jeff Kent and a couple pitchers. As you know, Kent went on to become an MVP and he provided another bat to compliment Barry Bonds.
These transactions helped lead the Giants to 8 winning seasons and a World Series appearance during Sabean's 12 years with the Giants.
Sabean was also part of the reason Pac-Bell, SBC, AT&T, or whatever you would like to call it, Park was built. The stadium undoubtedly helped preserve the Giants' organization and rejuvenated the China Basin area in San Francisco.
Although those are great accolades to have on your general managing resume. Sabean's shortcomings far outweigh his accomplishments.
Where to start?
Although he triggered some great trades early in his stay with the Giants. Some of the trades he made after the aforementioned were atrocious.
The trades for Sidney Ponson and Shea Hillenbrand were poor decisions, but the acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski tops them all.
Sabean traded away perennial all-star closer Joe Nathan, one year wonder Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser in exchange for the hot-headed Pierzynski. Pierzinski's failures on and off the field will make this go down as one of the worst trades in Giants' history.
If that isn't reason enough, Sabean helped his case for being canned by making some of the worst free agent signings in recent memory.
He signed Randy Winn ($9 mil/year), Dave Roberts ($7 mil/year), Mike Matheny ($3 mil/year), Edgar Renteria ($9 mil/year), Aaron Rowand ($9.5 mil/year) and the grand poobah of faux pas, Barry Zito ($26 mil/year).
The Zito contract is grounds for termination in and of itself. But the fact that he gave superstar money to complementary players only magnifies his failures as a GM.
For a man who is so trigger happy with overpaying average free agents, he failed to bring in what the Giants needed most, a power bat. And during the 2008 off-season that bat became available in the form of left-handed slugger Adam Dunn.
Did he make the obvious signing? No. He let the freakin' Washington Nationals snag him for $8 mil. There was even a report that Dunn expressed interest in playing for the Giants, but decided to sign with the Nationals when the Giants showed no interest in him.
Sabean also failed to put a supporting cast of players around Barry Bonds. He seemed to be satisfied with just filling the seats instead of winning a championship. It's not very often that you get a superstar talent like Bonds within your organization. Yet, he failed to cash in on one World Series Championship.
So if he didn't make an effort to win with Bonds, then he must have been planning for the post-Bonds era? Wrong again.
The farm system was wrung dry, and this resulted in the mediocre years from 2004-2009.
If not for Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval this team would be doing worse than the Nats right now.
Some may say, "well look at the trades he made for Garko and Sanchez, and the signing of Penny." True, those acquisitions helped the Giants (except Garko, who hasn't done anything).
But do you know what they gave up to get Sanchez? Tim Alderson, one of the highest rated pitching prospects according to Baseball America. 2nd to only Madison Bumgarner in the Giants organization.
So much for that trade.
So taking all things into consideration, Sabean has been nothing short of a complete failure during his tenure with the Giants. If he is allowed to keep his job beyond this season, it will be an outrage. If by some chance Neukom screws this up and extends his contract. Sabean should be kissing Lincecum's and Sandoval's feet for the rest of his life.
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