Brian Sabean's Frank, Fiery Radio Outburst Provides Long Awaited Insight
KNBR's Ralph Barbieri finally asked the questions and pushed the buttons that Giants fans have been hoping for—and general manager Brian Sabean responded.
Boy, oh, boy! Did Brian Sabean respond!
Giants fans who've grown weary of beat writers and columnists asking the same questions and accepting the same answers about everything from why the club hasn't called Buster Posey up from the minor leagues to Tim Lincecum's struggles should listen to the entire broadcast.
Fans who spend hours looking back at Sabean's failure to land a big-time hitter and, thus, blame the club's playoff drought on the general manager will be in for a surprise when they hear Barbieri push Sabean to the point that he responded angrily and suggested that the two should change jobs.
"I know that I can't do your job," Sabean told Barbieri on the air Thursday, "but, you apparently think you can do my job. So, why don't we both take sabbaticals and I'll try to do your job and you can come over and (fix things) doing my job!"
Barbieri acknowledged that he didn't think that he could do Sabean's job, but he persisted in questioning the thought process involved in the general manager's failure to land a big-time hitter.
The veteran San Francisco sports talk host asked about the process that led to the signings of Aaron Rowand, Dave Roberts, and others who cost the Giants much but produced little offensively.
Sabean said the A-list free agent hitters didn't want to come to San Francisco.
"We got blown out of the water on Matt Holliday," Sabean said. "St. Louis came in with an offer that we thought was inconsistent with the market. There have been hitters who just didn't want to play for us."
Barbieri then engaged Sabean in a frank discussion regarding the difficulty of luring a major run-producer to a Giants team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2003.
"It's not like there have been that many guys we could've signed and brought in here to be 'The Guy' with the lineup we had," Sabean said. "Who could we have brought in here who wouldn't have presented the same risks the players you mentioned (Rowand, etc.) presented?"
Sabean insisted that Barry Zito's $126 million contract has no role in the club's inability to sign a major run-producer. He said that Zito's contract is all part of the Giants budgeted payroll and that ownership has never denied the GM a chance to spend to get a hitter he feels the club needs.
Sabean also acknowledged that Zito's contract came in part because he was a Cy Young Award winner in Oakland and a proven winner who'd never had any health problems. He admitted that the deal reflected the club's desire to make Zito the face of the franchise with Barry Bonds departing.
"Barry had the type profile that we felt would help the entire organization," Sabean said.
Barbieri persisted and asked if Sabean would do the Zito deal over again on the same terms.
Sabean, showing his frustration at Barbieri's insisting that the discussion wasn't an "attack" on the general manager, said, "Of course I wouldn't do it over again!"
(To hear Thursday's "Brian Sabean Show," click the link above or go to knbr.com and then to the "Razor and Mr. T" show icon.)
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Reach Ted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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