Brian Sabean: The Michael Scott of GM's

Josh LumleyContributor IAugust 16, 2010

Brian Sabean: The Michael Scott of GM's

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    I’ve heard Brian Sabean compared to a lot of people ranging from Lex Luther to “The Grinch”, but no comparison seems nearly as fitting of that of one Michael Scott, Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

    When either Sabean or Michael Scott open their mouth, stupid usually comes out. Both make ridiculously idiotic decisions, yet somehow still keep their respective jobs. Since the Giants just dropped two of three to the Padres, I thought it would be a nice time to re-live some of Michael Scott’s greatest quotes and how they correspond to Sabean.

Brian Sabean: Sabermetrician

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    "We can’t overestimate the value of computers. Yes, they are great for playing games and forwarding funny emails, but real business is done on paper."

    It’s widely been commented on in the past that the Sabermetric revolution skipped San Francisco. While other teams have gone to valuing players based on new statistics like OPS, WAR and OBP instead of AVG and RBI’s, Sabean has employed players like Shawon Dunston who in his career as a Giant had a whopping 20 walks spanning nearly 300 games, and running off guys like Fred Lewis who posted a .348 OBP in 2009.

Bro's Before Ho's!

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    “Bros before hoes. Why? Because your bros are always there for you. They got your back after your ho rips your heart out for no good reason. And you were nothing but great to your ho, and you told her that she was the only ho for you. And then suddenly... she's not yo' ho no mo'.”

    Sabean’s bros aren’t actually his brothers, nor are most of them his friends. They’re gritty gamery veterans who are on their last leg and who most expect diminishing returns from, but not old Sabes he knows who’s got his back and doles out cash accordingly. When he first took over it was Eric Davis, Russ Davis (no relation) and Shawon Dunston, today it’s Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez. Other examples include: Ryan Klesko, Steve Finley and Dave Roberts.

Good Help is Hard to Find

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    "[discussing his corporate credit card] It’s ridiculous. They took my card away because I spent eighty bucks at a magic shop. What they don’t understand is that I bought the stuff to impress potential clients…"

    He may not be good at it, but Brian Sabean loves spending money on free agents. In his tenure he’s handed out some of the worst contracts in baseball. The list is too long for this space, but here are some highlights: Barry Zito, 126 million, Aaron Rowand - 60 million, Edgardo Alfonzo – 38 million, Armando Benitez – 21 million. Total WAR for those players thus far 8.4, or about 20 million for every Win Above a Replacement level player.

Human Resources

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    "Sometimes I'll start a sentence and I don't know where it's going. I just hope to find it somewhere along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improversation."

    Brian Sabean has a plan for player development, he just doesn’t know what it is yet. The Giants are yet to produce one single solitary position player from their farm system to make an All-Star team during Sabean’s tenure and they’ve only produced one player to start for more than two years in that time—Pedro Feliz—but things are looking up for Sabean in idiot-proof version of player development named Buster Posey. Even thought Posey was called up in 2009 to sit on the bench and his role was in limbo for much of the off-season, he was sent to start the year at Fresno to learn how to catch major league pitching in AAA before being called up to play 1B, he’s still produced.

Lunatic Fringe

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    "We have a lot of angry customers out there, this puts us at threat-level "midnight"."

    Despite the fact that the Giants haven’t won a World Series in 56 years, or since coming to San Francisco, or since Sabean took over 13 years ago, attendance has been excellent. Sabean is blessed with a top 10 payroll to spend and is definitely much closer to the haves of Major League Baseball than the have nots. Sabean still can’t stop himself from lashing out at the paying customers who dare to question his infinite wisdom though, like in 2004 when he referred to Giants fans who wanted the team to make a run at Vladimir Guerrero as the “lunatic fringe,” or this year telling Fresno Grizzlies’ fans that “Triple-A baseball isn't very good,I'm going to tell you that right now. Especially from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big leagues,” when Giants fans were clamoring for him to bring up Buster Posey. In case you were wondering Guerrero hit 173 homeruns in Anaheim and routinely had an OPS over .900, while Posey has had an OPS of .902 since learning to catch big league pitching in AAA. 

Credit Where Credit is Due

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    "I do want the credit without any of the blame."

    Sabean and his apologists would like us all to remember the Ryan Vogelsong for Jason Schmidt trade or the fact that a lot of the prospects the Giants have traded have never turned in to anything, it’s important to remember this: AJ Pierzynski. Sabean gave up Joe Nathan, Boof Bonzer and Francisco Liriano to get Pierzynski, who pretty much angered the entire Giants organization, city of San Francisco and Giants fans everywhere. The other thing Sabe’s and friends would like you to forget is that while many of the prospects the Giants traded never amounted to much, those players had value when they were traded. So even if Tim Alderson never amounts to anything, the fact remains that the Giants traded something of value for something that was injured and had an OPS of .619 down the stretch.


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    "There are 5 stages to grief which are...[reading from computer] Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance and right now, out there. They are all denying the fact that they're sad and that's hard and it's making them all angry. And it is my job to get them all the way through to Acceptance and if not Acceptance then Depression... If I can get them depressed, then I'll have done my job."

    Well thank you, Mr. Sabean. You’ve made Giants fans depressed, job well done!

Don't Shoot the Messenger

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    When I said that I was king of forwards, you got to understand that I don't come up with this stuff. I just forward it along. You wouldn't arrest a guy who was just passing drugs from one guy to another.

    Can someone call Ricky Gervais and Steve Carrell to see if they based Michael Scott on Brian Sabean? No. Well it was worth asking, but don’t blame the messenger. After all, I don’t make Brian Sabean do stupid things.


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