OK Giants fans. Now that you’ve had the weekend to rid yourselves of the hangovers incurred from the “Armando is gone,” celebrations, ask yourself this: Do you really want a general manager who makes decisions based on the outcry of the fans and media?
To read between the lines, it sure sounded like the blind spot Giants GM Brian Sabean seemed to have for Benitez remained until the moment he pulled the trigger and got rid of him. That he went out of his way not to call Benitez a scapegoat for a team that is closer to last place than it is to first indicated to me that given his druthers, he would not have chosen to pay $4.7 million to have Benitez pitch for the Florida Marlins.
It was also interesting to hear Sabean call out some of the team’s older players for not being on the field enough — players that Sabean brought on board, by the way. Sabean surely had to be smart enough to know that fielding another team heavy in 30-something’s would bring with it the various dings and ailments that plague older clubs, so he can’t be surprised that Ray Durham and Ryan Klesko, among others, have had to sit out occasional contests. He should also be pleasantly pleased that the Giants have left the disabled list mostly unoccupied.
His comments strike me, rather, as the frustrations of a man who wanted to build his club one way, and was told by upper management that it would be built another. Sabean really doesn’t have to toe the company line anymore, because owner Peter Magowan already has put him on notice that another lousy season won’t be tolerated. And while the Giants aren’t lousy, they clearly don’t seem to be in the same class with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks or Padres in their division. So if Sabean has calculated that he’s likely gone at the end of the season, he can air his true feelings, ramifications be darned.
Just one theory anyway.
— The A’s and Giants have evolved into essentially the same team. Great starting pitching combined with a mostly stagnant offense and lousy relief.
— Does anybody besides me suspect that A’s reliever Kiko Calero is having physical issues? His slider no longer dives and most of his pitches are at chest level. Calero has failed to retire a hitter in two of his past four appearances, and his inconsistency has been a killer.
— The Yankees aren’t quite dead and buried yet. But check back in three weeks. They have the White Sox for four in Chicago, followed by interleague slates vs. the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Mets, Giants, Rockies and Giants, and we’ll know a lot more after those are completed.
— Looks like the biggest prize at the trade deadline may well be Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano, because there’s no way Chicago can keep him at this point. If I’m Chicago, I try to pawn him off to the Dodgers or Padres and try to acquire one of their stud young relievers, say a Heath Bell, or Jonathan Broxton.