Sometimes I need a reminder that the San Francisco Giants haven't quite finished their retooling project on the 2013 team that finished 16 games out of first place in the NL West.
We're only at the 1/3 mark of the prime free agent signing and trade making months of November, December, and January and the Giants have already beefed up their rotation with a nice two year deal with Tim Hudson. So there's plenty of time and money to make further changes, additions and subtractions.
But psychologically I have that uncomfortable feeling that the Giants have fallen behind other, more aggressive teams this off-season.
It's like the two baseball draft leagues I participate in each April. We do live player drafts, so when you're the #11 team out of 13 teams picking players, by the time the first round gets to you there's that uneasy feeling that all the really good players have already been picked. It's not remotely true, but it feels that way.
The Dodgers have signed power-hitting Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero and starter Dan Haran, and still look to trade a starting outfielder for more help.
St. Louis has solved their offensive black hole at shortstop with the four year $52 million signing of Jhonny Peralta. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Cards make another deal involving a shortstop and move Peralta to third.
And of course the Yankees have done what the Yankees do: the tremendous pick-up of catcher Brian McCann; the likely destination for outfielder Carlos Beltran; and still coming up is the anticipated long-term contract offer to Robinson Cano.
Lost in these Yankee moves is the return of power hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira who was injured most of last season-- a huge upgrade over Lyle Overbay.
Even the San Diego Padres seem to be building the credibility and talent to make a move in 2014. As noted in MLBTradeRumors, reporter Matt Calkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune discussed the signing of starter Josh Johnson and depth of the Padres' starting staff at the big league level and in the minors. There is a scenario that could make the Padres a force in the National League West in 2014.
I fully admit that I do sometimes fall into a "doom and gloom" funk about San Francisco's outlook for success in 2014 and 2015. When that happens I remind myself that every team has issues and problems to overcome, some a lot more than others.
For example, if I were a Houston Astros fan I would likely be in an institution located upstate, strapped down to a gurney and receiving experimental drugs.
What I don't like is the idea of the Giants front office living off the 2010 and 2012 World Series Championships, which are historic achievements that have little to do with the 2014 baseball season. The top franchises in any professional sport win forward.
And, despite my old-school misgivings about General Manager Brian Sabean, I know the man has more baseball knowledge in his little finger than many of us will have in a lifetime.
So until I hear otherwise, I intend to be upbeat and positive about what the Giants could possibly do over the next two months.
And if that's a mistake, well it won't be my first one.
However... if I hear that San Francisco has signed Endy Chavez to play left field and Scott Feldman as a starting pitcher, then I will happily apply for admission to an institution located upstate and eagerly look forward to several years of experimental drugs.
Now that Vogelsang has signed up for one year, the Giants no longer "need" starting pitching. That's it. Maybe a few more cracks at the relief corps but expect nothing more. It is in the Giants current financial interest to remain mediocre. And don't expect much from the farm system; their farm system is amongst the poorest. No, the Giants are very profitable and do not need winning nor exciting teams to draw crowds. That, I am afraid, is the way it is.
Richard: While your comments and responses have been, to this point, quite consistent, you are now failing due to a practically indescribable urge to want the Giants to do so well that your objectivity has simply plunged. It's forgivable, of course, but I'm here, as a Reader, to remind you: The Giants are cheapskates and are going nowhere in 2014 and perhaps beyond. Why, "beyond"? Poor farm system and refusal to make the commitments to spend money on quality. Proof? Tim Lincecum signing plays to the fan base, not to quality baseball.
Your points are well taken. Part of the process of analyzing the organizational process and viability of the San Francisco Giants involves being critical. Not necessarily negative, just critical.
I have laid out my criticisms of how Giants' management and ownership have underrepresented their financial resources and responsibilities, how the organization is run the way MLB franchises were run in the 1980s, and joined others (BaseballAmerica,FanGraphs, etc.) in pointing out how badly the team's minor league system has been the past 10 years.
But... it's a drag to continually wallow in negatives and doing that frankly doesn't jibe with my experience as a baseball fan/analyst and as a Giants fan/analyst. I want the team to do well, I celebrate when they do. I want the baseball side and the business side to work. For ownership, for fans, for the players.
So every now and then I reset my compass and express hope for a more positive future and some trust in the Giants organization to get there.
I don't see that as a "failing" more just wanting to keep in touch with the positive side of things.