Sometimes, All You Can do is Sit Back and Laugh
Brian Sabean, via Andrew Baggarly:
Can you expect the pitchers to improve while at the same time working with a rookie catcher who’s cutting his teeth back there?
Sabean barely let me finish the question. He has a strong opinion about that.
“You know the answer to that?” he said. “The pitching staff needs to take it upon itself. They’ve been around the block. They’re the ones throwing the baseball. They’re the ones that can shake a pitch or throw what they want. They know the advance reports.
“And we’ve failed in that area to some extent. Maybe that’s because Bengie (Molina) was so good and they trusted him so much and they didn’t take it upon themselves. Now they are more and more responsible and they should be.
“That’s not to say Buster isn’t fully committed or all-in. He is. He’s smart and he’s got the advance reports. Anybody who said he’s not ready to catch in the big leagues is crazy because he’s a pretty good catcher, especially throwing.”
Yes, that last comment is an interesting one coming from Sabean. He said himself this winter that Posey wasn’t ready to catch in the big leagues. I suppose it’s plausible that Posey made major improvements over the first two months at Triple-A Fresno that convinced the staff, but anyway … we digress.
I was going to point out Sabean’s astounding contradiction, but Baggarly beat me to it. Sabean implies that game calling isn’t nearly as important as some make it out to be- but who are these people?
Oh, that’s right. Sabean is/was one of them. And now he’s changing his tune. It’s comments like these that drive me absolutely nuts: not just the contradictions, but the repetitive phrases he spews. In all or most of his press reports regarding a transaction, he’ll say “we kicked a lot of tires, and at the end of the day we did our due diligence,” or something along those lines.
Another thing really bothered me about this interview is that rather than discussing trading for a bat, Sabean talks about how the pitching could be better. That’s right- the Giants’ pitching staff, which leads the National League in ERA+ and sixth in FIP, needs to improve if they want to be a better team. Sabean discusses the pitching staff’s problem with walks, which is a valid point and is something that definitely needs improvement. Now, here’s the irony- Sabean seems to understand the value of the walk in the context of pitching, but not with hitting. The logic is rather simple but seems to elude him: walks for pitchers are bad. Therefore, walks for hitters must be good. But alas, the Giants are fifth in the National League in walk percentage (at 8.1%) and there is no indication that the Giants are interested in improving that if they’re looking to deal for players like Corey Hart rather than allocating their trade chips for a Russell Branyan or a Josh Willingham.
Call me crazy, but I get the feeling that if Sabean makes acquisitions this deadline, it’ll be for a bit more pitching and a mediocre hitter that he’ll overpay for. I’m guessing that hitter will be Corey Hart or David DeJesus, both of which the Giants have been rumored to covet and both of which would not represent substantial upgrades for the offense. If Sabean really wants to put this team over the top, he’ll need to acquire that elite middle of the order bat in order to see an actual change. Otherwise, we’re most likely looking at a marginal upgrade.
I’m learning to not get too frustrated with Sabean any more, although I still have my moments. Really, sometimes all you can do is just sit back and laugh.