Rebuilds Take Time Plus It's Been Happening
First, you can only rebuild so fast using the draft to rebuild, there is not that much obvious talent available. After the top 5-10 picks, random luck plays a huge role in whether you find anyone of value or not, unless you are good at finding and selecting prospects. I haven't seen proof anywhere that any particular team has an advantage. Thus, it behooves a team, as per my Phoenix Rebuilding Strategy, to play poorly enough to get a Top 5 pick while keeping most of the fan base in the transition. The Giants have actually been doing something like that, living off of Bonds homerun chase, but doing poorly enough to get good talent in the draft with Top 10 picks and a #5 pick this year. The luck of two Golden Spike winners falling to us helped too.
While people have been crying over the old vets he signed for the lineup, he quietly rebuilt almost the entire pitching staff over the past few years with young players who he developed from the farm system, starting with Noah Lowry. And in 2008, most of the position players were from our farm system (albeit not very good, but still numerically outnumbered the mercenaries).
Change After Bonds
Some continue to complain about signing old vets, which was the policy when Bonds was around. They lump the Rowand signing with the old vets who were signed to get Bonds one more try at the World Series. Rowand, however, was only 30 years old for 2008, so he wasn't exactly old, as 30 is considered part of a players peak years.
Thus, Sabean did not sign one old veteran the off-season after Bonds was let go, other than Yabu, when he could have gone after old fogies at 1B, 2B, and 3B, plus the bullpen and rotation (he even released Kline and his over million dollar contract).
Sabean Can Rebuild On Youth: It's Not His First Time
And he has rebuilt a team based on youth before: when he first took over the Giants. The rotation for years was filled with 20-something players, Ortiz, Estes, Livan, Rueter, then he added Schmidt who I believe was 29 when we got him. He acquired Kent and Snow via trades, kept Aurilia and Mueller both who eventually started, signed Hamilton, and of course had Bonds around. He was also the guy in charge when the Yankees got Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Riviera, among others.
And now he found Cain, Lincecum, Wilson, Lewis, Sandoval, Burriss, plus maybe Bumgarner, Alderson, Villalona, Rodriguez, Noonan, Fairley, Pucetas, Sosa, Cowart, Rohlinger, Snyder, Mike McBryde, Dan Otero, Adam Witter, Thomas Neal, Jorge Bucardo, Hector Sanchez, Julio Izturis, Ehire Adrianza, Daryl Maday, and of course, Posey, Gillaspie, Kieschnick, and Crawford, plus Barnes and Quirate, Mike Loree, and maybe Aaron King, plus Jesse English, EME, and Brett Harper (if he sticks around) as a dark horses. I also like Matt Downs and would give a shout out to Hector Sanchez.
Here is our depth, based on homegrown prospects and contracts after 2009:
C: Posey, Sandoval, Adam Witter, Hector Sanchez
1B: Sandoval, Villalona, Ishikawa, Bowker, Neal, Hector Sanchez
2B: Frandsen, Velez, Noonan, Downs
3B: Sandoval, Villalona, Gillaspie, Rohlinger, Downs
SS: Burriss, Bocock, Adrianza, Izturis, Cumberland
LF: Lewis, Bowker, EME
CF: Rowand, Copeland, McBryde, Richardson, Fairley
RF: Schierholtz, Kieschnick, Rodriguez
SP: Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner, Alderson, Snyder, Henry Sosa, Waldis Joaquin, plus Zito
RP: Wilson (closer), Romo, Hinshaw, Matos, Sadler, Espineli, Otero, Ryan Paul, Kelvin Marte, Brian Anderson, and any failed starter
We should be competitive in 2009 and contenders in 2010 if the players continue to develop. Plus it wouldn't hurt to sign a few more 16 year old phenoms to stock up for the mid-2010's, when the above guys either develop or drop out. Not too bad for someone who supposedly don't know how to rebuild with youth.