Saturday, August 07, 2010

My Stance on Brian Sabean: It's Not Set in Stone

I wrote the below on Andy Baggarly's excellent blog, ExtraBaggs, in reference to his comment in the last week that Giants fans have already made up their minds, positive or negative, about the team, about Brian Sabean, after posting a number of Sabean positive comment there, and thought I would also post it here, with small edits (as I am wont to do):

And to reference Andy's point that each of our view's are set, let me say that this is my opinion right now. The team looks pretty good now and the future looks pretty good too. But my view can change.

For I was one of you long ago, blaming Sabean for horrible drafting when I took it upon myself to actually study the draft and see how unsuccessful Sabean has been relative to other good teams, as I wanted to build a case for getting rid of him. And, what you know, I found that winning teams just suck at drafting. Which doesn't make sense, that's how they became winning teams, right, having good GM? Yet somehow they were geniuses when losing but idiots when winning?

So I studied the draft and found that even the #1 pick overall don't guarantee anything but a queasy feeling in your gut until your guy actually performs and play well. Worse than a coin flip (see for yourself: http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?query_type=overall_pick&overall_pick=1&draft_type=junreg)

And for the 21-30 picks that winning teams get, well, that's basically like buying a raffle ticket at your local school or charity. And draft picks beyond that is like buying a Lotto ticket or scratcher: the odds are horribly low, no matter where you are in the draft, certainly lower than most prospect hounds think they are.

So I feel I understand the difficulty of how hard it really is to build a team via the draft, and particularly when you are not getting the top 3 picks in the draft, like which the Rays did for like a dozen years. And thus can appreciate how good a job Sabean has done in building a team via the draft without extreme losing, which the Braves did to rebuild in the late 80's and which the Devil Rays have used to become the Rays.

Support of Sabean Does Not Mean Carte Blanche

But given the past, I don't give Sabean that long a rope. I'm still mad that the Giants could have tried to sign Vlad Guerrero and still get most of the players they eventually got, they went for mediocre instead of filet mignon, and the Zito and Rowand deals didn't make me happy either, though I could understand it from their point of view, I am just not that happy with risk and both can fairly be called bad deals.

Two years is good for me, enough to keep him around, but short enough that if he does something extremely stupid, Neukom can fire him and only have to eat one year's salary. He has done a good job so far, and thus I support him keeping his job so that he can finish the job. He deserves that courtesy for the good work he has done with the team - so far.

But he shouldn't get comfortable either. Like Neukom, I expect a certain amount of progress (undefinable but you know it when you see it) and I'm willing to cut him loose if I feel that we need someone else to take over and continue the progress of the past few seasons. But so far, so good.

2 comments:

  1. I agree. The baseball draft is the biggest crapshoot in all of sports. Signing free agents, to a lesser sxtent, is somewhat of a crapshoot too. sometimes a guy is good because of the league he was playing for, the park he was playing his home games in, and who was hitting behind him. Although some guys are good no matter where they play.

    I too am not totally in the fire Sabean camp mostly because I don't have any idea who they would actually replace him with.

    ReplyDelete
  2. of course true about the draft - outside of having a losing team (which presumably would eventually correct itself, that being the point), there's mostly luck involved.

    A bit amused at the left-handed assessment of Sabean going forward - if he does nothing, he keeps his job. I know I'm oversimplifying in my amusement, but it raises the question if his replacement should be some sort of mannequin.

    ReplyDelete

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