One thing can be said for Farhan Zaidi: he is precise.
And he absolutely has to be for any of what he has authored to work. In this age of sabermetrics-driven baseball, the tiniest, measurable difference in the skills of one player compared to another matter immensely to the composition of the team as a whole.
The Giants under Farhan Zaidi refuse to compete financially with the Dodgers and Padres. This means Zaidi and staff have to measure talent with an intensely scrupulous eye, to understand strengths and weaknesses of players down to extremely slim margins of comparison.
It is the firm belief of the current management group from President and Director of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi, to General Manager Scott Harris, to Manager Gabe Kapler, that the Giants can compose a team of less expensive players, designed to fit in slots – movable pieces that can be organized and positioned on a series-by-series or even game-by-game basis to get us into the playoffs.
There is no organized effort by management to target the spending of the Dodgers or the Padres. Quite the opposite, the Giants plan to do it with guys most of us have never heard of. This is to be done differently. It can be hard to watch.
MLBTR sums up the Giants moves at the Deadline thus:
“Despite listening to offers on impending free agents Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson in the midst of career years, the disappointing Giants — currently hovering around both .500 and the periphery of the NL Wild Card race but well shy of last year’s torrid pace — largely stood pat at the deadline, making only a handful of minor moves. They acquired infielder Dixon Machado (from the Cubs) and catcher/infielder Ford Proctor (from the Rays) before swapping Darin Ruf for J.D. Davis, pitcher Thomas Szapucki, and a pair of minor-league arms. They also traded away a handful of more minor pieces, including catcher Curt Casali and left-hander Matthew Boyd (to the Mariners for a pair of minor leaguers), and rehabbing right-hander Trevor Rosenthal (to the Brewers for another minor leaguer).”
Farhan Zaidi and staff were unclear as to whether the Giants were “sellers” or “buyers” until the deadline actually passed. Everybody on ESPN and at MLBTR and all over the media expected Rodon to be moved in that last two hours and were flummoxed when it didn’t happen.
But I think I get it. If you were going to trade something – say baseball cards – you don’t reveal which ones you are willing and unwilling to give away. You don’t let the other trader know you have doubles and you are showing them the slightly flocked one. You make it seem like everything is possible. You listen to all comers. Then you make smart decisions.
Farhan Zaidi was swift and precise in spending last year, because we were charging up the Division. He saw that the expensive help could make the difference, and he went for it – signing Kris Bryant and Tony Watson in the final hours. This year, Zaidi was measured and did little. He gave the impression to everyone that he would listen to offers for anyone. But in the end we weren’t sellers.
We were listeners, who said, “No thanks, I think we’re mostly good with what we’ve got.”
First, Zaidi procured Dixon Machado from the Cubs, while we played them, to fill in for Thairo Estrada at short – who himself was filling in for Brandon Crawford. It was an immediate need at short, and Zaidi addressed it immediately. Susan Slusser covered the onfield trade and its peculiarities very well, as usual. Her piece from the 31st of July will tell you more about the young Dixon Machado, who seems excited to be a part of the team and to be playing in the majors.
Then Zaidi purchased a catcher to replace Curt Casali and promote Joey Bart, showing a steady, progressive confidence in the young man. Sonja Chen (yay! a non-white, non-male writing for MLB – maybe they got my note about Shillman) reported that Joey Bart responded by having another great night against the Dodgers last night). She also covered Casali’s departure sensitively there – check it out.
Continuing the desire for utility infielders, the catcher Zaidi picked up from Seattle, Ford Proctor, is a 25-year-old minor leaguer, who can also play first and third. He is in a good position to learn from behind Austin Wynns and Joey Bart and this interchanging staff and he is young enough to grow into our system.
The Giants then made arguably their biggest move, sending Darin Ruf to the NL-East-leading New York Mets in exchange for J.D. Davis and three prospects. Wow. That is value we added to Darin Ruf, 36-year-old, that returned in a 29-year-old and three possible relievers, or possibly even a starter. Maria Guardado reported on it best.
Evan Webeck Covers the Belief Management Has
It was a confusing trade deadline. But it featured clear, lucid decision-making, a hallmark of the Farhan Zaidi Era. Over at the Merc, Evan Webeck writes, “SF Giants insist they’re in playoff race but lose sixth straight to Dodgers,” which is a complicated and realistic take that includes this gem of an observation:
“In the four-run second, as Zaidi watched from the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast booth, the Giants allowed two catchable fly balls to land in front of diving outfielders, botched a pickoff move that ended up in center field and allowed an extra base when center fielder Austin Slater struggled to pick up one of the balls that fell in front of LaMonte Wade Jr. Wood also plunked soft-hitting catcher Austin Barnes, who came around to score the last of the Dodgers’ four runs.”
Alex Pavlovic Misses the Point, Kisses The Players (Asses)
There was confusion and a feeling of mixed messages in the clubhouse, as reported by the sycophant AlPav “It was an odd deadline approach, one built around neither buying or selling. It also seemed to be sending mixed messages to the clubhouse,” he wrote, choosing to cover Mr. Zaidi as defending his approach, since AlPav is obviously not smart enough to understand it.
But hey, Alex, you got your eqally dumb and eqally pretty-boy friend a gig on comcast as an analyst though, didn’t you? Kontos? Are you kidding me?
Comcast Is the Worst
Comcast, you are the worst, and yet, you sit around praising yourselves all day long and have the audacity to repeat over and over that you are the best in baseball.
You have ruined authentic baseball fandom and call yourselves the authentic fans – wow. Unbelievable. Straight out of Orwell.You manufactured a fake-ass position of value in the Bay, called yourselves ‘authentic,’ and can’t even produce decent baseball content. You have to go looking for ‘production value,’ in everything else, but baseball. It’s annoying. Your “show”.
You ruin the game for so many of us real baseball fans with your obnoxious entertainment coverage of the game – camera wheeling about the building and showing food and hats and “babes,” and “dudes,” and dogs and kids more than actual game play. It is the worst. Kruk and Kuip babbling about some irrelevant memory of a team or a year gone by instead of covering what’s actually in front of them. At least have the decency to split them up and pair them with a pro.
I Believe We Can Win, GBC is All-In
I like that Farhan Zaidi and current management are sticking to their plan. They refuse to spend money like the Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Astros, Phillies and Mets – and yet they believe we can beat all of them. They are stubborn. They believe.
So I believe.
Let’s Go Giants