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Tag:Brian Sabean
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:33 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Giants' Sabean: 'We owed it to the city'

Anywhere you went this spring in Scottsdale, all you saw was orange and black. Anywhere you go this season when the Giants are on the road, you see orange and black.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean wasn't just blowing smoke when he said on the conference call to announce the Carlos Beltran trade, "We owed it to the city."

Look, I realize, teams don't just make trades to appease their fans. If they did, the Indians would be moving all their prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez, which is what many of their fans seem to want (even though it would be stupid).

But Sabean, traditionally cautious in moving his top prospects, understands where the Giants stand right now. He realizes that after winning the World Series last year, and with a pitching staff capable of getting them back there this year, this was the time for a bold move.

Sabean hates acquiring rental players, but he understands this is a different situation.

"We're at an interesting point in time," he said Thursday.

Yes, they are. And Sabean understands as well as anyone that it's a general manager's responsibility to read that calendar, and react properly to it.

He understands that the Giants have sold out every home game this season, that they're riding a high and ought to capitalize on it.

When I asked on Twitter the other day whether Beltran was worth a top prospect, given that the Giants could make it to the playoffs with or without him, a Giants fan quickly wrote back, "Back-to-back world champions sounds a lot better than back-to-back division titles."

Beltran doesn't guarantee the Giants anything, but this trade shows Sabean was serious about giving his team its best chance to win.

"Hopefully, this shows that we mean business," he said. "If I was a player, I'd appreciate it. And I think about them."

Sabean isn't necessarily done. The Giants would still love to upgrade, and could do so at any of three spots (catcher, shortstop or center field). But according to sources, nothing is close to hot at the moment on any of those fronts.

That's fine. If the Giants just get Beltran, they're a winner at this trade deadline.

Zack Wheeler, the prospect the Giants gave up for Beltran, is a big "get" for the Mets. But he's also still in Class A.

"It's our job to find another Wheeler, develop another Wheeler," he said.

The Giants have been outstanding at developing pitching, as their strong rotation shows. Dick Tidrow, Sabean's pitching guru, is mostly responsible.

Tidrow assured Sabean that the Giants have enough depth to make up for the loss of Wheeler, The Giants decided they would rather part with a pitcher than a position player.

They knew they wanted Beltran, "the player we coveted all along," according to Sabean.

And they knew the time was right for a move like this.

"We owed it to the city," Sabean said.

And he's right.

Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 9:11 pm
 

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

OK, we get it. The Giants are upset that they lost their young catcher and cleanup hitter.

No one who likes baseball should be happy that Buster Posey got hurt.

And yet the discussion about what to do about plays at the plate is one that is absolutely worth having. Some people say that we wouldn't be talking about it if this were Eli Whiteside instead of Buster Posey, but that's irrelevant, because this is something we should be talking about.

But it's time to talk about it calmly. It's time to get over the emotion of the moment.

That's what Joe Torre needed to remind Giants general manager Brian Sabean, after Sabean's radio tirade Thursday. And that, according to sources, is exactly what Torre was expected to tell Sabean, when they spoke Friday.

After Sabean spoke with Torre, in Torre's new role as baseball's executive vice president, the Giants issued a statement saying that their general manager had spoken out of frustration, and also that Sabean was trying to reach Cousins to speak with him.

The frustration is understandable. And Sabean is an emotional guy. Baseball could use more colorful GMs like him.

But baseball doesn't need GMs issuing veiled threats to players on other teams.

"If I never hear from [Scott] Cousins again, or he doesn't play another day in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy," Sabean said Thursday on KNBR, the Giants' flagship radio station.

He also said that the Giants will have a "long memory."

Meanwhile, according to Jim Bowden on Twitter, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison said Friday that Sabean's comments were "ignorant and inappropriate," and "immature and unprofessional," in an appearance on MLB Network Radio.

But it's not just Sabean. Earlier this week, while covering the Giants' series in St. Louis, New York Times writer Tyler Kepner suggested on Twitter that "spending two days around the Giants, I get the strong sense that I would not want to be Scott Cousins the next time those teams play."

Again, we get it. The Giants are upset. But focusing on how angry they are does them -- and us -- no good.

What we do need, over the next few months, is a reasoned discussion of the best way to protect catchers.

A few things to keep in mind:

-- Plays at the plate are totally different from plays at other bases. Tony La Russa compared it to plays at first base, but those are almost always force plays and plays at the plate (especially those involving collisions) almost never are. Others have compared it to plays at second base, but the second baseman or shortstop never stands in between the baserunner and the base.

-- If you want to totally eliminate collisions, you'd also need to totally bar catchers from blocking the plate (or even standing in the baseline in front of the plate). There seems little sentiment for that drastic a change.

-- Yes, Cousins could have avoided the collision. But even with many of the rules changes proposed, there's a real chance he wouldn't have been called out, because Posey was close enough for the plate for the runner to assume that the catcher would be in the way.

-- One reason Posey was hurt was that he put himself in the worst possible position -- on his knees.

-- Teaching catchers to make swipe tags and avoid collisions isn't really a solution, because that's exactly what the Giants taught Posey.

-- The real danger of blocking the plate may not be a horrific ankle injury like Posey's. As we learn more about concussions, you wonder if catchers blocking the plate in the traditional way (and falling backwards and potentially hitting their heads) are in even greater long-term danger.

-- The Giants have run into plenty of catchers themselves, most notably when J.T. Snow did it while making the last out of the 2003 Division Series against the Marlins. Of course, in that case, catcher Pudge Rodriguez had the ball, held onto it, and wasn't hurt.

It's a hugely complex issue. It's a discussion well worth having.

And, as much as possible, it's time to take all the heated emotions out of that discussion.

 
 
 
 
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