The one thing you have to say about the state of the San Francisco Giants is that the team’s front office executives do have a baseball plan for 2018, and they are proceeding forward with its implementation.
Which doesn’t suggest that, a) it’s a good baseball plan; or, b) it’s a plan that in any way creates or supports sustainable excellence for the San Francisco Giants in or beyond 2018.
I mention those two points because of this: what San Francisco’s management group is doing is not a good baseball plan, and the plan doesn’t support sustainable excellence for the Giants now or in the future.
Quite the opposite.
The Giants’ recent trades for Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria perfectly illustrate the narrow, short term focus of this management and the ownership group.
Because all the moves being made this off-season are strictly about the economics of baseball’s wealthiest MLB franchise—ensuring that San Francisco’s enormous revenue streams continue to flow freely and the fanbase is tossed just enough so they don’t abandon ship.
If that sounds a little harsh it is because high stakes business is a tough, unforgiving playground. You either continue to move ahead or you’re on the outside of the playground looking in.
And the San Francisco Giants organization has built a brilliantly successful business empire and it’s growing in leaps and bounds. Actually, more like bounding leaps.
But the Giants are much more like Disney World than they are like a successful baseball franchise.
Because like Disney World, there’s no way the San Francisco Giants can shut their down their entertainment venue, even for a second. Because AT&T Park is a prime money generating destination, whether it’s from TV revenue, from belonging to the MLB club, or from their pliant, easily manipulated fanbase.
One way the Giants may want to consider generating revenue is through encouraging sports betting on the team. There are many great betting sites such as bet365 bookmakers that allow fans to make wagers on baseball. Striking up a promotional partnership with these sportsbooks like bet365, William Hill, and Bodog is a new revenue opportunity for the team. Giants fans are already fired up for games against rival teams like the Dodgers, but online wagering would make every game a must-see event for fans. Let’s face it, when there’s money on the line, everyone cares just a little bit more. Even a game against the last place Padres would suddenly become a must-watch event, boosting ticket sales and TV viewership.
Whatever the “baseball” problems need to be fixed will only be fixed with all the rides, attractions, and concessions going on at full speed. The customers need to see that it never stops.
Which means there’s only so much you can do on the baseball side before you start to get in the way of that enormously long line of dump trucks full of cash continually rolling up to AT&T Park.
So not only will the Giants never do a “total rebuild”, at this point they can’t even do a “rolling rebuild” the way the New York Yankees did the past two years. Because Disney World has to appear to be open for business and always loads of fun 24/7.
So how does baseball’s wealthiest franchise work around this annoying problem?
The Giants’ bottom-rated farm system prevents the front office from making high impact trades or getting quality minor league prospects in deals with other organizations. And San Francisco’s ownership would prefer to stay under or near the $197 million luxury tax line in the sand.
The poor management of the Giants’ organization put the team in a difficult position; and because of that they were forced to trade several of their few minor league resources to address critical needs at third base and the outfield. And they picked up two legitimate run producing hitters.
Now that the Giants continue to stumbled down the old-player road, they need to complete their make-up makeover.
One of the following available free agents needs to be playing in center field at AT&T Park in 2018: Carlos Gomez (about $12 million/yr), Cameron Maybin (about $10 million/yr), Jon Jay (about $9 million/yr), or Austin Jackson (a piddling $2 million/yr).
But even if yet another aging “name” player joins the team, is there anyone who seriously believes the San Francisco Giants have made themselves competitive in 2018 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, or the Colorado Rockies?
Buehler…? Buehler…? Walker Buehler…?