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Dumb and Dumber
by Hubert Huang on Aug 05, 2005
Below are the stat lines of two regulars for the team that plays their home games at SBC Park. Player 1: Batting Average, .276; OBP, .331; Slugging, .385; Age, 27; Salary $316,500. Player 2: Batting Average, .275; OBP, .342; Slugging, .391; Age, 31; Salary $3,750,000.
Upon initial review, one might wonder how two players this inept with a wooden stick in their hands get to call themselves major league starters. (It also explains why the Giants can't catch a first place team that has won four games since the All-Star break.) The more analytical of you will note that the two players' performances have been remarkably similar up to this point. And the honors students will take that one step further by pointing out Player 2 is getting paid 10 times more to do the exact same job.
In fact, the similarities stretch further than just the numbers above. Both of the aforementioned players have swiped a dozen bags, call center field their natural position, and are continuously maligned by baseball pundits for not being able to shoulder the defensive responsibilities of the position.
Well, if any suspense remains, let's end it. Player 1 and Player 2 refer to Jason Ellison and Randy Winn respectively.
For the remaining fans yet to fall from the Giants' bandwagon, GM Brian Sabean gave them a pretty hearty shove this past weekend. In a trade deadline marked by inactivity, Sabean decided to make a splash. Well, more of a belly flop actually, as he inexplicably dealt Yorvit Torrealba and Jesse Foppert in exchange for Ellison's long lost twin.
Even if Ellison were an asset to the team, the move would be difficult to justify. But in reality, both Ellison and Winn are nothing more than serviceable fourth outfielders, and two fourth outfielders don't add up to anything more than a wasted roster space.
Granted, in the past two years, Foppert has undergone Tommy John surgery and subsequently lost 3-4 MPH on every pitch in his repertoire. However, if the day ever arrives where Foppert returns to health and capitalizes on even a small portion of his potential, a burning dummy of Sabean may be found hanging from the oversized Coca-Cola bottle behind left field. Foppert is only two years removed from being the best pitching prospect in baseball, and Winn at his prime -- which was four years ago -- was nothing more than a useful spare part.
What this trade demonstrates, in addition to Sabean needing to be fired, is that the Giants are still preparing to make a playoff run; a playoff run which will never happen without a healthy Barry Bonds.
Surely, Sabean must understand that.
So the silver lining for Giants' fans had to be that the Winn acquisition intimated strongly that Bonds would be ready for the stretch run. So two days later, when Bonds' announced he was calling 2005 a wrap, the San Francisco air filled with shock, dismay and confusion.
All of this begs the question whether Sabean had any inkling that Bonds' injury was going to keep him from playing this season. Everyone knew Sabean was foolish enough to "add" talent to surround Bonds for a run at the division title, but no one thought he was silly enough to mortgage a piece of the franchise's future to take a stab at the NL West without Bonds.
The irony of the situation is that both situations portray him as a GM lost in a dark and dense forest with nary a bread crumb to lead him out. If he was ignorant of Bonds' upcoming announcement then he was completely lax in overseeing his $22 million man. If he really believes Randy Winn can lead them to the promised land -- winning the division and getting swept by the Cardinals -- Giants' fans have even more to fret over.
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by Hubert Huang on Aug 05, 2005