Brian Sabean has become one of the Bay Area’s favorite punching bags during his tenure as Giants GM.
And in many cases, it is most certainly warranted. For most fans, it started when Sabean failed to put enough talent around the best hitter in baseball (BB25) to make continuous deep postseason runs. From there, several moves have exploded in Sabean’s face — the disastrous long-term deals for Zito and Rowand, the signing of washed up vets like Mark DeRosa and some trades that didn’t exactly go as planned.
Most folks gave Sabean a one-year hall pass after the 2010 season. That year, everything Sabes touched turned to gold…Burrell, Ross, Vogelsong, Huff…you know the story.
But after last year’s failed Carlos Beltran deal (I still won’t rip him for taking that chance) and another offseason devoid of an impact free agency signing, it was open season on Sabean yet again. The haters were out in full force.
Time to chill for a while.
Sabean may not have made the big-time splash, but he certainly improved the Giants by roster by leaps-and-bounds with two minor transactions.
Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez for Angel Pagan. Jonathan Sanchez and a minor leaguer for Melky Cabrera.
The first deal was non-controversial. For all the love that Torres and Ramirez earned for being World Series heroes, it was a risk-free move. Torres failed miserably last season and Sabean used Ramirez to take from a position of depth and grab a versatile stick.
The Melky Cabrera deal was met with much criticism, hard to believe after now having watched Melky for two months. How could Sabes give Sanchez, and thus thrust Zito back into the rotation, for a guy coming off of one good season for Kansas City, a team playing glorified scrimmages from May on.
Well, score one for Sabean. Pagan has emerged as a hitter who can do it all. He’s hit everywhere from 1st to 6th in the Giants order and proven he can handle it all. Get on base. Steal a bag. Drive in runs. Clutch situational at-bats. Never takes a play off. Gamer.
And Melky…wow. Given Matt Kemp’s injury, is Cabrera the National League MVP to this point? The argument can certainly be made for the MLB’s hit leader. The Melk Man is a pure ball player with a potent bat, an absolute joy to watch night in, night out.
Two seemingly minor trades have changed the outlook for the Giants. With Panda’s return on the horizon, it’s suddenly exciting to think of all the weapons SF will have at its disposal.
For that, thank Sabean…just once, even if it hurts.