Well, that didn’t work out.
The 2018 San Francisco Giants, 63 wins, 66 losses at this writing, are not going to the World Series. They’re not going to the playoffs, either. Not even a second wild card is in the offing, sports fans.
We are left with the slogan for the 2018 team movie, coming to a red carpet near you:
“Well . . . At Least It Wasn’t 2017.”
The ‘Winter Experiment’ of doubling down on age and salaries by acquiring Evan Longoria from Tampa Bay and Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh fizzled.
Longoria got injured for the first time in years, missing five weeks. And when he is on the field, he’s well on the way to producing career-low numbers in home runs, on-base percentage and OPS.
But the good news is, he’ll be 33 in October and is owed $14 million, $15 million, $18 million and $19 million in the next four seasons.
Surely, your keen sarcasm detector is on alert.
As for McCutchen, he’s reliably been on the field. But like Longoria, he’s in his 30s and is well on his way to at least matching, and in some cases besting, career-worsts.
He may only be a Giant for as long as it takes to read this blog.
The two right-handed bats, acquired to defeat those left-handed pitching nemeses, only served to lift the Giants out of their 98-loss quagmire of 2017.
You know the rest: At 31, Buster Posey needs hip surgery. Brandon Belt is one of those players whom the injury bug follows monthly. Joe Panik had an identity crisis. Brandon Crawford was the starting National League shortstop, but is hitting .178 in the second half.
And the arms? Oy. Johnny Cueto had Tommy John. Jeff Samardzija has pitched 44 innings. Only Madison Bumgarner has performed at his customary level — but after missing two months because of a freak spring training injury.
The gambit to ride the old Brian Sabean saw of veterans over youth, experience over inexperience, gray beards over peach fuzz, flies in the face of the way the game is going — and in the face of winning ball.
It brings me no pleasure to report all this, my friends. I only feel like we need to gather as a group and come to grips with it. There is precious little in the way of optimism here for 2019, too. Sabean gave an interview to John Shea of the Chronicle this week, stating that because of the Giants’ robust season-ticket fan base, a “total rebuild” or “complete face lift” is not the plan.
He didn’t state the plan for 2019, but that’s either because they haven’t hatched one, or because he doesn’t want to tip his hand.
All we know is, the next five weeks will be a combination of relishing the great game of baseball in the team’s beautiful home yard, and painfully watching the black-and-orange play out the string for the second year in a row.
The Giants haven’t missed the playoffs in consecutive years since the 2004-09 void, when Barry Bonds was heading out and Tim Lincecum was heading in.
We may be looking at a similar stretch. Joey Bart is a year or two away. Chris Shaw needs to cut down on strikeouts, but has power. Another decent draft pick awaits next summer.
This is our lot, Giants fans. If the window is shutting, at least the window gave a spectacular view for three trips down Market Street. Good times can’t last forever. We hunker down for winter at the corner of Third and King.