I hope I’m wrong, but I feel like the 2019 Giants are lost at sea.
I’m about to head to the annual Junior Giants Play Ball Luncheon at the Fairmont. Every year, the players are introduced, one-by-one, with a Junior Giant. It’s usually a sweet moment, and the Giants who enter are the very familiar faces — Sergio Romo, Hunter Pence, Javier Lopez, etc.
Mind, this year will have familiar entrants: Buster Posey! Madison Bumgarner! Brandon Crawford! Bruce Bochy!
But after that?
The doors at the Fairmont will open and behind them will be more mystery than the old Door No. 3 on “Let’s Make A Deal.” Hopefully, the Giants won’t have acquired that old school “burro” that was so frequently behind that door.
New head of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi may very well have inherited a mess of suffocating longterm contracts and empty cupboards of farm talent, but so far he has done precious little to change the outlook.
Instead, he’s executed a dizzying array of meaningless trades that have only served to baffle and distance Giants fans from optimism.
Rene Rivera in line to be backup catcher? Gone, and in comes Eric Kratz. Go learn the arms, E.K., and get back to us.
Cameron Maybin as the right-handed backup center fielder? Gone, and in is John Andreoli — wait, no; Matt Joyce, wait, no; Drew Ferguson, wait, no; who is it now? Michael Reed from the Twins? Mike Reed, sports fans. Or was it Connor Joe?
Look, I get that Farhan’s mantra “No Move Too Small” is the new “Humm Baby” in GiantsLand. And I get that he hasn’t been handed a sliver platter of goodness. I still think he’s a sharp dude who will eventually get this ship turned around.
But with Opening Day just days away, we’ve never been in a situation where we literally DO NOT KNOW who will be on the Giants’ 25-man roster.
This Play Ball Lunch at the Fairmont might actually see a couple of outfield trades, in between salad and dessert. Farhan may be plucking guys out of tables and stuffing them in Ubers atop Nob Hill.
Shoot, we don’t even know if Pablo Sandoval — one of the few guys on the team who appears ready to hit the ball — will be on the squad. Even worse, most indications are that he won’t be.
Coming off of the depression of 2017 and 2018, there was hope that somehow 2019 might be different. Unfortunately, hope may be the only thing left. And as Farhan’s old boss, Billy Beane, likes to say: Hope is not a strategy.
Maybe the seismic move is the trade of Madison Bumgarner in July for prospects who will define the 2020s. Maybe the aged infield will rediscover a power stroke, and Drew Pomeranz will be a 15-game winner on the mound. Maybe Farhan will, one day, find an outfielder he likes for more than a week.
In the meantime, Opening Day draws near. It’s supposed to be the most optimistic time in our country’s sporting calendar.
Instead, I better rush up to the Fairmont to make sure Lou Seal hasn’t been traded for a Rule 5 pick. Play ball!