No sport has changed before our eyes faster than baseball, as I was just saying to my third baseman stationed in right field, over near the computer printer.
That’s why what Heliot Ramos did this past weekend filled my soul with such sweet salve.
In a time where those of us old enough to remember when batting titles mattered (kids, look it up) are losing touch with the game, there is nothing like a 21-year-old prospect mashing home runs to left field and right field, and showing off speed, arm strength and glove along the way.
In other words, a good old-fashioned springtime story of hope — and for Giants fans, a road map to the future.
We’ve written in the Jock Blog about Farhan Zaidi’s predilection for one-year deals, and how 4/5 of the putative starting rotation is not under contract for 2022, and how pretty much most infield and outfield positions are up for grabs, too.
This has left us confused. Yes, it comes with some hope, because 2022 is such a blank slate, and carries with it such a vast swath of payroll flexibility. But it also has left most of us wondering: How can the Giants compete with the Dodgers and Padres, not even knowing who will be around to compete?
That’s why I so warmly embraced the sight of Ramos and his skill set.
If the plan all along has just been to tread water and find a few dudes along the way — hello, Yaz and Dick and Dubon and the like — and then wait for 2022, maybe it’s starting to take shape as 2022 approaches.
Ramos looks like a guy who will be up at some point in 2021. Joey Bart, despite some rough patches in last year’s weirdo pandemic call up, still is the No. 2 pick in the draft and should be up this year. Marco Luciano, who should be a mainstay by 2023, may look better in a Giants uniform than any player since — what, a young Jack Clark? Patrick Bailey remains the apple of the front office eye. Hunter Bishop is 6-5 and runs like a deer.
I’ve never gotten Larry Baer or Farhan to admit to what exactly went down in their now-famous day-long meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the fall of 2018, but I’m convinced Farhan took a look at the Giants farm system, payroll, and current 40-man and told Larry: “Look, my man. I can try to put a Band-Aid on this thing for a couple of years. I can find you a Kevin Gausman in the meantime. But seriously? Nothing’s going to happen until 2022.”
Farhan probably went on to show him, through metrics and analyses that remind me that I wouldn’t have passed advanced algebra junior year at Tam High without my buddy Sandy Murray carrying me through, that once 2022 and beyond arrived, he could make the Giants a consistent winner.
And Baer was probably reasonable enough to understand.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as hungry to win now as any other Giants season ticket-holder.
It sure helps to see Heliot Ramos take his talents to the Cactus League.