While we’re still picking blue and gold confetti out of our hair, it may be time to revisit that team we all shoved to the collective back burner during these last few Warriors championship weeks:
Why, hello, San Francisco Giants.
How are you? Things going well? Still calling up players like Stuart Fairchild and Kevin Padlo and Mike Ford and confusing young Giants fans who can’t keep up with the roster moves?
Farhan Zaidi’s answer: “How do you like dem Austin Wynns apples?”
Yes, as we check in with our Giants in our post-Warriors haze, we find Farhan still tinkering like a mad scientist and —voila! — the Giants playing winning ball.
Entering Wednesday night’s game at Atlanta, the club is 38-29, a very manageable 3.5 games out of first place, still holding on to an NL wild card spot and doing it all without an obvious All-Star — with apologies to their leading candidate, Joc Pederson.
The Dodgers come at you, full-force, with Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner and — when healthy — Mookie Betts and Walker Buehler. The Padres come at you, full-force, with Manny Machado and Yu Darvish.
The Giants come at you with Thairo Estrada and John Brebbia and say: Let’s roll.
I jest, partially. Logan Webb and Carlos Rodon are potential All-Stars. Luis Gonzalez is that old-fashioned thing called a “ballplayer”. Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater are top-5 on the team in WAR. The Giants are doing it with what ex-Forever Giants Mauricio Dubon termed the “no jerks” (except he used another word) policy in the clubhouse — role acceptance, platoon embrace, love of analytics over God and country.
Funny enough, today ESPN’s Buster Olney decided to jostle the Hot Stove embers — in June! — by listing the most likely destinations for a free agent Aaron Judge, and he put the Giants at the top of the list.
Back in the free-spending days of Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean, you might believe it, as I was just saying to my good friend Aaron Rowand. But Farhan and GM Scott Harris have been stubbornly thrifty, and the Giants, a former top-5 payroll in baseball, are currently 13th at $153 million. It might cost $153 million just to get Aaron Judge’s agent on the phone.
At any rate, the idea of Judge in black and orange seems so unlike the Farhan Era, in which Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores are the Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. But as Farhan and Gabe Kapler might want to point out to you — the Giants are 145-85 in their last season-plus, so who are we to complain?
We can address Kris Bryant-esque trade deadline moves as late July approaches, but for now, it’s time to marvel at the Little $153 Million Engine That Could. We emerge from our post-Warrior euphoria to find the Giants surprisingly competitive, balanced, deep and mostly anonymous. This is their new path.
Not every team can be laden with intergalactic superstars. The Warriors and Steph can rule the universe in terms of Q rating. The Giants will platoon you into September, so grab your peanuts and Cracker Jack and enjoy,